Date: January 23, 2017 01:06PM
I remember having doubts my whole life but I still tried so hard to be a "good Mormon girl". My doubts intensified as I entered seminary freshman year but I continued towing the line to keep everyone happy. I was gaining more independence so in my sophomore year I made the decision skip my seminary class. My parents inevitably found out and were furious. I was forced to make up the semester and then attend early morning seminary the remainder of high school. It was made clear to me that seminary graduation was more important to my parents than my high school or college graduation because my eternal salvation was involved.
This is when my anger toward the church began. I began rebelling in response to my anger. Being forced to confess to my bishop about my "sins" made this anger grow. The rebellion continued until I found myself pregnant at 18 with pressure to give the baby up for adoption in order to atone for my sin.
While grappling with the life altering decision I had to make I experienced what I now know to be sleep paralysis. Read more about this phenomenon here: http://www.thesleepparalysisproject.org/about-sleep-paralysis/symptoms/
What I thought then was that I was being attacked by the devil to sway me from my "righteous" decision to go through with the adoption.
The following morning I described to my mother what I had experienced. She immediately called our bishop to come "Cast the evil spirits out of me" My bishop was very convincing, I was certain that I had been visited by evil spirits and that they were just waiting for me to fall asleep again so they could mount another assault.
Fast forward 10 years and a failed marriage later I decided I couldn't attend church anymore. I still believed that the gospel was true, the people were just flawed. Sound familiar?
It was around this time I started researching. The one thing that kept me holding on to the church was this episode when I was 18 so I googled the symptoms. I was flooded with page after page describing what I had been through as a sleep disorder. I was lucky, I had only experienced one episode. Most people have several. In that moment my entire foundation with the church crumbled.
I can't help but think about what might have happened to me if I had endured another episode while still inside the church. I would have felt so evil. My self-esteem would have plummeted more than it already had. I shudder to think what I might have done.
I am 35 now and happily remarried to a fellow ex-mormon. I couldn't be happier in my life. I still receive pressure/guilt from my family about my choices. I doubt that will ever stop. But at least I know why I live how I do. I can look myself and my children in the eyes and know the truth.