My marriage wasn't going so well and we lived in Puerto Rico at that time so I was a long way from my family. Well guess who knocked on my door one day???? Right!!! Two fine looking young men in white shirts and ties. Took the missionary lessons and was baptized into the Mormon church....husband followed 2 weeks later. We became the ideal Mormon family...Children were all baptized when they reached the age of "accountability".
I held many positions, Primary song leader and teacher, Sunday School teacher (18 yr. olds), what a trip that was!!!! Relief Society Counselor in the Ward and Stake and various other callings. We were at the church several times a week. Husband became High Priest and held many positions also. We were married in the temple. I was afraid to comment much on the temple ceremony but I remember thinking "this is really weird" and then asked Heavenly Father to forgive me for the thought. Everyone looked so funny in all that garb and especially the men in their little aprons. But I tried to tell myself that this is a very special moment, this means I can become a goddess and have spirit children and be the wife of a God....I must not think these thoughts. Then when I got to the veil where you gain entrance to the Celestial Room, I couldn't remember what I was supposed to say. Of course, they had helpers but I kept thinking.....are they going to let me in since I can't remember all the words and signs???? Well, of course, I got in and my husband and children and I were sealed together for time and all eternity.
Afterwards, for awhile, wearing the garments made me feel special and just a cut above people who weren't "worthy" to wear them. I felt protected from the sins of the world and Satan. Well, I wasn't "worthy" either....I was still struggling with smoking addiction. Had to go to Bishop and confess that...was afraid they would take my temple garments away from me. Bishop assured me that Heavenly Father still loved me and he gave me a blessing to help me quit smoking. I finally was able to quit...it took two years. I was always struggling with some sin or the other though and always felt "unworthy". I can't remember a time when I really felt that I was living up to the standards and expectations of the church. I was always shocked when I was called to a position and wondered if the Bishop really received message from God to call me to that position since I knew I wasn't worthy. But in talking with other women I found out I wasn't alone but was always told that God calls us to positions for our personal growth and that by accepting these callings we would be on the road to perfection. I accepted everything I was told as gospel truth, hook, line and sinker.
My marriage continued to get worse though. Being a "good" Mormon I felt I just had to live with it the way it was. Long story I will skip. Finally one night I was standing at my back door looking out at the beautiful snow while everyone else was asleep and contemplated suicide. I kept thinking, I should be happy, why aren't I happy, I must be doing something wrong, it's all my fault etc. etc. This went on for some time until I finally realized if I didn't get out of the marriage I was going to kill myself and leave my children without a mother so I decided to divorce him. By this time my oldest was 20 (a daughter), son (18, and twin daughters (13). My two oldest stayed in the area we were living in at that time and I took the two youngest and moved back to the place of my roots. This was a really hard thing to do, leaving my children so far away but they were grown and had the right to make their own decisions. I rented a house, found a job, and tried to get on with my life,,,,still attending the Mormon church, but beginning to question lots of things. Why would God allow our marriage to break up??? After all, we were married in the temple. Why would he allow our family to be broken apart?? Its all my fault!! But I can't and won't go back to that kind of marriage!!! God will surely punish me and my children will probably spend eternity with my husband and all his wives. I will be left out...
(Sorry, I said this was going to be a condensed version, and it actually is)
Anyway, I attended my 25th class reunion and met a classmate who was also divorced. It was almost like our eyes met and we fell in love. That may sound corny but it is true...We were married 6 months later. My twin daughters loved him and we have had a wonderful marriage for almost 14 years now.
My new husband started attending church with me and the girls. I could very easily have gotten him into the church but I was having so many doubts at this time that I really didn't encourage him at all. I was watching a Christian program on TV one day and they were talking about Mormonism. I watched and was intrigued. Got some books and started reading and researching. I spent about 6 months studying, comparing, researching, praying and praying. Became convinced that the whole Joseph Smith story and thus the whole church claims of being the "only true church" was a bunch of hogwash. Came to the decision to leave the church and was so afraid. Afraid that my twin daughters would think I was crazy, knew the two older children would think so, was afraid that they would never speak to me again because I would be an apostate and "son of perdition" because I had been given the truth and then rejected it. Sin against the Holy Ghost. It took me several weeks to work up the nerve to tell my twins what I was going to do and why. I was so frightened that they would leave me and go back to their father. To my great surprise and relief, they were happy about the decision after much discussion. I showed them what I had learned and where I had gotten the information. They wanted out too. Got in touch with a group called "Ex-Mormons for Jesus" and they helped me compile a letter to the church requesting that my name be removed from the records of the church by my own choice without mention of excommunication. We finally succeeded in having our names removed. That was approx. 12 1/2 yrs. ago.
My ex-husband is a Jack Mormon. He convinced my two oldest that I lived in a fantasy world. They hardly ever get in touch with me. If any communication happens it's because I call them or write them. It's like I have been written out of their lives. They are both still very active in the LDS religion. I gave up a lot to follow my convictions. I miss my children so much. This is not how I had my life planned. We were supposed to be a happy family and have our children and grandchildren around us. Spend holidays together and be a family forever. I grieve for my children, for losing the friendships of the wonderful people in the church, for losing my best friend who will not talk to me now, for the family atmosphere that permeates the church, for the closeness. My daughters and I burned all our Mormon books, my temple garments and everything we had that linked us to the "true church". I have been trying so hard to accept my life as it is and I have. But I still grieve so very much. I try to accept that God had and has a purpose for all this and try to be content with having a wonderful husband and two children out of four that still love and care about me. My twins are married with children and we are very close. They have each found churches that make them happy. I have not! Still can't make myself go to any church. Thanks for providing a place for me to express my feelings. Would love to hear from others with similar situations. Leaving the LDS church was the hardest thing I ever did next to divorce. I still have many things I could say but I think this is enough for now. Love to all you ex-Mormons. Praise God for delivering us out of that farce.....