Sometimes, like this time, I'm not sure where to begin when talking about myself. More often than not, I'm overcome with an almost intolerable feeling of emptiness. Mostly because I'm coming to a cross-roads. This year I graduate and with that comes the pressures of maintaining my grades, filling out college applications and applying for scholarships.

The problem? Everyone expects me to go on a mission. Everyone outside my immediate family that is. That's issue number one. Over the past—nearly five years—I've pretended to believe in the church. Going through the motions as quietly as possible in order to avoid any attentive eyes. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough now that it's almost mission time. My parents seemed to have taken my decision to abstain from the mission field well; only because I padded it with lies about personal revelation. Maybe that was a stupid decision, maybe it wasn't.

See, last year, I told my parents I no longer believe in the church, leaving out a few things in case the whole discussion went sour. Which went further south than I could have reasonably expected. Accusations of me being a practicing satanist flew around, that I'd lost my light, that I'd turned into an evil monster. Two ultimatums came about following this discussion, one overt, spoken in words, the other more of a mental pressure. The first was that I'd no longer be considered a member of the family. This burned away my heart, ultimately causing me to lose trust in nearly everyone. The second ultimatum, the one causing me the most heartache; the stability of my family.

When I told my parents these things, my mother fell apart. She stopped paying attention to my siblings and ultimately became a recluse. My father started breaking down as well, coming home from work enraged and shouting. So I executed my backup plan--faking belief. All of this took place a week before the October 2009 conference, where Jeffery Holland gave his hellfire and damnation talk regarding apostates. That didn't help my situation at all.

Fast forward to today, at the crossroads. I have on one hand, the pressure to pursue a mission and on the same hand I have the stability of my family. Being the eldest, my parents have put me in an extremely difficult position. I must make the choice between living my life, or the destruction of my family. What kind of choice is this? I've become quite adept at dissociating my ego from emotions over the past five years. Throttling emotional needs and sexual desires—there's too much risk in pursuing these things. There are some emotions that I can't quite distance myself from; this decision between my life or my family being one of them.

I've never spoken to anyone about this in an interpersonal setting until just two days ago and it feels like that discussion never took place. I wake in the morning feeling like I'd dreamt the whole conversation. Perhaps because I've only ever experienced that kind of emotional clarity in lucid dreams. More often than not, I wish I could just fall asleep, hibernate like the grizzlies in the rockies. To wake up to a different family, to wake up to someone that loves me. I've reached out, I have a hand to hold onto, but I can't see it, can't feel it.

I'm so emotionally detached from the world that I feel nothing; nothing but pain perhaps. I don't know how to stay afloat in that house. Going to seminary every morning at six, reading scriptures with my mother and siblings afterward, then somehow attempting to focus on my schoolwork. I'd like to think that being public schooled would've given me some sort of reprieve, but they say the grass is greener.

I don't know where to go from here, or how. I'm trying to maintain my sanity, to prevent myself from completely self-destructing and turning into an apathetic mass of flesh. Hopefully things will improve now that I've reached out. I'm told there's a light at the end of the tunnel, but I'm not one to get my hopes up. For now I'll continue going through the motions.

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