Updated: May 20
I wanted to change.
I wanted to grow closer to God.
I just didn’t want to change the Mormon way…
I thought I knew everything about Mormons living in Utah, but the truth is I only saw the surface and diving beneath that was a submersion into unknown territory. On the surface, Mormons looks happy, and forgive my disposition for suspicion, but I ain't buyin' it.
I called the missionaries.
They were surprised to hear from me.
It'd been a couple weeks, and honestly, it felt good to talk to them. This time, I was open to hearing their message. We met in a church and they taught me the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I specifically remember the Plan of Salvation or Plan of Happiness. In a nutshell, if we follow God's commandments, then we can be happy. That all sounded great, but I still had odd feelings about the church:
#1. White Male leaders
#2 Oppressing Ordain Women
#3 Promoting Anti-Gay Legislation
#4 Only accepting black people into the Temples 40 years ago.
I couldn't help but hear the word "Mormon" and feel some type of way.
"Pray." They'd say.
"Have faith." They'd say.
"Shut up." I'd say.
I'd get real offended by the lack of awareness. Then, I'd realize: They don't see things the same way. They're not contentious. The just have different beliefs, and guidelines by which they live their lives. And again, Salt Lake is full of mansions, so I couldn't help but think Mormons were doing something right.
Obey the Law of Chastity
The real lighting thunder bolt of a moment happened as I was reading scriptures with the missionaries and learning about the Law of Chastity.
Representing like a ho never ends well. It'd been a long time since I truthfully aligned myself with the notion of good or bad. In college, "My partner" and I mocked it as "good, bad, right, or wrong... We're learning." No, I actually hurt myself and I hurt him too. I honestly felt compromised in my selection of men. To think they come, and go, and where they are now? It's heavy. I thought sex was a common thing, commonly portrayed in mainstream media, music, tv, and movies. What I learned is that it's heartache.
I began to honor the Law of Chastity. It made me happy, bubbly, and pure again. I built a regained a sense of self-worth.
"The spirit and the body are the soul of man. The body is an essential part of the soul. It is the house of our soul. The choices we make with our bodies affect our souls. Sex is a serious choice to make with our body. It should be honored, but in the 2000 world, it's hard to say that any men do. When we engage in casual or any sex outside of marriage, it affects our soul.
"Flee fornication and anything like unto it."
Keep a pure, sweet spirit.
Honor the divinity in marriage.
Don’t be deceived. Don’t be destroyed by Satan's temptations.
It took Mitchell leaving to realize the only light I had in my life was gone. I couldn't be alone with my thoughts. It wasn't Mitchell.. It was God that I needed. Mitchell really changed my mind about Mormonism. He was a Mormon. He was a nice guy. He wasn't trying to have sex with me. He had a genuine interest in getting to know me, and see me for who I could become. He opened my doors, and he was the nicest guy I ever dated. Something about my life choices have deterred this goodness and I want to learn what it is?
I took to my own investigations. I read the Book of Mormon and Under the Banner of Heaven at the same time. I saw The Book of Mormon musical on Broadway in Manhattan and found myself in strange parts of YouTube watching videos from ex-Mormons. The whole thing was bizarre, but I didn't doubt it. Out of 8 billion people, we're all perceive life differently, and our truths are valid to us.
I started reading the Book of Mormon with an open mind. I noticed this recurring message of a stiff-neck and hard-hearted people. Wait a minute!... I had a stiff neck. I had a hard heart! I had knots in my back directly behind my heart. My family and I belong to the tribe of stiff-neck and hard-hearted people!
I was unconsciously breaking the commandments of God. I never intended to, but I did. My lack of focus on God drifted my course of direction. Far from God-like teachings.
In this moment of revelation,
I fell to my knees and prayed for forgiveness I asked forgiveness for all of my choices, all the guys, all the misunderstandings. Forgiveness for not paying more attention to God. God's story, words, and advice. I realized that the ignorance of God was the cause of all pain and suffering.
I wanted to grow my ideas of God.
I wanted a closer relationship with God.
I just didn't know if I wanted it to be in the Mormon way. I'd grown up the Catholic way, which was a very loose foundation. Obey the law of chastity, but everyone's having sex at 16. I grew up around Mormons, and they were assholes except Kenzi. Every one in college seemed to be Buddhist. I did breathing courses with the Indian Gurus. I guess I could be open to learning about God the Mormon way.
To understand them, I had to understand the story of Jesus Christ.
I grew up hearing people talk about Jesus, but I'd never invested in the story. believing in Jesus. I wasn't fully invested in his story, but I knew about Christmas and Easter. I never had a reason to doubt the existence of God. In fact:
I always wondered?
"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."
The more I thought about Jesus, the more I realized I never had a role model. There has been no individual I've looked up to in a way that I aspire to be... Oprah? Michael Jordan? Certainly, not my parents. There's no human is my leader. Jesus, however, could be an example I look up to in my dealings with men: Patience, meek, humble. The more I learned about Jesus, the more I wanted to be like him.