It took me years to leave the Mormon church. It was a long, slow process that I made official after members of the church were urged to support Proposition 8.
I was seven months pregnant with my first child when Prop 8 passed. Although I hadn’t been to church for more than a decade, and no longer considered myself Mormon, it was then that I was suddenly gripped by the notion that I absolutely must get my name off the church’s record books.
I wanted to do it to stand up for gay rights but also because I felt it was paramount that my daughter be born into a religion-less family. She will be taught about all religions and that none are right and none are necessarily wrong – except those crazy, snake handlin’ mofos. What’s that about?
But enough of all that. What I really wanted to say was that as much pride as Mormons feel being a part of that religion, bearing their testimonies all over the place, I feel that same pride in being an ex-Mormon. I’d like to bear my testimony and tell you that clawing my way out of the religious pit that was inflicted on me since before I was born is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and I’m proud that I made it out with my brain relatively intact.
Only a recovering Mormon from Utah knows what it’s really like to be fully immersed in a set of beliefs that aren’t just beliefs but a lifestyle, to live in a community in which 98% of people, including your entire family, is that same religion and then… AND THEN having to come to terms with the fact that, like Santa Claus, nearly everything you were taught about life and death (and the “pre-existence” and the kingdoms after death) doesn’t exist. To reconcile your new beliefs with the old, not to mention family members, friends, it’s a tough row to hoe, yo. It’s why I feel a kinship to each and every person who has stumbled down the same difficult path.
So as much as X-Mormon of the Year Award is a sort of a humorous bit of fun, I am super thrilled to hold the title for 2010. In light of all the controversial events of the past year, including gay rights, immigration and the simple fact that Utah Senator Chris Buttars and Rep. Carl Wimmer (not to mention that crazy sumbitch Glenn Beck) are Mormon – it means, as the great Charlie Sheen would say, I’m WINNNNIIIINNNNNG.
But the battle continues…