Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Utah Suicides

After yesterday's post, i looked into the Utah suicide rate.  It only confirmed the fact that i lived with blinders on for so long.  I had heard that LDS church members in Utah were big into plastic surgery (always have to strive for perfection, after all), and now i'm hearing more and more about the suicide rate in Utah. 

You can read an article from Deseret News (2007) here:

Many parts of Utah are in the 90th national percentile for suicides.  That is astounding. 

And now i'm going to rant a bit, because i need to let it out.  If reading about why i left the lds church would offend you, then stop here.  My intention is not to offend, only to let out what needs to get out.  Like i've said before--expecting me to not talk about something that was part of my life for 19 long years just because you don't like what i'm saying is ridiculous. 

So, anyway....

I got a message a few days ago from someone in one of my old wards who must've just found out i'd left that church.  She hoped i would someday find happiness.  I tried to explain to her that i've found it, but i don't think many inside that church are capable of comprehending there is SO MUCH happiness, love and peace in the real world.  But the part that freaks me out is this:  i told her that since leaving, the almost daily desire to off myself has gone away.  It has, it really has.  I didn't realize just how bad it was until i started typing this post.  I was in a really sad state.

Inside that church, they would say that "Satan" tempts and harasses faithful members of that church and that's why i felt suicidal.  That's such an easy (albeit ridiculous) answer to every little dark cloud that passes over that church or its members.  The reality is more like this:  trying to fit myself into that little box was slowly killing me.  Trying to force myself to believe hurtful things (like that homosexuality is an "abomination," or that gay people can be "healed" from homosexuality, or that in the "Celestial Kindgom" women will be even more baby-making machines than they're supposed to be here on Earth) was killing me.  Trying to convince myself continually that people aged 19 or 21 should hurry up and get married, or that Joseph Smith was a prophet after learning that the Book of Abraham had been translated (thank you, Rosetta Stone!) and was actually the Book of Breathings, and dealing with the constant judgement that goes on inside that church was killing me slowly.  The constant twisting of scripture (tell me if you'd like examples!) was killing me. Because i could FEEL the WRONGNESS of it, at the same time i was hypnotized and pacified by it and constantly "encouraged" to testify of it's truth.

What gets me is how happy people are when they get a "day off" from going to church.  I saw posts about it on Facebook over conference weekend.  If you hate going, why go?  If you hate your calling (i could name sooo many members who have "confessed" to hating their callings, or their husbands' callings), why put yourself through that?  If you realize that church is sucking the life out of you, why go?  Why do something that makes you so very unhappy?   And all the while, have to continually try to convince yourself that you're happy.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, i already know the answer you've been taught.  I was taught it, too. 

I choose life.  I choose happiness--real happiness.  And if that means that i get dirty looks at a funeral (yes, i did) or that i lose business because members shun those who leave (yes, many do), then so be it.  At least i'm living honestly.

My sincere, heart-felt hope is that those who need to wake up and find love, peace and happiness, can and will.

2 holla'd back:

Chris said...

Wow. I had wondered what the story was behind you leaving the church, but figured you'd write more about it if and when you felt like it.

I always thought of you as mostly relaxed and laid-back, but to be completely honest, there were a lot of times I had a sneaking impression that you were trying to talk yourself into feeling that way as much as anything, like if you could hold the pose long enough, the mental peace would follow. I hope that doesn't sound judgmental or condescending; I don't mean I thought of you as fake or anything like that. Just conflicted, as most of us are.

I've had my own off-and-on lifelong relationship with melancholy, so it's really heartbreaking to read that you were that depressed for so long. (In fact, it makes me feel bad for having so often burdened you with my own gloomy thoughts!) I'm glad you're in a good state of mind these days, though. Here's to hoping you can set up a permanent residence there. :)

Amy said...

Agreed. I don't know how one can be happy when they are a member of a church that survives (feeds) on the guilt it generates constantly in its members. I also don't know how one can be happy being inauthentic while desperately trying to measure up to the SINGLE completely suffocating and impossible standard of perfection the church sets. And, I don't know how one can be happy when living with never-ending cases of reality and science conflicting with church history, the Book of Mormon, and modern "revelation" from the "prophets, seers, and revelators." How can one be happy with the cognitive dissonance that results from all of the VERY solid evidence that Joseph Smith was a charlatan who made up a whole bunch of bullshit and a polygamist who didn't even assume responsibility for the extra wives (occasionally mere children) he took on. How can it not annoy the hell out of members when their priesthood leaders won't even address the discrepancies between how they represent their founder and other early prophets and what a whole shit load of other evidence that indicates these men to be power-hungry frauds?

I loved this post.

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