My Journey Out of Mormonism

I hope this website will be seen as a tool for your own process of investigation rather than an "anti-Mormon website". It is meant to be objective, as far as that is possible coming from my own personal experience. I want to clearly state that I do not harbor ill feelings toward the LDS people. Some members of my family are Mormon, and I continue to have many friends who are Mormon. I do not hate the Mormons, I simply strongly disagree with Mormon theology. Most Mormons whom I have known are wonderful people, actively engaged in a faith that they hold sacred. It is out of my love and concern for these good people, that I have created this website.

Everyone is on their own journey. The key is having an
open mind and seeking knowledge from all sources. If we all came to the same conclusion, we wouldn't be free human spirits. So, I beckon all readers: open your minds, open your hearts, and begin to find truth for yourself. Question everything, never stop learning, and live authentically.


I began my journey out of Mormonism in earnest after years of harboring doubts regarding church doctrine. Doubt arose out of unsatisfied questions and began in my early childhood when my parents were converted to Mormonism. Over the years, the doubts have grown until they became a looming cloud in my conscious and could no longer be ignored. To continue to do so would have sacrificed my integrity and my mental health.
 
 
A product of Mormon culture, I learned, as most Mormons do, to 'shelve' my doubts and press forward. Although seemingly harmless in the moment, training one's brain to limit doubts and questions is ultimately damaging and leads to a tunnel-vision approach to life. As a member, I felt increasingly dis-satisfied and conflicted, although at the time, I couldn't really see the reasons why I felt this way.

Now as an ex-Mormon, the reasons are all too clear. For the first time, I'm enjoying a life of unlimited questioning and learning. I do not suppress my own thoughts. I live authentically without limits on my thinking. I've never been more at peace.

My story is like many others:

Being raised an active Mormon, I began to attend seminary at age 14 (an hour-long class of intense study of Mormon history and doctrine that took place before school each day). I began to wonder about a few things as my study of the church deepened. The Word of Wisdom was a mystery to me. Why did we, as Mormons, only follow selected portions of it? Among other things, the scripture states to avoid hot drinks and meat, except in time of famine. How did that translate into avoiding Coke and Pepsi and not showing any restraint in eating meat? Hot cocoa was ok, but coffee was not. We were clearly not in time of famine, but we ate meat with nearly every meal.
I was confused. It was explained to me, at the time, that recent prophetic revelation had clarified this scripture to include all caffeinated drinks, but the explanations did not satisfy me. I knew plenty of active Mormons who drank Coke and I knew cocoa had caffeine in it. I also took notice that our Word of Wisdom, or health code, didn't seem to make us any healthier than the general population. In fact, it seemed to me that obesity was more of a problem in the Mormons I knew than in any population I associated with outside the church.

As a teen, one of my very best friends was African-American. Always a missionary, I talked with her about my Mormon faith. She told me that Mormons were racist. Her reaction brought up, the otherwise unknown-to-me, subject of the lower status of African-Americans in the church and the 'new revelation' in 1978 by President Kimball which allowed Blacks to finally hold the priesthood. It also caused me to take a second look at racist remarks and attitudes throughout the Book of Mormon which relate the lightness of one's skin to the level of righteousness of the individual. On this note, I was told at about age 17, by a Mormon relative, that they had noticed that my skin was getting darker and it must be due to my sinful nature. (I remember having the fleeting thought that sinning might be an easy way to get a tan.)

Another issue which became a thorn in my side at this time was polygamy. The whole idea simply offended my senses. No amount of explaining by my Dad or seminary teachers alleviated the deep-seated feeling in my gut that it was wrong and inspired of Man not of God. I knew without a doubt that I would never submit to the idea of sharing my future husband with another wife, and the thought of my Dad having more than one wife made my stomach turn. It wasn't enough that the church did not currently practice polygamy, the knowledge that I was required to submit to the doctrine of polygamy was not acceptable to me. I knew, from what I was taught, that Polygamy could be reinstated by divine revelation at any time, and if not practiced in this life, would surely be practiced in the next life as the eternal order of marriage.

Another big issue for me as a teenager was not as clear-cut. It was more of a feeling based on deep doctrinal beliefs regarding God. I was taught as a Mormon, that unless one was baptized into the Mormon church and received the ordinances of the temple, including temple marriage, one could not go to the celestial kingdom, the kingdom of heaven where God dwells. This did not match my instinctual view of God, as a being having unconditional love for all people. How could the real God be so selective? What about all those people who never had a chance to hear about Mormonism? What about all those good people who just never had the chance to get married? What about people who marry in the temple, but whose spouses leave the church? The questions were numerous, and I did receive explanations, just not sufficient to quench the doubts completely.
 As I grew into adulthood, and received my own temple ordinances, my questions multiplied. I remember my first time attending the temple. Up to that point, it was the strangest experience of my life, and boy, were things getting more complicated. Not only did I need to keep my slate perfectly clean in order to be 'temple worthy' (including avoiding Coke, Coffee, and other dietary restrictions, submit to the idea of polygamy, avoid non-church approved literature, fulfill all my church callings, pay a full tithing, etc) but now I had to wear claustrophobic long underwear and memorize a long list of signs, tokens and phrases in order to get through the 'veil' into the presence of God. I was bleakly hopeful that the costumes we donned in the temple were nothing like what we'd be required to wear in Heaven. Surely God did not wear long underwear, a  fig leaf apron and a baker's hat. The questions and doubts, now frantic and in avalanche proportion, were quelled by the grim warning that nothing regarding temple ordinances was to be discussed outside the temple, not even between married couples.


It was about this same time that I became aware of the blood atonement doctrine that some sins, such as, apostasy and murder, could only be pardoned by God by the shedding of the sinner's own blood (death - like that pantomimed in the temple). This did not sit well with me. Wasn't Christ's suffering and death sufficient to cover all sin? I'd always assumed so from my previous learning in the church. It was explained at this time, when I brought up such issues with my LDS husband, that I was receiving the meat of LDS doctrine, whereas before, I'd only been given the milk.

Another chunk of meat: I became aware of the Adam/God doctrine, which teaches that Adam is God. This was another contradiction, or addition-as some would say, to the doctrine that I previously understood as fact. Although this doctrine is not openly discussed, and controversy surrounds the issue, even within the church, it was most definitely touted as doctrine by the Prophet Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and J.M. Grant.
On the subject of God: Basic Mormon doctrine states that "As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become." Like all Mormons, I was taught that God was once a man and that if we were righteous enough, we could become Gods, ourselves. Joseph Smith clearly taught that God was once a man like us and that we have potential to become Gods (see King Follet Sermon as one of many examples) Interestingly, Gordon Hinkley, recent president of the church, denies this doctrine repeatedly in interviews. (one example is in the San Fransisco Chronicle, April 13, 1997 edition, http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/1997/04/13/SC36289.DTL&type=printable, and another in Time magazine: http://www.lds-mormon.com/time.shtml)

By my late twenties, I'd had several doubts surface, but one message had also come through loud and clear: to question church doctrine, is to question God himself. In other words, shove down the doubts lest you erode your own faith and that of others, because we all know where that leads... to the unpardonable sin of apostasy.

The stage was set while I was serving in a stake calling. Serving in this position, which had great influence over the youth, was a catalyst for me to seriously examine what I believed. My discomfort representing doctrine with which I harbored doubt, caused me to humble myself and make a desperate plea to God for an understanding of the truth. I allowed myself to bring down doubts and questions from the dark recesses of my mind into the light. I fully expected to find answers to my questions which would, in turn, strengthen my testimony of the LDS church. Ironically, I did find truth, but the answers were not at all what I expected.

My investigation began with reading a book, An Insider's View to Mormon Origins, written by a Mormon, a church education employee named Grant Palmer. Then followed several other books, including, Leaving the Saints, by Martha Beck, which had caused a bit of a stir among some of my LDS friends. After reading the book, I looked more into Hugh Nibley's apologetic effort of the Book of Abraham, which was mentioned in Leaving the Saints. I came across a video on the Book of Abraham and a book, By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus, by Charles M. Larson. What I learned blew my mind. I then sought to explore Joseph Smith, himself, and read, Joseph Smith, No Man knows my History, by Fawn Brodie. I also came across objective DNA evidence regarding Joseph Smith and Book of Mormon claims (explored thoroughly in a book, Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church, written by former LDS Bishop and genetic biologist, Simon Southerton. I took time to read LDS apologist rebuttals on all of the subjects that I explored, and was disappointed by all.

I was as thorough and as objective as possible. I read everything that I could get my hands on while avoiding anything which seemed to be hateful in nature. What I learned, completely blew my mind. I quickly came to the conclusion that the LDS church was based on lies upon lies. The layers of deceit and cover-up were mind-boggling. The 'limited thinking' encouraged by the church began to make sense.

I decided to resign my membership in the church to maintain my own integrity and remove any implied support of  LDS deception.

My decision to resign was not an easy one. Despite the years of suppressed doubts and conflict this created in my soul, the LDS church is in itself a wonderful organization. It offered much in the way of structure in my life, and removing myself was not a decision that I made lightly. I knew that my resignation would bring on an alienation from most of what I knew in the way of family and social structure. I had not only myself to consider in this decision, but also my 3 children. I carefully weighed my decision and ultimately did what I considered to be the morally right thing to do, independent of what others thought or sacrifices involved.

I can clearly see now, the journey I've traveled and the compromises that I've made over the years in order to be a 'good' Mormon. I can also clearly see the hold that the Mormon church has on the minds of its people and understand the motivating reasons.

In the months that followed my resignation I felt like a load was lifted from my shoulders and mind. I experienced an awakening... a freedom that I'd never known. I felt a freedom of thought: a freedom to question, a freedom to think independently.

I also feel freed from the conditional love offered by the "Mormon God". I have now found unconditional love for myself. Love is no longer something that feels just out-of-reach, something I have to constantly earn. I love myself completely just as I am, and I, in turn, love others without condition. My initial joy since leaving the church has not faded in the least, and I now know a peace and joy in my daily life that I scarcely glimpsed as a Mormon.

15 comments:

  1. Very good read. I'm an ex mormon. I left the church because I am gay. But I always kinda felt weird about some of the same things that you mentioned. I want to read more books now!

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  2. You speak of your children, what about your husband? Are you still together and if so did he resign as well? Do your children still attend or have they left too? I left the church a few months ago but my wife is still very active and my children go weekly with her.

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  3. This was extremely interesting...as health professional (RN) I have wondered about the statistics regarding general health, longevity, fitness & causes of death among the Mormon population of the USA. I know that Seventh-Day Adventists, who are strict vegetarians, do not smoke or drink alcohol, or any caffeinated beverages, have overall a record of excellent health. But it does not seem to be the same for Mormons, despite the Word of Wisdom health codes.
    Addiction to Rx drugs seems to be on the increase in LDS populations, and there are more "reform schools" for troubled teens in Utah than anywhere else in the USA. The consumption of sweets & desserts of all kinds seems to be the only sanctioned "vice" allowed within that culture. Most Mormons over the age of 25 that I know are overweight or morbidly obese. These health & diet issues are but one of the many confusing aspects of Mormonism that I, as a non-Mormon, have observed, and there seems to be a great deal of hypocracy throughout this culture. The secrecy regarding rituals troubles me. I have nothing against religious rituals. I was raised Roman Catholic and hardly any religion has as many elaborate rituals as the Catholic Church, but they are no secret and any Catholic is happy to tell you all about them, what they mean, etc. Since I was a teenager & met my first pair of Mormon missionaries, I have been sort of morbidly fascinated with the LDS church & Mormon culture. I recognize there are some very positive aspects - most Mormons I have known share a great work ethic, and have been the sort of hard-working, trustworthy, honest people that I would want working for me if I needed home repairs or a reliable, careful babysitter. But I also see a sort of thousand-yard-stare in the eyes of many of them that makes me wonder about the cultish aspects of this faith, and the level of brainwashing that goes on. Any culture that does not promote critical thinking & which actively quashes independence or nonconformity as much as the Mormons (and I speak only from my own experience of them, whiuch is limited, I admit) seems rather unhealthy and it makes me wonder how much personal & institutional pathology lies beneath the surface of all those perfect smiling faces in, for instance, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
    The fact that there is no professional clergy & that a 19-year-old boy is called an Elder & holds the power of the priesthood is also rather disturbing to me. With Mitt Romney running for president right now, I am surprised that there has not been more in the press about his Mormon religion and all of the weird quasi-Masonic stuff that entails. Apparently, greed is not considered a bad thing in Mormon culture, and for a group of people who are ostensibly focused on the afterlife in their celestial eternal realm, they seem mighty concerned with amassing a great deal of temporal wealth in this mortal state!

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  4. Feel free to share. My only goal is to get people to open their minds, question, and further learning.

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  5. I urge any of you with doubts about the church leadership or the people of the church, to look at the talk given by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf this past conference (October 2013) in the Saturday Morning Session.
    You are all very well informed and obviously passionate about finding truth in a world that is very confusing. I have my doubts and my weaknesses. I do not claim to perfectly abide all commandments nor do I live a completely Christlike life, but I know that when I live the teachings of the Church I'm happier, and when I try things on my own I feel lost and that my life, despite school, work, and a social life, isn't leading up to anything of significance. I know the church's organization and membership is imperfect, but I also know that the teachings of Jesus Christ are true and found in it's fullness in the restored gospel. We're all children of the same God, and whatever your feelings or decisions, I truly wish each of you the best. Despite our differences, we're all cut from the same cloth, and continue to live side by side with no need for contention or debate. I hope we all seek to find answers "out of the best books" and most importantly through prayer to the only One who knows and loves us perfectly.

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  6. God loves all His children, I recommend anyone with doubts to look at Dieter F Uchtdorf's October 2013 saturday morning session talk. It's a perfect doctrine administered by imperfect people. Ask God for each one of our doubts.

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  7. Whoever said that "pay lay ale" means "wonderful Lucifer" (the following website claims that this website on this page said that: http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,485304,485304) is an ignorant liar and a sh**head.

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    1. Don't take my word for it. Research it for yourself! Ignorance is only defined by ones willful lack of knowledge, in other words, a closed mind. My only goal is to help others open their minds, question, and learn without boundaries! Cheers!

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  8. Thank you for your post! I felt, as I read your words, that I had written this. It was almost verbatim my feelings. I have struggled much of my life with the church and lived solely off the testimony of my mom, my dad, and my sister. I have questioned everything and have been shut down so many times. My simplest questions have been ignored or unanswered. I have been told time and time again that I need to pray or search the scriptures or, my favorite, the spirit of the law vs. the letter of the law. What does that even mean? I have recently attended a non denominational Christian church and have never felt the spirit so strongly as I have there. What does that mean? I felt guilty for weeks and was afraid to go back. I had been taught all my life that no other church was true and therefore must be of the devil, that there will be false prophets who will lead you astray. I have spent 46 years in fear and doubt. I am scared! I am afraid of letting down my mom and sister (my dad has passed) but I am more afraid of raising my 4 children in the church and having them feel the same guilt and fear that I have felt my whole life. How did you deal with family members who now consider you apostate or work diligently to bring you back? Because my mom will never stop until I come back. UGH!

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    1. julie, I came to the conclusion that the book of Mormon was like worshiping the church and a false profit. You know what the Bible say's about that. Now I'm free and I tell all my (extensive Mormon family) where I go to church. I now know who really truly love me and see how happy I am now..I was suprised to see others follow.

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  9. You read books by people who left the church. Did you read any books that were objective?
    All the books you read had their authors called out by LDS historians and LDS scholars because all those books you read, by ex Mormons, have many falsehoods. Most of what they wrote is mainly their opinions. Fawn Brody used her church connections to gain access to church historical papers and other writings that usually only scholars get to see. She lied to the church about what she was doing. When found out she was no longer granted access. All these authors have been proven to gave lied. Grant Palmer at first used another name to publish materials to discredit the church while a church employee, and he lied about his position in the church to make himself sound more important than he really was. He waited until he retired so he could keep his retirement and benefits before he published under his real name. Talk about lying, cover up and deceit! The very things he accuses the church of doing! Hypocrite. Typical of ex Mormons.

    A lot of what you say is not true. It is your opinion. That is alright.

    The LDS doctrine is hard to live and not everyone can live it. Not everyone is meant to be Mormon. Most people need a dumbed down version of Christianity. If you and others feel better by leaving the LDS church then clearly you are not meant to be LDS. Good for you to seek something else. But that does not make it alright to twist everything and out right lie.

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    1. Yeah I read an "objective" book before leaving Mormon beleif. It's called the Bible. Why don't you read it someday? Try a good KJV version and open the Book of Mormon then asked yourself which verses are "dumbed" down.

      The Book of Mormon has removed the plain and precious parts it is supposedly "restoring". But if you are like the Mormons I know. You don't read the Bible because it makes you feel conflicted. A simple place to start is The Lord's Prayer. Matthew 6;9 and 3rd nephi 5:101 I think.
      Book of Mormon isn't missing much.......just the meat. And I'm sorry, but the Mormon church is built on the Book of Mormon. So if it doesn't say the same thing that the Bible says, then it's a different doctrine. Plain and simple.

      So before you get worked upped comparing the authors other research, do you own. Start with the Bible. And not the one re-written by Joeseph Smith. Use a Christian Bible.

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  10. Pay Lay Ale does mean " wonderful Lucifer". I think the liar, adulterer Ed Decker who makes big bucks attacking LDS beliefs started that lie.

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    1. Don't take my word for it. Look it up for yourself in the Strong's Concordance. Simple translation :)

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  11. Pay Lay Ale - From Hebrew "pe-le El" which means "mouth to God"

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