Ahem. What I mean to say is... I have finally come to the conclusion that I don't believe anymore. I don't believe the things that make Mormons Mormon.
I don't think Thomas Monson is in contact with God. I believe that the General Authorities are good men—I don't suspect them of deliberate deceit or having conscious ulterior motives—but I don't believe that God is talking to them any more than s/he talks to anyone else. I just can't not believe that if God really were directing a church to the extent that the LDS church claims to be directed, that church would be the first to recognize and denounce oppression and inequality in every form, instead of defending it tooth and nail (*cough*ERA*cough*). The LDS church is not exactly on top of things in this department, by which I mean that they are completely backward and even further behind than some other churches.
I don't have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, either—but then again, this is one thing I don't think I ever had, even when I was fully active and orthodox. And while I infinitely prefer the Bible to that book, I am also now very aware that the Bible was written by men, and therefore approach it with a significant amount of skepticism.
I've had this post—everything before this sentence—sitting in my drafts since the end of February, and I hadn't read it since I took a break from the internet at the beginning of March. Today I did, and it still fits, so I guess it's really true. I'll admit, I did a bit of backpedaling after first reading through it; not that I don't still feel that way, just that the words sounded a little stronger than I want them to. It's like... rather than believing actively that it's not true, I just lack the belief that it is. Which I'm pretty sure is just a copout response that tries to soften the blow but essentially says the same thing.
A couple days ago I was on my Goodreads profile and the section with my favorite quotes came up. I saw one from Brigham Young—and I realized that I no longer felt that sense of ownership I used to feel when I came across someone or something related to Mormons. Funnily enough, I still think the words of the quote are great in spite of the irony that goes with them:
“I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self security. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not.”
― Brigham Young
― Brigham Young
I guess I used to feel some kind of... something, you know? when I read the name of one of the prophets somewhere in the secular world. Especially that one, because my university was the one bearing his name. But this time, I didn't.
Anyway. The great thing is that, thanks to this internet break, I've spent an entire month developing a kind of apathy toward the church. Apathy doesn't sound like a great thing, but since it's replacing anger and hurt and the manic frustration that comes with helplessness, it is indeed pretty great for me. The real triumph will be when I can maintain this apathy—at least to a certain extent—without the crutch of avoidance (which is what I've been doing for the last month). When I can read Feminist Mormon Housewives and the news without freaking out about the patriarchal shit being consistently shoved down everyone's throats, I'll know I'm good. Right now I'm shooting for medium-level avoidance, trying to break myself back in slowly and painlessly. We'll see how it goes.