Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mormon No More

I did it. I sent in my resignation letter. As of January 28th, 2010 I am no longer a Mormon. I walked away more than a year ago, but it's so nice to know it's official.

Wow. I am so relieved to be free, but there is a soreness I didn't expect to feel. It's weird and difficult to explain. I don't miss the blind faith, but I feel like the last piece of me that lingered from youth is now gone.

I wish they would have sent me a letter saying something along the lines of, "Hey, It was nice knowing you! We took you off the records of our church, have a great life. Best Regards, The LDS folks up in Utah."

Instead I got a letter stating that they "consider such a request to be an ecclesiastical matter that must be handled by local priesthood leaders before being processed by Church employees." WTF? Really? I mean, really? So now they are sending complete strangers to my house to talk to me about my personal decisions?

They also sent a cute little pamphlet called "An Invitation". A short little page of guilt, wrapped up like a loving request for my return. I think it's funny that they don't even know why I want to leave, but they are pious enough to think a small little request for my love, strength, loyalty and devotion is going to magically change my mind. Actually, that's probably why they are sending strangers to my house.

So now I sit and wait. I don't want to be mean to the poor folks they are sending into the lion's den, but I am livid that they would think I could be dissuaded. Like this isn't an issue that I've been debating within myself for the past year. Like the time and energy I put into my own research and study wasn't good enough. Or do they believe a perfect stranger wrote in on my behalf? Someone who knew my children's full names and birth dates? Someone who has a notary on payroll to be able to get it notarized in my name with no problem? I don't believe that.

I feel like they are trivializing my pain and intelligence. Do they think I don't know my rights? I don't do well standing up for myself in face to face situations. I am going to suck at telling them to go the fuck away.

This wasn't an easy thing for me to do. I know a lot of my Mormon friends who have fallen away from the church are still on the records. They may have embraced a new religion, or just don't believe in much of anything, but they never bothered to or even have wanted to have their name removed. That's their choice and I don't blame them. Honestly, some folks don't care if they are on the records of a church they don't support, it's just paper and holds no true meaning for them.

It's a bit different for me. I was reluctant to get baptized. When I was interviewed by the Bishop at 8 years old, I had to say I wanted to get baptized. My mother would have killed me if I said no thanks. Now as an adult I can go back and revoke that action that I gave into because of peer and parental pressure. It's not often that we can go back and set things right in life. And I needed to.

It was a difficult thing to do. I know that my Atheist friends may not understand how can it be hard to send in a letter to a pseudo-religion and resign. Looking at it logically, it shouldn't hurt, it shouldn't bother me and it should have been easy. But it wasn't. And there is a tenderness because of it. I just cut my family off on a new and more personal level. I just guaranteed that no matter what, my relationship with my family will never be the same. I think I may have pissed off some of my devoted Mormon friends.

I know I will heal and move on. I know this is what is best for me and my children. I know my husband respects me more because of it. I know he understands why I had to do it. I know that in the end, I will be stronger because of it. I already feel like I can breathe again, I no longer run the risk of excommunication. Which is also a silly thing to dread. But knowing that they have no power over me and I can sue if they try to take action against me, gives me a sense of calm.

I thought it would be like a birthday. You know, it comes and you don't really feel any different. But I do feel different. I felt a change in me when I walked away from Mormonism in November 2008, I felt a change in August 2009 when I came to the realization that I am an Atheist, and sitting here, now being free of Mormonism, I feel a change.

I love not being Mormon. I love being an Atheist. I love being a mother and I love being a wife. I love everything I am now. Last week I couldn't say that wholeheartedly. And now I can.

And I know when those unknowing gentlemen show up on my front porch, that I will be able to ask them to get off my property and never return in a kind and respectful manner, because that's the kind of person that I am, always have been and always will be.

My grandmother, my mother and I on my baptism day September 1988. (Thank you April for fixing the color on this photo for me!)


Cheyenne said...

Good for you! My husband's still on the records b/c he didn't care enough to go through the process and rock the boat with his family. He prefers if they just think he's a Jack Mormon. We've had to handle sporadic visits from our home teachers and the local missionaries occasionally, but a while back I told them that we're really not interested, and they haven't been back since then, so I have my fingers crossed. I've read that a lot of people were hassled about resigning though. If you're interested, there's a good site I found that's got all kinds of info written by and for ex-mormons and they have a whole section on resigning and how to handle the follow up. Good luck!

Isabel DAngelo said...

If you allow me to say:
-CONGRATULATIONS, I'm so proud of you.
I've been thinking about that, I was raised as a catholic and was baptized at age 10, dressed as a nun.
I remember my classmates laughing and saying behind my back:
-Hey, don't mess with that girl, she is a f* nun.
The strangest thing is... they're all catholics and I was the only one who had doubts about god's existence.
I'm researching, I want to know if there is any record about that and if I can make a resignation as well.
I understand exactly how you've been feeling and I'm really proud of your attitude ( or action ). Sorry, my english fails me sometimes.

Cycle Ninja said...

As an ex-Catholic, I sympathize with your emotional distress. As recently as a week ago, I got an atomic guilt-bomb in my inbox from my mother's sister about my atheism. I shrugged it off.

My completely unofficial advice: Greet those "visitors" at the door (don't let them in), look them in the eye, and say, "You are not welcome. You are trespassing. If you return, I will call the police." And MEAN IT.

And congratulate yourself every day for having done this. You're not alone, by a long shot.


Jody M said...

What is 'Jack Mormon?'
Why would you need to sue? What kind of action would/could they take?

I would feel angry...intimidated, the same circumstances. Will they definitely send men, or would it be women? Or a group of both? Would it be more theraputic for you to talk them down?

I was baptised as an infant, but I was confirmed at 13(?) to a church I didn't believe in. It was all a farce as far as I'm concerned. I was too young to vote, drive, drink, marry, earn money and pay taxes, but I could confirm my belief in a god and a set of doctrine?? Gimme a break.