You may have noticed I’ve been distant and hard to contact in recent weeks. It’s been a life altering time for me. To my Mormon friends and readers, I apologize for the brazen comments below. I’ve undergone many life choices and changes in the past few months, and some of them have included leaving the Mormon church. I love my Mormon friends and associates, but know I’ve made the conscious choice to separate myself from the organization. I do not seek to give this post an anti-Mormon signature, but these are the events that occurred and my honest thoughts behind them. It is my sincere hope that the comments below save or give hope to at least one individual who is feeling discouraged. You are loved. Follow your heart, and the universe will help.
This is from the heart, and I wanted you to hear.
I’ve never been happier, since the time I decided to start following my heart.
One recent choice was in leaving the Mormon church.
Leaving was certainly one of the most difficult ventures I’ve ever taken part in.
In its simplicity, I chose a different path from that of my parents, grandparents, family members, and many friends. It was the very societal structure I once considered my “home” and “happy place.”
I was scared to leave.
My Inner Pain
For years the pain of being “different” from the rest ate at my soul.
I discovered I was bisexual at the young age of 11.
I simply knew I was attracted to both men and women. At the time I thought, “How could this be? Was I loved? Was this a punishment or trial I had to encounter throughout life in order to come closer to God?” For years and years, being the eldest of six children, churchgoing, and a young man with a strong will – I pushed those feelings away. I thought it was the right thing to do at the time.
I boxed up my human sexuality, an important part of life, and threw it away in hopes that God would heal me.
It went as far as causing me to go on a mission for the Mormon church.
I wanted to.
It was prayer from the beginning, and I remember vividly asking, “God, if you are there, if I serve a valiant mission, will you take this bitter side of my sexuality away? I know it is wrong to be attracted to men, but for me it feels right too. It doesn’t feel wrong. Why is that? Will you fix it? Will you fix me? Will you change me? Christian?”
Now let me make it perfectly clear that aside from my inner struggles with the Mormon church, its doctrine (e.g. from my beliefs of God, the unknown, Prophets, organized religion, and more), and my own beliefs; I gained much from my mission. It was an honor to serve people. I grew from the experience and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s helped make me the person I am today.
“Why can’t I hold all these limes?”
A year into my mission I became terribly ill.
After a long battle (and almost two years of misdiagnosis) it was finally found I had Lyme disease.
Battling Lyme disease became my mountain to climb, as well as the other mountains I would soon climb.
The pain of Lyme disease caused me much discomfort.
With Lyme disease it’s not enough to just “live.”
There must be something to live for.
Add to the Lyme battle that I was still fighting back my disbelief of the Mormon church, containing my sexuality, the church retracting my health care coverage and trying to be positive at all times - it all became too much.
The End of Life
For months and months and months I thought about death being an easy escape.
It occurred in my mind over, and over again.
It all came to a certain, vivid point in my life when I decided I would end my life.
Heavy doses of drugs and my shotgun, and all would soon be peaceful.
Throughout that day I was nervous, and feeling rather ill, so I decided to rest.
I turned on some music and laid in bed.
The song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow (by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole), came on.
I sobbed, and sobbed, and sobbed.
I couldn’t go through with what I was planning.
I realized I was strong.
Stronger than death.
Stronger than pain.
Stronger than hurt.
The words spoke to me…
Someday I’ll wish upon a star
Wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where trouble melts like lemon drops
High above the chimney tops that’s where you’ll find me
Music saved my life.
All at once I realized many things.
I was talented.
I was special.
I was different.
I was loved.
I had problems.
I was, who I am, who I is…Christian.
That’s when I decided I needed to tell my parents about my beliefs, and finally make what I believed inside, what was true for me on the outside too.
Within a short period of time they came to know about my bisexuality, as well as my removal from church activity.
What occurred over the next month between some family members and friends became bitter, sad, and hurtful. Separation occurred.
However, from this point on I will strive to be a positive person, and will do my best to forget this period of my life.
When I find myself in times of trouble…let it be.
The rest, is history.
A Time of Happiness
Again, I state, I’ve never been happier since making these changes in my life.
I’ve even gained 6 pounds in the last two weeks. Nothing says happiness like a full tummy and round cheeks!
For the first time ever, I don’t know what comes around the next corner. I don’t know what’s coming after the bend. There’s no organization telling me what my next move should be.
Is it marriage? Is it this? Is it that? I don’t know. But why should we?
Life wouldn’t be a journey if we knew what was coming, and replaced our own free will and choice with someone or some-thing to make those decisions for us.
For the first time in my life I help other people because I want to.
I help others because Christian wants to help others.
Not Jesus, not my Dad, not Oprah, not my friend, not Ghandi, not God. But me.
For this reason, I feel the direction of my life is changing.
I want to travel the globe and see the different people on it. I want to experience cultures. I hope to one day find myself in a position of influence in order to help bring clothes, food, shelter, medicine, and more…to those who are less privileged. I hope to make changes for good. I hope to serve. And why? Because I want to.
For the first time in a long time, I feel more comfortable about my body. I’m finding the freedom from religious bondage quite lovely. I drink coffee, and I love it. I socially drink, and it’s enjoyable. I have long, deep conversations about life with my friends; some of whom are Atheist, Baptist, Born Again Christian, and Buddhist. All people whom it would have been more difficult to meet and associate with in my previous life.
I’m grateful I’m not missing out on their company.
What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger
For the first time ever, I feel good enough.
I know I am not perfect, yet I also know now that I am perfect the way I am.
I have scars, mishaps, marks, and differences from others; but that’s what makes me, me.
I’m finally very happy, and I’m not going anywhere.
My thoughts are brought back to the words of the song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and I think of that simple word.
Somewhere is where we find our place in this world.
Not there, not here, nor anywhere; but somewhere. Is it a certain religion? Is it a certain school? Is it a certain job?
Nope, it’s somewhere.
The past few months have been a lesson in life, and finding that somewhere for me.
I’m growing to love others for who they are, and ultimately, coming to love myself.
These words are difficult to share.
They’re a glimpse into my life, heart, and soul.
However, if I preach transparency, them I’m sure as hell going to be transparent.
Whether you agree with me or not, this is who I am, and I present myself to you…
“Hello, I’m Agnostic. I’m Christian.”