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[Serious] One Year Anniversary
RE: One Year Anniversary
(July 14, 2021 at 7:23 am)Ten Wrote: A year ago, my shelf broke. 

My story starts a bit earlier than last year but we'll keep the back story brief. So, I was not born a man but I've always been one. In Mormonism your body is a temple and your spirit is gendered to match your biological sex. There are no "mistakes" there are no "wrong bodies". So, there's no changing it. But this has always been an integral part of who I am, even as a young person. My brainwashing in the cult was so deep, however, that I repressed and suppressed this part of me until the war between God and identity almost killed me.

I did everything right. I attended church, I paid tithing, I went to seminary all 4 years of high school. And I married a returned missionary in the temple, just like I was supposed to. But not long after we were married, my husband and I stopped attending church. I still believed in everything but we just decided that church attendance wasn't edifying to our faith. I changed a lot about myself to make my husband happy but in the end, she came out as trans and left me for another man, who she'd been cheating on me with during the last year of our marriage. We divorced in 2012 and I was heartbroken.

In 2016 I had a spiritual reawakening. All of a sudden, I had the urge to pray for help during a financial crisis my family was going through and I promised God that no matter what happened, I'd start attending church again. To show that it was His will that I would follow and that I was genuine about the conditions he would expect of me, I repented of my sins and returned to active church life. I followed where the spirit led me, trying to be as obedient as I could. 

I attended BYU-Idaho as an English major and dropped out after a year to try to figure things out. You see, in the summer of 2018, I experienced an extreme case of gender dysphoria, but at the time, I didn't know what it was. I was just having a lot of panic attacks every Sunday when I would have to put on a dress to attend church. So, by fall of 2018, I stopped attending church again and I dropped out of school, the pressure too much for me at this time when I was suffering from an unidentifiable depression and anxiety over "nothing". I was in denial but when it finally came to me in 2019 and I realized, in the quiet calm of my own head what I wanted, without church constantly invading telling me what to want, I was overcome with hopelessness. I was surrounded by Mormon family and authority that would reject me for such thoughts, let alone if I came out as a man.

In March 2019, I attempted to take my own life. 

I failed and was taken to the hospital and after a week was sent home to PA. For most of 2019 I was the walking dead, numbed by my failure in everything, and contemplating trying suicide again. But my mother and siblings who are nonactive Mormons and the beautiful countryside eventually woke me up. Plus, my wonderful dog, who was a rescue, ended up rescuing me, bringing me out of my depression. By the end of 2019, I had come out to my immediate family and started living my life as my true self. As a man.

I wasn't looking to be deconverted. I had made peace with the Mormon God; the rules were what they were but I would rather be alive than dead and obedience would kill me. I figured if he were truly my Father, then when I eventually died later in my life, I could talk it over with him face to face. It was a semi-peaceful existence, thinking that I was living wrong and displeasing my creator but for the first time feeling free to be myself the way I've always felt inside.

July-August 2020, I was looking for Mormon prophecies about the end times. With the election, all my hyper Mormon family members(my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents) were convinced the end was near so I wanted to find YouTube videos about it. I stumbled upon a video by Jimmy Snow called 10 Things Mormons Won't Tell You. I snorted to myself, feeling cavalier in the challenge and settled down to watch it, anticipating misunderstandings and bad faith arguments. To my surprise, Jimmy showed clips of LDS.org, the official church website and a hidden section called the Gospel Topics Essays where the church officially addresses some of its own controversies.

Mormonism is a cult and the only way that it can survive in a thinking mind is to convince its smart and clever members to be terrified of the truth. It's called anti-Mormon propaganda and it consists of "anything negative about the church" + "sources not put out officially by the LDS church itself." So, as a member, you are taught just a little bit of the truth and told that the rest are lies. And the rest is just condemned as non-trustworthy because it didn't come from the living prophet himself. 

So imagine my surprise as a long time believing member, going to the official source, the source I could trust above all others, the church website, and finding articles in which the church states things that used to be anti-Mormon propaganda when I was younger. It was a mixture of admissions of truth to claims that I had been taught were vicious lies by those who hate and persecute us(agents of Satan) and retconning things I had learned as fact when I was in Sunday school. Even as late as my short stint in college, I had learned facts about the church that these official articles were now trying to say something different happened.

I mean, there is "continued revelation" guidelines useful for our specific time and generation. But the past is the past. You can't teach me all my life that Joseph Smith never had more than one wife but then come out and admit he was doing the Lord's work by marrying 33 other women and nothing sexual happened between him and the underage ones. You can't teach me all my life that Joseph Smith translated the golden plates by looking over them by candlelight and then admit he didn't look at them, they were covered up and he instead peered at a seer stone with his face buried in a hat. You can't teach me my whole life that the Book of Abraham was translated from Egyptian papyri, with the drawn figures and symbols in the Book of Mormon right next to the text and then later admit that the papyrus and pictures were just "inspiration" for revelation and that it wasn't actually translated because Egyptologists say the Book of Abraham isn't what the surviving papyrus even says.

It's enough to call the whole thing into question to have these "corrections" and lies revealed in this secretive way. But then they gaslight you; in the official articles and well-known Mormon apologists pretend that not only has this information always been available to members but that it's your fault for not knowing about it and feeling hurt and betrayed now is nonsense.

I was crushed. It's not any one truth that hurt me but the way the lies were revealed and the church that I had put all of my trust into treating me like a dumb crazy person for being upset. It'd be one thing to achieve transparency, to come out, lay it bare, the gritty history and apologize for hiding it. I might have been further emotionally manipulated if they'd acted human and said they f-ed up and made a mistake; that maybe they thought hiding it would be better for the church. But the gospel topics essays are not promoted, not taught in classes, not discussed, and they're in a buried part of the website. And the manipulation is not what I expect from trustworthy men of God who were chosen to speak for him. 

The first two weeks of August 2020 were an emotional hell. I went through phases of being so upset, lost, and frightened of my changing definition of reality. I occasionally was angry and bitter over how much of my life was stolen because I'd been obedient instead of been true to myself. It was painful to realize how many choices and decisions I had made based on trust in the authority that spoke for God, how I'd almost killed myself and destroyed the one life I have over controlling and manipulative lies. 

For the most part, I was fascinated. I read the CES letter, I read books about the sordid history of the church, and watched a ton of ex-Mo content on YouTube. Joseph Smith is much more intriguing when you strip away the martyrdom and superhero Jesus 2.0 cape.

I tried to stay a Christian for a while. I joined Christian Forums and...spent my time in the "other religions" section arguing with Mormons to vent my frustration. I had come out to family and despite my immediate family being inactive, Mormonism is still their core belief system, just like it had been mine while I was living openly as trans. It was just a couple of discussions before we came to an agreement not to talk about it; I wouldn't try to convince them and they wouldn't try to convince me. 

I also lurked a bit on the CF, researching about Jesus. I thought I could keep the baby and toss the bathwater but the more I read the more I learned that the Bible is not a holy book and we can't even prove who wrote most of it. My secondary shelf broke the more that I embraced skepticism and by October, I was a full-fledged atheist.

This might be the last "anniversary" I acknowledge or celebrate for becoming atheist. I can feel myself calming down about atheism and religions and the Mormon cult. Once you're released from that burden of belief, the anxiety of shame and guilt, it feels less important to continue to let it consume you. I accept that it is emotion based and those who believe don't have good reasons for believing, thus, trying to convince them, or dedicating my time and energy to righting the wrongs feels like just more manipulation to keep me occupied and focused. I'm truly utterly free to be me. No disappointed Father looking down, no punishments waiting after this life, and just this self-acceptance that even if there were...it's not MY god and I don't have to be afraid of not obeying a cruel monstrous despot. After this, I won't have to hang onto this story, this date in time, because the marking of my day of freedom will blend with "living my life as I see fit" and I won't have to think about the chains I left behind.

But for this first one, this first year, I wanted to acknowledge it. I wanted to tell my story.

You've been through a lot and came out the other side a stronger person.

Congratulations on both becoming an atheist and realising your true self.

That's braver than many people realise.
Dying to live, living to die.

Messages In This Thread
One Year Anniversary - by Ten - July 14, 2021 at 7:23 am
RE: One Year Anniversary - by The Valkyrie - July 14, 2021 at 7:30 am
RE: One Year Anniversary - by arewethereyet - July 14, 2021 at 7:32 am
RE: One Year Anniversary - by Tomato - July 14, 2021 at 7:38 am
RE: One Year Anniversary - by brewer - July 14, 2021 at 7:42 am
RE: One Year Anniversary - by Ten - July 14, 2021 at 8:35 am
RE: One Year Anniversary - by The Grand Nudger - July 14, 2021 at 9:22 am
RE: One Year Anniversary - by HappySkeptic - July 14, 2021 at 11:07 am
RE: One Year Anniversary - by Fireball - July 14, 2021 at 12:47 pm
RE: One Year Anniversary - by tackattack - July 14, 2021 at 12:56 pm

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