Ch. 0 – Introduction

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ExMo: How I Killed the Mormon God

A Journey Out of the Mormon Cult and into Atheism

By Aaron B. Case

 

Summary of History

This is a description of my journey out of the Mormon church/cult, religion in general, and into atheism. It contains my writing, excerpts from letters, and forum posts by me, others, and even the occasional attached document.

Why I am Writing My Story

There’s a slew of reasons I started writing about my exit from the Mormon church:

For Me: This has been such a monumental change. It has changed every aspect of my life, how I think, how I view the world around me. I wanted to document it, especially my thoughts and emotions during my journey while they are still semi-fresh in my mind.

For the Wife: My story is immovably intertwined with hers. To be sure, she had her own distinct journey out. She got where she is by her own strength, intelligence, and drive to understand the truth. And her ability to make tough decisions was instrumental in bringing us where we are today.

For the Kids: I wanted to write it down so they have it. They each had their own surprising journeys out.

For Others on Their Way Out: One of the most relieving moments in all of this was my discovery that not only was I not alone in my journey, but there are thousands and thousands of people right now who are right-smack in the middle of their transition. Some just barely found out the church is a carefully crafted fraud and they are reeling from the shock and awe of it. Some are feeling massive cognitive dissonance and trying to reconcile their discovery with a lifetime of indoctrination and conditioning. Some are in the process of leaving the church, resigning, and coming out to their Mormon family and friends. Some are stuck in the church because of family or other situations. Each of these states is wracked with pain, confusion, and a feeling that parts of your world are imploding.

But I can tell you the moment you realize that there is a vast and thriving community of people who have been right there, or are exactly where you are, or have figured out ways to move forward and beyond — That is a moment of rescue, of hope, and finally a point where you can stop treading water for a few moments as these fine people hang on to you and hold your head above water.

So many people were there for me. Their stories helped me process my thoughts and feelings, helped me learn the depth of the serious and valid issues with the Mormon church, and gave me advice how to handle the many obstacles that I encountered along my path.

For My Mormon Family and Friends: This is it. This is how I left. Several of you have asked me to tell the story, and so I am doing it now. What I hope is that you will read it to the end, and not bail out part way through out of offense or conditioning you have to “turn off” people who are critical of the Mormon church, its origins, its divinity claims, its scripture, its doctrine its culture, its past and modern leaders, or its finances.

I debated with my wife how much detail to go into about the specific issues I encountered. Part of me wanted to extract my specific issues into a section at the end with a big warning that said “Mormons BeWARE!” and cautioned that beyond here there be spiritual dragons. The intent there would be so Mormons could read my story without encountering anything they might take offense to. But I realized that the issues themselves are so intrinsic to my story, that I can’t really extract them and still give you an understanding of what went down.

So I am going to be critical of all those things I listed. I am going to describe the issues I encountered. I am going to go into more detail than you will be comfortable with. My intent is not to offend, although I think that you will find it offensive. My intent is to tell you what happened to me in my own words. I hope you will stick with it to the end.

And to my Mormon family and friends, let me further say this: This is not an invitation for you to argue, to send me your rebuttals, or inundate me with testimony. I know you believe it all and have no problem with you believing it. As you read on, you will discover that I am a big believer in mutual respect and letting people believe whatever they want for the most part (with the exception, of course, that they don’t try to get their beliefs put into law in a way that discriminates or disenfranchises others.)

One rule of thumb you might consider when dealing with those who have left the church, or really anyone in general who is not Mormon: If you think something is not acceptable for them to do or say to you, it is probably not acceptable for you to do or say it to them. Think about that one.

That being said, respectfully, I simply don’t believe the same as you, and that does not make me bad or stupid or fallen or “led astray”. I have valid and reasonable explanations for how I arrived at my disbelief, and I am confident that I have reached the correct conclusions based on the evidence.

Months and Years of Research and Experience Cannot Be Explained in a 20 Minute Conversation

Occasionally, I encounter someone who asks me to explain why I left. There is no real way to answer that quickly in a way that gives a true explanation. You need to understand that my journey took years to go from a complete believer to questioner to ex-Mormon to atheist. To you it may seem to have been “so quick”, and I will never be able to express to you the hours spent in study, in thought, the gradual nature of my metamorphosis. I can’t impart to you everything I experienced that brought me here.

But you will not be able to characterize it as fast or, as one of my friends put it, “knee-jerk.” It was not that at all. As I detail my story here, I will cite and often link to books, articles, websites, and forums. Please do yourself a favor and take a look at some of them.

 

Exmo: How I Killed the Mormon God, Introduction | ©2017 Aaron Case. All Rights Reserved.