Why I’m still a Mormon

I’m not a shining example of  “Good Mormon.”

I’ve struggled with pornography most of my adult life.

I’ve lied countless times.  I don’t want people thinking bad things about me.

I’ve been inactive in the Church for most of my adult life.

It would be easier to just leave the Church completely.

But I don’t.

I can’t.

I know it’s true.

Turning my back on the Church would be like turning my back on myself.

When I was twenty-four I hadn’t gone to church for several years.

I felt like I needed to go back.  I was afraid to talk to a bishop.  Afraid to confess my sins.

I decided to take some religion classes.  I could get some spirituality in my life without any pressure.

After about six months I decided to go to church.

I only went for Sacrament meeting.  I didn’t go in the chapel.  I sat out in the foyer and listened.

After a few months I had my records transferred to that ward.

I started sitting in the chapel during Sacrament meeting.

Eventually I started going to all the meetings.

Then one day in priesthood meeting one of the other guys told me a group of guys were going to see a movie together.  He asked if I’d like to come.

I got spooked.

I didn’t go back to church for awhile.

I slowly started going again, eventually going to all the meetings.

Then one Sunday it happened.

Just before Sacrament the Bishop’s Secretary came up to me.  He asked if I could see the Bishop after the meeting.

This was it.

The Bishop had just wanted to meet me.  I spilled my guts anyway.

I felt so much better afterward.

I started meeting with him every week.

At that point I decided I’d better find out for myself if the Church was really true.

I’d believed it was for years.  I was never quite sure, though.

I’d been reading the Book of Mormon on and off for several months.

I’d never finished the whole thing.

I decided now was the time.

I finished it.  Then I prayed about it.

I got a feeling I’d never felt before.

I knew it was true.

I still do.

I’m not a “Good Mormon”

I’m a hypocrite.  I’m lazy.  I just don’t wanna go.

I don’t say these things to condemn myself.  I just need to work on them.

I haven’t gone to church for most of my adult life.  I’ve been wandering in the wilderness.

I don’t have a good reason.

That’s not to say I don’t have any reasons.

I have social anxiety.  Especially around people I don’t consider friends.

I haven’t made any friends at church.  Because of the social anxiety.

I feel ashamed.  I don’t live up to the Church’s standards.  I want to, but it’s hard.

That’s no excuse, though.

I love the feeling I get when I’m at Church (as long as no one’s trying to talk to me).

Sometimes I feel the Spirit so strong.

It moves me to tears.

Every week I think, “I’m going to go to church next Sunday.”

Then Sunday morning comes.

Those of you who struggle with getting to church know what I’m talking about.

Dragging myself out of bed.

Dragging the kids out of bed.

Getting them ready.

Getting me ready.

Etc.

The people who go to church every week have these problems, too.  Well, maybe not all of them.

I want to be more like them.

I still love my wife

It’s a weird situation.

My wife told me almost six months ago she wants a divorce.

She was thinking about it a long time before that.

We still live together.  We sleep in different rooms.

She hasn’t filed for divorce yet.  She talks about it occasionally, though.

I’m not really in a hurry.  I just wish I knew for sure what was going on.

I still think the world of her.

She has plenty of flaws.  I’m sure she knows that better than I do.

She wanted to be with me when I could barely support myself.

She was supportive of me when I was laid off and couldn’t find another job.

She worked to support our family so I could go to college.

She forgave me the first time I told her I’d been lying to her and that I was addicted to porn.

She stayed with me when I told her I wasn’t going to finish my degree.

Best of all, she’s given me two sweet, wonderful little boys.

I hate that I hurt her.  Again.

It hurts me to lose her.

Whatever happens though, I want her to be happy.

Worst. Girlfriend. Ever.

I’d just had my heart brokenTwice.

I was also feeling desperate.

My artist friend decided to take me around to “visit some people.”  The people he took me to meet were all girls.  We went to several apartments full of girls.

She was the only one who blatantly flirted with me.  So she was the one I liked.

My friend warned me that she was just a flirt.

That didn’t stop me from getting attached.

She was sweet at first.

After a couple of months she started to show her true colors.  By then we’d lost our virginity to each other.

She was critical.  She’d make fun of me – the way I walked, the way I talked, etc.

I didn’t have a job at first.  She said if I didn’t have a job I was worthless.  I took my first phone job because of pressure from her.

She wanted to go out to dinner and a movie every night.  I’d spend entire paychecks on dates with her.

She’d insist they weren’t “real dates” because I didn’t call her in advance to set them up.

I’d take her roses every week.  That didn’t make her nicer to me.

At one point we were engaged.  I bought her a cheap little gold ring.  It was all I could afford.  Later she got upset and threw the ring at me.

I hid things from her because I was afraid she’d be mean if she knew.

I quit one phone job because I couldn’t take it anymore.  I lied to her and told her I was still working there.  I didn’t want to deal with the consequences of her knowing I had quit.

Before I got another job her sister’s husband’s brother decided to sell his car.  My girlfriend decided I was going to buy it.  She was tired of driving me around.

I didn’t have enough money to buy it.  She decided she would lend me the money.

A few weeks after I got the car a found another job.  I finally told her I’d been lying about working at my previous job.

She was furious.

I didn’t see her for a few weeks.  Eventually she started seeing me again.

A few weeks later we went out.  I was really tired.  Neither one of us could decide whether to go to dinner or to a movie first.  Eventually she got mad and told me to just take her home.

I did.

I dropped her off.  She slammed the door as she got out.  I drove off and didn’t look back.

There was a girl at work I sat next to.  We would joke around together.  I think she might have dated me.  I think things were going in that direction.

After a couple of weeks my girlfriend begged me back.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to get back together at first.  I ended up getting back together with her because it was easy.

What a mistake!

She used to taunt me with this line from Poe’s Trigger-Happy Jack: “You can’t talk to a psycho like a normal human being…”  Ironic that she would say that to me…

The abuse didn’t usually cross over into physical abuse.

One time she kept pinching my arms.  She wouldn’t stop.  A little while later a bunch of red marks showed up on my arms.  She had the nerve to ask where they came from.

I’m pretty sure she was bipolar.  She was never officially diagnosed.  Any time I even hinted that she might need some kind of help she’d get mad.

She had threatened to move out of her parent’s house multiple times, but never did.  Eventually my mom’s water heather started leaking and soaked my bedroom floor.  My girlfriend talked me into getting an apartment.

There was a neighborhood I liked.  It was close to her work.  She told me I shouldn’t move there.  She talked me into getting a cheaper apartment in a much rougher neighborhood.

Sometimes I wonder if she was trying to kill me.

Eventually she cheated on me.

Her family went on vacation to the same place every year.  She told me she always got sick and had a bad time.

We’d been together about a year and a half.  It was vacation time again.  She wasn’t going to go.  She was going to spend time with me instead.  A few days before her family left she announced she was going with them after all.

That Saturday I had a bad feeling I’d never had before.  I decided to go to her house, just to set my mind at ease.

I looked in the window.  Her family never closed the blinds.  She was sitting on front of the computer with a guy I didn’t recognize.  I found out later it was a guy from Texas she’d met in a chat room.

I guess she couldn’t find anyone closer…

She came to the door.  She tried to calm me down.  I asked her when she was going to come get her stuff from my apartment.  She said she’d let me know.

She’d broken up with me multiple times.  I guess it took me breaking up with her for it to stick.

She’d still come see me every few weeks.  One time she stopped by on the way home from work.  Eventually it became obvious she wanted more than conversation.  I thought she wanted to get back together, so I went along with it.  Afterward she told me we weren’t getting back together.

A few months later she was over to visit.  I walked her out to her car.  I went inside and looked out the window at her for a while.  She sat in her car looking back at me.  After a few minutes I looked down.  After several minutes I looked back up, and she was gone.  I went to bed that night still missing her.  The next morning I didn’t miss her any more.

I still owed her the money for the car when we broke up.  She had also bought me some things over the course of our relationship she decided I “owed” her for.  I decided to give her the money rather than argue with her about it.  It seemed like a small price to pay to have her out of my life.

Initially I gave her the checks in person when she’d come to visit.  Once I didn’t miss her any more I started mailing them to her.

I delivered the last check in person.  She’d held onto one of the keys to my car.  She’d threatened to take the car if I didn’t give her what she said I owed her.

After that I cut her off.  Moved.  Changed my phone number.  Blocked her email address.

I’m sure she’ll be mad if she ever reads this.

She’ll probably never talk to me again.

That’s probably for the best.

Divorce

My wife told me at the end of June that she wanted to separate.

This wasn’t the first time she’d said that.  This time was different, though.  This time she wouldn’t be talked out of it.

She felt like she couldn’t trust me anymore.

I’d lied to her about watching porn.  That was worse than the fact that I’d been watching porn.

Six months earlier I’d decided to come clean to her.  We’d been going through marriage counseling, and I started feeling a lot closer to her.

I knew my lies were getting in the way of us getting closer.

One night she confessed something to me.  So I confessed to her that I’d been lying.

At first she seemed ok.  By the time I came home from work the next day I could tell she wasn’t ok.

She went into a deep depression for several months.  I was worried, but I didn’t know what I could do.  Most of the things I tried to do were mistakes.

We went through cycles.  She’d let me know she wasn’t happy with me.  I’d work hard at being the best husband ever.  After a while I’d slack off.  I couldn’t stick with it.  She’d get upset again.

She was gentle when she told me.  More gentle than I expected.  I cried.  She comforted me.

I told her I was really going to change this time.  I meant it when I said it.

Eventually I got used to the idea.  She was going to divorce me no matter what I did.

I decided once we were divorced I’d change.  I’d become the best version of myself, and hope she’d like the new me.  Then maybe she’d want me back.

Later it sunk in that she was probably never going to take me back.

Now I’ve accepted it.  I’m ready to move on with my life.

I think…

I’m a liar

When people ask me how I am I always say “fine,” or “good.” Liar.

My mom would ask me if I’d done something I knew she disapproved of. I’d say no, whether I had or not. Liar.

I lied to my wife about watching porn. When I told her the truth she was more upset about the lies than the porn. Liar.

I told myself I was happy when my life was clearly not going well. Liar.

I don’t like hurting people’s feelings. I’m afraid of getting in trouble. I don’t think people want to hear the truth. I don’t want to disappoint someone who I care about. So I lie.

The truth always comes out, though. And lying makes the end result worse that the truth would have been.

So why do I lie? Probably because I lie to myself. I tell myself the other person will never find out. But they will.

I tell myself I’m going to be honest from now on. Maybe even brutally honest.

Is that a lie, too?