If you hadn’t been born into the religion of your parents, would you ever have converted on your own?
The was the essential question that helped me decide to leave it. Knowing what I now know…just the facts, not the emotions…there’s no way that I would have considered it plausible or attractive.
If by some chance your religion were not true, would you want to know it?
My answer was a confident, “yes”. I say “confident” because I was sure that it WAS true and could withstand scrutiny.
If by some chance your religion were not true, how would you know it?
I decided that the answer to this question lied in the premise of the first question. It has to be analyzed as if it were a fresh concept with no preconceived notions. On my mission we were trained to explain to investigators that if the wanted to buy a Ford they should go to a Ford dealer. In other words, don’t search out contrary sources. The idea is ridiculous. If I want to buy a car I’m going to visit a Ford dealer, a Chevy dealer, a Nissan dealer but most importantly I’m going to consult independent sources such as Consumer Reports.
Where would you be without it?
I determined quite easily that I’d be in a better place. Mormon Testimony Meetings are full of people declaring that they “don’t know where they’d be without the gospel.” The implication being that they’d find themselves in an alley somewhere shooting heroine having random sexual liaisons and robbing banks. I never understood that. In my mind the church was helping me become a better person, not preventing me from being a horrible person. But on reflection I realized that I had an inner voice of reason and of goodness with or without the LDS faith. In fact, without the LDS faith I’d have 40 years of more experience listening to that inner voice and not relying on the supposed authority of religious leaders. I’d definitely be better off.