"For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart..."
-D&C 25: 12
And so, I give you our "Soundtrack For A Faith Transition."
The songs are arranged according to my tentative outline of the "Stages of A Faith Transition" -- which roughly correlates with the old Stages of Grief theory. (see footnote)
- Traditional Belief and Early Questioning, Re-evaluating Beliefs (Denial, Numbness, Shock, Bargaining)
- Liberation/Isolation, Wilderness Period, Religious Exploration (Bargaining, Anger, Depression)
- Path A - Reconciliation (In Some Degree), Rebuilding Your Faith Anew (Bargaining?, Acceptance)
- Path B - Separation, Closure (Anger?, Acceptance)
Following this 'Soundtrack,' there is a bonus list of Hymns that I found particularly moving during my faith transition (and still do to this day). (see footnote)
***Special Thanks to the folks at Mormon Stories Podcast Community on Facebook, and to this thread on Reddit (which my Mormon Stories peeps pointed me to), for all of their contributions to this soundtrack.
***Feel free to continue recommending songs in the comments below, and I will add them when I get a chance.
Without Further Ado, Here It Is:
1. Traditional Belief and Early Questioning, Re-evaluating Beliefs (Denial, Numbness, Shock, Bargaining)
- "I Believe," Book of Mormon Musical
"Now I must be completely devout, I can't have even one shred of doubt."
- "Comfort Eagle," by Cake
"Meanwhile, in Church headquarters..." says one Facebook commenter.
- "Love Runs Out," by OneRepublic
"Momma raised me good. Momma raised me right. Momma said 'do what you want, say your prayers at night.' And I'm saying them, cause I'm so devout, til the love runs out."
- "Turn it Off," Book of Mormon Musical
"When you start to get confused because of thoughts in your head. Don't feel those feelings, hold them in instead. Turn it off, like a light switch. Just go click, it's a nifty little Mormon trick."
- "Roll Away Your Stone," by Mumford and Sons
"Don't leave me alone at this time, for I'm afraid of what I will discover inside."
- "It's All Understood," by Jack Johnson
"It's all relative. Even if we don't understand, well, it's all understood. Especially when we don't understand, then it's all just because. Even if we don't understand. then let's all just believe."
- "Somewhere in the Middle," by Dishwalla
"You know I find it hard. I always tried to find the sane life, but I don't like the way things are. I keep falling to my knees, somewhere in the middle of this."
- "Condemnation," by Depeche Mode
"Condemnation. Why? .... For kindness you substitute blindness. Please open your eyes."
- "Tainted Love," by Soft Cell
"Sometimes I feel I've got to run away. I've got to get away from the pain you drive into the heart of me .... And I've lost my light, for I toss and turn, I can't sleep at night."
- "Try," by Pink
"Funny how the heart can be decieving, more than just a couple times. Why do we fall in love so easy, even when it's not right."
- “Demons” by Imagine Dragons
"I wanna hide the truth. I wanna shelter you, but with the beast inside there's nowhere we can hide."
- "Sail," by Awolnation
"Maybe I'm a different breed. Maybe I'm not listening. So blame it on my A.D.D. baby... Sail with me into the dark."
- “You Are A Tourist” by Death Cab For Cutie
"If you feel just like a tourist in the city you were born, then it's time to go and define your destination, there are so many places to call home."
- "Take Me To Church," by Hozier
"Every sunday's getting more bleak, a fresh poison each week."
- "Where is the Love?" by Black Eyed Peas
"Father, Father, Father help us! Send some guidance from above. Cause people got me, got me questioning, 'Where is the love?'"
- "Letters to God," by Boxcar Racer
"I won't lie, I won't sin, maybe I don't wanna go..." (to church, on a mission, etc.)
- "Jesus, Are You Real?" by Mason Jennings
"All I do is doubt you, God. All I do is love you, God. All I do is question you. What else can I do? This world was never solid ground. The past is coming back around. All I do is search for you. What else can I do?"
- "Doubting Thomas," by Nickel Creek
"Can I be used to help others find truth, when I'm scared I'll find proof that it's a lie? .... Please give me time to decipher the signs."
- "December," by Collective Soul
"Why follow me to higher ground, lost as you swear I am? ... Don't worry about, don't speak of doubt."
- "Childhood's End," by Pink Floyd
"Is your conscience at rest if once put to the test? .... Childhood's end, your fantasies merge with harsh realities. And then as the sail is hoist, you find your eyes are growing moist. All the fears never voiced say you have to make your final choice."
- "Come Down," by Bush
"What do you say, what do you do, when it all comes down? I don't wanna come back down from this cloud. it's taken me all this, all this TIME."
2. Liberation/Isolation, Wilderness Period, Religious Exploration (Bargaining, Anger, Depression)
- "Losing My Religion," by REM
"Oh no, I've said too much. I haven't said enough."
- "Angels or Devils," by Dishwalla
"This is the last time I will fall into a place that fails us all, inside. I can see the pain in you, and I can see the love in you; but fighting all the demons will take time. it will take time."
- "Say Something," by A Great Big World (ft. Christina Aguilera)
"Anywhere, I would have followed you. Say something, I'm giving up on you. And I am feeling so small. It was over my head. I know nothing at all. And I will stumble and fall. I'm still learning to love, just starting to crawl."
- "Rootless Tree," by Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan
"We go blind, when we've needed to see... What I want from this, is (to) learn to let go. No not of you, of all that's been told... Let me out!"
- "Creep," by Radiohead
"What the hell am I doing here? I don't belong here."
- "Apparitions," by Matthew Good Band
"We're stuck inside our own machine."
- "Strange Days," by Matthew Good Band
"We're done lying for a living. The strange days have come and you're gone. You're gone."
- "Standing Outside A Broken Phonebooth With Money In My Hand," by Primitive Radio Gods
"We sit outside and argue all night long, about a God we've never seen but (who) never fails to side with me."
- "Counting Blue Cars," by Dishwalla
"Tell me all your thoughts on God. Cause I'd really like to meet her. Ask her why we're who we are. Tell me all your thoughts on God. Cause I'm on my way to see her. Tell me, am I very far?"
- "Shine," Collective Soul
"Give me a word. Give me a sign. Show me where to look. Tell me, what will I find?"
- "Runaway Train," by Soul Asylum
"Can you help me remember how to smile? Make it somehow all seem worthwhile. How on earth did I get so jaded. Life's mysteries seem so faded... Everything seems cut and dry; day and night, earth and sky. Somehow, I just don't believe it."
- "Holy War," by Matthew Sweet
"I went in for killing another man, defending my holy land. As if there's a God who would understand, as if there's a God who would understand."
- "Divine Intervention," by Matthew Sweet
"I cannot understand my God! Don't know why it gets to me. One day my life is filled with joy. Then we finally disagree. We're all depending on his divine intervention."
- "Knocking On Heaven's Door," by Guns and Roses
- "What if God Was One of Us?" by Joan Osborne
"...Just a stranger on the bus, trying to make his way home?"
- "Who Will Save Your Soul," by Jewel
"We call religion our friend. We're so worried about about saving our souls, afraid that God will take his toll, that we forget to begin."
- "Eden" (Life in Eden Changed), by Sara Bareilles
"There's no way to make the pain play fair. It doesn't disappear just because you say it isn't there. So, when they ask, 'Why'd she go?' You can say, 'Cause life in Eden changed.'"
- “Riptide,” by Sick Puppies
"I, I won't justify the way I live my life; cause I'm the one living and feeling and tasting. And now you're just wasting your time; trying to throw me a line when you're the one drowning."
- “Crawling In the Dark,” by Hoobastank
"Show me what it's for. Make me understand it. I've been crawling in the dark, looking for the answers. Is there something more than what I've been handed?"
- “Crawling,” by Linkin Park
"Crawling in my skin, these wounds they will not heal. Fear is how I fall, confusing what is real."
- "Wake Up," by Rage Against the Machine
"I'll give you a dose; but it can never come close to the rage built up inside of me. Fist in the air in the land of hypocrisy."
- "Settle For Nothing," by Rage Against the Machine
"Read my writing on the wall. No one's here to catch me when I fall. If ignorance is bliss, then knock the smile off my face."
- "Sleep Now In The Fire," by Rage Against the Machine
"There is no other pill to take. So, swallow the one that made you ill."
- “Head Like A Hole” by Nine Inch Nails
"Head like a hole, black as your soul. I'd rather die than give you control."
- “Save Yourself” by Stabbing Westward
"Please don't take pity on me .... You cannot save me. You can't even save yourself."
- “The Hand That Feeds” Nine Inch Nails
"You're keeping in step, in the line. Got your chin held high and you feel just fine. Cause you do what you're told, but inside your heart, it is black and it's hollow and it's cold."
- "Erase My Scars," by Evans Blue
"Reckless and weary, the truth has been buried; held down by the hand that refuses to carry the burden you built, the lies. Do you hear me? ... I'm letting you go, and all that you showed me. I'm letting you know that you don't control me... If you can't get a word in, it's because I don't care what you think. Won't be alone inside a world that's filled with make-believe."
- "Headstrong," by Trapt
"Now, I see the truth. I got a doubt. A different motive in your eyes, and now, I'm out. ...
I see your fantasy, you want to make it a reality paved in gold. I see inside, inside of our heads. Well, now that's over. ... This is not where you belong."
- "Cochise," by Audioslave
"Go on and save yourself, and take it out on me."
- "Light My Way," by Audioslave
"In my hour of need I pray to you... won't you light my way!?"
- "Be Yourself," by Audioslave
"To be yourself is all that you can do... Don't lose any sleep tonight. I'm sure everything will end up alright."
- "Letters to God Part 2," by Angels and Airwaves
"Dear God, I found out the same things we learn when we die. I found out the truth is, it's all a big lie. I find that the words are hard to describe. I tell you I'm lost here, awaiting reply."
- "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2
"He broke the bounds. He loosed the chains, carried the cross of my shame... You know I believed it. But I still haven't found what I'm looking for."
- “Ships in the Night” by Mat Kearney
"Like ships in the night, you keep passing me by. Just waisting time trying to prove who's right. And if it all comes crashing into the sea, then it's just you and me; trying to find the light, like ships in the night."
- "Personal Revolution," by Ziggy Marley
"Heartbreak is so hard to take. And I lay down in the bed that I make. Crying, crying tears of change. Fighting, fighting everyday. There must be a better way."
3. Path A - Reconciliation (In Some Degree), Building A New Kind of Faith (Bargaining?, Acceptance)
- "Let It Be," by The Beatles
"And in my hour of darkness, she is standing right in front of me; speaking words of wisdom, 'Let it Be.'"
- "Here Comes the Sun," by The Beatles
"Little darling, It's been a long, cold, lonely winter."
- "You Found Me," by The Fray
"Lost and insecure, you found me. You found me. Lying on the floor, surrounded. Surrounded! Why'd you have to wait? Where were you? Where were you? Just a little late, you found me. You found me."
- "Pieces," by Red
"I've come undone; but you make sense of who I am, like puzzle pieces in your hands. ...
I tried so hard, so hard! I tried so hard! .... I come to you in pieces. So you can make me whole."
- "Awake and Alive," by Skillet
"I'm awake! I'm alive! Now, I know what I believe inside. Now, it's my time. I'll do what I want, cause this is my life."
- "Holy Now," by Peter Mayer
"Today the only difference is, everything is holy now."
- "I Love You and Buddha Too," by Mason Jennings
"Why do some people say that there is just one way, to love you, God, and come to you? We are all a part of you."
- "My Sweet Lord," by George Harrison
"I really want to see you, really want to be with you... but it takes so long, my lord."
- "I Saw God," by James Twyman
"She (God) said, 'I speak to everyone, but not everyone chooses to listen.' Well, then, tell me how to treat my enemies, I mean, the people I despise. And He (God) said, 'The answer will be clear when you see me in their eyes.'"
- "One Day," by Matisyahu
"All my life I've been waiting for, I've been praying for - For the people to say that we don't want to fight no more. There'll be no more wars, and our children will play. One day."
- "I Believe" (Love is the Answer), by Blessed Union of Souls
"Open up your mind, and then open up your heart. You will see that you and me aren't very far apart. Cause I believe that love is the answer. I believe that love will find the way."
- "Innocent," by Our Lady Peace
"We are all innocent. We are! We are! One day, you'll have to let it go. You'll have to let it go. No! One day, you'll stand up on your own. You'll stand up on your own. Yeah!"
- "Adia," by Sarah McLachlan
"I'd pull you from your tower. I'd take away your pain, and show you all the beauty you possess, if you'd only let yourself believe - that we are born innocent. Believe me Adia, we are still innocent. It's easy, we all falter, does it matter?"
- "Brave," by Sara Bareilles
"I wonder what would happen if you say what you want to say... Since your history of silence won't do you any good....Let your words be anything but empty. Why don't you tell them the truth?"
- "Love is My Religion," by Ziggy Marley
"All my days, I've been searching to find out what this life is worth. Through all the books and bibles of time, I've made up my mind... Love is my religion."
4. Path B - Separation, Closure (Anger?, Acceptance)
- "Free Bird," by Lynyrd Skynyrd
"I must be traveling on now, cause there's too many places I've got to see. ... Cause I'm as free as a bird now; and this bird you cannot change. Lord knows, I can't change."
- "Wasted On The Way," by Crosby, Stills, and Nash
-I have to say something about this one. The sweet older sister who recommended this to me told me that she was in her 60s before she realized that the Church isn't what it claimed to be. She felt she had wasted so much of life's precious time on activities that didn't seem to matter now that she knows what she knows. When I tried to reassure her that she still had many years to make up for it, she informed me that she was diagnosed with a terminal illness. She seemed to be at peace with this realization, but wished there was something she could do to prevent the younger generation from making the same mistake she had. So, with this dear sister in mind, I ask, "If the Church isn't everything it claims to be, how might you live your life differently?"
- "The Middle," by Jimmy Eat World
"Live right now and just be yourself. It doesn't matter if it's good enough for someone else."
- “It Seems Uncertain,” by 311
"In times of trouble, everyone joins a team. No-one raises a flag for all human beings... Your denomination should be a private thing. How about a spirit for all human beings?"
- "Kill Your Heroes," by Awolnation
"One more thing before I graduate, never let your fear decide your fate. (Metaphorically speaking) I say ya kill your heroes and fly, fly, baby don't cry."
- "Make Believe," by The Used
"I don't need a map to find my way back home. Don't need a book to teach me how to love. Don't tell me that you know the ending. To me it's only make believe. You don't get to tell me what to do anymore. You don't get to tell me how to live anymore."
- "This is Gospel," by Panic At The Disco
"If you love me, let me GO!"
- "Second Chance," by Shinedown
"Tell my mother, tell my father, I've done the best I can -- To make them realize, this is my life. I hope they understand. I'm not angry. I'm just saying, 'sometimes goodbye is a second chance.'"
- "Blow Me" (One Last Kiss), by Pink
"I think I've finally had enough. I think I maybe think too much. I think this might be it for us. Blow me one last kiss... I think that life's to short for this. I want back my ignorance and bliss. I think I've had enough of this. Blow me one last kiss."
- "Faithless," by Rush
"I don't have faith in faith. I don't believe in beliefs. You can call me faithless. But I still cling to hope, and I believe in love. And that's faith enough for me."
- "There is No Such Place," by Augie March
"There is no such place. Oh yes, I have seen it too. Just a little different from how you do."
- “Ambling Alp,” by Yeasayer
"You must stick up for yourself, son. Nevermind what anybody else done."
- "Step In The Name of Love," by R. Kelly
"If anybody asks you why we're steppin, tell them, 'We did it for LOVE!'"
- "I Won't Back Down," by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
"Well, I know what's right. I got just one life... You could stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won't back down."
- "True to Myself," by Ziggy Marley
"I don't care if it hurts. I'm tired of lies and all these games. I've reached a point in life - no longer can I be this way. Don't come crying to me. I too have shed my share of tears. I'm moving on. Yes, I'm grooving on. Well, I'm finally free. I've got to be true to myself."
- "Don't Think Twice," by Bob Dylan
"It ain't no use in turning on your light, babe. I'm on the dark side of the road. But I wish there was something you would do or say, to make me change my mind and stay. But we never did much talking anyway. Don't think twice, it's all right."
- “Three Little Birds,” by Bob Marley
"Don't worry about a thing. Cause every little thing is going to be alright."
- "Within You and Without You," by The Beatles
"We were talking about the love we all could share; When we find it, to try to hold it there... With our love we could save the world, if they only knew... When you've seen beyond yourself, then you may find peace of mind is waiting there. And the time will come when you see we're all one."
- "All You Need Is Love," by The Beatles
- "Imagine," by John Lennon "Imagine there's no countries. It isn't hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too. Imagine all the people living life in peace."
Hymns to Love During Your Faith Transition:
- "A Child's Prayer"
- "I Know My Father Lives"
- "I Am A Child of God"
- "My Heavenly Father Loves Me"
- "God's Love"
- "Where Love Is"
- "Our Savior's Love"
- "I Feel My Savior's Love"
- "I'm Trying To Be Like Jesus"
- "Lord I Would Follow Thee"
- "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy"
- "Jesus Said Love Everyone"
- "Love One Another"
- "I'll Walk With You"
- "We Are Different"
- "Kindness Begins With Me"
- "Because I Have Been Given Much"***
- "Have I Done Any Good?"
- "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief"
- "Each Life That Touches Ours For Good"
- "Should You Feel Inclined To Censure"
- "Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words"
- "Truth Reflects Upon Our Senses"
- "More Holiness Give Me"
- "Beauty Everywhere"
- "God Is Love"
- "How Great Thou Art!"***
- "If You Could Hie To Kolob"
- "Know This, That Every Soul Is Free"
- "Oh Say, What Is Truth?"
- "Search, Ponder, and Pray"
- "As I Search the Holy Scriptures"
- "Be Thou Humble"
- "Abide With Me Tis Eventide"
- "Abide With Me"
- "Where Can I Turn For Peace"
- "Be Still, My Soul"***
- "Joseph Smith's First Prayer"
- "Lead, Kindly Light"
- "Nearer, My God, to Thee"
- "The Lord Is My Shepherd"
- "I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day"
- "The Wise Man and the Foolish Man"
- "Press Forward, Saints"
- "Oh What Songs of the Heart"
- "O My Father"
First, when I speak of stages of a faith transition, I don't mean to suggest that people must go through these stages to be considered healthy, mature adults. I just mean that for people who do experience a faith transition, this is generally the way it plays out.
Second, I consider stages 3 and 4 to be equally valid pathways to acceptance and peace. By listing Separation last, I don't mean to suggest that Separation represents a more highly evolved form of acceptance than Reconciliation. Nor do I mean to give Reconciliation a favored position by listing it first. It's a very personal thing.
Third, (and perhaps most importantly) as with virtually all theories about "Stages," exceptions abound. So much so that the APA website doesn't even list stages of grief and it warns explicitly: "Don’t expect to pass through phases of grief either, as new research suggests that most people do not go through stages as progressive steps." Personally, my experience fits the "Stages of A Faith Transition" pretty well, but I have noticed with myself and others that is not uncommon to repeat stages, or to bounce between them. Moreover, I went through these stages once in my early teens, and once again in my late 20s.