It’s never too late.
If you are or ever have been affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, please, hear my heart speaking to you.
This is what life after Mormonism is like.
This is how I get to speak to my family now.
After posting this photo to Facebook recently, I had an opportunity to reconnect with someone I used to be close with.
His comment read:
“I wasn’t able to attend ____’s or ____’s wedding, and they were both really disappointed in me.”
I know there are components of this chaptered response that need additional delving and footnotes and sources for the memoir, but for now, I think this open letter captures the heart of my message.
___________ , I wish you had had different experiences. I don’t have to tell you that the church is built on an exclusionary system. That system ties someones worth to their behaviour. It glorifies rituals as spirituality when there are 180 degrees between them.
Spirituality is the prioritization and belief that the human sentient soul and respect for it must come before all other things, material or immaterial. Spirituality births invisible roots that connect us together, some end up shrouded with false robes and writings in hopes of strengthening that connection — without the realization that there’s erosion occurring beneath.
This “church” ties someone’s “righteousness” or self-worth to what they wear, who they love, what brings them joy, etc. “If you’re not following our rules, you’re not good enough” is the proclamation. Unconditional love is something both you and I have been starved of since birth, and because of this fell into craving conditional-control-tactics disguised as love and acceptance. These “cravings” often look like addiction or major mental health issues to someone outside of our perceived and experienced reality. These people who yearn for the love and belonging they were never given, they turn into scapegoats; vilified by their community as a direct result of being held captive in one man’s conceived idea of purity. They’re mocking our enlightenment by telling us we’re “broken”… that there’s something wrong with us when in reality they’re the ones remaining blind.
Don’t worry, I’ve gone back to school to become a therapist so in hopes that one day when all 40 of us want to sit down and work through it and heal the wounds we’ve created, maybe we can. I have hope.
I’ve come to accept and forgive components of my upbringing from this view point because I know what kind of home my father and your mother grew up in. I know that the only natural response to trauma is how the last 40–50 years have played out.
The systemic oppression of people inside of the Mormon church is blatant and shameless. From women to black and indigenous people of color, the history of the Mormon church is blasphemous. The church is unable to erase the history of their racist, bigoted, and fascist culture, but that doesn’t stop them from trying! As an active member, adherence to the “straight and narrow” should come with the forced acknowledgement that the process of laying such a path came with slaughter, racism, bigotry, hate, demoralization, and dehumanization of people… but, this will be left unsaid, unacknowledged.
With that, I will judge you by the religion you practice as it is a clear indication of the history you’re choosing to side within the face of #metoo and #blacklivesmatter and #equalityforall.
This church is not of God, and I’ve come to know this to be the truest thing I’ve ever known.
Because of this, I will not stay silent for a single second longer. If the words I choose to share, speak, and soon to publish could save even 1 other person from living someone else’s lie for even another second longer, it is worth it.
I will not be silent. I will use my voice and my experience, and perspective from education and training to speak truth to the church’s lies. I will challenge them at every turn, and I will not rest until the church and these false prophets fall. I am disappointed in all others before me who’ve seen this truth and stopped speaking out. Where have you been? Will you be with us when it’s time? Will you stand strong to help carry us into the future?
I want you to know something.
You, _________ , that little child with bright blonde hair and lashes for days and energy through the roof… that little child is so loved and cherished in memories. That child’s worth on this earth is determined by their presence here, nothing else. Everything about them is welcome and wanted and it belongs here, and with me in my heart and my memories always, please know this. All of you is allowed. Your anger, frustrations, strong opinions, your acting out, your big emotions, your need to isolate, your mental health, your self-care, your quicks and irks etc. you name it cousin, because all of you is allowed, and all of you deserves to be both held and free.
You deserve the world to open itself to you and to be blessed beyond measure. I think you may understand what I’m trying to say here. You deserve to feel loved and accepted for simply being who you truly are… your authentic self, with no strings attached. You have done nothing wrong in being your most authentic self.
Perfection isn’t possible. The facade of such, which active members choose to display, is often hiding something dark and buried deep. Deeper than you or I could really ever understand, which is where my newfound passion for working with people, therapeutically, through religious trauma has sprouted from.
You are the sun and the moon and the stars in the sky. You are valuable beyond measure and we need the light that’s inside of you to help light what we know is inside of everyone else around us. Each of us is our own everything; it’s a deep thought, but ponder it.
As children we deserve to be free from indoctrination; children deserve the freedom of knowing that everything they dream is possible. They deserve no limitations imposed by the shortsightedness of their parents, and I am so excited for you as a parent to cultivate beautiful children into beautifully grown humans — no matter who they grow into becoming.
Finding my authenticity has been the greatest gift, I hope for your future that you’re able to share this same joy of growth and exploration with your chosen family as well. And, in case you need to know it — I will always be here for you.
Sending love, and hope.
P.S. We deserve to be inside of that building standing in love with our families just as much as they do; they just don’t see it that way.
You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.
— Maya Angelou