Sunday, March 11, 2018

They All Float

“Looking back now, I’m astounded at the stuff people told me was evil.”

This is FSM_Noodly_Luv, dodging religious projectiles.


Today, she’s a Tapir Signal volunteer, quick to talk with people having a hard time. Unlike most Signal volunteers, though, she’s never been a Mormon. She just came really, really close.

FSM was raised as a Southern Baptist listening to fire and brimstone sermons every Sunday. According to her ministers and family, the Rapture was coming any day now (we’re still waiting) and reading the Harry Potter books was a sin.

Mormonism seemed like a breath of fresh air when she met some missionaries while she was away at college. The prospect of no hell to speak of was very attractive. She began to attend church and after six months of lessons, decided to get baptized.

Her then-fiancé-now-husband asked her to pump the brakes and do a little more research before she committed. FSM started Googling and found r/exmormon.

“People started sending me their horror stories. It was groundbreaking. I felt like I had been led to believe the church was something else when it was something completely different,” she said. “I was really projecting onto the church what I wanted it to be.”

Even without the influence of r/exmormon, though, FSM had begun noticing some cracks in the Mormon façade, especially after the November 2015 policy was released, banning the children of gay couples from receiving church blessings. People who had previously been kind to the LGBT members in the ward began treating those members differently.

The kicker was when one of the missionaries, upon hearing that FSM’s fiancé had expressed doubts about her baptism, asked her if she was sure marrying him was the right choice.

Not long after FSM stopped attending LDS services, she resigned her Southern Baptist membership as well, which freaked out most of her family. Given their reactions, she felt a special affinity for the posters on r/exmormon who spoke of the pain of having their families reject them for leaving their church.

“Those were the same things I had struggled with, so my heart really went out to them,” FSM said. “I wanted to be more effective at helping out.”

So, she joined the Tapir Signal.

“I work in health care and I deal with a lot of the legal aspects. I’ve been able to handle a lot of the legal questions we’ve received,” she said. She also volunteers to talk with people who are feeling suicidal.

“A few of the people I still message on a daily basis. It’s nice to see how their outlook has changed over time,” FSM said. “I reFSM wanted to join the Mormon church because I wanted a sense of community and support. I found that so much more in the Tapir Signal than in the church.”

Tapir/Sparlock Signal is always looking for volunteers in a variety of areas including housing, employment, and other practical concerns as well as LGBT issues and suicide awareness. Contact us for more details.

If you are in need of help, you can reach us here.

If you are feeling suicidal, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or 1-800-784-2433 (outside the US, these calls are free via Skype).

If you are LGBT+ and need to talk, please contact the LGBT National Hotline at 1-888-843-4564 or find them online here.

Know you are safe and among friends and we will do whatever we can to help.

Lastly, if you would like to be involved or volunteer, you can reach out to us here.

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