Category Archives: Impact: General

“Consider manipulation of truth… as a kind of abuse”

Impact:   I found out [about historical Church History] in December of last year. I did not reason my way through any difficult questions, rather, I was told over the course of three hours the real story of the church. I feel like it will take me years to recover. At 44, that is a depressing thought! Anyway, while some might say there are compelling reasons to stay… there are many more compelling reasons to leave. Fact is, you and I were lied to and the foundation of the church is false. If you let yourself go to places like exmormon.org and go through some of their archived subjects, you will begin to understand the depth of the pain and sorrow and worse that many have suffered at the hands of this dysfunctional and authoritarian organization. While there are very often good messages that can be found about how to treat our fellow human beings or how to be a more productive person and the like, they are not unique to Mormonism. You will see this quote from time to time– “What is good in the church is not unique and what is unique in the church is not good.” Consider manipulation of truth for selfish goals as a kind of abuse. And while not all encompassing throughout the church, it is most certainly very pervasive. 

Name: Anonymous

Date: 27 Jul 2015

Impact Topic: General; Cover Up and Excommunications

“I am young and naive. This pain is new to me.”

Impact:  I am 17 years old, a true, believing Mormon until about a few months ago. I first started to see flaws about the church last year when I decided not to go to girl’s camp because I decided to take classes at our local community college.  I had expected the rest of the young women to be disappointed, but never would I have imagined my close friends and well-respected leaders to shun me and tell me that I was missing out on “the most spiritual experience of my life,” which of course is just nuts.  They then proceeded to tell me that I didn’t need to take college classes because I didn’t have to in order to graduated high school and that college is where I can meet my future husband who will work while I can stay at home with the kids. They told me to worry about my celestial marriage right now (I was 16 at the time). That’s when my eyes opened about the ridiculousness of the Mormon culture.

I started to question doctrine last year during seminary as we studied the Book of Mormon. I went to learn more about the history and the translation process. Like many, I was shocked about the things I found concerning Joseph Smith, polygamy, first vision accounts, blacks and the priesthood, the Book of Abraham, temples, and so much more. I cried myself to sleep for many months. I loved the church. I loved the scriptures, the prophet, the ward family, temples, and so much more. But I loved the Savior and His atonement most of all. I feel betrayed, lied to, and cheated. If the church isn’t true, then how many precious hours did I waste for it?

Only my parents know of my crisis of faith. I told my bishop a little but he thinks I gained my testimony back. I’m not sure what I believe in any more. I still feel good when I go to church, but because of the familiarity or otherwise, I’m not sure. I’m not sure I want to leave or stay.

I am young and naïve. This pain is new to me. I feel empty and hopeless where I was once happy about church. Sometimes I wish I had stayed a true, believing Mormon because it was so much easier. But I can’t go back after what I’ve seen. I can only move forward. I don’t even know what the right thing to do is anymore, otherwise I would do it.

Date: 24 Jul 2014

Impact Topic: General

“I was ready to know difficult things”

Impact: I am a BYU graduate, a returned missionary, and a very black-and-white believer (that was probably the problem). The beginning of losing my testimony is probably like a lot of others’ experiences. I never got strong answers to my prayers. I always told myself that I knew the church was true, and I felt good while reading the Book of Mormon.

The clincher came when I worked for the Liahona. I did some research on Abraham for a series on Old Testament prophets (I think it’s in March?), and I read the Wikipedia entry, just like I had for Adam and Noah. Of course I read about the mismatched translations, and my heart sunk. I panicked about it, then eventually figured that there was an explanation, but it didn’t matter. Only my faith mattered.

But I gave myself permission to look at the questions that all of the anti-Mormons were asking. I thought they would be saying stupid things like, “Joseph Smith ate babies!” And of course, it wouldn’t be true. I remembered having a speaker come to BYU-I and talk about this list of 20 things that disproved Mormonism and resolving all 20 of them over the years. So I felt justified. I was ready to know difficult things.

I was so, so wrong. I was a very black-and-white, orthodox Mormon. For example, the whole Proposition 8 thing made me feel uncomfortable, but I supported it anyway. (They had a big campaign at BYU-I to get students involved in a telephone campaign at the time. I didn’t do that but messaged a bunch of friends on Facebook.) My stake president pushed a group of students to start a club at my high school called the CTR Alliance. It was basically FHE for high school kids (despite the fact there was already a Christian club on campus). That felt very wrong too, but I thought the carnal me just needed to be humbled.

Being black-and-white, the church was not allowed to be anything other than black-and-white, and the evidence was so overwhelming. It was just one thing after another–the Book of Abraham, the Kinderhook Plates, the real reason for Thomas Marsh’s excommunication, Joseph’s involvement with treasure hunting and masonry, polyandry, and everything else under the sun. Polyandry was a very painful thing to me, and I think it was what sent my beliefs tumbling down. It was plain adultery in my eyes (which, come to think of it, is that not somewhat sexist of me? I mean, why can a man have multiple wives but a woman can’t have multiple husbands? I guess the point, though, was the utter hypocrisy of Joseph).

If it had been one or two things, I could have survived. But it was too much. It was an excruciatingly painful process deconstructing my faith, but it was also very freeing to let go of faith-encrusted beliefs about women and the priesthood, blacks and the priesthood, polygamy, homosexuality, cohabitation, and the inferiority of other faiths. I feel like this is my refiner’s fire because the people burning me are the people I would have expected to agree with the rest of my life.

I think everyone feels anger to some degree, and it can be all encompassing. It’s anger over a life dedicated to half-truths and lies, anger over losing the love of others because the church won’t come clean, anger that you’ve given yourself so blindly to something that has kept you from loving fully. I don’t know that the anger ever goes away, but it becomes embers, more tame than the inferno that could have taken out a forest and probably took some people with it.

The facts are the catalyst for the betrayal. I think they are the thing that burns below the surface when you talk to others filled with testimony or with people who judge you. At the same time you want to burn them up with the facts, you don’t want anyone to ever feel what you’ve felt. You want to be a light, not an ignition source.

I’ve lost my husband over my loss of faith. I just hope he’ll come back to me and realize that I was just trying to be a light.

Name: ES

Date: 16 Jul 2014

Impact Topic: Polygamy; The Book of Abraham; General

“Made me want to effect change…”

Impact: At first I felt betrayed, and the feelings of betrayal actually made me want to effect change with the things that were wrong. But after more and more changes to the narrative erupted, the reason for leaving was intellectual, based on the reconciliation that if they were wrong so many times, what makes it right?

Name: Eric

Date: 16 JUL 2014

Impact Topic: General

“The rest came tumbling down”

Impact: Throughout my life there have been doctrines that I disagreed with but was told to shelve and have faith that it would all work out in the end. After so many years of frustration I realized none of those doctrines mattered if I didn’t have a testimony of Joseph Smith. When I realized the amount of deception, lies, and cover-ups on his part the rest came tumbling down. The pain comes from the realization of how much my belief in the church informed every decision I made. I hope I am able to recover from the amount of damage it has caused to my psyche.

Name: Anonymous

Date: 15 Jul 2014

Impact Topic:  General

“I… never heard… the real historical accounts”

Impact:  I was born in the covenant, grew up active, attended 4 years of early morning seminary, served a full 2 year mission, graduated from BYU (with almost 40 credits in religion) and never heard any of the real historical accounts, just white washed history. The church teaches to be honest in everything you do- this seriously clashed with me when I found they had been telling the “truth” from their own perspective.

Name: Anonymous

Date:  15 Jul 2014

Impact Topic: General

“It was intolerable”

Impact: The historical issues proved the Church wasn’t true, but I might not have left just because it was not true (I no longer believed any church was true). I left because it was intolerable. I could not stand all of the Joseph Smith praise, the homophobia, the unequal treatment of women, the emphasis on obedience, the brainwashing of children with songs like “Follow the Prophet”, the discouragement of any real treatment of the difficult issues at church, the suspicion of unworthiness if one doesn’t enthusiastically take callings, etc.

Name: David

Date: 15 Jul 2014

Impact Topic: General