OK, so it's another misleading blog entry title. I was just reading the blog entry of a man who refers to himself as "disaffected" from the Church, and I thought, "I don't think of myself that way. I just...don't know that I believe any of the doctrines anymore. I still espouse most of what I regard as the underlying principles, and even most of the standards of behavior, but the doctrines and institution don't mean much to me. I don't see it as 'disaffected', with the somewhat dejected connotation it carries."
My parting with the church hasn't been a messy divorce, a disillusioned drama-fest, or a nasty fight from which we just never recovered. It's been more like a marriage that fizzled over a long span of time, and we woke up one day and said, "You know, it's probably time we just separate and spend some time apart to find out what we really want," and though there's been no official divorce, and there's no particular malice or anger, there's also no real desire to get back together. The relationship just...doesn't seem to be what we used to think it was. It was OK when it started, and it was actually really good for a few years, and we made it through some rough times together, but staying together at this point doesn't seem to be helping anyone. It's probably only delaying what may be inevitable, and we're just going to be holding each other back (don't give me the line about "no unhallowed hand"--I'm referring to my interactions with individuals at the personal and ward levels, not holding back the entire mission of God's kingdom on earth), so it's best to part ways now before it gets even messier to start anew.
I think there's more to it than that (in other words, more besides the "emotional" aspect), but I'm not interested in defending my decision, not here and now. My point is that I don't really care to refer to myself as "disaffected" or "ex-Mormon" or "apostate" or "son of perdition" (thank goodness for missing out on that whole "calling and election made sure" thing) or "rescued from the clutches of Mormondom". I just say I'm from an LDS background. Rather than an ugly divorce where I see her through a bitter lens, or saving myself from an abusive relationship, or childishly refusing to speak after a nasty fight, I see it more as a natural, civil parting of ways with a quick hug and an "I'll see you around." That's not to say it's been an easy decision, or a painless one, or hasn't had its complexities and difficulties to deal with, but I've just not experienced it as a bitter break-up. It remains to be seen whether we will come back together with greater perspective to give it another go, or have permanently grown apart and may interact here and there but on a more distant, casual level than before, or whether the passage of time will set in forgetfulness of the good times and leave only tainted memories. But for now, we're old friends who just don't relate as much as we used to but maintain a civil acquaintance with some memories of strained times but mostly fond memories from when we were more on the same page. No, not disaffected: just no longer "together".