Well, I am keeping my eye out just to be on the safe side!

I was born and raised in the church in Utah. I never grew up truly orthodox and I'm so glad for that. My dad has always been pretty liberal along with my mom. Mental illness runs rampant through my family so they've had to be.

Growing up as a kid I never really questioned anything. I just assumed my parents were telling me the truth and I had a strong sense of duty and responsibility. So it was very easy for me to me a run-of-the-mill Mormon. Go to church, check. Pay tithing from allowance, check. Fast, check. Read my scriptures, check. Get baptized, check. Stay away from boys romantically, check. YW's check. Don't go all crazy with sewing wild oats as a teenager like my sister did, check. Don't question why we women have no real authority, check or why polygamy happened, check. That's kind of how it was growing up. Had a few questions, but never seriously looked at them at all and was just content to go through the motions because that was what I was supposed to do.

I guess to be a bit rebellious I did decide to go on a mission...kind of like a "ha, I'm not going to get married at 18" kind of a thing. Well, deciding to go on a mission and going was what really got the ball rolling for my exit out.

I had to attend the temple first....that was the craziest and most insane thing I'd ever done. I was horrified. Why did we have to get semi-naked? Why all the chanting? Why am I having to covenant to obey my husband (that I don't even have yet)? Why do I have to veil my face to pray to God???? WTF! And everyone looking around thinking it's so normal and wonderful...and then my mom even told me about the pre-1990 blood oath stuff. I was sooo freaked out. But what could I do? I was determined to head out on my mission...

Then the mission came. That was the most horrific and terrifying (spiritually, psychologically, and emotionally) experience in my whole life. I was in constant fear of my eternal salvation. I was constantly harangued about how unfaithful I was. How I could always work harder and faster. I could always do more to sacrifice. And everything rested on my shoulders. If I didn't share the gospel with everyone, I was going to Hell. I felt dirty, unloved, depressed, almost suicidal. My mission president was absolutely clueless, a businessman through and through...use fear tactics and that will get people to work harder. Well, not for me. It only destroyed what little I had of self-esteem. I prayed harder and sacrificed harder and worked harder, more than I ever had before. All I wanted was to feel loved by God. Just a smidgen of peace, nothing grand, just an inkling that he was there and that I was loved. Nope, nada. Nothing. I counted the days, literally, till I could come home (which of course caused me even more guilt and hopelessness).

Somehow I made it home and attended the local single's ward and me my awesome husband (so cliche, I know). Got married 6 months later and moved up to Portland, Oregon. That allowed my brain and eyes to open up a lot. I attended Portland State and got to meet so many different kinds of people that weren't Mormon and weren't even from the States. There were protests and rallies every other week or so. Ideas were shared and discussed. It was so liberating. My history professor even suggested that there was no evidence of the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years...Really? He kept calling the Bible a bunch of myth stories with a bit of actual history thrown in...Really? I got introduced to gay rights, women's rights, civil rights, all sorts of rights. It also helped to have a ward that was pretty nice and liberal too. Well...we moved back to Utah three years later.

We have never fit in here. Didn't have a kid yet and wasn't planning on one still even after four years of marriage! We were fairly active for the first three months and then I got a job on Sundays and our activity declined rapidly. I worked for a year and then quit to have a baby, but yet I still didn't want to go back to church very much. I never felt like praying. I was upset with God. I hardly ever read my scriptures because they always made me feel worse...same with church, conference, Ensign, books, talks, prayer, everything basically. I could never measure up. It was a horrible feeling. So then I really started to wonder why I didn't want to do these things. Why wasn't I getting any spiritual nourishment? I wanted to dig back in so I could raise my kid with a good religious background...LOL. That is when I discovered thee bloggernacle. I was never the same again. I went from pretty faithful blogs to frank discussion blogs. They talked about things I never even questioned or knew. My whole worldview was crumbling pretty fast, just within a couple of months. Then I discovered MormonThink.com and NOM and that my 1st counselor in the bishopric was doubting as well! So I read and studied, read and studied. Talked to DH about it all and we were out pretty fast.

It's been tough just losing your faith like that and that fast. My mind was gone, never to look back and believe in Mormonism again. To step outside and see how brainwashed I was to think I'd have to live polygamy in the next life...and threaten my DH never to marry again if I died first. To feel that that was my refiner's fire, Abrahamic sacrifice was to live polygamy in the next life. To reduce myself to a second-class citizen is just horrifying as I look back on it. Finding out the BOM wasn't historical or BOA just added icing on the cake. Everything else just confirms and confirms what a lie it's all been and still is.

It's been great to have my DH with me on this and to have met so many (and continue to do so) wonderful people through PostMo, NOM, Facebook, and real-life meetings and gatherings so I know I'm not alone in this journey.

I now feel I am good enough! Yeah!

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Thanks for sharing your story! I enjoyed reading it. You're lucky to have your DH on the journey with you and to not have any kids old enough to be entrenched. When you were in Portland, did you happen to know any Merrill's? My sister and her husband live up there (still TBM).
Nope, no Merrills that I remember...We lived in Gresham just outside of Portland.
Mike, is your sister April? Bruce is my cousin. His mother and my father are siblings.
Nope, her name is Michelle.
I am glad to read your story...Peace on the journey Gofita.
Cool! Where did you serve a Mission? US, China, ?? Just curious. :)

Don in Vegas
I served in the Canary Islands.
It is a beautiful thing to be accepted for who you are!!! The world is so much sweeter.
what a vivid example! My experience is not so literary. I was not happy with the way I saw them playing word tricks and mind games. I was not happy with the fact that no matter how hard you worked on a Mission, it was never enough. I saw Elders get sick, not eating properly, I have heard of people that contracted dysentary and more just to have SL ask them if they prayed! ...frickin PRAYED! They are ill!
All of the experiences that JS had...most are made up. He was not a prophet in any sense of the word. Salt Lake has re-written history to make him just under God. He is instead a man that started a cult that just got out of hand.
Most of the prophesies that he made never came true, and happened quite to the contrary.
They use people, they are a joke in Salt Lake.

Don in Vegas.
Hi Don,
Just wanted to agree with you about how the church has made JS out to be just under God. It's soooo true! Everything is JS this and JS that... you *know* they worship JS (even tho they'd never admit it). But you know that's the case when they tell you that before you can get in to the Celestial Kingdom JS gets to judge whether or not you are worthy to enter!! Things I'm learning about their teachings since I've been free never ceases to astound (and oft times) disgust me!!
Then there's the mission president's wife that chewed me out for talking to my parents in a letter about an eyelid problem I was having. My parents wrote her and because I didn't go to her first and that made her look bad, she chewed me out and really tried to make me feel guilty and horrible. Just nuts. The whole thing.
I got chewed out for writing home about negative things as well (see my exit story for details). Craziness and guilt tripping is right!

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