I've been meaning to make this post for a while, but never get around to it. Well, no time like the present.
This is my story:
I was raised in a nominally Christian home, but neither of my grandparents (who raised me) were very vocal or active about it. We rarely went to church (Maybe only 5 times in my entire childhood do I remember going), but for most practical purposes, we were secular.
Grandma was a bit of a prude (which I'm now quite confident is because she was overcompensating for things she herself did.) and of course, this rubbed off on me. This caused me to see the world as being darker than it really is and being full of dysfunction and conflict due to sexual sins (which was, ironically, the very state of our household, but I was too naive and brainwashed to see it). As a result, I became rather depressed and sought the comfort of faith. Though, I became quite intolerant of differing viewpoints and became rather infamous on gametalk for my bouts of flaming. Mostly around the topics of abortion, gay marriage, premarital sex, and "slutty" clothing (which my grandma particularly loved to rant about). It also didn't help that I was kept isolated and prevented from socializing most of the time. I was home schooled, didn't develop good social skills and had no friends. I was pretty serious about my faith, and looked forward to finally being in heaven when I wouldn't have to deal with all the dark, depressing stuff anymore.
More so, though, I looked forward to someday having a kind, loving, wife who would hug, kiss and cuddle with me every day, and having children to watch grow up. Though, oddly enough, I was still rather uncomfortable with the idea of sex at this point (between age 13- late 15). While intriguing and exciting, it also seemed awkward and embarrassing and I wasn't sure I'd be able to go through with it when the time came.
It all started one day when I was watching All in the Family, a sitcom from the 1970s that dealt with serious issues. I was 13, and I loved the show, and still do, despite it's leftist bias. In this one particular episode, Archie and Edith were in a hotel after their cousin's funeral. A while in, Edith makes a comment about how it would be nice if the aforementioned cousin and their other deceased friend met up in heaven. Then Archie, being his prudish, idiotic self, asks "Well, what good would it do 'em?" "What do you mean?" asks Edith. "They wouldn't have nothin' to do nothin' with. Haven't you never seen angels flying around on the stained glass windows there? The only parts they got is the wings! The rest of 'em is smooth there! And that's why angels ain't ashamed to fly around naked!"
At first, I just brushed it off and took this as the joke it was intended to be. After all, Archie is stupid and prudish, and it's his character to say stupid, conjured up non-sense. However, this got me thinking. "Hmmm... I never considered that. IS there romance (what I called eros at the time) or having kids in heaven??? What if there isn't???" Who would have guessed that this seemingly harmless little joke would lead to so much trouble and a crisis of faith? I asked on gametalk about it, and got some crap about how heaven is "where our spirits dwell." I began making post after post after post about it. The answers (as devoid of any actual facts as they were) were very upsetting. What made it even worse was this constant stuff about how it was the "end times" and Christ was coming back "soon". It felt so unfair. I'm barred from ever having children (or grandchildren or great grandchildren etc.) or experiencing eros or intimacy simply because I was born at the wrong time, or am in an accident that renders me sterile or unattractive or something of that nature.
I remember in an interview on A&E's unsolved mysteries, there was an attempted school bombing/hostage situation, and the interviewee commented that she remembered thinking that she was going to die, and that she would never get to grow up and get married and have kids. This really resonated with me, and something deep inside of me just screamed that it would be so unjust and unfair to be barred from those things because of something completely beyond her control. That if God was truly good and loving, she would still get to have those things whether she died then and there or not.
Through my chats on gametalk, I came to learn of Mormonism. I became interested for obvious reasons. I.E. Their whole eternal marriage thing. I knew a lot of their ideas were out there, but it all seemed innocent enough, so that gave me hope for a time. I had prayed one night asking for God to reveal the truth about the LDS church, hoping for a "burning in the bosom", which I didn't really experience except what I induced through my own wishful thinking. However, the funny part was that the next day, LDS missionaries showed up at our door, which I took as an answer to my prayers. While my grandparents were humoring them, I snuck out the back to talk to them.
Before I started actually attending the LDS church, I had an amazing experience. I was 15, almost 16. To make a long story short, I read an erotic fanfiction of one of my favorite anime series where the 2 main characters make love, and since I liked to project myself onto characters in fiction, this was an incredibly profound and beautiful experience. If ever I had a glimpse of heaven, that was certainly it. A REAL heaven. Not some vague, sterile, grey, disembodied, monotonous thing. A heaven where anything was possible. A limitless universe full of beautiful things waiting to be explored, experienced, and enjoyed. This filled me with hope and confidence for a long time. I'll never forget the date. November 26, 2005. I still consider that experience sacred to this day, and I probably always will. This is when I finally stopped feeling so shy and embarrassed by the idea of sex. Before this point, I never really cared about sex itself so much where heaven was concerned. Just eros, procreation, and physical affection. But now, I saw the full picture. It was like a grand, every changing, never ending symphony of love and pleasure causing new life to come into existence, to repeat the cycle with unique experiences, and the thought of just cutting that off at an arbitrary point just felt like sacrilege.
A few months after this, one of my online outbursts had caught the attention of some very toxic and nasty people who felt it appropriate to plaster my forum on their weekly segment and have their hordes harass, belittle, mock, insult, torment and attack me. Hordes who were much older and should have known better. I tried banning a few, but they just came back on a proxy I.P. and I felt it futile to take any further action and just took the abuse, not knowing how badly it would damage my sanity.
Shortly after, I started attending the LDS church, hoping to meet some nice girls who shared my values. I scanned the pews looking for attractive girls, but few were to be found. I talked to the few that were there, but quickly discovered that we had little in common. None of them even knew what anime was which was a really important requirement for me at the time, though I was reluctantly open minded to relaxing that standard.
There was actually a girl online from the opposite side of the continent that I really liked. She wasn't a mormon, but she was Christian and believe that you could be married and have kids in heaven. She was my first real crush, but she had a boyfriend. I was very delusional about it, and thought that I would have her someday. I was so high on my newfound feelings. But it was an absolute pipe dream. One day, I was chatting with the trolls about her, and they didn't believe she existed. So, naively, I invited her onto the forum. She agreed to come on the weekend. She got online that Sunday morning and I gave her the link and left for Church. When I returned, she was very upset. Apparently, the trolls had harassed her (which I naively thought telling them not to would prevent) and slandered me and she demanded that I delete her account, which I did. Shortly after, she said she thought she probably shouldn't meet up IRL. I was heartbroken and very angry at the trolls.
This caused my faith in mormonism to waiver. I thought that eventually, I could get the girl into the church, but now, that wasn't an option. I didn't care for any of the girls in church due to lack of common interests, and I had doubted that I'd ever be able to get anybody into the church to marry. Add to this the fact that they would have wanted 10% tithing as well as 2 years mission work for a temple recommend which was required for eternal marriage, and the fact that the origin story of the church just had too many holes in it, and I realized that it was probably false and not worth perusing. "Oh, who am I kidding?! Of course Joseph Smith made it up! I'd have to be an idiot to believe this at this point!" So, I gave up mormonism, sad that my loophole had been closed.