Great article on giving Mormonism another chance

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Forgotten_Charity
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Great article on giving Mormonism another chance

Post by Forgotten_Charity » 13 May 2014, 11:17

For various reasons, I personally have encountered many. There are a number of people that struggle with church, usually culture. Hurt by fellow members and leaders. I thought this article was touching or redemption for self and the gospel. In many ways I am proud of someone writing their trails that I couldn't write out that are deeply personal and transformative.
Why I Almost Left Mormonism And Why I Gave It A Second Chance. Confronting The Elephant In The Room. Confessions From The Heart Of The Humanist.

Background:

I placed my feet into the bucket full of ice and freezing water. I was sitting there watching a movie the Mormon Missionaries brought about the pioneers. I remember sitting there with my eyes watering up because the spirit was so strong. I thought to myself how much the pioneers gave so that I may learn the gospel and that in a way I was a pioneer. I lost many friends converting to the gospel. I thought I did the right thing by getting baptized in the church despite my family and friends' reactions. I told myself it will be worth it in the eternities. I remember sneaking to seminary the beginning of my freshmen year. I'd put on my converse shoes with my styled pink hair. I'd ride my skate board with my red fish nets on my arms. Tons of piercings. My nose piercing was my favorite. Heavy black eyeliner. Somedays my makeup looked like I was a wannabe chola. I was a Baptist who believed the universe was only 6,000 years old.

My mind process back then was that I wanted what they had. A eternal family. I wanted to so badly fit into the Mormon Culture. So, In the process of joining the LDS church, my LDS friends began to tell me that the Prophet discouraged un normal hair colors and etc. I told myself if I wanted what they had, I had to be like them. I began to observe how they dressed, acted, and etc.

So, I made a 180 change. Blonde hair, only one set of earrings, and I was always modest. I would wear my pearl earrings and necklace a lot. Wore my young women's medallion as well a lot of the time. I remember being at a stake dance, and in the bathroom looking into the mirror. I began to remember some of the comments other members made about my nose piercing. I began to think how unrighteous and ugly I was with it. So, I took it out in the bathroom and tossed it into the garbage.

At 13 years old, if you had told me that at the age of 19, that I would begin to doubt the one thing I had a testimony of and a great deep love for I would've called you crazy. My de-conversion didn't happen all at once. It began as little things that grew into bigger things. Somewhat like domino effect.

So, here are the reasons why I almost left the church:

1) The doubts began when I got sick with Lyme Disease and the Anti Cardio Lipid (Lupus Anti Coagulant). Before the doctors discovered what was wrong with me, the doctors told me they didn't think I was going to make it, they said they weren't sure I was going to be okay back in 2009. I would pray and pray. I would cry in the shower to God asking for a miracle. I didn't want to die.

But after three months, the miracle of me getting better didn't come.
So, at that moment is where my doubts began.
And they only got worse over time.

I began to read, read, and read medical journals. Researching what I could possibly have. I gave up praying. It wasn't working. My priesthood blessings were saying,"what happens is God's Will." I couldn't mentally handle it anymore. I wasn't just going to sit back and let myself die. If it wasn't for me doing the research I did, the doctors wouldn't have known what tests to run. And I would've died. My blood pressure was saying 150/110. I remember being in that wheel chair for almost two weeks because I had two spinal taps in one week and the second one went poorly... I remember sitting in that wheel chair in my living room looking out my window at the snow on the ground. Something in me had snapped. A switch flipped.

I got better because I took the effort to seek and study science that I was able to narrow it down to what I thought I had. I spent hours and hours learning to read labs. Book after book studying different diseases. I remember going to the Health Center telling the doctor I had been seeing there that I think I knew what was going on. He laughed at me and used a swear word in his language that since I had never been to medical school that I was wrong. That he thought I was just mentally ill because I was a convert and raised by a single mom.

But... I was right.
And at this time I was still an Elementary Major...not studying to be a Physician Assistant just yet.

And here are the positive lab results and pictures of my treatments.

Hydrogen Peroxide Treatments

I had Hypothyroid

CBC that looked like I had Leukemia

Had Ehrichia, a co infection from a Tick Bite

My body was all over the place

CDC Positive Lyme Disease Test (From a tick bite)

Lupus Anticoagulant

After my lab work came back positive, he would call and asked if I was doing okay and if there was anything he could do. I told him no. At that moment, I began to doubt God even more. Because in my thought process I began to think I saved my own life with science ... without relying on God to save me. At this point I switched to studying to Physician Assistant. I wanted to help be a voice for patients. I didn't want anyone else to go through what I did. I remember when I started my pre-req's for PA school, my professors were shocked with how much I already knew about diseases and etc, and because of that people in my class and my professors had so much respect for me.

And while this was all happening, I told myself that I did this on my own. I did this all without God... that I believed in myself.

And that was when Pillar number one of my testimony fell.

2) During the whole medical ordeal, another thing had been taking place throughout this whole thing. My relationship with my ex.
The month before my ex and I got married, I began to have another set of doubts on the priesthood. My ex's brother died of cancer, even though all this blessings said he would be cured. It scared the hell out of me at the time because I was chronically ill. I began to wonder if some of my blessings would fail as well.

A month after we were married, we were driving out to Zion's Bank. He was holding our Marriage License in the frame since I needed it to change my name. Right as we parked, I came out telling my ex that I was scared because I was doubting the Priesthood and that I was sorry. Instead of helping me, he got angry. Took the frame in his hand and smacked the dash board with it because we were arguing over my doubts. Glass had shattered everywhere and all I could do was cry. I felt I was in the wrong for doubting such a thing.

And that is when more doubts began. I felt I was being pushed away. He told me I needed to not question things and to get over it. So, I began to do research... and next thing I know pillars of my testimony are going down left and right. I was reading things by Richard Dawkins, Hitchens and etc. I began to call my old Pastor for advice. During this time I was going through treatments for Lyme Disease (Heavy doses of Antibiotics and IV infusions) so I was tired all the time and weak. I had no energy to go places, but I forced myself to work at Applebee's and go to church. I was secretary in the Relief Society Presidency at church, and I felt like I was wearing a mask...hiding all my doubts. Some people ask why the hell I didn't go to my Bishop for advice.

Because he gave me crap for missing church for being sick. And told me not to pull the same stunt in the new ward my ex and I were moving into. I even got crap for wearing my nice black slacks to church. I woke up one Sunday morning having to go to work at Applebee's, and because of that I would only be able to make it to Relief Society. I had my really nice red button up shirt and black slacks. I usually sit in the front with the presidency, but since I was about 10 mins late, I sat in the back. The roll was being passed around, and the girl in front of me had it... I was the next one that was suppose to get the roll binder.

But instead, she at looked me and handed it to the women next to me.
I became numb inside.

Afterwards, I went up to the presidency and asked for the binder. The president asked why I didn't mark myself in it earlier, and told her what happen. She then says, "Perhaps she didn't recognize you!" So, she thinks the girl didn't recognize me because I was wearing pants?" Bullshit. That lady knew me. I had been the secretary at this point for four months. That next Sunday, we had the stake presidency come and he let us ask questions. Everyone wrote there questions on the piece of paper.

And just so happens he pulls one out of the hat and it said, "What are sisters allowed to wear to relief society?"

I wanted to slap a bitch at this point.

I remember crying in the car with my ex. I was so upset. Couldn't they be grateful I even came to church. My ex response was, "Well, you should've known better." And perhaps he was right. Things at home only got worse the more I doubted and asked my ex questions. He would break things, scream at me, call me names if I didn't listen to him on religious matters. Even threw things at me. They never hit me though. He contiuned to threaten me. Used the church as a control mechanism againist me. And because of that I began to hate religion. I began to hate God. I began to fear the very man I was married to. I felt everything was my fault. I began to wonder what the hell was wrong with me. That I was the failure.

Then come to find out he going behind my back with this other woman. She was a better mormon. She was everything I wasn't, that he wanted. He began telling her and many others of my doubts. Even people in our ward. The people in my ward thought I was just being lazy and going in active. They all felt bad for my ex husband, when they didn't know both sides. I should've been better at going to church, but I didn't feel like I belonged anymore. I didn't feel welcomed, so I had my job at Petsmart at this time to start working me on sundays. I hardly taught Primary anymore because of it. When I tried going again, people didn't even know that I was his wife. Broke me to pieces.

No one in my ward would really talk to me because these rumors of me being an Atheist thanks to my ex. Some parents of my students were concerned for me teaching anyways because apparently I was an Athiest.

I began to believe maybe they're right.

Perhaps I was a closeted Atheist...

A Humanist is what I became.

Even one of his best friends had the nerve to message my friends on facebook telling them I was an athiest, and later on told them that I deserved the emotional and verbal abuse.

That if I didn't doubt, I wouldn't be going through any of this. Even my Bishop told me that if I was a better Mormon, my ex would be a better husband.

I couldn't stay in a church that supported this. How could my Bishop think that if I was a better Mormon he wouldn't be abusive. The Bishop told me that I needed to change my views. That I needed to put my career dreams on hold and help him fulfill his firsts.
I began to fear asking my ex questions because he told me if i didn't gain a testimony by such and such date that he'd divorce me.

And that is exactly what happened.

When I was on his laptop looking up recipes for dinner, his facebook messanger made a sound. I told him he had a new message and he asked who from. When I pulled the message up, he was on the couch playing his video games. I then opened the message and saw it was from her. I took a picture because at that moment I knew the rumors were true. I then told him it was just from his friend. Later on, I checked his phone and my heart literally broke to pieces. I couldn't trust anyone anymore. I thought perhaps it was my fault he was going to her. That if I didn't have doubts, none of this would've happened.

She even had the nerve to come to our house for my ex's sisters bridal shower. She didn't say a word to me in the beginning. Just ignored me. She had no idea that I knew. I had to be the bigger person, so I began talking to her. She was shocked. I tried making her feel welcomed even though she was after my ex.

I felt I was pushed away from the church. I wanted to stay, but I thought no one wanted me to. I hated the culture of the church, and told myself if the church didn't change then I wanted no part of it. So, I decided if I wanted the culture of the church to change, that I had to start the chain reaction to change it. I couldn't just sit around to wait for it to happen.

So, why did I give it another chance?
It's been almost a year and I look back and am grateful it happened. I think I would've left the church if he never left me. My conselour helped me move on and overcome all this. It just so happens that my counselour is also a Bishop and a Professor on campus. He is also a liberal Mormon. He told me to be okay with who I am and to accept the person I am now. I didn't think I would've changed as much as I did from 19 to 23. I never thought I'd support Ordain women, become a feminist or become so outspoken and opinonated like I am now. Let alone stay in the church. I decided to give it another chance because I feel I can help change the culture for the better. I want to make others of all sorts of backgrounds feel like they belong. I may be a divorced feminist at BYU-Idaho but this last year I have been re-inventing myself and becoming the person who I was meant to be.

So, who am I?

I'm the liberal, pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, outspoken Mormon feminist you were warned about.
She embraces Mormonism again my embracing herself and not being ashamed to be herself in Mormonism weather nor not others approve. Story of courage, redemption and strength. At least I relate because I went through 100s is stuff like this growing up. Just never fit in. What are your thoughts and stories you do not mind sharing and what worked for or helped you?

intothelight
Posts: 48
Joined: 26 Oct 2013, 23:56

Re: Great article on giving Mormonism another chance

Post by intothelight » 13 May 2014, 19:08

I appreciate the article. For me, I guess it all depends on what you define as a 2nd chance. If giving the church a 2nd chance means inhaling everything emanates from the church - or anybody with any level of responsibility in it - without filtering it through my critical mind, then I guess my answer would be no. However, if a 2nd chance means taking what makes sense and rejecting the rest, then yes. I'll admit, I probably reject MORE than I should - but that is because of my problems letting go, and not inherently the church.

I guess I've realized that well meaning entities or people - myself included - can never be worthy of 100% trust. Only perfect entities and people can claim that. And like Maxwell said, the church wasn't made for perfect people. It was made for imperfect people - and I do believe that the ability to be wrong touches parts of the church the diehard member would perhaps never like to admit. Again, it's not like I'm condemning the church from my position of perfection. I am wrong and not good much of the time despite trying, and so is the church.

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Forgotten_Charity
Posts: 779
Joined: 11 Jul 2012, 18:33

Re: Great article on giving Mormonism another chance

Post by Forgotten_Charity » 14 May 2014, 09:53

intothelight wrote:I appreciate the article. For me, I guess it all depends on what you define as a 2nd chance. If giving the church a 2nd chance means inhaling everything emanates from the church - or anybody with any level of responsibility in it - without filtering it through my critical mind, then I guess my answer would be no. However, if a 2nd chance means taking what makes sense and rejecting the rest, then yes. I'll admit, I probably reject MORE than I should - but that is because of my problems letting go, and not inherently the church.

I guess I've realized that well meaning entities or people - myself included - can never be worthy of 100% trust. Only perfect entities and people can claim that. And like Maxwell said, the church wasn't made for perfect people. It was made for imperfect people - and I do believe that the ability to be wrong touches parts of the church the diehard member would perhaps never like to admit. Again, it's not like I'm condemning the church from my position of perfection. I am wrong and not good much of the time despite trying, and so is the church.
Well, the story is one where the person starts out and changes a ton of herself to fit in and have her dreams. Later things Happen and she just can't bring herself to change everything about herself and is betrayed for it by many people. Leaves and comes back on her terms. Notice she cane back in her terms and has learned not to change herself or conform to others. But to return being comfortable in her own skin without letting others change or try to change her or posh her out.
That is the key to staying, giving another shot and walking down the road of conforming would just lead to the Dave problems again. It doesn't really work. Much like changing yourself for someone you love doesn't really work(huge % of this leads to emotional turmoil. But accepting yourself and working with others to help themselves in the way they want to be helped works wonders for second chances.

Roy
Posts: 6080
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Great article on giving Mormonism another chance

Post by Roy » 14 May 2014, 12:50

I liked reading her experience.

NOT something you will find in the Ensign.

She is giving Morminism another chance but it does not seem to define her on any level.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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