I've thought about this long and hard, about why I left, and what sparked it. Atheism, I guess it started with that. As an atheist, anti-theist, and all round skeptic, I had to endure many things, and fake my emotions to get by. As a child of four, I did not know the word, nor its meaning, but looking back, I can see that I was exactly that, an Atheist.
I can vaguely remember me, as a child, praying to the Mormon "God", asking him to reveal himself, or draw his image on a post-it note. At that age, I was taught that in order for "God" to come to you, you need to "open your heart, and let him in." I did just that, but when I awoke the next day, I shed some tears because he did not come, nor did he draw his image on the note.
Years past, and I was eight years old, getting ready for my baptism. I had "discovered" myself that year, and found that I loved boys, and their presence, more than I did girls. I had fantasies, and was exposed to pornography earlier than most. I did have a "boyfriend," a Korean named Patrick, age twelve, and he showed me much, before he left to another state, leaving me heart broken. The baptism took place two weeks after my eighth b-day, and, after going through the whole ceremony, was told that I was the cleanest one in the room. How could I, a child of eight winters, be the cleanest one, when my father had been in the water with me?
Soon after, I started going to gatherings for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), and began to climb the ranks fairly quickly. It wasn't until after a party, that I started to grow distant from everyone else. My father was in the military, you see, the Army branch, and we moved quite often, almost once every three years. So, after saying my farewells, I gave up BSA, and looked to myself for myself. At the age of 14, during Sunday school, my teacher, who bored me to sleep on many occasions, proclaimed that every religion had key to get into heaven, but the Mormons had them all. I remembered my question that day, and still use it, "Prove it." The man tried, but it never satisfied me.
By the time I was 17, I had learned about homosexuality, and the consequences thereof. They called it a sin, mental illness, an incurable disease, and so many other things that had left me slightly traumatized. When I met with my Bishop, he told me that to have such thoughts will hurt my family, but to act upon them would result in an immediate excommunication. This had hurt me, because I thought the bishop as a friend, but here he was, threatening me for something that I had no control over. I had decided to leave that day, and never go back.
It was difficult, as most things were, and I needed to research the subject, but little was available. I had patience, a deep well, at that, but even that wore thin. It wasn't until last year March, that I found what I needed to escape, my third girlfriend in my life, but I would need to be away from my family in order to do so. As I had found out, from most ex-mormons, those who wished to have their names removed, often found themselves attacked, mentally and emotionally, by their immediate family and friends. I wanted to spare my family this knowledge, and began to wait.
After waiting a total of 17 months, I sent out my letter of resignation to the Mormon Church Records in Salt Lake City, Utah. Thus, stating that upon reading the letter, I am no longer considered a Mormon, and will only accept a letter stating that my name has been removed from the records, or be dealt with with legal action and media attention.
On September 1, 2011, I, Michael A. Holmes, aka AThinker, became an Ex-Mormon fully in name, heart, body, and mind.