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Hello, How I Got Here And Thank You

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Hello, everyone! I am excited to join this forum and participate in the discussion here. I have lurked around here for years and only recently left my former religion to embrace Objectivism without reservation or contradiction. I come from a Latter-day Saint (Mormon) background and tried for years that I could reconcile the truths of reality with the God-claims of the church. I found that I could not.

I encountered Objectivism through a high-school classmate, later college roommate, who lent me his copy of Atlas Shrugged. It was a riveting read that I started at the airport on my way to a summer research internship in Germany. I could scarcely sleep and couldn't put it down until I finished two days later. Upon my return to the USA, I read C:TUI, VOS and FTNI over the ensuing months. I had never encountered such cogent ideas before. It amazed me how Ayn Rand just put everything together in so few words, and it was a stark contrast with the half-arbitrary, half-rationalistic teachings of my then church. After marrying my wife and moving to Ohio for graduate school, I read IOE and OPAR. It was OPAR that strongly confronted my God-belief and forced me to begin evaluating clearly why I believed in God. After coming to a realization my God-belief was based on a primacy-of-consciousness view of epistemology (I thought I knew because I had had powerful feelings and epiphanies[in the secular sense]), I began seeking an epiphany in the divine or supernatural sense. Somewhere along this process I noticed that I had had powerful feelings and epiphanies while reading the writings of Ayn Rand, indicating that these were not mystical revelations but natural products of my consciousness responding to values and integrating ideas. Probably not surprising to the readers of this forum, I experienced nothing that gave me evidence for God. Hence, I left my religion and look forward to enjoying life with the backdrop of Objectivism integrating my knowledge.

I thank collectively (since my memory fails on the individual level) the active participants of this forum. Your rational and often passionate discussions gave me concrete evidence for the potential in man when I often felt surrounded in a sea of skepticism (at my work in physics) and emotionalism (at my former church). I can't think of any specific understanding I gleaned from this forum, but its mere existence and nature were sufficient to buoy me up in facing the truth.

I look forward to participating and hopefully even meeting some of you in person.

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Welcome to the forum!

Thank you for sharing your story, it is very uplifting.

If you don't mind me asking, how did your wife respond to all this? I am curious becaue you were married (it appears) before you formally left the church.

My husband and I had been married a few years (he was already an atheist, and I was 90% agnostic at the time), and "discovered" Objectivism, and took the journey together. I am curious if your wife has embraced it, or if she is interested in learning more or if you two have just "agreed to disagree". (I have met a few couples where the husband was Objectivist, and the wife was either an atheist or not, and they just accepted each other's different philosophies and didn't let it get in the way of their marriage.)

I hope those questions are not too personal - but I am very curious, so figured I would ask. Of course, if you don't want to answer, that is understandable.

:)

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It is great to hear you escaped the cult of Mormonism. I know a lot of people who don't, either out of fear from what their family will think or being brainwashed. Your story's definitely an inspiration that people in the deep can get out simply through ruthless introspection of one's premises.

Welcome to the board!

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Thanks everyone for the messages of encouragement.

In response to SherryTX:

My wife remains a devout Latter-day Saint, and we agree to disagree. On my invitation, she started reading Atlas Shrugged back around the 50th anniversary, but she couldn't get past the depiction of Hank Rearden's family. Harmonious family is a central part of LDS dogma, and I don't think she was able to deal with a depiction of a family composed of such clearly parasitical relationships. We talked about reading OPAR a few months back, but I haven't pressed at all since she is emotionally distraught enough at my rejection of her faith.

In response to Tenzing Shaw:

I am in theoretical condensed-matter physics. I investigate the electronic structure of solids through computational models.

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Welcome to the forum.

As long as you continue to "question everything", and refuse to allow any element of belief into your growing understanding of Objectivism, you should be good.

...I haven't pressed at all since she is emotionally distraught enough at my rejection of her faith.
You're probably better served waiting a year or so, to prove that this is not "a phase" or "a reaction". Also, when you don't grow a behavioral horn and tail, it will make the abstractions behind your behavior more acceptable.
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Harmonious family is a central part of LDS dogma, and I don't think she was able to deal with a depiction of a family composed of such clearly parasitical relationships.

Well, a harmonious family is ideal, but I find it odd that your wife cannot even fathom or accept, or whatever, the idea that not all families are harmonious. I mean, you can't evade reality and just pretend that all families consist of good people that love each other. :lol:

Of course, I understand why you are not pressuring her on all of this and I think sNerd's above advice is very good. If you want your marriage to survive and you're happy, I wish you and your wife the best.

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Hey there. I'm an Ohio Objectivist not far away (I drive to Columbus when I have to fly anywhere, so I know). I can't imagine radically changing my philosophical ideas in the middle of a marriage, that must be really stressful for everyone involved. Of course, I first read Ayn Rand when I was about 13/14 and sort of worked my way into Objectivism from there, so I'm not sure I will ever radically change my philosophical ideas.

What sorts of things in your life have changed as a result?

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Hey there. I'm an Ohio Objectivist not far away (I drive to Columbus when I have to fly anywhere, so I know). I can't imagine radically changing my philosophical ideas in the middle of a marriage, that must be really stressful for everyone involved. Of course, I first read Ayn Rand when I was about 13/14 and sort of worked my way into Objectivism from there, so I'm not sure I will ever radically change my philosophical ideas.

What sorts of things in your life have changed as a result?

Ironic that you fly out of Columbus, I dropped my wife and daughters off at the Dayton airport Tuesday for a flight, and we have flown out of Dayton a few times in the past.

It has been stressful radically changing philosophy, though more for my wife than for me. I feel more at peace with myself having rid myself of the conscious dichotomy between faith and reason, even though I had always lived reasonably within the nonreligious part of my life. My wife too is reasonable except in relation to things covered by the arbitrary assertions of her religion. The second essay in the Virtue of Selfishness addresses the tension caused by accepting faith, and I experienced the tension even more acutely being consciously aware of it. After I reread that essay last year, I felt a strong emotion that helped me realize emotions and sudden thoughts are not mystical revelations. How could God be telling me that an essay explaining away God's revelations is true?

As to what things in my life have changed, I think the biggest thing is that I have become more honest and open with my wife. In the past, I would not reveal my doubts or skepticism on something. I believed keeping the peace was more important than letting her know my true thoughts. It's not that I seek out ways to criticize or belittle her now, just that I don't hide my opinion and try to keep her up-to-date on my thinking. Another thing that has changed is that my intensity of enjoying life has increased now that I don't have faith in my spirit's eternal existence. Facing the finite nature of my existence has helped me to focus more on seeking happiness both now and over the whole course of my life. I think I was lazier with regards to the importance of promoting my happiness when I believed in God. Finally, it will be a big change treating Sunday as my own day and not one I should sacrifice to God, participating only in faith- and family-promoting activities that do not make others work. I hope to devote some of that time to improving my life by better understanding and promoting Objectivism.

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Ironic that you fly out of Columbus, I dropped my wife and daughters off at the Dayton airport Tuesday for a flight, and we have flown out of Dayton a few times in the past.

I think it depends on your destination--it's been universally cheaper for me to fly out of Columbus because I almost always have to fly to the Pittsburgh hub from Dayton and that adds at least an hour and a half to the Seattle flight and a hundred dollars to the ticket price. Whereas when I fly out of Columbus, it usually dumps me in Detroit or Minneapolis for the stopover, which at least has the benefit of being closer to Seattle instead of further away. Of course, then you run the risk of getting stuck in Detroit for 14 hours (which happened to me) and then being asked if you'd be willing to fly to the Cincinnati airport, which would be great except that your CAR is at the COLUMBUS airport and you have no way to get it back short of spending a hundred dollars on cab fare. :nuke:

And my parents wonder why I never visit them unless there's been a catastrophe. :lol: It wouldn't bother me so much if I had the money to pay to solve the problems that inevitably crop up, but I don't, so . . . well, anyway. :ninja:

I'd invite you to visit but I know from experience that I am terribly boring in person.

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