It has been a very eventful and draining few weeks, and I haven't posted on here in a while. I do, however, have a lot of things I've been thinking about.
I've had the chance to talk recently with some people pretty frankly about my lack of a testimony. It's awkward to have to tell people (when they seem like they might invite me to go to the temple) "um... I should probably let you know that I don't have a temple recommend." I always follow it up with "I'm not involved in anything horrible, I just don't have a testimony and can't answer 'yes' to the questions about belief in the interview." I don't know exactly why I feel like I have to justify myself in this way. I guess, with most of my family and friends being strongly Mormon, I don't want to be seen as "weak and sinful" so much as "questioning."
I really don't think the church is correct. It's history is filled with silly inconsistencies, and it's doctrine doesn't seem to match what I perceive as true. I was told recently that it is silly to judge the church based on statements by a previous, imperfect prophet (like Brigham Young, who even Mormons will admit had some wacky ideas). I defended myself by saying that yes, but if there is going to be an ultimate source of "revelation" on the Earth, it had damn-well better stick out in some way. I don't find that the LDS "prophets" tend to be much more correct in their statements, predictions, and assertions than any other person claiming to be in close contact with god.
I guess what has really been hitting me is the fact that I'm probably never going to believe in the church again (or god, for that matter), and that is going to have a profound impact on my relationship with my family and friends. Many in my family will always think somewhat less of me because of it. I will be excluded from family events and activities, like temple weddings. I really love my family, and it makes me sad that my lack of belief puts distance between them and me. It's almost enough to make me want to pretend to believe, just so I can avoid all of that.
But, I just can't live a lie. The LDS church is very likely based on fiction, as far as I can tell. I am interested in truth, and I want to seek truth, not accept (or even pretend to accept) what some others around me insist is truth.
I've had moments of extreme elation as I've learned to think for myself and question my own unfounded beliefs, but it's definitely not all fun and games. I know there is a certain entertainment I get from the rebellious aspect of the change in my life, but this is not about rebellion, ultimately. I am very sad, sometimes, that I will never be to my family what I could be if I just never questioned the religion of my upbringing. At these times, I review my present conclusions, earnestly trying to determine whether maybe I'm just being rebellious or have some other ulterior motive for my lack of belief. I haven't once concluded that this is the case... I have very real reasons for doubting god's existence, and I just couldn't go back to believing given my present knowledge and experiences. I need integrity.