Yup, I did it. I came out of the proverbial no-longer-a-Mormon closet...on facebook, of all places. Curious? I thought you might be...but only because I'm nigh unto obsessed with people's "I'm leaving" manifestos. So...enjoy?
While it's likely no great surprise to anyone, it is important
to my sanity to disclose that I'm leaving the Mormon church. Because I
know what this means to members (having been one my whole life!) I
apologize for any emotional upset this may cause...though I cannot
apologize for leaving.
I realize many will believe they
saw it coming; already I have been told that I left "because I'm a
pothead," because I have a proclivity for sin (as evidenced by my wigs,
shoes, and now my bare shoulders), because I'm lazy in seeking a
testimony, because I've been offended by gossip, or because I "think too
much." To those people, the truth won't matter, but for those to whom
my thoughts and feelings mean something (which I assume is why you're
reading this, and consequently, THANK YOU), I would like to explain my
I was born and raised in the church to convert
parents...which actually made being Mormon pretty easy. My dear parents
have always respected the individuality of their children and allowed us
to be who we were, provided we were good and kind people. I am grateful
for how they raised me, and I think I'm much better off
than some of my peers as a result.
At almost 8, I
hesitated to be baptized because I hadn't felt a spiritual prompting
about the "truth" of the church. After much counsel, I did as I was
supposed to do, hoping the feeling would come later. At 13, I prayed to
know that the BoM was true and get my promised Moroni 10:4 answer...and
received no reply. I figured Joseph Smith got his revelation at 14, and
should try again then...but we didn't study the BoM in seminary 'til I
was 15, so I waited, read, studied, and prayed. No answer. I tried again
at 18 and 19 at BYU, (two separate BoM classes) and at 21 and 23 (right
before I got temple-married), and hoped my answer would come...but
after going through the temple, I still felt no spiritual confirmation.
But I kept trying! I served as a YW president, Gospel Essentials
teacher, and finally as a Gospel Doctrine teacher for 2 years, hoping
that 20 hours/week studying would prove to God that I was ready to
receive a testimony. Instead, 2 years of studying brought up serious
issues...everything from a sadistic OT God to conflicting NT accounts to
additional conflicts in the BoM, D&C, and Pearl of Great Price. So I
went to CHURCH LITERATURE to find answers...and what I found caused my
doubts to spiral out of control. I had no one to turn to as I watched
the entire foundation of my life unravel...and not because "Satan" had
gotten to me, but because I was finally willing to seek and find truth
instead of confirmation for beliefs I'd been born to.
me when I say it was the SINGLE HARDEST THING I've EVER done. Unless
you've been there, you cannot imagine what it is to realize that
everything you had ever been taught and ever believed was NOT true, as
you'd been assured...and worse, that to give it up meant potentially
sacrificing everything and everyone in your life that meant something.
My marriage nearly ended, my children would've been caught in the
middle, I've already had friends turn away from me (because my ENTIRE
social network is LDS), and I've faced the possibility of disappointing
extended family to a point of no return...all while trying to figure out
what IS true.
See, whether Jesus is the Savior or not, He
said something awesome: that the truth would make us free. I sought the
truth, yearned for it, and - this is key! - I was willing to follow
that truth wherever it led, even if it meant sacrificing everything I
If you were to ask yourself the same question I
asked myself when I began to scrutinize my faith the way I've asked
others to scrutinize theirs in the past - Hypothetically speaking, if my
religion were not true, would I want to know? - I wonder what your
answer would be? It's not as easy as you think. When you're Mormon, it's
your entire world, and in my case, all I'd ever known. It would be SO
MUCH EASIER to "just believe", considering how much I had invested...but
God made me as I am with the brain He's given me, and I couldn't just
shelve it and "have faith." But that meant I had to study and learn and
be willing to accept things I might not like about my faith.
there are lots of things. I won't bother with them - if you're devoted,
they won't matter, and if you're not, you can find a wealth of them on
your own from books on your shelves! - but many really got me
down. I was told the feelings of grief and anger I was experiencing were
Satan, but that wasn't true; in fact, it's what my therapist (because
yes, it's hard enough to leave Mormonism that I need a therapist!) terms
"Adjustment Disorder," and being both mad and sad come with the
I was informed the other day that the church is
about to "come out" with some glossed-over talks and essays that deal
with some of the historical and modern issues those of us leaving tend
to have with the church. I confess, I appreciate that; my world might
not have unraveled so quickly had I known that Joseph Smith was both
polygamous and polyandrous, or that the church had the "translated"
pages from the Book of Abraham that actually were simply from the
Egyptian Book of the Dead, or exactly what current church finances
entail, general authority pay, City Creek Mall and all. I hope those talks help other people continue to live happily Mormon if they choose, and that they help others be more educated about the foundation
of their faith so they can make an educated choice about whether or not
to stay. After all, you don't know what you don't know. You may think you know everything, but BOY, is it freeing to accept that you don't!!!
know that I feel no ill will toward the general membership. Many of the
Mormons I know are among the very best people on earth. I may be a bit
angry, but not at you guys...it's at the organization, and I CAN and DO
separate the two. I don't judge you for believing...but I ask that you
do not judge me for leaving. I assure you, pot, wigs, tank tops, coffee,
laziness, and a bit of obnoxious (but sometimes justified!) gossip
really has nothing to do with it. I only seek the truth, and I cannot
find it in the church. It sure would be easier if I could, though!
what am I looking for? Very few people want to engage in conversation
about all this, and I get it, but I'm open to it. I'll try not to vent
on FB anymore, but can't totally guarantee it. (Just hide me!) I
don't need any more Ensign articles to read; they're over-simplified and
frankly insulting. I also don't need to be convinced, or to have you
bear your testimony. I love you, and I appreciate that that shows how
much you love and value me, but I'm well-decided. I haven't removed my
name from the rolls, and don't currently plan to, but again, I'm done.
Don't blame yourself. Don't blame anyone else. This is my choice, and I
make it freely. Please leave my parents be. If you know the gospel, you
know they're hurting and don't need any reminders that I'm "lost", nor
do they need assurances that my free will will be overridden if they
endure faithfully to the end. Just love them.
that I'm okay. In fact, I'm happy! I know I get angry or sad about all
this sometimes, but that's normal. My world was turned upside down, and
it's okay for me to struggle with that. The reality is, though, that my
life is better and happier and more honest and more free now than it's
ever, ever been, and I have the support of a spectacular husband and
wonderful children, a loving extended family (on both sides!) who
continue to support me, and most of all, I'm being true to truth
wherever I find it, including being flexible enough to change my
understanding of truth when more or greater truth comes along. I'm
learning at the speed of light, and the world seems so infinitely much
more beautiful and marvelous and amazing than it ever has. It's like I'm
a kid in a candy store, and God, if He/She/It is there, has given me
His credit card. ("Hey, check that out! QUANTUM PHYSICS!!! Ooh, and
Buddhism! And...and...plant biology!!!")
Love to you
all, and if you've stayed with me this long, thank you. I'm good. In
fact, I'm GREAT, and I'm happy and in love with my husband and still
doing my darnedest for my children, and still a moral, ethical human
being with a capacity for love and learning that I've heretofore never
known was possible. Life is beautiful. Thank you for being part of mine.
Yup, that's it. That's me. I'm out, I'm done, and I'm relieved. No, I can't imagine what it's like to have to come out of the closet as a homosexual, which must be infinitely harder in many respects, but I imagine it's at least a little bit like coming out as a now-non-member: some will curse you, some will come to your defense, but most just shrug and say "We figured that one out already." In other words, it's QUITE the experience, and I'm glad it's done.
Does this mean I'm going to tell you my real name? No. I'm getting there, true, but I'm still not ready to be ex'd, so I'm holding off for now...but it's coming. I swear, it's coming. Just hang in there with me a little longer. Love to all, Regina
Welcome to My Continuing Online Journey!
Perhaps you've read my book by now, or maybe you've only heard of it and were curious about me, or maybe you're even just surfing the web and happened on one of my posts, but please take your time and wander around. I've got enough to say, I'll be posting for some years yet! Lots of resources, personal entries, and discussion to be had; please contribute (respectfully) to it without fear of being lambasted. (Read: all comments will be moderated for relevance and basic appropriateness.) Finally, if you are here because you have heard my story or one like it and are willing to lend your support to us indoctrinated folk entering the real world, Thank You. With love, Regina