Welcome!

My name is Jefferson.  I grew up in the LDS (mormon) church, fulfilled a faithful 2 year mission to convert others, and decided to leave the religion 3 months after returning; giving up an engagement to the girl who “waited” and the future I had been planning my whole life.  My father is gay, my mother still believes in god but not religion, my girlfriend is agnostic, most of my family is still Mormon . . .

And I have a story to tell.

This blog will be my attempt at remembering the things I felt as a believer, recalling the reasons I doubted, the people who influenced my process, and the philosophy behind the life I lead now.  I’m an open, loving, trusting person and don’t pass judgement on anyone for their beliefs – yet I left Mormonism because of some very real issues in doctrine.  I ask everyone to do what I ask myself to do each day: suspend judgement.  Read my story, see what you experience, and understand me.  Understand why I made the extremely difficult choice I made.

I will follow one rule not often adhered to in argument: I will show my weakness.  I will open up some of my journal entries*, show you the emotional and logical strain I went through, and give you a glimpse into what it was like to be me.  I promise integrity: When I don’t feel I can explain something away I won’t try to do so; I still have many open ended questions left unresolved today, and that’s ok.

I ask you to read, enjoy, understand, and if you choose: respond.

If its true that “by their fruits you shall know them” (that you can tell if something is good or bad by the effect it has on your life), I promise you the fruits of this blog will be understanding and love, if you choose it to receive it that way.  If you’d like to argue points of doctrine and debate the conclusions I came to – I welcome it; I don’t think love and debate are mutually exclusive: we can talk about our disagreements without disrespecting each other or assuming bad intentions.  Disagree with my conclusions, but respect my ability and reasons for arriving at those conclusions.

My only goal is to bridge the gaps often created between believers and those who have left.**

I’m starting off with the journal entry I wrote the day I left the church, a short piece about the effect of the Church’s doctrine on my relationship with my father, and the reasons I loved growing up as a Mormon.

Enjoy 🙂

p.s.

*Why include personal details like journals?  Because religious conviction can’t be understood if detached from all of the human experience.  We can have a heady conversation about doctrines, philosophies, people, and events; but those are shallow and meaningless when disconnected from emotion.

**This isn’t an attempt to convince anyone to hold my same beliefs, but an invitation to understand.  This isn’t just a catalog of what’s happened in the past: it will also be a forum for my responses to contemporary religious debate on an ongoing basis.

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23 thoughts on “Welcome!

  1. Your story seems really interesting and worthwhile. Can I ask you a personal question? — Your Dad’s gay – did he leave the church because of his sexual orientation, or did he stay? Was there a time when all your immediate family were members and then it fell apart? Just curious. -Adam

    • Hey Adam! The short answer is that he and my mom were married for 10 years and had 5 children before he decided not to suppress his homosexuality anymore and accept himself, he went to a quasi-mormon church for awhile in SLC but is now Atheist as well. Yes we were all members, 2 sisters left before me, and the rest of my blood family has left since then; my step-family is mostly LDS still, and most of my extended family. The long answer is to come in future posts. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy it.

  2. Hey, thanks for the post. That’s the most honest thing I have read in a long time. I am active lds, and I believe in evolution, and in genetic ties to homosexuality, and things like that, I’m just interested to ask why this made you doubt the existence of god and the truthfulness of the gospel. I mean, I can definitely see frustration with church culture on some of these things, but would like to understand the doctrinal half of your thinking. Shoot me an email, and say hi to colten and nate for me.

  3. *This isn’t an attempt to convince anyone to hold my same beliefs, but an invitation to understand.” It is my prayer that any who take (our very courageous) Jeff up on this, and choose to comment ~ come from his same space of Love and SHARING, rather than from a space of CONVERTING.

    It is one of my deepest desires that this extended family learn not ONLY to respect different beliefs and expeiences ~ but to honor them. I deeply love my family!!

    I love you, Jefferson. Excellent sharing…..I admire you greatly:)

    In Love & Respect ~
    Rache

  4. Hey Jeff, you should come back to the Church. (Jk Mom).

    Real comment:

    I like how you’re going about this “bridging the gap”, and I’m very grateful you’ve marked it a two-way bridge. Let’s get this pot a’stirrin’!

    • Hahaha, for some reason I never saw this until now. Wait . . . I SHOULD??? Aight, I guess I will then . . . I’m not sure why no one has ever told me that before! 😛

  5. Hey Jefferson Colt 45 ( Elder Coulter / Adam Coulter ) you were a great missionary enjoyed serving with you hope someday you’ll return to the gospel to which me and you taught side by side together at one time we had our differences but I learned a lot from you and I can’t change your mind but I’ll leave you with my testimony I know the gospel is true I that Jesus Christ atoned for us and later died for us I know deep down in my heart that we have a loving heavenly father who loves and his children very much I know Heavenly Father still loves you very much he’ll never leave his children I know Joseph Smith was a Prophet of GOD and that the Book Of Mormon is TRUE and that we have a prophet on this earth today Thomas S. Monson I testify of these things to you in the name of Jesus Christ AMEN!!! PS: GOD BLESS !!!!

    • Hey Coulter – ya we had some good times in . . . wherever the freak we were. What was the town called? Meh, I’ll find it in the journals – I was only there for one transfer. P-something . . . Anyways, glad you found the blog and I hope you’ll enjoy reading more so you can understand my path to where I am now. Talk to you later.

  6. I love your honesty and can’t wait to read more of your journal pages and thoughts. It was certainly an interesting environment that we grew up in!! I am happy to say that with all of the not so normal things we had going on as kids, we have become accepting, loving people. It could have gone another way!!

    • It definitely could have! Its funny to see how differently we reacted individually – how our unique personalities effected how we received the church and all the things around the church. I’m reading through each of my journals, slowly (I wrote a LOT . . . which is great) and there are definitely some gems I’m excited to share.

  7. I meant to say that I am an atheistic Jew who loves the Broadway musical entitled ” The Book of
    Mormon” by Trey Parker and Matt Stone who are the creators of the classic as well as controversial animated television series known as “South Park”. It’s freaking hilarious.
    But I discovered one reviewer on a religion-themed website who acted butt hurt over the fact the BOM musical
    is not an ‘accurate’ depiction of Mormonism and this dude is not even a Mormon. Well, duh, dumbass. The musical was not intended to be an ‘accurate’ depiction of the Latter-Day Saint Church nor was it created in order to bring in ‘more converts’ for the Mormon church as much
    as some of its leaders might naively hope it does. Parker and Stone are not Mormons but have
    known many people who are and have stated that they personally think the LDS Church is a crock of bullshit
    and find it ridiculous that anyone could believe in the nonsense they spout. Well, to each is own.
    I am ex- member of the Jehovah’s Witness Church and am now an atheist after many years of
    research on religion and lack of religon . I personally don’t believe in any of the Mormon’s believes nor am able to personally agree with any of the beliefs or practices the Mormon church holds or acts on
    but if others want to than that is their choice. Matt and Trey certainly were able to make on hell
    of a Broadway musical off it, though. LOL! Move over, Donny and Marie Osmond, cause yo tails just got whipped by the BOM musical baby. I have actually never met a Mormon who likes
    the Osmonds. I used to say ” But, you guys are in the same religion’! THe Mormons that I know
    said, ” Well, yes we may be members of the same religion but that doesn’t mean I have to like them or their music”. My reply was ‘ Bet you wouldn’t say that to their faces”! LOL! No member of the fundamentalist Jehovah’s Witness church would
    dare saying anything bad about Serena and Venus Williams, Prince or Sherri Shepard or Michael
    Jackson’s mom or his older sister or his three kids to their faces who are members of the JW church and I don’t and never did care for any of them whether now as an atheistic Jew or even when I was in the JWs. You know what I don’t
    understand though, is that the JW’s discourage their members from being celebrities as they think that should be more worried about worshipping their god who I don’t believe in personally. Prince,
    Sherri Shepard ( although I think she is non-praticing), Serena and Venus Williams and MJ’s mother and his daugher from things that I have seen and read act like complete hateful bigots and hypocrites! I’m guessing the only reason that they have not been kicked out for doing certain things is mostly due to the fact that they’re celebrities and alot of people would not look at them in a good nor on their specific denomination of Christianity, if any of them were excommunicated.

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