So I hope you read Part 1 of this post because otherwise you’ll be a little lost. Unless, of course you have experience with the church yourself. Anyway, this post is not going to be bashing on Mormons, or trying to disprove anything. I believe everyone has the right to practice whatever religion they believe in. My husband is still an active member of the church, as his family, and they are all fantastically great people.
That all being said, I personally choose not to be a member of the LDS religion anymore, and this post is about my journey from entering the church to leaving it. I’ll start at the very beginning. WARNING: LONG POST. It’s more of a diary entry, instead of a help blog, but if you are a struggling member of the church, I hope this will help you!
Why I joined the church
4 years ago, I was working in Hanksville, UT. At that point I had been depressed for many years and was self-medicating using alcohol. I knew something was not right, and that I needed help of some kind, I just didn’t know where to look or what to look for. That’s when I met the man who is now my husband (Teddy). He was amazing and we had an instant connection. He took me to a church service and called the Mormon missionaries over. It was the kick in the butt I needed. It helped me focus on something GOOD for a change, and gave me a reason to stop drinking altogether. I had always wanted more faith in my life, but never had immediate access to anyone willing to take me to church with them. Over a course of 6 weeks, I had been taking twice-weekly lessons with the missionaries, and they told me they wanted to baptize me. I had developed a friendship with them and didn’t want to let them down, so I hesitantly agreed. From the moment I agreed it just didn’t feel right, but I got praise from Teddy, as well as his family, so I thought it was just my nerves. They were great people, so I figured there might be something to it. I was reassured that the more I prayed and the more I learned, the better I would feel about it, and to just keep on trying.
On the day of my baptism I was very nervous, but I went through with it. The only thing I felt was relief that it was over and behind me. Honestly, I didn’t even realize how big of a deal it really was. But what was done, was done, and I told myself I would try to live the Mormon lifestyle. Part of this was because I didn’t want to lose Teddy because in my gut I knew he was the one who I wanted to spend my life with.
Beginning of The End
I kept on trying my best to be a ‘good Mormon’ for YEARS, but I ended up loosing myself in it. Because of the depression and alcoholism I never really knew who I was to begin with, but the more time I spent in the Mormon church, the more trapped and lost I felt. By then I was married with a child, so I felt like I had no way out. I kept thinking that if I just tried harder that I would fall in love with it.
So the time came when my husband wanted to take me to the temple. We had been getting pressure from his family and our friends, and I felt like I owed it to him. Going to the temple for the first time is a HUGE deal in Mormon culture which didn’t help my nerves. I couldn’t just play it off like it was no big deal, and I certainly couldn’t ignore it afterward because I would have to wear temple garments. Again, I felt I had no way out. I was trying to put on this front as the perfect Mormon girl for my husband’s family because I was so scared of being the black sheep in the family.
We went to the endowment session first, and the sealing session on another day. From the moment I walked into the endowment session I just wanted out. I kept looking at the closed door wondering if I could just get up and leave. I felt claustrophobic and uncomfortable. They show a church-produced movie in that session so I simply focused on that, and did my best to understand and feel good about it.
The sealing session is when I could not keep it together anymore. We had to take glen with us to be sealed with us since we weren’t sealed prior to his birth, and I could hear him screaming from down the hall. I wasn’t allowed to see him though, so I KNEW this wasn’t right. Everyone was telling me to relax and enjoy the experience but I couldn’t. I was having anxiety attacks, but nobody noticed but Teddy who tried his best to comfort me.
When it was all over, I was done. I was mad, and I never wore temple garments past that day, and started skipping church.
The End of My Mormonism
After my second son was born, I ended up with pretty severe postpartum depression and anxiety. I started taking Zoloft for it when he was 3 months old and by 4 months, my whole world changed. I felt better than I had since I was 15. It was like I was living in a blurry haze then finally got glasses. Everything became clear, and I felt like a real person again.
I started reflecting on the parts of Mormonism that I believed, those I didn’t, what made me happy, and what I hated. I realized the list of things I didn’t believe was double the size of what I did believe, and the things that made me happy about it, I wouldn’t lose if I stopped being a member.
Suddenly, it became clear that being Mormon was one of the major sources of my stress and anxiety. I gave it up, and I have not looked back. I feel vibrant and happier than I ever have. I am finally learning who I really am, and have gained the ability to FINALLY speak up for myself and truly not care what others think of me (something that I never had before).
So that’s my story. Are you an ex-member? I want to hear your story too! Leave me a message in the comment box!