Growing up to being the age that I am now has been literally hell. There was a time when I did believe strongly about the church, but that was only because I wanted to make my parents happy and I thought that if I didn't believe in what they believed that they would hate me. I really didn't think for myself. I felt like I was kind of being controlled.
When I got baptized, of course I was only 8 years old. I think that that really doesn't give you a choice to make your own decisions, I mean your 8 years old for crying out loud, of course your going to do what your parents want you to do or what they tell you is the right thing to do. My mom stopped going to church. I thought that it was because she was sick or something. Then when she totally stopped coming I didn't understand, I did for sometime have a little hate for her, but I didn't know why. I hated it because are family wasn't like a normal "Mormon" family. We didn't have "50" kids, we weren't very rich either, and then my mom stopped going to church for no reason. It hurt me deeply because I thought that I wouldn't be able to see her in the life afterwards if she didn't go to church. I thought it was because she didn't want to be with us in the life afterwards. My dad also was pounding it in my head that she was making the wrong decisions, so were the people in my the church. You know when they make you feel guilty, like the little Molly Mormons that go to my school, they were like, ha ha we have a better family then you and your mom is going to go to hell. I wasn't mad at them for saying these things because I too thought that. I now regret it faithfully.
Well about 4 years after that it was time for me to get my interview for Young Womens. I thought it was going to be a good experience talking to my bishop about becoming a Young Women, but was I wrong. He asked me a series of personal questions that really intimidated me. Stuff like "Are you sexually active" or "Have you masturbated before". I was pretty shocked. First off I didn't even know what the word masturbated meant, until he told me. I felt like telling him oh yes I'm a sexually active 12 year old Molly Mormon, oh and yes I masterbate all the time! I mean come on even if I was doing those things why would tell him, and who gave him a right to know about my personal life, certainly not God.
That good experience turned out to be probably one of the worst experiences in my life in the church. It brought a lot of questions to my mind, and I didn't want to take these questions that I had and put them to the side. I started to listen very carefully to all of the lessons that were being taught at church, trying to find my answers. I couldn't tell anyone about how I felt or that I was having doubts about the church because I was afraid that I would lose a lot of my friends. So I decided to go to the one person that I had avoided because of this Church, my mom.
I went to her and I told her about all of my doubts, crying, and she listened with an open heart. I cant believe how stupid I was, hating my mom because of something false. She and I talked for a very long time about how things were supposed to be and how things were. What was right and what we thought was right. If we listened with open ears or with an open heart. I learned a lot about my mom that I never knew before, and it made me realize that she was the person that she was now because she stopped going to church.
I love my mother very much and I always will. I know that she is not going to go to hell because I know that she's a good person, and that you don't have to belong to a church to be a good person. She showed me a lot of things that she has researched about the church that made me realize that not only the church was false but that they had lied to me and everybody else. It hurt me so much!! I mean I prayed about it, I read about it, and I even listened in church, but still did not find my answeres. I wanted my mom to be wrong about all of the stuff she had told me, but I knew that she was right.
I felt really really dumb for not seeing before, but then I also knew that it wasn't really my fault, that they had manipulated me into believing what they wanted me to believe. After knowing and actually thinking and believing for myself I felt really uncomfortable whenever I went to church. I mean I was sitting with all of these true believers and I felt like a loner. I hated going to church and being taught false things, but I couldn't tell my dad how I felt because I thought that he would disown me or something.
After weeks of going to, what I called hell, church, I finally snapped after hearing a lesson in Young Womens. The lesson was about how a women's calling in life was to support her husband and to bear children. NO!!! I do not think so. I plan to have a life, and I do have a nice future planned ahead of me that I would like to achieve. I am not going to spend my life sitting at home cooking, cleaning, and popping out babies every year. Yeah I want to get married, and yeah I want to have children but 3 is enough for me. I also think that when I get married that my husband will be mature enough to do things for himself, yeah sure I'll help him when he needs it but I am certainly not going to baby him!
My bestfriend Lisa actually gave me the courage to tell my dad how I felt. She told me in everything that she believed in and she told me that I didn't have to go to a church to believe in a God. I agreed totally. The next day, which happened to be a Sunday, I told him. I told him everything that I believed in and I told him how I felt the church has been lying. He listened to me while I told him about how I felt. I cried during the whole time to. I was so afraid in what he was going to say after I was finished. I think that he was pretty suprised to hear me saying all of this because I never showed any doubt before, but he never knew that it was only because I thought he was going to hate me.
Well he doesn't hate me. He actually was very supportive, he told me that I had a choice and that it was my decision. So now I have a lot off my chest that I don't have to worry about anymore. The only bad thing now is that I'm going to be bugged about it by the Molly's and others at church. But I think that it is worth it because being bugged about it is not nearly as much as having to be taught something that isn't true!!! I just want to let my mom know how much I love her and how much she helped me out. Thank you mom and I love you!!!
You can read her mother's story at Story #68.
When I left Mormonism (the last and final time) I was filled with fear and guilt. I was angry at a huge religion that had taken so much of my time, energy and money for so many years. I wrote my letter asking to be removed from the records of the church and was asked to come to what I call an exit interview. Actually it was a summons to my excommunication. I asked that stupid bishop..."How can you excommunicate me when I already quit?" Duh...
It is easy to ration the guilt out of a persons head, but difficult to get the fear out of your heart. Family can make it very difficult too. Mine has been pretty good, we just don't talk about it....
I appreciated your message and I believe your page will be very helpful to many folks trying to get up the courage to leave. God knows, I stood on the threshold of good-bye for decades. I believe the move would have been easier had I known someone who had already made the trek....
I was just talking to [another family member], who by the way, left Mormonism about a year after I did, and we were talking about some of the weird stuff that went on in the Temple. She said her knees started to shake, and she realized she had never spoken to anyone about her experience before. We compared notes, and shared how frightened we both were, and then had some good laughs. The laugh was caused when she recounted how frightened she was that she was going to forget her "name", and in fact, she had to raise her hand and stand when they called for anyone who had forgotten their name to come forward. Her (then) husband was very critical and unforgiving and she knew how embarrassed she had made him. She wanted to crawl into a hole. Then she said to me, as she was telling this story, " if only I could have remembered the name without having to let everyone know". I laughed. I looked at her, and said, "Honey, you could have asked the lady sitting next to you, and she would have been able to tell you". You should have seen the look on her face when she realized that all these years she had thought each person in each session in each temple in the world all had a different name for that day. We cracked up. Then she said how funny it was to look over at her husband in "full dress" - he looked like a Chef. So yes, we did laugh, and yes, it was good for both of us! Honestly, it's kind of scary to think that I can actually talk and share with someone who has been there and knows how I feel. Thanks a lot Eric!
I never really bought into the whole thing. When I was about five years old our family went to my fathers office picnic. The only beverage there was iced tea! It was a hot summer day, and it looked good. When my family wasn't looking I filled up a dixie cup full of that sinful iced tea and ran into the woods. I drank it down fast and then waited to die! After about ten minutes nothing happened, of course, and I ran off to play. I never told anyone of my experience but they couldn't brain wash me after that.
I got pregnant and had a baby (unwed mother!) when I was 18. My parents sent me to live in a foster home (Mormon), and I was basically their maid, and they didn't even let me eat meals with them. It was the worst experience of my life! Of course to make things even worse I kept the baby and he was half black!!! Although the church had found an inter-racial Mormon couple in Arizona that they wanted to give my baby to. They were so furious when I said NO!!! They had done this even when I said from the beginning that I was going to keep my baby!!!
It has taken me 17 years to recover. My son is now 16 years old. He is a straight A student, the star of his high school baseball team, and he has a very high self esteem. I am financially secure, and have great friends, and am happy. However, to this day my family still believes we are doomed. They continue to send the missionaries to my house. Whenever I move they transfer my church records to the current ward. I have told them time and time again to stop but they won't. They feel that if they keep trying I will return to the fold. My older sister who lives 1000 miles away continues to call to tell me about these great (Mormon) men she wants me to meet. They just won't give up! My mothers response to my happiness, and my sons is due to the devil. "The devil gives blessings too" is what she says when I tell her I'm happy. One time due to my complaints to the missionaries, home teachers etc. that I was not a Mormon, they sent some men to my door one night (I do not think they were missionaries-must of been a bishop or one of them). They had some kind of document for me to sign. When I answered the door they said they were from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and that they needed my signature and I would be sent to Satan. I do not remember the exact words but it was enough for me to shut the door in their faces! I felt that they didn't even deserve a second of my time.
I have downloaded several documents from the Internet about the church, temple ceremonies etc., I wish I had the courage to send copies to all of my family but they probably wouldn't even read them. Reading them has been a comfort to me and validation of my own beliefs. I never knew any factual things about the untruths of the church growing up, but after the iced tea event, I didn't need them.
Feel free to use all or any part of my story as you please.