I haven't updated in a few years, but a lot has happened and I would like to get some of it written down.
First, some interesting things have happened with the family. My daughter turned 8 in November of 2008 and my mother asked my wife when the baptism would be. My wife told her that she wasn't going to be baptized. The circumstances of this conversation were not ideal, which we regret. This happened right before Christmas in 2008 and when we went to see family over the holidays my father pulled me aside and explained how disappointed he was that I had broken my mothers heart. I told him that that was not my intention and that I was sorry that she had to find out like that. He asked me why I had made these decisions and I explained the main reasons. He understood that there is a lot of conflicting information about church history and offered the advice that I need to read the Book of Mormon and pray continually.
My father is a past Bishop and Stake President and I know the kind of answers he would give to any of the issues I brought up, so I kept things simple and didn't delve into all of the specifics. Doing so would only start a very long path of him trying to get me to forget about all of the stuff I've learned and only worry about the "stuff that really matters". I feared that going into things would only hurt our relationship and I didn't want to take that chance. We haven't spoken about religion since, although we get together often.
My mother was silent on the topic until a few weeks ago when she was staying at my house for the weekend. My wife had taken the kids to southern Utah for the weekend as the kids had a couple days off from school and my mother brought my brother up for the weekend for my brother to attend some training that he has been going to. My mother and I talked for many hours, multiple times, about why I no longer believe in God and what I do believe in. I think the conversations were very good for the both of us. She has a better understanding of how much time and research and contemplation I have put into all of this. She mentioned a few times that she gets a lot of happiness from believing in the church and its worked for her up till now so she can see no point in changing anything. I told her that was fine if that's what she wanted to believe, but I can't, in good conscience, continue to believe in it after learning all of the things I've learned.
I tried to impress upon her that I have not changed my core being. I still don't drink alcohol or smoke or drink coffee. I think we should always treat others with respect and do whats right. We may have different ways of determining what right and wrong is, and some of those may contradict each other on different subjects, but we are both trying to do the best we can. I think she understands that now and feels a bit better about what I'm doing.
I also tried to impress on her that I have no malice in my heart for what she has taught me regarding the church. I understand why she believes what she does. I think she was doing what she thought was right and I cannot fault her for that as I would hope that everyone would do the same. Everybody has their ideas about what they think their parents should have done better and I've done that and decided not to preach religion to my kids. I tell them that I don't believe in God, or Jesus, or any other god, but if they want to at some point, they can. They aren't all that interested in it at this point so they haven't asked a lot of questions, but I will tell them what I think is right whenever they do ask.
My family, for the most part, has been very understanding and loving. I haven't spoken to all of my siblings about this directly, but I'm sure they all know by now. A few have similar viewpoints to mine while one or two confirm that they have had a lot of the same issues, but plan on continuing the tradition. I'm very happy that my family has handled it as well as they have, thus far. I haven't come straight out and told them all what I believe, or what I don't believe, as I don't think that's going to do anybody any good. But, I'm confident that love will prevail and relationships will continue unchanged.
Lastly, I have not yet sent my resignation letter to the church. I've typed it up, but I haven't sent it. Why? Because the church is leaving me alone and I don't want to give them cause to try to fix me without them causing problems in the first place. So, as soon as they decide to pester me, I will send in my resignation and be done with them.