Praise God you and your fiance are on the same page and you both are in the Church! It’s too bad your friends are not your friends anymore but I think it’s revealing on many of the friendships there. In my city almost everyone in my age bracket left within 2 years after the Henry Kriete letter.
A little bit of my story… I had a very hard life growing up. By the time I had come across the ICOC, I had pretty much believed good people were just naive to the atrocities of this world. And there was no real hope for it, the only things which kept people in line were guilt, shame, consequences, and manipulation. I felt I needed to start networking with “good people” and thought my best chance was to pretend I was at someone I wasn’t.
I didn’t have a sincere belief when I joined but I was desperate to find something to make me happy so I followed their program to the T. I found acceptance and encouragement by doing what they wanted me to- whichi had never experienced before in my life. But what really started to speak to me internally was secular psychology and what the Catholic Church would call “natural law”. So I started using psychology to work on my insides and religion to build up my “networking” but felt I had a hard time reconciling those 2 aspects of my life.
Anyway, my local church fell apart after HKL in 2003 so since the networking aspect dissipated I felt no reason to go there anymore. After that I wrestled with Christianity, philosophy, but went after counseling a lot more. I tried to find a spirituality by going after a number of things like Buddhism and Taoism. What really got me back into the idea of Christianity though was reading Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Then I discovered Henri Nouwen and Thomas Merton. After that I wanted to start learning about the saints and sacramental theology. It kind of snowballed after that and all of it seemed to click then. I couldn’t imagine not being in the Catholic Church after that point.
By the way, I’m surprised to hear how quickly you were able to move from the ICOC. The Holy Spirit works on us in His own time but so many people I know have gotten so hurt by them the idea of an authoritative church scares them. Plus the ICOC tends to dominate so much of their member’s lives it’s hard to discover things outside of their group without experiencing shaming by the leaders.