A non-Mormon friend asked me the other day how I had found the time I have spent during the past three years to do all of the reading and writing I have done about Mormonism. I explained that people are affected differently by the kind of religious belief transition I have made, but for many it feels like their world is ending. That is how it was for me. I contemplated suicide briefly. I thought I was likely going to go through a divorce. I experienced enormous trauma in my closest personal relationships. For months I had trouble sleeping and unless fully occupied could think about little beyond how “this” had happened to me.
I felt like I was on a huge ship that suddenly and unexpectedly sunk, leaving me in a whirlpool that was about to drag me under. It was either swim, or die. So I swam desperately, not caring about anything else for a time. Most of my writing is mere froth kicked up by this effort. Eventually, it seemed like the current became weaker and my swimming less panicked, and finally, I felt relatively in control again. Occasionally, the current would surprise me with a burst of energy, and I would have to swim for my life. But for the most part I was under control and became increasingly comfortable in the water while calling out to passing ships for help in hope that I would find a new safe place. Then, to my amazement, I realized that I had been a fish all along and for some reason could not see that as long as I was on the ship. So, I tentatively put my head under the water and began to breathe, and then excitedly swam down into a world that I still find marvellous beyond my capacity for expression.
I would be interested to hear from others how they would characterize their experience “on the way out”. Not only the dark and bitter part, but the wonder on the other side of that.