Hello, there. I'm Jeff.
I was a mormon. And I was doing well with it.
I grew up in Utah County, and was a pretty good Mormon. I was a convert in some senses, as I wasn't active as a young kid and my ex-wife did the whole "flirt to convert" thing. But when I joined, I went all-in. I was a ward missionary in several wards, wanted to become a bishop, and wound up as primary chorister.
On my shelf
On the Mormon Spectrum
I was physically in, mentally out for several years, as I'd found too much wrong with the church, and it eroded my belief in the church as I found more people who were basing their own faith and identity on it. I was willing to overlook things like inconsistencies, especially when I would look at the writings of people like Hugh Nibley. They knew more than I did, so who was I to argue? They were able to square the circle and so should I.
Ultimately, I was willing to stay on the records of the church for my kids' sake. But the thing that broke my shelf was the treatment of and attitude regarding LGBTQ+ people. I found it reprehensible that apostles would incite hatred like Holland did with his now-infamous "musket fire" talk at BYU. And when I learned that BYU had carried out conversion therapy during Oaks' tenure as president—and that he blatantly lied about it—I knew I had to leave. I had planned to stay on the records of the church for the sake of my kids, but I realized that day that I could be a better example to them by maintaining my integrity and leaving the church for good.
Questions I've answered
Did you want to sin? Is that why you left? More was mormon answers about 'Did you want to sin? Is that why you left?'
No. I wanted to have a healthy relationship with myself, my spouse, and my kids. The teachings of the church ate away at my self-image and any feelings of self-worth I might have had.
Are Mormons Christian? More was mormon answers about 'Are Mormons Christian?'
This is hard. If you define a Christian as someone who (more or less) follows the teachings of Jesus, then yes. If you define it as someone who lives the teachings of Jesus, then no.
Are you happy? More was mormon answers about 'Are you happy?'
I'm happier than I've ever been. I finally feel like I matter. I feel like I can give my kids what they need. I feel free.
You’re not Mormon anymore. Why? What’s your relationship with faith now? More was mormon answers about 'You’re not Mormon anymore. Why? What’s your relationship with faith now?'
I'm not mormon because I don't believe in what the church teaches and feel that it has moral failings that a religious organization should make an effort to address. At this point, I lean more toward Druidry because the spirituality aspects and reverence for all natural things to be more inspirational than any lesson I learned in my time at church.
Why don't you leave the mormon church alone? More was mormon answers about 'Why don't you leave the mormon church alone?'
People like my kids don't know what they're agreeing to when they join the church. It's wrong to have someone agree to follow certain rules for their whole life when they don't know what it really means to pay tithing, wear garments, take time to go to the temple, clean the church, etc. for their entire life. My kids deserve to know.
Why are you sharing your story? More was mormon answers about 'Why are you sharing your story?'
People need to know. When I was a member, I believed that anyone who left did so because they were offended. This couldn't be farther from the truth.
What was your experience as a missionary? More was mormon answers about 'What was your experience as a missionary?'
My experience was relatively short. I have major depressive disorder and a generalized anxiety disorder, both of which manifested themselves while I was in the MTC. When I returned home after eight weeks, several people wouldn't speak to me anymore, and multiple people in my home ward assumed that I'd committed some kind of sin that would keep me from the mission field.
What was the response from your family when you left? More was mormon answers about 'What was the response from your family when you left?'
I didn't tell them for a long time, as I was afraid of the fallout. The hardest thing I did was tell my kids that I wasn't a member anymore when they asked if I had a testimony.
Are you lazy? Is that why you left? More was mormon answers about 'Are you lazy? Is that why you left?'
I wish. I'm busier now than I ever have been, and I now have to do it without a support system that I otherwise might have had.
Do you consider yourself a Christian? More was mormon answers about 'Do you consider yourself a Christian?'
I'm not. I've been searching for something, and I've stumbled upon Druidry.
Does the church encourage leader worship? More was mormon answers about 'Does the church encourage leader worship?'
I think so. I heard my former father-in-law say once that he would kill someone if the prophet told him to. In addition, in testimony meeting, I heard as much—if not more—testimonies of Joseph Smith and the current prophet than I did of Jesus.
Does the Mormon church protect sexual predators? More was mormon answers about 'Does the Mormon church protect sexual predators?'
Yes. And sadly, many members and local leadership are often willing to accuse innocent people of sexually predatory behavior without proof. That happened to me.
How has your leaving Mormonism affected your family relationships, friendships, job, neighbor relationships, social life, etc.? More was mormon answers about 'How has your leaving Mormonism affected your family relationships, friendships, job, neighbor relationships, social life, etc.?'
I've had to find an entire new social group. Multiple members of my family won't talk to me, and my ex-wife tried to take my kids away from me because I wasn't living like I did as a member.
Were you offended? Is that why you left? More was mormon answers about 'Were you offended? Is that why you left?'
That's a vague question. Members didn't offend me. The church lying about its past offended me. As a member, I believed the church to be the paragon of morality. But then I found out leaders from the beginning had been dishonest about so many things.