I grew up in the Mormon/LDS faith, and was extremely strong and dedicated to it. I wanted to obey absolutely everything, go the extra mile in everything, be the most useful servant I could be. I burned myself out and ended up with what's probably an autoimmune disease, but still believed this was the best way I could help people. I kept 'sprinting', and my health kept deteriorating.
I had many questions, and especially in the year or so before I left. I'm a deep thinker. SO much of the doctrine didn't make sense, and so much seemed incredibly unfair to non-members. I couldn't cope with this and the stress exacerbated my illness. Unless I converted the entire world, I couldn't make it fair! And no church member I spoke to about it seemed to care that it was unfair - no one at all.
I did as I was taught with my questions - I searched, pondered, prayed. Obsessively. I searched scriptures, church leaders' talks, questioned leaders, LDS family, LDS friends. No one would discuss anything with me - probably because they had no idea of the answers either. I pondered deeply and often, thirsty to understand. After many months - a year or more - of intense searching, yet receiving no answer to my prayers, I worried the Lord was fed up with me for pestering him so much.
But he DID write those scriptures promising me answers, so...I would mentally wince...and keep pestering.
It never occurred to me the church could be wrong.
I read passages in the Book of Mormon that said we'd find the mysteries of God when we had enough faith - even until we knew them all.
I knew I had the faith!
I puzzled over why the church did not have these promised mysteries of God, let alone know them all, or even have the Sealed Portion of the Book of Mormon. How could that be, that those righteous men - even Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, who'd had a "special witness", didn't have enough faith yet?
I chided myself for being arrogant, thinking I had enough faith when they didn't.
But I knew I wasn't being arrogant. It just made no sense. I pleaded for the mysteries - the answers.
About eleven years prior to this, I'd had many tests done by doctors to diagnose my illness. The illness made me easily overwhelmed, and I would shake and collapse throughout each day. This, with three, then four young children, made me want my life to end. I couldn't cope with one more day, and I knew it was going to just carry on for days, weeks, years. The tests were not finding what was wrong with me, and I couldn't cope with them, so I signed myself off. I did my own research and found many things that helped keep it at bay, but nothing that properly healed me.
Jump forwards again to my year of intense searching. My husband was serving on the stake presidency, and our stake had a visit from Russel M Nelson (now the leader of the LDS church, but at that time he was still a councillor). We had lunch with him, and the men had meetings with him. He asked all the men to (later) give their wives a blessing. So some weeks later, my husband gave me one. In it, he told me two things. Firstly, he told me I was about to receive a significant increase in my health. What he didn't know - no one did - is that two days before this, I'd actually found something that I already knew was working...significantly! (Four years on, I'm like a new person. The shakes have lessened and lessened to the point they've almost gone, and no more collapses. I imagine it won't be long before I'm a normal-bodied person again).
Then the second thing I was told is that the Lord was GRATEFUL for all of my questions, and I was about to receive the wisdom I was looking for.
My husband does not enjoy deep thinking, so I'd long since given up asking him my questions. He had no idea I had them, that I'd been intensely searching, that I'd been at it so long.
Within two weeks, I was searching online for anything Joseph Smith might have said about past lives (I secretly believed in them, but had found conflicting opinions of it from church leaders). Somehow a page written by the Real Illuminati's spokesman came up (it mentioned Joseph Smith, but not past lives, so I don't know how.) I read with fascination, until he said he'd been disappointed in the church leaders. Then my LDS red flag went up - the church taught me not to read anti-Mormon material.
What I'd already read had me intrigued. His writing style made him sound like Joseph Smith, or some church leader. He seemed goodly. Godly.
So I got on my knees and prayed. Was this safe for me to read?
In answer, I felt an enormous, almost overpowering feeling of pure goodness.
Despite thinking I'd been feeling the Holy Spirit for years, this felt like I was feeling it properly! I suppose this was the only way I'd actually open up my mind to listen to this spokesman's testimony.
Interestingly, I'd felt this precise feeling once before - when I was seven and I'd started to read my Book Of Mormon for the first time.
I read what the Real Illuminati wrote, and was incredibly excited. I found the Sealed Portion and read it twice - I'd never heard such wisdom in my life! I'd never found such incredible kindness and fairness to ALL. It felt so right! Like I'd known these things deep in my soul, but was only just starting to remember them. This is precisely what I'd always wanted the church to be like. And then all the questions I'd had - every single one - started getting answered. Answered in a way, it was so logical, you couldn't dispute it! Answered so thoroughly, and so full of Goodness. Humanity. And the answers all tied in and completed other answers, like puzzle pieces coming together, making a bigger picture. And then answers to questions I'd forgotten I had came - all the things that had puzzled me for decades! It was incredibly satisfying.
And it was BEAUTIFUL!
Pure, delicious, deep, perfect goodness.
I was so enthralled I would literally read all day while my children were at school, then quickly fly around the house to cram in a few jobs before picking them up, so my family wouldn't know I hadn't done anything all day!
I soon realised the enormous gap between the LDS church doctrine and Goodness. I left the church, my social life, all the respect I had from the people in it. This was hard, utterly humiliating - yet worth it. I read the other books the Real Illuminati had written. I've never been so excited about anything in my life.
My LDS family, my extended LDS family, my LDS friends - they think I'm greatly deceived. (Still most won't discuss anything with me though!)
Yet I've never been happier or more at peace. In the last four years, since finding this work, I have improved myself more than I ever did in my thirty-six years of being religious. I am a better person in so many ways - small and big - I could never write them all.
Notably, I now see every person completely equal to myself. When I was LDS, I thought I did then, but now I see how I unwittingly patronised many people, thinking I had to 'reach down to their level' to teach them MY superior beliefs. I now know I am not a 'chosen generation', 'saved for these latter days' because of my superior integrity in the pre-existence. What an arrogant, prejudiced teaching!
I am equal. We are ALL as special as each other. No one has any advantage that will get them into a higher part of heaven. This new information levelled me - my ego - with everyone else.
I no longer judge. I hadn't realised how incredibly judgmental I'd been, until the Real Illuminati's information helped me see that the "kingdom of God", or the "Spirit of Christ", is in EVERYONE, so I should let them do what THEY believe is best.
Allow them the 'privilege to worship how, where or what they may'.
I no longer try to control/guide people. I mention things, and if they're interested, I tell them more. And if not, I let them do their own thing. I had never realised how damaging it is to lead and guide people's choices, taking away their free agency to make their own.
The information from the Real Illuminati helped me better understand people - even people the world would judge as evil. The information showed me some of the behaviours humans have, and why we have them. I understand people SO much better. I see how pointless and damaging it is to judge - I wish I'd learned these things years ago!