Emma didn’t feel right or safe at church. She struggled with the dissonance until she stumbled on ex-Mormon creators and community and knew she’d finally found her people!
I was born into the church. I left the church in 2020, after taking a hiatus from church for about a year. I decided I didn’t want anything to do with the church and chose to leave instead of going back. I’m still healing from this journey and wouldn’t change it for the world. I was a mormon.
I never felt that I belonged. It seemed that it was a chore for the other youth to include me, when they would include me. I was the only plus sized person in my ward. I always felt out of place, like I didn’t look like a Mormon girl. The next big thing that happened is really what triggered my shelf breaking.
In 2019 all of the youth in my stake went to Nauvoo. The youth in my ward abandoned me, not knowing the area or where I was supposed to go. I eventually found the bishop and his wife who said I could walk with them. I had severe asthma, and walking through the groves to the temple I started having an asthma attack and I collapsed to the ground. The bishop looked back at me and said, “I promised to be at the temple in 5 minutes and you’re not going to be the reason I’m late.” And they left me there. I got sunburned laying there. Eventually the Albuterol kicked in and I made my way to the temple.
No one in my ward was concerned about me missing from the group or what happened to me. After that trip I didn’t feel safe at church, mostly around my bishop. I took a hiatus from church to mentally prepare to go back to church. My young women’s leader noticed I wasn’t attending church and took me out for ice cream. She asked what was going on and I explained to her what happened in Nauvoo. She laughed in my face. I didn’t know what to think of it and awkwardly laughed too.
After that, I definitely didn’t want to go to church. I started questioning why God would choose such awful people for those callings. I didn’t have anyone who had gone through a faith crisis in my circle, in fact the church had me believe that hardly anyone ever leaves the church.
I found Zelph on the Shelf, and that started my branch to finding the ex-mormon reddit, and ex-mormon content creators. I soon saw patterns in how other people were treated in church and how I was treated in church. I started learning about church history and the amount of abuse the church has hidden. I was disgusted and wanted nothing to do with the church. I decided to leave the church.
I was told that I was just confused, or it’s okay to step away for a little, but I have to come back or else I won’t go to heaven. My father told me that all ex-mormons are bad people with bad agendas. It felt like the whole world was telling me not to remove my records, but I held firm and removed them anyway.
I started feeling more, my personality could finally start to grow. It was kind of amazing. Of course there is the faith crisis and realizing you’ve been brainwashed your whole life, and I do still struggle with how much the church took from me.
Since I left I’ve been running an ex-mormon women’s support group with my best friend. Life is definitely better without the church. I can recognize abusive relationships now, and think about my needs. It’s a decision I’ve never regretted.Emma
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