What If It’s All Not True?

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.

6 thoughts on “What If It’s All Not True?

  1. Kengo Biddles

    Even at my lowest spiritual moments, when I was considering embracing and acting on my homosexuality, I knew that I’d do it knowing that I was doing something wrong in the sight of God, because the church is true.

    I knew I’d never doubt the sweet witnesses of the spirit like you felt in the MTC–but that if I did act on the feelings I have, I would always know, somewhere, deep down, that I was doing something wrong, because I know that God restored the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that it wasn’t just some crazed idea thought up by Joseph Smith.

    It’s interesting how that is for you and me. Like you, I don’t blame or condemn those that have chosen the path that I was considering. I chose a different path, and that’s okay, too.

  2. TheFaithfulDissident

    Great post, Cliff.

    I can relate to much of what you wrote here, not in the same way since I’m not gay, but I think we’ve all asked ourselves from time to time, “What if..?” I’ve sometimes felt like that missionary in the movie “God’s Army” who asks himself exactly that question. Sometimes I find it maddening to remain in the Church and at times I’ve just wanted to run away screaming, particularly when certain distubring details of Church history feel like a huge burden. I’ve asked myself many times whether it’s really worth it.

    I’m not one to get overwhelming spiritual experiences or confirmations. You could say in a way that my testimony is very weak. When I hear fellow members testifying enthusiastically at church and I just sit there wondering how the heck they got to be that way, spiritually-speaking I often feel very, very small. However, despite lacking the spiritual confidence and conviction that most Mormons I know seem to have and be able to express, I have had inklings here and there, throughout my life, that I just can’t deny. I’ve said before that I’m a Mormon practising Pascal’s Wager. I don’t have the surety that other Mormons do and I may never have it, but it doesn’t really matter. I have enough, because of those “inklings,” to make me want to bet that it is true and that’s what’s kept me in it.

  3. SallyGirl

    You strike me as the kind of guy who can stand up in testimony meeting and actually bear a testimony. Not a travelogue or thankimony. Awesome.

    There have been a lot of times I’ve wondered, “What if it’s all crap?” and my answer to myself is, “So what? Is this such a bad way to live?” Nope. Better than most. Closest organized religion to meet the true definition of Christianity.

  4. me

    Every time I come to read your most recent posts, I walk away from it with a stronger desire to be better and do something good. My testimony is strengthened. Your strength is really quite amazing and inspirational.

    I have those what if moments sometimes too. Thank goodness I have also had those moments where I have felt the love that comes from the Lord and the gospel so strongly (whether I deserved to feel it or not) and it reminds me that it is true. I agree, I am ok with knowing that no matter the end result, believing and standing by my faith is the best thing I can do. It’s worth it.


  5. Bravone


    I admire you for remaining true to your faith despite the strong feelings of the flesh. I have not always been as successful. Luckily I am married to a very supportive wife and have a family I love. If I were single, I don’t think I have the strength to resist my natural man. I commend you and pray that you will continue and find peace and happiness.


  6. Inthedoghouse

    What an incredible Blog. I have just spent the last hour reading your last few entries and am humbled by your testimony. We all have trials in this life, and how we choose to endure them is part of that journey or walk that we are invited to take “with the Lord.”
    You have continued to walk forward, even when it seemed dark. This is simply a wonderful example to see for anyone who is struggling with some sort of trial.
    It can be done. Your positive example is sincerely humbling to me. Thank you for sharing.

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