Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Journal Flashback May 6th. 2001

This is the first of many, planned posts featuring things I wrote in my journals as a Mormon. I’m starting with the earliest stuff and working my way forward. I’m not going to bother editing the spelling and such because 1. I don’t feel like it and 2. it’ll give us all something to laugh about. Just FYI, all these journal entries were written in the form of prayers to “Heavenly Father.” Anything in {brackets} is added content for clarification.

Here’s the first excerpt:

That’s why we are told to live like Him {Jesus Christ}. You would never ask us to do something we can’t. It makes me feel better about myself. I don’t need to worry about whether I can do well at school and in my career. If I’m following my calling You wont let me fail.

The very first thing I noticed about this entry was that, at the time, I still was planning and looking forward to having a career. This entry was written very shortly after getting involved with the Mormon church. I still didn’t know a lot about “the Gospel” and I still held a lot of my own opinions and dreams. I hadn’t yet made the switch from a career mindset to the SAHM mindset. I guess I didn’t see, yet, that “my calling” would be a one-size-fit’s-all assignment, not some personalized path.

I wanted to go into show business. I started doing musical theatre when I was seven. I added competitive speech, drama club, glee club, etc. to my performing resume as I grew. My very last musical was the summer I wrote that journal entry. All the musicals I did were through the church I attended before becoming Mormon. I stopped auditioning for them as I became more wrapped up in Mormonism. I cannot begin to explain how much I regret that. I loved the stage. I miss it so, so much.

Don’t misunderstand me. I love my daughter. And I love that I’m able to stay home with her instead of having someone else care for her and enjoy watching her grow. I would be heartbroken if I wasn’t the one with her all day, every day. But Mormonism is directly responsible for the young age at which we decided to start our family. And while there are definite perks to being a young mom, and while I would never, ever trade my baby girl for anything I’m also not blind to the things I’ve missed by becoming a mother so soon.

There are, of course, the financial implications. If I wasn’t caring for Lucy I could be working full-time and supporting Adam while he’s in pre-med instead of doing freelance digital illustration which nets me about $2 an hour on a good day, and 5 cents an hour on a bad day. Providing for Lucy would be a lot easier without all the student loans and with a decent savings. But, in the end, money isn’t everything. And we’re doing OK for now.

There are other things to consider, my love for the stage being one. If I could find a show to audition for I wouldn’t be able to do so. There isn’t a director anywhere who would be fine with a cast member interrupting rehearsals to breastfeed her baby. Besides, there just isn’t time for plays. Diaper changes, feeds, play time, chores, work…I have to sleep too. By the time I have time to audition for another show I can tell you this…I’ll be too old to have a chance of being cast in the lead.

The sad fact is that Mormonism tells young girls and young women that careers are merely a Plan B. Plan A is get married and have babies {preferably lots of them}. A degree is important, sure…so that if your husband dies or leaves you then you won’t starve. But your “divine role” as handed down by God Almighty Himself is to be a SAHM. The end.

What makes that teaching even more dangerous is that Mormonism also teaches that the people saying this stuff are speaking for God. It’s not just advice, or an opinion that you can disregard if it doesn’t jive with your own. It’s God’s will. There’s a mostly unspoken understanding within Mormonism that a woman who works outside the home is selfish, and “bad.” 

The expectations of when to have children and how many are, over time, changing. Many families can get away with having three kiddos instead of eight. And many couples, like us, wait a year, or two before procreating. But the pressure to do otherwise is still there. I dealt with guilt for using birth control from the time I was married until about two years later when we stopped. I was convinced I was denying some spirit in the pre-existence a place in my family and that I was a terrible person for it. And of course, a year or three before children doesn’t mean much when you’re also getting married at a young age. Because, even with the wait, you’re still really, friggin’ young.

I was barely 20 when I got married. Now I’m twenty-three. I can’t even rent a car without paying extra fees because the science indicates that my brain hasn’t finished “growing up” {the brain reaches full maturity around the age of twenty-five}. I love my daughter. I’m doing my best to do everything that is in her best interest. And, frankly, I think I’m doing a pretty great job. She certainly seems very happy and healthy so that’s gotta count for something right? So, in the end, for us, it’s worked out pretty well so far. But really, who thinks it’s a good idea to encourage women as young as 18 and 19 to get hitched and start a family? Before you’re grown up and before you have a chance to discover who you are and to just be that person for a while you’re suddenly responsible for this beautiful, wonderful, crazy, little person who can’t even wipe her own butt.

Would I have done things differently if it weren’t for Mormonism?


Would I change it now if I could?

Not on your life.

About My New Design

  • I did it all myself.
  • It may change slightly in the future but I’m planning on keeping it this way for the most part.
  • I used Photoshop, Inkscape, and fonts from:

I get the cutest fonts from Free Scrapbook Fonts!

About “Eat, drink, and be merry:”

In The Book of Mormon there is a section that reads:

Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.

It then goes on to talk about how foolish that is, and how there will be a lot of false churches and how wicked they are and blah, blah, blah…

It’s one of many scriptures that kids in seminary (church classes for teenagers) are supposed to memorize. Since leaving the church it’s become my favorite scripture because it so nicely describes my life and attitude now. I eat, I drink (coffee, tea, beer, wine, mojitos…mmmmm…mojitooooo), and I’m really freakin’ merry these days. And you know what? “Tomorrow” we will die. And we’re not going to fly up into the heavens to live with some magical sky parent. We’re going to stay dead. So I’m going to enjoy this life while I have the chance. :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


You’ll be seeing some changes around here.

I sort of, almost, kind of addressed this is in a recent post – people like to hear my story. And, though my abysmal posting rate might indicate otherwise, I like to tell it. Mostly because I like to hear {or read} myself speak {or write}. And I’d like to post more often, but hadn’t really known what to say.

Until now.

See, all Mormons are encouraged to keep journals/family histories/etc. I started keeping a journal right away after getting involved with the Mormon church, *right away.* And I kept one since then more faithfully than many. In fact, the church is partly to thank for this blog. I started blogging as a way to keep a journal. Having a blog about my exit from Mormonism was just a natural step.

Well, I still have every single one of those journals. They’ve been sitting in a box for some time. I was mortified by the idea of actually reading them and facing my own stupidity and superstition. But tonight, as I lay in bed unable to sleep, I figured I should. Why?

Because it will give me something to write about, regularly.

Seriously. I’m not even half way through the first one and I’ve got probably ten posts worth of material. Which is impressive considering these early journal entries mostly consist of “I’m so happy! I love you, God!”

Oh, did I forget to mention that all my journal entries were written in the format of prayers?


They were.

I even ended them with “in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen” which is how Mormons are taught to end their prayers.

It’s going to feel pretty humiliating, especially at first, for me to share this stuff with all of you. I can’t believe some of the stuff I believed. I can’t believe some of the things I did. But I really think {hope} you’ll appreciate it. If nothing else, they should provide a good chuckle. But I think {hope} they’ll provide more like…

  • insight into how the church sucks people in
  • a glimpse into the terrifying abyss that is the mind of the teenage female
  • a real life demonstration of how all-consuming Mormonism is
  • opportunities to think hard about different things

Thus far I’m mostly amazed at how much worse my spelling and grammar were back then than they are now. But I’m also amazed at how similarly I spoke, at the time, about becoming Mormon as I do now about being ex-Mormon. This will really be an interesting journey.

Also? I’m thinking of doing a redesign of this blog.


Um…because I can do so much better now. UPDATE: Nothing like re-working your blog layout at 2am. What do you think?

Monday, September 21, 2009

"In the Shadow of the Temple."

I don’t know much about it yet, but apparently there’s a documentary coming out called "In the Shadow of the Temple." You can get more info here on their blog. And you can see outtakes and previews on their YouTube channel, including this clip featuring one of my ExMo friends. I’m off to go watch all the other clips now!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Random Thoughts

Despite my atrocious posting rate on this blog, you guys continue to follow me. And I’ve even gotten a few new followers. And I hate to disappoint an audience. So here I am. Posting.

I think part of the reason I’ve been so absent {aside from being busy writing for my other blog, and doing graphic design projects for my clients, and being a mom and all that stuff} is because I haven’t had anything relevant to say. I’ve been so wrapped up in living my life that I haven’t really been visiting the exMormon forums or taking the time to think about exMormon-y things. And that’s good.

9 months. That’s about how long it’s been since we sent in our resignation letters. Things feel so different now. I don’t think like a member anymore. I used to fear it’d take me years to deprogram the guilt and fear conditioning. But I’m very glad I was wrong.

People sometimes surprise me with how fascinated they are with my experience. One family member recently told me I should write a book about it. But what on earth would I say? Everything I have to say has most certainly been said before. And I’m not sure 8 years or so is enough experience to fill an entire book. If you want to read a book, get a hold of Lyndon Lamborn’s book. It’s great. But I do love to talk to people about the church, and what it was like, and what it means to be ex-Mormon. It’s always interesting to hear the questions people ask. Some people are more interested in what I believe now (I’m very much a non-theist). Some people want to hear about the weirder things, like what the temple was like and what my “temple name” was (Deborah). Some people want to know how others have reacted to my leaving the church. And others want to know how I got sucked into it in the first place. Then again, some people wish I wouldn’t talk about it at all. But that’s no surprise.

Truth is, all the evidence stacked against the church makes it clear to me what a fraud it is. And I will say just that to anyone who wants to listen. I feel it’s the right thing to do. And when people ask me questions I’m not going to demure and say “well, maybe you should ask a Mormon” or “Well, this is what a Mormon would say” (unless promptly followed by “but I say…”). Some Mormon’s will tell you “you wouldn’t ask a Ford salesmen to tell you about a Chevy.” True…but I’m not selling anything. I’m not asking for money, or anything at all (though the Mormon church asks for plenty)! And my response is “But you would ask somebody who’s driven a Ford for nearly a decade.”

So there.

I’ve driven the proverbial Ford for about 8 years. So ask any questions you want. I’ll do my best to answer them. Maybe you’ve seen the “Ask A Mormon” websites…well, consider this the “Ask An Ex-Mormon” website.

Ask away.