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I had a conversation with my dad today, and I asked him a silly question: “Do you think I’m gullible?” I know that probably sounds like a strange question to ask without the context. I’ve been job hunting for a while, and I wanted an honest assessment that would help me in sifting through the endless parade part-time jobs, shady pyramid scams, and other flotsam to find the job that is going to fit my needs. (I think it still sounds kind of like a silly question.) The problem with asking a question like that is that you’re usually going to get an answer. His answer was distinctly flavored with the fact that he felt I was willing to believe things that aren’t true according to the LDS viewpoint. This is his standard for judging everything. (It used to my sole standard for judgement as well.) I also have friends who would probably feel the same. Not so long ago, I never would have had the courage to ask my parent to evaluate me in a way the had potential to have a negative response. I feel that while I gain experience, my motives and abilities will always be in question because I have opted out of LDS faith. My judgement has been compromised.

There’s no way for me to go back in time and ask the same question before I ever voiced doubts. I wish that I had. I wonder what the answer would have been then.

I am also biased in my questions and responses to LDS friends and family because I have this expectation of what they expect. It makes me wary of soliciting critiques or even basic interaction sometimes. The fear that my decisions will be suspect. My standard for judging my own decisions is in flux, and in some cases is unacceptable to these people that are so close to me. It’s a difficult and painful place to be in.

It also forces me to think more critically and has taught me a lot in accepting myself as an imperfect, mistake-making, mistake-learning human being. Sometimes, it’s horrible. Sometimes it’s incredibly rewarding. Overall, I hope I can say I’ve been authentic and like most people, just doing my best.

I will continue to ask hard questions.