By Unpleasant Memories
I appreciated the music and the communal aspects of coming together when I attended church. Since many of our friends were Mormon as well and many of our activities were church-centered, of course I have some pleasant memories. The unpleasant parts of being raised Mormon have to do with racism, sexism, and homophobia built into the doctrine and the culture of the church. At a very young age, many teachings did not feel right or the teachings seemed to conflict with the way many of the members lived their lives. As a youth, I spent many nights worrying about outer darkness and being tortured for sins I hadn’t even committed but feared that I might. I have finally found a place of happiness and peace but that only came after leaving the shame-based culture of Mormonism. I do miss some of the rituals and the singing but I feel extremely lucky to have escaped the harmful beliefs.
**How can members emphasize the benefits of following Church standards without invoking the shaming “hellfire and damnation” outer darkness imagery? How can Church instructors avoid creating strong feelings of conflict when discussing gender roles? How can those in leadership positions be particularly sensitive to the very real possibility that members may personally know one or more gay individuals?