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Never thought I would see the day when The Salt Lake Tribune would start conducting LDS bishop interviews.

Such a thing wouldn't surprise me coming from church-owned media, but not The Tribune. Didn't we use to advocate the hanging of Mormons?

Well, the day has come. The Salt Lake Tribune, in conjunction with American Public Media, posted an online survey asking about the faith crises of current and former Mormons. Don't believe me? Here it is.

Rather than participate in the survey online, I chose to do it here. These are the exact same questions posed by the survey, and every answer I give is the (current) truth.

First Name • Robert

Last Name • Kirby

Email •

Postal Code • 84101

Phone • None of your damn business. I'm not having you call me during dinner every evening for the next year.

Note: At this point the questions become a bit more involved. Not only are there buttons to click, but also dialogue boxes to further explain your answers.

Are you a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? (Button: Yes. No. Officially but not active. I used to be a member but no longer am.)

I chose "Yes."

Have you experienced (or are you experiencing) a faith crisis?

Oh, hell, yes. Anyone who says they haven't had a crisis of faith — large or small — at some point in their life is either lying or too scared/lazy to ask themselves hard questions.

My first, a special golden moment I still treasure, occurred when I was in Primary and realized that being an adult/leader didn't automatically preclude someone from being full of $*&!. It was only easier for them to make it stick.

There were other crises, but that was the first. The last one of any real note was in 1998.

What was the "trigger" for your doubts?

My inability to stop asking questions for which the only answers proffered were either incomprehensible or an insult to the average person's intelligence.

What did you do when you began having doubts — discuss it with family or friends, go online, pray, talk to a church leader?

Did all of those. They all had their drawbacks, particularly the discussions with religious leaders. Almost invariably they made the crisis sound like it was my fault. In some cases I ended up more alone than if I had just kept it to myself. So I stopped doing that.

If you've resolved your faith crisis, how did you?

Figured it out to my own satisfaction. I did that by deciding which parts of my faith actually worked for me, and then learned to ignore the rest.

Anything we should know about this topic?

Yeah. Lots of people out there are presumptuous enough to help me figure out what I should do with my faith crises. Religion, anti-religion, ex-religion — listen to them bray long enough and they'll start sounding exactly alike. The best thing I learned from listening to them is that they could start a club I would cross streets of mud to avoid.

May we publish your insights (and any uploaded files) and attribute them to you? (Your comments may be edited for length or clarity.)

You may, but I think we just covered it.

In what year were you born?

Year of the Snake.

What else do you know more about than other people? (This will help us send you relevant questions in the future.)

Is this a trick question? Nobody on this planet "knows" as much as they think. I do a fair job of guessing what it takes to keep me (and mine) happy and deciding for myself what gives my life meaning. That's it.

Robert Kirby can be reached at or