Leaving the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

My family comes from a background of Lutherans and Baptists on my mother’s side and Roman Catholics and Evangelical Christians on my father’s. I did not grow up in a religiously structured home. We did not go to church often and the one time we did try to establish ourselves at a small Southern Baptist church the pastor said offensive things during a prayer referencing my sister and her special needs so we never went back.
My entire life I have felt an overwhelming need to fill the void where religion is supposed to be. Growing up in the south it’s customary and basically required to be a person of faith, specifically Christian or Catholic. If you do not fall into one of these religious beliefs than you are viewed as “lost” or “rebellious.”
When I met Mario he introduced me to the LDS (Mormon) church. The people were nice and they preached about being kind, honest, and had strong values pertaining to family, marriage, and being a good citizen. These traits were appealing to me because I valued all of these things as well. Pretty soon I began lessons with missionaries, but because they were constantly transferred to other areas I would get new teachers, and my lessons never got beyond the concept of the degrees in heaven. Despite this, I didn’t think the church could be much different from Christianity, they claimed to be Christian after all, so I was baptized.
I had been baptized when I was nine years old into the Baptist church previously to my LDS baptism, but when I told the missionaries they compared its validity to an ice cream man trying to give you a speeding ticket. Basically, that baptism meant nothing. Ouch. This was the first red flag I had. Never had I heard one Christian church say another Christian church has null baptisms that mean nothing.
Later on in the church I began to see the overwhelming amount of sexism that was present. Women are encouraged to wear dresses and given looks if they wore slacks to church, and they’re taught that their greatest gift from God is a homemaker and mother (not paying attention to the fact that some women can’t have children at all.) They are encouraged to follow strict gender roles and boys and girls are separated for the majority of the 3 hour service on Sundays. I respect all the women at the church, and I understand that many of them believe that lifestyle to be the right one, but it wasn’t a fit for me. I felt restricted from being independent, assertive, and pursuing a career and education beyond a bachelor’s degree (some things they didn’t emphasize for women as much as men). I understand that there are feminist mormons and they have made so much headway in pressing for equality and I hope they can help guide the cultural ideals to a more current viewpoint, but the traditions of a patriarchy made me queasy.
The patriarchal values that are instilled in the church resonate beyond the cultural practices, and this is where I finally felt like I had had enough. The mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints does believe in polygamy. They do not practice it today because it is illegal, so instead they believe that plural marriage is in heaven. If a man loses his wife to death or divorce and he is sealed in the temple with her, he can be sealed to another woman while still holding onto his first wife. So essentially, he can have two wives in heaven. However, this only applies to men. Women do not have this option. Polygamy is a sticky subject for the church and why they have denied the teachings of it and don’t even talk about it openly with their members is beyond me. I do not have a problem with another person believing in polygyny as long as it is a mutual understanding among all spouses. I do however, have a problem with deception. Had I been explained this when the missionaries first started teaching me, I would have said, “thanks, but no thanks.”
There are other reasons I am leaving the Mormon church as well, but those issues were the ones that pressed on my heart the most.
I will be putting in my “resignation” letter for the church within the next week, so I will keep blogging about the experience as well as more reasons why I am leaving.

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