SLIDER

SUMMER WHITTAKER


'When you can tell your story and it doesn't make you cry, you know you are healing.'

- unknown.

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MY NAME IS SUMMER AND I AM NOT A MORMON.


Becoming a Mormon was the best and worst decision of my life.

Talking about this whole chapter of my life feels irrelevant but also critical to the person I am today. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, aka. Mormons, are people who I never really knew much about and I didn’t intend to go ahead and learn, until I started dating one.
Baring in mind that I dated this guy for almost two and a half years, I learnt more and more about this religion. He would invite me to all these church youth nights with his siblings, church dances, conventions, family home evenings, seminary and obviously he would invite me to church each Sunday. I got to meet so many people of the same age who were also Mormons. I got to see their way of life and being amongst a large crowd, I felt that I was missing out on something. All of these kids had something in common, their testimony that the church was true, but also acceptance of one another.

I put my hands up and admit to everybody that the main reason I started to go to church was because of this boy. Through a matter of months with lessons from the missionaries, countless lessons each Sunday and words spoken by the Prophet, I felt that I belonged in this church. I felt a form of happiness I hadn’t felt before; I can only explain this as comfort. Knowing that we all live after we die, that families can be together forever and all my sins can get washed away, I was baptised as a Mormon.

My baptism was a very confusing time for me, as it would be for any 16 years old whose family had no interest in the church. I pondered for a long time regarding the choice I was about to make but I felt it was right for me.

I don’t know any Mormon who is perfect. In fact, I know many Mormons who behind closed doors do many more wrongs than right and I too, am guilty. Some will never confess to their actions, some will get on their knees to ask for forgiveness and some will judge you for your actions. For example, when this boy and I broke things off, there were many people speculating that I simply got baptised for him and his family. This was not true and still is not true to this day. I would not have gone through this whole aspect of my life for anybody but myself. I felt a divide in my family through my choices, I lost so many friends through the journey and I changed so much as a person.

I maintained going to church for quite some time and stuck by some of my friends to support me whilst holding on to the iron rod (Mormon term). I went on conventions with my best friend I met through the church, we went to dances together and through this best friend is how I met Jacob.

I do not want to discuss any of Jacob’s opinions and views because that is his business, but all I am going to say, is that Jacob was also a member of the church.

We would go to church together on Sundays and get together each Thursday night for institute. This is where I met some incredible people. The guys are still referred to as ‘the guys’ as they have stuck by me no matter what decision I would ever make and have proved to be some of the most incredible people in my life to date.

I thought I was as happy as can be. I had met this boy preparing for his mission, I felt like I was falling in love, I had incredible friends, but then I looked at my reflection and discovered how ugly of a person I was outside of the church.

I tried to present myself as a Christian each day, but through the process I began to judge people on their opposing decisions. As a Mormon, I felt superior and I have so many reasons why I felt I became judgemental that I am not willing to discuss as these involve teachings of the church, I just simply know that many people who have found their own paths felt the exact same way.

I would go to church each Sunday and instead of expecting to be judged by God, the huge crowd of people who stood before me also judged me. I felt so damn unhappy in this place that I thought would only ever bring me happiness. As more time went on, I began to evaluate all aspects of the church and my life and question why I was having these issues. I would simply get told to pray and receive an answer.

I believe that only I can make my own decisions and find the answers for myself. It’s simple, why continue to attend a place when it feels like a choir? Why pretend to be happy with the person I have become? I discovered that I had many unanswered issues and I still do. As I have previously discussed, I have many issues with the church, which I am not going to discuss, but I have made my transition, I have developed and I have altered my life so that I am living in true happiness.

I know some people who will respect my decision and life choices, as I respect theirs, and love me for the person I am today and the person I have been. I’ve lived this past I have learnt from and I have been living as this better version of myself for quite some time now and I could not be happier. I am not less active, I am not disrespectful, I am just simply no more, a Mormon.

My name is Summer and I am no longer a Mormon.
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