I am a wife, mother of 5 children and grandmother to 12 – soon to be 13. I adore my family and love spending time with them whenever I can.
My life in the Mormon Church began when two missionaries knocked on my door in Dorset, England. I felt their sincerity and desperately wanted to have that strong testimony and peace that their gospel seemed to deliver. After praying for this testimony and receiving no answer, I doubled my efforts and read and prayed some more. Despite being taught that an adulterous generation sought after signs I felt that I sorely needed just one sign to help me make the decision to join the Church. I wanted to believe what the young missionaries taught me, and wasn’t a ‘burning in the bosom’ a sign? One night as I knelt in prayer – still having received no answer, I asked God to cause some physical discomfort that would be strong enough to let me know that this was a definite answer and sure enough, a pain began in my leg and I arose from my knees in grateful assurance that joining this church was God’s plan for me (the leg pain was completely understandable considering that I had been kneeling for a very long time). I now look at this as simple confirmation bias; I wanted to believe that I had received communication from God. I was baptized on September 3rd 1967 and from that time forward I began; line upon line; precept upon precept in my journey to becoming what I hoped was a model Mormon.
Over the course of 39 years of faithful membership, I served as a Sunday school teacher to adults and youth, early morning seminary teacher, young women’s leader, relief society teacher and counselor in the presidency. Along with my husband I worked at the Bishops’ storehouse, and at the temple as an ordinance worker and cleaning supervisor. I felt that I had reached the pinnacle of forgiveness for every sin I remembered and had repented of, when my husband was called as bishop of the newly organized Sherwood Park second ward. In 2002 after my husband’s retirement, we applied to serve a senior couples mission, and were called to serve in the South Africa Cape Town Mission, arriving on April 6th. The very next day we were involved in an accident as passengers in the mission owned vehicle and were badly injured. We stayed and worked as missionaries instead of going through proper recovery and I still have physical problems because of this.
After arriving home from the mission in October 2003, I continued to be concerned about my friends in South Africa, some of whom were living under the harshest conditions. In 2005, once again accompanied by my hard working husband, I returned to the township in which we had previously served, equipped with some money and fabric donated mostly by good LDS friends. There we started a micro credit company to help people set up small businesses, enabling them to support their families. We worked in this new capacity for 6 months, returning home in March 2006.
That was a painful year in my life. Our second eldest son left the Church and I was left trying to sort out the cognitive dissonance taking place in my mind regarding the Church’s lack of help towards us when we were involved in the mission accident. I also wondered why there was a lack of financial resources being offered to hungry and ill African members of the Church, while members in wealthier countries seemed to have financial aid readily available along with access to bishops’ storehouses. When I came across the hateful expressions found in the Journal of Discourses towards those beloved African people (words that I had never before heard or read) I was devastated, having bought into the ‘doctrine’ that it had been God’s commandment that black men not be allowed to hold the priesthood until June 1978.
I prayed, begged, sobbed, had a blessing, attended the temple, read my scriptures and found myself right back in the position I had been in when the missionaries first taught me that the Mormon Church was the only true church on the face of the earth. I needed confirmation; I didn’t just want it to be true, I needed it to be so. How could I admit that I had been wrong all those years? How would I tell my husband and children that my doubts and questions remained unanswered? Merely considering leaving the church caused recurring suicidal feelings; I could not face the consequences of my growing disbelief. When I was ready to face my fears and stand up for truth, I made the break from the Church and within months resigned my membership.
I am happy with who I have become today. I love people, science, nature and the beautiful new world that has opened up to me. I still love my family and new friends so much. Actually, I still love the old friends deeply, but we have very little in common since I left the church.
My love for Africa has dominated my life since 2002 and now I am a member of the Stephen Lewis Foundation Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign; raising awareness and funds to help grandmothers like me who are collectively caring for 14 million AIDS orphaned grandchildren. I feel like I am giving back to the world all the love and beauty that it has given me.
My name is Jean Bodie and I’m an Ex Mormon.
To learn more about the “Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign” click here.
Jean has also been involved in raising awareness about temple weddings and the problems caused when family members are distanced from their loved ones during this important time in their lives:
Some links that Jean recommends about her journey out of the LDS faith:
Jean has also been involved in reviewing and helping edit Jim Whitefields books “The Mormon Delusion” Volumes 1-3. She is working on proof reading his 4th book currently, which will be released next year. You can visit Jim Whitefields website below: