Recent e-mail to my friend and co-worker, Whitney:
I finally figured something out the other day...
Even though I've had my doubts all my life on the LDS church, I've never been able to fully shake off the belief in some form of God, or that there is a Christ, and that belief is rooted in an experience I had when I was fourteen. You could definitely call it Pentecostal; I was in a young men's EFY group, and we were having a lesson on the Atonement, when one by one every guy started crying and speaking in powerful tones. Immediately, I felt this...I dunno, I can't describe it very well, it was like every blood cell in my body turned into light or something. It was just this incredible rush, like every part of me was saying "Yes! It's true, there is a Christ who did this for me." It was a sure knowledge, but it was also a weird feeling I couldn't understand at the time.
Now I'm two weeks from twenty, and I feel about as far away from God as ever. I have no idea what to think about the LDS church or Joseph Smith, and I'm confused/afraid for my future. But mostly I'm ashamed of my past and myself. For a long time now, I've been afraid to face God. But I've just realized that if nothing else, God has to be some form of whatever I felt that night when I was fourteen. And in that sense, I realized that that weird feeling I had was love - pure, unconditional love. And if that is what God is like, then why would I be afraid to face that love? So now I'm on a new journey: to find a life where I can have that love a lot more often. And regardless of the "Utah Valley Mormon God", I have decided that when I want to pray or worship, that God of love is the one I believe in.