Since some have inquired of the years, here is my back story. It's long, but I'm going on 68, so maybe I have more than average to tell:
I didn't have the typical Mormon upbringing, but came from a very abnormal family. My parents converted when I was small and living in the LA area. They were active at first, but never did live up to the "Word of Wisdom," continuing to smoke and to drink coffee. Moreover, people would eventually find that my father, who was a professional photographer, actively produced porn--illegal at the time--as a side job.
We moved away to the Mojave desert, where my parents took new jobs at Edwards AFB, and we (sometimes) attended the LDS branch on base. That's when my parents' lives really began to fall apart. My father became hopelessly alcoholic and lost his job, and we began to live on my mother's meager income as a receptionist (for Chuck Yeager, no less). Life was tough, and then when I was 14, my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. Because my mother was dying of cancer, and since my father was so alcoholic, the county moved to make me a ward of the court. One of the arguments used by the court to sever the connection between me and my father was the evidence of his porn business. A local young LDS couple took me in as a foster child. The man was a poorly paid elementary teacher, and I became a fourth of their income. The income they received from taking me in would play a role in my life until I got out of there. My mother passed away when I was 15, after I moved in with this Mormon family. Then my father died of a massive stroke, incidental to his alcoholism, a year later. What followed was a lot of Mormonism, not all of it bad. The pre-"correlation" David O. McKay era was a gentler time.
The family moved to Palmdale, CA, where the church and new high school really made me shine for a change. I was out of the miserable part of my life, was going to a proper high school for a change, and made a lot of new friends, particularly in the church. I brought my grades up and qualified for BYU. When I graduated HS, the county aged me out of the system, and I went to BYU. I did the usual thing of a mission (Italy, 1969), then came back to BYU and got married much too young, ran out of money, returned to my desert town and worked in the local mine, and then joined the Air Force to get the hell back out of there. I hoped to travel, and we did, with 5 years in Japan (Okinawa, actually) and 10 years in Germany, and the final few years in Maryland. My AF job was "linguist," first Chinese, and then German.
The government hired me in 1995 after I retired from the AF. A couple of years later, I found a job with another government organization, I began to travel again, living in Italy, Germany, Pakistan, and Democratic Republic of Congo. After Congo, I didn't get a follow-on assignment, so I changed organizations again, and we transferred back to the states in 2008. Now (Jan. 2017) I plan to retire in a couple of months.
Back in about 1993, I realized more and more that Mormonism was bunk. I had an epiphany that the Book of Mormon was made up, so I quit using it in lessons and talks. No one noticed. That's because Mormons are among the least connected people in the world. They never pay attention in sacrament meeting or in lessons. You spend hours and hours preparing, teaching, talking, and sermonizing, but the sheeple are in alpha-state, not engaging, waiting to be spoon-fed or told what to do or say next. Meanwhile, I couldn't see a comfortable way out, so I pressed on, holding leadership positions, serving on high councils, torturing my kids to go to seminary, to go on missions, attend church. But 3 out of 5 of them figured it out and left, including the one son who did go on a mission.
In 2006 and 2007, still in Congo, I wanted to find some sort of proof-positive indication that the church was bunk. I had once heard of the many changes to Joseph Smith's "revelations" when the church transitioned from the Book of Commandments to the Doctrine and Covenants, so I wanted to investigate that, and use it as my proof. In Kinshasa, Congo, we didn't have internet at home. Since I worked at the US Embassy, and had to go in each weekend to babysit a bank of computers running on the dodgy Congolese electricity, I used that time to get on the embassy's Internet and research the church. Although I really didn't find what I needed regarding the Book of Commandments (see note), I stumbled across Recovery from Mormonism quite by accident whilst researching the origins of Mormonism.
(NOTE: Incidentally, what I needed was this link:http://mit.irr.org/scanned-images-of-entire-1833-book-of-commandments-and-1835-doctrine-and-covenants
A recurring theme of RfM, it appeared, was resigning from the church, with copious instructions on how to do it by the many people who had actually done it. I found a lot of advice, and met new people who bolstered my courage. I looked up to so many of them, and even corresponded with some of them. One of these people who helped shape me was a former member in Australia, whose moniker was AusGaz. And NormaRae, whom I had known in a previous life. (AusGaz, unfortunately, passed away unexpectedly. Several other people whose stories I loved have also since passed unexpectedly--Deenie the Dreaded Single Adult, QueenBee, Flattop, and a few others. Sad moments, to be sure.) The point is, all of them, and many of you still here (Anagrammy, NormaRae, EricK, Susan I/S, Wine Country Girl, to name only a few), inspired me.
In December 2007, still in Congo and buoyed by my time spent on RfM, I wrote an open missive about why I was going to quit Mormonism. I completed and proofread the letter (21 pages!) many times over several months, but held onto it; I had to wait for my transfer to actually make the move out of the church. The opportunity came in the summer of 2008, when we transferred to a small city in Central Washington. I attended church for a few months, but in October 2008 I kind of blindsided my wife and bishop by taking them into the bishop's office and telling them I was quitting the church. I handed both of them my missive to help explain why. It was final, I said; I hadn't believed in a long while, I said. And I explained it was getting too difficult to pretend. I didn't want to make a big show, but I did make sure I resigned at the first of January 2009 to make a clean break of it. The bishop was nice about it, and when he received notice from Greg Dodge that I had resigned, he didn't bother me, just wished me well.
Leaving a cult like Mormonism threatened, of course, to derail my marriage and the rapport with 2 active kids and son-in-law. But it didn't all that much. There is tension sometimes, but the nice thing is that I stand tall during any discussion about the church, and they recognize that now I know more about it than they, and that genuinely intimidates them. So the church mostly doesn't come up in any conversation, except in terms of "I'm going to church," or "the bishop has asked me to become the new Relief Society president," and stuff like that. My son-in-law is a military chaplain, though, and, as part of his job, he comes in frequent contact with the apostles and other high-ranking Mormon leaders, in whom he has a lot of faith and trust. Unfortunately, he believes that they would never lead anyone astray. His staunch testimony of their infallibility doesn't help matters between my wife and me. Still, I've been pretty fortunate, and didn't have the problems that so many people have had when they became unbelievers.
Thanks to prodding by NormaRae and a few others, I now attend the local Unitarian Universalist church regularly, which can be a real treat, with sermons that teach hefty messages, with a music program that features artists from all over the states (once even our own Peter and Mary Danzig), and plenty of opportunities to serve the disadvantaged or to help the environment with cleaning projects, local river keepers, Sierra Club, and things like that. Mormonism has never looked so thin, shallow, and uninviting as when compared to Unitarianism.
As I head into retirement, I am so happy that I am shed of Mormonism. There is still the issue with my wife, but I have given up hope of extracting her from the cult. I have great hope for some of my grandchildren, however, one of whom is being raised without the church, anyway. I worry about one grandson, who is gay, and I am afraid that his parents may someday try to squeeze him into the church's hetero model. I have no fears, however, that anyone will turn away from him, because he is loved by all. I also worry about one of my own children, who has brain cancer; we have to deal with that, of course, but thankfully there is no interference by church members, who likely wouldn't have helped, anyway, and would likely produce more suffering.
So that's it. These is little else to add. I hope this has not been too long to read. My best to everyone. mt