Murphy Was a Mormon, an Ex-Mormon Profile Spotlight

Meet Murphy, born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she was deeply involved in the church. Murphy was dedicated to her faith until it became a source of intense frustration and anger. Her strong, opinionated nature clashed with the church’s expectations for women, leading to resentment and a feeling of being unfulfilled in her role. Her faith began to unravel as she delved into gender inequality within the church, polygamy, and the troubling history surrounding Joseph Smith. She discovered many inconsistencies and disturbing truths that shattered her belief in the church’s teachings. Her studies revealed a pattern of deliberate misinformation and a sexist doctrine that left her feeling betrayed and undervalued.

The realization that she could not raise her daughter in such an environment was the last straw and prompted Murphy to resign from the church, seeking a future where her daughter could grow up confident and empowered. Leaving the church brought Murphy a sense of freedom and joy, despite the trauma and alienation from some family members. She now views herself as a capable, strong individual, responsible for her own actions and successes. Embracing her humanity, she no longer fears those outside the church and finds solace in the amazing, good people she encounters in her life.

I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was a Laurel President. I refused to date until I was 16. I went to a BYU, served an LDS mission in Toronto Canada, and have only ever kissed one man in my entire life – my husband. I am a mother, a historical sites hunter, a writer, and I was a mormon.

I was a rigid, rigid judgmental bitch. And I was SO angry. I’ve always been a strong, opinionated personality, intent on changing the world. I am ready to move mountains single-handedly if necessary. Being Mormon somehow managed to make that energy a bad thing. As a woman, I was “supposed” to be kind, sweet, and loving. I was supposed to make babies and be a homemaker, and I was “supposed” to be happy doing just that. Only that. And that was infuriating. So, this rigid, angry bitch got married, and started having children. Multiple children later, I realized I resented my husband. He had done nothing wrong, but he also had zero religious “ambition.” He didn’t want to be an apostle or anything! And subsequently, that meant I would never move mountains for my God, which was the most important thing I could ever be asked to do. As his wife, I would never have that opportunity.

I started an even deeper dive into gender inequality in the church – polygamy, priesthood, abuse, lies, betrayal, etc, etc, ETC, ETC. The doctrine of a Heavenly Mother broke my heart, though it didn’t make me leave. I realized that not only did the Church recognize we had a Mother, they simultaneously commanded us not to talk to her, talk ABOUT her, or even tell us more about her. I realized my own divine destiny was like Her own – doomed to silence and playing eternal second fiddle.

In studying the history of the church, I found so many stories, so many alternate tellings, so many differences from FAITHFUL members, that I realized I had been deliberately misled. It’s knowing that there were other First Vision accounts that varied SIGNIFICANTLY from the one traditionally taught. You can’t tell me you’d see God the Father AND Jesus Christ and forget to mention it on more than one occasion. The fact that alternate accounts were literally hidden away in a safe by the prophet says they knew they were hiding something faith-shaking. It was in learning about Joseph’s MANY adulterous encounters. It was realizing that Joseph being tarred and feathered was only because the doctor had a change of heart last minute and didn’t castrate him, for his alleged crimes against another man’s sister. It was reading the first-hand accounts from WOMEN who told of their encounters with the prophet, and their introduction to polygamy. It became apparent, to this ex-social worker, that Joseph Smith was a sexual predator, in MANY disturbing cases.

For me it was also reading family history records – seeing how my ancestors were AVID treasure diggers, and how they adored Joseph Smith for his work with them – sacrificing the black dog for its blood, etc, in treasure rituals. It was looking at the murders that took place in Missouri, and recognizing that the Mormons were NOT the victims. It was in looking at the murders that happened in Utah, and empathizing with the women who were brought there under the illusion that polygamy didn’t actually take place – only to catch them in the practice through their manipulations. I was misled from my earliest childhood to see the Mormons as completely innocent victims.

I was a raging feminist who complained about YM/YW activity inconsistencies and attitudes from the beginning. When I went to University I complained about sexism again, and realized how useless I felt as a woman in the church. When I went on a mission, I saw the church as cruel in the way they treated their missionaries and viewed their investigators as numbers. When I got married, I realized God was sexist. It took me YEARS to accept that Mormon God was sexist. Eventually I just convinced myself that that was the church, and it would catch up someday. It took me a couple years of reading history, and knowing the dark truths about Joseph Smith to realize I didn’t believe in him, and that being a part of the Mormon community wasn’t worth sacrificing my integrity for. It took YEARS. And then it took about one minute.

It took me years to stop being “angry” and accept that just LEAVING the church already might actually give me freedom and joy. It was scary. Finally, after years of grumping about EVERYTHING, I discovered I was pregnant with a little girl. My entire family resigned the following week. Somehow I had been able to justify and juggle the thought of raising sons in the church, but discovering that I would have a daughter made me see that future as impossible. My daughter deserved more than I had received. My daughter deserved to see herself as capable of anything. My daughter deserved to have happiness and feel confident and beautiful in all her dreams and ambitions. She deserved to see herself as a force for good. She deserved to see herself as incredibly strong, solely capable, and a leader if she wanted to. She wasn’t inherently a temptation, or a “mother” before she’d even had a chance to become a woman. Obviously, leaving Mormonism involved SO MUCH MORE, but for me, it was being damned for being female. Mormonism is damnation to women.

Leaving a cult can be traumatizing as people lose everything they have and know, but I, fortunately, am VERY happy. I view myself as a human. I’m capable of great good and great stupidity simultaneously, and nobody gets credit for my actions but me, and me alone. The good I do isn’t God. It’s me. The crap I do isn’t Satan. It’s the basic human condition, which is beautiful in its variability. Mistakes are not damning. Mistakes are just that, and they’re easy to let go of. I no longer walk through a world of strangers, but a world of equals. I didn’t know how scared I was of people outside the church until I wasn’t afraid anymore, until I saw myself for what I was – truly one of them. The world is full of amazing, AMAZING good people who are happy and free.

I’ve had periods of silence with family members that lasted literal years. When I’ve tried to be a support person or help within my family, I’ve been avoided, I’m certain, because I’m “not a faithful person.” I’ve lost all ability to be of service or even a source of comfort or knowledge, in my family. Not all family members feel this way, but enough that it makes being around them difficult. It’s grief and loss, primarily, but also anger and frustration at being judged harshly for doing something that for me, was so personally positive and necessary. I felt like I followed the truth, and my family would have preferred I stayed, dishonestly, in the lie. It’s disappointing to see your family as not having the bravery to be people of integrity and honesty, too. I’m not a perfect person, by any means, but the alienation I have received has no explanation other than my leaving the church.


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