Exmormon Bios  : RfM
Exmormon's exit stories about how and why they left the church. 
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Posted by: Eric K ( )
Date: March 06, 2011 06:25PM

Subject: And the Truth shall set you free...
Date: Oct 20, 2009
Author: rmw

I was a convert to the church…very golden, platinum if you will. Ripe for the
picking. I was 16 turning 17 and came from a really crummy family. I had no
support or direction and I was looking for something to hold on to. An
amazing family fellowshipped me into the fold and I desperately need the
love, admiration and attention the mother of this family gave me. I was very
serious about my conversion. I read all of the standard works and went to
church for a year before I was baptized in to a small branch in the rural SE.
Those days were magical. I was learning so much with the promise that
there was always more to learn. I had become skeptical of religion but the
Mormon church gave me so many answers. It was so amazing to me that I
was absolutely sure that everyone else I knew was going to join the church
as well…all I had to do was tell them all of these wonderful things! Of course
that didn’t happen. And in retrospect, I wish that the second the missionaries
tried to commit me to stay away from any information not approved by the
church that I would have gone running and screaming in the other direction.
Instead, however, it sounded like a good idea to me…like I said…ripe for the

Looking back there were a lot of uh-oh moments through out the years.
Pretty much any of the “revealed” scripture where JS prophesizes about
himself was quite hard to swallow. Many times I thought how convenient
that this scripture about him came through him. Another was that story about
JS when he was young and had the operation on his leg and chose not to
take anything to relieve the pain. Though many people tell this story as a
sign of the strength of his character I thought uh-oh. To me it sounded like
an irrational and bad idea. The fact that he would suffer so terribly for a
reason so pointless sent up red flags for me about the condition of his mind.
I always hated hearing that story. I was pretty far into the church before I
heard the whole ‘earn your own planet and populate it with spirit children’
theory – uh-oh. I thought this was undesirable, silly and unbelievable.
Members told me that it was not necessary to believe this doctrine to receive
exaltation, so I decided just not to think about it and let the afterlife take care
of it’s self. Though I had a generally good experience in the temple, there
were quite a few uh-ohs there as well. Like uh-oh, what is up with this 80’s
video? I thought we would be doing things that they did in the temples of
old. And the real disappointment was that I didn’t really learn anything. I
really thought there was some wonderful secret there to be revealed…why
else all the sacred secrecy? But I just assumed that it was above me and as
I grew spiritually I would understand what I was supposed to learn from the
temple. I took institute classes while I was in college…there was an uh-oh
here and there. Joseph Smith ran for president? Uh-oh. The Garden of
Eden was in Missouri? Uh-oh. Blacks didn’t receive the priesthood until
1978 and are the descendants of Cain? Uh-ho.

Four years after I was baptized, I served in the Spain-Bilbao Mission. This is
really when my honeymoon with the church began to end. I was a very
sensitive and sincere person. I worked for years and sacrificed everything to
be able to go and share this precious gift I had found with others. One thing
is for sure, this Georgia Peach was not ready for Utah. The old ladies at the
MTC were rude to me. The Elders were immature, vein, and demeaning
towards women. After being on my own for several years I had a hard time
with all the rules and everyone treating me like a child. I was 21 years old
for crying out loud. I think I’d earned the right to go to the bathroom by
myself. It just goes to show how much the church trusts these “valiant young
men and women” they send out into the field. I just couldn’t get used to
bearing my testimony on command instead of when moved by the Spirit…
we were always acting out scenarios with each other…say this and that and
now bear your testimony. It was so hard for me. They would tell me to
pretend that this sister had a problem with the word of wisdom, what would
you say to her? My confused answer was, whatever the Spirit indicates that
I should say…but the Spirit is only going to come if a real person has a real
problem. In our District Meetings we were all supposed to bear our
testimonies at every meeting…I didn’t get this at first and would say “pass”
when it was my turn. I still chuckle when I think about it. One day it dawned
on me that I wasn’t supposed to pass and I began to do something that I
have very rarely been known to do…conform. I started bearing my testimony
when I was supposed to instead of when I felt inspired. I began to say I
know this and I know that. I was trying to obey…but obedience was making
me less true to myself…let the dissonance begin! I wore myself out in the
impossible quest for obedience. Our mission had so many rules that some
contradicted each other. I wanted so much to show the Lord that I loved him
and to gain blessings for those I was teaching.

Let it be known that though I was the most successful missionary in my
mission, every step along the way I was told by every leader that I had that
missionary work was a priesthood responsibility. In essence, you’re a girl,
and you can play missionary if you want to, but don’t expect us to treat you
like a real missionary. The sicko part was that I internalized it, and half way
believed them. I even got a very complimentary note from one of the elders
noting my success in very difficult circumstances in many different areas and
he told me that if I was this amazing he was sure I would marry a General
Authority. And I took it as a compliment! Wow Sister so and so, you’re so
wonderful, and smart and hardworking that one day your HUSBAND will be
somebody really important.

My mission president was a joke, my companions had serious emotional
problems and my areas were impossible…usually no members, and our
mission president discouraged service…so it was tracting and talking in the
street all day every day. I developed migraines for the first time in my life. I
also began to feel very numb inside.

I came home and married the boyfriend I left behind. We basically eloped to
the temple since neither of us had family that met the requirements to get a
temple recommend. Nine months later I was pregnant with our first child.
Some where in that pregnancy I stumbled across some information about
Joseph Smith on the internet. It really shook me. It showed how the reasons
I was given for polygamy were a fraud. It revealed that JS married other
women without telling Emma, that he had brides as young as 14 and that
several of the women that he commanded to marry him were already married
to other men! I took this information to my institute professor and he
confirmed it. I was overwhelmed, panicked, sick about it. I told my husband
that I thought it was wrong and I would have to really think and pray hard
about this. He was disturbed by it as well. After time, my panic subsided
and I decided that since there was no way for me to meet JS face to face and
no way for me to know what really happened, that I would give him the
benefit of the doubt because how could such a wicked person create such a
“wonderful” church and write the Book of Mormon? I stayed in the church
another 5 years after that before the walls came crashing down. I became
more and more disenchanted with the history of the church and instead
focused on the modern church.

I had stopped reading my scriptures because every time I did my faith
diminished more. I knew my testimony could not survive the contradictory
written word…especially those written by JS. My husband and I could not
listen to a lesson with out hearing something that we seriously disagreed
with. Still I never considered leaving the church, it never crossed my mind.
Then the church came out hard and strong against the gay community and I
couldn’t take it any more. I prayed about it. I truly felt what the church was
doing was wrong. I prayed about it and my answer was different than the
prophet…now where does that leave me doctrinally speaking? How do you
reconcile full activity and faith in the church with a prophet whose counsel
and commandments you cannot follow on a matter of principle? I began to
think about it hard and I realized that I didn’t agree with a lot of the things the
“Lord’s Anointed” asked of it’s members.

Finally, one evening I said to my husband, “Honey, I’ve got a problem with
the church”. He was very calm and asked me what I meant. I explained my
views on the church’s stance on Prop. 8. How I thought it was wrong, that it
was a social issue and none of the church’s business. I told him that I was
confused about why the church is the least progressive of any of the
churches out there when there is a prophet to guide them. They should have
been the first to realize that blacks are equal and should be treated
accordingly and that women are equal to men and should be treated
accordingly and now homosexuals. Instead of first they are last and kicking
and screaming the whole way. It doesn’t seem very “inspired” to me. I told
him that I’ve always been content to accept the brethren’s will with regards to
leading the church, but that now I have all these ideas of my own. Like how
can you receive revelation for every young male member of the church to
serve a mission? It doesn’t make any sense. If just one of these thousands
of boys receives his own revelation to his own prayers that for some reason
it is not in God’s plan for him to serve a mission at that time, then he is
wrong, because the prophet gave this huge blanket statement. It also robs
those who would have chosen to go of the good feelings they would have for
volunteering their time. Instead they are simply meeting a requirement. And
WHY ALL THE BUSY WORK?! I don’t mind serving, but I sure do mind
wasting my precious time. Between home and visiting teaching, being home
and visiting taught, attending all of our meetings, preparing our lessons,
doing FHE, going to Mutual/Enrichment, Stake and General Conference,
attending the temple, making meals for neighbors, and saying our morning,
meal, and evening prayers with our spouses with our families and by
ourselves, and reading our scriptures morning and night with our children,
with our spouse and by ourselves there isn’t time to breathe. Is the church
afraid we’ll actually have time to think or spend time with people or activities
outside of church? And why are we assigned everything that we do? It
leaves no room for personal inspiration and the using of your talents in your
way…the very gifts God gave you. How ironic that Mormons talk about not
“being commanded in all things” when I can’t think of a people more
“commanded” in all things. What are they not commanded in?…it so
resembles the ways of the Pharisees whose practices are denounced by
both Jesus Christ and ironically the Mormon Church. The entire situation is
spiritually suffocating. It demonstrates no faith in the members and no faith
in God. It is fear based and godless. My husband and I then ensued in a
week long conversation that had almost no breaks. We stayed up all night
discussing and rediscussing topics and finally made the decision that there
was no way that the church could be what it claims to be. We decided to
leave the church. We couldn’t believe it. We would often stop and say, are
we really discussing this? Are we really doing this? We went from having
our entire lives and the lives of our boys planned out for us to having total
freedom of thought and expression. All of a sudden “the world” (very bad
connotation in Mormon culture) was wide open to us and we were excited to
embark on this journey together.

There were a few things we wanted to do before we left. We wanted to go to
church one more time and see how it felt with our new out look, and we
wanted to talk to the bishop. When we went to church on Sunday it was by
far the best Sacrament meeting we had been to in a long time, but our
feelings were totally unchanged. We still saw clearly the reasons we
wanted to leave. The following Thursday we met with the Bishop who asked
us our reasons for leaving and not wanting to be contacted. He tried to
suggest that my information about the church was from and irreputable
source…but he quickly found out that I knew exactly what I was talking
about. I told him that I do not know anything that any church historian does
not know. He kept asking if he could come and visit us in a few weeks. I
repeatedly said that I was uncomfortable with that and he finally relented.
For the most part he was calm and courteous until the very end when he
gave us a stern warning. He told us that he didn’t foresee any trouble as
long as we kept to ourselves, but otherwise it becomes his duty to “protect
his flock”. If you knew how harmless and respectful and mild mannered my
husband and I are this would make you laugh.

We decided to be up front and tell our closest Mormon friends in the town
that we had just moved from and would soon be retuning to. I had always
considered them to be secure, intelligent, accepting and mature. Their over-
emotional and desperate responses surprised me. Only one of my friends
responded with the appropriate level of respect…but since then has
disappeared. One kept saying, are you ok? over and over, and asking if my
kids are ok over and over…like people who aren’t Mormon don’t take care of
their kids. So offensive! She also made sure to tell me that she doesn’t
approve of my decision but that this would in no way affect our friendship.
Well, firstly, I don’t need your approval or disapproval on my decisions…I am
30 years old and can run my own life, I was merely informing you. Secondly,
I haven’t heard from her since. One friend yelled at me and bore her
testimony. They all cried. They all told me over and over again how much
they loved me. The rumor instantly started circling that I had never read the
BoM cover to cover and prayed about it (I had ready the BoM cover to cover
somewhere between 12 and 15 times and prayed about it each time.)
People with whom I am not close would call me up crying and telling me that
they love me and asking me to reconsider. Like I just made some flippant
decision that I would reverse at the drop of a hat…the nerve. I let them all
say their piece and left the door open for friendship. I kept calling and was
always friendly. All of them but one, who was fairly rude at first, has totally
neglected me.

Finally, we gave ourselves some time to relax. We decided that now that the
decision was made we should talk about some of the things we would enjoy
about our new life. The list was endless and thrilling! Not torturing our sons
with Mormon missions or early morning seminary, being able to say, “I don’t
believe in the Doctrine and Covenants or the Book of Abraham!” Ahhh. It
felt good. We love our new underwear and I’m crazy about the fact that my
husband sleeps without his shirt on. Coffee! Sweet Tea (I am a southern
girl). Mainly though, the best part is just having our minds and our lives back
and getting rid of all of that dissonance. We feel so much more connected to
the people around us…like we’re all in this together. We feel so much more
connected to ourselves and to each other. We love the extra time we have
as a family. Sundays are so relaxing. It is much more fulfilling coming up
with our own service and donating our money to people and projects we
consider worthwhile.

We left the church 9 months ago, and just recently officially resigned. Since
then I have gone through many different phases. First, I felt amicable
towards the church. I disposed of my garments and temple clothes
according to church procedure. Then, I went through an existential crisis of
sorts for a while. I just needed to rethink the entire afterlife and my
connection to my family. Now that I have made peace with that I feel so
much better than I did with the band-aid of empty promises the church offers
at a very high price. I went through a phase where I was ashamed. And
began to realize that so many of my life moments that I thought stood as a
testament to my strength were instead the very opposite. My need to join the
church, my ability to empty myself of my will and do whatever my church
leaders told me, my ability to reject and control my feelings are all examples.
And just recently I have entered an angry phase. Only recently did I really
internalize the fact that I had been knowingly lied to and manipulated. It
feels so unfair! So much of my time and heart and energy and money,
wasted! I feel that this phase will pass as well, after I’ve let it run its course.

So, from a former convert, RM, Gospel Doctrine teacher, RS President,
temple married Mormon…good luck to each of you in your own journey.
Trust yourself and be brave.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/07/2011 06:01AM by Eric K.

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