Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Dark Side of Agnostic Mormon Mom--Part 1

Up to this point, my Mormon friends and family--and a lot of strangers, too--have been really supportive of my blog and my faith efforts. That makes sense. Mormons are inspired by the idea of a person trying to believe. (Thank you, Alma, for that.) But there's a dark side to Agnostic Mormon Mom, and this might be the point where I lose some of you (sorry, Mom).

My hope testimony is the view I have cultivated that allows me to participate in the Church and teach my children the gospel without feeling like a liar. But if I'm going to be completely honest, I have to admit that there are some things that I don't hope are true. Here's one of them.

One true church
Mormons believe that theirs is the one and only true church. This is, of course, based on their claim to exclusive priesthood authority. For any non-Mormons who may be reading, Mormons believe that there was a Great Apostasy after Jesus's apostles died. Basically, priesthood authority died with them and the earth was without that authority until Joseph Smith received it from angels. We call that the Restoration of the gospel. So, according to that kind of thinking, it makes sense that there can only be "one true church".

But I hope that's not true. For one thing, it's really divisive. Also, it's a bit too big of a claim for an agnostic like me to even hope for. But mostly, I just don't care. (See my post on truth.) It just doesn't matter enough to me whether we're "right" or not, and especially whether or not we're the ONLY ones who are "right". I don't care about "truth" in terms of where we came from or what God wants us to do here or what happens after we die, but I do care about "truths" that I think most of us probably do accept, such as:
  • We should love each other.
  • We should take care of each other.
  • We should be honest with each other.
  • We should work hard.
  • We should be kind.
  • We should think and speak the best of each other.
  • We should always be improving our minds, bodies, and characters.
  • We should be grateful for what we have.
I consider these things to be indisputable "truths", and many, many systems of belief--as well as people with no religious beliefs at all--possess these truths. So I just don't like the obsession with the "one true church" thing.

I don't hope that claim is true.

How do I cope with it? I just don't subscribe to it. Simple as that. I believe that religion is (or at least it should be) a personal, private experience, and this is MY religion. This is MY Mormon experience. A typical Mormon worldview doesn't support the idea of picking and choosing among the body of Mormon beliefs, but I'm not a typical Mormon. This is how I'm both involved and honest, so...there ya go.

Stay tuned for more things I don't hope are true.


  1. Adrienne, I love this. I was raised in the LDS church, and I do not consider myself now a member. This is caused strife among those I love who are still Mormon, and It hurts my heart deeply. I believe myself to be a good person. I believe that I am living a good life, and it saddens me that I'm considering Less than because I don't subscribe to Strictly Mormon believes. I believe my actions, my honesty, the love I provide my children and my husband, the grace and forgiveness I give others, and the forgiveness I give to myself for being In perfect My belief in being kind, and loving, and serving others are enough for God even if they're not enough For some of the people I know and love who are Mormon

  2. I think the Mormon religion is largely misrepresented by Mormon culture. I think there's a definite gap between the Mormon culture and real, scriptural and eternal truth. So often we forget to go to the source for answers: prayer, the scriptures, love, seeking after good things and well-being. I think you're doing just what God has always encouraged His people to do, to build our knowledge piece by piece, one inspiration at a time and gain confidence in the Spirit's voice in your life. I think it's interesting that you've drawn such a striking line between the Church and you. I think you're looking for truth, and you're looking in the right places, in the good things. And, heavens, of course there's only one true church... if you're clear on the fact that God's true church is the whole of all TRUTH, no matter where else that truth is found. All truth has place within the Church, even if some members of the Church can't fit it in their hearts just yet. Perfection is in the process. We can trust that God will lead us as needed and continue on in confidence.

  3. You have a great way of putting into words what I feel. U know how I feel inside but putting it into words is a struggle. SO much of mormonism has rubbed me wrong. So many mormons ask me what I believe & that list of "truths" is it!! I grew up in a super strict LDS home. My parents try to do a crash course on "How Not To Be A Heathen" every time they watch my kids. They took them to Temple Square 3 times in 3 days. Over. The. Top.

    So happy to have found your blog. I don't go to church but let my children know they are welcome to if they'd like. Usually they choose not to. But it does get tricky when they ask things that I don't know the answer to but have grown up with THE answer. Anyway, thank you for that list.

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