not in Primary anymore

i put away childish things

Dear Mormonism,

After today, I’m not sure where we stand.

When I was a child, you were everything. You gave me strength when I was weak and faith when I had doubts. You promised me that I would be happy if I followed your advice.

But you were wrong.

When I was a teenager, I talked to my bishop about sexual sin. I wondered why a loving God would give me a commandment I seemed destined to break, but I chose to believe that I had been blessed with a high sex drive because overcoming it would make me stronger. You told me that I had to ignore my sexuality or risk losing my virtue, and I believed you.

But you were wrong.

When I graduated high school, we went our separate ways for a while. My faith faltered when I met people who didn’t fit the mold, and when I discovered that I didn’t fit the mold, either. I met people who weren’t members at all, and I didn’t have the will anymore to believe they were wrong. You told me that the church was the only place to find real happiness.

But you were wrong.

When I was in college, I had sex. And I felt ashamed, but not because I’d made a mistake. My virginity was my most prized possession, but for the first time in my life I began to wonder if you had been wrong about me all along.

And you were.

When my sisters asked to be admitted to the Priesthood Session, you told them that their place lay outside the Conference Center, outside Temple Square, and outside the church. You told me that my doubts made me less faithful, less appreciative, and less worthwhile.

“I spake as a child, I understood as a child, and I thought as a child,” but this is not the church I knew as a child. For that, I might lose you. I might have to walk away from the church that first taught me peace, place, and purpose, and I don’t know what I’ll do without you.

But I think I’ll be okay.

She Will Find What Is Lost by Brian Kershisnik

 

24 Responses to “i put away childish things”

  1. furtherlightblog

    I lost the church almost a year ago now. It was so hard at first, but as time goes on I feel so much better. I can be me. I can support what my heart desires. I don’t have to worry about things like not getting the priesthood. And I am doing really good. I finally feel at peace. I hope you find that too.

    Reply
  2. Evelyn

    If you think that the church told participants of the ordain women movement to leave the church, then you need to read the letter the church sent out again. Stop choosing to be offended when no offense is meant.

    Reply
    • gracerebeccamiller

      The church’s PR letter made it clear that there is no room within the church for women who desire the priesthood. Releasing a public message presumably directed toward Ordain Women and asking that the members restrict themselves to the “free speech” zones seemed, to me, an exercise in intimidation.

      Reply
  3. Zach

    The saddest part of this post is that if you (or me, or anyone else) leaves the Church, it loses nothing whatsoever and will continue on as before. However, the person who leaves will lose EVERYTHING.

    Go back and read Bishop Stevenson’s talk. You are in the four minutes right now, and there’s an awful lot hinging on them.

    Reply
    • VNMarshall

      Wow, Zach, that is extraordinarily rude. I do not know Grace personally, but just from reading this post I can tell that the Church would not be losing “nothing whatsoever” if she chose to leave. She strikes me as a thoughtful, loving woman who has endured a great deal and who nevertheless continues to be thoughtful and loving. How dare you suggest that her loss would not be a tragedy to every Mormon in the Church?

      Reply
      • Zach

        You did notice that I included myself in that, right? The Church is bigger than any individual member, and thinking that it would be devastated if I left would be pretty arrogant. But if I ever left, I would have nothing of value in the next life, and very little in this one.

    • gracerebeccamiller

      Zach, I agree that my departure will have no effect on the church at large, but I haven’t lost “everything” of value in this life and the next. You certainly aren’t in a position to determine that.

      I chose to include the painting “She Will Find What Is Lost” because I lost a lot of myself growing up in the church. I’ve experienced some serious psychological problems as a result of my upbringing, but leaving has freed me to discover parts of myself that I didn’t know were there.

      Reply
  4. Anonymous

    Grace in what way was the church wrong? did you ever think perhaps u don’t and didn’t and don’t feel the same that you did has a child because you have fallen away from the church and not been apart of it? That’s like me expecting interest from a bank though I have no money in it. The church never said ” their place lay outside the Conference Center, outside Temple Square, and outside the church.” They, we want you in the church but what makes u think that they would want you in temple square protesting and acting “childish”. And how exactly do you expect anyone to listen to you if you are just going to lie? Sin is difficult believe me I know and no one said it would be easy. Everyone hits rock bottom eventually but it’s your choice if you are going to get back up and it might be very hard and almost unbearable but when u give your all the savior will give his. Rebel, sadden our hearts, but the savior will always be waiting for you with his arms wide open. You are just has if not even more important then men in the church. Read elder oaks’ talk from the priesthood session which is easily in ur grasp and was when it was live and read it with pure intent. I’ll pray for you Grace, I have faith in you.

    Reply
    • gracerebeccamiller

      I never said that the church is empirically wrong, only that it was wrong for me in some respects, which I outlined.

      I gave everything I had to the church. I paid a full tithe, I was endowed, and I was married in the temple. But the more I learned about the church and its history, the less it made sense to me.

      Can you identify the ways I am lying? I would be happy to show you the portions of the PR letter that I believe demonstrate the church’s disdain for the members of Ordain Women.

      I wasn’t on Temple Square yesterday, because I am not a member of the group. As far as I know, the women who sought entrance to the Priesthood Session were reverent and respectful. It was not a “protest” in the sense you seem to be using the word.

      It is not your place to tell me that I am less happy now that I have chosen to distance myself from the church. My life is certainly more complicated, but that’s to be expected. You don’t know me, and I don’t have to justify my decisions to you.

      Reply
  5. Anonymous

    U claim u feel more happy but it is at temporal not eternal happiness. A happiness that u will regret not choosing

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Well after all that I’ve learned about the church I have come to the conclusion that it is not the “one and only true church”. I think it’s a fairly good church, but it’s claim that it is the only way is not accurate. And the way I view it, I would much rather be happy NOW, in my “temporal state” which I am absolutely sure of, than give up that happiness for an eternal state that is unsure of. I believe in a loving God, and a Savior who died for me. And I believe that they want me to be happy both in my temporal state as well as my eternal. Mormonism wasn’t doing it for me anymore, and I wasn’t going to let the fear hold me in a culture and religion that I didn’t believe in anymore. I am not afraid anymore. I am happy, and I believe I will be happy in the next life too.

      Reply
    • Sweeney

      Well Anonymous, if that is your REAL name, I hope your self-righteousness brings you the eternal happiness you speak of, because it sounds like you have it all figured out. Good luck with that.

      Reply
  6. Anonymous

    So your telling me u believe that Christ died on a cross, and bled out of EVERY pour of his body, so that you could go and party and do everything that he taught against? Explain to me how that makes any sence at all…

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Why are you assuming that I am out partying and doing bad things? I still have the same morals. I still value my family and my God more than anything. I still go to Church to worship Him every Sunday, (just not the Mormon church). I still have a deep, personal relationship with him. I just don’t believe that the LDS Church is the only way.

      Reply
  7. Anonymous

    So than I assume that you believe that without those standards you wouldn’t feel the spirit. So you have these standards yet stated you had premarital sex so would that mean you would have lost the spirit in your life. So there again is another lie. And again I would assume that you believe this life is a test. Name one test you can pass with NO preknowledge of the subject. It would not be easy and god OUR savior would make it like anyone and that is one way to pass not several. because that’s what a test is one right and several wrong not some right and some wrong.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      My standards are: to love my neighbor, love my God, and to do good to all. I don’t judge people because they have had premarital sex, or drink, or break rules set by religions. I believe it’s what’s in a person’s heart that really matters. The gospel is so much more than whether people “obey”. It is about hope, peace, and love. And not judging people. And you have clearly done that to me, and the writer of this post without knowing anything about either of us. I assume that you are a very dedicated individual who cares deeply about doing what is right. But I disagree with you that there is only one right way. There are many. And that’s where we are different. I think what’s right for you, and what’s right for me are different. And that is not a bad thing.

      Reply
  8. Anonymous

    I’m not trying to judge but prove the point that u are Lying to try to make a point. I pray for a day when we and all people can think and be the same and who judged and protested first? And that’s three lies u claimed you don’t judge and love everybody but the crudeness and and hate in all this protesting tells otherwise. Every comment you have said lies and disagrees with its self. How can anyone take that seriously and maturely?

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      I didn’t lie about anything. I have not been hateful. I am simply sharing my beliefs…just like you. I’m happy. And I hope you are too :)

      Reply
  9. Anonymous

    No it’s not a lie it just disagrees with everything you claim to believe but continue to think what you will and I will continue to have my faith and hope. :) this rebelliousness truly breaks my heart into multipus of thousand to see you go from who you where to who you are. And is your current state financially and everything in your life truly happiness?

    Reply
    • Valerie

      I have to agree with the writer of this piece. Today, as a person who no longer thinks of herself as a Mormon, I am happier than I ever was while in the church. I have goals to enter a career that will be able to support my family, I no longer feel worried that I will be called immodest if I show off my slender shoulders, I now speak up for what I believe in, even in a room full of men who claim to “preside” over me, and over all I am a much more relaxed, calm person than I was before. For years I was scared that if I admitted out loud that I did not agree with the church in certain matters, I would be opening the door to “unhappiness”. When it finally happened, I realized that the truth was I had been unhappy all the while. Living a life I was not comfortable in, where I was told I was to be a stay-at-home mother from when I was 12 years old, and that I had to have children, because it was selfish not to, and that I HAD to find a righteous priesthood holder to marry so that I could have the priesthood in my home. Then I discovered the Ordain Women movement, and it struck me that if women were to have the Priesthood, I wouldn’t have to feel pressured into marrying a Mormon man in order to have it near me or bless my children with it. After a long time to think about it, I have decided to leave the Mormon church. It is painful, because Mormonism was the religion I grew up in, but I have to tell you…I’ve never felt more at peace. And yes, happy.

      Reply
  10. R

    Thank you for writing this. I am still figuring out if there is a place for me in the church or not. I have also been wounded so much by the church, growing up and now as an adult. A lot of it has been from the culture, but some of it has been from the church itself. I don’t know what my choice will be, stay or go, but like you, I feel that I will be okay in the end. Thank you for being vulnerable with us.

    Reply
  11. Sara

    This was very brave to post, and I think you’re amazing for it. I left the church a few years ago, and I’m not going to try to persuade you to leave, but I just wish you can find a path that will make you happy.

    Reply
  12. jamesmiller

    I recently read through all of your posts on yMf. It would be inappropriate for me to say I understand how you feel. But as someone who has struggled with the realization that I can’t say I believe the things espoused by the university I attend, an ideology has been very central to my life and is permeated by essentially everyone I interact with, much of what you say resonants with me. It saddens me that some of your experiences in getting to this point had to be so hellish but thank you for sharing them.

    Reply

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