Devin, Teacher, Father, Gay Ex-Mormon
My Authentic Journey
I’m not here to list all the reasons why the church isn’t true. That’s easy enough to see with a quick ten minute Google search…
Mind you, that’s not how I discovered the church wasn’t true for me. There are teachings and beliefs that are indisputably wrong. However, in the end it wasn’t the doctrines – it ended up being the practice. Modern Mormonism purports itself to be the path of happiness. This is where it came falling down for me. When I clearly saw that it wasn’t bringing me or my family happiness, I had to leave.
One significant memory that’s been seared into my mind was when my son, six years old at the time, responded to my gentle reprimand over something he did wrong, “I will never be good enough.” I couldn’t bear the thought that this sweet little boy would have such a harmful, negative idea placed in his mind in such an early age. It’s a theme in Christianity and Mormonism, especially: you can never be good enough.
My children, too, helped me to accept that I was gay. I asked myself the question: “What if one of them grew up and told me they were gay?” I couldn’t bear to tell them that they must hide who they are, or live a life devoid of love. Being a parent completely changed my perspective. Although I no longer hold to any religious belief, I cannot imagine a loving god would want his creation to live a life devoid of love and authenticity. Mormonism still requires this of its members.
The easiest metaphor I can use for this journey is from Mormonism. Adam and Eve needed to leave the garden to live a life that enabled them to experience joy. The paradise in the garden didn’t allow them to experience life to the fullest. I think that is what Mormonism does today – it limits the agency of its adherents and prevents them from living a life full of joy. It prevents choice, hides truth and marginalizes those that do not fit the mold.
Just like Adam and Eve leaving the garden – I entered a lone and dreary world. The last five years of my life have been among the most difficult. I have never experienced such sorrow. I was denied the joy of sorrow. I was denied the freedom to choose without condemnation, and was denied the ability to fall deeply in love. I was denied the ability to have my heart broke into many piece because I fell in love for the first time only to have that crushed to pieces. Along with that sorrow, I have never experienced such exquisite joy. I could never go back to the garden with its pretty trees and sweet-smelling flowers. I much prefer living life with my eyes open, with a full range of emotions, and the ups and downs that bring true joy.
As I said in the beginning of my video, I feel compelled to join in the vocal condemnation of Mormonism. Not only did the organization use my integrity to tell lies to others in hopes that they would join, it compelled me to live a lie and to lie to those around me that I loved and cared about. It is my moral obligation to correct the wrongs and warn others.
Another metaphor from Mormonism seems pertinent here. When you’ve tasted the most desirable fruit that has filled your very soul with joy, you only want others to experience it. What is offered through Mormonism is canned fruit. I’ve been able to experience fruit directly from the tree of life and desire all to receive it.
And finally, I wanted my children to know that I finally feel good enough.