Well, here we are, the first day of a new year. Time for resolutions, goals, and hopes and dreams of a better year. For most people, myself included, any resolution made for the new year will only last a few weeks, maybe a few months. And then life gets in the way again and we go back doing the thing we are used to doing. The hardest thing about change is doing things different than were used to.
At work, when I talk about change, I challenge people to spend 1 day trying to do things with their non-dominant hand. It’s hard, we are creatures of habit. We get so used to doing the same thing that even when we want to do something different, we don’t because we would rather stay in our comfort zone than make our lives better.
I don’t like change either. It is hard and uncomfortable. I hate the unknown. I don’t like not knowing where my feet are going to land, and yet, had I not taken that blind leap of faith, I’m not sure I would still be alive. In that dark moment when an acquaintance reached out to me the easiest thing would have been not to answer the phone; or to pretend I was interested and then not call back.
The easiest part of that whole situation was accepting that God loved me. I’m not saying that was easy but that was a lot easier than the rest of that journey. When Brian and I walked away from Mormonism, I walked away from everything I had been taught my entire life. My family, friends, and neighbors, were all Mormon. I never knew anything different. Growing up I thought there were 2 religions in the world. Mormon’s and Catholics. Everything in my world was Mormon and everyone on TV was Catholic. The only non-Mormon funeral I ever attended were the funerals for Brian’s grandmothers. And I had never been to a non-Mormon wedding, well into my adult life. I had never attended a Sunday church service other than a Mormon service, when I started attending a local Christian church I had a hard time getting used to not wearing a dress.
The church we attended was 30 minutes from our home in the closest city to us, so we would often go grocery shopping while we were in town. For many years I struggled with feeling guilty about going shopping on Sunday. On occasion, we also would go out to eat on Sunday adding more guilt to my conscience. Over time, I realized these were just rules that were put in place by the religion I grew up with and had nothing to do with God or the Bible. They were just man made rules.
As I grew in my Christian walk, I started looking more and more into Mormonism and Joseph Smith. Which again, made me feel guilty in many ways. The Mormon church teaches you not to look for truth outside of Mormon approved doctrine. As I began to look deeper into things, I found out some things about Joseph Smith I was never taught. I was always taught that he was a really good little boy, he always made good choices, and was always nice to others. I had a book when I was little about Joseph Smith that talked about him having an infection in his leg and they had to do surgery. They didn’t have anesthesia back then so they often used alcohol to help with the pain. Joseph Smith refused the alcohol even as a very young child. I don’t know if that story is true. But that story has always stuck with me. As I researched Joseph smith outside of Mormon doctrine, I found he was not the man that I had always been taught that he was.
One of the most surprising things I found out was that Joseph Smith is the one who introduced polygamy. I had always been taught that Brigham Young had introduced polygamy because of the pioneers crossing the plains and so many men dying. I never liked the idea of polygamy, and the thought of even possibly sharing Brian with another woman here on earth or in Heaven is not even an option. I was grateful to realize that God doesn’t like polygamy either (Deuteronomy 17:17, Titus 1:6, Timothy 3:2 12). It was also very surprising to learn that Joseph Smith had not just a few wives but many. I think I’ve seen he had at least 40. I was always taught he had one, his wife Emma whom he adored. Of the several wives he had some were still married to other men and some were teenagers. I believe the youngest was 14. I don’t understand why Joseph Smith would need to marry a 14 year old girl. There is no justification for it.
As I did more and more research, I found out that Joseph Smith wasn’t the upstanding guy that I had always been taught. And that in all reality, he was not a good person at all. One book I am in the process of reading that has a lot of historical information is No Man Knows My History by Fawn M. Brodie. The thing I like about this book is that it has historical evidence, proof of the events, that she is writing about.
One of the biggest things I found in my quest to figure out what I believe and why, is that I hate organized religion. I struggle when it comes to churches that tell me who I should be, what I should wear, and how I should act. In my adventure of finding me, I’ve realized the most important thing about being a Christian is having a relationship with Christ. In Mormonism, there was always a man standing in the way of that. In every aspect of Mormonism a man has control, not God. Forgiveness is given by the bishop, a man. Annual worthiness interviews are given by the bishop, a man. Church callings are given by the bishop, a man. And me getting into Heaven is determined by my husband, a man. It’s all about the things I do. As a Christian it’s all about a relationship with Christ and who I am. I would much rather have a relationship with Christ than a religion that tells me how to worship Christ.
What is crazy to me, is that I took what the Mormon church said and called it truth without question. It was complete blind faith. There were no facts, no evidence, and no questions. Just believing what I was told, doing what I was expected, and feeling inadequate because I felt like I didn’t measure up.
Sometimes I still think maybe it would be easier if I went back to Mormonism. I miss my family a lot and the relationship we used to have. I know it will never be the same and even if it was, I can’t walk away from truth. And when I walked away from Mormonism is when I began to find myself. I began to be the person God created me to be. I came alive and I began to thrive!! People are so afraid of change because they don’t know what is going to happen. The crazy thing is that when most people resolve to make positive changes in their lives, they don’t usually regret it. What a great time to take the step in a quest to find truth.
I had a great year in 2016. I stepped out of my comfort zone and did somethings I never thought I would do. My hope, goal, and resolution for 2017, is to continue my quest for a healthier me, not just my physical health but my mental and spiritual health, as well. I hope to go on more expeditions, continue my blog, grow closer with my family, and step out in faith more and share Christ with others. I need to not hold my cards so close to my chest and trust God that he will do his part. I’m excited about the opportunities 2017 will bring.
I’m just a small town girl… starting off on a brand new page.