Guest Post: I Broke Up with God Because of the Temple. Now What?
Fifteen years ago, I became troubled about polygamy in the early church. As a faithful lifelong member, I brought my concerns to my district president at a temple recommend interview. He chastised me, told me that polygamy was the heavenly order of marriage and that the only problem with the practice was the jealous feelings of women like me. He encouraged me to read Doctrine and Covenants Section 132 and visit the temple and assured me that these resources would resolve all of my concerns.
Following his advice unleashed a crisis that would take me over a decade to work through. In those scriptures and through the temple I learned that everyone who had told me my whole life that God loved and valued me had been lying. The more I searched and pondered and wrestled with the issue, the more I came to believe that, as a woman, I was thought of by God as a lesser being. I also began to doubt my place in the eternities. To fear heaven.
I spent YEARS crying, praying, talking to church leaders, reading scripture, at times literally lying on the floor in despair. And at the end of the day I could not resolve this issue in any other way than to decide (primarily on the proof of every word uttered in the temple) that the district president had been correct. That, according to Mormonism, women are in fact lesser than men. If God wasn’t even willing to covenant directly with me–what did that say about me as a human?
Eventually, I realized I couldn’t live that way any longer. For the sake of my own mental, spiritual, and physical health I had to cut my emotional and spiritual ties to the church. I had to decide that it didn’t really matter to me. I let my temple recommend expire. I quit wearing garments. And while I continued to attend church, (because leaving the church is such a process–leaving the church would cause rifts in my family and social network) I quit looking to the church or God for moral guidance. Instead I turned inward. I began deciding for myself what the right choices in my life were.
And I became happy.
In order to become happy, I had to turn my back on the God who was hurting me. I kept the people in my life, because I truly believe that most Mormons are good, well intentioned people. It was God who had hurt me. It was God I couldn’t trust. It was God I left behind.
These changes leave me doubting that decision, but at the same time–I really couldn’t have lived like that for another five years as I waited on the changes to come. And I can’t just forgive and forget and go back. It’s too late for me. For the sake of survival, I let go of my faith. I can’t get it back now.
I’m really not sure I want to.