Hi. I'm Jen
My daughter was on a mission and watching her suffer was one of the catalysts to start questioning everything I thought I knew was true. I was a mormon and I left while my daughter was serving a mission.
My parents were converts. My mom's patriarchal blessing said she would live to see her children grow to adulthood if she was faithful. She was very faithful and she died from cancer when I was 17 and my sisters were 14, 12 and 10. I was told God needed her but so did we. My heart was broken and could only be kept together if I could be with her again so I remained faithful. My husband joined the church right before we got married. We were fully committed to living a faithful life and raising our family to be safe and happy in the church. My parents were loving and never made me feel shameful or that their love was conditional. We raised our children the same way, to know they were loved and cherished and beautiful exactly the way they were. In the same year, my son came out as gay, my daughter left on a mission and I was serving in the Stake yw presidency where the inequality between men and women was keeping me up at night. It was early 2020 and then covid hit the world and that gave me the time I needed to question everything.
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My daughter Rian was the first person in our families to ever serve a mission. She left on her mission Jan 1, 2020. By then, I'd been serving in the stake yw for 2 years and the frustration and anger had been building because of the lack of representation and the inequality I saw at that level of leadership. A few months prior to Rian leaving on her mission, my 16 year old son (her younger brother) came out as gay. We celebrated and loved him but he came home from church in tears most Sundays. We told him he was perfect exactly how he was but at church he heard that in God's eyes, he was not. Rian's first call home from the MTC she was sobbing. She'd chosen to serve a mission so she could teach people that they were loved by god and to serve people. She was quickly learning in the mtc that the mission was much more about rules and obedience and judgement and numbers. She was sure that once she got out into the mission field that everything would be different but it wasn't. For the next 10 months I tried to make sense of it all. I wrestled with what I "knew" was true and how I was feeling deep in my soul. I spend endless hours hiking and crying and searching for an answer that would ease my aching soul. Every Monday, Rian would call home and put on a brave face for the family but the last 15 minutes of the call were just her and me and that was when she would cry and break and fall. I told her to come home but she said there was too much shame in that. I would carry her pain along with mine every week. I felt so lost and broken and lonely and angry. In desperation, I attended a woman's retreat in Wyoming. I went alone and didn't know anyone. One night, a woman was talking and she said the words that would change my life. "If you are carrying something and it's hurting you, you can let it go. I am giving you permission to let it go." Let it go? I could do that? I knew in my heart that I had tried everything to make the church work for me and it was now time to let it go. So I did.
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Do you consider yourself a Christian? See more answers about 'Do you consider yourself a Christian?'
No, I do not consider myself christian. I don't know what I believe about diety (and I am a-ok with that) but I won't be a part of organized religion again. I find spirituality in nature and within myself and with those I love.