Hi, I'm Janalyn.
I am a nerd who loves gaming, fantasy books, and 80s music. I was a mormon.
I grew up in Utah. Both sides of my family were SUPER Mormon: we're talking "clutch your pearls at the very IDEA of drinking coffee or long hair on men" Mormon. I was the "perfect" daughter. I was quiet, did what I was told, kept the peace, and didn't rock the boat. I knew exactly what my future would look like: graduate high school, go to BYU, marry an RM in the temple, have 4+ kids, and go to the Celestial Kingdom when I died.
On my shelf
On the Mormon Spectrum
# Why I left More stories of 'Why I left' the Mormon church
I knew I didn't quite fit the Mormon cookie-cutter. I was sort of afraid of Mormon heaven. For one thing, I knew I would have to share my husband, with no regard for how I felt about it. I also couldn't think of a single thing I enjoyed that didn't have at least a little "worldliness" to it. And I found most church stuff to be incredibly boring. Would my brain be changed so much after I died that I wouldn't miss my books and games, and would instead love being all perfect and spiritual? How would that still be me?
This thought stuck with me like a burr, making it so that I was never quite comfortable in my Mormon skin. It was the first item on my shelf.
Many times while I was growing up, I was challenged to pray to know The Church was true. And so I did. I was answered by silence and doubt. One time, besieged by depression and low self-worth, I spent perhaps a half hour pleading with my Heavenly Father to let me know that he loved me. I was feeling so alone and unloved, but I knew there was someone who was supposed to love me unconditionally. Again, I was answered with nothing: no still small voice, no burning bosom or even a slight warming of my heart. I put this on my shelf, and tried to tell myself that it didn't mean I wasn't loved.
As I grew older, I became less and less happy with the Mormon culture and what it wanted from me. It made me feel bad for any ways in which I wasn't "perfect". Any time I made a mistake I was angry at myself, thinking a better person would have been prompted to do things the right way. It told me that if I was truly righteous I shouldn't be suffering from depression. It surrounded me with the false smiles of people who knew nothing about me but knew what was "best" for me. It wanted me to be too many things: an obedient wife, a wonderful mother, a support to the priesthood, a leader and example for others, a spiritual giant, an unquestioning follower. It wanted me to always be happy, pretty, busy, selfless, devoted, and un-worldly. It told me to be a stay-at-home mom who cooked and baked and canned, had her food storage, knew all the right answers, prayed multiple times a day, and gave her life completely over to the Lord. I didn't want any of those things. I just wanted to figure out how to be happy with myself.
My shelf got heavier and heavier, but I tried not to think about it. Then one day...
I grew up KNOWING that if we are righteous we would be blessed. And that God would not give us more trials than we could handle, and that enduring them would bring MORE blessings. But eventually I had seen one too many times when someone I love with my whole heart got kicked by life while they were already down.
Suddenly I KNEW that there was no God. A loving God would NOT "allow" these things to happen over and over to good, loving, and faithful people. There was no lesson to be learned, just pain. I looked around and realized that all the piles of crap in my life did not have gold nuggets inside that I would enjoy in the next life. Crap happens, and there is no rhyme or reason to it. We have to do what we can to make our life and the lives of those we love as beautiful as we can. There is no magical sky daddy who will do it for us if we are "good".
I lost my belief in God first, and let Mormonism hover at edges of my life through family and friends. I didn't spend time with it, but I didn't push it away. But my mental health deteriorated year after year. Until I realized that I was not living my life. I was enduring it. I was going through the motions I learned so long ago instead of deciding for myself what would make me happy. So I started detaching my sense of self from my Mormon upbringing. And though it has been work, it has been so worth it.
Questions about Mormons My Answers to Questions about Mormonism
#Link to this answer of 'What do you feel or know about the translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham?' by Janalyn E What do you feel or know about the translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham? See more answers about 'What do you feel or know about the translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham?'
The Book of Abraham was NOT a translation by Joseph Smith, but rather completely fabricated. The papyri he claimed to use have nothing to do with Abraham or anything else written about in that book. I remember that even as a teenager who knew little more about Egypt than what she had learned in elementary school, I knew that the items under the table in Facsimile 1 were clearly canopic jars, not idols.
#Link to this answer of 'Does the Mormon church protect sexual predators?' by Janalyn E Does the Mormon church protect sexual predators? See more answers about 'Does the Mormon church protect sexual predators?'
With the Church, visuals are everything. Things must look perfect. Victims don't matter. They're either lying or being wicked by not turning the other cheek. Disgusting.
#Link to this answer of 'Was it The Only True and Living Church to you?' by Janalyn E Was it The Only True and Living Church to you? See more answers about 'Was it The Only True and Living Church to you?'
It was. I was born into it, and believed everything I was told. It's a great feeling to think that you as special as the Mormon Church says you are as a member.
But that feeling faded as I struggled with depression and low self-worth. The message I was constantly fed was that the Mormon Church was the only way to true happiness. If I was in it and miserable, I must be the problem.
#Link to this answer of 'What does the church do with tithing?' by Janalyn E What does the church do with tithing? See more answers about 'What does the church do with tithing?'
Nothing. Or close enough to it that it makes no difference.
Tithing was supposed to be for the running of the Church. A prophet even talked about a time when tithing wouldn't be necessary. That time is long past. The church could sustain itself forever on the interest from what they have hoarded. They don't need to bully people into paying as much as possible.
So many members lack good savings for retirement or college or even a rainy-day because of the idea that they must give 10% of everything they have. And then the Church just sits on it and lets it earn interest. Charity giving and service mostly come from other sources, like Fast Offerings and volunteers.
#Link to this answer of 'What are the biggest misconceptions about Mormons?' by Janalyn E What are the biggest misconceptions about Mormons? See more answers about 'What are the biggest misconceptions about Mormons?'
That they are so giving and friendly to everyone, even if you aren't Mormon.
Most are friendly as long as there is hope that their actions will give you a positive impression of their church, and maybe some day lead to you becoming a member yourself.
If you reject Mormonism by leaving, the friendliness quickly disappears.
#Link to this answer of 'What did the Mormon religion bring to your life?' by Janalyn E What did the Mormon religion bring to your life? See more answers about 'What did the Mormon religion bring to your life?'
Shame. Toxic perfectionism. Depression. Self-hatred. Intolerance. Highly conditional love. A very narrow worldview. Emotional immaturity. A tiny box to try and fit in, and pain from all the parts that didn't fit.