Going back after being gone for a while was my first chance to look at my religion from an objective standpoint. I'd always had certain unanswered questions, but I'd always swept these under the "feeling the Spirit" rug. And when there are only a few discrepancies, you can do that, but it was getting to be an avalanche and I couldn't ignore it anymore. I tried writing as a way to reason it all out and make it make sense, but it just wasn't adding up. I remember the mixture of relief and horror as I began to consider that the worldview that I'd based my life on up to that point was an invention. But there's a whole society built around this, complex social structures. Volumes written about the theology and doctrine. How can it all just be made up?
I remember driving around Mesa, Arizona, where we lived at the time, playing the tape (yes, I own it on tape, which tells you a little about how long I've had it) of R.E.M.'s album "Fables of the Reconstruction." The world as I knew it was crashing down around me. This album was the soundtrack for my de-conversion, played it over and over whenever I was out driving. The song "Maps and Legends" stands out. The verses are mumbly and unintelligible, as is Michael Stipe's way, but the chorus: "Maybe these maps and legends have been misunderstood." An affirmation that it was okay to let these things go.
Still gets me.
Related post: The Rise and Fall of a Testimony