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Discussion in 'New Members' started by Saint Cranmer, Mar 15, 2018.

  1. Saint Cranmer

    Saint Cranmer New Member

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    Hey everyone! I grew up Mormon, became atheist for more than half a decade, then became a true (i.e. Trinitarian) Christian within the Episcopal Church. I value the theological breadth and the haven that the church provides from ultra-conservative (politically) Christianity in the US. I lean more high church than anything but have trouble calling myself Anglo-Catholic, as I dislike several Roman ideas.

    I spend a lot of time in other Anglican spaces (reddit, Discord, etc) but figured that another place to visit would be nice, especially one with opinions that differ from my own.
     
  2. Cameron

    Cameron Active Member

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    Welcome, Saint Cranmer! I can't wait to hear about your conversion if you wish to indulge us, and welcome home to the forum!
     
  3. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

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    Welcome, friend!
     
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  4. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Welcome among us
     
  5. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    From one Episcopalian to another, welcome to the Forums! May God richly bless your time here, friend.
     
  6. DivineOfficeNerd

    DivineOfficeNerd Active Member Anglican

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    Sarum here! Welcome to the Forums!
     
  7. Saint Cranmer

    Saint Cranmer New Member

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    Heya Sarum! Good to see you here.

    Sure. So I was born and raised Mormon in the heart of Utah (attended my ward every Sunday, youth group every Wednesday, attended BYU for a few years, etc). I was the model Mormon, followed all the commandments, was the Deacons/Teachers president and the youth head of the Priest Quorum, went to seminary every day. I did a lot of organizing for the Scouts and for the Mormon youth group.

    However, when I was about 15, I had to face the facts: I was gay and couldn't deny it anymore. That put me in a bit of a conundrum, as gay people essentially have no purpose in the Mormon religion. To achieve the highest level of heaven you had to be married to someone of the opposite sex in one of their secret ceremonies and have lots of children. None of that sounded right to me. Mixed orientation marriages fail at spectacularly high rates. I didn't understand why they said that something was wrong with me.

    I began questioning that doctrine and then began questioning other doctrines. I began researching the life of Joseph Smith outside of the sanitized, church approved sources and realized that he was a much different man than I had been taught. When I was in seminary I was taught that Smith was not polygamous, which is an outright lie. I also learned that he forged the Book of Abraham and from there it went downhill from there. Once I learned that the church condoned violence against gay people and conversion therapy I knew that everything about this church was false.

    The thing about Mormonism is that, much like Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, you are taught that Mormonism is the one true church and that everyone else is false. When I learned that Mormonism was also false I didn't bother to go back and update my priors, so I went atheism. After all, if every other religion is false and now Mormonism is false, where else can I go?

    This is common among ex-Mormons. Many never return to religion.

    What I didn't realize was that I thought that every other religion was false became Mormonism told me that they were.

    I was an atheist for more than half a decade, which all ended in a single night. I can only describe it as the hand of the Holy Spirit moving in my life. I was a staunch atheist when I went to bed one night and when I awoke I had a single thought in my head:

    "I need to go to church."

    It stayed in my head the entire day and the next couple days as well.

    Eventually I went to research what churches were close by me and I was continually drawn to the Episcopal Church, no matter which subject I was researching. I didn't want a Protestant church, as I felt that an apostolic church was the truth. I couldn't go to Rome because the same abuses that I saw in Mormonism (i.e. a single infallible leader guiding the church into error) I also saw in Roman Catholicism. I gave Orthodoxy a shot first and was driven away by the hostility of the parishioners and clergy. Even the priest treated me like I didn't belong there.

    I finally gave in and visited the Episcopal parish nearby. It was a wonderful experience. The parishioners were friendly, the liturgy was beautiful and afterwards I talked to the priest about some of my misgivings. He corrected my misconceptions and made me aware that the Anglican Church possessed apostolic succession and held to the traditions of the church.

    Once we finished that conversation the Holy Spirit once again moved in my heart, letting me know that this was my home from now on and I haven't left since. I sometimes look to other churches to compare and contrast how they go about the faith but time and again my heart is drawn back to the Episcopal Church.

    *****

    I understand that parts of my journey are unlikely to resonate among the crowd here. I understand that. I do not wish to isolate myself from others who may hold different opinions. I'm here to break out of my echo chamber and learn what other Anglicans think and feel.
     
  8. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Active Member Anglican

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    Welcome!
     
  9. Cameron

    Cameron Active Member

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    You're in the right place. Don't worry. What a fantastic story. We'll be with you every step of the way in your journey of faith. That's what forums are for. Discussion, debate, prayer, and friendship!
     
  10. WendyP

    WendyP New Member

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    Hello and welcome, Saint Cranmer :)
     

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