I'm not exactly sure where to begin, but I will give it my best shot! Please excuse the lengthiness!
I knew I wasn't like the other TBM kids at the age of 7. We had learned about Satan being God's first son in my primary class. We learned that Jesus and Satan were brothers, and that both had presented a plan 'of salvation.' After learning about the war in heaven, the followers of Satan and God choosing Jesus' plan, we were told that Satan would forever try to tempt us to sin. The teacher told us that Satan was a bad spirit and that we shouldn't love him (because the BoM says to hate sin or whatever).
When the primary teacher asked us if we had any questions, I had the nerve to ask something similar to the following: "If God is our father, and Satan is Jesus' brother, and Jesus is our brother, does that mean Satan is our brother too?"
The teacher said, "yes - our spirit brother." Then I asked something along the lines of, "If he is our spirit brother, shouldn't we love him? Jesus said love everyone, even your enemies. If Satan is our brother and also our enemy, shouldn't we pray for him and love him even more?"
After a puzzled look from the teacher and other kids, I knew I had said something wrong. My parents had a talk with me on the drive home about it, but I couldn't understand why would we shouldn't love our brother!! We were told to forgive everyone who sinned against us. In later years, I had to face the trial and question of "How is it that I am required to forgive my molester- the ruiner of my innocence, but God can't forgive his own son?" It may be an odd thought to have about Satan, but it was very real to me in my childhood years.
Aside from that, I had numerous thoughts and emotions that seemed to conflict with the teachings of the church. I never felt, in my heart of heart, that a temple wedding was for me. I never desired one. I always (and still do) thought that the buildings were beautiful, but I didn't understand the concept of marrying in front of an exclusive group of people. I didn't want to cover up my wedding dress, and I never even pictured a wedding dress with sleeves! I never liked dating Mormon boys, and I never honestly believed I'd marry one.
In a YW class, when I was 15, we were told to write letters to our future spouses. We were given some guidelines (write a list of qualities, reasons why you love them). I thought it was odd that we were to assume the likeable qualities of a man we'd not yet met. I distinctly remember leaving any church talk out of mine, and the leaders got frustrated with me because they thought I was being difficult. I was just trying to write a letter I felt I could give to anyone I married, Mormon or otherwise.
There are 1000 other instances I could discuss, but I think the point is that I was not like the other Mormon kids. I didn't always agree with everything.
I think I really started to lose whatever belief I had in the church as I started applying for college. My dad has asked me what my educational plan was. I had told him I was going to go in as a pre-med student, and then decided whether I wanted to go the dental track or the medical track. His words to me were, "Why would you do either of those things? You are just going to get married, and have children. Why would you waste all that time and money on something you'll never use when your calling is to be a mother?" He then refused to aide me financially until I changed my plan. I wasn't ready to back down at that point, so I paid for my 1st year of college on my own. When I realized it was going to be too hard to do without loans, I changed my major to an education track (which I loved almost equally). My dad then willingly stepped in to assist me.
I had never really thought about my role in the church as a woman. As I did, I began to find and hear a lot of teachings that did not sit well with me. Being told that I was to be held responsible for the eternal salvation of my children seemed wrong. Hearing that if I didn't assist my future spouse in fulfilling his priesthood callings could result in a lesser kingdom of glory didn't make sense. Learning that marriage within the church was required to obtain celestial glory seemed unrealistic.
I found myself thinking about everyone else - in the 'real' world outside of Mormonism. The things I thought were sinful (everything from coffee to putting off marriage until your 30's or later) were normal to 95% of the worlds inhabitants. I started to realize that maybe it wasn't the people outside of the church that were wrong, maybe it the people INSIDE the church were wrong.
The thought of this scared me tremendously. How could that be possible? How could I have lived a whole life founded on a bed of lies? How could it not be true? I decided to turn to church sources to help bring my faith back, but instead I found more disheartening information.
My world began to crumble around me. My faith in the church was shattered, and all because I'd had a thought.
Needless to say, I ended up dumping the church and now I try to live a more genuine and real life (even if it's partially in secret). I find that I'm happier than I've ever been, and I am glad I got out as early as I did!
...out of the mouth of babes comes the idea that shake and move the world....
I remember thinking similarly about Satan, but never had the guts to say anything. I just got in line and thought I was going to burn in hell if I ever thought about poor Satan being disowned by this father. Now I like the quote "Reading the bible taught me two things. That man is naturally evil, a sinner, worthy of an eternity of fire and brimstone; and that man is made in the image of god" That was a paraphrased quote.
I'm so excited to hear people leaving! Isn't it great! We got out of our brainwashing. I have to admit I give a lot of credit to being taught, "Truth has no need to fear investigation" "Truth will not shun from the light of inquiry"
Thank you for sharing. I had many of the same thoughts growing up, especially regarding Mormon boys and Temple marriage- I wanted neither! Lucky me my family wasn't the one everyone wanted to marry into so some of the pressure came off that way. I remember asking questions about the degrees of heaven, it didn't make sense to me. I remember the seminary where I got to ask the bishop and how annoyed he was that his "answer" wasn't good enough and didn't answer anything. Again, thank you for sharing!