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HOW I BECAME AN ATHEIST

by RICHARD PACKHAM

I have often been asked to tell the story of how I became an atheist.
The short - and perhaps somewhat flippant - answer would be: I was born that way. And that's the truth.

I am using the word "atheist" to mean someone who does not have a belief in God. And that's exactly the way I was born, as were all of us, I suspect.

But that is not the story that I have been asked to tell, and it would not be the complete story, either, since within days after my birth, my very devout Mormon parents started to make a believer of me, by taking me to church to have me "blessed" by the elders and given a Christian name. From then on, until well into my adulthood, I was trained to be a theist, that is, a believer in God. It was a very thorough and time-consuming process, and very effective. Until I was about 27 years old, I was a devout believer in God, as the Mormons understand God. And then I began to return to the "religion" of my birth.

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