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Eric

Guest Post: “My name is Eric and I’m an Ex Mormon.”

I was born and raised in the church, coming from a long line of Saints on my father’s side, while my mother was a convert. My experience growing up was similar to many Mormon males. I went to church every Sunday and faithfully attended my meetings. I passed, prepared and blessed the sacrament in accordance with my priesthood responsibilities, and graduated after four years of seminary. My high school friends used to call me “Eric the Mormon”, as I always tried to set a good example to others.

The first struggle of faith I experienced was soon after I returned home from my full-time mission. I had dealt with chronic infections the throughout the two years (bacterial, viral, fungal), but what most bothered me was the digestive trouble. I acquired horrendous heartburn about half way through, which continued to worsen. I had taken every proton pump inhibitor and OTC bandage to keep my insides from dissolving apart, but nothing was working. To make a long story short, I discovered a diet system that vaguely contradicted the Word of Wisdom. I was required, per the advice of the book’s author, a Naturopathic physician, to eat according to my genetic/ancestral “type”. For me this meant high protein, low grain, zero wheat, and inclusion of beverages like green tea. What happened was that following this dietary advice completely eradicated every health problem I’d had since childhood. Problems for which I’d had countless priesthood blessings and made endless personal supplications to God. And for the first time in my life, man and science healed me when God could not.

But due to my obedient nature, I didn’t want to start questioning the faith. From that time until I left the church (a span of 5 years) I had attended every week, paid a full tithe, gone to the temple, and held multiple callings. I was a home teacher, a sunday school teacher, a genealogy record extractor, an activities coordinator, and often participated in passing/blessing the sacrament. I held a temple recommend during those years, and read my scriptures every single day. Personal prayers were uttered twice daily, and I felt like I was well on my way to Celestial glory.

The second challenge to my faith happened during my last semester at BYU-Idaho. I had done well at the school for about a year 1/2 until I moved into a freshman ward, where I seemed to experience multiple encounters with adolescent-minded tattletales. One in particular was a manic-depressive roommate. He turned me into the Honor Code enforcement office, where I was mandated to report once a week so they could check on my behavior. What was this all about? A bag of USDA Organic ground coffee. I liked the smell, so I kept a bag of beans in one of the kitchen drawers. Never drank it, just wafted the aroma. Well apparently this was enough to get under the radar, where I stayed until I eventually broke. I refused to comply with their demands, which included writing a three page essay explaining my love for the honor code, which was the only way I would be able to redeem my academic standing, so I dropped out.

Though angered by Brigham, I was still OK with Joseph. The church itself hadn’t offended me; just those who professed under its name in Idaho. So I took about six months off and regained my sanity with the family back in Arkansas. Since my time in Rexburg had granted me Idaho residency, I decided to finish school at Boise State University, where I was luckily able to transfer without any problems.

At BSU I became even more enraged at BYU, because for the first time in my life I attended a college where they treat you like a college student. The contrast was stunning. But just as stunning was when I realized that the student wards were the same as in Rexburg. Though I felt liberated and in control of my own life, every weekend reminded me that the church really is the same no matter where you go, whether for good or bad. I was hoping for an open-minded experience not just educationally but spiritually. BSU did a fantastic job of cleansing my academic palate, but the bitter cup was re-filled every time I went to church. More hypocrisy, more self-righteousness. It had bitten at me my whole life, but I finally had to confess that I simply did not fit in with Mormon culture.

This confirmation was sealed and dried after the Summer of 2010, when I spent a few weeks in New York, followed by a trip to Europe. I ended up in Ireland when all my student loans became exhausted. So, in need of money, I set up a sort of health practice and depended on nutrition consulting to earn my Euros, while metaphorically living off the land. Though I had little cash and few friends, it was the most incredible experience of my life. I was supported by others who were simply looking after me from the goodness of their hearts, not motivated by any god or religion. I befriended dozens of individuals who operated wholesome and “Christ-like” lives not founded by any denomination. By the time I got home, my faith in the LDS world had stricken out, and I needed some answers.

Almost as if directed by God, I picked up a copy of the school paper and turned straight to an article about Ex-Mormon Bishop Dan Fitzgerald. His words were penetrating, and I had to know how he went from Bishop to “apostate”. So I found him on Facebook and commenced a correspondence. Dan was happy to answer my questions, and directed me to postmormon.org. There I created the pseudonym “In the Closet” and began asking questions about denying the faith, and how one can leave behind the Book of Mormon while ignore prophetic counsel. Within minutes I was sent links to articles and videos, addressing these concerns. One after another, I watched video clips of lectures about the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham, the wives of Joseph Smith, the different versions of the First Vision. I’d never heard of any of this stuff in my life – the Kinderhook Plates, Mark Hoffman, the Masonic influence of the endowment session – and I was blown away. For the next two weeks all I did was read. Mormonthink.com was especially helpful, as it not only discusses each point of historical fallacy, but does so with the inclusion of apologetic statements from the church. After all, the site is owned and maintained by current members of the church, and therefore lacks a tone of “Anti-Mormon”, which I deliberately wanted to avoid. I needed facts, not emotions.

To shorten yet another long story, I learned what most Ex-Mormons learned during their own departures from the church. I.e., truth. The untold history of the church, and portions that rock its credibility. I could understand where some of the points wouldn’t be significant enough to demolish one’s faith, but there was no doubt whatsoever after learning what happened with the Book of Abraham in 1967. This was the “smoking gun”, and left absolutely no room for excuses. I sent a letter of resignation to my local bishop and requested removal of my name from the records.

Though subconsciously afraid of being taken over by evil, I felt the same “spirit” after leaving the church as I always had as a member. Satan never came knocking at my door, demons never tried to possess me, and I didn’t start smoking heroin. My prayers ceased, while the ratio of good to bad events happening in my life remained exactly the same. I was simply appalled by all of the stories I’d heard growing up about what happens to those who leave the church. Life went on just as it had before, but tremendously better. For the first time ever I felt 100% free, and could love people for who they were and not for their potential to become Mormon. I didn’t have to judge those whose lifestyles weren’t in
accordance with mine. I could really connect with the world. I could really love, and really live.

Things weren’t as bad as many stories I’d heard from others leaving the church, regarding the family unit. To my surprise, my older brother had ceased believing for years, though he never told anyone why he’d become inactive. He broke the ice for me, so my parents were far more understanding than they could have been. But the real problem was several months later, when they realized that I wasn’t kidding. I really left the church, and I wasn’t coming back.

Regardless of the conflict and occasional family turmoil, I continue to experience life in more fulfilling ways than I ever have before. Leaving the Mormon church was the single best decision I’d made in my life, and I constantly reap the intellectual, emotional and social benefits. No longer to pledge loyalty to a group of bureaucratic leaders, I am able to expand my mind and enrich my life. The world that was once an evil place is now a fascinating and enchanting realm of people, culture and exciting new discoveries. All I can say to those who judge LDS after leaving the church is to remember the often quoted Matthew 7:16. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Life is amazing.

My name is Eric and I’m an Ex Mormon.



Links that Eric found helpful:
Book of Mormon translation

IRR’s DVD “The Lost Book of Abraham” which they sent me for free but can be watched here.

Theory as to the origins of the Book of Mormon: Video

DNA, Geography, and the Book of Mormon: Video

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Natalie
May 28th, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Well done Eric! I loved your video. Kudos.

Harfour
November 25th, 2014 at 2:39 am

Did you guys hear? Eric joined the mormon church again and he looks nerdier than ever. Too bad. I thought he knew better.
See link
http://www.mormon.org/me/27c8

Don
May 29th, 2011 at 9:42 am

Great story, much of what you found I see as well. Thank you for your courage to search and to share.

Jeff
May 29th, 2011 at 5:20 pm

I went to BYU-Idaho as well. I know exactly what you mean.

June 8th, 2011 at 12:42 am

Great video!

Kevin
June 11th, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Your story is so eerily similar to my own…. have you ever figured out your MBTI personality? You seem to be an ENFP. ENFP and Mormonism doesn’t go together very well….

Dave Horn
June 13th, 2011 at 9:31 am

Eric, Great job on your research and video. Loved every minute of it. I had a smile on my face at the end. I’m an ex-missionary. Served my mission in Quito, Ecuador. Left the church, (ex-communicated) 2 weeks after returning from my mission. That was 29 years ago. I have never looked back and have no regrets. Thanks for sharing your story.

Tobin
June 14th, 2011 at 7:56 am

Hi Eric,

Having already done and been where you are, just wondering what you are going to do now? Are you going atheist or are you still playing around with Christianity? I, myself, have been Mormon, then Atheist, and eventually became Mormon again (after rediscovering my faith). So, I hope you find something out there, but also hope you come back to the faith (newly discovered) someday. I find life (and the Lord) has a way of changing people’s views over time.

Tobin

claudia
August 1st, 2017 at 10:27 am

Then your conversion away from (or back to) Mormonism must have been based on little more than warm fuzzies and not truth.

Julie
June 18th, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Wonderful video Eric! You look so happy. I can completely identify with your experience and discovery. Now you truly can live every day of your life!

June 19th, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Thanks for all of your wonderful comments! The Ex-Mormon community has been a fantastic net of support, and I’ve made some awesome friends.

Tobin, I suggest reading my story below the video. I consider myself a “soft atheist”, with no intention of succumbing to superstitious ideologies wrought by man. I’m happy you’ve found happiness, but I simply cannot understand how people can leave the church and later return, knowing what they’ve learned. There are far too many historical facts and logical inconsistencies in the religion to take any of it seriously.

Tobin
June 20th, 2011 at 12:24 am

Eric,

Thanks. But I’m of the opinion there are no atheists on a plane about to crash.

Mormonism in my opinion is peculiar in its claims, that being that one should actually talk with God before joining. You might not think so, but most ex-mormons I’ve run into have never had a real conversion to the faith (ie they saw God and that is why they are Mormon). Most are what I call heartburn Mormons, they “felt” something and then joined. After a while they fall into suppositions and question those feelings, which was never a good basis for joining Mormonism in the first place.

Tobin

Dan Johnson (admin)
June 20th, 2011 at 1:23 am

Wouldn’t your belief mean that those who talk with God face to face will most likely be pointed to the Book of Mormon and the restoration? I know you don’t believe the mainstream LDS church is true (leaders are wrong etc) but I would expect God himself to be consistently pointing people to the truth (if he does speak face to face as you say). Therefore, if we have 1000 accounts of people meeting with God face to face, should we expect most of them to be pointed toward the Book of Mormon? Maybe 10% at least? 50%? 90%? Perhaps you have a different idea of how this will work. I will take a stab at it and you can tell me if I am close: God will meet face to face with a few people, but will share with them only the things they need to hear. This will get you out of the conundrum “why doesn’t face to face communication with deity always point towards Christianity or specifically the Book of Mormon?”

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Tobin
June 20th, 2011 at 6:16 am

We have explored this already. The point (or opportunity) of Mormonism is to get people actually speaking with God. It combats the theology that is common today that God is done talking to us (or simply doesn’t exist) and is actually the main theme of the Book of Mormon. As I’ve said, it is unimportant to me what percentage of people actually join Mormonism or do something else as it ultimately doesn’t matter (ie everyone will be baptised, have their temple work done, and so on). As far as I’m concerned, modern Mormonism is corrupt (and I have highlighted my reasons for that belief before) to a degree so joining it isn’t that advantageous. I believe it is far more important to have a relationship with God so you can filter out what is true in Mormonism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, science, history, etc and apply that in your life to improve your life and the lives of the people around you.

Now, I have a passion for the atheist position. It is honest when you don’t know if there is a God. That doesn’t prevent one from being a good person and skeptically looking for the truth. As far as I’m concerned, it is the state all people enter this world and should be the way anyone should approach any belief. If you want me to believe such and such, you need to prove it. That is why I have to wonder why so many people join Mormonism purely based on feelings. It is ludicrous on its face. The claims of gold plates, angels visitig people, miracles, etc (Christianity and all other religions have the same problem) sound like fantasy. Without some evidence of God, none of it should be believed.

Matt
December 11th, 2014 at 2:34 pm

their is so many proofs of the Bible being true,as far as the book of Mormon a find that hard to believe .Blessed are those who believe by faith and not by sight .

Harfour
November 25th, 2014 at 2:39 am

Did you guys hear? Eric joined the mormon church again and he looks nerdier than ever. Too bad. I thought he knew better.
See link
http://www.mormon.org/me/27c8

Ryan
June 20th, 2011 at 12:30 am

Bravo Eric! Thanks for the great story telling.

Riccardo Onofri Fasani (add me on FB!!) from Italy
June 20th, 2011 at 5:27 pm

What’s the title of the naturopathic diet book you read, which solved your problems?
riccardoonofri@yahoo.it

mike
August 30th, 2011 at 8:50 pm

For those of you who have chosen to go the atheist route. I suggest you guys check out “Near Death Experiences” or “NDE” on Youtube.com. There are tones of accounts where people have died for a short time and then come back to life. During the time that their dead they have these miraculous experiences that will definitely reveal that there is fact an after life, and that God does in fact exist. Sure you don’t have to believe these accounts that people share about their near death experiences but you should at least watch a few and see what you think of them. This may sound trivial or silly, but my faith that there is a God and an after life is 100% unshakable now due to watching several of these videos on Youtube.

Tobin
August 31st, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Thanks mike. I’ve actually seen God in this life (not a NDE), so I have no doubt about there being a God nor an afterlife. I feel bad that most ex-mormons haven’t experienced that and try my hardest to encourage them to seek and speak with God. Hopefully some will do it.

Tobin

claudia
August 1st, 2017 at 10:57 am

Disregard the part of my earlier comment about “warm fuzzies”. So, what does God look like? How about a description as if you were asked to give one to police or in court?

Brett
September 18th, 2011 at 11:27 am

Best part of this video . . .the screen shot of the BYU-I website shows a picture of a guy who is also an ex-mormon! He and his boyfriend live in NV and they’ve both, obviously, left the church.

Bernardo
October 26th, 2011 at 5:55 am

nice video, Im from Brazil and Im facing this problem today in my life.

Thanks!

January 21st, 2012 at 2:21 am

WONDERFUL video! Thanks for sharing your story. It is invaluable to those of us who are going through similar journeys. I have the perfect girl for you! hahaha My daughter is 22…ex mormon…not religious….smart…..lol Hey, it’s tough to find like-minds!

But seriously…thank you!

Naomi
January 31st, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Tobin,

“Thanks mike. I’ve actually seen God in this life (not a NDE), so I have no doubt about there being a God nor an afterlife. I feel bad that most ex-mormons haven’t experienced that and try my hardest to encourage them to seek and speak with God. Hopefully some will do it”

Seriously?? How many Mormons can “say” they’ve “seen” God? You make it seem like it’s a common theme amongst ex-Mormons that they haven’t… I’m happy for you that you think you’ve seen God, but I think you’re delusional.

Naomi
January 31st, 2012 at 8:06 pm

On another note, fantastic video Eric! Loved your message!

Kate
February 12th, 2012 at 1:11 pm

thank you so much for sharing!! i’ve experienced much of the same journey and really appreciated watching your video. if you’re up to sharing more, i’d be really interested in hearing about your health journey. i was diagnosed with candida, almost every allergy known to man, and chronic fatigue when i was 19–i turned to diet and alternative health–was vegan and mostly raw for a long time–went back to meat–am working on cutting out gluten and have been eating not very many grains for quite awhile–have done numerous supplements and oils, etc and do a lot of emotional release work as well. things have gotten much better in so many ways but i still feel like i’m missing something and starting to feel somewhat desperate. have heard a few things about the blood type diet but have never looked into it that much but am curious if my experience would be similar to yours/same blood type? most of my issues have been fungal/digestive/sinus. thanks again for sharing your video!

April 2nd, 2012 at 12:28 am

You’re killing it on this blog, dude.

Eric
May 23rd, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Hey Kate,

Sorry bout the delay, I haven’t checked here in a while. Feel free to email me and I’d love to chat!

Thanks again to everyone else for your nice comments. Been 18 months out of the church, and still doing great! Never looked back once :)

Anna
October 2nd, 2014 at 12:41 pm

What I really don’t understand is why are you counting the days since you left mormonism. I mean, you can make your own decisions, and the consecuences are up to you, that’s basically one of the things mormons respect the most. But, why don’t you just live your life as you want instead of keep coming back to this one decision? You don’t need to constantly say you are okay and have never looked back once for it to be true. That’s kind of immature. If you truly haven’t looked back, just move on… If you are still on this subject, it means there’s something that hasn’t actually been closed up.
I don’t think it’s just because you’ve “truly found yourself” You can truly do that even though you are a mormon, or not. I believe there’s some other issue with you.

claudia
August 1st, 2017 at 10:43 am

I believe the issue is recovery from a lifetime of dogma and childhood indoctrination. It’s a process of healing to reflect on years of untruths and contradictions, even after deciding to relinquish oppressive beliefs. Eric is moving forward with a story that helps others seek peace. Who are you to criticize how someone copes in recovery?

Eric
May 23rd, 2012 at 3:28 pm

ericscottmorrison at gmail dot com

Harfour
November 25th, 2014 at 2:39 am

Did you guys hear? Eric joined the mormon church again and he looks nerdier than ever. Too bad. I thought he knew better.
See link
http://www.mormon.org/me/27c8

claudia
August 1st, 2017 at 10:54 am

Spam much?

nora
March 15th, 2013 at 11:54 pm

Thank you Eric. I have gone through this and my ancestors from the mormon batallion were the originals in rexburg. I hope to find your courage.

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Harfour
November 25th, 2014 at 2:38 am

Did you guys hear? Eric joined the mormon church again and he looks nerdier than ever. Too bad. I thought he knew better.

See link

http://www.mormon.org/me/27c8

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claudia
August 1st, 2017 at 10:59 am

Geez, Eric, why not come back here to at least erase the spam?

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