Thursday, June 12, 2014

Moving On


This post has been marinating for a while and I even considered just NOT writing it because no-one's-business-but-mine, right? Except I feel like the time has come to own it.

I've (mostly) left the Mormon church. I did it quietly, with a few personal conversations and a quick change of underclothing. No fanfare, just a stepping back that hasn't even been noticed by most of my closest friends.

As for the (mostly) part: Aaron is still a believer and I love and respect him for it. He supports my decision but requested that we continue to attend church as a family. I like that idea. So...I go. Sometimes I enjoy it. Sometimes I don't. Sometimes I quietly leave early. Sometimes I have to raise my hand and stand up for what I believe, even though I know it will shove me even further into Black Sheep Territory.

It's ok, I'm pretty familiar with that terrain by now.

I've been struggling for years (4ish, to be a little more specific). I worked really hard over those 4 years to get over it, make my peace, rejoin the fold. But, the fact of the matter is: I don't believe in or support much of what the LDS church teaches. I haven't for a long time and the cognitive dissonance was starting to negatively affect my mental and emotional health.

As it turns out, trying to mash yourself into a box that just plain doesn't fit anymore can be sort of damaging.

Despite my difficulties, I've retained my basic faith in God and Christ. Because of that, I've had it in the back of my head that I would always make an effort to reconcile with the church. For the sake of my family, I would try. I felt wanted, despite my need to back away.

I have many thoughts regarding the events of the past couple days but the one that keeps coming back to the forefront is this:

I am not wanted.

On a local level that may or may not be true (I can think of people on both sides of that fence) but, at the uppermost levels, a message has been sent: square pegs are not wanted. Move along.

It breaks my heart that many of my dear, struggling friends are taking that message to heart. They wanted to make it work. I wanted to make it work. But this tells us that we will never be able to fit unless we drastically change who we are. We won't be allowed to be authentic, to be our true selves in all our square-peg-ish glory. Round pegs only. Sand yourself down or get out.

Sanding was too painful. I'm out.

46 comments:

  1. You know how I feel about this and you know this topic just moves my heart about 25 directions, and I'm so proud of you for hitting publish! I am sure many people will be able to relate to this. Tough week, and I hope everyone can be supportive and compassionate. I admire all the thought you've put into your decision -- I think you have more faith than you think! Even if it looks a little different. I'll keep praying for a church culture that feels less divisive for so many of us "square pegs." I believe God still wants all of us and will sort it all out in the end.........Mormon or not.

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  2. Thank you for posting this. I share many of your thoughts and feelings, and struggle to reconcile my own doubts and questions and concerns with the church. I increasingly find myself also feeling like I have just the same faith in God and Jesus Christ as I ever did, but am finding myself troubled by the church at times, over certain topics. I appreciate and admire your candor, and absolutely respect your decisions (both to follow your own heart as well as the decision to continue supporting your husband and family in the church--I think that is commendable). Right now, I just keep telling myself exactly what Katie commented above--that it'll all work out in the end. I think Heavenly Father and His gospel are perfect, but we're an imperfect people trying to implement His plan and desires, and I believe there are truths getting lost in translation. I just try to have faith that whatever I struggle with or doubt, Heavenly Father loves us and will sort it all out in the end.

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  3. I'm a longtime reader (found you through Janssen) and I've seen you post recently in Mormon facebook groups I'm in. I've struggled in the church for years and years and I'm still trying to make it work, but the events of the last few days are making that harder than ever. I keep reminding myself that the church doesn't have a monopoly on truth and goodness, and everything will work out in the end (I hope). I admire your bravery in posting this and your ability to do what you need to in order to be healthy and happy. Thank you for speaking up for the square pegs.

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  4. Thanks for this post! I'm sure it was scary to share, but it is so helpful to see others who are bravely taking a stand for what feels right. My husband and I left a couple of years ago, and there is such a freeing and peaceful feeling that goes along with all of the confusion. Our families don't understand, but that's ok. Being true to yourself is all you can do. Good luck with you pr journey!

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  5. This was really amazing and brave.

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  6. I can't echo what Katie said enough. I also think there's a lot of faith in you, and a person who truly understands who Jesus Christ is and the power of the Atonement. Unfortunately some culture barriers are forcing some sanding. You know I love and support you no matter what, and long for a day we can sit in an RS and talk about feminism without feeling like a dirty person.

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  7. Amen! Hi I'm Selena, you don't know me (I started reading Camille's blog, and found so many of her blogs and friends blogs are amazing and make me happy, hit home and are real) but thank you for writing this. I grew up a Catholic, and there were lots of questions I had that couldn't be answered. I've struggled trying to define what I and my family are, and came to the conclusion, church might not fits us, but we believe in a God, in being kind, truthful, and accepting. My heart feels that this is right. And I think He would be proud of me. And you too! Thanks again,

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  8. This was incredibly brave and beautifully written. I'm very much in the "make it work" stage right now, and to be honest I'm jealous that you've found a conclusion that feels right, I'm not there yet. Bravo! and thanks for sharing.
    -Janelle

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  9. Lots of respect and love to you!

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  10. I met you at BYU in our freshman year. I think I still owe you $7 for a ticket to a student film festival. You introduced me to chocolate covered gummy bears. I've enjoyed your blog for several years now. Tears welled in my eyes as I read this. I'm not sure how to express my emotions, but I'm so sad you've decided to move on. Sad because I am still here, believing and because of that it's hard to lose someone who believes...or believed. I don't think there's anything to say to convince you otherwise but I will say what you already know, you are deeply and profoundly loved by our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I pray you continue to feel their love for you.

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  11. I just sent you a looooong email to what I hope is still a working gmail address. This post resonated with me in a way that's too long to express in a blog comment...

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  12. Hugs and applause for having the courage to post. Questioning your faith is not giving up on your faith. In my (unsolicited) opinion, it's often healthy to second guess and search for answers because it means your faith is a progressive and not stagnant.

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  13. Just Jaime said much of what is in my heart. I love you and am proud of you for doing what you think is right, even if I don't completely understand your decision. Hugs.

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  14. (Sorry if this shows up twice--I tried posting from my phone but apparently it didn't work)
    I was surprised to read this, but I completely understand where you're coming from. I made the same decision myself about 15 years ago. The decision is only one step in a long journey that is both liberating and isolating. Hugs to you! You are so brave to publicly discuss this very personal decision.

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  15. I have read your blog for a long time, and admire that you were able to voice those things nagging at you. I don't know you personally, so I hesitate to even say this sort of thing, but I think you would appreciate a book called "The Reason for God" by Timothy Keller. I've never read a book quite like this, that addresses questions and doubts head-on, with kindness, respect and validation. It's incredibly thoughtful, very readable, and I think genuinely and skillfully gets at what is really true. Again, forgive a bit of a bold suggestion without knowing you personally, but I've found it hugely helpful and encouraging.

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    1. Your email isn't attached to your name so I can't respond directly but thank you for the suggestion! I'm going to look it up. I've been devouring books about faith lately and I am ready for a new one!

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    2. If you're at all interested in chewing the fat about it, my email is jennyearle mac.com I hope it's a helpful book!

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  16. I struggled with the same feelings you describe for years. I left. I missed it. I tried one more time in 2012 to make it work, and I foolishly thought that if I just was really honest in how I felt, I could find people like me and it would be okay. So I organized Wear Pants to Church Day. and then I showed up at Conference with Ordain women. And I saw the church mischaracterize me as an apostate. I've heard talk after talk and newsroom release after newsroom release telling me that I'm not welcome as I am. My testimony isn't the right kind. When I left I was told I wasn't faithful enough. You can't win, only conform, and it breaks my heart every day. Phew. I know this isn't the right way to comment on a blog. I just want you to know that I understand. I've walked this walk too, and it is hard and freeing and wonderful and heartbreaking and exhilarating. I know you will make it work. II know your family will make it work. My spouse is still a believer as well, and we still love each other. Lastly, I've loved your blog for so long, not knowing how you felt, and it brings me a strange peace to know that all along we were walking the same path. Thanks for sharing your journey, and letting a stranger like me emotionally vomit all over your blog.

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    1. Hugs to you, Stephanie.

      xox

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    2. :) Thanks Feisty Harriet. xox

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  17. The events of the last couple of days have affected me far more than I would've anticipated. As someone who had to fight to become a member of the church (my parents almost disowned me multiple times for it), it's been something to which I've clung, something that's brought me strength, joy, and peace. While I've certainly had my doubts, questions, and times I've felt far from the Holy Ghost, the last couple of days have been the first time in 12 years that leaving the church has even been a shadow in my mind.

    While I don't feel the need for female ordination (although I don't oppose it), I DO feel the need for those who feel strongly about it to feel comfortable making their voices heard. They, and we, must be able to speak our doubts and fears and thoughts without fear of punishment. I'm crushed that this may impact leaders' ability to see the need for discussion and change in other aspects of women's roles within the church. I feel so sad standing with a church that has used methodology with which I struggle so deeply. While I understand that church leaders may want to keep some from being led astray, it shatters my heart that they've felt to do so by sending a message of alienating and dismissing and downright refusing so many. It hurts that though my feminism stems in large part FROM my religion (rather than in spite of it...being a temple ordinance worker was great for that), that's not recognized by all people or all levels of the church.

    What I've been trying to "remember, remember" is what I DO believe: I believe in the Book of Mormon. I believe in modern revelation, including personal. I believe in the inspiration of church leaders, male and female. I believe in temple ordinances, and have felt their power. I believe Heavenly Father hears and answers prayer. I believe in eternal families. I believe in the Atonement. I DON'T believe our leaders are perfect. I don't believe in all the current practices of the church. For me, for now, that's enough.

    (None of that is at all to say it should be enough for you; it can't and it shouldn't. I'm sure at this point, I'm sharing these thoughts more for me than for you.)

    Kudos to you for being open and honest, and for being willing to share. Kudos for trying and seeking and learning. Kudos for being willing to still support Aaron and your kiddos. Lots of love to you all.

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  18. I left the church almost 15 years ago, and the message to me was "you are not wanted" as well. I just didn't fit in, and I didn't believe, and my "leadership" wanted me gone. There is a lot of decompressing that you will go through. There is a lot of bullshit to reassess and realize that most of the world doesn't think like the church. The church is wrong on so so so many levels. I hope that eventually you can extricate yourself entirely from that organization. Joy can be yours, truly yours, once you get out from under the burden of that patriarchy. ( Seriously, think about the temple ceremony from the outside. The hats alone should be a red flag that it the church has some wacky ideas.) There lots of us out here that have left, and couldn't be happier. We are here for you!

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  19. I have loved your blog the past few months that I have followed. I am still a member and have my struggles as well. especially with the "you're not wanted". I am the type of person that doesn't try to hold people back. So I am proud of you for doing what you felt is best for you. I know other member on here say that they are 'sad' for you choice but isn't one of our purposes in life is to find happiness? you are your own person, and if you can find your own happiness then that is great!

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    1. I think they meant they are sad because the gospel and church make them happy, but it's not making Kayla happy, which is understandable. Everyone deserves to be happy! There's just different ways about it.

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  20. I have been thinking about you the last 2 days, my thoughts are so heady I hardly am functioning and have been trying to stay away from the internet as much as possible, because it has made so many things so much worse. But, I am so proud of how brave you are in posting this. So many hugs.

    xox

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  21. Most of my conflicting emotions have already been expressed in other comments, but I think you should know that I really like you.

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  22. ah…..i have followed your blog for a while now. this is indeed news that is hard to share. faith seems to be the basis of our lives whether we want to admit it or not, doesn't it? i am a Christian, and believe that the only Person who will ever truly accept you just as you are is Jesus Christ. we can't expect churches and people to do that. Jesus loves me and you for exactly who we are. all we have to do is trust in Him completely. i know you are on a long road of questioning and discovery. i pray that Christ will make Himself very known to you in this time!

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  23. I admire your bravery in posting something so personal. I know the decision to stay or to go isn't made lightly, both for you and for the many others who constantly deal with that cognitive dissonance you mention, including myself. Although the right decision for you may be to go, I recognize that making that decision is still bittersweet. I don't know you personally but I understand much of your struggle, and hope you will accept my virtual empathy and support! Square pegs are rad. :)

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  24. I'm a longtime reader, but rarely comment...however, I wanted to take a sec to tell you how much I admire you! You are brave and strong and intelligent....your family is lucky to have you in their lives! What an instrument of change you are being to those who also feel alienated by the Mormon church. Kudos to you.

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  25. I really don't think I have read a classier " leaving the church" blog post before. Way to go. Also, your choice of picture was superb, made me smile.

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  26. You've always resonated with me. This is situation is no different. I like you.

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  27. I am in awe of your courage and allowing yourself to be so vulnerable. Kudos for living out loud! Thank you for sharing your journey, even the really hard stuff.

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  28. Thank you. I've followed your blog for a while and enjoy your sense of humor and personal style. This post makes me respect your brain and heart and soul so much. I totally understand where you are coming from and admire the loving way you owned your feelings and decision

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  29. I've been reading your blog for a long time and this post made me a little sad. I love this church and the gospel. But sometimes the members just aren't very kind. The leaders and members of the church aren't perfect and aren't very good at being non-judgmental. I'm guilty of it myself sometimes. I was reading this children's book today, it's called "You Are Special" by Max Lucado and I thought of you and your post when I read it. Here is a link to it:
    http://www.aikentdc.org/You_Are_Special.pdf
    I hope you'll read it and remember how much your Heavenly Father loves you. Remember that you are special to Him and that nothing anyone says or thinks about you is important. The only thing that matters is what Heavenly Father thinks and what you think.

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  30. You are SO very brave and I applaud you for that. It takes guts to view the church one was raised in through adult eyes taking in its good points as well as it's flaws and coming to terms with them that make sense for you.

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  31. I haven't been keeping up on blogs for a (long) while. Thought I would check yours today. First of all, love your freckles in that cute tank top! (I have them too) Secondly, I love that you posted this. It wasn't for me either (14 years ago). I haven't found anything else, I was just glad to step away. Living here in Provo, it's kind of awkward sometimes, but I have been much happier after my decision. Hope you are too. All the best.

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  32. Hey, I keep meaning to comment on this. Kayla, my memories of you mostly involve pre-teen me making you and your sister and brother macaroni and cheese and then dancing around your living room to the Top Gun soundtrack. It's awesome to see how thoughtful, intelligent and caring you've turned out to be. I'm in the exact same place that you are, so I've nothing but love and empathy to share with you. Thanks for posting!

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  33. Longtime stalker here. I feel you. My husband and I call ourselves Hindu Mormons since we identify with truths from both religions, thought we're not even Indian and most people would call us crazy if they knew that. I have good days and bad days but the scripture that always sticks in my head is 1 Nephi 11:7 I do not know the meaning of all things, yet I know the Lord loveth his children.
    And that's where I am now, and for now that's good enough.

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  34. Have you thoguht of lookin at other churches that aren't LDS?

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  35. This is a really powerful post & thank you for writing it.

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  36. whoa baby! Sounds a lot like Nat the Fat Rat! I think it's so interesting to observe how all these 'free thinking' blogger all follow each other. :) I choose to follow the Prophets and scriptures, it may not make me as cool as all of you, but hey. I know we are not all cookie cutter mormon personalities but where does obedience
    enter into the picture? the Savior was, above all other things--obedient. don't fool yourself for a second thinking that you and the commenters patting you on the back for this blog post are a special case. I dare say there have been some awesome, willful, independent thinkers in the scriptures. ummm...Paul-anyone? he was clever at debating and writing-just like you. He said he struggled with "a thorn in the flesh". hum, sounds like it all wasn't sitting just right with him and his life, but man was he a defender of God and his laws. Really, it's all about God and his laws. Heck-even God can't go rouge-he is also bound by laws. God made us all unique and wonderfully stubborn in our own ways but still expects us to keep our covenants. And, yes we all have to 'change' to become like Him. We like to think and say fuzzy things like, its all about family and being a good mom and such, but its really not. Its about God and his laws. (maybe I can squeeze that saying in one more time if I try)
    obedience is mostly not fun. church is 30 min away and starts at 9am (groaner), obedience doesn't look as cute as that tank top you are wearing, and yes, (you knew it was coming) obedience keeps us looking conservative and 'peculiar'.
    if you don't believe the covenants you made in the temple were with God then you can just do a big fat DE-LETE on this comment. it will do nothing more than piss you off thinking i missed your whole point. hey-if the church and its teachings are making you crazy you gotta do what you gotta do.

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    1. Since your email isn't linked to your blogger account, I'll respond here.

      First, I appreciate that you stood up for your beliefs. That is always admirable.

      Second, I have to disagree with a few of the things you said. You accused me of "following" Nat the Fat Rat but I think you'll find that there are a lot of posts like mine out there in the blogosphere right now. It's more a response to the current events of the church rather than copying each other. Things are happening and people are responding. Nat and I used the same "round hole square peg" analogy but that's fairly common amongst members of the church who don't feel like they fit in.

      Also, the above commenters are "patting me on the back" because I admitted to going through something hard. Some of them are obviously uncomfortable with my choice but they still chose a path of loving support rather than judgment in a time of difficulty.

      I invite (even expect) respectful disagreement. If you'd like to have a NON-snarky conversation about any of this, please feel free to email me at Kayla@frecklesinapril.com.

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  37. I can imagine that this decision did not arise from a desire to be cool (as was suggested). You don't make a decision to leave your family's faith lightly or motivated by a tank top. You are brave. Thank you for sharing your story.

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