Date: November 22, 2017 10:29AM
I was born in Rexburg and grew up in the church. I have 10 brothers and sisters who are all active in the church (for now). We moved to Nampa (near Boise) when I was 14--I was there when the first Boise temple started doing business. I served a mission in Michigan and graduated twice from BYU. I got married in the temple and we have five children, they're now aged 13 to 21. We moved to Minnesota fifteen years ago (GregS, I'd love to meet you sometime and would be happy to have a conversation with you more about the church and how it makes people believe all the stupid stuff).
Things were building up on my shelf for lots of years, I remember reading Alma 32 maybe 10 years ago or so and its anti-organized religion stance was a real relief to me. The idea that the tree of life is a personal, organic one inside of each of us (opposed to the external, kind of mechanical one in Lehi's dream that is the same for everyone) was how I stayed sane in the church, feeling that I could have my own personal beliefs when they didn't match up with the church's policies. So I guess that part of the Book of Mormon is true for me (I think I can thank Oliver Cowdery for that chapter in Alma, even a charlatan can get something right on occasion I guess). I convinced myself that the church was making me a better person (more kind, more patient and understanding, a better father/husband, etc.), although I now recognize that it was primarily my struggle against what the church was doing that was doing good for me.
My shelf came down when my now ex-wife came out to me as gay and all my feelings about how the church treats gay people (and anyone else who doesn't fit the Mormon mold) finally made me look closely at what the church really is and why it treats people the way it does. I felt very alone and was looking for someone to talk to about everything and found John Gustav-Wrathall, the president of affirmation.org, as he lives here in Minnesota. He was very helpful to me in many ways, but a big one was that he helped me publish my story on the affirmation website.https://affirmation.org/loving-each-other-through-divorce/
Sorry it's kind of a long story if you actually go and read it. And obviously I've come a long way on my feelings about the church since then. I really wanted to believe that the church was about kindness and compassion and good relationships with people, but I saw that the church only cared about itself, not the members, especially, again, if the people don't fit the mold, even though I thought our family had a really compelling story that was all about understanding and love and compassion and everything that "Christ's true church" should really care about.
Like I said before, all of you on this site have been really helpful to me through this, so again I'm grateful. And I do think that a lot of people in the church have shelves that can be broken if we just help them find the thing that will break it.