Life as an Anti-Mormon
The months went by. Tami continued to read the anti-Mormon website every day, and she joined a support group of ex-Mormons and met them for coffee once a month. She was given anti-Mormon pass-along cards, which she distributed to LDS friends who confided in her that their testimonies were suffering. “I’m not kidding when I tell you that I took my temple recommend out of my wallet and replaced it with these cards,” Tami wrote.
Tami’s husband had struggled with his activity in the Church for their entire marriage, so Tami’s change of heart didn’t affect him much. Their children, however, were very confused. “Before all this, I had been my daughter’s Young Women’s president,” Tami said. “To this day my oldest son doesn’t ever go to church and doesn’t want to have anything to do with the Church. I know I had a heavy influence on that.”
Her youngest son was nearing baptism age, but there was “no way I would allow him to get baptized,” Tami says.
A fear began to creep into Tami’s mind—a fear that if she died, someone would try to bury her in her temple clothes. To prevent the possibility, Tami built a bonfire in her backyard and ransacked the house for everything related to the Church. “I burned manuals. I burned my garments. I burned my temple clothes.”
There were only two things that didn’t make it into the fire—a temple-related gift that her grandmother had made for her, and her scriptures. “I tried to find my scriptures, but I could not find them. . . . I looked everywhere,” she adds.
Spring of 2014, a friend invited Tami to go to church with her for Easter Sunday. Because it was a friend who had continued to love and stick by Tami throughout the past months, Tami decided to go.
She only stayed for sacrament meeting. “There was one woman whose jaw literally dropped when she saw me at church. Because I had been very vocal about my feelings for the Church on social media," she says. "It was shocking for a lot of people.”
The experience didn’t create any change in Tami. If anything, the experience convinced her that if she ever tried to come back to church, she would not be welcomed.
A Spark of Curiosity
What did spark a change, however, was a conversation Tami had with another friend who is no longer a member of the Church. Tami had made a comment about her internal struggles to truly feel happy and free, and how she missed feeling the Spirit. Her friend said, “Tami, you know how I feel about the Church, but you know that the Church is you. You love the Church.” Tami explained, “That’s really what started me thinking, ‘Oh, gosh. I think she’s right.’”
That desire to come back was weak, but Tami found herself googling “Ex-Mormon returns to church” in the hopes of finding stories of others who had left and come back, but she couldn’t find anything. “It would just pull up more anti-Mormon literature. I couldn’t find anybody who left the Church and became an anti-Mormon and came back.”
Tami created a secret Pinterest board called “Going Back to Church.” It only had a few pins on it, but she would look at it every now and then.
In the meantime, Tami’s relationship with her parents and siblings deteriorated. “I was angry and bitter and they didn’t want to be around that,” Tami said. Although she felt like she was the same person—minus the Church—she realized later that wasn’t true. “I pushed them away because I was mad at them because they didn’t understand my journey.”
Despite the strained relationships, Tami texted her dad one day, “Is anyone too far gone to come back?” Her dad responded, “Of course not.”
Around the same time, Tami’s brother was visiting from out of state and they met up for lunch. She asked him the same question, and he bore his testimony to her of the same thing—no one is too far gone.