Why I had to leave my faith to find it

I suppose it happened before last summer if I’m really being honest.

I mean, the summer is when the big change happened. That’s true.

Most people would say that’s when I started to change.

It was June when I packed my bags into the backseat of my little Suzuki, my dog in the passenger seat, the windows rolled down to let in the scent of the barley fields we passed because my AC had broken just a week before. It was June when I cried fourteen hours straight as I left Idaho behind, my heart crippled and my hands clenched so hard on the wheel to prevent myself from turning around. I swear I stopped at each exit, trying to convince myself to go back and make it work. But somehow I summoned the power to pull onto the freeway and keep going toward the Washington border.

It was June when the divorce was finalized.

But it started long before that–the summer is just when others started to take notice. June is when the talk began about me. It’s when people started to murmur about how I was wandering and becoming someone else all because I wasn’t married anymore. The teenagers I had loved in my home ward told me their parents didn’t want me talking to them anymore because I was turning into a bad influence. I didn’t have anyone ask me directly what had happened, but everyone assumed what they wished and that was that. June was when I lost half my friends and it was in July and August when the rest followed. By fall the life I had been leading for the past decade became a story that seemed more dream-like than anything and I had times where I wondered if it had happened at all.

That was in June. But it started before that.

I suppose I can trace it back to 2008 when I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or to 2009 when I started BYU-Idaho. Or I can fast forward to 2012 when I stood at the doors of the temple on my wedding day, my hair perfectly curled and fastened in a rhinestone barrette, wedding dress hung and ready to go–mascara ruined by the tears. I can talk about the anger or the control or the pain–the way my bishop smiled and told me to be submissive and kind and things would get better when I confided in him. I can talk about the way my mind had become controlled to think I deserved it all.

wedding-day

I can start in so many places that my mind is racing on what to say first. I’m speeding down the timeline, adjusting the pieces, wondering where to even begin. Do I tell you about the way the Mormon religion fit me better when I was single and younger and unattached? Do I tell you about the way my marriage stripped me down and bleached my spirit and painted on a smile that didn’t even resemble my own? Or do I talk about the way I did everything right, from keeping the perfect house to saying the right things to singing in the choir and teaching the children and cooking all the right recipes all the while locking myself in the bathroom at night to soak in a tub and cry and wonder when it would all be over. I was a closet case–a smiling, happy, put- together person who was absolutely falling a part all for the sake of being as perfect as I could be.

Or do I talk about the blog that gave me the limelight in the Mormon religion? That might be the ticket. I wrote countless blogs that gained attention by people from almost every country, encouraging them to keep on keeping on, encouraging them to be brave and strong and to endure–all the while simply justifying my presence in a broken system and convincing others to do the same. To find joy in a joyless marriage, strength in a hopeless situation, kindness in a group of bigots, to nestle yourself into a system that spits you out because you’re different but to embrace them anyway.

sad

I preached on a mountain top, convinced that I belonged and that enduring to the end must mean accepting my life for the way it was, being happy anyway, and lending a hand to those who shared in my misery. I was allauded for my words, loved by those who shared my ideals and who didn’t fit with the status quo, boosted up by the ones who rejected a broken system too but stayed all the same because of a common love for God.

And all the while my soul–oh, it was so far from where God really wanted me to be.

Sure, I was surrounded. I had an entire culture at my back. I knew all the words and all the lines to every song and I cried on Sundays when I’d hear the sermons about having children and being a mother while my own body was suffering from an ailment and unable to manage that. I did everything right, and the things I couldn’t do I simply mourned over. It was my life, after all. My religion was everything.

But it wasn’t until I was so utterly broken down by a faith that turned its back on me in my time of ultimate need that I was forced to turn and face the wind and that’s when I found God. And I found that He hadn’t turned His back.

But he was trying to change me.

I’m not here to preach anti-Mormon propaganda and you’ll never hear me speak against the wonderful people who taught me, loved me, and enriched my life. I mourn over those I’ve lost. I still read my scriptures and believe them to be true. I still feel thankful for the morals that buoyed me up in a time when I needed them most of all. I don’t regret the degree I got from a beautiful university that changed my life and I don’t regret the twists and turns that led me to here all because of those choices I made and that lifestyle I had.

graduation

I’m here instead to speak about where you’re standing tonight. Is it where you really belong?

I’m here for that girl somewhere out there who was told again at church today that she should start having children because after all, she’s been married for two years. I’m here instead for that woman in an abusive marriage who covers up her bruises with two layers of cover up and a smile because she thinks she has nothing if she doesn’t have him. I’m here, speaking out, for the man who is gay and in pain because of a group of people who tells him they love him as long as he’s celibate, reminding one another under muttered breaths that he’s broken. I’m here for the pregnant teen who had “whore” scribbled on her front door in permanent ink, rejected by a society who shares in her same sin yet doesn’t have the outward scarlet letter of a swollen stomach like she does.

I’m here for the unemployed, the mentally ill, the religious and the atheists, the ones who have nothing figured out and the ones who seem to have it all figured out and still can’t find a reason to wake up smiling. I’m here for the fake smilers. The ones who cry in bathtubs. The ones who lie to avoid telling the truth about what they’re really thinking. The people who justify why they’re standing in a room full of people so unlike them all because they hope to go to Heaven on the same train. I’m here for you.

I write to those who are at the foot of a mountain that seems impossible to climb, not because I’ve reached the other side by any means, but because I’m climbing my mountain too. I want to speak out, even if it means destroying my reputation in front of a culture that raised me up–a culture I still feel bonded to. I know it will draw criticism. I know it will push some to think far less of me. I know I will read comments and messages that will break my heart. But I stand here in complete honesty, asking others to do the same no matter what that might look like.

When I decided to live according to my conscience my optimistic side told me that those who loved me would cheer me on. My prideful side said some would thank me for being an example. I couldn’t be more wrong.

I fell in love with my best friend of three years and became like a second mom to his (our) little girl. I decided to dress the way I wanted to and to not be afraid anymore to show my shoulders in public. I started speaking up when I felt wronged or had a different opinion and I wasn’t afraid anymore of being belittled because of it. I made friends with people I never would have spent time with before and I tried wine for the first time in my life. I took the time to not only listen to those with different opinions and backgrounds, but to realize I had felt similarly all along but could never say it for fear of being “out of line” with the higher authorities. I began to unwrap myself, layer after layer, uncovering this girl who lay dormant for so long, handcuffed to a way of life that inhibited my ability to feel, empathize, love, and live to the full capacity I actually had within me.

family

I found myself on my knees far more often to pray for those around me, not out of duty but out of a desire to talk to my Heavenly Father. I found myself reaching for my scriptures for answers because I had a steadfast belief in them and not out of some perceived obligation. I found myself grateful to a God who gave me the things I’d been praying for for so long, not realizing until later that he was just waiting to hand them over when I decided to trust more in Him rather than a community.

He had been there all along.

And yet, so had I.

I didn’t run from my life. I decided to change it. And it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

bunny-suit

You see, you were not created to fit in to a certain cookie cutter shape. You are not supposed to be a certain prototype, a certain color, a certain stereotype. You weren’t created to cry with heartache on your wedding day or to go against a gut feeling because a church leader tells you to feel a certain way instead. You weren’t born broken and afraid and messed up–something or someone taught that to you and somewhere along the way you decided to believe it. You decided to conform.

Don’t do it anymore.

You weren’t called out upon the waters to drown.

You were called to walk on those waters. To be brave. To listen to the still small voice that tells you what to do. To live a life you’re proud of.

I had to lay it all down to find where my faith really lies. I had to strip myself of everything I had become–I had to lose absolutely everything and wince as my lifelines and my very foundation that I had trusted for so long gave out from under me–in order to find my faith again and to rise up from the ashes that I had become.

walking-on-water

My name is Kayla. I still love a church that I can no longer be part of–but I love my Savior even more and find more joy there.

My name is Kayla. I smile for real now, even when things get harder than ever. Because I have been given much.

My name is Kayla. I love with all my heart and I’m in love with a man who is the most compassionate, thoughtful, hilarious, and kind man I’ve ever met–and he’s never been a member of any kind of church. I wasn’t told to find him or to love him or to marry him quickly. I just did.

My name is Kayla. I’m a spit fire. I can be opinionated. I fear rejection. And I have more quirks than I care to admit. I’m also the clumsiest person you’ll ever meet–hands down. But I’m Kayla. I don’t cry in locked bathrooms anymore and I don’t look toward a Heaven that blocks me–or anyone else– out. Instead, I choose to live out loud as the person I was created to be.

I choose to be a child of God.

I choose to be authentic.

I choose to be me.

And who would have known that all it took was walking away from the very things that I thought loved me more than anything–when those things really just made me hate myself while becoming a slave to it in return.

All it took was trusting in only Him, and leaving everything else behind–and a fourteen hour drive through the summer.

me-and-mia

 

 

 

 

 

 

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22 thoughts on “Why I had to leave my faith to find it

  1. I am beyond amazed with the strength that you have found and the confidence that you have. You hid it well, but I see you now and know there is a change. You have a light. I appreciate your honesty and openness. I wish more people would be so open with life.
    I will always kick myself for not being a better visiting teacher when we were in the same ward. Not that I would have made anything different, but maybe I could have eased the pain. I supposed we can’t dwell on the past though. I hope you know that I am here now and always. I am so happy that you are happy, and that you have found your place with your relationship with a loving savior.

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  2. You have a ‘gift’ in the written word that appears grounded in meaningful beliefs that have been refined through heartache and at the hands of former authorities.

    Jesus Christ is my Redeemed and God is our Heavenly Father and therein my faith is secure and the abiding source of my eternal hope.

    I have had the joy of working beside your husband. I’m retired now at 68 and, having read your post, I am praying for you, him, and this family to be one honoring Christ, come what may.

    Sincerely …waves (fromPortGardner,WA)

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  3. Dear Kayla,
    I have enjoyed watching you and reading your blogs since I met you at BYU-I and after. I have always known you are a bright star. I am grieved by your sorrow and the persecution you endured by those closest to you. It is wonderful that you have found true love in a good and healthy man. What a joy! I have always felt partial to you and hope he knows that he is so lucky to have you in his life. I am glad that you have found peace in your relationship with God and know He will continue to bless you☺. Thank you for your vulnerability and honesty. Of this I can assure you. Life can be quite a journey! I look forward to watching yours and wish you the best as always!
    Michelle Backlund

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  4. You are never alone in all the challenges of life. And you would be surprised to know the paths we all choose to take. Even though I didn’t know you well I knew your soul and the kind of pain you were feeling. Almost always we must live our Gethsemane in ways we never thought possible. If you feel despised, know that others don’t ever walk in your exact shoes and have no right to judge. Please know that the mountain is high and full of sharp edges and deadly clifts, but our Savior never leaves unless we bar the door. I walked my own curious path for many years until I realized what I truly knew. You will find what you need in due time to complete your joy. I really do wish you Godspeed.

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  5. Kayla you inspire me beyond words. You are a beautiful soul. It saddens my heart that the religions that that preach love, compassion and kindness are often the biggest hypocrites. I’m so happy to see you find a wonderful relationship with Our Loving father who made us in his likeness, who loves us flaws and all. It makes my heart soar to see you developing into happy confident woman who’s not afraid to stand her ground and move away from the womans who said whatever she thought the other person wanted to hear. I love you.

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  6. Dear Kayla,

    There was a time that I had to take a break from the church. I got divorced and I was told I should have prayed more. I should have read my scriptures more. I should have blah blah blah. Otherwise, this wouldn’t have happened to me! I must have done something wrong! I’m so horrible! I left the church. I wanted nothing to do with it. I knew it was true, but I couldn’t stand to be around the people in it. I tried finding any sort of happiness that I could whether it be through alcohol, women, etc, but I could never seem to find true happiness.

    In the dark ravine of a deep despair and depression, I somehow came across your blog. It touched me. It moved me. I almost never “feel the spirit” due to bipolar issues, but I surely felt something when I read your blog. I sent you a Facebook message and you replied with words that gave me the strength to reevaluate my life. Not go back to church persay, but to evaluate myself and where I wanted to go in life. I knew the church was true and I was better within the church than outside of it. In whatever form I was.

    I went to church the next Sunday, and immediately got put down by the ward members because I was a single dad with two kids by my side. Didn’t go back until I moved to a new area a couple months later. The new ward welcomed me with open arms. I sat down with the bishop and told him my journey about my divorce, my drinking, my mental health, and all my other imperfections, and after hearing it all he said some words that completely changed my view. “Where do you want to go and how can I help you get there?” I was awaiting the flames of retribution and the hell-fire of condemnation. It took me off guard and I honestly didn’t know what I wanted at that point. He told me that he didn’t care what I had done in the past and he was open and accepting of me no matter what my position in life was.

    I slowly started making my way back. I’d volunteer for church cleanup on Saturdays and the bishop would ask how I was doing. “A little hung over” would be my reply on occasion. He just laughed and smiled and said it was good to have me there to assist. The EQ Pres took time away from his family to simply be a friend to me, the only single adult in the ward. Never once did they say I should stop drinking or condemn me because I couldn’t make it to church every week. They just smiled and accepted the kiddos and I and helped out any way they could.

    I’m so much happier being me. Being flawed. Imperfect. Not striving for an unattainable goal. Whether I fully make it back or ever enter the temple again is yet to be seen. I fall quite frequently. I know at the Judgement Day, Heavenly Father will judge me honestly and fairly and I’ll go to the Kingdom that I am most happy being in. It’s not a punishment to go somewhere other than the top tier of the Celestial.

    Thank you Kayla for opening my eyes and lifting me up when I was in my dark abyss. My hope is that I can help lift you and others around me up to where you want to go. Wherever that may be.

    Much love,

    Frank Luthi

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    1. Frank, You have great wisdom. Even though my mountain was different, my journey is the same. I am happy to say after a very long journey, I came home. We need to remember to never never give up!

      Kayla, I love you.

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  7. Kayla, unlike a lot of your other commenters- I don’t know you personally. But I have followed your blog for years now and love you- even though we have never met.
    My heart is happy that You have found the happiness you should have had all along! I love seeing the pictures of you with your new family and the HUGE smile on your face. And yet – my heart breaks for what you have been through. It’s not how it should be. But let me offer a thought that I know you have thought yourself. It’s not the gospel that is broken. The comfort you get from God and the scriptures is true. The peace you feel now comes from the truth inside you. The CULTURE is broken. People are flawed, insecure, and often outright stupid. Being raised a member of the church, or being baptized doesn’t change that. It doesn’t even make us less likely to make mistakes. Not a bit. It just often makes us hold others to a higher standard. We believe everyone else should be perfect once they “know”. And we find it hard to excuse their stupidity or their mistakes.
    The truth is- people are dumb; and sometimes a concentration of members of the church in one area breeds a certain type of culture where people feel they have the right to judge you based on your choices. When in reality the gospel is a personal journey back to our father. PERSONAL. And it has to be built on a foundation of personal revelation. Perhaps for you right now that means turning away in order to be able to recover from years of trauma. But don’t assign the trauma at the hands of stupid people to the gospel itself. When you pray, ask if it’s true, and for now- keep that in your heart and mind. Because that’s where it matters most. Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. And your heart is beautiful.

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    1. I love and agree with this comment! I was an avid reader of your previous blog, and I learned about that blog through a friend who was related to Natalie. I’m sorry of the pain and heartache you have been through. I know that there have been people in the Church who have hurt me, but over the years of my personal trials I have come to realize and understand people are not perfect and we all make mistakes and wrong choices. Sometimes those mistakes whether they were done to us or we have done them to others are very painful and hurtful, but one thing I know people are people, but the Gosple is true and we all have a loving Father in Heaven, a Heavenly Mother, and a Savior who loves us dearly, are patient, strong, and love you for you. They will always be their for each of us regardless of who we are. I love the Gosple with my whole heart and personally find much happiness and peace in my life. I’m happy that you are finding what you need, but always remember and know that you are His Daugbter and he knows us better than ourselved.

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  8. I bet your Father would be proud of you Hahahaha

    You not being able to have children is a blessing to the world. Thank you Darwin

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  9. Thank you for your honesty. Your Father in Heaven loves you and wants happiness for you. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the way to happiness. The teachings are true, even when the people aren’t true to those teachings. We are all human, we all make mistakes, and we all have to forgive one another. As one who veered off the path for several years and returned, I promise you that there will be those who would welcome you back with open arms when you are ready. But you need to be true to yourself and your motivation to live the gospel has to be to find your own happiness, not something force-fed or cookie cutter. Your Father in Heaven loves you very much Kayla, and it is my prayer that you will always feel His love and His hand guiding you.

    Thank you for the blog posts that have inspired me to be better and helped me to deal with my own struggles. Maybe now, looking back, you feel like it was all just a bunch of fluff, but to me, it wasn’t. You did actually help people, and please don’t ever forget that you blessed lives by sharing your views on the gospel. You helped me. And I hope in some way these words return the favor. May God bless you Kayla.

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  10. I found this to be so uplifting. I’m currently in a place where I’m not active in the church but the values still hold a value in my life. I would never and will never say anything bad about the gospel, but I don’t know if being in the church really holds the key to my happiness. I’m so glad you are able to still have such a strong faith and are able to find true happiness outside the church as well. I’m not sure what the future is for me but knowing that someone else went through and feels very similar to the way I do gives me comfort.

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  11. Kayla, I’m so sorry your Bishop failed you. I sat in a 5th Sunday meeting which was a joint meeting with Relief Society sisters and Preisthood. The speaker was a counselor that worked for the church. He stood on the stand and talked directly to the women and told them that if their marriage ends in divorce it is because you as a wife are not performing your wifely duties. He insinuated that if your husband committed adultry then again it was the wife’s fault. I got up and walked out of that meeting in tears because my divorce was too fresh and I couldn’t listen to any more. I have had my ups and downs, done things that are frowned upon by the church and finally found my way back to the gospel. But there is no way I will be submissive or keep my opinions to myself. I refuse to let small minded people chase me away from the gospel I love. You either accept me for who I am or don’t. I no longer care what people think of me. I will not sit at home in tears because I don’t do things like the Molly Mormans and Peter Priesthoods think I should. I commend you for taking control of your life and doing what makes you happy.

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  12. I don’t have anything to add that hasn’t been said better by others here, but I wanted you to know you’re not alone, either in your faith crisis or in being totally and utterly frustrated by the Church culture. I’m glad to hear you still read your scriptures and believe, even though you don’t feel welcome, which makes me very sad. President Uchtdorf told us not to judge others just because they sin differently than you. I have my own “favorite sins” after all. And it is so difficult when the outward challenges you’re being judged for are not your fault at all, but the fault of another. I’m so sorry.

    To quote another, less reverent (but still true) source, remember, I’m pulling for you; we’re all in this together.

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  13. Kayla, I have given your post a lot of thought. And it has actually clarified a lot of things for me that I have been battling. I hope you will believe me when I say that I am sincere in my questions and comments. You said in your blog that you hoped people could be honest. I know it’s hard to “sum up” everything that has happened in a short blog so it leaves a lot of room for assumptions, judgments, questions etc. Let me start by giving you a short overview of my life. I joined the church as an unwed pregnant 18 year old. I raised my daughter alone until I married at 27. My husband adopted my daughter. We later had two more daughters. My oldest, 42 is unmarried and has not been active since high school. My middle daughter, 33, is active and single. My youngest, 26, is active and married with one child. Both my middle and youngest daughters graduated from BYUIdaho. I have an MBA and have worked in the field of social services for about 35 years. I have always worked outside the home, my family has more gay friends – both members and non members – than probably any Mormon family, and I have more friends outside the church than in the church. I have raised my daughters to be strong independent thinkers and most of all to be kind to everyone. None of them have ever disappointed me.

    During all these years my family went through many trials including financial stress, infertility, and the loss of our parents amongst other things. Two and a half years ago my husband was diagnosed with brain lymphoma and ended up having to have radiation which left him with severe dementia. He is only 62. I felt abandoned by my home ward and stopped going to church. I went every once in awhile. I wasn’t sure what I believed but I was so hurt by others that I could not reconcile all of it. However when I didn’t go I also felt a huge loss and I missed what I once had. I knew it was a pride thing but I had trouble getting past it.

    Just this week I had a talk with my new bishop – I had been waiting for my current bishop to be released since I had decided there was no way I was talking to him. The question was “where do I go from here?” He listened, made no judgments and gave me some suggestions and challenges.

    I had read some of your blog when you had your previous Lemonny blog and I was saddened when I read your marriage was ending but happy that you were out of what seemed to be a very unhappy and toxic relationship. I hadn’t read anything of yours recently until I came across your new blog. After I read it I had a mix of emotions for someone I had never met. I was sad that you felt you had to leave the church to find faith again but happy that you have found love and feel happy and whole. Who wouldn’t be happy for someone for that? Herein lies some of my questions. If you feel inclined to answer that would be great. If not I understand. Again I hope that you don’t take offense at some of my thoughts and questions as that is not the intention. I’m known for being direct and I don’t like generalized statements which is why your blog troubled me some.

    You said “It’s when people started to murmur about how I was wandering and becoming someone else all because I wasn’t married.” Is that what people actually said? They said “she’s becoming someone else because she isn’t married.?” Well of course you are but I’m assuming you meant they said it in a negative way. If people actually said those words that is awful! As hurt as I have been over my situation I’ve never heard anyone in the church say that someone was becoming someone different because they were no longer married. Between myself and my two daughters we know a lot of people in the church who have gone through a divorce. It’s not as uncommon as it used to be. You said “the teenagers I had loved in my home ward told me their parents didn’t want them talking to me anymore because I was turning into a bad influence?” Was that one teenager? Three teenagers? Ten teenagers? Were you doing anything that could have been interpreted as a bad influence? It doesn’t matter cause the advice is stupid; I’m just trying to wrap my head around why all these parents would say that. The reason I asked how many is because I have learned through my experience that when one bad thing happens we make it about everyone. I told the bishop the other night “no one has reached out to us. No one has served us.” As we talked he said , what about so and so? I answered, yeah they took us out to dinner once and my husband to the movies once. Then what about so and so? Yeah he took my husband to two appointments but that was over a year ago. The point is that I felt like NO ONE had done anything when they had. It wasn’t enough and I still felt forgotten but it wasn’t that no one had never done anything. So what does it mean when you say “the teenagers….?” You said no one asked you what happened. So everyone just assumed if you were divorced you must have done something wrong? If so that’s really sad and judgmental. You said you lost half your friends and then lost the other half? Why? Did they know what happened ? Did they consciously choose not to be friends with you because you were divorced or not going to church? I’m not doubting this happened to you. It just seems like there’s missing information. Again my daughters both have friends who are divorced in the church and the divorced people have many friends in the church. After 42 years in the church I have never known of a divorced person that lost all their friends. There’s always that one or two that are judgmental snobs but all your friends?? Again that’s very sad Shame on them.

    Then to your wedding day when your mascara was ruined by the tears? I’m assuming you mean tears of pain. If I remember right you were a convert and your parents are not members (I do remember your sweet blog about your father passing away). So why did you feel the pressure at I’m assuming around 22 years old to get married to someone you weren’t happy about marrying? There is definitely a pressure on members to get married (remember I have an unmarried 33 year old daughter) but I’m not understanding how or why you felt such pressure? I’m assuming it wasn’t your parents. Was it because you were at BYUI and everyone there gets married and engaged? Help me to understand why you would agree to something that you were miserable about going into it?

    The part about the bishop telling you to be submissive and kind and things would get better…..I won’t even touch that one. That is mind blowing to think that a man called of God would counsel a young wife to be submissive who was in an abusive marriage. Bishops are like cracker jacks. Sometimes you get an ok prize, sometimes you get a useless stupid prize and sometimes you get a great prize! Sounds like yours wasn’t so great.

    The part about trying to be the perfect wife when you were broken on the inside is a very real problem. It’s the culture of the church that so many feel the need to fit into and want to fit into. But it’s also just an expectation of women in general. Mormon women don’t have a corner on trying to be perfect. I’ve struggled with that for years. But I’m the unwed mother, working mother, mother of a child who left the church, educated, opinionated, and fairly liberal member that never fit that mold. And I’m so happy I didn’t cause I’m who I am because of my life experiences and choices.
    And I am still a child of God. I still choose to be authentic. I still choose to be me.

    The infertility and not being a mother thing I understand. It’s torturous to be in the church and not be a mother. My best friend’s daughter (LDS) is pregnant after being married for 9 years! Living in Utah! But it’s not just the church that puts that emphasis on motherhood. I noticed when you described yourself in your blog you referred to your new stepdaughter and how she has taken over other priorities in your life. It’s what women do.

    You said that you weren’t there to preach anti Mormon propaganda and you’ll never speak against the people who loved you and taught you. And even though you’re not trying to argue the doctrine you are speaking against the church. You refer to the bigots, the system that spits you out because you’re different, a Heaven that blocks people out, and all the people you’re here for, alluding of course to the point that “they” aren’t welcomed by the church.

    You admit that you preached on a mountain top with your blog but that your soul was so far from where God wanted you to be. I’m confused here. When you were writing the blogs were you not being your “authentic self?” Were you just writing what you thought people wanted to hear even though it wasn’t true and you knew it? So why would you continue to do that? Why would you perpetuate the culture that you’re mocking now? Did you feel some pressure to continue the blog even though you have admitted it wasn’t authentic? Did you think if you said it, it might be true? Or you just weren’t ready to be honest with your readers and the world? I do have a hard time understanding you doing that especially If you didn’t live, feel, believe, the things you were writing about. Because your blog alludes to this being a series of events or how you refer in the blog to “it all started when….”

    You said you thought your blog may draw criticism and you may receive some hurtful comments. What I read so far everyone was far from hurtful except one really stupid comment This may be the first one you consider hurtful. I’m sad but understand your decision to leave the church. When you say that you’re here for the woman without children, the woman in an abusive marriage, the gay, the pregnant teen, the unemployed, the mentally ill, the religious and the atheists are you saying that you weren’t there for these people when you were Mormon? Or are you saying that you’re here for all these people cause the Mormon church isn’t? Explain to me what that means when you say you’re here for them. Does that mean you will meet with them if they reach out to you? Will you spend time with them? Advocate for them? Or will you just show your support in a future blog? That’s admirable that you are there for them. You’re a very skilled writer Kayla and that all sounds very poetic and profound but what does it mean? And is your point that your are there for them because the church or the members won’t be?

    I’m glad that you feel you can be your authentic self and if that includes showing your shoulders in public and having some wine, that’s awesome. But I can speak for myself and my daughters (who haven’t had a faith crisis or been inactive) that we speak up when we feel wronged or have a different opinion (that happens daily for me) and we make friends with people of all walks of life. I’m sorry that by living the gospel you felt dormant, handcuffed to a way of life that didn’t allow you to feel, empathize, love and love life to the full capacity. Although you claim you aren’t speaking out against the church you are telling people that they shouldn’t continue to live a cookie cutter life, be a certain prototype, feel that they were born broken and afraid and messed up – you are reaching out to people to not conform. In fact your actual words are, “don’t do it anymore.” You are assuming every young woman or man that is living the Mormon life is doing so because they don’t know how not to and you, Kayla, are you going to show them how. You are basically doing what you accuse the members of the church of doing- labeling, stereotyping and cookie cuttering. (Not a word I know). There is no doubt there is a standard women in the church try to live up to. But that is set by other women, not by the doctrine of the church. Elder Uchdorf said “The Church is not an automobile showroom—a place to put ourselves on display so that others can admire our spirituality, capacity, or prosperity. It is more like a service center, where vehicles in need of repair come for maintenance and rehabilitation. “And are we not, all of us, in need of repair, maintenance, and rehabilitation? We come to church not to hide our problems but to heal them.” I think you would be surprised to find out how different people are in the church.

    And even though I struggled with the members of my ward and the gospel, even when I wasn’t going to church and even if I had decided never to go to church again I would never try to influence anyone else not to do so. Your blog was powerful until the end, when you commit to save the world and help all the conformed Mormons find a different life. I think it’s a little sad that how you once had a following on your blog based on your religion and the teachings, you’re now going to speak out against the church or your experiences to get your readers. Why not just be your authentic self without speaking out against the religion that was once everything to you, the people you mourn over losing, the culture you still feel bonded to, a church you still love, and the morals that buoyed you up?

    I’m sorry that you did not have a good experience in the church. I do believe that people can be happy outside the church, it’s silly to think they can’t. I don’t believe that everyone that’s not in the church is unhappy and miserable. Again, silly. I also believe the church – or the people – can cause pain and suffering for others which is very sad. I know, I’ve experienced it. It’s just if this is your journey Kayla make it YOUR journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Kayla,
    I am not religious. I am the very antithesis of that statement. I am an atheist. I did not turn from “god” due to any one thing, but rather by the sheer fact that I found myself questioning the ‘book’, the followers, and just things that did not fit science in general.
    That is about me. I am not here to change your mind, or to sway you from whatever faith you have found. I have faith, in myself. You have faith in yourself, your relationship, and your god. That is you.
    Why I write is because I have been there. I have been the woman that worked so hard to be perfect, to be the person that ‘he’ wanted me to be. In fear that I’d get a swift slap, or another disapproving word. I did not deserve that.
    Being an atheist changes little in the way of ‘If you don’t start having kids soon, you never will.” or “Wow, why don’t you have any children.” Well, I generally say something along the lines of “Well Tina, I have to find a person to procreate with, I can’t just spread my legs for any Tom, Dick, or Harry, and expect to have a healthy happy baby can I?”
    Which in and of itself is a jab, because most of the people in this small nowhere town have at least 2 baby-daddy’s.
    This is your story, and you spin it, you tell it, you create that web of information and you share it with the world. Because, thought I do not know you, I am so very proud of you. I am proud you got away from the self-hate, and found a place where you belong.

    Like

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