Olivia Was a Mormon, an Ex-Mormon Profile Spotlight

Raised in a devout Mormon family in Utah, Olivia spent the better part of her life immersed in the teachings and traditions of the church. However, even from a young age, she found herself at odds with certain aspects of her faith, grappling with feelings of doubt and discontent. Despite her initial rebellion during her teenage years, Olivia eventually succumbed to the pressure to conform, embracing her faith wholeheartedly and becoming a devout member of the church. Yet, as she embarked on her journey of self-discovery, Olivia’s faith began to unravel, culminating in a profound realization of her bisexuality and a newfound sense of authenticity.

The catalyst for Olivia’s awakening came in the form of a grassroots movement led by Sam Young to protect LDS children from harm within the church. Faced with revelations about the church’s troubling history and practices, Olivia’s once-unshakable faith crumbled, leaving her adrift in a sea of disillusionment and uncertainty. Despite the upheaval and loss that accompanied her departure from the church, Olivia found solace in forging her own path and embracing her true identity.

Navigating the final years of her education at BYU amidst the turmoil of her religious awakening, Olivia leaned on her newfound community as an EMT and firefighter for support and stability. Through perseverance and determination, she emerged from the confines of her religious upbringing stronger and more resilient than ever before. Today, Olivia revels in the freedom to live authentically, unencumbered by the constraints of religious dogma.

I was born in Utah in the church and spent 22 years trying my best to fit into it and belong. My whole family was mormon, except for a great grandmother who drank coffee and a couple aunts and uncles I rarely saw and didn’t know well. The church meant everything to my parents, but there were always pieces of it I could never reconcile with. I’m a paramedic and love learning and helping people however I can. I was a mormon.

When I was a teenager, I had a typical rebellious phase where I didn’t want to be involved in anything church related. I remember fighting with my parents because I was supposed to go do baptisms for the dead for mutual and I was refusing to go. Eventually I lashed out and yelled at them that I wouldn’t go because I didn’t believe. Back then, however, that was a lie – I always thought to myself during that stage of my life that I ‘knew’ it was true but that I wished it wasn’t. Spirituality brought me no joy and I always felt like everyone was just faking it as they went because that’s what I was doing. I hated church activities and my parents getting me to voluntarily participate in things like scripture study was like pulling molars.

I don’t know what changed, but it was probably due to peer pressure from family and friends that that stage didn’t last long. I threw myself full on into the church the way my family wanted. I went to BYU for my undergrad, served in young single adult relief society presidencies, and even took out my endowments at 21 without serving a mission or being engaged. I was the kind of person who would have spiritual talks with my friends for fun and would even go sit on the temple grounds singing hymns together.

That all changed again, very rapidly considering how devout I was for so long. At the beginning of 2020, I had the realization that I was bisexual. I spent a few weeks frantically researching to try to find fellow bisexual mormons, and initially came to the conclusion that I could still be accepted if I only married a man and never explored that other side of me.

That stage didn’t last long. My shelf was already splintering. One day in my research, I came across the story of Sam Young and his Protect LDS Children campaign. That was the real beginning of the end for me, and within a matter of days, my shelf was broken. I learned things about the church I’d never known before, I found To A Mormon Man, Letter For My Wife, the CES Letter. It was all over. Most importantly, I got tired of trying to cut off the pieces of myself that would never fit into the box the church had designated for me.

It was some relief that church was canceled in person during covid. However, the real issue was that I was still attending BYU at that point. I knew I couldn’t bring myself to go to church again with how angry I was, and so I had a plan – I chose to work my one, 24 hour shift a week on Sundays, pretending I had no choice but to work that day due to scheduling. It was only because of this, and finding new community volunteering as an EMT on campus, that I survived those final couple years at BYU. I lost all the friends I had apart from coworkers and fellow volunteers, including friendships I’d had since before I could remember. But I made it out.

I graduated without being caught by the Honor Code Office, and I’ve never looked back. I went to UVU to get my paramedic license and I currently work as both a firefighter and a paramedic with many of my coworkers also being ex mormon. The things I’ve seen in my admittedly short career have, to me, confirmed the lack of a caring higher power I was raised to believe in.

I love drinking coffee and alcohol without any guilt. I have piercings and tattoos without shame. I wear what I want, when I want. I’m not ashamed of my sexuality, and I even enjoy doing boudoir photoshoots sometimes! My money is mine to do with as I want and need, and any volunteering or donating is done out of desire rather than peer pressure. I know that religion isn’t what makes a person good or bad, and even though I’m still angry at the church, even though my family is still deep in the church with the exception of one of my older brothers, I try to keep my resentment from running my life.

I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. After years of dealing with depression, self worth issues, and suicidal thoughts, I’m finally at peace with who I am and where I am.


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