Friday, November 20, 2009

What's in a name?

Truth be told, I am scared. I have always been Leilani. When I was first learning how to write my name, my mom had shortened it to Loni. Probably to make it easier on me, but I am Leilani. That's the only name I've known.

Until 2006, that is. I requested a copy of my birth certificate from the Orange County Records Clerk. Oddly enough, they had no record of my birth. I gave them the date, time, hospital, mother's maiden name... nothing. They asked if I had been adopted. Why, yes. Yes I had been. I was born to an unwed mother, who, at the time, put down Michael Hobbs as my birth father. Whether she was certain of that or not, may never be determined.

The man who raised me as my father had adopted me in 1983. So I was told that I would have to go through the State of California for my birth certificate. When I received it, I was surprised to find that my birth name is Lelauna. WTF? I know that my mom didn't know how to spell Leilani, but she told me she took care of it. I figured that it wasn't going to be an issue because I have a Driver's License with my name, so no big deal.

That was until I tried to get a driver's license in my new state. No dice. They took one look at my birth certificate, and because it didn't match my other records, they told me HELL NO as far as getting a driver's license or even ID card. Great.

Just peachy. Now what? I started my petition for a name change. I went down to the county court house and paid $136 for court charges. They told me that I would have to publish it in the paper thrice. No worries. I could do this. Until I found out that it was going to cost an additional $299.79. ARE THEY CRAZY?? I can barely pay all the bills and have enough left over for food and diapers!

Dude, I could totally understand if I wanted to change my name to Penelope Pumpernickel Picklebottom... but Leilani IS my name. It's on my driver's license, marriage license, my property taxes, my children's birth certificates, my high school diploma... I understand why they have these rules in place, but it's just so frustrating feeling like I can't get a driver's license here, even though I was able to get one in California. Granted, I don't know how much money my dad slipped the lady at the DMV because I assume the birth certificate he showed her back in 1996 said Lelauna as well...

So here I am without a legal name. The social security department said that they show my name was legally changed with them in 1992. But they don't keep records that long. So I petitioned the state of California for my legal name. They don't have record of a change. So how did my parents get my name changed with Social Security? They are the only ones who know.

Now I am holding all the pieces to this mystery. When I asked my parents (whom I no longer talk to; you'll see why over the course of my blog) they told me that I would know when the time is right and the universe is aligned. Right, let me tell the judge that. They'll sign off on it right away with THAT information.

Too much drama and stress over something that should have been made right in 1983.

So I am scared. I am going to be in court all alone. Trying to convince someone that I don't know, that this has always been my name and somewhere along the road a mistake was made. All I want is a driver's license. Now whether I can pass the written test... that is to be seen.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My very first post! Is it natural to be nervous?

Hi. My name is Leilani and I am a Mormon.

I was born into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on July 10th, 1980 to an unwed mother.

I am blogging to share my journey, in the hopes that other LDS folks might find the strength to leave the church from my experiences, or at the least take away some information that will help them with their doubts.

I state that I am Mormon because I have not yet written my resignation letter. Until I mail that letter in, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Even though I would be considered a Jack-Mormon. I consider myself a recovering Mormon.

My journey to Atheism started before I was even aware of the complexities of religion and the lack thereof.

I was blessed into the church by my Grandfather as a baby (as I had no father) and was baptized at the age of 8 in September 1988. I attended 4 years of seminary and was the champ of The good old Scripture Chase... I kicked ass during the lightning round. I had a testimony. During many Fast Sunday Sacrament Meetings I stood before the congregation and bore my testimony. I attended the single's ward after high school and have considered myself Mormon until November 2008.

I walked away from the Mormon church after I came to understand how big of a role they played in the Prop. 8 vote in California, where I lived at the time. I could no longer ignore the biggotry the Church promoted. And the more I found out about the church, the angrier I became. And the more I realized how much of a judgmental shrew I was growing up because of my beliefs, the more I knew I couldn't raise my children in that religion. Even though I turned out okay from being raised Mormon, I couldn't do it to my children after realizing all the flaws the Mormon church has.

I started my journey of pulling away from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints last November. I hope to be able to share my journey.

If you are ready to leave the Mormon church, please visit to find out how to get your name off the church records. It helped me immensely.