Friday, December 04, 2009

Dear Abby...Ah I Mean Cr@ig

Ok I know I said I was done blogging….BUT, I received what I consider a sincere plea for advice from a wife of someone who has discovered that the church is not what it claims to be. Her plea touched my heart; it could have been my own wife for all I know…since it sounds so much like what she and I have talked about so many times before as we have struggled to survive my apostasy.

So I’ve decided to share my advice in a full blown blog post (Maggie I hope that that is ok with you.)

What do you do upon learning that your spouse has lost belief in Mormonism?

Craig,

I have enjoyed your blog. I think you are a great person and I am so sorry for what you have had to go through. I want your advice. I still love the church. I know that everything that is taught is not true but it is such a part of me. It has helped me become the person I am today. I love attending church, singing hymns, listening to the prayers, and enjoy many of the wonderful lessons and talks. It makes me want to be a better person. So I guess you could say it works for me. My problem is that my spouse no longer believes in anything and doesn't want to have anything to do with it anymore. My spouse is so bitter about it all. I am fine with my spouse being a nonbeliever. But it is so difficult living with someone who is so negative about it. I just wished my spouse could say I don't buy it but if it is a good thing for you then that is great. It is so, so, so, so, hard when something that is meaningful to you is hated by your spouse. It is just damned hard. Any advice to someone who is hurting and frustrated?


Dear Maggie,

Much of what you’ve said could have been said by my own wife many times over. Once I came to the conclusion that the church was not what it claimed to be…I too became very bitter and angry and wanted absolutely NOTHING to do with it. But with time…my bitterness has dissipated. I’ll even be attending the First Presidency’s Christmas Fireside this Sunday evening at the conference center with my wife. I do this because I love my wife.

So here is my advice based on having lived on both sides of the fence:

01. If you love your husband and he loves you AND you want your marriage to survive….then love each other for WHOM each of you are … not for whom you want each other to be.

02. Give him the time and space to sort out his pain of discovering that the church isn’t exactly what he had always thought it was…trust me when I say…for those of us who have come to this conclusion…that discovery is very painful.

03. Let your husband know that both of you need to put each other first rather than your respective belief systems. Although as LDS members we’re taught that God and Church come before family…I personally believe that this is backasswards. Put your marriage/family first…before your church.

04. Garner mutual respect…each of you needs to respect that you both have needs. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Let him know that he is always welcome to accompany you to church if and whenever he may desire to do so in the future. But also let him know that you accept that he may never want to do so and that that is ok with you too. Basically mutual respect means that both of you are willing to be less dogmatic and more pragmatic…in other words more willing to make compromise to accommodate each other’s needs (this does not mean that he “must” attend church with you)

05. Don’t use the church as a wedge to divide…rather respect that your husband has legitimate reasons to no longer believe…but at the same time he needs to respect that you too have your reasons to want to continue to associate with the church.

06. Show your husband this post…get his input…be willing to talk about this…kill the 500lbs gorilla in the room.

07. Somehow get to the place where the difference in your beliefs is no bigger of a deal then you choosing to shop at Macy’s while he prefers shopping at Nordstrom’s…both stores have their pluses and minuses…but in the grand scheme of things…who cares which store you shop at, if it makes each of you happy to shop at different stores…it really shouldn’t be that big of a deal.

08. AND again, he needs to respect your desire to remain an active member of the LDS Church and do all he can to support you by not making it difficult for you to attend and participate. But at the same time don’t stand in his way should he chose to go golfing Sunday morning while you attend church. See we’re supporting each other’s respective beliefs…not placing conditions on each other…we love each other in spite of those differences…because we are loving who they are and not what we want them to be.

I might add…that I find it sad when a believing LDS spouse places a religion above a marriage and chooses to end a marriage because of the apostasy of one spouse. I cannot see how someone who is taught that the family is the most important unit of the church…can chose to divide a family because one family member loses belief in said church. (The same can be said of the apostate spouse who chooses to end a marriage over a spouse who wants to remain actively involved in Mormonism…ending a marriage over religion…is just plain stupid)

I hope this helps...

Cr@ig

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I‘ve Just Lost Interest in Mormonism

I’m going to take a hiatus from actively posting on my blog. As the title suggests I’ve just lost interest in discussing Mormonism. As I mark nearly 7 years since exiting the church…It has become an ever decreasing part of my life. To put it frankly, I just don’t give a shit about it anymore. As far as I’m concerned it can wither and die or it can flourish and fill the whole earth…I could absolutely care less…as long as it leaves me alone.

Mormonism is in my rear view mirror.

When I began this blog, I was devastated upon learning that the church I had loved, lived and believed with all my heart was nothing more than a fictional reality… It was nothing more than yet another man made religion created by man to suit the whims and desires of a man. My hero Joseph, turned out to be the ultimate flim flam man…a fraud.

A good friend of mine once said…”Mormonism might just be the greatest church ever invented…but if it was invented, I want nothing to do with it.”
Best wishes to all who have or will venture here…

I wish you nothing but the best in life,
Cr@ig

Monday, September 28, 2009

Spiritual Experiences Can Be Used to Manipulate Us

I freely admit that the primary basis for my loss of believe in Mormonism is that I took it so literally and blindly. I accepted every pronouncement from church authorities spoken at conference, written in the Ensign, or published in their many books…Hook, Line and Sinker....and as the word of God

When the church and church scriptures taught that Adam left the garden 6,000 ago I literally believed it. When I was taught by the general authorities that there was no death on earth prior to Adams exit from Eden, I accepted it as an essential doctrine for the justification of and evidence for the need of an atonement.

When Spencer Kimble, declared in conference that every native American from Alaska to the tip of South America and the Islands of the Pacific were descendants of Father Lehi…I never questioned. The Prophet had spoken; the thinking had already been done.

When the Book of Mormon established Noah’s universal flood and the Tower of Babel as real historical events I accepted this whole cloth. I now find each of these claims unbelievable and unsubstantiatable.

While serving my mission, I had many so called spiritual experiences. One that stands out in my mind involved a book that shook me to the core. An investigator had given me a copy of Gerald and Sandra Tanners ”Mormonism: Shadow or Reality?” This was considered Hard Core anti Mormon stuff at the time and probably still is. Of course having a firm testimony of the gospel and knowing that real truth can stand up to any scrutiny, I accepted the challenge to read the book and get back with these people. Unfortunately, the book had the opposite effect than I had hoped on me; it exposed the ugly underbelly of Mormonism in a manner of which I had never been informed. The book showed photo copies of all the changes in the D&C, additions inserted in God’s so called revelations made to enhance Joseph Smiths claim to authority, eye witness accounts of Joseph’s drinking and tobacco use after the Word of Wisdom had been revealed. You see I was of that generation when Joseph had been made into a man-god (seemingly without fault) something I now know to not be true…he was very much a man with all the complicated personality traits and flaws all humans have. There were all the prophecies made by Joseph that NEVER came true, even one involving his prophecy regarding church members teaching the inhabitants of the Moon (yeah I know its bizarre, but he actually did prophecy such things) he even went on to describe their dress (like Quakers) so typical of Joseph now when I look back. All the information was documented from church records and accounts…and it blew me out of the water.

In a matter of minutes, I was rocked to the core of my being. I literally crumbled to the floor in a fetal position and shivered…during that HOT summer day.
I KNEW the church was true…I had felt the spirit so many times in my life…but these revelations were so detrimental to the truth claims of the church that if found true drew only one logical conclusion…the church could not be what it claims to be and these things also be true… at the same time.

I retreated to another room…and fell to my knee’s… Dear God, my Father I pleaded…if ever there was a need for You in my life it is now. I have lovingly served you tirelessly and I have asked for nothing in return…but dear Father…I need you now. These things cannot be true AND the church be what it claims to be. So I am telling you what I need from you. If this book is true…you need do nothing…leave it where I let it fall. BUT if it is NOT true…then I plead dear Father, knowing that You have all power to do all things…I ask You to Move that book off my bed and place it across the room to the opposite side of my room and place it on my companions bed. I know it is a sin to ask for a sign…but I NEED this…

I then concluded the most earnest prayer of my life and returned to my room. (I might add that my comp had been in another room studying during this entire incident he was oblivious to what I had been going through). I fully expected to return to my room and find the book laying exactly where I had left it (my faith had been so devastated…where upon I would have packed my suitcase and gone home from my mission a broken man) But as I walked into the room…the book was NOT where I had left it… God in His wisdom had performed my own personal miracle. As I entered the room…the book was on the other side of the room sitting on my companion’s bed. (I know gives you goose bumps doesn’t it) I again fell to my knees thanking God for answering my most fervent prayer…all doubts left…I was filled with the most wonderful spirit I had ever experienced in my life…I knelt there in my room crying, thanking God for His love and knew that the contents of that book was filled with NOTHING but lies and distortions. I went on to serve a wonderful mission serving as District leader, Zone Leader and as Assistant to the President. I returned from my mission with honor.

So why hasn’t this most powerful of spiritual experiences sustained me? Because in the end the claims made by the Tanners had in fact been based in some truth…but what about that book…didn’t it move across the room? Well yes it did. It turns out that while I had been praying my companion had come into our room , picked up the book, looked at it, then sat it back where he had been sitting…on his own bed. Yeah the argument could be made that GOD prompted my companion to do that…at least that’s what I believed at the time…but IF the Tanner material IS factual (and it is) can the church be true and the Tanners be telling the truth as well? Personally, it would be equivalent to having the Sun rise both in the East and the West at the same time.

So, based on my personal experience I’ve concluded that human emotions are a bad device to base truth claim on…Why? Because human emotions can be manipulated, we can deceive ourselves when using the so called prompting of the spirit…it just is not a valid standard upon which to measure truth claims on.

Bottom Line truth and faith must be based (at least on some level) on facts and reality...not fiction...Mormonism is seems...is based on the latter.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Apologizing for Mormon Apologists

This past week, the apologetic arm of the Mormon Church, (FAIR) Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, met at its annual conference to present its latest apologetic arguments to defend the Mormon Church. The highlights, (I use that term lightly), of the conference were published by Deseret News in the most recent “Church News”. http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/57738/The-Book-of-Abraham-The-larger-issue.html

I feel bad for FAIR, having to defend an institution that hobbles its defenders with one uncompromisable premise. That no matter what the facts, no matter what the reality, no matter what the circumstances…there can be only one answer to all difficult questions…the Mormon Church is true.

In other words, Mormon apologists must start with the answer fixed and immovable and work backwards from that premise BEFORE the question is even asked. They cannot use standard methods usually utilized in truth discovery, such as rigorous examination, questioning, testing and scrutiny to come to a conclusion. No, they must begin all arguments with their conclusion first (that the church, no matter the argument, no matter how absurd the logic used, no matter how painful the mental gymnastics applied ... IS TRUE). The Church requires one uncompromisable rule, start with the desired conclusion (the church is true) and work backwards.

The problem with starting any search for truth using the straight jacket approach employed by Mormon apologists is that it requires them to come up with all kinds of bizarre, unbelievable explanations to defend beliefs that if subjected to any other standard method of examination would simply come to the conclusion that the belief is false…or simply put, Mormonism is not what it claims to be.

Take for example the apologetic augments John Gee used at the recent FAIR conference to apologize for the Book of Abraham.

“While critics of the Church often challenge the authenticity of the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price, they attach more importance to it than Church members do themselves” – John Gee, 2009 FAIR Conference

REALLY???? Critics attach more importance to it then Church members?????? WTF???

Sorry John, you’re selling, but I’m not buying. The bogus Book of Abraham is one of four “canonized” books of Mormon scripture. Last time I checked…it wasn’t the critic’s that canonized the Book of Abraham…it was the members of the Mormon Church. The mere fact that the church has made the decision to distant itself from the controversy surrounding the authenticity of the Book of Abraham, by attaching less importance to it…IS the direct cause of Mormon critic’s who have shined the bright light of truth on the bogus Book of Abraham…and it is that truth that has caused the Mormon Church to diminish the importance of the Book of Abraham out of necessity in the hope that by doing so the fraud will not be discovered by the general church membership.

But hey John….knowing that you are bailing water from a ship that is taking on water faster than you can bail…you then turn to your standard uncompromisable premise.

"The book of Abraham is true," said Brother Gee, author of A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri, at the end of his presentation. "I think it can be defended. I think it should be defended. But it's not the be-all-and-end-all of either apologetics or research or the scriptures."

There it is…you didn’t disappoint us…the Book of Abraham is true…a total dismissal of reality and its true despite not being what it claims to be….a translation of the writings of Abraham, by his own hand. BUT WAIT do I detect a sign of doubt???
You "THINK" it can be defended? Are you not sure it can be defended…are you growing tired of the fight in defending the undefendable?

But knowing that the Book of Abraham is beyond salvaging…and knowing that the Book of Abraham IS one of the many pieces of the Jig Saw that confirms that Joseph Smith was a complete fraud and charlatan…you then pivot your augment.

You say, "We cannot afford to lose sight of the big picture,"

And what, do tell is that Big Picture? Oh yeah…the answer to the question that was given before the question was even asked…that the church is true no matter what.

So are we done yet? Oh no…we’re only beginning…

Never one to fail…you then offer this gem.

"Now where is the Book of Abraham in this?" he asked. "It isn't. The Book of Abraham is not central to the restored gospel of Christ."

REALLY??? Can the Book of Abraham be a complete and utter fraud and Mormonism still be all it claims to be??? I DON’T THINK SO…

But rather than explore this gapping question you simply choose to continue:

"First, the arguments about the Book of Abraham have become so complex that even the best and brightest of critics end up arguing unwittingly in favor of the LDS position.”The Document of Breathings made by Isis is not the Book of Abraham, and most Latter-day Saints have never claimed it was," he said. "Can we agree on that issue and move on?"

I understand why Mormon apologists want to move on from this embarrassingly impossible to win argument…and of course latter day saints haven’t claimed that the Breathings of Isis were the source of the Book of Abraham for to do so would be to admit defeat…so can we agree on THAT issue and move on? Yeah sure, just as soon as Mormon apologetics admit that the Book of Abraham is a fraud…your getting close to doing so…but come on just come clean and admit it.

"Second, the critics do not deal with the issues arising from the Book of Abraham that Latter-day Saints care about. In that sense, their approach is legerdemain and bait-and-switch".

Are you suggesting that the Mormon faithful don’t really care if the Book of Abraham is what it claims to be? Umm I rather doubt that…

"Third, how the Book of Abraham was translated is unimportant. The Church does not stand or fall on the Book of Abraham".

Of Course, YOU would say that Joseph’s translation process is unimportant…lol…because the real translation confirms that Joseph’s version was completely bogus. This is why Mormon apologist have had to come up with the bizarre notion that Joseph merely used the papyri to “channel” God’s revelation…because the Book of Abraham is nowhere close to a translation of the Egyptian characters found on the papyri. But clearly the record shows that Joseph wanted his associated to think he could translate…(to perpetrate his fraud) why else would he go to such lengths to write long verses from single Egyptian characters that we now know were not even close to what Joseph said they were.

"And fourth, regardless of how the Book of Abraham was translated, it is a remarkable document that tells us more about Abraham's day than Joseph Smith could have known."

There you go again dismissing the translation process…lol…But I do agree with you that it is a remarkable document that makes some of the most bizarre claims in all of Mormondom. i.e., Kolob, loaning its light to our own sun which is just…totally false and just plain bizarre. Or the claim that one day in Kolob is equal to a thousand years according to the measurement of this earth, which is called by the Egyptians Jah-oh-eh….LOL it’s just plain silly gibberish Joseph made up because he thought others would think this was Egyptian talk. So YES it is a remarkable document…ah if one is truly interested in seeking truth rather than defending a fraud.

In defense of John Gee and FAIR, I have sympathy for them; they are bailing water from a ship that is taking on water faster than they can remove it. They have allowed their collective brains to be bent in so many loops and knots that they can no longer think critically. And with the availability of the internet…information is now accessible that had long been held from church membership.

FAIR is at a great disadvantage because it is literally crippled by the agenda restrains placed on it by the Mormon church…and if one of the members of FAIR were to dare come to a conclusion contrary to the “authorized pre-conceived answer”…they would quickly be excommunicated, cast off and dismissed (like we are) as wicked, pathetic, misguided tools of the mythical Satan.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Only In Mormonism Can 2 + 2 = 5

As a once believing member of the Mormon Church I found the church … Ummm … believable because it added up and made sense. At the time, I was unaware of or had made mental accommodations for all of the many difficult historical skeletons and yet to be discovered false claims that Mormonism is replete with.

Now many years later, I am a longingly, sentimental, non-believer, because the religion of my birth no longer adds up. So you tell me…how does one make Mormonism believable? The Answer...using Mormon Math.

Let’s look at a few examples of Mormon math to see if it adds up:

Joseph Smith was convicted of defrauding unassuming dupes of their money by using a rock he found in the ground claiming he could find them buried treasure + He used this same rock, stuck in a hat to translate the Book of Mormon = Joseph Smith is Credible?????

Does this Mormon math add up for you???? It does if you're a Mormon.

Let’s try another example…

The Book of Mormon describes a bronze aged Jewish civilization living in the Americas + Not one shred of evidence has ever been found to support this claim = The Book of Mormon is REAL History???

No problem here...

One more try…

Joseph Smith married and had sex with women who were already married to other men + D&C 132 requires the first wife’s permission to engage in a second marriage with a virgin +Joseph failed to get this permission and lied to his wife, Emma, and the public about his polygamist marriages = Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God????

Makes perfect sense...

Then again, one more problem that is only solvable using Mormon Math…

The papyri used for the Book of Abraham is a simple Egyptian funeral text + Joseph stated that the papyri was written by the hand of Abraham + The Papyri has been shown to be 1,500 years younger than the time-table of Abraham + his so-called translation has been proven to be nonsense = The Book of Abraham is believable Scripture.

Why would anyone doubt this stuff????

Sorry I could go on and on with these seemingly unsolvable Mormon problems that are only solvable if one uses Mormon Math.

Simply put….Mormonism is only solvable using Mormon math…but then isn’t it comforting to know that 2 + 2 has always equaled 5 and it does if you only use Mormon Math. Isn’t it wonderful… isn’t it marvelous

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Caving to Its Critics???

Much has been posted on the Internet about the changes that have been made to the “Gospel Principles” lesson manual that will become the new lesson material for both Relief Society and Priesthood in 2010.

If you haven’t had a chance to read the many changes to church doctrine now found in the new “GP” manual, you can compare the old “GP” with the new revised version here. http://www.mrm.org/gospel-principles

Like an earlier post I made after viewing the Joseph Smith Movie, I’m left to ask the question WHY? Why would the church make such substantial changes to its age old teachings? What would be their motivation? Why are they willing to expose themselves to other critics for making such obvious changes to their doctrine?

It's actually pretty easy to determine the motivation of the church once you look at the changes that have been made to its Gospel Principles lesson manual. You'll note that they are primarily making changes to areas that have become lighting rods of attention from their most agressive evangelical critics.

For Example:

In lesson 2 and 3, The church has completely caved to its evangelical critics…by eliminating an essential Mormon doctrine … and one of the doctrines that it is criticized the most about…that Satan is Christ’s brother. No longer will the church (at least not in an official setting) teach that Satan and Christ were spirit brothers. Also removed is any hint of a Heavenly Mother.

In lesson 4, Mormon’s are no longer taught that Adam and Eve were the First parents of the entire human race…now they have been relegated to merely “our first parents”. So WHY make this change? Could it be to leave alittle wiggle room for the reality of Evolution? Yeah I think so…

In lesson 47, there seems to be an abandonment of the doctrine of "earning" your eternal reward through good works and movement towards your eternal reward being a gift through Christ...or in other words, "GRACE". Makes me wonder why I used to argue with all those evangelical fundies on my mission...I could have saved myself alot of pain and abuse if I had just waited a few years and allowed the church to officailly conceed the Works vs Grace argument.

The Mormon Church does not live in a vacuum. It can and is influenced by outside pressures. It’s public image is one of its most valued commodities. It appears once again that the church will do anything…even discard many of the foundational doctrines found distasteful by its critic's ...in order to win their approval.

Now to be fair...I must admit that the church more than likly isn't really changing these doctrines...and most seasoned members will still hold onto the original beliefs...but the mere fact that the church is removing these controversal teachings from its lesson manuals...is evidence enough of their desire to water down and further fog non-mormon opinion of themselves.

Arn't you glad that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is unchanging???

Saturday, June 13, 2009

10,000 People have Viewed my Blog

Ok I'm blown away by this number...but according to my counter, this blog has had over 10,000 hits since I began it as a kind of cathartic process to exercise my Mormon demons. And HALF of that number (that’s five thousands for you folks in Utah County) have come this past year alone.

Next time one of you drops by...leave a comment, let me know where I’m right and where I’m wrong….challenge me...I love comments from both the exmormon community, current active LDS members...from you Christian fundies too.

Also if I have helped or hurt any of you or best of all made you THINK…I’d love to hear about that as well…

Who knows I may start writing in my blog more often…but then again maybe not…as most of those demons have become shadows of a former alternative universe existence.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Mormonism must Choose a Side...Damned if they do...Damned if they Don't

With the scientific reality that there was no universal flood, contrary to Mormon doctrine, Mormon apologists are offering an alternative flood scenario to help those that doubt maintain belief. This new alternative is referred to as a "Regional Flood" or one that still took place...only on a much smaller scale.

But Mormon apologist want to have their cake and eat it too...but by abandoning a universal flood in favor of a regional flood...all kinds of problems begin to unravel.


A few years ago a group of BYU science professor’s bravely placed their neck’s on the Mormon chopping block by publishing an article in “Dialogue” that clearly put a nail in the coffin of Mormonism’s Universal flood doctrine …or did it really only create more cognitive dissonance? See link http://www.dialoguejournal.com/content/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/4003-White.pdf

While these professors successfully show why the concept of a universal flood is a na├»ve one, one that cannot be supported by reality…they dare not come out and disavow a Noahic flood altogether. They still want it both ways.

So once again schizophrenic Mormonism is trying to straddle two completely conflicting positions…one taught in its Sunday Schools and an opposing position being defended by its apologetic community. Neither position can be reconciled against the other nor with science or Book of Mormon claims.

If one accepts reality and rejects the doctrine of a universal flood one must also admit that Mormonism's most priced scripture is well...wrong

Ether 13:2 reads:

“For behold, they rejected all the words of Ether; for he truly told them of all things, from the beginning of man; and that after the waters had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; wherefore the Lord would have that all men should serve him who dwell upon the face thereof;

Clearly the Book of Mormon is teaching that the waters of a universal flood (how else could they have receded off of America AND placed Noah's Ark in the Middle East) had engulfed the mythical land of the fictional Ether and had receded off of it…leaving Ether’s America, a land choice above all lands.

This reality check is undefendable. The doctrine of a universal flood is destroyed in the article written by the BYU science professors. Yet the Book of Mormon clearly states that the America’s where subject to this same mythical universal flood.

In one fell swoop...another crack is found in the Mormon foundation.

I just don’t see any wiggle room for Mormon’s apologetic defenders out of this one…

Score one for TRUTH…

Thursday, April 02, 2009

It Really Happened

For the past 5 years I’ve been trying to recover from my Mormon upbringing…I suppose that on some level one never fully recovers from the mind fuck and brainwashing that is the Mormon church. But having said that…something interesting happened today that I felt I needed to blog about. I went to lunch with some friends…and not once did the Mormon Church come up in our conversation. Nothing Nadda, Zilch, Nil, ZERO.

Ok so what’s the big deal you ask? Well this particular group of friends has each struggled with our recovery from Mormonism, all in our own particular way during the past 5 years. At one time ,everyone of us were active believing members of the church, each of us still has members of our families that remain active and believe the church to be “true”. But through a total coincidence, one fateful day 5 years ago, we discovered independently that none of us were believers in the Mormon Church.
Since that day, we have been a support group for each other…helping each other get through the reality that the faith that we had dedicated our life to…was nothing but a false promises, with no hope of any reward.

Over the years we have discussed every aspect of Mormonism in every conceivable way. We have kicked that dead horse so many times, as each of us has felt the need to vent our frustrations due to having to live within the influence of Mormonism, despite not being believers.

But today was different…today there was not even one mention of the church in even the most subtle of ways.

After lunch, as I was walking back to my car, it hit me that we had gone through an entire lunch without any of us bringing up Mormonism. This was a huge and important moment in our recovery. Just as I was about to turn around and announce this wonderful transitional news with my departing friends…I caught myself and just said, “see yea all later”… You see, I didn’t want to spoil that perfect moment by making mention of the church.