If you’ve read my story you already know that I grew up Mormon. My parents were Mormons. My dad’s parents were Mormons. Their parents before them were Mormons. As a matter of fact, my family are Mormons since 1836. The community I grew up in was, per capita, more Mormon than Salt Lake City. Oh, there were a couple of Catholic churches in town, and a Baptist church. I even knew a couple of kids in my school that attended them. But they were part of a different and scary world. The way I was raised seemed like the most normal, natural thing in the world.
One of the tenants of the faith is personal revelation through the Holy Ghost. If you ask God in faith, He will let you know that the Mormon church is the true, restored church founded by Jesus Christ. You will know this because, well, you’ll feel it.
The first year of so of my recovery had very much the same spiritual flavor of being a faithful Mormon. No doubt that God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, lived, and that He cared for me personally. There was no spiritual ambiguity or doubt on my part. There was simply a blind, and rather naive willingness, perhaps even an eagerness, to suspend disbelief and live in a world of certainty and personal knowledge of a God that was personal to me.
Over the last two and a half or three years I’ve wrestled mightily with the God Concept of AA. But I’m beginning to understand that I came by my faithlessness honestly. It is left over from a different time. It is left over from growing up Mormon and being gay.
How could a 14-year-old boy be an abomination to God? I was faithful to the church in every other way, but I knew I had to hide my same-sex attraction. It was immoral. They taught me that it was a mortal sin; the kind that God wouldn’t forgive. It took some punishment and it took getting to know myself and my true feelings better, and it took finding some of the glaring fallacies in the Mormon scriptures that contradict empirical reality, for me to reject the church, and to reject God.
Whatever you want to call my Mormon baggage, I haul it in with me to Alcoholics Anonymous and I use it as a kind of yard stick for measuring bullshit.
I don’t think that I can comfortably practice the program if a deity is involved. Some more generic, etherial “higher power” sounds nice enough, but my impulse to uncover truth instead of accepting and following blindly, eventually brings me to a place that the only higher power I have any kind of faith in at all is the steps, and the fellowship of some close friends in AA.
I guess that basically makes me a heretic. At least it does around here. So I need to find a way to separate the Mormon Baggage from the Program of Recovery, just to put my mind more at ease. Just so I’m not constantly on the lookout for fraud and rejection.
Fortunately I’ve found some online groups recently who honor their Mormon traditions, but don’t believe a word they say. Maybe if I keep learning about this and taking a look at my part of what unfolded in my early Mormon life, I’ll be able to put this to rest and be able to live happily in the rooms of AA again.