Thank you! I've had doubts for years and they all came to a head by happy accident recently. One might even call the events 'designoid'. In the process of leaving my faith I came across your website and was pleased to note the God Delusion is out in paperback. I'll be making a trip to my local bookseller this weekend.
I was raised a non-denominational evangelical christian and I was taught by my parents to believe in prayer. Prayer could accomplish anything, even save one from the fires of hell. Although how this could serve as any kind of guarantee when the supposed answers are 'yes', 'no' and 'wait' is utterly beyond me. When I was twenty I moved out of my parents house. During that time I struggled with a desire to separate myself from their beliefs and an intense feeling of guilt. I was disappointing them and God, but I was feeling rebellious.
A few years later I met a couple of mormon missionaries and I was primed and ready for them. I felt guilty, I was lonely, and was missing religion. So I “prayed on it” and decided theirs was the true church. I joined and a year later met the man I was to marry.
He was an abusive self righteous jerk. He stopped attending church after we got married and soon after forbade me from doing so because it made him “look bad.” When I finally divorced him I received an email from our old bishop trying to convince me to stay with my ex. Mormon bishops supposedly have some mystical pipeline straight to God, but at that point I was disillusioned enough not to be brought back in. I went through with the divorce and week later my ex remarried to another mormon. I guess the bishop's pipeline must have been temporarily out of service.
My parents rejoiced when I left my husband and expected me to return to their church. They were shocked to learn I no longer wanted any part of religion. Instead I'm been looking at the stories of other atheists and have moved out of fearful ignorance into a sense of blossoming understanding. I've even decided on my thesis for my research paper at the end of the semester thanks to my recent studies: “Humanity has reached a point in it's evolutionary history at which religion is not only unnecessary but is a threat to our survival as a species.”
The whole experience has proven to be very cathartic, as has writing this email. Thank you. I have a deep respect for the work you've done and I hope to see more from you in the future.