Well here I am, another recovering Mormon, and all I have to say is that it is so nice to know I can find other people who can really understand. Only someone who has been a Mormon can really understand the extent to which Mormonism envelops your life.
My parents became members when I was two. I was raised a Mormon, and I am the only one who is not longer a member. Although my family claims to be accepting, there are always comments and remarks that I find disturbing. It is particularly hard for me being a woman and a feminist. I remember one time telling my mother that if the Mormon temple sealing ceremony included the word "obey" I would not say it. She laughed it off, and said .. don't be ridiculous, honey, its just words... and plus you don't have to obey when he is not honoring his priesthood. However when I later learned (the hard way) that the only ones that have the right to decided if a priesthood holder is honoring his priesthood or not is the priesthood holder himself... I said. wait a second. There is something wrong with this picture.
As a young woman I had opinions that made my life in the church more difficult with every passing year. Women's spirituality not being respected, women looked down on if they finished college and got a job. (only the butt ugly girls made it to senior year). Thinking that living together before marriage was a bad thing, that abortion was the deadliest of sins (I do not believe in it myself even now, but I believe that there are some women for whom it is the only option.) That homosexuality and masturbation were the worst carnal sins and dirty, disgusting and morally unclean. I used to beat myself up over my disagreements.. telling myself that I had to be wrong. that I was the one that was messed up.
Well I have to say that things are much different now. I am married, to a great open minded and supportive husband outside the church (thank god) and have two great kids. I have a strong willed and highly intelligent daughter who will never have her spirit crushed by a misogynist religion and a son who will know better than to expect his wife to obey. I am also bi and am working on living openly, out to some of my analog friends and all those I know on-line. I feel like my life is finally an honest one. I live as I believe and and have faith in something bigger than myself, something with no name or face, but that exists nonetheless. It lives in everyone, and everything. and I am still a Christian, but my Jesus is a personal one.
There have been many written works that have brought me to where I am today, but there are two that stand out in particular. One is "The Mists of Avalon" by Marian Zimmer Bradley -the king Arthur story from a pagan/pro-female perspective, I book that finally validated me as capable of strong spirituality outside male hierarchy, and "Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography" by John Dominic Crossan, which finally offered me a Jesus I could believe in after I had left the Mormon one behind.
And even though all my feminist hype may have you running scared, I want to tell you all that I am pro-people before pro anything and that I never felt that way until I was outside the church. I finally can accept everyone, something that I could not do as a Mormon. I am a hypocrite no longer.
Best wishes to all who post here. I will keep reading and post if I feel the need. I hope that there are other women who this moves (in a good way) to feel strong in themselves after being put in the box for so long. You have a spirit too. Don't let them take it away from you.
This next short story was from a former Bishop and from the same AOL folder. I lost his e-mail address, he no loner is on AOL, so since I don't have his direct permission to post this I left off his name and removed the location of where he was a bishop. We had corresponded in the past and he is trying to form a support group for ex-Mormons to meet and share their experiences. From that knowledge, I assume then it is OK to post his short story.
A former Bishop
I left the LDS Church almost 10 years ago after being active in it for over 12 years. At the time I began to lose my faith in Mormonism I was a bishop of a Ward in... It was a difficult period of time for me as my family did not see to follow me out of the Church. (My wife and I divorced and 3 of my children went on Mormon missions.) I look back on the time I was in the Church and laugh at some of the idiotic things I believed in. The things that come foremost to my mind are those associated with Joseph Smith's claims about Missouri: Garden of Eden, altar of Adam, Christ will return to Temple in Missouri, etc. I'm sure others of you have similar experiences...
I thought as a Mormon I was sitting on top of the world. But as I learned that I had been lied to about so many different things my world began to crumble. I became very bitter about anything Mormon. I even fantasized that I would commit Kamikaze with an airplane right into the Tabernacle during General Conference. Of course, I would never do that but it was fun imagining it for a while.
Today I'm remarried to a lady who herself was victimized by Mormonism and we are happy as we can be. We still have pains associated with Mormonism but time has healed much of it but there are some pains that will never be completely healed.
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