For the last five years or so before leaving the church I had grown increasingly dissatisfied with my Mormon life. One thing I have never done or never will do is blame the church for my choice to leave...It was in the Mormon faith where I truly learned to love God and develop a deep spirituality. I also made lasting and loving friendships there. My children had good lives within the structure of the Mormon youth program. It was a good life, but over the years it felt more and more as if we were constantly trying to please the church and less and less on giving to our family. For anyone who knows about the Mormon faith, service is everything, service in the form of callings. These callings are considered to be direct calls from God so we were encouraged to accept them because we were doing what the Lord wanted us to do. There were times when these callings consumed every bit of our time and energy. My husband worked many hours and then gave what little time he had left to his callings. I will not speak for my husband here as this is my perspective.
For some time I began to feel as if I were just going through the motions and with what was expected as a devout member I constantly felt that I was falling short and would put a tremendous amount of guilt on myself for this. Unlike my spiritual path now, Mormons are taught to essentially accept all of its doctrine and not question...Well they are told to pray about whether its doctrine is true, but if you did not get an answer in the affirmative you were just not praying long enough and if you did not feel that something was true you were not listening to the holy ghost/spirit. Just as in most orthodox religions, you are not suppose to question the authority of the church, as in its teachings, scripture or prophets. Some may call this blind faith, as in you are expected to believe without direct experience. The Mormon church does believe itself to be the one and only true Abrahamic faith on the earth. So it was expected of one to believe in every teaching, no matter how small. So I did what every other good Mormon did, I accepted all teachings as divine revelation directly from God.
One Sunday I woke up and decided I would not attend church, and just like that I never went back. I struggled mightily for the first year. I felt such intense guilt that I thought God would strike me down or that terrible things would happen to me. The only terrible things to happen was of my own making, and yes I created a massive amount of pain and suffering in my life of which I will not get into here. God did not punish me in any way....But I sure did punish myself. After about a year I began to look into other religions and spiritual paths. When I left the church I had decided, as did my husband, that we would leave Christianity altogether. For those of you who do not believe that Mormons are Christians, Jesus Christ is the center pinnacle of the Mormon faith. We did all things in his name. He was my personal Savior as in my sins could not be forgiven but through him, if I were willing to repent.
(Picture of my Alter early on....it is still a work in progress)
I cannot say I have exactly found my place in Sanatana Dharma as of yet. There are so many paths within Hinduism and there is a wealth of scriptural texts in Sanskrit...and although most of the texts have been translated to English, it is not that simple to know who's translations are correct. There is no main authoritative center in Hinduism. There are countless Spiritual Masters, gurus and teachers. I have read and studies voraciously and have finally come to what I would say is my own personal belief. I wholeheartedly believe in the principles of Karma and Reincarnation. These concepts make absolute perfect sense to me. Although I do devote myself to the worship of the Divine Mother, I always include the masculine aspect of Divinity in my worship, mostly in the form of of Shiva. My logical mind and deepest intuition has led me to the path of Advaita Vedanta. It resonates with me more than any other thing I have every been taught in my life. I still as of yet have never been to any Hindu Temple other than the ISKCON temple once. For now I practice my path on my own. My family support me in my journey, most especially my dear husband. He is on his own spiritual journey and I try very hard to support him with that as well.
I look forward to the day that I can attend a Hindu Temple and receive blessings there. I hope to one day actually make Hindu friends in person. This is not an easy path...Where Buddhism has become very popular in the West, Hinduism is still trying to take a hold. It can be very intimidating for a Westerner to attend a temple where they may be a total minority. I hope that I will be received with kindness. I have a profound respect for this faith and cannot imagine my life without it now...I am learning and growing in it every day and feel that I am truly following my Dharmic Path. Somehow I know that the Divine Mother is guiding me every step of the way. Tat Tvam Asi...I AM THAT.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti,