Leaving Isn't Easy

About a year ago, I posted about why I left the Mormon church. In the past year since that blog post, I have experienced a vast array of emotions surrounding the church, ranging from all out rage and hatred to simple indifference. I often find myself reflecting on my life up to the point I realized everything was a lie, and wonder how things would have been different. Would I have gotten married so early? Would I have had a career before children? Would I have experienced more life? Don't get me wrong - I believe the universe had a hand in everything my life has been up to this point - I believe I'm where I'm meant to be, with the people I'm meant to be with.
But I do wonder. I wonder why it took me so long to leave - why it took me so long to question things. I wonder at the type of people who stay in the church. I wonder why. I wonder, If they knew what I knew... would they stay? I wonder how I didn't see the gaslighting, the clear "us versus them" separation mentality, the indoctrination, and the manipulation.  I wonder how I ever thought true happiness could be found in fear. Because fear is what fuels so many members' faith. What kind of religion threatens eternal separation from your family if you leave? How did I ever think that was okay? What kind of religion encourages you to practice conditional love? I never realized how conditional so many people's love for others is until I left the church and saw it firsthand. "I love you, but only if you live the way I live. Only if you believe what I believe." As a member, I constantly heard the phrase, "Be in the world, but not of the world." Boom. Us versus them. We are superior - we have something no one else has. Stay with us, stay in the boat, don't stray or you'll be separated from your family for eternity, doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith, research isn't the answer, etc. etc. As humans, we all crave community - we all crave the feeling of belonging and of love. As members of the church, we know that if we leave, we lose our community, our friends, and many times the love of our family members, and that fear drives our faith. 

Leaving the church is hard. It's lonely. It's ostracizing, especially if you are in a primarily Mormon community. I feel so much love and empathy for anyone who has ever undergone a faith crisis and subsequently left the church in one of those communities. Their whole lives are turned upside-down, and many times they are left alone, with no friends or community to speak of. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly people can turn their backs on a person simply because they chose to forge their own path. Parents who stop speaking to their children, friends who are suddenly nowhere to be found, and neighbors who avoid eye contact. No, leaving the church isn't easy, because if it was... I have the feeling a lot more people would leave and never look back.

We Should Talk about It - LDS Temple Ceremony Changes

Whenever I post about issues within the Mormon Church, it is inevitable that someone asks, "Why do you care so much?" I'm sure that, after this post, I will get that question again, so let me preemptively answer it for you. I still care because this organization caused me pain - a LOT of unnecessary pain. Because of this organization, I spent years of my life thinking I was not good enough, thinking there was something wrong with me, and trapped in cycles of shame and depression.

I am STILL dealing with the repercussions of leaving the church - coming to terms with the fact that the church participates in gaslighting, manipulation, and hardcore indoctrination. The emotional and mental damage done to me by the church is there, and it's real. So if you are one who wonders why I care so much, that's why. Because I can't ignore something that has caused me so much pain.
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Also... I'm going to dive deep into something that some consider "sacred," but I feel it necessary to address, since church leaders have specifically told their members NOT to talk about this. Many people wonder what happens in Mormon temples, and I will tell you that, from the first time I set foot in a Mormon temple, I was so, so uncomfortable. Before you can get married in the temple, you must go through the endowment ceremony. In that ceremony, as a woman, I had to veil my face. While my husband covenanted with God, I had to covenant to follow my husband. I could not pass through the symbolic veil without my husband bringing me through. It was clear to me that, in the Mormon church, I, as a female, was inferior. And that sucked. To this day, I regret my Mormon wedding, and that's a day I can never get back. I am not alone in these feelings - I know countless other women who were hurt by the wording of the endowment ceremony, and the blatant misogyny in the temple ceremonies.

Today, the endowment ceremony was changed. Today, I am angry. I am angry because, instead of recognizing and acknowledging the pain that was caused, the leaders of the Mormon church are telling their members not to talk about changes. Instead of apologizing for the sexism that has been so prevalent in the LDS church since its founding, they are sweeping it under the rug. And just like the blood oath that was removed from the temple ceremonies in 1990 (look it up), the fact that women used to veil their faces will be forgotten by members, and my hurt won't matter anymore.

The LDS church has a problem. They constantly marginalize and discriminate against groups of people, and then when they realize that it's affecting their membership numbers, a prophet suddenly has some big revelation that changes their discriminatory policies. Do they ever apologize for their hurtful doctrine that was so easily changed? No (see the LDS policy on race and the priesthood - still waiting on an apology for that one). So instead of remaining silent about these changes, I'm going to speak out. The fact that doctrine can so easily be changed and no one will talk about it is not okay. The fact that thousands of women now feel like their pain is not valid is not okay. Instead of being silent, we need to talk about these things.