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!)