Hi, I'm Jarad.
And I was a mormon. Born and raised in the church and culture in the Utah bubble.
I was recently invited by author Chris Heimerdinger (Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites) to subscribe to his latest LDS podcast. As this invite was sent just to me and two other people, I felt that it would be fine to respond. I share my response with you here:
When I originally subscribed to the Forever LDS podcast I was struggling with a few things in church and I had hopes that trying harder to stay forever LDS would keep me full of faith. In spite of, or perhaps because of, all my extra efforts to study the doctrine and history along with participating in faith-promoting podcasts, my doubts loomed large. Eventually I realized that the mental gymnastics going on inside my head and heart were only serving me by propping up a house of cards.
Letting it all go suddenly I could see more clearly than I ever had. Horses often have blinders put over their eyes to help them focus on just the road ahead and nothing else. When I accepted that the church wasn't true, it was as if those narrow blinders came off. I could see just how big and wonderful this world and all its fascinating people are! Life is full of terrific questions, and I have my own inner authority to seek, explore and choose my path. It hasn't been all sunshine and roses, but I'm so very grateful for the so-called faith crisis and the courage I've found to break free from the control that the church offers.
I officially separated from the LDS Church almost 3 years ago. I consider it one of the greatest accomplishments of my life.
I wish you all the best in your endeavors!