Lindee converted to Mormonism as a young adult and served a mission. She followed advice of her Bishop and avoided therapy and saw her mental health suffer. After a long time as a single woman, she married, had children, and continued on the Mormon conveyor belt of life. She “spent a lot of time just surviving, instead of thriving” and “struggled trying to bury [her] own identity so [she] could take on the church’s collective identity.” The straw that broke her shelf was when her child came out as queer. This sent her testimony spiraling and she thankfully chose to love her daughter over the dogma that never quite felt right anyway. She still works through her faith deconstruction by reclaiming and rebuilding her life according to her own conscience. She knows that the church doesn’t have a monopoly on spiritual experiences and is becoming happier and happier following her daughter’s example of living an authentic life.
I was a convert, brought into the church by a wonderful LDS couple. The church filled some unmet needs at the time. I served a foreign mission as a new convert. I am a poet & writer. I was a Mormon.
A bishop suggested when I was 23 that I didn’t need professional therapy, even though I was raised in a moderately dysfunctional family. I believed he was inspired because that’s what I was told to believe. He wasn’t inspired.
I spent a lot of time being single in the church. I passed up an opportunity to date someone I really cared about solely because he wasn’t Mormon. I married a Mormon man at age 38. He was also a convert. I didn’t really marry for the right reasons. I knew I was going to descend into depression if I didn’t marry & have children. We had 2 beautiful children we both adore. I sought to be the mom/wife the church told me I must be, constantly struggling to make it to sacrament meeting on time, study scriptures as a family & do all the “stuff.” I definitely wasn’t happy.
I spent a lot of time just surviving, instead of thriving. I struggled trying to bury my own identity so I could take on the church’s collective identity.
My precious teenager came out as queer. This child had never believed in the church either. I knew she wasn’t going to stay in the church & I knew she was going to live an authentic life as a queer person. So where would this leave us as a family? I couldn’t take it anymore.
I came to terms with the fact that my biological father was narcissistic. I realized I had gone straight from a controlling father to a high control organization. I decided I wasn’t going to make it to the celestial kingdom & that was going to be okay. I just wanted us all to be happy in this life. I wanted my children to be happy & healthy. The top tier Mormon heaven wouldn’t be the same without my child. And I felt arrogant in thinking I could make it there & someone else couldn’t, knowing that I also couldn’t live up to the impossible expectations.
There was a lot of deconstructing of my faith that had to happen. I had to come to understand the biology behind being a queer individual & how they are born the way they are. We are still struggling to rebuild our lives. Yet, even in the midst of recovering from Mormonism, we experience a feeling of great joy & freedom. I am still a good person with good values who loves helping others & advocating for the marginalized. The more emotionally healthy I become, the more I realize how unhealthy Mormonism is/was (for ME). I acknowledge we all have different paths in life & that is totally valid & okay (at least, to me).
I am not lazy, I studied & prayed intensely. I came to realize that there are too many troubling aspects to church history, doctrine etc. I just don’t believe a loving God would obligate me to believe in something that actively harms people (such as how polygamy harmed women & children… and how the church harms LGBTQ+ individuals/youth). When there are so many problems with the history (& so many things about the doctrine/teachings/policies are so incredibly unhealthy), there is no way any God would ask me to believe in such a thing. That would be abusive, in my view.
I had to realize also that my spiritual experiences were not necessarily tied to the LDS church (even though I had been led to believe they were). I am much happier now than when I was in the church. I am struggling to find community though. That is the part that is hard (leaving the community). But I have a lot more joy than I ever had trying to check all those Mormon “boxes” that I could never get quite right, it seemed. We spend more quality time as a family. And I am learning to reclaim my own self. I see myself becoming happier & happier.Lindee
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