Mormonism and Me | A Poem by Tanner Gilliland


At age 19 I stepped on a plane, ready to
explain why sorrow and pain didn’t matter in light of eternal gain I was ready to teach and to preach on the beach of Brazil Ready the starve, thirst, be mocked, or be killed You see it never was a game to me
A missionary was all I had ever aimed to be And I thought I knew that the reason
I flew across the world was to do what I knew was true So like pioneer children we walked and we walked Pioneer people followed our talk and got baptized It was no surprise—I mean, we
were pretty cool American guys There were times when I felt pretty depressed Leaders calling about numbers only made me more stressed But overall I must confess that as an Elder, I felt pretty blessed When I came home, a question from
a buddy invoked a little fear and provoked me to study He asked, “Why were
blacks kept from the priesthood?” “Were they not good? Did they not do as
they should?” As I looked for answers, I was shocked to find that the men I had worshipped weren’t really that kind It gets kind of complicated, but I’ll say
what the base is: From Brigham to Harold, the prophets were racist Another friend asked about Joseph Smith’s wives Like, why weren’t we taught about this all our lives? Did he marry 40 women before kicking the bucket? I threw my hands in the air and out loud I said,
“Freak I don’t know.” So down the rabbit hole I went I should have counted the hours I spent
studying church history, unraveling the mystery I just wanted truth
not the whitewashed story I heard in my youth Magic and peep stones and spiritual eyes,
Freemasons and Danites and lies about wives Correlation, Mark Hoffman, Egyptian scrolls, September 6, and opinion polls First vision changes, and Kinderhook
plates, Adam God, blood atonement, DNA and Prop 8 Billions for a mall and a
Florida city, the Strengthening the Church Members Committee Every single thing became suspect
I was incorrect about every spec of my religious sect I had no plans to defect
I was just confused as heck So outside of Rexburg I knelt in a field
and I asked why everything felt so concealed And why did I feel I was dying inside? Wasn’t the Holy Ghost supposed to be
by my side to be my guide? I had once felt felt sublime but with time the feeling faded and suddenly Moroni 10 seemed so overrated I felt rejection instead of connection and in my reflection
I knew the infection was beyond mere correction There was no more perfection in my
religious affection But with introspection,
I made the selection
to continue inspection of faithful objection and that’s how I wound up in the
apologist section But no matter how hard I tried to deny
or find reasons why
I should believe some alibi I couldn’t comply
it wasn’t some anti-mormon lie And in the end my Pascal’s wager
got cut to shreds by Occam’s razor Now you call it a conspiracy
Tell me, what does a seer see? Why can’t a prophet bring some sense to
this mess
put the critics to rest? Oh that’s right it’s a test!
It’s not supposed to make sense!
We walk by faith not evidence The problem is every church is the same They all proclaim to speak in the name
of God They say you can pray and know if it’s true
And that’s exactly what they do
It works for them too it’s arrogant to think that they are
deceived in what they believe And that they should leave their religion behind
and come into mine As if I had exclusive access to the divine You tell me to doubt my doubts before I doubt my beliefs You say, “focus on milk!”
I say, “Where is the beef?” You think saying “I know” will help me revive
but 2+2 will never be 5 It’s easy for you to tell me I’m wrong
when you’re too scared to even
go where I’ve gone Trust me, it’s hard to choose to see
There’s still a hole in my soul where God used to be And though it hurts like hell,
truth is the key That fills it and turns it and opens the door for me to be free Free from the need to be superstitious
Free from a book that’s proven fictitious Free from the mandates of a religious official regardless of title or middle initial Free to accept my best friend who’s gay without having to judge him for living that way Free to serve others within my community without looking at them like a missionary opportunity Free to follow facts and not fairy tales Free from believing the priesthood’s for males Free to live without constant fear
That’s it’s all going to hell ’cause the end is near Free to love others just ’cause I can
and not because of some ancient command Yes, brothers and sisters, I am free And so with sails unfurled I set sail on the
sea I read warning signs that beyond here there be
dragons at the edge of the world But looking around, I have no need to fear There are no signs of sea monsters
here No edge from which I’ll plummet and die Just truth, opportunity, ocean and sky So I press onward, ever onward With eyes opened, heart opened, mind opened
I’m hoping that when you look at my life you’ll see Not a Mormon
Not an ex-Mormon Just simply me

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