A old high school friend of my sister's has written a book A Lost Argument: A Latter Day Novel about her deconversion from the church. I started reading it last week and a paragraph hit me like a whack to the stomach. In the book, the character of Marguerite starts to question the strength of her testimony and it scares her. She describes it this way: (Quoted completely without permission but I hope she won't mind.)
She didn't know whether the scriptures were true. But to concede this was to stand on the edge of a black, yawning, bottomless chasm, to stand so close to the edge there was an equal chance of falling or drawing back. If she fell, all would be lost. If she fell, she would be utterly alone in the universe, alone with nothing but her worthless, starved, battered and ugly soul. There would be nothing to grab hold of, nothing around which to orient herself, no gravity, no up or down or right or wrong, there would be nothing but nothingness and vertigo and the whistling of air rushing past her.
For the past two years I have been in free fall after going over that chasm. The chasm was especially deep for me because the church was my very identity. My family's identity. My grandfather's grandfather was an apostle and I grew up with his surname, thus being instantly indentified by any mormon I met. Five generations of my family (and counting) have built their lives on the church, sacrificing all to build the kingdom. If the church wasn't true, then nothing was true! No right or wrong, no up or down, nothing to grasp onto. Just a long, out-of-control freefall.
I've only just begun to gain a little equalibrium and have started searching for my own truth since I no longer believe the truth of my fathers. Not an easy thing for a submissive, little mormon girl to do. I've started identifying as an agnostic since at this point, I still don't know a thing. But at least now I KNOW that I don't know and I can start finding my own truth. And occasionally I search in a big glass of gin and Fresca. And that's okay.