By the creator of Humanist Atheists of America – fb page and WP blog (links below)
Note: In a bit of serendipitous good luck, we’ve come across a relatively new voice – crying in the wilderness, as it were – and received permission to republish this article, in its entirely, for our readers at The Salt Lake Daily Issue. A young man, badly bruised and disaffected by his ties to Mormonism. And who – having made his escape – has recorded some of the personal details, of am emotionally harrowing journey.
I was young and had gone through some abuse that I didn’t know how to process. During my mothers first divorce, I clung to the thought that if God existed and if I followed the prophets, he would take away the pain.
I never got any relief from God so through my life I kept going to my bishop, the men around him, and my mother. Most of what I received was that God wanted me to go through the pain longer. Either to make me stronger, because I wasn’t a good enough person, I was still sinning, or wasn’t looking hard enough for God to know he was real.
By the age of 8 I still had no comfort provided by God, and my priesthood leaders kept telling me the same things every time. Then it was time to get baptized for Jesus! I was so ashamed and embarrassed that all my friends had ‘spoken’ to God already (a requirement for Mormon baptism is to know God personally.) So I just faked it and lied about everything so I could still get baptized and my soul would get to live eternally with my family in heaven.
I kept up the charade and was given the priesthood at 12 (some of God’s powers, but only for men.) But I couldn’t keep it up forever, I felt like an impostor and that if there was a God, he would punish me for being dishonest and stealing his power.
At 15 my mom started divorce #2 and Sean (dad) dropped out of the religion. So my mom and her ward started telling us to say things against Sean, and that he would keep our family from Heaven. (and anything else to make him the bad guy.)
Finally the years of brainwashing kicked in on full blast and my mom started winning the divorce, despite everything she was doing wrong. I started clinging to the religion as much as I could, and convincing myself that I knew God existed. Lying to myself and everyone that I had daily conversations with God. (and I tried desperately every day to make contact.)
Eventually I started believing every lie and suppressing the pain that it caused me.
But right before I turned 16 I had sex with a girl and my mother found out!
She went crazy. Yelling and screaming at me that she hated me and that I was going to hell, that I had stolen the girls innocence from her husband and that I obviously hated the girl or I wouldn’t have tried to hurt her. And eventually she just told me ( should read: yelled at 1am in the middle of the street) that I was the reason she got divorced and that she failed as a parent because of me! I believed all of it. I told her “I needed time to think alone.” So she told me to just never come back.
So I didn’t. … But I still believed everything she said and everything the church had told me. And I was going to hell on top of all of my suppressed sadness from my mothers past divorces.
I hit about the worst place I could be in my life. But I’m glad for it. Because it helped me to start pulling threads out of the lies I had been told. (Starting with being a 15 year old being doomed to hell over sex.)
At this point I started questioning everything. I was trained on starting with hate, hate gays, hate non believers, hate sinners that don’t ask forgiveness, etc. Even down to small things and it started unraveling, that’s when I started processing all the suppressed anger and frustration.
I clung on to a few big things for comfort throughout, but I never stopped weeding things out.
The biggest thing was clinging onto my membership in the Mormon church, you know ‘just In case I needed to go back’. In August of 2014, I contacted the salt lake headquarters to remove my records and terminate my membership. Recently the Mormon church responded with confirmation of my request being carried out.
I’m sad every time I talk to someone who still is lost in the lie. This world is an amazing place to live once you remember who you were – before they told you what to be!
Today, over six and a half years later, I am personally very proud of my transition from brainwashed Mormonism (since birth) to an enlightened, open minded Atheist. It was a very long and literally painful process to get past everything that I have. It has permanently scarred me in many ways, but I am finally free from the hatred and it was in every way worth it!
Also see: Humanist Atheists of America, on facebook.