I've been out of Mormonism a long time, but still miss it sometimes Sep 2011
I was born into a fanatically Mormon family. My father was a descendant of
the pioneers; his grandparents were polygamists. My mother's family were
more recent converts but very dedicated to the faith. I was the youngest of
As a child I loved church. I loved scripture reading and seminary. By the
time I was 18 I probably knew more about the church than most members ever
do. I had doubts at times but thought I could overcome them through prayer.
I went to BYU at 17; never even considered going to college anywhere else. I
didn't do very well at BYU, but thought it was just my own weakness and lack
of faith. I left BYU after two years. I went to work for a while as a
secretary. When I turned 21 I applied to go on a mission. I was called to
the Spain Barcelona mission.
The Missionary Training Center was great, I loved language study, memorizing
the discussions, and praying a lot. Once I got to Spain, though, my
missionary service was the beginning of the end for me in Mormonism. Being a
rather shy and retiring person, I thought being a missionary would be a
challenge. However, I thought God would help me and that everything would be
fine. After all, I was doing His work, right? The way it actually turned out
was that Spain was a wonderful country but being a missionary was awful. I
hated having to sneak into buildings to knock on doors. (In Spain at that
time, nearly everyone in the towns where I was stationed lived in high-rise
apartment buildings with doormen or security systems to keep unwanted
visitors--such as weird Americans--out.) I hated trying to convince people
that becoming a Mormon would make them happier; after all, the members of
the local branch didn't seem especially happy. I talked later with other
former missionaries who told me the trick of being a successful missionary
is to realize it is all a game. I was too sincere at the time to fake my
missionary statistics. I began to wonder why God didn't care about me. I
became cynical about the church authorities and convinced that I had been
sent to Spain to knock on doors because the brethren didn't have any better
ideas and were perfectly willing to sacrifice me. After about six months, I
was so depressed I simply couldn't take it any more and asked to be sent
Once I got home I felt much better and pretty much rejoined mainstream
Mormonism. I married a returned missionary in the temple. I went back to
college, but not to BYU. I began reading about critical thinking and
skepticism. I ran into the magazine Skeptical Inquirer (still great if you
haven't tried it). I became convinced Mormonism was untrue. But Mormonism
then was still my life; I didn't know how I could manage without it.
Oddly enough, the real break came one day when I was complaining to my
husband about having to do my visiting teaching. He told me he was tired of
hearing me complain, and that I should either do it and shut up about it, or
not do it and shut up about it. I thought this over and decided that I
didn't want to do my visiting teaching any more. So, I resigned as a
visiting teacher. To my surprise I felt great about this--not guilty at all!
So I started doing only what I wanted to do at church and saying "no" to all
Over the next several years I went back and forth regarding the church. I
divorced my husband. I'd go to church until I couldn't stand all the
foolishness any more. Then I'd stop going until I felt lonely for the ward.
I eventually remarried and had a child. My new husband is an inactive Mormon
with a lot of grudges against the brethren. We're raising our son outside
the church. About ten years ago I decided to have my name removed from the
records. I didn't have any trouble with that process, unlike some people.
I have been an atheist for some years. When I looked at other churches they
didn't seem any closer to God than Mormonism. All of them seemed to have
human influence and wishful thinking at their centers, not divinity.
All of my siblings and other relatives are still Mormons as far as I know. I
know some have doubts about Mormonism, but they don't want to leave. Others
still believe everything. I get prayed over a lot. My mother urges me
regularly to see the error of my ways and rejoin. No, thanks.
I still miss the comradeship of being a Mormon. I don't like the gulf that's
opened between me and my mother and siblings. I miss singing the hymns in
church. I recently visited one of my sisters and went to church with her.
Being with her and singing together was wonderful. But the doctrines spouted
from the pulpit and the lessons in Sunday School and Relief Society were so
absurd that I wonder how it took me so long to leave.