It took a while for the dust to settle, and for me to realize that I wasn’t just buried in a pile of ruins. Around me was a whole new world I’d never gotten a good look at before. The sky was bright, the sun shone, the trees and flowers were gorgeous.
And I saw that my whole world had been a false one, nothing but a decrepit old building. What I thought was the sun? That was only a light through a window. What I thought was the great expanse of the sky? That was just the gray, cracked ceiling. When I thought I was exploring the world? That was just a peek out the window.
I realized I’d never really, really experienced the world. I had never asked the important questions of life, because I had always had the answers. I had let so much thinking be done for me. I had never truly made any big decisions for myself, because Mormonism already told me what to do.
So now what?
Where was my guidance? Where were my answers? Who was I to turn to for help with making decisions? I panicked. I was scared. I was so alone in the universe. I didn’t know what to do, what to believe, what standards to follow.
After not too long, I came to the marvelous conclusion that I had my own moral compass. I had the ability to make decisions for myself. I had the power to guide myself. And when I needed help, I could seek it from other people—philosophers, scientists, theologians, counselors, teachers, authors, friends. The world was full of thinkers.
I had always loved exploring the ideas of these thinkers, but I had always learned from them with a wall in my brain. If their ideas clashed with Mormonism, they were wrong. Simple as that. I could never quite let myself evaluate evolution, for example. I had to find a place for Adam and Eve to fit in. I was a little skeptical of geology, because it didn’t support Noah’s flood. I never paid much attention to the soul versus body debate, because I already “knew” the answer.Suddenly, I realized I would have to evaluate all such theories and claims for myself, using critical thinking, intellect, study. It was a little bit daunting, but also very empowering.