Yesterday I got my final letter from LDS Faith headquarters. I am officially no longer Mormon! It's been a long journey to get here. I have lost many friends, but gained many more. I used people as my crutches and turned around and helped them as they did for me. I have leaned against others who are going through the same process and I am currently helping others who are further behind than I am.
The small, but growing group of ex-Mormons is more of a family than anything else. It is not easy to take this step. We lean on and learn from each other. We pull and push. We give each other support in a world that gives none back. Most of us have hardships with family. Most of us lose friends. And some of us even lose family. People who once loved us turn on us because of faith. That is why we create a family of our own, but enough of that. I've written about that road, and there may be more to come with that subject.
I write about why I think this is the second to last step. I call it that because even though I am now no longer a member on the records there are still things tugging at me. There are still times I catch myself thinking about things as if I was still Mormon. The final step will be to rid myself of that thinking. It's hard when that has been beaten into your head for 25 years before you finally yell, "BULLSHIT!"
When I got my letter I couldn't believe it. I opened my mailbox and saw the letter from church headquarters and thought, "there is no way this is what I have been waiting for," and yet it was! I fought my local bishop for just over 2 months. He never answered my phone calls. He called me back once, but I was unable to answer at the time. I think he just got sick of my weekly voicemails.
When I opened and read the letter a flood of emotions went through me; unbelief, freedom, happiness, more unbelief. I was now part of a group; a group that showed more support for me being who I am than my family did at many times of my life. Not that I wasn't already part of this group, but this letter made it real, tangible. I could feel it in my hands. I could see it with my eyes. It gave me something I have been hoping for for some time.
With this letter I look forward to continuing my journey and taking that last step. Who knows it may take another 20 years, but I have a growing family that supports me in my journey. A family that I learn from. A family that learns from me. And most importantly a family that supports me being ME.