I read a book called Pezzetino by Leo Leonni about a little piece who wanted to be a part of a bigger piece until one day embarked on a quest and fell, breaking into many pieces. It’s then he realized “I am myself” and doesn’t have to be part of another larger entity to have meaning. This was a major shift for me, I resonated so much to this story to the point of tears but I couldn’t identify why. I decided to explore what being myself outside of the church could mean.
I felt compelled to share this storybook while teaching Relief Society (women’s-only Sunday school class). Lessons in RS centered on talks by male leadership on achieving worthiness based on further aligning oneself with the rules. In my time teaching I tried to convey my new interest in autonomy and sovereignty. I did so until I was assigned a talk by Elder Eyring— teaching that revelation we receive should align with what prophets say. I could not teach that theology and asked to not teach.
In my time PIMO (physically in, mentally out) I became increasingly sensitive to messages of conformity, sexist roles and gaslighting. I had a vested interest in cults and listened to The Indoctrination Podcast by Rachel Bernstein. Many of the stories told by Jehovah Witnesses, NXIM, Christian Scientist and Scientology resonated with me and put into words the thoughts and feelings I couldn’t explain. The next months involved pouring over historical documents, the CES letter, Letter to my Wife, and Wikipedia to find answers and fact check the budding concerns of why my church was the way it was, and why I felt so hurt by it. Was it just my fault or is there a grander reason hidden from me that could answer the oppression I felt?
The part that led to my resignation is my study of Jospeh Smith from reading No Man Knows My History to really piece him together. I had to understand why he would intentionally deceive and manipulate others. His behaviors matched up to a T of predator and pedophile behavior.