Leaving the Church
I have a tough time with this one, especially over the last few days.
Not long ago, a friend of mine was visiting Tal Bachman’s website, where his bio announced that he had made the difficult decision to leave the Church. He had read evidence that had convinced him that Joseph Smith was a fraud, that the Church is not true.
This hit me for a number of reasons.
First of all, I always admired Tal. His music and his seeming commitment to the gospel was a light to me. It was exciting to see someone that represented morality and spirituality making it in the music world where sleaze seems to be predominant.
But this goes to show just how important it is not to base your faith or your testimony on someone else. If the core of my faith was “Tal (or “My dad” or “whoever”) says it’s true, so it must be”, then I’m in big trouble when that person recants, or even lapses in choices.
I mean, many have fallen away due to sin, never leaving their faith, but feeling they can no longer practice it. Others fall away because they perceive some flaw in the core beliefs. Some fall away because of sin, and justify it by “discovering” a perceived flaw in the core beliefs.
Which leads me to the second reason it hit me:
Several years ago, a neighbor of mine went through this process. He found a lot of anti-church websites and eventually fell prey to their rhetoric. It was pretty ugly. He left the church, and joined another denomination, and eventually became one of the Temple Square street preachers that harass the temple and conference goers. Soon, his wife, who was trying to hold on to her family, ended up filing for divorce. The oldest son went on a mission, and struggled through all that while trying to preach the gospel. The youngest son still struggles, as do they all, but so far, all of the children of the family have remained faithful.
As I spoke with the family, it was revealed to me that before the breakdown, there was years and years of misdeeds on the part of the father. Lots of steps down the wrong roads that eventually led to the final snap.
It’s sad to me to see. It makes me realize just how precious my own testimony is, and how fragile it can be if I don’t constantly nurture it.
It gives new meaning to the phrase, “Ask and ye shall receive. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” We usually interpret that to be referring to obtaining spiritual witnesses. But it also applies to darkness. Whatever you ask for, you’ll receive. Whatever you seek, you will find.