Born and raised along the Wasatch Front, my pioneer roots go back to the early days of settling the Mormon corridor. I absolutely identified as Mormon–attending church and anxiously completing all milestones throughout my youth. In my teens I began to recognize that my extended family’s approach to Mormonism didn’t necessarily mirror the message I heard from the pulpit or lessons. My great grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and parents didn’t use words like “jack,” “cafeteria,” “uncorrelated,” “open” or “progressive,” although that is most definitely what they were. We were simply Mormons and practiced according to our conscience.
While studying history at BYU, I reached a point where I wanted to know if the Church was “True.” I felt no pressure from family to practice one way or the other but I did know that if I were to believe, I wanted to follow all of its precepts. I followed the steps of developing a testimony, felt I found my answer and proceeded to serve a mission, marry in the temple, begin a family and serve in my local wards. The Church meant everything to me and to my immediate family.
My faith transition began when my husband agonizingly approached me with concerns about Joseph Smith. All of the things I’d heard during my progressive upbringing came crashing off “the shelf.” It was during this time that we found Mormon Stories and discovered we were not alone in our journey. I found comfort through listening to the podcasts and daily pursued ways to reconcile my love for the church with the reality of its history and doctrine. Living in California, the politics of Proposition 8 proved the final straw for our activity in the church and we finally made the decision to “take a break” from church attendance. A major aspect to this decision was not wanting our young children exposed to messaging that we saw as damaging. It was a difficult transition but a journey that has strengthened our family and challenged me in new and welcomed ways. I continue lingering the “halls” of Mormon Stories because I feel a responsibility to help where I can. Currently, I’m putting my oral history skills to work over at Mormon Narratives where we collect everyday stories about Mormonism for foundation use, academic research and future generations.
To contact Sara, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.