Although I was born into it, my concerns with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints began as early as I can remember. I cannot, in honesty, say that I ever believed without a doubt that the Church is correct in its claims. Long before I ever knew about polygamy or the denial of priesthood to anyone with African ancestry, I had sincere doubts that the Church is what it claims to be. That does not mean, however, that I never wanted the Church to be correct. For most of my childhood, I hoped that the doctrines and teachings I learned are really how the universe works. So much of it was beautiful and full of hope. But so much of it seemed nonsensical.
I remember when I was a child we would read the scriptures as a family. Many of the stories sounded similar to my other storybooks. Of course, I knew that my storybooks and fairy tales were just make-believe: Fairies and unicorns aren't real; Beanstalks can't grow to reach the sky; There are no magic wardrobes, etc. Still, I could not help but feel that the stories in the scriptures were just as incredible: Animals can't talk, except for the one time it happened in Numbers 22; Jesus actually can turn water into wine; Two of every single species somehow fit onto a boat and somehow survived for months, etc. I was struck by how I was expected to believe the scriptures literally, but other unrealistic stories as merely figurative.
I believe that the Church is a good organization that attempts to create hope and love and peace. It does so much good in the world, and gives people a sense of belonging and community. I have felt a lot of that. The best friends I have ever had are LDS. Some of the best people I have ever known are LDS. I love being among such people and witnessing the selflessness and charity and genuineness most of them show for the rest of humanity. It is unfortunate that what separates me from them is that I do not and cannot believe some of the things many of them do not realize they are obligated to believe. I will no longer overlook the egregious sins of past leaders. For the sake of understanding, and in the hope of preserving relationships with those I love, I have outlined my concerns in what I hope is a clear and plain way (see link on the right sidebar). I hope and pray that in reading the following posts and the outline of my concerns, others will be able to respect my decision.