Exit Strategy: A Guide to Leaving Mormonism with your Dignity and Integrity Intact

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It mocks the principle of informed consent. Apostle Boyd K. Packer commanded CES teachers to teach only a version of history and doctrine that builds faith. Not only is this practice offensive, it is hypocritical coming from one who claims that the Mormon Church is superior to all others. I recall that shortly after being baptized, the Branch President called us in to inform us that we were placing our eternal lives in jeopardy if we continued to use artificial birth control.

It was quite an intrusion into the most personal aspect of our marriage. He found out because a gossipy member had been quizzing me on what kind of birth control we used, and I told him that we used the pill. He reported this sin to the Branch President.

He retrieved dozens of quotations from church presidents and apostles from his files none more contemporary than that warned the members against the evils of birth control. We had married young with the idea that we would finish college before we began to have children.

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Fearing that God would punish us for eternity, we stopped using the pill and Teresa immediately became pregnant. It made our lives miserable because the brethren made unreasonable and sometimes impossible demands. It often placed us in tortuous double binds. I was supposed to be a model family man, but I was supposed to never turn down a calling even if it meant being away from home way too much while my wife was having babies just over a year apart.

We feel silly now for being so gullible and giving away our sacred right to plan our family ourselves.


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Being a member of the Mormon Church meant that I was rarely at home to help my wife with our growing family. I was attending meetings and feeling very important. It was a nightmare for Teresa. She began to wonder way back then if the church was a bunch of baloney.

Having to raise a lot of small children without any help was killing her. We were told that Mormons were supposed to provide homes for righteous spirits that waited in the pre-mortal existence to come into our families. That would be a tragedy. Inherent in such an attitude is arrogance and a not-so-subtle dismissal of women as little more than baby factories though members deny it.

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When we joined the church females were counseled to raise up their children to the Lord, provide a perfect home, teach their children the gospel, always be happy and cheerful, make perfect home made bread and rolls, visit the sick, do visiting teaching every month without fail, be a great and beautiful wife, be intelligent and conversant with world affairs, never turn down a calling, and stay beautiful for your husband —all the while having babies as fast as possible. We were however reminded in various meetings over the years to avoid being selfish and think of the millions of spirits who needed to gain physical bodies.

The new entry leaves the decision up to the couple "and the Lord. The vast majority had arrived at that decision a long time before, including the American Catholics. By the late s and early s Mormons began to hear the leaders harp on having babies as fast as they could, less and less. After some overzealous PH leaders took it upon them selves to meddle too much by telling couples what kinds of sexual positions were approved of the Lord, they began to pull back. He asked me if I had ever had oral sex. I was immediately angered by the question, but also under his thumb as a church employee and therefore required to answer.

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I asked him if he referred to. He stuttered and seemed a bit flustered.

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Before I could answer, and feeling more embarrassed than you can imagine, I was almost dizzy. After finishing he asked me if I had any questions. I was too stunned to ask any. What a bizarre interview. Afterward I asked Teresa if she had undergone the same kind of "instruction" and she said, "No!

Couples are required to interview separately. While I was a bishop if the couple wanted to interview together I invited them to do so. We both were so mad that we promised that if any meddling PH leader ever asked about our activities in the bedroom again, we would get up and walk out in protest and suffer the consequences.

Some overzealous PH leaders even went into great detail with teens, teaching them about sexual encounters they had no knowledge of before. The leaders received a lot of complaints about those interviews. Couples since that time have been given more control over their reproductive choices. PH leaders have been ordered not to meddle in the affairs of married couples. It only took years for that enlightened counsel. Pregnancy dragged Teresa through a knot-hole backwards.

Morning sickness turned into all-day, everyday nausea.

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She never had that "glow" that the Mormon men insist women get when they are pregnant. The morning sickness increased with each of our five children. Teresa was ready to die after our last baby. She was worn out. Her tank was completely empty and yet she needed to do more, or so the church told her over and over again. She was called to serve in the Primary Presidency right after the birth of our 5 th child. Most Mormons when being transparent and completely honest admit that they feel nagging guilt most of the time for all kinds of things.

The leaders use guilt in liberal doses to prod the members along. There is much evidence that his reason for adding the eternal marriage component was so he could use it to cloak his polygamous activities. We were told our civil marriage in the Methodist Church a little over a year before would not be recognized by God in the next life because it was not performed in a Mormon temple.

We were prepared for our trip to the Idaho Falls temple by gathering in solemn meetings with the Branch President. He spoke with a sense of awe and reverence for everything associated with the temple.

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He also chose his words very carefully to avoid revealing anything that should remain secret—sacred. He also spoke in a really deep, low, quiet voice, with great sincerity.


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  6. I was convinced that if I were worthy enough, God would let me see angels in the temple. That would explain the secrecy and whispery, low-talking by the Branch President. Teresa was hemorrhaging pretty badly from the birth of our first child. The birth had been a difficult one for her. We had no business jumping in the car with well-meaning Mormon handlers determined to get us to the temple in Idaho Falls, Idaho from Ellensburg, Washington.

    A blessing from a member of the Branch Presidency, who knew that her bleeding was only Satan trying to stop us from being sealed, anointed Teresa with consecrated olive oil and commanded her to be healed. We also had a good, long prayer before leaving to keep Satan from causing the engine in the Dodge Dart to fail.

    I did get the jolt of my life. The ritualistic ceremony enacted by live actors in the temple was shocking and disappointing. The penalties and oaths for not keeping secrets were bizarre and pointed to a kind of paranoia.

    I promised to have my throat slit if I ever revealed anything that I saw or heard in the temple. I wondered what all the secrecy was about. Years later when I learned that Joseph Smith borrowed heavily from Masonic ceremonies then added his own tweaks to it I learned why.

    His closest Masonic friends and church leaders admitted that Joseph wanted the people to learn to keep a secret. The church is still practicing the art of cover-up, jab and parry. A number of returned missionaries confessed to me during my years of teaching that they had no idea that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy.

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