Both my wife, & I were very happy & involved in the Church till November last year. I had served as bishop for nearly 7 years & was loving it.
My brother & his wife had left three years previously, but we could not understand why. Didn’t want to know why, really!
However, his amazing compassion for others kept haunting me. How could an intelligent man, with so much Christlike love, be an apostate. I wanted to know what had ‘pushed him over the edge’. So I took a peek at the wealth of reliable information about the origins of the Church & it blew my mind.
This was not the normal anti-Mormon stuff, but Joseph Smith’s marriage details from Familysearch.org. Shockingly I discovered he had 11 wives who were already married to other men at the same time & some of the women were as young as 14! That’s called polyandry & paedophilia today!
That shock motivated me to do more research to prove the Church was true in spite of the depraved behaviour of the Lord’s chosen prophet.
However, far from proving the Church was true, the more I researched from reputable sources including Journal of Discourses, the more I found my faith in the myth the Church teaches was replaced with solid, reliable evidence the Church was not true.
I started to discover my concept of reality was based on fantasy. My beliefs had been based on a lie.
What an awful feeling it was. My personal identity, which was all tied up with the Church, was being dismantled at the same time as I was discovering the lies.
I felt like I was dying inside. I no longer knew who or what to trust. I studied like I’d never studied before. This included history books by ex-members as well as current Church members. It includes personal autobiographies. I read ex-Mormon websites & FAIR LDS & FARMS websites (Mormon apologists). I researched some psychology of belief & some neuro-science. As well as the scriptures.
I prayed, but felt only that I must keep studying to search for truth.
Strangely, all during this time I didn’t feel that what I was doing was evil, but rather that I was living with integrity in line with my core value of being honest to the truth!
All during this time I was desperate to find out if the Church I had completely believed in my whole life was true. Partly because who I was as a person was so heavily invested in my belief system in the Church. I could hardly sleep due to the anxiety. I had no interest in doing anything else during this time, even my work, which I’m passionate, about did not interest me. In fact everything else proved to be a massive distraction from my sole goal to discover the truth.
I can honestly say it was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to endure as I felt like my entire world was imploding.
There was so much at stake. My eternal salvation, my eternal marriage to my lovely wife & our sealing to our children. Plus my eternal relationships with my parents & the rest of my family.
Also at this time I was still a currently serving bishop. With all the responsibility that this calling & office in the priesthood held. I have always taken this responsibility seriously & now that my testimony of the gospel & Church was being reconsidered, I felt like a complete hypocrite. But what could I do? At this point I didn’t ‘know’ the Church was true or not true! This discomfort motivated me even more to become confident in my assessment of the truthfulness of the Church.
Whilst studying and reconsidering ‘everything’, I also analysed the whole concept of what belief is. How beliefs are formed & why lots of different people around the world can have completely different beliefs. The whole psychology of belief fascinated me & still does.
I realised that in the Church my beliefs, indeed ‘knowledge’ about gospel & Church subjects was based on feelings.
It became evident that feelings were not a good method of determining truth. That certain claims by prophets & apostles of the Church were untrue, but members accepted them as true despite evidence to their opposite, just because it felt right, or felt good.