Sunday, January 12, 2014


I wanted to take a moment and an address a tiny issue that many Mormons face.  Suicide…or suicide ideation, and mental health.  I come from a well-adjusted loving family, I have had a very successful life, I have hit speed bumps, but I have always found my way to my feet...eventually.   I’m out going, life of the party, fairly attractive, and full of energy.   I’m a lucky girl…and as a mormon I still craved death.

The attempt I made on my life (see: Life or Death) has hunted me for years.   After that I had the suicide hot-line on speed dial.  I wish I had not destroyed my suicide tape.  I want to know what I was thinking.  How could I believe that at age 23 I had passed my expiration date?   It’s not fair to completely blame BYU and Mormons. I had tons of fun and really learned a lot.  It is just hard for me to find another explanation for my behavior.  The guilt and shame of never being good enough (see: The PerfectProblem).  I was unloved by men because I did not fit the “mold” and was ostracized for my wit and independence.(see: Pink Pedestal)  Even being a campuses celebrity for my comedy did not stop the stares in church when I wore a dress that hugged my curves.  I saw a church therapist regularly.  I would cry and tell them how I felt so trapped and conflicted.  I was doing everything right and still struggled with my testimony. I remember one therapist who completely ignored my shameful struggle with sexual frustration.

“’I’m just worried Dr.”, I said sheepishly, “that I will marry men just so I can have sex.  I really want to have sex.”

“Nope!  Don’t even think about it.” She said, “It’s not good.  Marriage is very important.  Let me tell you a story.  My son may be getting a divorce.  Tragic! But I already have 5 woman lined up for him. God wants us to be married so just forget about sex…take a pottery class.”

Looking back I can honestly say… WTF! But at the time I didn’t know any better.   Trying to live your life according to someone else is destructive.  The constant judgment facilitated by the church and BYU kept me in a cycle of self-loathing.  It was only when my parents enrolled me into a non-mormon mental hospital that things got better. They worried what these therapist would say but knew without proper help I may try to "trip" off a tall building.  My father warned me not to discuss church while I was in therapy.  That they might try and pull me away.  They didn’t  try and pull me away, but they showed me that it was okay to wear a red dress (See: Spooky Mormon Hell Dream)

Even now as I have loosened the chains of Mormonism I still find myself thinking “I’m such a horrible person”.  This week I decide I was a horrible person because I let a man see my boobs.  Last week I was a horrible person because I did not let this same nice man see my boobs. (Here is where I slap myself on the forehead) I feel guilt but it is displaced.  I do not feel guilty engaging in sexual activities.  However, I do feel guilty educating myself on sexual activities.  

I only see non-Mormon therapists now.  I here tails of poor struggling souls running to their bishop to cash in on the free therapy program the church provides.  A fine program in many respects I’m sure.  Unfortunately, not the place to go when you want to leave the church.  That’s like breaking up with your boyfriend and then driving over to his house when you feel sad about it…IT DOESN'T WORK.   With the help of my non-mormon therapist I have been able to unclog many emotional drains.  Most recently my therapist has helped me come to grips with the terrifying notion that I can decide what sex means to me.  Going against everything the church has taught me I have decided that sex is an activity I would like to participate in with a friend.  I don’t want a lover, just someone patient who I trust.  And I’m fairly sure I have found him.  

In conclusion my friend YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  The pressure to have the perfect life sends many into a downward spiral.  No wonder UT has the highest rate for teen suicide and self-medicating.  If you are one of the many people who suffer from suicide ideation, depression, PTSD  I recommend you seek help.  All health plans cover mental health in some regard.   But mental health is not as simply taking a pill.  You have to want it.  Fight the negative thoughts, the pressure form church ideas, and the people who will try to “fix” you.  Meditate; get a massage; LEAVE YOUR ROOM!  Don’t be afraid of the world.  That is just playing into the churches hands.

I am now almost 8 months sober from the church.  I removed the noose from my neck and I’m shocked by how much air there is out here.  I thought I would die without the church.  Now I don’t know how I survived in it.  


  1. I just love you and your blog. I'm a few life stages behind you (just began college and am struggling to make friends--I can't really relate to the Mormons or the non-Mormons, and I can't find a balance). And at this point, I still wish beyond anything that I could be happy in the church--whether or not it was true. That I could transfer to BYU and go to church and meet a nice Mormon boy and bear my testimony every week and be a relief society president and love it. But I know that I would be miserable in that role, and that the Mormon church's one size fits all policy doesn't fit me. And contrary to what everyone (within the church) says, it's harder to the nth degree to learn to live on your own outside the church than to live in it. I really hope for the day that I become like you, and only see the church in my rear view mirror and be happy with that, rather than the limbo I'm stuck in now,

    I'm so happy for you, and I hope you finally get to give away your v-card. ;)

  2. I love this post and I understand what you mean about the downward spiral of perfectionism and the cycle of self-loathing that is disturbingly easy to fall into as a Mormon. A few years ago I was at BYU, feeling depressed, isolated, guilty.. yada yada. Feelings that were made worse in a judgmental perfectionist environment (oh BYU..). I was starting to self-medicate in different ways too. Anyway fortunately before it got too bad, I saw a BYU therapist, and luckily for me he was Mormon but didn't force me to consider my emotions in typical Mormon terms (like telling me to just pray). I started to build a much healthier perspective on myself and on life, which (ironically) led to me leaving the church. And now I'm happily exmormon and going into a mental health career!

    I guess what I'm saying is I agree with ya 100%, and I wish more people struggling with their self-worth (especially Mormons) could understand this... And also it is strangely hard to explain to people how some aspects of a religion could have messed me up so much (at least for me), it doesn't seem traumatic enough sometimes. I'm just happy to be on the upside of things now.
    PS I love your blog! I'm a new stalker. :)

  3. Well.... regarding those"free" bishop therapy sessions, you know the saying about getting what you pay for... In this case, it's worse. Going to an untrained person for therapy can be downright damaging when you have a bona fide need for mental health care.

    I struggled with depression for years following my mom's death. (Car accident during my mission - I didn't even go home for the funeral!!) It never occurred to me that I had an emotional injury requiring medical attention. Yet no amount of prayer and scripture reading brought lasting relief. It was professional counseling and medication for a time that did the trick.

    That was a big factor in my changing faith. Now, I really think that all the quack therapy doled out by well-meaning bishops is just as harmful or more as are religious practices to forbid other needed medical care.

  4. It's beyond me how the church leadership can even bamboozle themselves into believing that giving a bishop a handbook and "authority from God" makes them a qualified counselor. I knew a bishop once-- a good man, just naive--who was musing about how messed up the world was. He said, with all kinds of intrigue in his voice, "Did you know some people even cut themselves to feel better? I just don't know why people would do that." Talk about being thrown into a counseling position you are totally unprepared for. You would think their lawyers would advise them against having bishops provide counseling. It's not only damaging to the trusting members but is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

  5. Nice post! This was a good read in a lot of ways. I especially like how you redefined sex. I too had to do this with sex, alcohol, etc.

    You also hit on a very important subject regarding the Mormon therapists. My father saw a Mormon therapist for some issues with my brother. It didn't help at all. It seemed to make it worse. One of my coworkers also claimed to see a Mormon therapist too. He said it made him feel worse about himself.

    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Poor self-esteem, sinful behavior, overpowering guilt, suicidal thoughts.... now desensitize yourself to remove the guilt, moral compass is gone, experiment with alcohol and sex, you feel free, and yet that is Satan's lie. You will not find happiness there. Come back Lisa.

    1. I think you missed the part where she said that's how she felt in the Mormon church, and it's only now that she's recovering.

      I think you're going to continue to choose to miss that part, no matter how many times it's explained to you.

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