Monday, September 29, 2014

Moving Out

We all know how hard it is to tell your friends and siblings you are letting go of the Iron rod.  You know what they are saying behind your back.  You notice they distance themselves.  I have even heard stories of people being shunned and ostracized. It is a sticky wicket.  But nothing compares to the challenge of telling your parents.  

I spent months hiding from my parents. I was living with Mom and Dads home trying to get my life together.  Being recently dumped, unemployed and on suicide watch I decided not to add heathen to my list of failures.  It was a tough act.  Every Sunday morning I would put on a dress and "drive to church".  Luckily we had a
Singles Ward I could "attend" so my parents never suspected.  I usually stopped at a gas station and changed into my street clothing.  I usually sat in my car and drove around for a while.  Maybe stop in a bar and watch people living normal lives.  Occasionally I would drop in on the Singles Ward.  Like a moth to the flame.  I actually enjoyed seeing all my old friends and getting all that attention. Many of them knew I was questioning.  Having been a staple in the ward they all worried about me. "I'm Just really busy" I would say with a smile.  I usually ended the service hiding in the bathroom fighting tears.

This went on for months.  It was hard enough leaving my friends. The idea of telling my parents was terrifying.    I worried if they knew I would be throw out of the house.  Left to fend for myself.  I figured I would wait until I moved out. But the game of Church Hide and Seek was getting harder and harder to play.  I started dropping hint.  Saying I had doubts.  Asking inappropriate questions to the home teachers. Then my  mother discovered my copy of "No Man Knows My History" (See:  )  She became more and more defensive of the church.  Insisting on nightly prayer and Family Home Evening. It was time for the truth to come out. 

It was a Sunday evening and I was still in my Sunday dress.  My parents started asking me about my job search trying to give me advice.  How could I interview for jobs when I was such an emotional wreck? I had no idea where my life was headed.  I was still silently suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  I was not sleeping and felt so alone. 

"Maybe if you just spent more time at church you could clear your head," My Mother said. 

Suddenly I just blurted it out "I'm not going to church!" There was a moment of silence.  I took a deep breath. "Mom, Dad I need to tell you something.  Can we sit down?"

I told them I did not believe Joseph Smith was a prophet and that I would no longer be a Mormon.  It was a short conversation and my parent were relatively understanding. Of course more long winded and frustrating conversation were yet to come but for the time being it was okay.  My parents respond with love and understanding. They still supported me and did not kick me out.  That felt nice. The important part was I held my ground.  I did not allow them the fantastic idea  that I would come back.  

For those of you who have yet to tell your parents I recommend you break it to them over time. Maybe a few weeks.  Maybe a few months. But tell them and when you do do not leave them any room for hope.  In the long run you will just hurt them more.  Live your new life with excitement and pride.  I know you probably feel you are disappointing them.  Well let me ask you you plan on living in your parents basement for the rest of your life?  No. You want to move out and they want you to too.  They would be disappointed if you never moved out and built a life for yourself.   Letting your parents believe you may one day come back to church is like emotionally sleeping on a futon in their basement. Your parents had you so they could watch you grow and become your own person. You may not get the job they think you should have, or date the boys they pick but they can take pride in the fact that they raised someone who could think for themselves. 

If you are struggling with coming out I highly recommend you watch this TED talk.  My sister sent me this link as I was leaving and gave me a lot of courage! 

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