At peace at last

I’m angrier than a turtle without a shell over the fact that I didn’t do what I did sooner.  What did I do?  After several decades of involvement in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the “Mormon” church, I finally, and once and for all, officially left the religion.  Yesterday, I wrote a follow-up.  Well, this is a follow-up to the follow-up.

I left about a month ago after requesting that my records be withdrawn.  Immediately upon the person with authority sending the proper electronic paperwork, the headquarters in Salt Lake City honored my request.  Now, I’m no longer on the rolls of my ward (think Catholic parish) nor any other ward or branch.

However, with the way that the church works, my records aren’t actually gone.  At headquarters, they have a department called Confidential Records.  This is where the records of those who leave the church and those who have been excommunicated go.  So, no, I’m not really removed from their records.

Not everyone knows how to put records in a confidential status.  Some people in authority don’t even know how to do it.

The only people who can get access to my records are men with the proper authority.  My records have been electronically coded so that they will never get into the hands of local leadership.  Although I wish that they’d permanently remove my records by wiping them out, I am at peace with them keeping my records in a confidential status.

I am also at peace with the decision that I made.  I am at peace with the concept of being out of the church and that there’s nothing that can be done to bring me back, based on feedback from my former stake president (think Catholic bishop).

Also, I am at peace with having left the church for the Catholic Church.  It is the only Church that is truly Christian.  It was founded in AD 33 by Jesus Christ himself.  All other religions were founded by men.  My former church, for example, was founded by Joseph Smith, a known criminal in the Palmyra, New York area.  He made the claim that both Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him in a forest.

Smith would go on to declare himself a prophet and he used that self-created status to convince multiple women to marry and have sex with him.  He even married at least one teenage girl.  She was just 14 when she found herself married to Smith and Smith showed that he was perfectly willing to sleep with a 14-year-old.  What kind of “prophet” does that?

Anyway, I was baptized Catholic at Easter Vigil in 2022.  It was the best decision that I made religiously, because everything the Church teaches is true.  The Mormons claim to have the truth, but they got their beliefs from Smith, who was never actually a true prophet.

The Mormons do mean well.  For the most part, they are a decent and peaceful people, but their beliefs, which I was once stupid enough to buy into, are nowhere near anything resembling the truth.  Some of these beliefs are just outright creepy and/or hilarious.  For example:

  • They believe that a couple can be “sealed” in one of their temples, meaning that that couple is married not just for time but time and all eternity.
  • They believe that, if married in the temple, a man can be sealed to multiple women.  The church’s current president, whom they believe to be a “prophet,” is sealed to two women.  This, I feel, is a forum of spiritual polygamy.  The church outlawed polygamy in 1890 in order to have the federal government recognize Utah as a state.
  • My wife is still on the church records as being “sealed,” but no longer to me.  What it means, according to the Mormons, is that she’s guaranteed an eternal husband.  The belief is that my wife and I will never see each other again after death.  Believe me, I’m okay with that.
  • They believe that God and Jesus Christ are separate and distinct entities.
  • They believe that, in their temples, a person can sort of stand in for a deceased person and be baptized in that person’s name.  That person can, in the Spirit World, elect to accept or reject the baptism.
  • They believe that twelve-year-old boys can be ordained into the priesthood.

I could go on and on about their beliefs, but why do that when someone else has done it for me?  This website takes you to “The CES Letter,” a project that is well-known to members.  Basically, the author wrote a letter to an instructor in the church’s educational system.  In that letter, he outlined all of his problems with what the church teaches.

There’s a lot to read in there, but what was most compelling for me were the accusations of plagiarism.  The accusation is that, in many cases, Smith stole passages from the bible and put them into the Book of Mormon and presented those passages as his own.  The BOM, by the way, is the Mormon church’s version of the bible.

Smith supposedly translated it from golden plates that an angel gave him.  They believe that the Smith was intelligent enough to translate from a supposedly ancient language, despite the fact that he was poorly educated.

The Catholic Church, on other hand, is the only church that exists on a foundation of truth and knowledge.  In order to be baptized, I, and others like me, had to take a class called Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, which is required.  It is a series of classes that discusses in great detail the beliefs of the Catholic Church.

With every class, I felt more and more that Catholicism matches my beliefs.  It was also similar to the Mormon church.  In order to be baptized, one must take a series of “discussions,” or lessons, that outline the church’s beliefs on one subject or another.  The discussions are typically led by missionaries.

Anyway, to sort of go ahead and cut to the chase, I am a lot happier as a Catholic than I ever was as a Mormon.  I held off removing my name in order to keep the wife happy, but last month, I just couldn’t do it any longer.  I had a meeting with my former bishop, and I told him that I was leaving.  As I was, for several years, the ward librarian, I handed in my keys and my temple recommend, a piece of paper that gave me access to any temple in the world.

When it’s time to go to Catholic Church, my thought is I get to go to Mass.  When I was attending the Mormon church, my thought was, “oh, no, I have to go to church.” For a while there, I was going to Saturday Mass and then the Mormon church on Sundays.  This, too, was only done to keep the wife happy.  But at one point, I simply gave up.

I couldn’t take being around people who thought that they have the truth.  They don’t.  They do mean well, don’t get me wrong, but they don’t have the truth and it’s amusing to see.  Plus, I don’t want to spend another minute in a Mormon church building.

There are some hidden bonuses:

  • I don’t have to go to church on Sundays for two hours or more.  I can go to Mass on Saturday for one hour and be done with it for the weekend.
  • I don’t have to call what some call “magic underwear.”  These are what they consider to be sacred garments that must be worn under one’s clothing at all times.  The only time you can take them off is showing, heavy manual labor and sex with one’s spouse.
  • I am no longer mandated to fork over 10% of my income on a weekly basis.  I can, for offering, pay every week or every month.  I feel that it’s only fair that I pull my weight, so I at least pay what I feel is my fair share of the basic bills: power, heat/air conditioning, etc.
  • I don’t have to sit down with someone and declare my tithing/offering status.
  • I don’t have conferences to watch or attend.

The list goes on and on.

As a Catholic, I am at peace.  As a Mormon, I felt forced to go to church to immerse myself in false doctrine.  Now, I’m happy.  It’s gotten around my former ward that I left to be a Catholic.  I don’t know or care what their thoughts are, as I was the ward’s librarian.  Surely, the librarian is a believer.  Nope.  Not this guy!  It sickened me to hand out materials to people, knowing that what they were using was untruthful to say the least.

Joining the Catholic faith and, ultimately, leaving the Mormon church, was one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made in life.  I don’t regret it.

If you want to learn more about the Catholic Church at your own pace, I highly recommend reading a book called Catholicism for Dummies. It’s what I read in addition to going to RCIA.  It’s what helped me decide that Catholicism is my calling and that the time to play around in the Mormon church is over.

If you’re curious about the book, but don’t have the time or desire to sit down and read the whole 400+ page book, than here’s a “cheat sheet.”

There are plenty of people in the Mormon church, some in my former ward, who no longer believe, but stay for the sake of their families.  That’s what I did for several years, but at some point you need to man up and do what is right.  That is what I did.

I’ve gotten several text messages congratulating me on “jumping the fence.”  On the other hand, I have also gotten text messages telling me that I’m going to burn in hell and that I’m going to be miserable for the rest of my days.  Wrong.  I feel at peace and I feel awesome.

If you are in the Mormon faith when you really don’t want to be, my personal, unsolicited advice is to leave and run.  Run far, run fast.


UPDATE on 5/29/2024 at 5:12 p.m.

Finally, after several weeks, I received a letter from Salt Lake City that confirms, once and for all, that I’m out: