Link to Part 1: https://kimthorneharper.wordpress.com/2017/11/18/my-faith-transition-from-mormonism-to-biblical-christianity-part-1/
When I returned to Utah, my mom had offered my boys and I to live with her and we’d accepted that offer with gratitude. After all, her health was failing and it was a good mutual agreement. I would accompany her to medical appointments, go shopping and just spend time with her while she would get to know her grandsons she hadn’t ever known, since they were living in different countries.
Since I hadn’t been there for 16 years, we had much to catch up on. I do believe that the worst thing had to be that not only was her physical health severely going downhill fast, but her mental faculties were being taken over by dementia. Many times she would treat me like I was a little girl. At times she could only retain a long-term memory and that made it especially challenging for me as her daughter.
After many hospitalizations, she finally had a massive stroke at the end of July 2015 where I found her lying on the kitchen floor, unable to speak or move. I called 911 and had her transported to the nearest hospital, but it was determined that she’d never be able to do things for herself again. She’d also left a directive that if that ever happened, she did not want to be resuscitated. My siblings and I, along with the medical staff, made plans for her to go into hospice and pass away in the least painful way possible. We were all with her when she passed on a peaceful Sunday.
After she passed, my relationship with my siblings deteriorated quickly and after that, it seemed better to keep a low or no contact rule with them. We simply couldn’t see eye to eye and I needed to focus on my boys and what lied ahead.
My mother had left us each an inheritance and I thought that the best use of those funds would be to buy a home. After contemplating locations, I felt a strong pull towards northern Utah, specifically Logan. That was further confirmed as my real estate agent and I traveled there to look at houses. We found the Victorian dollhouse the first day. It was love at first sight and was situated on a 1/3 acre property in a beautiful neighborhood with a park in front. It was perfect for just my son Dylan and I. My older son Alan had just moved out to go to school in Salt Lake City, so this house was ideal for us.
We moved in right before the school year in August and we began life in our new area. This was the town where I had done my undergraduate studies at Utah State University for the whole time I was pursuing my Bachelor’s degree until I graduated. I loved it there and spent what I consider the happiest days of my single life there in Logan.
Back in the present, I started dating and quickly met my husband Michael online. It didn’t take long before we fell in love. After all, we’d grown up in the same area and had similar ideas as to how we wanted to live our lives. We were married the day before Thanksgiving in 2016. Michael had his house in Honeyville, but he decided to move in with us in Logan and rent out his home for the time being.
Dylan and I had started going back to church when we first arrived. It was a congregation that had a very small base of regulars who were mostly older people above 60 years old, along with an ongoing transition of young married couples and families that were constantly coming and going, which was typical of the college town it was. However, there weren’t more than 3 or 4 boys in the ward and they weren’t Dylan’s age. With those demographics, it would be hard for him to make a group of friends he could do things with. There also wasn’t a stable group of middle-aged people who were my age.
The Logan bishop was a kind older man who was the principal of the on-campus elementary school. A well-seasoned man with plenty of wisdom, he was a fatherly type who I felt like I could trust, and I started confiding information about my life and the things that had happened in the past. But little did I know that just as I was getting into deeper parts of my story, he would soon be released as the bishop and my next-door neighbor was called to be the new bishop. I wasn’t prepared for that change to happen.
My husband Michael had been inactive in his church for several years before, and due to his recent divorce, the ward members had taken sides with his ex-wife and he didn’t exactly feel that comfortable going by himself. But he agreed to go with me to my ward to see if things would get better.
We sat down on the pews and no sooner had we gotten through half the meeting, when Michael went into a type of seizure and started making strange noises. A handful of men came to his rescue and took him out of the meeting. He was more embarrassed than anything else and was hesitant to return. I believe we ended up going just a few more times to church before we decided that as a family we’d rather spend Sundays at home or take a drive somewhere. I was also having some health challenges that made mornings especially challenging. Getting anywhere on a Sunday morning wasn’t going to happen for a while. There were some days that simply getting out of bed was enough.
My health challenges continued and while Dylan was at school, besides my regular work, I would find myself reading more than usual and watching YouTube videos on topics I was especially interested in, like Psychology / Mental Illness and the history of the LDS (Mormon) Church. Boy, was I thankful to have so much information at my fingertips. I read and read and read and couldn’t get enough.
In my quest to find out the dynamics of my first marriage, I came across some particularly interesting information about Narcissism and the dynamics of narcissistic abuse. I read and read and joined groups on Facebook where I could discuss with other people how these relationships begin and how a victim could get caught up in such a controlling relationship, suffering narcissistic abuse. I was then able to identify that my first husband was most definitely a narcissist and so were other members of his family. That accounted for me having spent 16 years of my life (my whole marriage to him) estranged from my American family.
But how does one get into such destructive relationships? Well, this led to me also determining that in my own family, my own mother had very strong narcissistic tendencies, as well as at least one sibling. The main feature of what a daughter feels in a relationship with her mother, is that she never feels good enough. That led me to become an overachiever, all in an effort to gain love and acceptance from a mother who would never say she loved me or give praise or validation. It wasn’t to be.
Delving further into the world of psychology, I wanted to know why I had been the victim of such abuse and wanted to know what was really wrong with me. I felt like I had strong sensitivity, if not an oversensitivity to everything. I felt things deeper than most everyone I knew. I could connect with people at the deepest levels and understand things about people’s souls. It came naturally to me. I had a gift where I could see people in their best light, with their full potential and believe in them. The only problem was that those people couldn’t see what I could see. But an aha moment was about to reveal itself. One day I found 2 terms that perfectly described my life experience since as far back as I can recall. I was a highly sensitive person (HSP) and an empath. Those 2 discoveries changed my life from that point on.
When you are a highly sensitive person and an empath, you often fall prey to abusive relationships and believe untrustworthy people too much. This is because you only perceive people at their best and often overlook their faults and weaknesses. And in my case, I learned that abusive individuals like narcissists were attracted to empaths like a moth to a flame. I would help these individuals discover their true potential. But first I needed to learn about how to protect myself.
If I had been given a gift, I would need to learn how to channel it into more productive ways and learn why I had been given that gift in the first place. The answer was revealed to me one day, clear as a bell: Go back to school and get your Master’s degree. You need to open your own private practice in Marriage and Family Therapy.
As I looked further into Master’s programs, I decided on a graduate school and determined I would start in November 2017. But that wasn’t enough. I would specialize in Personality Disorders to help people who had endured narcissistic abuse, the LGTBQ community, grief and just help families with their challenging relationships.
At that point, my mind began to be opened to the point where I couldn’t learn enough. I knew what my next step was to be in my professional life and I was on fire, researching all kinds of things regarding Psychology, Narcissistic Abuse and the like. And I was also reading all kinds of books about Mormon origins. I had immersed myself in studying and finding out the “rest of the story”. Little did I know what I would find.
I’d heard rumors about my church history, but I needed to know for myself and from different sources, if what I had heard was rumor or fact. As I started to get to know the origins of the church I had belonged to for 50 years, I found that there were severe contradictions of the First Vision by our first prophet Joseph Smith. There were more than a half a handful of different versions. How could that be?
I also learned that Joseph had 34 wives, some of which were already married to other men, child brides, adolescent affairs and abuse towards his first wife Emma, who he told would be destroyed if she didn’t accept the other women who were revealed to him through revelations from the Lord. My faith in the prophet Joseph Smith began to be seriously shaken. No longer could I believe that someone with this type of history could be called of God.
Linking my church studies to my psychology research, I read that Joseph Smith was also considered a narcissist. That did it. I could no longer believe in someone who claimed to be a prophet of God, who no longer feared the God he claimed to represent. I also found this quote that Joseph Smith said, “I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.” History of the Church, 6:408 (26 May 1844)
This was the man who was our first prophet, who had started, or as we are taught in our church, restored the gospel of Jesus Christ, However, knowing what I now knew, there was no way I could believe that a true prophet of God could boast that he had done more than Jesus. That was pure blasphemy. No longer could I believe in a man-made church, even if I’d been in for the whole 50 years of my life. This was not the true gospel of Jesus Christ; it was the gospel of Joseph Smith…
Further evidence of fraud was the so-called “Book of Abraham” that was some papyri discovered among some mummies that were being displayed in the time of Joseph Smith. They were written in Egyptian, but at the time those papyri were allegedly translated, there was nobody in the US who could translate that language. However, in later years when those papyri were able to be authenticated as being the same that Joseph Smith had in his possession, the Church was thrilled to be able to translate those papyri with Egyptologists who were professionals who could truly translate the Egyptian language. With this evidence in their possession, the authorities in the LDS (Mormon) Church would surely be able to show the world that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God.
The result? They were simply funeral documents that had nothing to do with Abraham. As a professional linguist who had dealt with language translation and interpretation for the past 22 years, I knew what details had to be taken to produce a faithful document that was true to its source. This discovery of a document like this being falsified was not only disappointing to me and many others, but it was also proof that Joseph Smith wasn’t the prophet of God he claimed he was.
Continuing on in my studies of psychology, I found an eye-opening video that shed light on my own family dynamic. I realized that I had been scapegoated and that my other siblings also played different roles in our dysfunctional family. I just had to send this video to my family. Surely they would be happy to discover what I had! Well, I quickly learned that it wasn’t the case and it was not only ignored by my brothers, but it was rejected by my sister who said she wouldn’t even look at it. We got into a serious email argument and at the end of the email, I wrote her in anger, saying, “Before you hear this from anyone else, know that I’m leaving the Church.” I pushed Send and that was the end of that email.
Then I thought to myself. What did I just do? What did I just say? Did I really mean what I’d just said? It was as if someone else were typing those words about leaving my church…
Link to Part 3: https://kimthorneharper.wordpress.com/2017/11/24/my-faith-transition-from-mormonism-to-biblical-christianity-part-3/