My background is very typical. I grew up in Utah in a large, Mormon family (however, both of my parents are converts and a few of my siblings stopped going to church around their late-teen years). I was a seminary graduate, very involved in YW, and loved the Gospel. It was everything to me. I went to BYU where I met my husband and we were married in the temple. I was 20 and he was 21. We have been married for almost 8 years now and have a 1 year old. My username comes from the nickname I had growing up, which was Molly Mormon. I really was a model citizen.
- About 6 months after our wedding, my husband's parents told us they were getting a divorce. My husband's mom and 2 brothers are no longer members of the church.
- In 2013 my husband's brother came out. I had graduated from BYU a few years ago and was living in Oregon. Up until this point, I was very much aligned with the church on their views of same-sex marriage. I had never questioned anything that the church taught, so of course I didn't question their stance on LGBT issues.... but after finding out about my brother-in-law, who I love dearly, I started to question a teaching of the church for the first time. Over the next few months (and with a lot of prayer) I came to the conclusion that it was okay for me to be happy for my BIL and want him to get married... but still hold my view of marriage between a man and a woman in the spiritual sense.
- In 2014 it was time to renew my temple recommend. At this point, my husband's testimony of tithing was suffering and he did not want to pay 10% of our income to the church. We both worked at the time. I talked to my bishop about the situation and told him that I wanted to pay tithing, but I didn't want to cause contention in our marriage over it. He told me that unless I paid tithing on my income, I couldn't have a temple recommend. I tried to explain how my income and my husband's income are not "separate." We share a bank account, and it is all "our" money. But he didn't understand. I also told him that I believe that same sex marriage should be allowed, in a secular sense. He basically told me that the church was going to start coming after people who held this view. I came home from that interview HYSTERICAL. Sobbing uncontrollably. I didn't have a temple recommend for the first time in my life.
- I discovered the essays that the church published shortly after my interview. This was like a rabbit hole for me and I learned things that I NEVER knew, even though I grew up in the church and graduated from BYU. I didn't know that JS was a polygamist and that really shocked me. I knew that black people couldn't have the priesthood, but I didn't realize that they couldn't receive any priesthood ordinances. I seriously felt sick to my stomach. I learned that there are different accounts of JS first vision, but not just that they are "different" but drastically different (like the first account doesn't even mention two personages, just one). All of this information was heartbreaking to me and I felt so deceived and confused.
- I continued to serve as a primary teacher and my husband let his temple recommend expire. He started to be "less active" and only wanted to attend sacrament meeting. I was released as a primary teacher after a few years, and at this point I decided I only wanted to attend sacrament meeting too. I also decided that since I didn't have a temple recommend, I didn't need to wear my garments anymore. They were soooo uncomfortable for me, and I guess I lost my testimony of why I should wear them.
- We moved back to Utah in the summer of 2015. Up until this point, my family had no idea that I didn't have a recommend or that I had questions and doubts. But my brother got married in the temple, so a few months before the wedding I had to tell my parents (and my little brother) that I wouldn't be at the wedding. It was really hard, but my family took it pretty well. They knew that I still believed in the gospel, but that I had some concerns. I definitely heard through the grapevine that a few of my siblings thought that I was no longer a good example for their kids. They all just looked at me as the "golden child" because I was so valiant in my testimony and it was so sad for them that I was no longer valiant.
- The November 2015 policy came out and I couldn't sleep that night. I was heart broken and devastated. I understand people's argument of "protecting the children" but why do we single out the sin of same-sex marriage over other sins? If we are going to have this policy, then it should be something like, "If your parents are not active, temple-recommend holding members, you can't get baptized until you're 18." I just do not get why it only applies to kids who have parents that are gay.
- During all of this, I was basically in turmoil. I didn't know what to think. I felt confused and lost and hopeless and heartbroken. How was I supposed to trust anything that I had been taught my whole life? I felt so deceived. I have since learned a lot from you guys about changing my viewpoint of what is REAL doctrine and what is REAL prophecy and that the church is full of things that are just cultural. This doesn't make it untrue, but it has definitely changed my viewpoint and how involved I want to be with the church.
None of these things probably seem like a big deal, but they definitely make us "weird" members of our ward. We constantly have people coming up to us and asking us if we are new. It's funny to see the looks on their faces when we tell them we have been in the ward for almost 2 years.
My husband is not as bothered by the questions and concerns that I have, and he is happy to be a "weird" Mormon who only attends sacrament meeting and doesn't pay their tithing.
Me on the other hand? I am struggling. Some days I just feel like I would be happier if I left and was done completely. But being a Mormon is so much a part of who I am and my identity. I don't know who I would be if I wasn't Mormon.
So I'm trying to let go of what other people think about me. My family and friends that are all super active definitely look down on me and I don't think they consider me a Mormon by their standards. Who cares? Well, I definitely do, but I'm trying not to. I just don't feel like there's a place for a person like me in the church, but when I come here I feel safe and I feel like I belong.
I've been watching some of the Mormon Stories podcasts about being a "progressive" Mormon and I think that's going to be the best route for me. I love the core of the Gospel. I love my Heavenly Father and Savior. I love our Prophet. I love the Priesthood and the temple. I love the Plan of Salvation and the Atonement. I'm trying to focus more on the core and what makes me happy about the church instead of getting hung up on the other things that I've mentioned. I'm currently re-reading the Book of Mormon (I haven't read it since my faith crisis) and am interested to see how I feel about it now that my eyes have been opened.
Thanks to everyone here. I have learned SO much from you and your wisdom and perspectives.