I currently live with my family in Maryland, north of Washington D.C. We have 6 children, some of which are adults. My current career is in accounting. Before that, I served on active duty in the US Army for a few years.
My experience in Mormonism has been an interesting paradox. I was born and raised in the LDS Church, the oldest child in a devout family. I hit all the major milestones as a youth: attended church, graduated from seminary, attended BYU for 1 year, served a mission in Germany, and then was married in the temple and started a big family. But I never quite fit in culturally, always feeling like a stranger in a strange land.
I was a pretty “wild” teenager, played in a goth/punk band in high school, looked wrong and asked the wrong questions in class. I have always been interested in the broader exploration of religion, art, history and philosophy. To me, religion should be a practical and playful thing, more like an art form than a legal code. If it doesn’t challenge me with ambitious ideas and push the limits of the transcendent, then it doesn’t have the power to inspire me towards enlightenment. I find that satisfaction in Mormonism. I am not a literal believer, but I think the meaning found in religious narrative and practice is vital to a fully human experience. It points towards truth, whatever that is. I don’t know the answers. I fell in love with the questions.
I have gone through periods of being active and inactive throughout my adult life. Currently, I am semi-active. I enjoy attending church and giving service even though I am not orthodox in my views or practices. I am fairly open about this, and still feel welcomed by my fellow ward members and local leaders. The rest of my family no longer attends.
I run StayLDS.com, a site focused on exploring alternative ways to stay connected to the Mormon faith. A couple years ago, I took over expanding, updating and maintaining the popular article “How to Stay in the LDS Church after a Major Challenge to Your Faith.” I have participated in and produced Mormon-themed podcasts for Mormon Stories, Mormon Matters and Mormon Expression. I participate on a wide variety of online Mormon-themed discussion groups, and also in our local in-person Mormon Stories regional support community.