Thursday, September 27, 2012

Five Years of Being Religion-Free

It has now been five official years since I left the LDS church.

Honestly, the first two years were hell both socially and mentally. I had a lot of guilt. I had a lot of loneliness. And I was constantly being bombarded by people who cared for me telling me that I was making the biggest mistake of my eternal life.

The third and fourth years were better because my new way of viewing life started overriding my old fundamentalist thought patterns (with great, great effort).

And, the fifth year (which just completed last week) was so outrageously phenomenal that I want to go back and give the D'Arcy of 2007 a really big hug and tell her "it gets better."

It was on my 30th birthday, September 15, 2007, that I woke up in New York City and said, "enough is enough." I was scared. I was full of self doubt. I was worried about what this meant for my future. I had no idea how to form a life if I was not focused on getting married in the Mormon temple. I had bitterness to work through.  I felt like I had wasted 30 years in an institution that was not meant for me. I had a lot of regret. I had a lot of insecurities. I felt like as I questioned, I would most likely be led back to the LDS church because it was "true".  But that never happened. And I found myself moving (not drifting, that's what I had done the decade before) towards the world. The world without Mormons.

The last five years have opened my mind in so many ways that have helped me see the world as a friendly, loving, accepting, kind, forgiving place with really good wine. I like to say "The world" because anyone who has taken part in the LDS church knows what negative connotations those two words can have.  We were told from the time that we could crawl that the "world" is evil, dangerous and will lure us away from the righteous gospel path. And, well, since I now no longer go to church, I occasionally drink wine and coffee, and I decide what spiritual power I can be endowed with (and do not leave it to the old men to decide for me), then--really, by their standards, I guess what they believe about the world is true.

Each year I go to New York City on my birthday and celebrate the re-birth I was blessed to have at the age of 30. I enjoy myself. I treat myself to the things I love. I make goals for the upcoming year. I reflect on the year I just finished. I laugh. I walk a lot. I eat cupcakes. I see Broadway shows. And, I talk to God. This amazingly beautiful God that I relate to in ways that were never possible when I was part of the LDS church. I ask this God for more than just a husband. I ask this God for more than just children. I ask God to make my life more than what I once thought I wanted. I ask this God for more power than I had the chance of ever having in organized religion. I thank this God that I no longer have to look to an organization to tell me right and wrong. I thank this God that she has blessed me with the ability to be in charge of my own body. I thank this God that I can make my own decisions with her guidance and no one elses'. I thank this God that she does not need me to be a polygamist (here or in heaven). I thank her that she has blessed me with greater imagination and hope for an afterlife. I thank her for so much. 

And then I see another Broadway musical and dream bigger than I ever have before.