Anja was raised Mormon and the church was her entire community. She was a model Aaronie Priesthood holder and served an honorable mission, but recently realized she was a trans woman. Even before this, she had doubts and at first, was able to keep them to herself. However, as she began to get to know actual people in the LGBTQ+ community her concerns intensified as she saw the stark contrast between what the church preaches and reality. The November Policy in 2015 was the breaking point and since Anja knew this couldn’t come from a loving God, she followed the binary thinking the church teaches to the only sensible conclusion – that the church is a complete fraud! Since leaving and transitioning, she’s found more peace and joy than she ever found in the church and credits it to living as her fullest self! Welcome Anja, and thank you for sharing your story!
I grew up immersed in the Mormon faith. I was homeschooled (due to academic concerns, not faith reasons), which meant the church was my entire community. I was a model Aaronic Priesthood holder, served an honorable full-time mission. I realized I was a queer trans woman in June 2020 and started transitioning immediately. I was a Mormon.
When the church began openly pushing against gay marriage in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, I struggled to reconcile that with the 11th Article of Faith, where we supposedly allow all others to worship according to their own conscience. But I believed in following the prophet, so I mostly kept my doubts to myself.
Then in 2013, I moved from the heavily Mormon area in the Phoenix area I’d lived most of my life to Texas, and found myself working with openly gay coworkers for the first time. Getting to know actual people in the LGBTQ+ community, combined with a church scene where I no longer had the comfortable friendships I’d made with other more progressive and nuanced Mormons even as the things being said over the pulpit and in Sunday School and Priesthood got more narrow-minded, only intensified my concerns, and I started struggling to find the motivation to stay involved.
Then came the November 2015 policy changes, and I simply could not continue. I could not reconcile the Divine I knew from my own spiritual experiences with the policies punishing and ostracizing children for the actions of a parent. And I couldn’t believe men who were supposedly special witnesses of Christ could approve something so egregious and still trust their claims of revelation and guidance. And since, as I was told by leaders for so many years, the church was either God’s true church or a complete fraud, I left.
I’ve had deep spiritual experiences my whole life. I’ve always felt the love of the Divine strongly, and if anything that’s gotten stronger since I left the church. My name, Anja, was given to me by Spirit after I’d realized I was trans and was starting my transition – it means “grace”. Even with the ongoing genocidal attacks on trans people in America right now, transitioning and living as my fullest self has brought me more peace and joy more consistently than I ever found in the LDS faith.Anja
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