sent in by Steve Lee
My transformation from active mormon to exmormon gay atheist took just over two years. It's seems too easy to write that sentence now after experiencing some of the most challenging days I've ever faced. To even think about the fact that Mormonism might be slightly flawed was a mind-rattling sin, but to act upon thoughts of change was at first a seemingly fatal endeavor and ultimately the most freeing task ever undertaken.
Most people agree that the LDS church leans more toward a cult than a loving religion, but most have no idea the depths of spiritual violence wrought upon a member when practicing it. And the difficulty of being born and raised into it, makes a change away from it even more fearful. Every support structure came from the church or my active family that had carefully programmed me to follow each and every expectation heaped upon me. From social limitations as a young man, to wielding their powerless "prietshood", to accepting bloody deaths oaths, secret handshakes and mandated underwear. I ate it up hook line and sinker. I WOULD get to heaven and I WOULD become a God myself.
Compounding the sickness of that structure was the certain knowledge by age 19 that I was definitely gay, but still expected to marry a female for "all time and eternity", go on a two year mission and then have children that I would raise righteously unto God. But following every expectation only brought more unhappiness, unhappiness that became so unbearable that by age 38, married for 15 years with three kids, and participating in a "reparative therapy" pogram that would surely cure me of my horrible hidden sin of homosexuality, I had to finally admit to myself that perhaps it was the church that was wrong, errant, diseased and evil and not myself.
But the day I realized that was the day the fear really set in. Having already acted out slashing my throat and deboweling myself at least 15 separate times in the Mormon Endowment Ceremony if I ever became an apostate and divulged the "sacred" handshakes and passwords that were necessary for me to enter into heaven through the "veil", I was facing what seemed to be my own demise. Even the prophet Brigham Young taught from the pulpit in his doctrine called "Blood Atonement" that apostates could only be saved to heaven by killing them by slashing their throats and bleeding them to death on the ground.
Every piece of critical information I read was considered anti-Mormon. Each website dedicated to recovering Mormons were considered hate sites. But there simply wasn't any way to gain happiness unless I rejected that poison and walked away, possibly losing my own kids, my family, all my friends, all my support structures. All my time in life had already be promised to the church, my eternal marriage would be ruined and I would be the reason that myself and my kids would go to hell. I would be removing myself from God, and allowing Satan to control me and drag me steadily down to hell.
Isn't it hilarious to look back on the absolutely asinine things you once believed in your life?
Three years out of the church, resigned and free, almost two years living with a man who was also married for 15 years with three kids, I must say that post-Mormonism and atheism have been the most rewarding experiences of my life. Not divorced yet, but honest and upholding the responsibilities that matter to me, including co-parenting my kids with my amicable ex-wife, I have now realized that heaven exists only in my lifetime, and hell as well. Refusing to be manipulated by the dangling carrots known as "heaven", "hell", and "salvation", I am forging lasting relationships with friends whom I would have previously judged not worthy of my time.
Religious mental constraints serve only as programming to enslave humanity. Mythology reigns in our society today, as it has in almost every human society. But breaking free from your own domestication and walking without fear allows you see the lies that hold so many bound in unhappy lives. I was lucky to escape my own domestication, it was a rough road, but in the end it has lead me to more self expression and freedom. I challenge you to break free and see what you can really be without all the poison holding you down.
How old were you when you became a christian? Born a Mormon
How old were you when you ceased being a christian? 38
What churches or organizations or labels have applied to you? Latter-Day Saint/Mormon, Full Time Missionary
What labels, if any, would you apply to yourself now? Atheist
Why did you become a christian? I was born into it.
Why did you de-convert? Extreme unhappiness.
email: simplifyinco at yahoo dot com
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)