Category: My Journey Out of Mormonism

I resigned my membership in the LDS church just a little over 3 years ago. Although life did not magically change into a worry-free fairyland, it became considerably less complicated, less burdensome, and brighter. Although I have encountered losses along the way, such as several, close, family relationships, I have never known greater personal peace. I truly know and love myself. Life is better than ever!


For the most part, I was raised in the LDS church. My parents were converted to Mormonism when I was about seven. At the time, they were Baptist, but not actively religious. From the beginning, my family was devout. Although I had a few, difficult questions arise over the years, I was mostly an active member until I resigned my membership in 2008.

My questions, when they arose, were never quite satisfied and over time, 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 un-limited 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,, and another in Time magazine:

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 now feel completely and unconditionally loved by God. His love is no longer something that feels just out-of-reach, something I have to constantly earn. I know I am loved completely just as I am, and I, in turn, love myself and 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.

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