This morning I am deep in my thoughts. No particular reason, just one of those Sundays. I woke this morning knowing I faced a pretty tough workout (which I crushed, by the way) and all throughout my brain kept digging deeper and deeper into random thoughts. I would guess that most of it was triggered by a Marco Polo and some FB DM’s from my friend.
It’s no secret that several years ago I was a practicing Mormon and that I had a faith crisis and wound up leaving the church. That sounds so quick and simple and clean. Truth is, it was one of the most unsettling times in my life. I was an adult convert to the religion. And, for anyone who knows me, you know I did not make the decision to join lightly. I had done my research, visited so many other churches and ideologies and hand selected the LDS pursuit. At the time it offered so much of what I thought I was looking for.
Having been raised with little and no structure (not that my parents wouldn’t have liked some, I was just a super rebellious kid), I think as an adult I came to crave structure. The LDS religion offers that in spades. When I committed, I committed hook, line, and sinker. And even when some pieces didn’t make sense, or literally went against all reasoning, I discarded my thoughts because I think I wanted it to be true so badly.
When I couldn’t do that any longer, cast aside my doubts, and I studied out the Word for itself, what I discovered rocked my world. Tugging at the thread of Joseph Smith made the whole damn thing unravel. And my insides imploded. My faith foundation was rocked. I experienced a death in a sense, and then guilt and shame piled on top of that. I had, after all, raised my children in this belief and prayed my husband into it over a decade or so. It was a lot to swallow.
Having grieved and come out on the other side, I have a strong desire to help others who find themselves in similar situations. Be it from the LDS religion, other religions, political beliefs, any organization that exhibits mind-control really. And I have found a kinship with a friend who also left the church. Our stories in the beginning differ a bit. She was born into the church, so the experience of learning it was not true up-ended her life in a way even I can’t fully grasp. But her leaving and healing story is similar to mine. Together we are working on a project…a way to reach out to those that have had similar experiences. No matter where along the journey they may be.
Our goal isn’t to get people to leave the organizations they participate in. There are a million reasons why people stay in groups, even when they come to realize they are predicated on false foundations. There are family ties and friendships to consider. There may be financial well-being at risk. So many reasons. And we are respectful of those decisions, but it doesn’t lesson the feeling of isolation when you’re in the midst of the crisis. And I imagine, even if you’re resolved to stay, that isolation may feel even greater.
Our goal is to give people a soft place to explore, to question, to decide for themselves. A place for free-thinking without judgment or ridicule or risk.
Teri was Marco Polo’ing me from the LoveLoud fest that I spoke of the other day. She and her kiddos got to attend the concert in Utah yesterday. She even got a picture with John Dehlin, host of “Mormon Stories,” a podcast that has been so instrumental in both our healing and moving on. I am a total #fangirl! and so is she!
I am so thankful to land where I have. To have a supportive husband and friends, and a faith that is stronger today than it ever has been. But hook, line, and sinker, never again. I have learned to weigh and balance all aspects of my life through reason and by faith. Not one without the other. And through that pursuit, I feel I am a better, stronger, more well rounded person, mother, wife, Christian. I am thankful for the journey.