Monday, February 16, 2015

Second Wavers

As I get older, I see more and more people fall away from their faith in God. For me, it has happened in waves. 

The first group to fall away was composed of those looking for a way out, those that for whatever reason disliked the culture or lifestyle faith promoted and willingly left. 

The second wave, which has been more common as of late for my friends and associates, is composed of people who genuinely have fought to secure their faith, but feel unable to do so because of their prevailing doubts. These people want to believe in something bigger than themselves, but in spite of their sacrifices and painstaking efforts, still face a reality in which they feel more doubt than faith. 

I have thought a lot about both of these groups. These are not bad people. In fact, the closer you get to these people and situations, the more I realize that I fundamentally do not believe that "bad people" exist. No one wakes up in the morning and immediately thinks, "Today, I'm going to be as violent, angry, stubborn, close-minded, immoral, impatient, and irreverent as humanly possible." People just aren't wired that way. Just like you and I, everyone wakes up and does his or her best to make sense of difficult questions and situations that frankly do not make sense. 

Understanding people like this, we can sympathize with this first wave, that simply feels like a greater happiness is available outside of the realm of faith. The more interesting of the two groups is the second: if God exists and has answers, why does he let the drifting minds drift on? 

This is an undeveloped thought. It is one I have thought a lot about in my life and likely one that will reoccur as long as I live. We know that God, even in his infinite wisdom, weeps because of his inability to curb the agency of men more fully. My mortal tears for these second wave friends and family members are far less perfect than Heavenly Father’s, but my heart goes out to these men and women who, like a young Joseph Smith, felt doubt in the knowledge they had and insufficient answers to their rapidly turning minds. I have learned that we are all vulnerable, and that faith is possible and real, but how we help those who have given their all is something I will continue to seek out.


  1. Thanks for posting this. It's honest and authentic. I've know for as long as I can remember that i don't believe. On my mission I found a way to believe but it involved twisting my mind in such a pretzel that I suffered from crippling anxiety attacks.

    It also involved dividing learning into two different camps. There was how to know normal things and how to know spiritual things. "Maybe there was a different realm that operated by different rules" I thought. I tried those rules it didn't work. All it accomplished was two years of excruciating anxiety so deep that 15 years later I have nightmares about being called again. No I wasnt a sinner.

    I imagine the struggle of gay members to parallel mine. "If I just try hard enough, am perfect enough, God will fix me" I saw my doubt as an affliction to be healed just like some see their sexual orientation.

    8 years ago I stopped asking to "know the church is true" and tried a different quest. "Help me know truth". I saw this as the final ingredient. The "real intent". Maybe God never answered me before because I wasnt willing to leave if I found out it wasn't true. I found different truth. And a place to still my mind. It wasn't in the church. It was in objectivity and intellectual honestly. For me I finally found something I could "know". I could "know" I didn't believe.

    I don't know why my mind is different, I don't know if everyone has as hard of time believing as I do. But that can't be the case. It seems the majority of gay members know they're gay. Non-believers, I would think, would figure out that they don't believe just like I did. Maybe "truth" is different for everyone.

    Anyways I've always been baffled by what it meant to "fear not and be believing". "That's so irrational", I thought. "That's willful ignorance, Isn't that the same approach that leads people to fly planes into buildings and also believe they are a part of the superior race?"

    I've "checked out" for the last few years, ever sense I came to terms with knowing I don't believe. My body goes to Church but not my mind. I decided this isn't healthy and it's time to make a choice. I recently listened to elder holland speak and for the first time in my life that line made sense "fear not, be believing". But somehow it takes me in the opposite direction than I think he intended. The only reason I stay is fear. I know what I know. I've found a way of thinking that works for me. So I find myself, for the first time, about to take a leap of faith. I'm going to act on a belief in something unseen that's true... For me.

    I don't presume that everyone else are closeted non-believes or delusional. I know so many men that I admire that are smart and articulate and moral and honest and authentic. They stay and say they believe. I believe that they do.

    I don't know why I wrote this. I guess your article seemed honest and real and gave me some hope that I'll be ok. thanks for sharing

  2. "I have learned that we are all vulnerable, and that faith is possible and real"

    The only way to know truth is to scrutinize answers provided by faith. Faith is a taunt leash religions keep on its members.