My name is Kelly and I was raised in the Lutheran church until I was 13 years old. That’s when, after 3 years of confirmation classes, the church refused to confirm me a member because I had missed taking a test and completing a homework assignment.
I wasn’t the only kid they refused to confirm. There was a boy who hadn’t been able to be in Sunday school every week because his parents got divorced and he spent every other weekend in another town. They refused to confirm him too.
They didn’t just refuse to confirm us. They told us, two 13 year old kids, that we were no longer welcome there if we weren’t confirmed. I was kicked out of the youth group as well…told if I wasn’t being confirmed, that I couldn’t be there any more.
Only 2 out of 12 kids were confirmed that year because every other child and their parents left the church because of the way they treated us.
I’d been going to that church since i was 5 years old. My mom, of course, didn’t have to go through three years of confirmation classes to join, she only had to take a one hour class.
So anyways, I was 13 and my mom decided that I was old enough to decide if I wanted to go to church or not. She said we could find a new one or we could stop going all together. My dad never had any interest in going at all. He was raised by a crazy fundamentalist Christian mother and wanted nothing to do with religion.
When I told my mom that I didn’t want to go any more she said that was fine. And so, for the next 5 years, I never went to church, never really thought much about what I believed when it came to God.
Then when I was 18, I lost 22 people in less than 6 months. My boyfriend killed himself, 18 friends were killed in a plane crash, one friend was killed in a car accident, and 2 aunts died from a heart condition and cancer.
I had also been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder about 6 months before my boyfriend killed himself.
They put me on meds but no amount of medication would help with that kind of grief. I would have killed myself, but I couldn’t do that to my parents.
For the first time, I started thinking about where we go when we die and questioning what I believed in. I knew that I couldn’t believe that my boyfriend was in hell, and I had a problem with the fact that God stopped talking to his people so long ago. I couldn’t understand why he would prove himself and his power to so many people so long ago but remain totally silent today. Didn’t people today deserve to hear from him just as much as those thousands of years ago?
So I knew what I believed and what I didn’t. I wanted a church that believed that people who killed themselves didn’t go straight to hell. That they were given the help and compassion that they needed and were judged on the good of their hearts and not some crazy ‘you’re going straight to hell if you weren’t “saved” during your lifetime.’ judgement.
I didn’t find that in any church but the LDS church.
I was introduced to the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints though two missionaries who knocked on my door.
The more I heard about the LDS church, and what they believed, the more interested I was.
They believe in a three-tiered heaven. They compare it to the sun, the moon, and the stars. All bright, but each slightly less than the other. Only those who are members of the church, who have kept all the Lord’s covenants, got to go to the highest level of heaven. The heaven where Jesus and God lived. The members of the church who didn’t keep all the Lord’s covenants, got to go to the middle level. Still a paradise, but slightly less so than the highest level. People who weren’t members of the church, but who were good people, with good hearts, got to go to the lowest level, which is still a paradise, but slightly less than the middle level.
Only those who still reject God and Jesus after death go to outer darkness, until the time of the second coming, when they get a second chance. They can choose to follow God and be saved, or they can follow the devil and go to hell for eternity.
They do not believe that suicides go straight to hell. And everyone good, whether they are members of the church or not, get a chance to go to heaven. I really liked this.
I also liked that they believe that God still speaks to his prophets today. I liked that they believe that the LDS church is the same church that Jesus built when he was on earth. I thought that this meant that the church wasn’t built by man, and that it wasn’t run by man, that it was run by God. This appealed to me because I already believed that the churches today have been so corrupted by man, that I couldn’t trust that their doctrine was what God really wanted, and not just what man wanted.
Those are the two biggest reasons I decided to join the church.
Joining the LDS church and the friends I made there, along with the love and support of my parents, was what got me through that terrible year.
I was happy, for a while. I learned everything I could about the church, it’s history, how it was formed, and what it believed in. To me, as someone who didn’t question the validity of the Bible, and the existence of God, it made sense. I wanted it to be true. I NEEDED it to be true. So I threw myself into this new life of mine and my new faith in God.
Then, when I was 25, my parents moved across the country and I decided to follow them. I moved to Arizona and tried going to church here, but after so many years of stuggling with mental illness, I was 150 pounds overweight and on Social Security Disability. I was extremely embarrassed to meet new people so I decided to hold off going to my new church until I lost some weight. Then I got sick. I found out that I had Endometriosis and a cyst on my ovary the size of a grapefruit. They had to remove one of my ovaries, and I spent the next few years in and out of surgery and in incredible pain.
Then I found out that I would likely never have children. This was my worst nightmare come true. All I’ve ever wanted was to be a mother. When I was little, when other kids wanted to be a doctor, or a policeman, I wanted to be a mom.
I started to wonder how God could do this to me. I’d been so good. Done everything he wanted. Why would he take away the one thing I wanted most out of life? I’d already been suffering from Bipolar Disorder and major depression for so many years. Hadn’t I suffered enough?
For several years I was just angry. I refused to go to church because I couldn’t bring myself to worship a God who could be so cruel.
Then one day I was browsing Reddit, and I noticed that atheism was a big topic there. Out of curiosity I clicked on a few links and saw images like this….
Suddenly, my eyes were open and I started thinking about things I had never allowed myself to think about before.
That was a couple of weeks ago and since then I’ve become obsessed. And the more I read, and the more I think, the more sure I am that there is no God.
I believed in God because I was told to when I was 5 years old. I believed in the truth of the LDS church because I needed to believe. My eyes are open now and my whole viewpoint on life has changed. I’m no longer simply trying to get through the day, wishing that this life would just hurry up and end because I want to move on to paradise. Now I see my life for what it really is. I only have this one chance at experiencing happiness, and I’ve already wasted so much of that chance. I refuse to waste it any more.