Why I left the Mormon church
I'm getting mad crazy hits from being linked in a couple of seriously popular blogs, and I figure I should probably take some of my 15 minutes to explain why exactly I lost my testimony in the Mormon church in 1992.
I was raised Mormon, from the time I was a baby until I got in college. I continued to stay an active Mormon through my first three years of college.
I wasn't the "best" Mormon. I did get baptized on my 8th birthday, which was cool. (There was lots of excitement in Primary, the children's sunday school program, for children to be baptized when they turned 8 years old.) I never went to enough Seminary in high school to actually finish a whole year, and I only went to Young Women camp enough to finish two of the four years. I did, however, get my Young Women's Personal Progress Award.
My parents converted when I was a baby, I think, or maybe right before I was born. My uncle, my father's brother, had converted, and my father converted shortly after. My parents were never SuperMormons. Both of my parents smoked and drank coffee almost my whole life, which is a big no-no because of the Word of Wisdom. My parents were finally sealed to each other and to my younger brother and me sometime in my Junior year of high school. But when they moved farther away from a temple where they could not go regularly, they started smoking again. My parents were sporatically inactive in my youth (which meant I didn't go to church either), but were active for most of the 80's. When they moved to Colorado in the 90's, they were inactive for about 10 years because they disliked their ward. But when they moved to McAllen, TX, they became active again.
When I was in college I started dating a very nice young man, who had never been raised in any relgion. When we started dating, I made it clear that I would much prefer him to be Mormon. Mormon young women are strongly encouraged to marry members. Marrying outside of the church means not getting Sealed for time and all eternity in the Temple, which means not making to the Celestial Kingdom.
So he read the Book of Mormon, and decided to convert. He was baptized, and we continued to date for over two and a half years.
In the spring of 1992, I was in a Bookstop book store near Town East mall in Mesquite, TX. I was looking at religion books, and for some reason I decided to pick up an "anti-Mormon" book. As a Mormon, I was raised in a total bubble. Mormons are strongly encouraged not only to not study other religions, but to not read anything about the Mormon religion unless it was approved by the Church.
I can't remember what shocking revelation in this book made me want to buy it. I can't remember what made me go "Oh my gosh, this church is false!" All I can remember is the sensation of my entire world crumbling around me. I remember feeling like my whole belief system, my whole support in life was completely gone.
Here's the secret of what happens when a Mormon leaves the church: There is one fact to which all other facts around the Mormon church revolve. Either the Book of Mormon is what it claims to be, or it is not. Either Joseph Smith saw God and Christ, and Moroni revealed the plates, or he did not. Everything else in the entire religion revolves around this simple fact. Now, I can't remember which fact I read that turned the light on for me that the Book of Mormon was not the revealed word of God. I just remember that I found it and it was horrible.
My boyfriend and I left the church at the same time. Our calling at the time was teaching a Primary class, and we simply called and said we could no longer teach the class and that we would no longer be going to the church. We broke up about 4 months later, but stayed friends until he graduated from college the next sememster. I remember him giving me a letter, asking me to mail it, that was his resignation from the church. I still was rather scared to send it, and I saved it for years before finally throwing it away. I still get sad thinking that he's considered a member somewhere on the rolls of the Mormon church.