My conversion story Part 3: Justification
The universal "cosmological" aka metaphysical doctrines of the Church really piqued my interest, and lead me to a crusade to find more details about the spirit world, the nature of god, and my role as a woman in a physical body. I read a few books by LDS authors that lead me to looking into other belief systems, to see just how many of them reiterated the same ideas. There are a lot of systems and faiths that teach things synonymous to the Church.
The law of attraction, energy healing, and the more "woo-woo" concepts in the natural/ alternative community lead me down a rabbit hole that I was eager to enter. I figured if I approached the material from a Christ-like perspective, and it felt good, then I was ok to continue learning about it.
I dove head-first into witchcraft
The things I started learning were the same things that I learned at church. I justified this path before I even decided to leave the church, by thinking that I didn't have to practice anything I didn't feel was in line with church teachings. And I was upset that the church said it was bad, when they did the very things that witches do, especially regarding the ritualistic nature of temple ordinances, and the vast similarities between them. I still get a little upset at the stigma surrounding it when nobody really knows what they profess, even though I no longer identify myself as a witch.
I learned about the elements, the close communion with my Father in heaven, my mother in heaven, the spirit world, my intuition (or the spirit) and to me, it became evident very quickly that I was a daughter of godly parents, with divine authority and power to create life, and call upon him whenever and where ever I needed him. All things that I already knew from the church teachings, but mistakenly didn't take it so literally. It was empowering to refer to myself as a Goddess and believe it. It was refreshing to feel the unconditional love for myself that I knew my Father in Heaven had for me. It was real. And I miss feeling those things so powerfully, especially in my times of pure depression when I felt like I have nothing to look forward to, no redeeming qualities, and no control over my life or emotions, and no way to help myself out.
I struggled a lot with the temple Endowment because I felt it directly contradicted not just scriptural accuracy, but also what I thought in my heart to be the nature of My divine parentage. It felt really backwards.
So I met with my bishop and talked to him about it, but my concerns were politely and expertly dismissed and had a long, powerful discussion about other things going on in my life, including what was happening in my marriage.
John and I had been going through some really rough stuff, and even though he knew I was questioning my position with the church, he reassured me that he was willing to make our marriage work regardless of my faith. It brought me comfort to hear it, but I didn't really believe him.
What made me different from others on my path, was that I didn't worship multiple gods- or a god different from Elohim. Instead, my purpose in learning witchcraft was to seek his face, and the face of my Mother in Heaven even closer than I had before. My "spellbook" was a large-print version of the scriptures. My altar was simply the altars in the temple. My path was lonely, and I knew it always would be, regardless of staying in the church or not. Having a foot in both worlds was hard.
I had these feelings and pondering kept secretly in my heart, and eventually, this empowered feeling of goddess-hood and total control had me wondering why I needed a savior. I believed God's love was unconditional and as he is a perfect being who created me, I must be perfect as I am his creation. I believed that intentions and the goodness and love in a person's heart, but mainly actions were the determining factors to being in the presence of god in the afterlife, as opposed to the signs, tokens and keywords given to a very select few that may not even honor those gifts in this life.
It was about this time that I was introduced to the idea that The bible was a book of metaphors and Christ was a myth. And I simply chose to believe that, because navigating the contradictions in the scriptures and other gospel teachings, to the pure love I believed God to have for everyone just got too hard and exhausting. It was a cop-out. Witchcraft was about balance and unconditional love, and it felt like the farther away from Christ I fell, the more he seemed to be about ultimatums.
So, I rejected Christ as my savior
I rejected the holy ghost as a member of the godhead, and began my journey into practicing witchcraft, untethered from the "restrictions" I had placed on it. The Sundays John took the kids to Church for 3 hours, I stayed home and listened to podcasts on how to learn witchcraft. I never did get a spell book. I have never cast a spell. I have never had a real altar with the tools used to cast. But my heart began to grow really dark. I didn't feel empowered anymore. I didn't feel love. From myself or anyone. I felt more confused, and stuck on finding more evidence to support my decision, because I couldn't possibly purposely go against God. I had to disprove the principle of sin, and no longer believe them before I could go and break the commandments. I adopted the belief that sin isn't real. That Satan is made up, and that as long as I didn't harm another life including my own, life was a free-for-all.
And so I started making decisions based on the "free for all" mindset. I had to fight my conscience daily; reminding myself over and over again that the negative feelings I was having regarding these decisions was simply because they were not familiar to me, and the effects of brainwashing. So I purposely dove into the unfamiliarity. In order for me to differentiate what was wrong and what was unfamiliar, I had to experience all things. and even now it still rings true, I did have some brainwashing happen to me.
The circumstances in my life at that point were painful and frustrating. I was hurting. I was lonely, and I was constantly seeking support, and got it from all the wrong people. None of them appealed to love or logic. none of them appealed to what was right- and after a time I really wanted them to tell me to do what was wrong, because I just couldn't deal with the limitations anymore. Even when I didn't believe in Satan or Christ or the holy Ghost, I still knew there was a right and a wrong, but the lines were so blurred, I ended up loosing some precious gifts of the spirit; mainly my gift of discernment. But I never realized that the holy ghost was long gone by that point.