Sunday, April 20, 2014

Taking Off The Mask

This morning I went to church, out of habit more than anything. I sat next to Lucy, as usual, and we did our usual whispering to each other, making fun of silly things people say. Or at least I thought that's what we were doing. I don't think we're ever disrespectful of the meeting itself, but we laugh when people spend the first five minutes of their talk telling the story of how the bishop called and asked them to give a talk, or, since we're in a college singles' ward, when people come across like they care more about advertising themselves than whatever the topic of their talk is supposed to be. I was doing that kind of thing this morning, whispering to Lucy when I noticed something funny, and at first she smiled politely, but when I joked about something the first counselor said, she hissed at me, "Show some respect! It's Easter and Jan just passed away last week. You should be thinking about the resurrection, not Brother Morris's grammar."

"Sorry," I whispered, then scooted an inch away from her on the bench. I kept my mouth shut for the rest of the meeting. I tried to do as she suggested. I remember previous Easter Sundays, feeling touched by the thought of Jesus' sacrifice and the promise of eternal life, but today I just wasn't feeling it. As Lucy had mentioned, today I have more reason than before to be looking forward to the resurrection, but the more I listened to the speakers and tried to get into it, the more it felt... made up. It's like a bunch of grown-ups getting together to play make-believe, talking in all seriousness about our imaginary friend. When I took a step back and looked at the whole thing as if from an outsider's perspective, it all seemed kind of ridiculous. It's like in Scooby Doo, every time they think it's a ghost or a monster it ends up being some crotchety old man in an elaborate disguise. And yet every single time, they believe it's real until someone unmasks him. With everything science has shown us about this amazing world we live in, with all the mysteries revealed, we still believe in monsters and miracles and gods, despite zero tangible evidence to suggest their existence. Is the world we have not enough?

I apologize, I know what I'm saying is offensive to believers. And especially today, on Easter Sunday. I don't mean to disrespect you or your beliefs. I'm just saying it doesn't make sense to me anymore. It's like something clicked in my brain and suddenly I'm seeing the world through new lenses. It's like the first time I got glasses, when I was in fourth grade--I was shocked to see how crisp everything was, now that I could see clearly.

After sacrament meeting, Lucy went to Sunday school as usual, but I made up an excuse and slipped out. I got in my car and drove. I didn't even know where I was going at first, until I ended up at Target in Orem. Except it was closed. Easter. Duh. So with a sigh, I drove to Walmart--which my friend Galadriel likes to call "the bitch of all the Earth, the whore's ugly sister." It was surreal to walk inside a store on Sunday. I can honestly say I've never done that before. Especially here in Utah County, it's very strange to be in a store on Sunday because it's like an entirely different world. It's like the non-Mormons come crawling out of the woodwork--the Hispanics, the multiple piercings and tattoos, the gay couples. I even saw a group of mutants--one with pointed ears, another with purple skin, a third with webbed wings protruding proudly from her tanktop. I did see a few people I assumed were Mormon, dressed in white shirts and ties, grabbing a loaf of bread for the sacrament or a box of diapers. This made me self-conscious of the church clothes I was still wearing. What would people make of me? Would they assume I was getting my ox out of the mire, or that I'm a hypocrite who goes to church then makes other people work so I can shop? Whatever. I forced myself not to care what anyone thought.

I found the men's clothing section, and went to the underwear aisle. I picked out some boxer briefs in various colors, bought them, then drove home and changed. This might not mean anything to you if you aren't Mormon, but it was actually a very significant step for me. I haven't bought normal underwear in nearly six years, not since I went through the temple and started wearing temple garments. But today I'm done being a Mormon. I don't believe it anymore, so it's disingenuous of me to keep wearing the garments that are, among other things, a symbol of belief. Again, to my believing friends, I mean you no disrespect. If anything, I hope to show respect for your beliefs by not taking in vain something that is sacred to you.

It feels strange to be wearing normal underwear again. I feel practically naked. But at the same time, I feel more like me.


  1. I remember putting on normal underwear after years of wearing the garments. It was a long process to mentally be ok with that. I too started with Walmart for that purchase.

  2. Wow, three big and scary steps in one day! It took a long time after losing my testimony for me to feel comfortable leaving church early, shopping on Sundays, or buying real underwear. But doesn't it make youfeel sexier? Not to mention it is fun looking at some of the models on the packaging. ;)

  3. This post really touched me. Although I'm not exactly sure what's going on in your life (despite reading tons of older entries on your blog) I do know the feelings you're describing here, and I felt the exact same way you did in sacrament meeting yesterday. Good look on your journey and don't stop writing. :)

  4. Wow im in Orem and am considering going back to church after years of inactivity. I thought I was an evil person all this time till learning that I need to pick my path, put faith in god and Jesus and not in what other people tell me to do. i never went on a mission or through the temple since I became inactive early on. I tried reading scriptures and prayer but never could decide to return. Recently I met a girl.... she wants me to go back to church. I don't know what to say. I cant take her from the church when all her family is LDS. I feel that its love lost. Mormom church strains yet another relationship in my life.