As I watched two buildings explode and crush into pieces on September 11th, 2001, my life began to fall apart. It was the event that shook my soul and began my exit from the Mormon Church. As I sat speechless and terrified watching thousands of innocent people die, I wondered if they had lived genuinely. They were in a situation they couldn’t control, meeting the ends of their lives with no choice. Up until that very moment, I also felt that I had no choice. This event shook my brain into a thinking mode as no other event had done. They were in a situation they couldn’t control, meeting the ends of their lives with no choice. But I DID have a choice in the direction I would go.
A sixth generation Mormon, named after Jacob Hamblin and John Doyle Lee, I was a select member with a shining lineage. I was destined to received all the temple blessings bestowed upon me throughout my life! But I was just fooling myself. I was a gay Mormon, hiding my true desires in an “eternal marriage” that was soon to come to an end. The thought of it all was overwhelming me. Leaving the Church was certainly the end of my being, my soul. My family would abandon me without question. What would I become? I would surely lose everything. Satan already had a death grip on my ankles pulling me to his side. Leaving the Church meant death of my body and my soul.
But the day arrived when I was so terribly unhappy I actually said it aloud. I would have rather died than live one more day feeling that disastrous inside. And many men in my situation simply end it, Blood Atonement to save themselves from the endless mental prison. But somewhere inside me I knew I could make it through even this trial. Could THIS be my real test from Heavenly Father? Escaping with my life, hoping to create a better life for my wife, my kids and myself? None of it made sense any more. I woke up on my last Sunday as a believing Mormon, my wife took my kids to Church with her, and over the next three hours as they were bored out of their minds, I began researching the Church online.
Without moving from that chair, every single question I had was answered, all my doubts about the strangeness of the Mormon Church became clear, a switch literally flipped in my head so loudly that I almost heard the click. From OFF to ON.
I’m not a stupid person, but I am a person who is controlled by fear. And my rational brain was able to conquer my fear of the future and I knew that I would never believe again. In three hours I knew that the Book of Mormon was absolute fiction and completely impossible. I knew that the Pearl of Great Price was also absolute fiction and it was almost laughable. The First Vision? What version of the First Vision? Patriarchal blessings, testimonies, seminary, BYU, my mission in Spain, all my callings, my tithing money, all my temple visits, my eternal marriage, my geneology, the General Authorities, the…the…the… It ALL came crashing down into a huge pile of rubble at my feet.
And I was still standing. I became extremely angry and very hopeful. I wasn’t going to die, or fall apart, or even lose anything! I was going to use my internal resources and rebuild my life! I was going to divorce amicably, release my straight wife from our confusing marriage and life, save my kids from a life of mental entrapment, and go forth!
The tenacity I had learned as a Mormon became the tenacity I needed to start a new life. My wife and I co-parented, divorced after 4 years of amicable separation, parenting and restructuring. I rebuilt my friends, people who would support me like my family once did, and my support structures. I launched into a new way of thinking about everything, I was energized, excited, and free! If there WAS a Heavenly Father, he certainly loved me without question, I felt more spiritual than I ever had in my life. I was reconecting with nature, discovering my real self, and finding the love of my life. And I didn’t have to convince myself or others with a programmed testimony anymore.
Everything I was before I still was, just released to be happy, genuine, and free to do what I wanted, to make my own choices without fear. I was now a cast-off from the Church, an apostate, the flotsam and jetsam of my family tossed off the Mormon cruise ship to the Celestial Kingdom. But I was happy. Finally happy. Not just saying I’m happy and lying about it, I was truly, to my core, happy.
I am getting married in five weeks to the love of my life, a man I met at a gay fathers support group in Denver. Our wedding day will be our 7th anniversary together. We are raising six wonderful kids together, three are his biological children, and three are mine. Our kids range in ages from 24-10. Our ex-wives are involved in our lives, and we all get along well. We have a lovely home on a street where our neighbors accept us. I have been able to realize what I wanted that day it all fell apart almost a nine ago. I have been fortunate enough to create a beautiful life for myself. And anyone who knows me well will tell you that I am one happy guy. If this is suffering, bring it on!
My name is Steve, and I’m an Ex Mormon.
To visit Steve’s wedding site click on the following link: www.rexandsteve.com
An ABC News article about Steve and the controversial “reparative therapy” program with Evergreen.
Steve’s Ex-wife wrote a book about their experience called “My Ex is Having Sex with Rex”
Below is a preview of Steve’s book “Falling Into Life: A Gay Exmormon’s Journey”