I know there isn't much that you can help me with right now, but I was hoping for a minute that you didn't mind just reading a vent.
I am at work right now on the computer and this was pretty much the last day I have considered myself a Mormon after a long time of doubts that I have felt more at ease with by talking to other church members and bishopric that said that prayer and fasting would help my doubts go away. I stopped believing in any religion for about a few days but the feeling of guilt was too much that I felt peace when reading scripture, testimony and thought maybe I was back on the right track.
It wasn't until reading in D&C that talked about marriage by proxy for those who never got married, the practice of polygamy and creating spiritual babies in heaven with all your wives you had been sealed to on Earth, and those on other forums telling me that since I am asexual the only way for me to acheive the highest glory was through marriage by proxy of which I would be assigned a wife, and if I rejected I would have to in another degree of celestial life as a servant.
After a couple more hours of searching scripture, begging the lord to give me an answer of why everything is so confusing, why I can't live my life according to what I believe is right in my heart and still earn the highest degree, and why if I adopt a child as a single father someday I have to be separated from him in the kingdom unless I agreed to marry through an arranged marriage.
After looking at more evidence about Joseph Smith teaching that women are able to be sealed by proxy if not on earth, but then marries other people's wives and claimed to never have sex with anyone except Emma, adn then those same women which had been sealed to JS being sealed to Brigham Young also, and the church constantly changing what sealings mean and members all coming up with different answers, I knew that if there really was a heaven I did not want to be part of the heaven as described by Joseph Smith. After reading one scripture that doesn't conform to sermon, and seeing each member have a different excuse for why this is mis-interpreted, or claiming just to pray about it to see if this information is even accurate. I then realized that all my personal morals, values, and beliefs put me in a deep state of cognitive dissonance where after 4 months since I started doing some real LDS study, I then found that prayer wasn't going to be able to explain inconsistancies in the LDS church or even in the Bible, because for long I have been asking if eternal punishment made sense when someone is supposed to be forgiven of their sins, and why a loving God wouldn't really accept someone's plea to stay out of hell if they changed their ways because of what they couldn't come to terms with. After I realized I had nothing left in my toolkit to defend the church against critics with, I started to cry in tremendous pain in my room thinking that my life was over with and everything I had claimed to be I wasn't anymore, and I didn't want to be anyone else. Now I have to try to get the five children and my mother in my household to accept the fact that I will not accept any teachings of God just because of fear of the afterlife and what the Bible and Mormon church say happens to "non-believers." I am 23 going on 24 by the way. I live in South Carolina and I am a college student for elementary school education. I am still at the point where I feel sick to my stomache because my life going in a complete opposite direction as it was going before, I do not know what is in store for me now because I am going to feel like a hypocrite when I tell my friends and family about my true beliefs.
When I was 11 and baptized by personal choice I would have died if I ever had to figure out that someday I would say this.....
but I am a college student, a brother of 5 Mormon siblings, son of a Mormon mother, a former 1st and 2nd counselor of the Deacon's Quorum, a former member of the Teachers and Priests Chorum, I have been to the Kirtland temple, sacred grove, the hill cumorah paegent, and the johnson farm sure that I felt the holy ghost each time, and I still can't help cringing so tightly as I type this....
I am an ex-mormon.
Thanks for taking the time to read my venting and I hope it didn't waste any of your valuable time.
Hi, Nathan. Props to you for having the courage to say it out loud. As you've probably noticed, no lightning strikes are imminent, and the pain in your gut will ease with time. Just a note - lots of people say that life gets so much easier when they leave, but that's no necessarily true. For many of us, life gets very difficult. Particularly as we try to navigate our disaffection surrounded by TBM loved ones.
What I mean is - if you go through some tough times in the next few weeks or months or years over leaving the church, you may be tempted to think it's God's punishment, or you may wonder if you've made a mistake. It's helped me, in those moments, to ask myself if a loving Father in Heaven would really want to make me feel depressed and hopeless and down. I still, even after being out for over a year, have moments when I wonder. But I'm convinced that if God really wanted me in the Mormon church, he would find a way to let me know nicely.
K - I'm just blabbing. Take care, and good luck in school.
A seasoned exmo taught me that it is good to affirm the positive experiences, skills, understanding etc, I've acquired through my experience with the Mormon Church, and that all of the negative weird stuff doesn't diminish those things.
We can take what we've gained with us on whatever healthy spiritual or life path we decide on and just leave the messed up stuff behind.
Just my 2 cents
When I started seeing through the church, I've started noticing what you did: the members teach contradictory things, the scriptures are contradictory, and the the church teaches different things as time goes on. The modern-day leaders also will not give firm answers on a lot of questions. They will often not say whether some of the early teachings were true or not.
I also feel a twinge of guilt or foreboding at times, however, the logical and rational part of my mind can see no reason to feel guilty or fearful. I realize that's to be expected when the brain has been indoctrinated with guilt and fear for so long. I realize it's just residual brainwashing popping-up once in a while, and it's bothering me less and less as time goes on.
It's only been 3 months since I told my strongly mormon family what I had found to be true. I still haven't seen all the repercussions from it, but so far, it's not been as bad as I imagined it would be. Also, once I got the courage to do it, I noticed a lot of stress and worry start to go away. I'm glad I did it.
The best to you, Nathan.
I know it's tough. I've been through it too. Nothing can make it easier but the passage of time. You'll adjust to the new life and you'll find the peace that comes when things start making sense. It may be a painful process, but don't forget that it's all growing pain- the good kind of pain. Your family will come to grips with it too, as they see that you're still the same guy, you're still able to lead a happy and productive life, and you're still capable of being a good person. Just continue on as before. Teach your family that they can still relate to you as they did before, the only difference is that on Sunday morning, they go to church without you. They'll get used to it, just like you will. And life will go on. And you'll hopefully be much happier.
You've made progress by referring to yourself as an 'ex-mormon'. Now take the next step and repeat after me: I'm an ex mormon, and it's okay.