I was born in to the Mormon church. My parents were both converts. My dad converted as a teenager and my mom converted after meeting and marrying my father. They were not married in the temple but were later sealed after three kids. My oldest brother was from my mom’s first marriage. (teenage bride). I was born in the middle, an only girl of five brothers. My parents remained active throughout my childhood and to this day still attend. I attended primary, young women’s, and graduated from seminary. I received all the young women’s awards you were supposed to. I read the bible, BOM, D&C, POGP, and those silly New Era magazines religiously. I never had a testimony. I never truly believed. I wanted to believe. I thought that I was too wicked to hear the spirit or have the holy ghost with me. I never drank alcohol, did drugs, or had sex. I did fight with my father all the time. He was emotionally and psychologically abusive. He would go into manic rages over the smallest things. I was the only one who would call him out, so I received a lot of the abuse. I was spit upon and called a slut and a whore by my priesthood holding father.
Before I got baptized at the ripe age of 8 years, I remember going to meet with the bishop. He asked me the usual church questions and I answered with the answers to all lives problems: pray, read your scriptures, fast, go to church, etc. In the back of my mind I remember thinking what if I really don’t want to do this? What will they do to me? Of course I got baptized because that is what you do. You obey your parents. You want to make them proud. Then I turned 12. This is the awkward time of adolescence and change. I start young women’s. Then comes the awkward and intrusive bishop interviews for dance cards, baptism for the dead, and yearly interviewing. I don’t know why a certain bishop was so obsessed with masturbation but I really wish my mom would have taught me that was not appropriate for a grown man to ask me questions like that. Instead my mother taught me that these men held the priesthood, so they were godlike in her eyes. Anyway, I was a good girl and much sought after babysitter. Those ward member love to exploit the youth. Can you imagine trusting a 12-year-old to watch your five bratty kids all under the age of 6 and a newborn? And you pay her $2.00 an hour? This was in the late 90’s. On top of that one family always gave me extra chores too! Dishes, vacuuming, even folding their laundry-garments included! After a year of babysitting for this family, the father drives me home. Usually the mom did. He kept looking at me while he was driving. I tried to ignore him. He kept making comments such as: You are going to make a good, obedient wife and Too bad we don’t live in the pioneer days. The next weekend he drove me home again. This time he had put books in the passenger seat, so he had me sit directly in the middle seat right by him. He put his hand on my thigh as he drove me home. I was so uncomfortable. After that day I refused to babysit ever again. I got into fights over this with my parents. I didn’t tell them the real reason because I thought that I was wicked and I was the one thinking wicked thoughts. What would a married man possibly want with an awkward 14-year-old girl? I was so naïve.
At age 16 after having a mentally insane seminary teacher who claimed to have visions and evil spirits after her, I couldn’t hold in my disbelief anymore. It’s so strange that this seminary teacher was thought of as one of the best. I truly believe she was/is mentally ill. I set my parents down and tell them that I no longer wish to attend seminary or church. I don’t believe it is true. The yelling begins. I take it. I still don’t change my mind. I was not allowed to have my driver’s license yet and did not know how to drive. My ride to school was my mom who would drop me off at seminary before she headed to work at her 12 hour shifts as a nurse. My mom then comes to the conclusion that if I don’t want to go to seminary then I have to walk to school every day. I’m not allowed to ask for rides from a friend. I lived about 5 miles from the school. Who lets their teenage daughter walk alone to school in the dark mornings for 5 miles? I did it for a week. I had two old men try and pick me up. When I told my mom she said that was because Satan was with me because I did not go to seminary. I returned to seminary because I was tired of walking. I then kept my non-belief to myself. I just signed in to seminary and used the church bathroom to do my makeup before school. At age 19 I meet my first husband. I moved out and moved in with him after 3 months of dating. I just wanted out of that home. I was finally somewhat free of the emotional religious abuse my parents put on me. My mom cried when I moved out because I was going to be living in sin. I was the first person in my family to oppose the church. My two older brothers served a mission and two of my younger brothers served missions as well. I was the apostate slut daughter.
Now I am an adult. I get a job, pay bills, and eventually buy a home with my husband. He was also an inactive member. Neither one of us feels the need to become spiritual even though our families put pressure on us to get to the temple. I am okay with who I am and don’t feel any animosity towards the church. At this point I focus on my own life. A few years later one of my older brothers call me from BYU and confesses he had some beers. We had some laughs and I welcomed him to the dark side. A year later he comes out to me, telling me he is gay. We are all a little surprised but it makes no difference to me. He is my brother and I love him. His story is his own. I won’t share it here. I do know that he was/is extremely brave and honest. He loved the church and payed for his mission by working at Burger King. His bishop promised him he would be “cured of homosexuality” if he completed his mission honorably. He did, but surprise, still gay. He is my hero and is more Christ like then any General Authority.
After 10 years of marriage to my husband, thankfully no children, we divorce. He was cheating left and right though out our marriage and I had enough. I moved out of the home we purchased into an apartment and started over again. My parents were once again disappointed in me because I was now divorced.
I thought about attending a singles ward for a brief moment but thankfully came to my senses. After a year I find love and we marry and start a family. Now here I am the mother of four young boys. They are my heart and soul. I am also working on attaining my Masters in psychology. I mainly started in psychology because I was intrigued by how our minds work. I never thought that it would make me internalize all that I have been through. I can now see all the damage that the Mormon church did to my self-esteem and to my soul.
There was a point about 6 months ago that I thought of returning to the church. My husband is Catholic. While he is not a strict Catholic and does not attend mass often he still believes in God. He asked me to go to his church with him one Sunday. I did. We got our four wild boys ready and we enter into the services. About half way through we were asked to leave because my boys weren’t perfectly quiet. At this time, I thought well maybe we can take them to the Mormon ward that we are assigned to. I remember that children were always kind of rowdy there and nobody really cared. So I get my four boys dressed in their Sunday best. My husband and I get ready and go. My oldest boy is 6 years old. He has autism and is non-verbal but makes a lot of vocalizations. His brothers are 4,2, and the baby just turned 1. We get there and sit in the back. My boys were being pretty good. As they are getting ready to do the sacrament my baby starts fussing wanting to nurse. So I discretely nurse the baby. Nothing is showing because I don’t want to offend anyone and heaven forbid one of the deacons see a part of my breast. (eye roll) My oldest boy, the one with autism, starts laughing like a maniac in the silence. Once he starts laughing he won’t stop for a good 20 minutes. He then starts to spit on the floor. The deacons come to our row with the bread and water. I try and get my husband’s attention to tell them to pass up by. Too late. The 4 and 2-year-old start screaming, I want bread, I want bread, I want bread! The bishopric and many members are staring at us now. We finally get the kids calmed down and distracted with some small toys. My oldest boy starts to say dee-dee over and over. He can’t help it, that’s just how he is. The old bat behind us says, “little boy you are being naughty. Quiet down for your parents right now.” I turn around and give her a death glare. I realize that she might have been trying to help but after my dirty look you might think she wouldn’t say anything else. She finally leans up and whispers to me, “maybe you should go discipline him. That’s his problem.” I take one look at my husband and say let’s go. We left and I am happy to say we are never going back.