Friday, July 8, 2016

Why I choose not to raise my family in The Mormon Church

I am agnostic, I do not know that there is a God. I do not know there is not one, or many. I don’t care to find out, everyone should be nice to everyone and that’s all that matters. I was born and raised in the Mormon church. I definitely had a good happy childhood, but I do not want my daughters raised the same way. As a child in the church it felt happy, loving, and fun. As I get older and older I look back on my childhood and I can now see the church it is not what I thought it was. I no longer believe in God. I do not think there is someone up in the sky who cares about what underwear I wear, or what I do on Sunday.

Me as a baby
When I was a kid EVERYTHING revolved around church. Sunday was filled with a minimum of three hours at church. It took multiple hours to get ready. Once a month someone would have to come home teach us (a small religious lesson always taught by a pair of adult mormon men, they always came on a Sunday), that was at least another one or two hours. Dad would have to go home teach someone too. He typically had meetings before or after church. Not only did we not get to see him on weekdays while he was at work, but there was a lot of time on Sunday he was taken away from the family too. My Dad was on a bishopric (three men that make up the leadership of a local mormon congregation) on a number of occasions and that included time away from us during the week, in the evening, on top of extra time Sunday. To make it even worse my Dad has been a part of the high council a few times (I believe he is currently), that requires him to visit different wards on Sunday. He didn’t even get to see us during church on Sunday. This is one of the many things I do not understand about The Mormon Church. It seems to be so family centered but it requires fathers to be away from their families hours and hours a week. This definitely affected me as a child. Time with Dad was rare and hard to come by. Why would a church that talks all about families, and eternal families, not let them actually spend time together. I do not understand.

I think a few pics of Heather look a lot
like this pic of me. 
I love how much time RJ has to spend with me and our girls. We spend every weekday evening together. Every single Saturday and Sunday we get to spend the entire day together. We do not go to church, and I love the amount of time we get to spend together because we choose not to go.

When I was a child I was not taught to include everyone. I remember in elementary school there was a girl who told me she wasn’t a member of The Mormon Church. I promptly told her I couldn’t play with her. The Mormon Church is really good at excluding people. Whether they admit it or not if you are not a mormon you are treated differently. Looking back on that moment. I feel so awful. I cannot believe I told someone I couldn’t play with them on the playground because there were different than me. I wish I could remember who it was and apologize. I hope maybe she will come across my blog and see it. I want my daughters to treat everyone the same, no matter what religion they choose. No matter what race they are. No matter where they came from. I want my children to love and include everyone. I am ashamed I didn't do that as a kid.

As I got older less and less of the rules, doctrine, and policies made sense. As a young women in the Mormon church (girls 12-18), we were told we were responsible for the boys thoughts. It was my job as a girl to make sure I didn’t wear or do anything that might cause guys to have sexual thoughts. This is a awful way to think. It shifts all the blame to women. Recently at BYU girls who have reported rape have been disciplined for violating the honor code. Church officials assume the girls are at fault, or did something to encourage it. How can someone who has been raped be the one at fault. Girls, no matter how they dress, should not be held responsible for the thoughts and actions of the men around her.

The Church talks a lot about sex and sexual purity. To the point that they think it’s ok for the bishop (a man in his late 30s to 60s) to sit in a room alone with the young women and ask if they understand what the law of chastity is, and if they are following it. The law of chastity states that no one should have any type of sexualrealtions unless they are legally and lawfully married. This includes what the mormons like to call “heavy petting” which means fondling and pretty much anything you could categorize as foreplay. Imaging being a girl (as young as 12) and you’re taken into a office alone with a bishop or one of his councillors, and they ask you if you know what all these things mean. It is awkward, it is something a mother should tell her daughter not a neighbor who is your best friend's father. The worst part is if the parents want to sit in they are not allowed. This is shocking to me. I would not allow something like this to happen with my daughters.

Sexual purity and a woman's virtue is constantly a topic of conversation, or lesson in Sunday school at the Mormon Church. Pregnancy is never talked about. When I was a teen they talked about sex, purity, and virtue so many times I can not count. Not once did anyone mention that if you have sex you will get pregnant. No I’m not blaming anyone except myself for my unintended pregnancy, but I do think they should tell girls what happens if they have sex. I want my daughters to understand where babies come from as soon as possible. In my opinion many girls are not told what sex is and where babies come from soon enough, it’s important they actually know what their bodies can do. Coming from me their bodies will be pretty good at doing it too.

All these rules and restrictions the Mormon church tries to put on young people is stifling. “For The Strength for Youth” is a lovely Mormon pamphlet filled with them. When I started to get curious about boys and want to explore my body, I was told those feelings and questions were evil. I was told I needed to reign in my “natural man” (a good excuse for why we humans feel horny). If I was given all these feelings for a reason why couldn’t enjoy and explore them? I didn’t understand, so I did explore them. I had my first kiss when I was in middle school. I started to feel guilty, why should I feel guilty about an innocent little kiss. The Mormon church makes you feel guilty about everything. Everything is a sin. The wrong thoughts are sins. It’s impossible.

There are many pictures of Rose that look a lot like
me in this one!
The thing that confused me most as a child and teen in the Mormon church was the Holy Spirit. I had the hardest time knowing what was the Spirit, and what was just my thoughts. I NEVER knew. There was never a moment when I got a feeling or thought in my head and I knew without a doubt it was the Holy Spirit. I thought there was something wrong with me. Maybe I wasn’t worthy enough, maybe I was doing something wrong. I repented and tried to be perfect but I never heard the Holy Spirit. It wasn’t until I was excommunicated and I didn’t feel any different that I knew it was bullshit. The Holy Spirit is your internal dialogue. It’s your imagination. Everyone has one and the Mormon church takes advantage of it.

Among all these issues I have with the Mormon church I have a lot of doctrinal issues. All of them, and lots I had not thought of, are conveniently compiled in the CES Letter. If you are a mormon reading this and want to convince me I’m wrong, please answer all the questions in there first. Don’t be like my Dad and tell me it’s the same anti stuff that’s been around for years.

I will be writing a post about my life after I was excommunicated, keep an eye out for it. Thanks for reading!

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