I grew up in Orange County California and as a young child, I was burdened by the ongoing family problems of my home. The fighting between my parents at one point became so bad, plus the fighting between my older brother & my father (his step-dad), that I can remember going through severe depression & wanting desperately to die. Life had no meaning or purpose & I didn't think I could be strong enough emotionally to endure home life.
I stopped thinking about taking my life when I saw the movie with Charlton Heston, "THE TEN COMMANDMENTS". What struck me so strongly in the movie was the commandment, "Thou Shalt Not Kill. Even though life at home was bad, suicide would be breaking that commandment & for some reason I didn't want to offend God.
Then when I was around 10 or 11, I had an experience which changed my life drastically & permanently! I got to spend the summer with my cousins in Ohio, & while I was there I accidentally poisoned their pet kitten. (There were flies all over the kittens food, so I sprayed them with bug spray without thinking I was spraying the food as well). When I found the kitten in the garage, it was foaming at the mouth, eyes turned in back of its head, & it was having convulsions. I didn't tell my aunt what I had done accidentally, but begged her to take the kitten to the vet. She put my hand on its chest & told me it was just about dead anyway because there was barely a heart beat.
Sobbing out of control, I ran to the basement & locked the door behind me. I remembered the miracles I saw Moses performed in the "Ten Commandments" movie & for some reason I decided to plead for the life of this animal to God. The room was dark & I knelt beside the sofa with my face buried in the cushions to "muffle" the sounds of my crying & when I calmed down a little, began to pour out my soul in behalf of this little kitten. I begged Jesus to heal it and told Him I knew He could do it as I reminded Him of each miracle He performed in that Charlton Heston Movie, & proceeded to mention every one. I told Him of all the misfortune my cousins had when it came to some of their other pets & couldn't bare the thought of them loosing another one. Still sobbing, I told Jesus if he would answer this one prayer for me, I would be a good girl for the rest of my life and try to never do anything bad. Between crying and praying, I must have been on my knees for over 30 minutes. Trying to gain back my "10 year old" composure, I dried my eyes & got off my knees to rejoin my young cousins. We all had to load up in the car to go grocery shopping & on our return back to the house, I was dumbfounded to see the baby kitten sitting on the back porch. It looked weak but it was alive & purring. Since God had kept his end of the deal, I remembered my promise & intended to keep mine. Home life was still a mess & my brother & sister got heavy into alcohol & drugs to escape the pain, plus tried several times to commit suicide. My brother was eventually found after he had been dead for 6 weeks in his apartment & his body was so decomposed the cause of death was unknown. Me on the other hand never took the first puff, the first drink, nor the first pill & I intended to be a virgin when I got married. I was an honor roll student at school & wanted to be a nurse when older. Although my family never went to any church I thought a lot about God & wondered what He was like & how He came to be.
My junior year in High School I met a Mormon girl & we became friends. I started visiting a couple of churches & she invited me to church w/ her family one Sunday. It was testimony meeting & I was "sucked in" on all this "Families Are Forever" stuff I heard, along with so many adults and children stating that "That they knew the church was true" & seemed to talk about "Heavenly Father" in such a personal way. Needless to say, I had the missionary discussions & joined at 17. I took my relationship w/ Deity so seriously, that I fasted for 2 days, 3 months after joining the church, trying to get that "burning in my bosom" to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was the only true church. I asked Heavenly Father to give me a "sign" & the answer or feeling I got, I now know wasn't from God. I realize now that when one asks for a "sign" to get proof, then you open the door for adversary because the Bible says Satan can appear as an angel of light & that he comes as a wolf in sheep's clothing to deceive people from the real truth & things about God. Never growing up with the Bible, & Mormons "poo-pooing" the Bible (except for the stuff Joseph smith re-translated) and all the crap from Mormon prophets that "a man can get closer to God by reading the Book Of Mormon than any other book", I never read much of the Bible as a Mormon. (Besides how can anyone ever find time to get to the Bible anyway between the D&C, & the other standard works to read, plus attending all those stupid meetings & working your self to death for the betterment of Zion).
I went on to BYU for 1 year & then Bill & I were married in the L.A. Temple in 1975. Looking back, the whole temple ordeal was such a "dud" & big disappointment on my 1st time through. I heard a lot of people always saying how "spiritual" it was to go, & yet my experience was so different. When I got to the veil I broke down crying. A temple worker asked me why I was crying & I told her how the temple was supposed to be a spiritual experience & to me the whole thing was so confusing. She said, "that is the beauty of the temple because each time we go we learn something new about the mysteries of God; President McKay went thousands of times in his life & it wasn't until he was in his old age that he understood what it was all about." I thought to myself, "that's just terrific; when I'm reaching my 80's then maybe I'll have a clue, but until then I'll just go through the motions of dressing & re-dressing like some Barbie Doll with silly hand motions and being "ticked off" that Bill got to know my temple name, but he wasn't allowed to tell me his & also, why was Eve always such a "mute" in the temple movie I saw. Adam did all the talking back & forth to God, while Eve grunted out a word here and there, storing up her 10,000 words a day, while Adam got to converse with the Lord using up his 5,000 words a day on deity & not his wife; NO WONDER Eve had to go and talk to a snake! Those 10,000 words had to go somewhere.
Then came our wonderful honeymoon in Salt Lake City!! Bill made the big mistake of taking me to the Bee Hive House where some "250 generation moron" (Excuse me, I meant 5 generation Mormon), told me that Bill would have more than one wife in the Celestial Kingdom. Being a member for only 2 years I told her only if I would let him & some men would have many wives & some would only have 1. She enlightened me by quoting junk from Brigham Young (after all we were touring his house) stating that it was an eternal principal & that each man would have at least a minimum of 200 wives & my husband didn't need permission from me in the hereafter to get them.
I cried all the way back to Hotel Utah while Bill silently drove listening to me go on and on and on how I had no intentions of sharing him in the hereafter and how I felt like a 2nd class citizen being a woman in the church compared to a man. Yeah, if I was a man I'd love the thought of the Celestial Kingdom too; making eternal "whoopie" with countless women forever, while I get stuck with "billions" of spirit children FOREVER, (Changing spiritual poopy diapers). Boy, I can hardly wait; when do we go! Give me a hand gun!) Being a virgin when I got married, this didn't rest well with only being married 2 days. Poor Bill! Instead of a honeymoon filled with "passion & lust", he watched a lot of movies in our hotel, while I cried & had a big time pity party over a doctrine I didn't even have to live until after I was dead!
I continued to struggle with this doctrine deeply throughout the years in the church because I loved Bill so much & wanted to be his one and only special sweetheart. He has always been my very best friend & the thought of sharing any aspect of him was always too much to bare. Here we have struggled through this journey of life together, bringing children into the world & sharing ups and downs, only to become a "number" of the many women to serve him as he becomes a god with "worlds without end". I tried not to dwell on it often with my finite mind because it upset me so badly, so I put it out of my mind as best I could. I did share with one sister in the church who told me that since we lived with Heavenly Father in the pre-existence, we knew about Heavenly Mother & were very aware of all of His wives. When we made it to the Celestial Kingdom, we would remember our premortal life & we would accept & embrace this doctrine, but until then I would have to accept it on faith.
Even though I struggled with this, as well as the temple ceremony, I continued to be a devout member of the church & accepted everything on faith. I felt that Heavenly Father loved & blessed me enough to have led me to the restored gospel; blessed me with a wonderful husband who took me to the temple; etc. etc. I went to every church meeting & accepted & served faithfully in every calling given.
Even after we were married & lived in a little town (Statesboro, GA), I never complained when given a "thousand" callings at once. I was used to the church being so big in California & in Utah, & here in the South it was so different. Our little branch had 25 active members & we met in an old tiny house. Being basically a new convert, I was quite surprised when I had to drive 250 miles to visit teach 4 ladies a month (3 of which were inactive & didn't have phones so when they weren't there, I didn't get credit). When I visit taught at BYU, I only had to go up 2 floors in the elevator when I stayed at Deseret Towers); In the small branch I also taught 11 children Sunday school in a garage; was homemaking counselor in Relief Society as well as the spiritual living teacher; also played piano for every church meeting, plus our tiny choir. Since there were more callings it seemed, then members to serve or even accept, I happily volunteered whenever I saw a need because I wanted to be a strong saint & example to others. This was before the consolidated meetings so my whole life was "church". I even wrote president Kimball (who was prophet at the time) telling him how weak the church seemed to be in the South. He wrote me back a personal letter telling me that no one had to be a prophet or a general authority to make the celestial kingdom & that the Lord was aware of my efforts and to continue to serve faithfully.
Bill & I had 4 children in 4 1/2 years & despite the demands of young children, I still believed & faithfully served. Even when I had 3 little ones in diapers at the same time, I heard a church leader say from the pulpit that "we couldn't be saved without our dead" & if we died before doing our genealogy, then we wouldn't make the celestial kingdom. So to be the obedient member of the church, I worked myself to death between diapers, church callings, visiting teaching, & regular temple attendance, I managed to get my genealogy completed & back to the 1500's so I wouldn't have to worry in case I "croaked" any time soon. I no sooner got that accomplished that again from the pulpit I heard how we had to have our year supply of food & our emergency preparedness kits. Shortly after that we were challenged to keep a journal daily; shortly after that we were encouraged as families to have missionary cottage meetings in our home to spread the gospel. Whatever suggested from the pulpit, I always accepted since these church leaders were inspired priesthood holders & again I thought I was being faithful.
Nine years into our marriage, Bill dropped the "bomb shell". We were having our usual "pillow talk" in bed after the kids fell asleep & he said "I have something I need to tell you & I don't know how you're going to take it". I couldn't fathom what could be such a big deal. He told me that he had doubts about the church for awhile but couldn't keep it inside any longer. I was devastated & couldn't believe my ears. He knew my whole life was the church & these doubts threatened our "eternal family". Even though he shared various issues, I told him he needed to have more faith & suggested reading the Book of Mormon more & attend the temple regularly. I feared that maybe he had transgressed spiritually due to some terrible sin. Over the course of the next nine years our marital arguments were always about the church. I even threatened divorce several times & told him to get his act together spiritually. I "Knew" the church was true and his stupid questions were not going to divide our family spiritually. I grew up with nothing spiritual as a kid & I wanted our children to have parents united with the same belief system. I found myself reading his patriarchal blessing over and over again because there were so many wonderful promises & what a spiritual giant Bill was. I also fasted regularly for those many years begging Heavenly Father to bless Bill with a strong testimony like mine. If he had touched Alma the younger along with the son's of Mosiah (in the Book Of Mormon), then he could give Bill a testimony. The more Bill questioned, the more I over compensated to our 4 children by being even more "spiritual". Bill's love & patience for me during these years was always constant. He still attended church to pacify me & went through the motions of "activity". In 1993 he told me he was driving out to Utah to find answers to his questions & that if these doubts were not resolved, he was going to leave the church. He told me if I wanted to divorce him then to go ahead but he could no longer ignore nor escape these questions and issues that troubled his testimony for so many years. Knowing Bill to be such a great man of integrity, I felt for his yearning for truth. I told him whatever his decision was when he came back home I would support him. I was hopeful that education week would do the trick, but continued to pray in behalf of his spiritual welfare.
Bill's trip out to Utah with our daughters was a fiasco due to car problems & he missed 4 out of the 5 days of education week. On his return trip home they all went to Nauvoo & visited the sights there. He didn't say much nor comment on his "journey for truth" trip. He bought 6 books (from BYU & the Deseret Bookstores) & for the next 2 weeks stayed up reading until 4 and 5:00 AM. Bill had never read any anti-Mormon literature; all of his questions & doubts came from "Mormon literature" he purchased while on his mission and thereafter. The more he read these 6 books, the more he'd cross reference with books in his Mormon library. Five separate occasions he woke me up at 3 and 4:00 AM to share with me things he read that confirmed to him the church was one big lie. He said he would never step foot in the Mormon church again & was outraged at what he discovered. The more Bill unloaded on me, I realized that he was right and I would support him on his exit out. I was serving as a counselor in the young women's organization & we had attended the ward in our county for close to 10 years. We were thought of as the "model" family & were loved by so many. When I phoned the Bishop to tell him we were leaving the church & why, he was shocked, as well as everyone else. Bill told our Bishop & stake President the reasons, but our discoveries & search for truth meant nothing to them. We were told that if we read the book of Mormon, D&C & pearl of great price we would know the church was true. I thought to myself, "what about the Bible?". The news quickly traveled through out the ward after we left & the members were shocked. Our daughter was told at school that Bill must have committed adultery to leave the church and do this to his family. Another person told me that he was going through a mid-life crisis or probably was suffering from a chemical imbalance. My last meeting attended was a "New Beginning's" program for the girls. I had 12 MIA maid girls I had been with for 2 years & we were all so close. Some of the girls had found out from my girls at school we were leaving the church & they sobbed uncontrollably. We attended our excommunication & that was difficult as we sat among what I thought were friends we had made over the course of many years. I bore my testimony of Jesus Christ & that I knew he lived; my Savior was the redeemer in the Bible and no longer the "Mormon one". My bishop looked at me crying (along with some of the other brethren) & said there were so many wonderful things in the church & was it all so bad. I looked him in the eye & crying said, "Bishop, I love my husband because I trust him, but if I found out that even though he treated me good 95% of the time, & was only unfaithful to me 5% in our marriage, the 95% of "wonderful" couldn't compensate for any percentage of deceit or a lie. Yes the church has a lot of wonderful things like great primary & young men & women's organizations as well as other things, but all the wonderful things mean nothing when you find out the whole thing is based on a lie, especially when it comes to the identity of Christ. The church was made up & created by Joseph Smith who was a lost soul & out for control & it has had over 100 years to work all the bugs out so when new converts hear the "restored gospel", it sounds so wonderful & Christian, but its Satan himself leading people down the wrong path & away from the true Christ. Members are so busy working and serving that they become dependent on their church leaders to be "spoon fed" any thing from the pulpit & never read or search on their own".
No trial or event in my life could have prepared me emotionally for our exit out. The church leaders got wind of Bill & I speaking publicly in different churches about the falsehoods of Mormonism & why it is a cult. Our names were mentioned over the pulpit in the ward & for people to "beware" of us. Our accounting firm that we had struggled to develop for over 5 years, was gone in 2 weeks because our member clients were told to stay away from us. I couldn't believe the shunning the children and us experienced. Dear friends, would see us in the grocery store or movie theater & walk out. The children & Bill & I lost every one of our friends but more devastating than loosing friends & our accounting firm was feeling betrayed by God. I felt forsaken and abandoned; if he loved little children so much, why did he allow me to be deceived by an organization when I tried to be so good and find truth. Why did I have to be a faithful member for 21 years to find out it was all in vain. Why didn't the Lord lead us out when our children were young instead of now when all 4 were teenagers & lost everyone of their close friends. Where would we go spiritually from here & what would we teach our children. I worshipped & prayed to the wrong God, so what were His attributes since He wasn't the Mormon god which was a "man who lived on a planet with many wives & became a God of his own world"; who was He for real.
The whole experience in leaving was difficult for our children emotionally. We had just recovered a few years back from bankruptcy (a Mormon partner had stolen $40,000 from us & we had lost everything; our beautiful home, cars, & credit) that took a huge toll on our family and now this mess. Bill's side of the family offered little support since they were all "devout" members of the church. With no job, no friends, no church "home" anymore, the stress caused our oldest daughter to drop out of school her senior year & run away from home. Come to find out Bill's whole side of the family had "rescued her" from her terrible fate & sent her to England without telling us a word, while we worried sick about her where abouts. They justified their actions since we were "apostates" & our misfortune of events was due to our own rebellion against the church. Bill's brother never told him that he & his wife were expecting a baby & when it came, we & the other 3 children, were forbidden to see it or have anything to do with his family.
With no support anywhere I became extremely depressed. I shared with one minister who told me I was having a pity party & feeding my own pathology. His LACK of words of wisdom & compassion made my pain even worse because there was no where to go. My parents love and acceptance had been conditional my entire life, & now all my best friends in the church had abandoned me since I was no longer the "perfect" Mormon with the "happy active family" facade.
I no longer felt like a special child of God; instead I felt like a useless human being with no purpose or direction to go. God has billions of people He has created & I was only 1; why should my life matter to me if I felt it didn't matter to Him. My despair became so great that my depression caused me to alienate myself from Bill and the children for several weeks. At least when we went through the bankruptcy & lost everything, I still had my testimony & purpose for life, and now there was nothing to fall back on at all. I locked myself in my room and cried for hours at a time. Every day for several weeks I was absorbed with the thought of suicide to end my pain & nearly followed through with the plan to end my life. My pleas to God were tears of anger as I yelled bitterly in my room over and over again, "WHY?" "Why did you allow me to be deceived! Why, why, Why!!!" I was so ticked off with God & yet I cried in the same breath over and over again, "Help me. Please help me. Don't abandoned me." I just couldn't believe the feeling of betrayal & hatred I felt for the church leaders in Salt Lake who care nothing for the salvation of man, & just keep perpetuating falsehoods and lies when they have got to know that its all a farce! They have become so callused to truth as they rake in the millions of dollars sent in from faithful church members like myself, while we serve ourselves to death for the "kingdom". It was hard to realize that the church is nothing more than a multi-million dollar corporation bilking its members of tithing money & offerings to keep the church rich.
We had a stake president tell us, "there isn't a damn thing true about the church but its the best place to raise a family". Bill told him how could it be the best if it was all a lie; didn't he care anything about truth. Church is supposed to be a place to learn about the things of God to help you in your Christian walk; it isn't a fraternity. My father told me I was a fanatic & why did I let religion rule my life. He said to just go on with my life and be happy. I told him that for me personally, without a belief in Christ there is no hope because He knows me better than I know my own self. My belief in God & acceptance of Him at the age of 10 carried me through a difficult childhood & gave me purpose and hope in a world that is filled with a lot of hopelessness & pain.
My children came to me crying saying they were afraid they were becoming atheist. I told them to hang on to those prayers that we knew were answered (& I pointed out several of them)& to please not to throw "the baby out with the bath water" so to speak; don't throw away your belief in God just because Mormonism wasn't true. Somehow God would see us through.
Church hopping & learning about different religions & churches was overwhelming. Being out of the church almost 3 years now has been difficult with time. I no longer look at the cup "half empty" as far as God is concerned, but feel it is "half full" because I am so happy to be free from the bondage of Mormonism. Even though we never see our oldest daughter much & she is still messed up emotionally; & even though Bill has yet to find a steady job & has just got laid off job #4 (they say he's over qualified); & even though Bill's side of the family have alienated us; & even though we lost 99% of dear friends developed in our 31 & 21 years of faithful membership in the church, I have experience a deep peace at the age of 40 that I never had before. For my own self, I have realized that trying to figure out the will of God, is like an amoebae trying to figure out the mind of man; it will never happen in this life. God never intended for us to understand everything that happens in our life, so my motto lately is "QUE SERA, SERA; WHAT WILL BE WILL BE". I have a strong belief in Christ & am trying to grow as a new found Christian in my "Christian walk". Bill & the kids & I have joined a church & although I struggle getting close to people & feel like throwing "Chucky Cheese Tokens in the plate when it's passed, I try & get something positive out of the message.
A member of the church told me they could never have done to our children what we did to ours because we put our family through hell. My reply was that I'd do it all over again because I value truth so much. Yes we paid a great price for truth, but as you read the Bible so did John the Baptist (he lost his head) & Daniel (who was thrown into a lions den) & there are so many more examples.
I am sorry I have "rambled" & written more like a "novel" but I haven't shared these feelings & experiences with anyone outside my family. I pray for so many of you who are just learning of the lies of Mormonism & feel & relate with your stories on the web site because I have been there & know first hand the pain.