I didn't have a chance on Sunday to post about how it went.
We ended up telling the kids Saturday night vs. Sunday, because my plan had been to skip church, wake up leisurely, then break it to them gently, and let them sit on the news for a week before church happened again... Instead, Saturday night we had a game night with my in-laws, and they left at 10. As my son (J.) was going to bed, I told him I didn't think I was going to church tomorrow. He said he had to go. I asked why, and he said that he hadn't been to church for a month (1 week he had soccer tryouts, the next we went to SLC, and last week we skipped.) He also wanted to go because the deacon's quorum president is turning 14 in October and my son thinks he's probably going to be called as president since he's 1st counselor.
My husband and I looked at each other and realized we'd better get it over with now.
I broke out immediately in a cold, nervous sweat. I don't do confrontation well unless I'm angry, and I was afraid this would be a confrontation between J. and me. So we called the kids and told them we had something important to discuss. I had originally wanted to tell J. one-on-one, maybe take him out for a drive and discuss my issues, then later tell my daughter (S. ~ 8 yrs. old), since they are both different and at different levels of understanding as well. But my husband thought it'd be best to tell them both at once as a family. He thought S. would feel left out and would want the same explanations J. got. I had told him I thought she wouldn't care, she doesn't necessarily like church anyway, and that J. would be hurt. Afterward, D. told me he was surprised it went just like I thought it would.
I started out by saying, "Kids, I have something important to say and it may be hard for you to understand. I've recently learned some things and I don't believe the church is true anymore." I had imagined in my mind that I would say this calmly and rationally, but instead PMS reared its ugly head and immediately I'm crying and hideous and scary-looking. I hate all of you who are blessed with the graceful crying gene. My whole face crumples up into that of a 90 year old man with a red face, and my eyes and nose transform themselves into bilgepumps. The kids were staring at me like I may have gone off the deep end. I got hold of myself somewhat and continued talking and crying, telling them the things that I had recently discovered about Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and the Book of Abraham ~ everything.
S. just lay there on the couch listening and watching me cry, and J. was staring at the wall past me looking pissed off sometimes, and trying not to cry. Once in a while we'd ask what they thought, and she would said "I don't know" and shrug. J. said nothing at all, but a few times he broke down and started crying too. It was hard for him, so hard, and I didn't quite know what to do except keep explaining that I didn't want to hurt them, but I couldn't keep going to a church that I felt lied to me and I also couldn't go if I didn't believe it was true anymore.
My husband (D.) said many things to the kids, like assuring them that he isn't the one who convinced me that the church wasn't true, that I found out on my own. He told them we still believe in God and Jesus, and that we still have the same values we have always maintained, that Mom isn't going to suddenly start drinking or anything, that I probably never would (I don't know about that, I had to interject that IF I do, then it's not going to be out of control or anything) and that we are committed to them and our family as the most important things in our lives. He was so loving and spoke so well to them, I really appreciated him. He'd start talking every time I broke down crying too hard. Damn that PMS! I should be honest and admit I probably would have cried regardless, but PMS week is always the week the waterworks function at full capacity.
We warned the kids that we may all lose friends over this, that I already have. We warned them that some people at church may think that I've let Satan lead me astray from the straight and narrow path, but if they hear anything like it, not to believe it. I assured them that I've never felt so happy, or so close to my Heavenly Father, and I've never felt so loving toward others in my life. I told them that this is not the way Satan works. He wants us to be unhappy and miserable. I couldn't be feeling so much love and happiness if I was being led by Satan. I swear if anybody at church (if J. continues to go) approaches him about me, or says anything about Satan having me in his grasp, I'm gonna go off!
Anyway, I explained things for over an hour, and finally it was obvious S. was going to fall asleep while sitting there, so we ended it and told the kids that we understand it if they want to keep going to church, because it may be comforting to them to believe in it, and that we'll support them just the same if they decide they want to stay Mormon or to become Muslim or Jewish or any other religion, or no religion. I told them I was sorry I had pressured each of them to be baptized even though each of them really didn't want to do it at age 8. J. didn't remember not wanting to. I told them I felt bad that I'd always made them go to church with me, even when they didn't want to, and that I felt like that was wrong of me, because that's not freedom of choice.
I also told them that I'm sorry that they have to make these hard decisions so young, and I wish I could spare them from having to do it now. I just can't keep going to church and I felt they deserved to know why. We both assured the kids that we love them and want them to be happy. I told them I had never loved D. more than I do right now, and I also said I feel that now that I can see the truth, I am a much happier, more open, and loving person. I feel much more love and acceptance for myself and others, and this makes me feel like a better person inside. I finally feel like I can be me and that I'm OK as I am.
We had family prayer (D. said it, bless his heart) and I tucked in S. I went to J. after he went to bed and asked him if he had anything to say since he hadn't said anything when we were talking earlier. He said, "All I can think is how I heard you arguing with Dad once and you said to him over and over, 'I KNOW the church is true. I know it. I KNOW it.' Now it's confusing when you say you KNOW the church ISN'T true." I told him I understand how that must hurt and confuse him. I explained all my life I believed it WAS true, but I only knew one side...the side the church taught me. They kept out vital parts that they didn't want me to know. My parents only introduced me to one religion that their parents introduced to them. I assured him I love him, and I don't want him to feel hurt, nor do I want him to feel judgemental over me either. I told him if he wanted to keep going to church, I'd support him. He's such a great kid.
Then he asked, "Did you get all this new information from BLOGS?" I told him no. He told me last week he hates bloggers. "If you want to write a journal, write one! Why on earth would you want to write one the whole world can see??" I told him no, that I blog because D. really doesn't like having deep discussions a lot, and it was very helpful to me to sort through my feelings on my blog, and have someone to talk to about it, to get feedback and support from others who have gone through the same disillusionment as I've been going through. It's been a real help to me. I told him also that I was wary to talk to any more members of the church about my concerns because the first friend I told burned me so badly by calling the RS pres, who in turn told someone else so that I got that nasty letter from the high priest group leader.
Needless to say, I didn't sleep so well. I had a MAJOR headache when I crawled into bed at midnight, and then I couldn't sleep even though I was exhausted. I was praying over and over that J. would understand and not be permanently scarred by my revelation. (A little melodramatic, I know.) I also prayed he wouldn't become holier-than-thou and treat us like he's the only spiritual or good one in the family. I don't think he will. At least he better not!
That's my story. The next morning J. woke me up to take him to church. That was hard for me. But then I had to remind myself that even I went to church for weeks after I thought it wasn't true, because I didn't want to be hasty and abrupt in my decision making. Maybe he's doing the same thing. I had him take a note to the primary room that explained to the other pres. members that I wasn't feeling well, and that S. is sick (she really does have a cold) and sorry we weren't able to be there. But J. was up in the stands before Sac. Mtg. and the primary pres. was playing the organ, and she asked him if I was there, and he said, "No." When she asked why not, he told her I had a migraine. At least he didn't lie, I really did. I still have that dumb headache...
Anyway, church is from 9-12, and at around 2 I was napping on the couch when the phone rang and it was the 1st counselor in the primary, and D. said I was in bed sleeping, then he said he wasn't lying for me anymore. :) I WAS sleeping until the phone rang, but I didn't want to talk. Then at around 4 or 5, the Primary pres. came to my door with a small plate of brownies and banana bread, so I went to the door, and she said she was worried about me, and I hugged her and said thanks, and asked her how the program practice went, and I told her I had a bad headache, and S. was sick with a cold, and she saw this for herself. I told her I'd see her Wed at the program practice (it's the quarterly activity I'm in charge of) because I'm bringing the pizzas, plates, drinks, etc. She said, "You ARE coming to that then?" so I think she may know I've been having doubts. Anyway, I assured her I'd be there, but I plan to turn in my receipts for reimbursement that night, and then I plan to send a note to my bishop in the mail on Thurs. that asks him to release me for personal reasons. If he already knows about my questioning the church and whether it's true, he hasn't said one word to me. I'm guessing he won't care when I resign. I'm finding it very interesting and "telling" that he hasn't said anything to me.
I've also decided I won't be attending the primary sac. meeting program this Sunday. Neither will S. This will be an obvious absence to the presidency, and if they don't already know something's up, they will after that. I am very tempted to explain to them in a letter that I've had a faith "crisis," but then D. speaks the voice of reason, saying that it's none of their business, that it's personal and has nothing to do with them. He asked me why I would want to open myself up to them cornering me, two against one, in an argument of whether or not the church is true, because they'll want to convince me that it is in an attempt to save my soul.
I think he's right. I need to look at it objectively and just brush my hands off, sigh, and say It Is Done.