Today, the LA Times featured an article about former LDS film director, Richard Dutcher. The article, which corresponds with the release of Dutcher’s latest film, Falling, talks about Dutcher’s leaving the LDS Church. Disillusioned with the Church, he speaks of the moment in which he lost his faith:
“One day in prayer, all by myself, I asked myself the question: What if it’s all not true?” Dutcher recalled. “It was an earth-shaking moment of spiritual terror, such a profound experience. It was such a sense of loss. I felt my faith leaving me and never coming back.”
I found that paragraph interesting because it was the inverse of that question that started the growth of my own testimony. I was sitting in the atrium of the MTC (I didn’t go to Provo) reading the Doctrine and Covenants and I had the thought, “what if it all is true?” I then pondered the possibilities of a world in which the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the true Church of God on this earth and I had the feeling (which didn’t originate from within me) that it was in fact true. That was the beginning of a testimony that has been strengthened by personal experiences, trials, and the exercising of faith.
That being said, I’ve shared Dutcher’s thought as well. Usually when I am feeling very alone and my sexuality is very much an issue is when the thought comes, “what if it’s all not true?” What if I’m condemning myself to a lifetime of loneliness for no reason? What if all the frustration, pain, and doubt is for nothing? I’ve had moments when I’ve felt my faith leave me…but it has never left completely. I always felt it hanging on for dear life. Because I don’t believe it’s a lie. I don’t believe that the way I’ve chosen to live my life (however alone I may feel sometimes) is for nothing. I don’t believe my faith is misplaced.
But even if it were….
Even if I come to the end of my life and the prophet of the Church stands up and says, “Sike!” Even if it turns out that Joseph Smith found the Book of Mormon in a trashcan behind the local livery stable. Even if it turns out that everything that I have believed in for my entire life turns out to be a fantasy, I will be proud in knowing that I stood by my faith. I believed in something, truly believed in something, and I didn’t abandon it whenever things got really hard. I didn’t put aside my faith because I was lonely, scared, or in pain. I believed.
I don’t blame Dutcher for leaving the Church. It can be maddening to be a part of the entertainment industry and LDS. I don’t blame those gay Mormons who finally decided that they just can’t do it anymore and walk out of the ward doors for the last time. I wish them happiness. I really do. But I’m still here.
I still believe.