For the past 5 months I have experienced a lot of life changing experiences.
I was raised LDS and have always been LDS. Growing up all my closest friends were LDS and almost everybody I knew was LDS. I guess that is the story of most Utah Mormons. When I met my husband we had such a strong connection that it scared me. You see he wasn't LDS and I had been taught to only date LDS boys so that I could be married in the temple and have an eternal family. Despite what I had been taught I fell in love and wanted to be married to him. I was extremely scared to tell my parents that I was going to marry this boy who could not take me to the temple. I am sure that people talked and judged me for what I was doing but I couldn't shake the fact that I loved him and I knew I was suppose to marry him.
The first year was hard. We fought about religion a lot. I realized that I didn't want him to believe because of me I wanted him to believe because of him. For most of our marriage I went to church by myself hoping that one day (in this life or the next) he would know "the truth".
When Aleecia turned 8 it is customary for kids to be baptized. In my heart I believed that Aleecia wasn't ready and I never pushed her to choose. Again I wanted her to believe for herself and not because of what I wanted.
A few months ago David came to me with some serious questions about the church. He had been cruising the churches website. They were questions I couldn't answer or my answer was "Maybe not in this lifetime but the next". He asked me to have an open mind and look at other churches. That was hard for me at first because all my life I had been taught that all other churches were not true. I finally came to realize that if the church true then looking at other faiths would either grow my testimony or I would find "the truth".
The first thing I had to do was talk to the bishop and ask him to release me from my current calling. I loved my calling as a Relief Society teacher and it was hard for me to do. I was afraid that he would try and convince me not to look and I was afraid that my friends would think I was "a confused soul". Mentally I was concerned with what others would think and was scared.
I knew I believed in Jesus and wanted to stick with Christianity in our search. I asked our nephews girlfriend who had left the church a year before what church she went to. It was a Non-Denominal Christian church and I felt like that was a good place to start. Our first time going I was afraid for two reasons number one I was worried about my kids and number two I was afraid that I wouldn't feel "the spirit". When we first walked into the church we got our kids checked into their classes and I felt they were going to be safe. Then we went into the worship hall. It was different then what either of us had experienced with church. They had a band playing and big screens with the words of the songs. We stood there and listened to the music and read the words on the screen. I loved the words and I felt the spirit there. The sermon was about the bible and the reliability of it (some questions that had come up previously). After church we asked Aleecia if she liked the church and she loved it.
It has been several months since I started writing this blog entry and a lot has developed since. I will just take off from where I left off. We continued to attend the above mentioned church. I decided I needed more information on the differences between the LDS beliefs and Christian beliefs. David and I were fortunate enough to attend a special class that taught those differences. It was taught by people who were formally LDS so I felt comfortable there cause they too had the same feelings and thoughts as I did. We had been going for a while when the subject of Grace came up. I had never been taught much about grace in the LDS faith. The major difference between the two was in the LDS faith they believe that through works we are worthy of Jesus' Grace. In Christianity we receive grace as a gift if we believe in him. After class I told David that deep down that is what I had always believed to be true in my heart. Nobody knows us better then God and God is the ultimate Judge. He then asked me why I was Mormon. The truth is I didn't know there was anything out there that taught that without all the other "Religious" stuff attached.
After some heartfelt prayers I decided to send in my letter of recognition to the church. I was surprised at how quickly I got notification that my name had been removed from the churches records. My bishop stopped by to let me know that my letter had been sent. I know he felt sad that I had left and probably thought Satan had got a hold of me but, the truth is God got a hold of me and I couldn't be happier.
I feel so much closer to God then I have in my entire life! Leaving the church is the hardest thing I have ever done but, the reward has made it so worth it. I am still the same person I have always been but now I feel like I have been changed from the inside out. I am still learning and I am so excited about where I am going.