This has been a very crazy year and a half for me and I am so glad for the chance to be able to tell my story. I was also raised a Utah Mormon. I grew up in a fairly strong Mormon home and am the youngest of six children. I was always the perfect molly mormon. I loved going to church, I served as the beehive president, a miamaid advisor, a the laurel president. I have also taught Young womens, Sunday school for the 15-18 year olds, Nursery, and many other callings in the church. I was married in the temple when I was 22 and just like the good mormon wife I was I was pregnant one month after we got married. I was ready to start the path to lifelong Mormonhood, including at least 6 kids, 3 callings, and all the anti-depressants I would need to be truly "happy" in the gospel.
When our oldest was about 18 months old my husband joined the U.S. Army and left for boot camp. He's always struggled with his testimony in the church and with some bad habits he had picked up when he was a teenager but at first it was great. He went to church every week in boot camp and I thought he was finally getting deeply rooted in the church. But then he went on to his Technical training school that all fell apart. For the first time he was completely surrounded by people who weren't members of the church and they started pointing out some of the rediculous things in the church like the racism of past leaders and some of the things about Joseph Smith he hadn't heard before. He started really looking into the history of the church and how it is so radically different from what we are taught in church. Of course, when he told me about these things I went into defensive mode for the church.
Everything he brought to me I was able to think up an alternate explanation for. Then he came home and the Army moved us to Alaska. I was extremely pregnant with our second child and under a lot of stress with the move, the pregnancy, and my husband losing his faith. I laugh now when I remember how I thought that if I just had enough faith I could save him, after all that is what I was told would happen. Shortly after our daughter was born my husband was listening to some stuff on YouTube about church history. Usually he listened on headphones but this time I insisted he leave them off so I could hear what he was listening to and defend the church from their obvious lying. That was the beginning of the end of my testimony in the church. After a while I went into the bedroom. As I was sitting there I just suddenly realized that it was all a lie. For about ten minutes I felt more free and clear minded than I ever have in my life. Then everything came crashing down.
How was I supposed to raise my children now?? How was I supposed to face my family, my friends? The entire path my life had been on had just been yanked out from under me and it was the most terrifying thing I have ever faced. Did I even believe in God? Looking back I feel so badly for my husband. He had to face all this with the knowledge that he might be ripping his family apart. That I would see it as him depriving me of a Celestial marriage and I might very possibly divorce him and that no one, his family included, would blame me one bit. At least I had his support and love through the whole thing, and the wedge that had been driving us apart over the last year was finally gone.
I didn't immediately stop going to church. I tried going for about another month after that, I figured even if the church wasn't true it was still good. But the more I went the more I realized that, while the people in the church are good people, the institution itself and the mindset it encouraged in it's members was anything but good. I stopped going about a year ago and started actually enjoying my Sundays instead.
Facing our families has been a bit of a challenge. We flew back to Utah last April and I decided I was going to tell them then and there. I was so nervous but I really wanted to just be honest with everyone. I think in the back of my head I also thought I could convince at least a few people. It just seemed so obvious to me and I knew that some of them were completely miserable because of the hold the church had on them. I told my in-laws first. That was...a bad day. They did NOT take it well and it ended with a huge blow-up between my husband and my father-in-law. After that I decided not to tell my parents because, frankly, it wasn't any of their business. I had still had it stuck in my head that in order to be a good person I had to be completely open at all times to all people. Now I realize that if I don't want to discuss something with someone, even with my family, then that is my decision and it doesn't make me a bad person.
I'm pretty sure my family has figured it out by now. I try not to advertise my beliefs too much but I don't really hide them either. We don't talk about it. My family has perfected the art of poor communication and ignoring problems until they seem to go away. I'm ok with that. When they want to talk about it I will agree as long as they can be adults about it.
I haven't been to church in almost a year now and while of course life isn't perfect I am having so much fun enjoying and exploring life. I love being able to try new things without feeling guilty about it all the time. I love realizing that just because I'm a female doesn't mean I can't be just as ambitious as my husband. I love learning about science, astronomy, botany, and anything else I can think of. I'm hoping to go back to school soon. It's tough because we still have small children and my husband is deployed to Afghanistan for the next year but I'm determined to make it work. I've never been so excited about all the possibilities in life. Most likely all we have is this life. I want to make the most of mine. If it turns out there *is* something after this then great but I'm not going to waste my time here on the slim chance of there being more.
Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read this. I really appreciate the opportunity to share my story with people who don't demonize me for it or simply have no way of understanding where I'm coming from.
"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."