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The Questions that Led Me to Neopaganism

By John Halstead

When I left the Mormon church, I felt a strong need to justify myself. A Mormon can request to have their name removed from the church records by putting the request in writing. You don’t have to state your reason, but I wanted to, so I wrote a lengthy letter (10 pages) itemizing my issues. I had issues with Mormon dogma (specifically is patriarchy and its Christology) and with the LDS Church’s failure to come to terms with the less shiny parts of its history. Later, the list grew. Although I styled it a statement of beliefs, it was really a statement of non-beliefs: 25 single-spaced pages of me disagreeing with Mormon doctrine and policy in 10-point font. I’m glad I got it out of my system. At the end, though, I included a list of 9 things that were big question marks for me. I titled it:

“What I do not know (but intend to find out)”

I went back to this list a few months ago and realized how these questions led eventually to embrace Neopaganism and Jungianism. When I left the Mormon church, it was because I could no longer accept the answers that it offered. But soon after leaving, I realized that my questions had changed. It was no longer that the LDS Church’s answers were wrong for me, it was that they were answers to the wrong questions. My questions had changed. I still don’t know the answers to these questions, but my Jungian Neopaganism has been a better vehicle for me to wrestle with them.

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