Date: October 24, 2015 08:19PM
I was born into the church. My family history traces back both in and out of the church. Both of my grandfathers were nonmembers who married members and later joined the church. My parents are true believers. My father never served a mission as he was more interested in women and alcohol. Although he denies it today, most of his teenage stories don't make much sense without alcohol being involved.
I grew up in Montana and Oregon with 5 siblings (I'm #3). My parents were true good mormons who believed firmly in their children being independent. Today the legal term for this type of parenting is called neglegence. I'm still surprised that we all lived. Good thing the grandparents were nearby for most of it.
My father is the perfect beaurocrat, quick to enforce rules with no logical explanation. My mother is vastly more intellegent than my father and rules him with an iron first. Unfortunatly her lifelong belief in the LDS faith has left her more than slightly mentally unstable. Undiagnosed and untreated of course.
I was a very quick study and had a great memory. I could memorized large amounts of information but as learning came so easy, I spent little time with critical thinking. I got good grades throughout school career which of course made me very popular. I also was an odd truly believing mormon in areas where 90+% of the population was not which only increased my popularity.
My family moved frequently as my father tried to work in the private sector and was repeatedly fired. He finally found his true calling as a petty beaurocrat. After causing many issues in the main office he was ostrasized to the middle of nowhere in Eastern Oregon where he spent the next 15 years. This last move was between my freshman and sophmore years in high school. So I ended up being the introverted smart, weird, new guy in a highschool. Social outcast doesn't even begin to describe it.
I found a way to leave year early from HS and started a junior college nearby at 17. There I was the jailbait, smart, weird guy at school who lived with his parents. Yep social outcast again.
Finally at 19, I went on my mission. I was to go to the Machester, England mission. Up until this point really nothing had happened my make me rethink the LDS dogma. Not even the weird experience of attending the Temple. I was only disappointed with the lack of the so called "mysteries". I understood everything that was going on and it was pretty silly.
So I eagerly entered the MTC. My families excitement as outrageous as my older sister had decided to go on a mission as well. We entered the MTC two weeks apart. Those weeks in the MTC was all about convincing all of us that what they are about to do is the best thing possible. I was excited and eager to learn new things.
I learned new things but not the things they wanted to teach me. First I learned that the BoM had been edited extensively. I pondered why would they need to do this. With this doubt I began to study and think in earnest for the first time in my life. I read everything the mormons consider scripture from cover to cover. After finishing the D&C and PoGP I was more confused than ever. So then I migrated on to all of the approved church books.
By this time I was in England and I getting yelled at from my trainer, DL, and ZL for not memorizing the discussions. My response was how could I teach something, I did not fully understand. My grandson of an apostle DL said his grandfather said "Teach it and you'll believe it." This is when I started doubting the leaders of the church.
All during this time I saw the outrageous and stupid sales pitches that were being done to get people motivated. The shear arrogance and thoughtless cruelty that this inspired in these young men was ridiculous.
After about 9 months I sunk into a deep depression and what I now know as PTSD. There were enough issues in this mission at the time that they assigned a couple of senior missionairy's that were psycologist to the mission. There goal was to keep the missionaries on the mission not to help them or let them go home. I spoke with them once after I ditched companion I was with and went back to the flat. They manipulated the crap out of me to keep me in the field.
They then bounced me around every month at transfers for the next 8 months and left me as Junior the entire time. So I didn't infect anyone else of course. During this time I was severely depressed and really began to see the damage that the LDS had done to peoples lives. We mostly spent our time visiting inactives that were baptised during the baseball/nutter collections of the previous years. The damage was horrendous. I saw so many families ripped apart, so much needless anger, suffering, and pain.
Luckily I was by then classified as a "damaged" and they started to put me with other guys of my class. We did very little missionary work. I wrote one weekly blue schedule with no date on the top and used it for the entire second year. I spent a lot of time in the parks and riding the longest bus routes we could. I started reading "unauthorized" books again and slowly started to stabalize myself. I'll never forget the joy of reading a novel again. It wasn't even a good one but... it was dirty. It made me feel human again. Going home was such a taboo that I never really though of it. I should have in retrospect.
By the time I finally returned home I knew I did not believe in the church anymore. I was not even that surprised when both of my MP's were called to the 70 not long after I returned. They were both terrible human beings.
To say that my returning missionary speech was lacking was an understatement. I had so little positive to share that it only took a few minutes. I of course couldn't say what had really happened.
Finally breaking and leaving took some time. I had no friends outside of the LDS. I also knew that I would lose all of my family if I did. None of them are what you would call forgiving. Over the course of the next two years as I attended a state school I slowly decreased my attendance at all church events. I was working full time to put myself through school so no-one thought it was a big deal. When working 30 hours per week and going to school full time there is not much time for anything else.
In the last quarter before I graduated, I was assigned to be lab partners with this itty bitty opinionated catholic girl with a huge personality. We fought like crazy. No conversation didn't end in a whopping fight. We tore each other to shreds and were dating 6 weeks into the term after a whopping fight ended in a little something else mindblowing. Sadly interrupted before it really got interesting with her roommates coming home. I still claim she jumped me first. She says it was the other way around.
Right after the end of the term my grandparents set up a big temple day for all of our family to do work for our ancestors. We were mostly doing sealings at that point. After going through the entire endowment circus, I stood in the sealing room in the funny outfit and realized I would never return. I was okay with the consequences. I never have been back. I moved to Minnesota the next month and never returned to church. The little spitfire and I contined to date by telephone and occasional plane trips. I spent a huge amount on the long-distance calls as cell phones were not yet common.
6 months later after a massive argument, I had to tell the little spitfire that she would marry me. She responded "I need a ring first". So I designed her a ring and had it made. We were married a little over a year after we started dating. 14 years later we are still happily together with two wonderful boys. She's not longer as easily provoked but I can still rile her up for old times sake.
My family has never accepted my decision to leave and I've never given my reasons. I rarely speak to any of them now. The sister who left on a mission with me came back sick/ill/depressed after a terrible experience as well. From what I know she is still a TBM who is divorced with 4 kids living in Utah. We haven't spoken since her marraige fell apart 4 years ago. I know that 3 out of 4 of my sisters are currently on anti-depressants. My brother is a jack-mormon who avoids conflict.
Every so often I feel guilty at how much joy I have with my wife and boys compared to my siblings. Then I remember the pain I had to go through to make it to this point and say "FUCK IT".