Updated: Jul 24, 2019
When I went through my faith transition, I was amazed at the amount of time I spent every day trying to come to grips with my reality. I immersed myself in books, articles, podcasts, my old missionary journals, and the internet. After 45 years in the church, it was obviously going to take a lot of time and energy to deconstruct. I went through my own personal hell, knowing I was going to deeply hurt the people that I loved and cared about most. After I "came out" (I was forced to because I couldn't lie to renew my temple recommend for my daughter's wedding), my relationship with my wife was strained and needed repair. My relationships with my two daughters were strained as well, with my middle daughter taking it especially hard. There were a few people who were reaching out to me and wanting to talk about things, but for the most part people just kept their distance.
I felt completely misunderstood, like I was on trial for a crime I didn't commit yet finding myself being found guilty anyway. To me, the church and Joseph Smith were the ones who should have been on trial, yet unbelievably I was paying the price instead. Because of this, I was filled with incredible anger toward the church. I felt lied to, manipulated, taken advantage of, and duped. I felt like I had been cheated out of so much time, energy, money and life! Worse yet, I was being cheated out of the relationships with people that I love the most. I questioned many of my life decisions and played the pointless game of wondering what I would have done differently had I known then what I know now?
I wrote my letter (link is on the bottom of the home page) as a way to process and put to words the way I was feeling. It was incredibly therapeutic for me. In addition, I participated in a conference held in Salt Lake City for people like me who had experienced a faith transition and were looking for ways to move on and heal. One of the speakers at the conference said something that truly resonated with me. He gave examples of people who had made a difference in the world. People like Oprah, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., etc. Then he gave further examples of people who had made a difference with the Mormon community. "Apostates" like Bill Reel, Jeremy Runnells, the Tanners, etc. These people had taken their anger, betrayal, whatever you want to call it, and they were DOING something about it. They were channeling the negative into something positive. They were giving back and making a difference instead of just fading quietly into the night. Then he encouraged everyone at the conference to find something they could DO as well. That is part of the healing!
With that as a backdrop, I found myself in San Diego with my wife walking around some of the museums near downtown. One of the museums showcased PostSecret postcards, a mail art project where people anonymously create and submit a postcard showcasing a secret from their life. It occurred to me that many people have a need to share... to get something off their chest and to just put it out there. Then a light bulb went off in my head. I would combine that concept with the need for people to share their faith transition story. I stayed up all night opening up a new gmail account to receive submissions, thinking up what to call the site, buying the domain name, and creating the skeleton of this website.
I have no idea what will happen from here. I don't know if I will get anyone to submit anything. I hope that "if you build it they will come". Regardless, I am putting what I learned at the conference to practice. Once I take a crash course in web design and try to get this figured out, I figure I will go live and spread the word. I will throw my hook in the pond and see if I can't catch a fish or two. I'm excited to see where we go from here. Onward and healing upward!