Leaving Mormonism--My Journey from Despair to Happiness

Leaving Mormonism—My Journey from Despair to Happiness

 

WARNING: If you are currently LDS, and are happy with your beliefs, please do not read my story. It could destroy your testimony. It is a very open, to-the-point, account of how I discovered Mormonism to be a false religion. I would rate it “R” because of some of the issues discussed.

 

INTRODUCTION

 

            “When the truth is found to be lies, and all the joy within you dies…”     -Darby Slick

When I first left the Church a few years back, I determined that I wouldn’t spend my time trying to convince others to leave. I would, instead, “live and let live.” However, over the past couple of years, as I have worked to rebuild my shattered belief system on a surer foundation—one  based on Truth—I  have experienced feelings of disappointment, sadness, and even anger, at the negative and hurtful effects Mormon conditioning had on my soul. That conditioning basically destroyed much of my self-esteem at an early age. Living in a state of constant shame, guilt, fear—and with feelings that you’ll never measure up—is not healthy! I began to seriously reconsider my earlier position…

I have come to the conclusion that it is not OK to continue to withhold the account of my journey out of Mormonism. The truth is that Mormonism had—and continues to have—an extremely negative impact on my life, and I feel an obligation to help others avoid the same fate. So, if you are LDS and are questioning your faith; or if you are considering joining the Mormon faith; I offer the following perspective. I hope that my story will help you—just as many of the stories on the internet helped me during my transition years ago.

 

MY STORY

 

            “You who are on the road must have a code that you can live by…Teach your children
             well…”    
-Graham Nash

 

I was born into an active LDS home. My parents, on both sides, come from “pioneer stock,” as they say here in Utah (I later found out that, thankfully, they meant the human kind, ha!). My father’s great grandfather left his wife and family in England when he joined the Church and immigrated to Nauvoo, where he subsequently took up a polygamous lifestyle. Our family is descended from his third wife. My dad is very proud of the fact that his great grandmother was baptized by Joseph Smith. His great grandfather on his mother’s side was a “bodyguard” (translation: Danite) for Joseph Smith. Growing up, I was constantly reminded of my rich, pioneer heritage.

I have to admit, that many of my choice, childhood memories center on Church activities. I remember attending Primary after school, and all the Ward parties and activities. Our social life was, for the most part, family and Church.

I remember feeling sorry for one of my close, childhood friends, because he wasn’t a Mormon, and missed out on all our social activities. In our neighborhood, he was definitely “odd man out.” And I now know that he and his family resented that fact. That situation hurt me as a child—but hurts me even more today as I think back on it. Religious communities—not just Mormons—can be very exclusionary.

The first doctrinal problem I struggled with was Jesus’ commandment to be perfect (Matthew 5:48, KJV). I have always been a very conscientious person, and I took that commandment literally. I knew I wasn’t living a “perfect” life—and I didn’t see how it would ever be possible to do so (my logical thinking was working at a very young age)—but I kept trying, and always fell short (surprise!). That constant “striving and failing” pattern began to damage my fragile, developing self-esteem at a very young age.

 

            “Everything I've ever done, everything I ever do, every place I've ever been, everywhere
             I'm going to, it's a sin…”    
-Neil Tennant & Christopher Lowe

 

I can’t tell you how much I dreaded yearly interviews with the Bishop, because I would tell him about all the “bad” (translation: normal) things I had both thought and done during the past year. That was incredibly embarrassing. My Bishops must have thought I was a complete fruit cake. Funny thing is that I never felt good after those interviews. I always felt unclean, like there was something I had forgot to repent of. And it always felt creepy to know that the Bishop, usually a friend’s dad, knew all my “dark” secrets. That whole “worthiness interview” business just never seemed right to me. My incessant questioning of personal worthiness would later blossom into a serious mental condition, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and pretty much destroy my self-esteem.

Another early disconnect I struggled with was the treatment of my father by the Ward leadership. While my friends’ fathers were being made High Priests and being called to Bishoprics and important Stake callings, my father never was (he worked 6 days a week to provide for our family, and I learned when I became an adult, that he hadn’t always pay a full tithe). Obviously, I didn’t realize these facts at the time. As a result of my father’s “standing” in the Ward, I always felt like my family was a cut below my friends’ families—some of my friends would actually brag about the callings their fathers had. This was yet another blow to my fragile self-esteem. The irony in all of this is that my dad was the hardest-working person I knew. He worked in construction, and was honest, friendly, and well liked. He was my hero. Conversely, my friends’ fathers all worked office jobs. So, as a young person, I started thinking that to be a Church leader, you had to have an office job (not far off!).

As a young person, I can remember having to go to Church multiple times each Sunday. I dreaded Sundays because they could be so incredibly boring. Listening to someone read a lesson out of the manual, or trying to pay attention to a speaker babbling on and on with no logical organization to his remarks has come to define boring for me. But my parents made us go to Church with them. I can remember many times thinking that Church was a waste of time—time that could be spent exploring the world and learning “exciting,” new things.

When I became a teen and puberty set in, I had more to feel guilty about—bad thoughts about girls. Wow, I thought I was really evil now. Ironically, my friends were masturbating, and enjoying it—one even delivered a “clinic” at summer camp showing the young scouts how to…I was terrified to masturbate--even though I always seemed to “slip”-- because I would have to tell the Bishop at my yearly interview. (I was very late in learning how to lie to the Bishop—a very common practice in the LDS Church to keep appearances up, and preserve your desired place within that community.)

I have since learned that masturbation is common and normal (imagine that!), and part of learning about your human sexuality. Now, when I think of Boyd K. Packer’s “famous,” guilt-promoting talk to the young men on masturbation—where he likened the male organ to “a little factory”—I’m so furious that I’m sorely tempted to write a few talks of my own, like: How to Get Your Little Factory Up and Running or How to Run Your Little Factory 24/7. How dare he or anyone else promote guilt and shame for doing something that is natural and normal for human beings!

Another, major disconnect came when I received the Priesthood and started administering the Sacrament. I could never quite get my head around the fact that young men were given the Priesthood, but the young women were not. All of us young men knew that, on average, the young women were way more “righteous” than we were—it wasn’t even close!  And that was to say nothing of the older women in the Ward including our mothers!

When I started dating, I never could enjoy my dates, because I was terrified that I might accidentally touch, hug, or kiss a girl the wrong way, and have to confess to the Bishop (remember, I took confession seriously). I dated a lot, and went out with many intelligent and beautiful young women (mostly Mormon). Many of them wanted to “mess around” a bit and explore the mysteries and pleasures of sex, but I would never have any of it. I would get extremely nervous when such overtures were made—even though I really would have liked to go along. I’m sure many of these young women thought I was a complete nut job. I’m now incredibly angry that my Mormon conditioning ruined what should have, and could have, been one of the most beautiful and exciting times of my entire life.

In fact, I’m not at all sure that a “license” to have sex is the best reason to get married. So many people end up in unhappy relationships that often don’t work out, because they are sexually incompatible. Again, Mormon conditioning has preached strange doctrines regarding human sexual conduct (even in marriage) throughout its history. This kind of conditioning can lead to the kinds of marriages some of my friends “enjoy.” One friend’s wife will only allow him to have sex once every six months, and that is with both of them wearing their temple garments. Another friend told me that his wife had allowed him to have sex four times during their six year marriage. Every time they engaged in sex, she would talk about how gross and disgusting it was. Another man told me that during 40+ years of marriage, his wife had allowed him to have sex just enough to produce their four children—no more. I could go on, but I’m sure you get the picture. I believe that these twisted views of human sexuality lead to numerous problems, including the problem of incest within the Mormon Church.

During this time, I was beginning to sense just how powerful the Church’s control over me was—and  I was not happy about it. Still, I continued to “toe the line.” I didn’t even consider that there might be other options—like leaving—which totally blows my mind when I think about it today.

 

            “I lost my power in this world, ‘cause I did not use it. So I go insane…”
                                                                   
-Lindsey Buckingham


As I approached Missionary age, I didn’t really have a “choice” whether or not to go on a Mission—it was something that you just did in my neighborhood—it was expected—no other options socially acceptable! So, I never even considered not going—even though a big part of me wasn’t really excited about the whole thing. One of my friends who had the courage to not go, was treated as a pariah, and fell into inactivity. I now know that a lot of us went just to avoid having to experience the “displeasure” of our families, friends, and neighbors. In fact, during my Mission, I was assigned many of these “unhappy” Elders, because my Mission President knew that I would help them heal, and he wouldn’t have to send them home.

When I received my Mission Call, my world literally came apart. I had my first mental melt down. I thought myself totally unworthy to serve a Mission. I figured that if they really knew how “bad” (translation: normal) I was, they’d never have extended the Call. (Remember, at this time, I was still dutifully confessing every minute thing to the Bishop.) I couldn’t reconcile my personal view of myself with my Mission Call. I literally slipped into a self-made hell. (If you’ve ever known someone who suffered severely from OCD, you’ll know that this is not an exaggeration.)

By the way, today, I’m not afraid of any afterlife Hell, because I have already lived through a self-made Hell that would be hard to improve on—all kidding aside! I finally got a hold of myself and credited my meltdown and OCD behavior to Satan’s temptations. I told myself that Satan didn’t want me to serve, so he was messing with my mind. Incidentally, this was socially-acceptable logic to explain a serious mental condition (scary!). So I read my scriptures and prayed for hours at a time—and still felt like shit. But I kept telling myself that God would eventually make Satan leave me alone. (I know this must sound very funny to some readers, but it was dead serious business for me at the time.)

 

            “Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies (tell me lies, tell me, tell me lies)…”
                                                   
-Christine McVie & Eddy Mendonca


Then it was time to attend the Temple and receive my Endowment before leaving on my Mission. I was told that I would learn great eternal truths about my purpose on earth. My parents and relatives were telling me how “beautiful” the Temple Ceremony was. And, I was told that after this experience, I would have more power over Satan, and feel better about things. I was nervous, but looked forward to this “added light” and spiritual strength.

My “Temple experience” turned out to be one of the biggest “mind-****ing” experiences of my entire life! Here’s some of what I “learned”…

First, I had to get naked and don a “shield,” which is basically a sheet with a hole in it for your head—kind of like a cloth poncho. Then, I went into a curtained cubicle, and an old guy pronounced blessings on different parts of my body, while reaching under the shield and “anointing” each part with oil. After this ritual, I wanted to run for the door. I felt violated. But I didn’t run, because I thought that this must be a sacred ritual, and therefore my intuition must be wrong. Besides, I reasoned, nothing could be worse than what I had just been through. I was wrong—very wrong!

From here on, I’ll just hit the “high” (translation: low) points. Once we were all seated in the Endowment room, and the doors were secured, a voice came over the speaker and began a narrative. All of a sudden, I hear:  

“If you proceed and receive your full Endowment, you will be required to take upon yourselves sacred obligations, the violation of which will bring upon you the judgment of God; for God will not be mocked. If any of you desire to withdraw rather than accept these obligations of your own free will and choice, you may now make it known by raising your hand.”

That got my attention! I’m thinking what the heck is going on here? What have I gotten myself into? How can I make an informed decision on whether or not I want to continue with this stuff when I don’t have any information on what’s ahead?  (And I’m sure someone is going to raise their hands to leave with all their smiling loved ones looking on. This was getting really weird…)

Soon, we were watching what I can only describe as a really bad “B” movie about the Earth’s creation and Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden…

It’s not long before I’m putting on all kinds of ceremonial clothing and being taught “Signs” (arm movements), “Tokens” (hand grips), and “Penalties” (different ways to kill people). I’ve since learned that much of this stuff was “borrowed” from the Masons. I also learned that many of the early Church leaders were Masons, and that Joseph became a Mason in Nauvoo—but I digress. I couldn’t believe that I was actually standing there promising to have my throat slit before revealing these “sacred” (translation: secret) things. Nor could I believe everyone around me including my family were doing this stuff—with smiles on their faces!

The “highlight” of the ceremony was going to the Veil (curtain) and sharing all these “sacred” handshakes and passwords with a guy behind the curtain playing God. In order for me to enter heaven (pass through the Veil) I had to be tested on my knowledge of all this stuff. There was a helper at my side to whisper the forgotten answers into my ear, so I could recite it all. Finally, I had to engage this guy behind the curtain with the “Five Points of Fellowship” (A creepy Masonic hug through holes in the Veil) and recite some narrative after which I was allowed into heaven (through the curtain and into the Celestial Room of the Temple).

When I was admitted through the Veil, my family members were there to congratulate me with smiles and hugs. I was freaked out. I couldn’t believe that this was part of the Church that I had grown up in. The doctrine outside the Temple had been bad enough, but this was something magnitudes creepier.

I never got over that initial trip to the Temple. In fact, during my subsequent years of activity in the Church, I avoided going to the Temple as much as I possibly could. Even years later, when I was placed over “Temple Preparedness” while serving on the Stake High Council, I never attended. I told myself that it was strange, but true, so I just had to deal with it. How utterly wrong I was!

 

            “All my bags are packed I'm ready to go…Already I’m so lonesome I could die...”
                                                                                                  
-John Denver


My Mission was good and bad. I met a lot of wonderful people—many who were truly searching for Truth. It was a surreal life—spending every day preaching the Gospel. I tried hard to be a good Missionary. I became the Elder that our Mission President would assign the “misfits” to rather than send them home. He did this because of my “kind and accepting nature.” As I said earlier, this experience taught me that there were many Elders on Missions that should have been anywhere but on a Mission. Such was/is the power of Mormon peer pressure!

In my opinion, some of the Mission Rules were really out in left field—even for me—like tracting until after dark. We were chewed out more than once for knocking on people’s doors after dark. I finally decided I couldn’t do this anymore, and when I had one companion who insisted on following the Mission Rules to the letter, and tract after dark, I would wait out on the sidewalk while he knocked on the door. Luckily, this didn’t last long, because of the numerous, angry responses he got from people.

I spent a lot of my Mission in leadership—especially in the Mission Office (six months). Here is where I got to see, first hand, how inspiration worked—or didn’t.

One of the inside jokes in our Mission was that I was kind of the Mission “shrink.” Elders would come into my office, close the door, and tell me things like: “I’m ready to kill my companion.” I would try to calm them down, and give them courage to keep trying, but some of these companion problems became serious. One of my favorites was an Elder who snuck out of Zone Conference, chartered a plane at a nearby airfield, and flew home! Unfortunately, I was later chosen by my Mission President to drive downtown (alone) and pick this Elder up from the bus terminal, and bring him back to the Mission Field.

The experience that took the cake on Mission President “inspiration” for me was an Elder who was called to be an Assistant to the President. I presume it was because of his “slick” persona (he went on to become a television news anchor). One night, I went to teach a discussion with this “AP.” I started out the discussion, and when I turned it over to him to continue, he recited a couple of lines and then turned it back to me. This AP didn’t even know his discussions! I gave almost the entire discussion.

But this story gets better. We had heard through the grapevine that this AP was basically dating a girl in the Mission Field. I didn’t believe it, until he approached me one day and asked if I would go on a dinner engagement with him. Well, what Missionary in their right mind turns down a meal! We had a good meal, and then, “Dad” throws my AP companion the keys to his sports car and tells him to take his daughter on a cruise. So here I am, crammed in the back of the 240Z, while my AP companion takes his sweetie on a nice, evening cruise…

When my Mission President interviewed me before I left for home, he “counseled” me to get married ASAP, then start a family ASAP, and go to college. He also encouraged me to get a job working with my brain—as opposed to my hands (he was a partner in a family financial business). This was ironic counsel, because he had chosen me for the Mission Office staff because I was an artist and photographer. I ran the mission print shop and did many illustrations for special mission events—including newspaper pieces. I had always thought that working with one’s hands was an admirable thing. If I’m not mistaken, Jesus was a carpenter…

 

                “Conformity is just another word for giving up. Subjected to the system you'll turn into a
                 clone...”    
-A Global Threat


I returned to “civilian” life, graduated from university, started a career, and dated a whole lot! All my friends were pretty much married by the time I graduated from university, and I started wondering if I would ever find the “right” girl to marry. Unfortunately for me, many in the Church took a personal interest in my dating life. They seemed to be very worried that I was getting old (25) and hadn’t got married yet. By the time I got married, I had dated around 80 different women—not just “one daters” either.

When I married at the ripe, old age of 28, everyone was happy--but nobody was happier than me. I finally knew why it had taken me so long. My wife is a lot younger than me, and I had to wait for her to grow up. I am happy to report that we have been best friends and happy partners for close to 30 years now.

At this point, to make a long story a lot shorter, suffice it to say, that over the years, my wife and I were both very active in the Church. She served in the Primary, Young Women’s, Relief Society, and various Stake Callings; while I served in the Scouting Program, Young Men’s, Sunday School, and Stake High Council. Again, I have to admit, that both of us enjoyed many memorable and happy times while serving in our various callings—especially when we were serving in organizations where our children were involved.

 

            “Then you have the nerve to tell me you think that as a mother I'm not fit. Well, this is just a
             little Peyton Place and you're all Harper Valley hypocrites…”    
-Tom T. Hall

                            

One, notable exception to the above was my five years in the Stake High Council. I used to dread the calls from the Stake Executive Secretary, because I knew that his calls usually meant that I would have to participate in a Church Court, better known as a “Court of Love.” Church Courts are called when a member has seriously transgressed a Church Commandment, such as those related to sexual conduct. I absolutely hated to have to sit there and listen to people I knew and loved confess their “sins” in detail to a whole group of men, so we could decide what the appropriate punishment would be.

My heart would go out to these people who valued their membership in the Church so much that they were willing to go through such a humiliating process. I always wanted to be lenient and give them another chance. In all fairness, most of my fellow High Council colleagues felt the same way, but there always seemed to be someone who wanted to lay the punishment on thick. This infuriated me. I am saddened to this day that one person we “tried” committed suicide soon after their “Court of Love.” Such is the effect when we mortals take it upon ourselves to judge someone’s standing with God—and have the audacity to do it in God’s name…God, please forgive me…

I cannot say that my exit from the Church was a sudden thing. As you have read the forgoing, you have surmised that my “back shelf” was beginning to fill with unanswered issues. Ironically, the catalyst for the process that ended in my formal resignation from the Church started with a sincere, religious desire. I had determined that I wanted to strengthen my testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s Divine Calling.

Now, if you knew me well, you’d know that when I take it upon myself to learn something new, I really take things seriously. People tease me and say that this is the good side of my OCD. I actually think there is some truth to that. At any rate, I determined that I was going to read everything I could get my hands on about Joseph Smith and really develop a sense of kinship with him.

 

            “Don't ask twice if you don't wanna know…”     -James Adkins, Richard Burch, 
                                                                                        Zachary Lind, Thomas Linton



As luck would have it, I was grocery shopping with my wife at Costco, and we were going by the book tables. I noticed a large pile of new books. The title was intriguing, and right in line with my new goal. Joseph Smith--Rough Stone Rolling, by Richard Lyman Bushman, a member of the LDS Church. I picked up a copy, and couldn’t wait to get home and dig in after the day’s chores were completed.

Well, I didn’t get very far into the book, when I started to become very uncomfortable. My first major surprise was that Joseph Smith had over 30 documented wives! I was blown away, because Joseph had always denied, publically, that he had any wife but Emma. Then I learned that some of them had worked for him and Emma as house maids—and were teenagers. I was really getting nervous and confused at this point. Then further research revealed that Joseph had secret marriages with women who were already married to other men.

Suddenly, all the persecution that Joseph suffered during his life started to make some sense to me. I never could figure out, as a young church member, how people could drag a man out of his home, beat him senseless, tar and feather him—and on occasion, actually try to kill him.

Well, needless to say, the more I read, the more Joseph’s previously, sterling patina started to tarnish in my mind. I searched for all the books on Joseph Smith that I could find—and was meticulous in checking references to the original sources (journals, public records, church publications, etc.). Among the many things I learned about Joseph Smith from my readings were:

 

            Joseph Smith had over 30 polygamous wives, including a 14-year old girl—and other teens.
            He also secretly married women who were already married to other men.

            Joseph smoked and drank—after he gave the “Word of Wisdom” to the people.

            Joseph’s family practiced magic, and possessed talismans, magic parchments, etc.

            Joseph and his father hired out as treasure hunters. They would perform magic rituals before
            digging for supposedly buried treasure.

            Joseph was actually charged with conning people as a treasure hunter—and the court records
            still exist.

            Joseph supposedly translated the Book of Mormon by putting a “seer stone” into his hat
            and then placing the hat over his face.

            Joseph supposedly translated the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price from a piece of
            papyrus that was with Egyptian mummies he purchased. He claimed that Abraham of old
            had written the papyrus. Modern analysis shows the piece of papyrus contains common
            funerary text from hundreds of years later than Abraham. The modern translation has
            absolutely nothing to do with what Joseph wrote as the Book of Abraham.

            Joseph claimed that the American Indians were of Jewish ancestry. Modern DNA research
            has show that American Indians have virtually no Jewish DNA. Their DNA most closely
            matches that of the peoples of Northeast Asia.

            Joseph taught (in the Book of Mormon) that Indians who accepted the Gospel would 
            eventually change skin color and become “white and delightsome.”

 

I could go on and on and on, but all of these things, and more, are detailed on numerous web sites, so I won’t belabor the point. Suffice it to say, my testimony of Joseph Smith went “bye-bye.” Once I discovered that Joseph Smith was not what I had been taught, everything unraveled very fast for me—like a tightly compressed spring letting loose—through subsequent research.

Recommended Web Sites:

 

http://www.utlm.org/   Utah Lighthouse Ministries, founded by Jerald and Sandra Tanner—both exmormons. Their book: Mormonism-Shadow or Reality, is a treasures trove of research on numerous topics, including: Joseph Smith and polygamy, Origins of The Book of Mormon, The Book of Abraham, Temple ceremonies, etc. It is very well documented.

http://www.i4m.com/think/  Good information on numerous topics, including Mormon views of sex, and temple ceremonies. It also contains a good links page.

http://www.exmormonscholarstestify.org/   Testimonies of exMormon scholars.

http://www.ldsorigins.com/   Excellent site that explores the origins of Mormonism.

  

            “It just came to me like an epiphany…”     -Chrisette Michelle


I will never forget the moment of my personal epiphany. I was sitting in my back yard contemplating all I was learning, and all of a sudden, it occurred to me, that if Joseph Smith wasn’t a Prophet, and the LDS Church wasn’t true, not only did I no longer have to believe the LDS Church doctrine—but I didn’t have to live it! Immediately, I literally felt the weight of the world lift off of my soul. I felt free— euphoric. These wonderful feelings lasted about 30 seconds...

 

            “I don’t want to live a lie, but I got to be with you…”     -Hadise


Then it hit me—the “Oh Shit” moment. How would I ever tell my wife? What if she leaves me? What about my kids? What about my extended family—my parents? What about my friends—my employer? My bowels almost reached critical mass right there on the lawn chair—no kidding!

I quickly determined that I couldn’t tell anyone! I would have to live a double life until I had more time to think and work things out. Thus began a year of complete hell. If you’ve ever tried to live a double life, you’ll know what I mean. Your soul literally starts to die—it can’t take it.

Can you imagine being called into the Bishop’s office and being told that the Lord has just called you to be the Sunday School President? That’s what happened to me. What an “inspired” call that was. Calling a complete apostate and nonbeliever to be over the teaching of the Church’s doctrine to a Ward of Saints is not very inspired—I assure you (at least in the LDS sense).

Well what could I do but accept. But this is where things became too incongruent for me. I was literally dying inside, and felt like a complete schmuck. I couldn’t keep the lid on the kettle—it started boiling over. I started making sarcastic remarks here and there about the Church. At first they weren’t that bad, but they became worse. Finally, my wife wasn’t laughing, but questioning me. That did it. I couldn’t live the lie any more. I had to tell her, come what may, so I did.

Her initial reaction was as I had predicted—she was blown away. I seriously thought she was going to leave me—with my children. But after the initial shock wore off, to her credit, she asked me exactly what I had learned to come to my conclusions, and where I had learned it.

I gave her a short reading list (similar to the web sites listed above), and within a very short time, she was also convinced that the Church wasn’t true. That was a great relief, but now came another “Oh Shit” moment. What are we going to tell our children? They were involved in the Young Men’s/Women’s organizations, and most of their friends were LDS. We were afraid of what would happen to them, socially, if we came clean with them, and left the Church.

So we decided, just as I had done earlier, to continue playing the game until our children were out of school. Unfortunately (fortunately), the negative feelings both my wife and I were experiencing as a result of living a lie, were growing exponentially now that we were in it together.

Our family’s activity in the Church started to taper off. Because I was no longer “making” my children attend Church for appearance sake (yes, that mattered to me when I was active), they started missing more and more meetings. Because my wife and I had callings, we would go to the “requisite” meeting, and then call it a day. For me (Sunday School President), it got so unbearable, that I would show up, make sure there was a teacher for each class, and then sneak out for the day.

My wife and I finally decided that we had to come clean to our children—and we did.

Our oldest child, it turns out, had doubted the truth of the Church since a Seminary class in 10th grade. She had never shared her doubts with us until we opened up to her. She was actually relieved that she didn’t have to live any more lies either.

Our youngest child calmly told us: “I have known it wasn’t true for years, I just ‘knew’ it.” Can you say: “Out of the mouths of babes?”

Now, the problem was how to “leave” the Church without being excommunicated. I wanted to make a “statement” by the way I left. I had discovered that I had lived in a religious fantasy for 50 years, and I wanted to be able to tell people that I had “formally” resigned from the Church. But I had no idea how to go about it without the excommunication process intervening, giving the Church the last word. (I had seen how the Church actively pursues excommunication of apostates.)

That is when I came across this website: http://www.mormonnomore.com/. It describes how to formally and legally leave the Church. I wrote our resignation letter, had it notarized, and sent it to the membership department of the Church. This process specifies having NO contact with the Bishop or the Stake President. So, when the Church sent our letter back to our local authorities, we didn’t return calls or answer the door. (That part was hard—at least for me.) They had absolutely no recourse but to honor our letter and take our names off the membership roles of the Church. I am proud today, to tell people: “When I discovered that the Church was bogus, I formally resigned.” That is so much more empowering to me than having to explain the proceedings of my “Court of Love.”

 

            “This is closure. I’m shutting the door to the life that I once knew. To the lies I took for
             truth...”    
-Dommin


So where am I today? As I mentioned early in this account, I have been out of the Church now for a number of years. After I first resigned, I had a deep yearning to find TRUTH. I didn’t know where to find it at the time, but I just knew it had to exist, so I proceeded to search.

I am happy to report that I have found what I am comfortable with as TRUTH—at least some of it. It is not codified in any formal religion. The book that opened my eyes and allowed me to begin my “real” spiritual (as opposed to religious) journey is entitled: Journey of Souls, by Michael Newton.

 

            “It's my life, and it's now or never, 'cause I ain't gonna live forever. I just want to live while I'm
             alive…”    
-Bon Jovi


I believe that you and I are meant to be happy, that we are meant to live joyful lives filled with adventure, excitement, challenge, and wonder.

I sincerely wish you, the reader, success in finding your TRUTH, and pursuing your unique and wonderful path.

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Tyler,

The link to Amazon and the Book I Read is:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Early-Mormonism-Magic-World-View/dp/1560850892

The book is:

Early Mormonism and the Magic World View [Paperback]

D. Michael Quinn

Enjoy!

 

Wow, what a journey. Lucky for you your wife was willing to listen to your reasoning. I think the "Life-style Mormons" don't really care if it's true or not. They are there for to live the life with the freedom of floating along without any real thoughts of their own all the while trading reason for emotion.

I remember telling a good friend of mine about my irrefutable proof that the Church was not true. I waited for her response. She was an extremely intelligent woman with several degrees and her response was "Is that all you have". It was all I had, but in it was everything. She was so intertwined with Mormonism, that she could no longer separate fact from fiction. She preferred the fiction and good for her.

Lucky for you, your wife was not such a women.

Welcome to the real world.

Bar Kokhba

Bar Kokhba,

You are right, I was very fortunate to have a wife who was willing to do her own thinking. Unfortunately, if someone "wants" Mormonism to be true, they can make it so through magical thinking. For example, to explain that there is no Jewish DNA in the American Indian population, they would say something like: "Oh, the Lord changed it to test our faith." As long as people are willing to believe lies, and refuse to examine the facts, and engage in magical thinking, our efforts to enlighten them will fall on deaf ears.

 

Thanks for the welcome.

Bravo!!!  Great story and well written!!!  Thanks for the inspiration!  

Thank you for your kind words Strawman Smith. I was in a hurry to post it, and didn't check margins, indents, closely enough. I'm happy you were able to look past those bloopers. I'm happy that my story could be of help to you.

Your story is fantastic!  I can relate to so much of your feelings and experiences and find alot of comfort here.  I am  newly "resigned in my mind", and now ready to actually resign.  Even though I have been inactive for 11 years and have not lived the life, I have been fearful that if I embraced anthing but mormonism, I would never get to see God or go to the celestial kingdom.  I knew the church was wrong at age 9 and refused to go but was bodily carried to the car and into church, in my pajamas, until my will was broken.  Then I started to run away from home.  My self worth was so destroyed by knowing that I lived a lie (at such a tender age) to make peace in the family.  I'm 52 now and looking forward to getting rid of the dark cloud of LSD shame and really heal soon.  Thank you for sharing!

Dear CCzvortex,

Thank you for your kind words. I'm am happy that my account has been useful to you in your transition. Please know, that you--and everyone else--will go to the same "heaven" when we pass. This life is about gaining experience and experiencing love, joy, challenge, etc. We are all really one--just as Jesus taught. I wish you success in shedding the shame created by mormonism in your life. I wish you joy and peace on your wondrous journey.

 

-nomorelies

Bravo, Bravo .... Loved your story ... So much of it sounds so familiar .... Thank you for sharing ...

Mindy,

 

You are so kind. I am so happy that you found my story helpful. I wish you success on your personal journey.

 

-nomorelies

Thank you so much for sharing. It's one of the most moving accounts I've read so far, as so much of what you suffered resonates with my own experiences and the damage it caused to my family life.

Phil,

 

Thanks for your feedback. I really do appreciate it, given the fact that I couldn't decide whether or not to post my story for years.

 

I have found that my experiences are not unique in the exmormon community. There seem to be many common threads as we discover the illusion that mormonism represents.

 

I hope you are well on your way to recovery, and that your family issues have been worked through.

 

I wish you all the success and happiness you desire as you travel your unique path through this wondrous life.

 

-nomorelies

What a great story. The piece that I identified with a lot (all of it really) was the High Council bit. I too sat in judgment and felt horrible but remained quiet and believed we were doing the right thing. Well ultimately I was excommunicated and I refused to attend knowing what really went on there. I knew even if I stood up for what I believed - I would still be exed. Its a year ago next month and I have no regrets in fact being exed has been a positive and they have done me a favour. Yes I miss the people but I have found comfort in still having a personal relationshipo with God and relying on the Holy Ghost when i Need it even though my letter of excommunication tells me It was removed. What a crock. Anyway your story is remarkable and such a good read. 32 years I was active and I never understood why I could be loved one day and exed the next when I was a good person. Now I know this teaching is bull xxxx. and whats better I dont have to attend the temple and feel weird. Thanks again. Michael

 

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