Dodie Was a Mormon, an Ex-Mormon Profile Spotlight

Meet Dodie, a nature enthusiast and math mentor who, in 1975, embraced the Mormon faith, captivated by the promise of belonging to God’s true church and guided by the teachings of a living prophet. Devoting over four decades to the Mormon community, she held numerous callings and sought to magnify her role within the church. However, doubts began to infiltrate her faith, spurred by inconsistencies between church policies and core doctrines.

The turning point came when Dodie’s evangelical sister introduced her to the CES letter, a document she had been warned against reading. Curiosity led her to delve into its contents, igniting a journey of self-discovery and revelation. In response to the letter, the church released a series of Gospel Topic Essays, which galvanized Dodie’s skepticism. As she grappled with the truths uncovered by so-called “enemies of the church,” Dodie found herself facing a crisis of faith.

While studying the Church Essay of the Book of Mormon translation, she learned the translation process indeed used a “seer stone,” and her longstanding beliefs were shattered. Dodie experienced a profound disillusionment, plunging her into a state of existential crisis. Yet, amid the wreckage of her faith, Dodie embarked on a journey of spiritual renewal and self-acceptance.

I love our natural world, and helping kids with math. In 1975 I was deceived into joining the Mormon church. I was a Mormon for 42 years.

I wanted to belong to a church with a living prophet. I wanted to be a member of God’s true church. The missionary lessons just cover the basics which lie on the surface—all leading up to becoming a full tithe-paying member. I just gobbled up their sales pitch like gumdrops. These people had an answer for absolutely everything, including answering the questions on my Catholic “shelf.” I was told I was a “Golden Convert.” I felt so special to think my “heart had been prepared for the truth.”

That organization robbed my family of so much during all those years—so much of genuine joy and of truth. My husband remained faithful to his Catholic religion but our three children were raised in the Mormon church. My husband was tolerant, but always carried a resentment. I cannot imagine the emotional and spiritual pain he endured out of love for me and our boys. I held callings, most of the time several at once due to belonging to a branch. There was never a time I held fewer than 2 callings at the same time. I absolutely wanted to “magnify my callings”.

When I first joined the Mormon church, I wasn’t allowed to go to the temple because I was married to a nonmember. Once the rules were changed and I could go, I went as often as I could. The first encounter was bizarre, to say the least. At that time they still had the “blood oaths” as part of the endowment. I was instructed by local leaders that I just needed to go more often so I would understand the deeper meanings of the endowment. I went as often as I could but at the same time I was piling unanswered questions on my “shelf.” As the years passed, my shelf became quite cluttered. I was building quite a heap.

I started out dividing shelf items between doctrine and policies. Then I wrestled with policies not representing doctrine. I had questions about doctrine vs. policy, polygamy, members being embryonic gods, godhead vs. trinity, “heavenly mother,” priesthood keys, “keys” in general, blacks and the priesthood, subservience of women, mission of the Holy Ghost, admittance to the church through baptism, why baptism was essential for membership, endless pursuit of “inactives” while at the same time the endless pursuit of reasons to disfellowship/excommunicate active members, why not all questions were “welcome,” endless circular reasoning in describing church doctrine and policies…

Church leaders frequently admonished members to not listen to enemies of the church, so I didn’t. I clearly understand why now, but at the time I was being obedient. One day my “baby sister,” an evangelical, asked if I had read the “CES letter.” Of course I had not. Various church leaders had admonished us not to read it. My sister wisely asked why church leaders would not want us to know what our enemies are saying so we could lovingly correct them? Fair enough. I read the CES letter.

In response to this letter, the church published a series of Gospel Topic Essays. As I started to read those, I thought it peculiar that in defending themselves by way of the Church Essays, they actually further convicted the church. I was discovering the so-called enemies of the church were better at telling the truth than the church had been.

In my mind, there lingered that “living prophet” thing, and the Urim and Thummim God had preserved for thousands of years so an ancient book could be translated. But as I read the essay about the translation of the Book of Mormon I began to grow somewhat skeptical. Once I reached the part about the “seer stone,” I actually stood up and said out loud, “Ouija board!! Run, Dodie, run!” A magic rock in a hat?? My overloaded shelf came crashing down—so devastating was the crash, it left a massive crater into which I fell. Down the rabbit hole I went, to a place where there was no God. I experienced a true psychotic break. I thought I had died and was living in hell.

I rationalized that if there is a God, he has to be only good. No one would worship a mean God. And if he is good, then he will not lie. Off and on over three days I paced back and forth, hands lifted toward the heavens, pleading with God to reveal himself if he were truly there. On the third day, confessing to be willing to give up everything I knew if I could just know if God was real—if he was really there, I received a most spectacularly miraculous, undeniable answer. God is real. Immediately following, my body steadily filled with a magnificent, beautifully comforting warmth which went deep into my bones. I was free!! And for the first time in my life, I felt love for myself.


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