Mike was raised in a part-member family but never had missionary aspirations. Instead, he wanted to get an education and “fly jets.” He found immense pressure to serve a mission from ward members and was surprised when his Bishop presented him with mission papers. He declined and has been on a road to personal growth, mental health, and happiness since! He even achieved his personal goal of flying and getting an education.
I am a husband, father, teacher, reader, questioner, thinker, traveler and I am living my best life. I was raised in a half-mormon household. This somewhat unique circumstance exacerbated the negative effects of Mormonism upon my psyche, yet may have allowed for an easier departure when that event occurred. I was a Mormon.
My father was not a member, not a participant, not interested, generally did not openly express an opinion about how my mother was raising us “in the church,” but on occasion said “do what your mother tells you.” Per my mother’s edict, our attendance and participation was a fundamental requirement of our existence. At “church” to my supposed peers, I was the quiet, skinny little kid who either didn’t have a father, or even worse, whose father “wasn’t a member!”
I left Mormonism at age 19. One might think that my exposure to the cult was therefore very limited, and, yes I am fortunate to have left when I did. However, I left still bearing many scars, wounds, confusions and emotional difficulties that were mostly hidden and not recognized nor understood by me. These things I sorted out over several phases of healing and genuine spiritual discovery throughout life, but not without trouble and tragedy in the interim. My family dynamics certainly contributed to those dysfunctions, but Mormonism acted to cement those dysfunctions and also prevented or greatly impeded other potential moderating or positive mentoring influences that would have otherwise been available from outside my family situation.
In my youth, before I physically left, I did not develop the personal sovereignty, nor the courage, nor even the idea, to say to my Mormon parent, “I don’t believe in this, therefor, I am no longer going to pretend by doing the things I am ‘supposed’ to do there.” Approaching that important male age of 19, I had other plans, going on a Mission did not align with the sense of truth and integrity that I had begun to develop. There was no way that I would participate in preparing for and then inflicting the Mormon sales pitch on fellow human beings. To do so would have been trying to sell them on a view of the universe that I did not believe.
One evening when I was at the factory entrance punching the time clock beginning my 2nd shift work, I encountered Brother P. as he was leaving the building and engaged me in conversation. He asked, “Mike, are you going to go on a Mission?” I said, “No, I am not. I am making preparations to go to University in the Fall, study Aerospace Engineering, enter the Air Force through ROTC and go on to fly jets.” Brother P. replied, with a mix of disgust and disappointment, “Well, that’s too bad!”
The more socially preferred boys in the local Mormon society had no plans for their future. They were merely on the Mormon conveyor belt awaiting their processing into their servitude and then a continued infantilism of outwardly only doing what they were told to do, while inwardly, doing whatever they could get away with. My mother told me that the Bishop would like to have a meeting with me. By this time, I had recognized that the Bishop no longer had any sway of authority over me, as I had previously perceived him to have. At the meeting, the Bishop informed me that he had in front of him, on his desk, my Mission Calling paperwork.
This was a bit of a surprise to me as my participation was approaching zero. Despite all of the propaganda about preparation, all that was really required was a body temp near 98.6F. Today, I wish that I had somehow already developed some swagger with which to respond to the Bishop. However, “No thank you. I have other plans…” might be all that I could muster. Subsequently, I earned a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and two advanced degrees, and I earned the titles “Colonel” and “Captain” in military and civilian aviation careers respectively.
Mormonism is a fraudulent rip-off and perverted imposter of orthodox (small “o”) Christian ideas, practice and history. When you think you are healed, de-programmed, free, or fully awakened… you probably aren’t, yet. Am I happy? Yes, Exceedingly! More importantly, I am available to experience and embrace joy, grace, wisdom and truth through open seeking of it.
Why don’t I leave the church alone? The authoritarian leaders inside of Mormonism are the ones most frequently asking this question. It is in their interest to tamp down any and all criticism or exposure of origins of and the real beliefs propagated within LDS/Mormonism. Their demands that we “leave the church alone” is like a bank robber telling the witnesses to be quiet, and not complain about or expose the heist. Of course having such an expectation is absurd in a world where one human being should be concerned with the well-being of any another human being and where all should want truth and justice to be the norm.Mike
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