What Bothers Me Most About Mormonism (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

I was born into an active LDS family in Utah. 

We had/have 11 people in our family.  My parents were typical Mormon parents. They didn’t drink or smoke and they were committed to raising their children in the gospel.  There were certainly good things that came out of belonging to the church. At first, our family did seem like the “Leave It To Beaver” family which is great for a kid.  Most importantly, I learned about prayer which would be one of the greatest blessings in my life.

However, there were many cheats along the way.

The first cheat was our large, unwieldy family.  The typical Mormon family had about five children due to the commandment to “multiply and replenish the earth”. We had nine children.  We were highly ridiculed due to the excessive size of our family. “EWW it’s another ONE!” was a common phrase that I heard at school when I would pass by.  I was one of the oldest children and after I was about ten years old I would cry and cry with each of my mothers subsequent pregnancies because I just wanted her to stop.

The burden of kids also took a toll on my mother. She wanted to be the perfect LDS mother (going above and beyond what was required of her), so she kept having more and more children and was involved in everything from PTA to Primary leadership. The problem was that she couldn’t handle it and she would take out her frustrations and unhappiness on us and my father. This was partly because my father wasn’t much help with the kids, although he did help around the house. We would get in trouble for random things and we could never stay on top of my mother’s volatile, raging temper.

Eventually, the younger children in my family became neglected because my mother just checked out and locked herself up in her room studying. Finally, to escape, because she felt she needed to, she went against the church’s standards and went back to work leaving us all with a nanny. Our nanny was a young, inexperienced woman who could not handle that kind of load effectively.

At the same time, this was going on, the very people who were supposed to be our best friends, our fellow ward members were terrorizing us with weekly pranks and vandalism to our home. This was being done by a group of some of the “popular” young men in our ward.

One particular boy from this group was my personal bully who would follow me home from school, call me foul and dirty names, push me in the mud, slam me with snowballs and all sorts of abuse. I felt it would be wrong to fight back or even say anything back. “Love your neighbor and forgive everyone” is what I would repeat to myself. I would come home and pray in tears for comfort every day. I found solace there. I never told my parents about the bully because we didn’t have that type of relationship.

Still, I was better off then the one Born-Again Christian girl who went to my all Mormon (or jack-Mormon) high school. In the scheme of low-lifes she got first place and was a target for all sorts of bullying and abuse. Ironically, the jack-Mormons were always the most popular.

I had a couple of concerns about the church at a young age. The first two concerns I had was when I was in grade school. I didn’t understand why I felt the spirit when I saw a Hallmark commercial or heard stories about Santa Clause doing kind things for children when I knew these things were not true stories. I thought- how can I know if the church is true based on feeling the spirit when I feel the spirit when I hear other stories that are false. My mother quickly dismissed these feelings, telling me the spirit I felt in church was different, but I couldn’t differentiate.

Next, I didn’t understand why all throughout the scriptures there was a plethora of amazing miracles, visitations of angels, people being struck dumb, people being destroyed in mass due to wickedness, people talking directly to God and all sorts of supernatural happenings, yet I saw nothing like that in the real world. When I asked these questions in Sunday School I was told that we didn’t see these things because of our wickedness, but it seemed to me that these things happened all the time in the scriptures around wicked people and righteous alike.

Due to the large number of children in my family I pretty much grew up raising myself. My parents didn’t pay a lot of attention to me and I was fine with that, but it also led me to be a bit wild into my teenage and college years. However, I had every intention of getting married in the temple and rearing my family in the church.  I had a few boyfriends that I truly loved during this time, but they weren’t returned missionaries, so I ultimately rejected them.

Then I met a guy that had all of the requirements. He was a returned missionary and could take me to the temple. Also, his family was very religious. I decided that I should marry him because he fit all the boxes.

During our engagement I was visiting him at BYU where he was attending college. He was studying in the library, so I thought I would take a look around. I stumbled upon Jospeh Smith diaries. I thumbed through one of them and saw his writing about the First Vision. It was shocking to read that the story was completely different than the one in the Book of Mormon. I was also shocked to discover from reading his journal that he had already come to the conclusion that all the other church’s were wrong before the First Vision. Joseph also talked about a dream his father had, had which sounded identical to Lehi’s dream about the iron rod in the Book of Mormon. Later, I would find out there were several versions of the First Vision and the one that is in the Book of Mormon was not even written by Joseph Smith himself. This was very upsetting to me, but it didn’t shake my testimony.

As we neared the wedding date I started to panic because our relationship hadn’t progressed like it should have in my mind.  Right before my wedding I told my mother that I didn’t think that I should marry this man because I didn’t feel for him what I thought someone should feel for someone they are about to be married to. We aren’t “in love” I said.  I really don’t even know him.

My mother did not care how I felt, she just wanted to make sure that I would marry someone who could take me to the temple and ultimately the celestial kingdom. She told me that the kind of love I was talking about fades anyway and there were lots of different kinds of love. She made me feel like it was God’s will to marry this man and she would be very disapointed in me if I did not. She also made it clear to me that this friendship love was the type of marriage she had, had. The problem was that I didn’t even feel like this man was my friend.

I decided that I could do it, that I could go through with it. I just had to be brave and do the right thing. My wedding day and subsequent honeymoon was miserable, but I tried to put on a happy face for everyone else.

After we were married, I had envisioned a spiritual friendship. A partnership. He, on the other hand, had envisioned sex. This was unbearable due to my lack of feeling for him, but I thought that it was my duty to have sex when he wanted and it was also my duty to not put off having children. Puting off children to finish my education was/is considered selfish in the church. I had almost finished 2 years of college, but that would have to be put on hold to stay home with babies.  I got terribly sick with my first pregnancy and my husband told me that it was all in my head and I was being overly dramatic.  I finally couldn’t take it anymore and I got my stuff together and left him.

I wasn’t welcomed back at home. I was lectured and lectured by my mother, my grandmother and other ward members. It doesn’t matter how you feel, I was told, any righteous woman can have a good marriage with any righteous man.

I didn’t feel like I could go back, but eventually (about 1 year later) I had the strength to return to the marriage. Everyone was overjoyed at the reconciliation. In my mind; however, there was still something very wrong.  He didn’t seem to care about me or my feelings. We didn’t seem to connect or relate to each other like I had with my past boyfriends. His plan for me was to clean the house, have babies and have sex with him every night.  He saw his life as totally seperate from mine except for how I could serve him.

A couple of years later I discovered his pornography addiction.

This is when the sexual abuse got really bad. He would do things to me when I was sleeping, he would use sexual toys on me after I said no. He wouldn’t care if he hurt me. He would pressure me and pressure me to do things I was uncomfortable with. All of his free time was spent looking at porn. I didn’t feel like I could leave him because (1) I had already tried that and it didn’t work out (2) Porn addiction wasn’t the same as cheating in other people’s minds, but in my mind it seemed worse. It was going on every day, all the time around me. I couldn’t escape it.  I didn’t tell my parents partly because I didn’t want people to think badly of him, especially if he changed (which has not happened 15 years later). Plus, we had kids now and I didn’t want the kids to grow up with a broken home.

I remained faithful to the church, although sometimes it felt so heavy to carry on. I taught our kids about the gospel. I single handedly did Family Home Evening, scripture study and got the kids ready for church each Sunday. My husband didn’t help with any of it. In fact he didn’t help with anything, not with the kids or with the house.

Due to the church’s counsel to have kids right away and not to put them off for education we found ourselves in dire poverty. I was home with the children while my husband went through school. At first I supported us as a nanny. I brought my oldest child to work with me. We lived off $500 a month. After my second child I could no longer keep the nanny position and had to stop working. The church’s counsel was to stay at home with my kids. Working moms are considered to be shirking their purpose as a woman which is motherhood so I could no longer work. We had nights where the only thing we ate for dinner was a potato. I found the mix between poverty, young children and an unsupportive husband to be devastating.  My husband didn’t start out working until our oldest child was 8 ys. old.

I was very interested in church at this time and prayer was comforting. Church was my one time a week to be with adults and socialize and discuss deep topics. I was always making comments in Gospel Doctrine class and eventually I was called to be the teacher. I taught Doctrine and Covenants.  I had never really studied this volume of scripture and I was surprised by some of the prophecies of Joseph Smith that were never  fulfilled. When I would study some of the Doctrine and Covenant lessons, sometimes I would ask myself, “Do we all really believe this stuff?” 

In the year 2000, I picked up a book about church history at Barnes and Noble. It didn’t look like an anti-Mormon book. It just looked like a history book written by historians. I didn’t know much about the history of the church, so I thought I should learn. Especially after teaching about the D&C, I wanted to learn more.

This is when my life changed. This is when I first learned about the realities of polygamy. It seemed like I had just found out that the prophet I revered my whole life was a child molester. The stories of polygamy sounded so abusive and horrible I couldn’t stand it any longer. Just the fact that Joseph was marrying and having sex with other women (one as young as 14 ys. old) without Emma’s knowledge and consent was unbelievable to me. I searched and searched for answers…for someone to tell me it wasn’t true, but it was true. There were also other things that I found out about this time, including inconsistencies in the Book of Mormon. It was equally upsetting to find out the great lengths the church went to hide a lot of this information. For example, the official church manual about Brigham Young that doesn’t mention he had multiple wives. His wives were invisible.

So after a few months of depression I eventually persuaded myself into being a Revived Mormon and I have been in that state ever since. My husband and I have grown closer over the years, despite his ongoing addiction and the instability that creates in our marriage. He has also become more helpful with the kids. However, I am still looking for answers to my questions. I am still trying to find someone who can give me a reasonable explanation for all of the problems I see in the LDS church because FAIR’s answers do not seem reasonable to me at all.

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3 Responses to What Bothers Me Most About Mormonism (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

  1. TAO says:

    Hello there Sarah, I was just browsing and happened to come across your blog.

    You mention some problems with what’s going on in your family and all, and that is the trial of life, that it is. However, I wonder… have you talked to your bishop about it? I talked to my bishop about some problem I had in the past, and he was great – he really helped me overcome them. Perhaps he could help your husband overcome his problem. My problem was not the same thing – but somewhat related to his, and yah, it will be alot of work, but it can be overcome.

    Yah, I’ve lived though life and all, and been through some tough times. I’m autistic, and I didn’t even understand how other people thought till eighth grade, where I was finally taught by a brilliant speech therapist how to read other people’s body language. And yah, I was buillied alot in those first 12 years… and worst of all… sometimes I couldn’t even tell I was being bullied. And if I could tell, I didn’t know how to respond.

    Anyways, it was about that time that I first got into the harmful addiction I referred to earlier… it lasted till I was 17, and I was not active at church at the time… I was a mess let’s just put it that way. I knew what I was doing was wrong… but I didn’t know how to escape it, let alone, why it was wrong. I just knew it was.

    Anyways, I turn 16 and I start having questions… I start wondering about the purpose of life… about why I was here… and how I should be living my life. I wondered why people believed in religion… and I also wondered why people who didn’t believe in religion had self-control at all. However, above all, I wondered, what was faith? What does faith do? How does faith effect you?

    I was lucky one seminary morning to be reading and to come across a verse in Alma describing faith… faith is things which are true but cannot be seen… I pondered this for about a month… the scriptures which had gone years unused became well read… and I began to have feelings… I wondered how I could have feelings about something which had not been proven? But then indeed I realized – life itself is not proven. We see, we hear, we taste, we fell, we listen – and we assume all of these sense work correctly – we assume, we do not prove. For life would be a mess if we did not. So then I thought – perhaps it would be worth a try – worth trying faith – to see if it worked.

    I thank Heavenly Father that I did that… the spirit witnessed the truth – that God DOES exist, and that the Book of Mormon was true so strongly… well I cried for about an hour… I guess I am a tad bit emotional for a boy, but hey, that’s a good thing 😄

    Anyways… I had explored faith… and a challenged was ahead for me… I still had this addiction, this problem, this sin, that I had to overcome. Was I brave enough to confess to my bishop? I wondered, was I brave enough – but then, I remembered crying that night, and I knew there was no turning back – the truth drove me on. I walked in, and I confessed, and I asked him, how I should overcome this problem.

    I was expecting a lecture, scorn, mocking, and alike – but my bishop was remarkably compassionate – he kept it private, between me and him – and he helped me slowly start on my path to recovery. The way it worked was if I had succeeded that week (aka, not performed this sin), I would go up to him, and shake his hand. In this way, he was able to figure out whether or not he needed to meet with me again that week.

    Don’t be wrong, there was many times where I could not shake his hand – many times, where I could not resist, and I failed before Heavenly Father. And I wept over it… I was unhappy with myself. But always, ALWAYS, was he willing to forgive me. And the same with the bishop – with words of encouragement, I pushed forward. And slowly, I began making the mistake less and less.

    And that brings me to where I am today – a 17 year old boy, who has almost overcome his trial, and who puts faith in God rather than trust the works of men.

    Now, it seems that you are in a bind that I can relate to… let’s first start with your husband’s problem.

    Now Pornography is a very difficult to overcome addiction. Your husband will be fragile if he is able to escape it… you will have to help him – despite how much of a pain he has been for these past years – if you wish to fix it.

    Now, coming from a similar but different mistake, I will attempt to explain the difficult to you. Essentially, the main problem, the main danger, of pornography is objectification. What is objectification? Objectification is where people, for a mere instant, are no longer human, but are now objects to be used for your pleasure. It is dangerous, because your husband has become so lost in it that he fails to here the spirit warning him now, to not give into it.

    Now you, as the wife, your job will be, to help him overcome this objectification. The first step will be taking him to see the bishop. If he has hope… he will realize how wrong he has been… if he doesn’t… well he’ll divorce you… but that will be ultimately a good thing (if we can fix the doubting you’ve been having, you’ll receive a celestial partner regardless of what happened here).

    Anyways, go to the bishop… talk about it… and see if you can get your hubby to respond. If he starts feeling miserable (I did), it’s a good thing, and you should be there to comfort him. Even though he has been so mean to you… you have a chance of truly changing him into the person of your dreams…. if this succeeds. Anyways, so he what your job then is to try to get him to open up about his problems… and basically, just listen, contribute a tiny bit, but just listen otherwise. Let him vent out his stress (that’s why he’s fallen this way, if he is able to relieve stress in a positive manner, such as talking it out, he’ll be able to escape). I am hoping, that perhaps you will see a side of him you didn’t see before – a compassionate side, a loving side, a meaningful side.

    So your job then, will to be to help him stay away from pornography. There are several things you can do.
    – Keep him away from computers, magazine if at all possible. Keep him away from anything that could be tempting… you don’t need to force him, you simply need to be his inner consciousness in physicality reminding him not to head in the wrong direction
    -Dress Modestly. Believe it or not, the way people dress is a huge factor in objectification, and because people dress immodestly all the time, it’s almost unescapable… he must not look at people who dress immodestly. So make sure your wearing full-length pants, wearing a shirt that doesn’t out-trude to much, make sure that the collar of your shirt is rather small so that way he can’t see much of your special parts. Oh yah, no tight shirts or tight pants… try to make it as littlely suggestive as possible. In other words, seeing you shouldn’t stir up his emotions of objectification.
    -Try and Not have too much Sex. Sex may be good occasionally, but we don’t want him to be objectifying you when you guys have sex, we want it to be something of love. If he objectifies you, it’s just going to add to his problems. Your goal must be to get him not to objectify at all costs – even if it means abstinence.
    -Love him. He is going to need your support… it is going to be extremely difficult for him to overcome, and will probably take a year or two, if it even works at all. You must build him up from the ground. Hard work, I know, but it is worth it in the end, trust me – you will be a very happy person if it works out.

    If you can do these things, there is a possibility of it working out. Check with your bishop for more ideas.

    Now, I’m going to tackle your problems – hey, if I tackle your husbands, it’s only fari that tackle yours no? 😉

    Ok, so you have doubts, generally, because of church history. So let me tell you a bit about my relation to church apologetics.

    Anyways, there came a time (several months ago), where I was coming across Anti-Mormon sites which I felt, did not do a good job of addressing counter-arguments. And so I decided, that perhaps, I would go into church apologetics, to see if maybe I could help provide stronger points for our church, so maybe they would start noticing.

    But as I’m thinking of going into it, I get warned by this feeling… and the feeling tells me “Don’t base your testimony on murky history, base your testimony on personal experiences”. I was like “Ok, I’ll make sure”. It didn’t seem all that important at first, however, looking back at it now, I can sure say it was a life-saver.

    What I know now about apologetics, is that history is never clear – and it changes, depending on what we know. History, you see, is based on information we have available. So it is naturally, not completely accurate. And many try to provide answers based on history – trying to prove and disprove things. It is chaos. No side has the lead.

    Luckily for me, I have steered clear of all that – whenever I had a question about church history, I simply went to the Lord and asked about it, and over time, the answer came to me – and these answers were FAR more fulfilling then the ones apologetics or critics gave. Essentially – though history may lie to you, and deceive you – the Lord never will. That’s why you go to him instead. Really I do wonder, why do you go to history, when the Lord can give so much clearer and understandable answers?

    Really, I would encourage you, go to the Lord. Pray to him, for his help, and for a second, forget the world, what it thinks, what it does – it’s just you and him – just you and the Lord. What the world thinks does not matter – they may laugh if they would like, but it does not matter to you. Only what the Lord says matters. Take time, listen to what he whispers to you through the Spirit, and hold it in your heart, remember it when you are most challenged. Instead of doing what the world says (focusing on history), focus on what is ultimately better for you (focusing on the Lord).

    Now if you would like, I can answer some of your questions, but I encourage you to go the Lord instead for as many as you possibly can. That is what will build your testimony up. Counter-arguments can only go so far. Trust in the Lord, is what will let you reach where you are supposed to be.

    I think one of the questions that you may be desiring to answer, is sort of a… “why me?” I think you wonder, why do I go through all these problems, why do I have the troubles others don’t have, why do I have to deal with it, no? Is that not what you wonder?

    Well I have thought of the question for a long time, and indeed, I prayed about it, I pondered about it, I searched the scriptures, and finally the answer came. I myself wondered, why I was Autistic, why I had to deal with my very difficult addiction/sin, why others had so much pain in their lives… and the answer is: the reason we have so many trials in our life is to make us stronger.

    Well then naturally, the question comes, why do we have different trials then? The way it was explained to me by the spirit – each and every one of our trials was specifically designed for us – to allow us to reach what the Lord desires us to reach. I have Autism and my addiction/sin to help me to reach the goal the Lord has for me. The Lord allows me to be tempted in such ways, provides me with such weaknesses so that if I overcome them, I can build new strengths, slowly progressing towards perfection, and eternal life. The Lord does this for each and every one of us – providing us weaknesses so we can fix the flawed parts in us that exist naturally.

    So your trials were specifically picked for you to overcome – and though they be difficult, they are never to difficult for you to overcome, and will make you much stronger if you are able to overcome them. You have the capability of overcoming them. You just need to do it. It’ll be hard, I won’t lie, but the reward will be great. What is the reward, you ask? The reward is pure and eternal happiness and bliss, and the ability to be like unto God. He would give you all he has to offer, if you can just overcome your trials, and follow his Son.

    “Come, follow me,” the Savior said.
    Then let us in this footsteps tread,
    For thus alone can we be one
    With God’s own loved, begotten Son.”

    I also give you a scripture – one of my personal favorites, for you and your husband to look over. I hope it will be helpful – it was helpful to me through my problems.

    Ether 12:27 – And if men come unto me, I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

    I encourage you to look over all of Ether 12 actually – it is a great chapter of scripture full of many marvelous answers. And if you truly do humble yourself before the Lord, I can tell you for a fact, he WILL show you your weaknesses and help you overcome them, and your faith and testimony will grow in him till it seems as if you would burst. It is a wonderful thing. It is every so wonderful, so wonderful – to me.

    Best Wishes, and I hope I helped,
    Your Friend,
    TAO

  2. AdamF says:

    Just read this… it’s no wonder you would have some questions! You’ve been through a ton, most of which can’t really be understood online. I hope your marriage continues to improve, and I agree with TAO above about getting help from the bishop regarding the pornography problem. At the same time, I don’t agree with some of TAO’s ideas, based on my experience working with people with porn problems in therapy:

    “Keep him away from computers…”

    This is not your job. Support him, of course. But being his watchdog or parent never works for long.

    “Dress Modestly… he must not look at people who dress immodestly. So make sure your wearing full-length pants, wearing a shirt that doesn’t out-trude to much, make sure that the collar of your shirt is rather small so that way he can’t see much of your special parts. Oh yah, no tight shirts or tight pants… try to make it as littlely suggestive as possible. In other words, seeing you shouldn’t stir up his emotions of objectification.”

    I don’t know what to say about this one. I first thought it was satire, but now I’m not so sure. Dress how you want to. You, and NO other woman, are responsible for other men’s thoughts. People who are hypersexual are good at objectifying just about anything.

    “Try and Not have too much Sex.”

    I don’t agree with this at all. Your sexual relationship is up to you… sex isn’t the problem here. Weird.

    “Love him. He is going to need your support… it is going to be extremely difficult for him to overcome, and will probably take a year or two, if it even works at all. You must build him up from the ground. Hard work, I know, but it is worth it in the end, trust me – you will be a very happy person if it works out.”

    I agree. All this hard work won’t do any good, however, if there aren’t any “pro-recovery” interventions, rather than just all these “don’ts” and whatever.

  3. Karen says:

    Wow, this was sad and upsetting. i’m so sorry this has been your life.

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