My childhood and college experience was your typical Mormon experience. Very active parents, lots of siblings, baptism at 8, priesthood ordinations at age 12, 14, 16, temple and mission at age 19, BYU graduation at age 25. One thing was always missing: a girlfriend. I had plenty of friends who were girls, but I never went on more than a first date with any of them. My dating life is probably a good topic for another post.
What I want to talk about is my Mormon life since I left BYU. The last temple recommend I ever received was during my last year at college. During those last two years of card-carrying Mormonhood, I went to the temple for a few weddings and with a friend as she was going for the first time. The last time was about a week before it expired and I definitely got the “you’re cutting it too close” look from the temple worker as he saw the expiration date.
I never got it renewed. Not because I didn’t believe. I believed in repentance, I just didn’t think I could embrace the “forsake” part of the process. In all honesty, I didn’t really want to. I was slowly coming to the realization that I may never get married, and living celibate for the rest of my life seemed overwhelming and almost impossible to do. In my mind, to truly repent, I had to commit to celibacy, including masturbation, for the rest of my life. That is what forsaking meant to me. However, I knew that would be impossible for me, and I would just end up in a continual cycle of guilt, shame, repenting, and forsaking. It just didn’t seem worth it.
In the eight years since my temple recommend expired, I’ve only been asked once about its expiration, and that was six months after it expired. I thanked the ward clerk for letting me know and hung up the phone. Little did I know that no one would ever ask me about it again.
As mentioned in my previous post, I have always been a full tithe paying Mormon. My tithing settlements have always been short and I was always doing “okay”. I guess that was good enough. They left me alone and I was okay with it. I went to church each week, was a somewhat regular home teacher, and was helpful in my callings (usually planning activities). I just never went to the temple, and began taking the sacrament less and less. I’m guessing most people in my social circle would be shocked if they knew about my lack of temple activity. I have never lied, I just don’t talk about it. I fit the Mormon bill and nobody really questions me.