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.


ashley kelemen photography said...

I'm so proud to know you. you're a spectacular & brave human being, and I can't wait to see what's coming your way.

toni raper said...

what a great read Darcy! Your courage to follow your own path is extraordinary!

Zena said...

Beautiful, fantastic blog.

The mortensens said...

Thank you Darcy. As a woman that left the church as a teenager, yes over half my life ago, I can relate to the icky, tricky situation that it can be. It continues to follow me at times (the missionaries did in fact show up on my new Ohio front door "randomly" this week). It shows up more now that I have children whose salvation is believed to be at risk. I believe in a God that is kind, loving, inclusive and fair. I try to be good, live my life as guilt free as possible, and drink lots and lots of coffee to make up for those lost years. I applaud you for your authenticity and your boldness.

Tiffany said...

I loved reading this. Since I am coming up on my 1 year anniversary out of the church I have been reflecting about this stuff a lot too. Hearing how great things have been for you since you left 5 years ago is just what I needed to hear. Trying to find my authentic self under all the years of Mormon conditioning has been a challenge. Allowing my authentic self to shine in spite of disapproving friends and family has been even harder. I hope in another year's time I will be braver and feel less Mormon guilt :) But I am glad to see it has turned out really well for you.

Lori said...

Bravo!!! So proud of you my dear friend. I love this post so much. It speaks of courage and daring to be real...all things that I love to hear about you. Being authentic isn't easy at first but after awhile it sure can be fun can't it? :) XXOO

Heather Perera said...

love you so much. well said, coming from a fellow gal who also chose my own path. loved what you said about moving, not drifting to the world. My favorite quote to this day is "not all those who wander are lost".

Sarah said...

A mutual friend linked to this blog post. Thank you for your succinctly crafted summary of the last 5 years.

D'Arcy Benincosa said...

Thank you to each woman who commented here. I'm sorry I'm so late getting back to you, but I've been thinking about each of your stories and your kindness this past week. It means so much that as I have opened up my life to more possibility that even more amazing people have stepped up to take part in life with me.

For that I am endlessly grateful.

Sending you all love.