I was born and raised in the LDS Church. I was firm and fixed in my faith for most of my life. I knew it was true.
My faith was first rattled loose from its foundation when I decided to prepare for the temple by recommitting myself to Mormonism and deciding to become a true scholar of my faith. I sincerely believed that my promises would be trite if I did not understand them as well as I could. What kind of Mormon would I be, I thought, if I didn’t make every effort to study and understand my beliefs? I knew that my Heavenly Father would be proud of me if I made an effort to study the scriptures and the teachings of the prophets.
I decided to go back to the beginning. I began reading about the life of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. Little by little, I began to read about things that confused me or shocked me. I was startled to find out that things I had been told were “anti-Mormon lies” were in fact true. I learned that Joseph Smith’s death was not an innocent martyrdom, but was rather the result of his lies about polygamy. I noticed for the first time the improbable history presented by the Book of Mormon. I had begun my efforts to dig into the details of Mormonism as an effort to renew and deepen my faith. But as soon as I delved beneath the surface, I found nothing but cause for doubt. Despite this, I convinced myself that this was just a trial of faith sent by God, and if I refused to give up, in time I would reconcile the troubling conflict of historical fact and Mormon teachings.
The final blow to my faith came when I endured spiritual abuse by a bishop and stake president who meddled in my life and told me they knew God’s will better than I did. My bishop exercised authority over psychological issues that he was unqualified to understand, advising me to stay in an abusive marriage. He told me that I had a duty to correct my husband’s waywardness, and that God would be angry with me if I forsook my temple covenants. I felt in my heart that it was in my best interest to leave, but I trusted my Bishop as my priesthood leader. After reaching a point where I knew that my life would be at risk if I stayed any longer, I finally decided to stop listening to priesthood leaders and do what I knew was right. I finally saw that the top-down structure of the LDS church has no resources for abused members when the system fails. My trust is broken, and I will not go back to be mistreated again by a system that brushes aside those who don’t fit in perfectly.
For several years I performed a tightrope walk on the border of Mormonism. I was too afraid to leave because of fear of losing my family. But I couldn’t stay, because it’s impossible to believe in the equality of all human beings and believe in the teachings of the LDS church. I recently resigned. It was a sad decision but one that was essential as it allowed me to reclaim my integrity. The price of this action was being disowned. I hope in time my family will come around, but for now I need to take comfort in my many wonderful friends and the lively community of post-Mormons online that I’ve found through this blog.
Let’s see how it goes.