This blog is no longer being updated. About this blog.


[The following is something of a journal entry which I postponed publishing until after I was done telling the story of my awakening.]

11 Jan 2007

It is a little odd getting used to the feeling of new underwear. Things felt… different… as I walked from my car to the office this morning. Adding to this sense of newness was the new lavender-scented fabric softener that we used to launder our clothes last night.

I’ve been wearing Garments (more properly The Garment of the Holy Priesthood) ever since the day twelve years ago when I received my Endowment in the Las Vegas Nevada Temple. In a ritual that marks a kind of coming of age in the Mormon community, I was given this special form of clothing to wear out of sight underneath other clothing. I was admonished that it would be a constant reminder to me of the covenants that I had entered into during that ritual. I promised to always wear the Garment. Luckily there are exceptions for bathing, sports, and sex which you learn about by word-of-mouth outside of the ritual.

If I remained faithful to this promise and all the others, I was promised divine protection. When Sunday School lessons veered off the planned topic, sometimes I heard stories about Garment wearers who received burns to their body everywhere except where the Garment was covering. These stories emphasized that the protection was literal. The protection also extends to temptations to break covenants and commit all manner of sin.

I took the Garment off last night for what I presume to be the last time. I grieved this sign of my former Mormonism as I took them off. I quickly put on the new underwear. It felt strangely like Christmas. I didn’t know what to say as my wife saw me for the first time in Gentile underwear.

Perhaps it shows how fundamentalist I had become, but I was a little scared driving to work this morning while wearing my mundane underwear. In the back of my mind was the thought that God might teach me one final lesson in the guise of a fatal car accident. Thankfully I did not turn out to be the butt of a future cautionary Mormon legend told in off-topic Sunday School tangents, eliciting in the mind of the audience the satisfaction of poetic justice and a renewed determination to remain faithful. At least not today.

In fact today has been spectacularly ordinary aside from the new sensations of… freedom. I still feel like the same me. Removing the Garment hasn’t made me any more likely to sin.

In all fairness, the Garment is probably best understood as an outward sign of something internal. I haven’t felt that certain internal something for many moons, so the ouster of the outward sign is probably just a belated rectification of the situation. The change that removing the Garment represents had happened long ago.

My fear of divine retribution reminds me of so many other fears that I have let go. The fear that everyone in the room is staring at that volcano of a zit on my nose. The fear that no one in their right mind would want to be with me. The fear that demons would tempt me against my will to do bad things. The vague fear that I was not a worthy human being. The fear that leaving the Church would make me unhappy. So many of my fears have turned out to be illusions.

I was the illusionist. As long as I believed in them, these sources of fear were real. Once I stopped giving credence to these ideas, they vanished. In other words, it was all in my head! I was my tormentor and chief adversary all those years.

[I'm still around, living large in my Gentile underwear.]

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Amber said,

    February 27, 2007 @ 2:13 pm

    So the question everyone is thinking but not asking is: “whity tighties or boxers?”

    Just teasing- you don’t have to answer that.

    I’ve been reading for a couple weeks now and while I’m sad that you’ve found so much unhappiness in the church and I’m sad for Lacey I’m glad that you’re still willing to support her in her beliefs and such.

    I agree with your feelings of uncomfortableness in dealing with family members that are inactive for reasons that no one is willing to talk about and respect your honesty. It’s still weird to think about though. (If we’re being honest).

    I can’t help but agree with your comment about doing it wrong or for the wrong reasons. It’s hard to understand someone not finding joy in comfort in something that is such an integral part of my life and brings me such happieness.

    I wish you well on your journey. Like a good mormon I also hope that you come full circle and find your way back, but by your own choice. good luck.


  2. Jonathan Blake said,

    February 27, 2007 @ 3:59 pm


    I’ll answer your question – the question is can you handle knowing the answer? :) I’ll answer at the end of my comment, for the truly curious.

    Thanks for taking the time to read.

    I’ve observed that most members of the church are spectacularly incurious about why people leave the Church. Sometimes I wish they would be more nosy about it so that we could talk about it and get it out of the way and get back to being friends. To be fair, I’m still caught up in the thrill of the changes so I probably like to talk about it too much. Perhaps the blog is a healthy outlet so I don’t drone on about it in conversation.

    I think, culturally, we assume that people who leave the Church are one of two things: offended or sinning. In part, I think this is a defense mechanism which puts the burden of responsibility on the person leaving while protecting the Church and all of the good things that it represents for us.

    The reality is that there are very few people who actually stop believing in the Church because they were offended. Someone might stop attending because they were offended, but from the many reverse conversion stories that I’ve read since my own coming out, few mention that as a determining factor. Many people lose faith over questions arising from the history of the Church and our cultural aversion to truly addressing the problematic portions of it while still insisting that we gain a testimony based partly one the Church’s history.

    When a Loved One Has Let Go of the Iron Rod is a wonderful explanation of the reasons I left the Church.

    I did find joy in the Church, mingled with sorrow and pain. I’ll post an example of that very soon.

    I return your wishes of a good journey and hope you find much happiness in the course of your life.

    Oops! I almost forgot to answer your first question. If you don’t want to have to picture me in my underwear, stop reading now.

    Originally I uncreatively went with boxer-briefs since that was what I was accustomed to. Now I slightly prefer boxers. They certainly come in more fun styles and definitely feel different. :)

  3. Green Oasis » Eight Random Facts said,

    June 29, 2007 @ 11:14 am

    [...] wearing boxers [...]

  4. Stephen Merino said,

    July 2, 2007 @ 6:49 am

    Kind of funny to read! My experience was really pretty similar. I reached a point where I felt like it was pointless for me to keep wearing them – in fact, I felt kind of wrong wearing them because my heart wasn’t in it. I have to admit – it was a bit fun going out and buying boxers (I also bought white undershirts, partly because I’m so goshdarn used to wearing them and because I wear a lot of button-up shirts and polos). It felt wierd, and was probably wierd for my wife to see. It really was a tangible and physical change, and it did bother her at first. But she’s used to it by now.

  5. Jonathan Blake said,

    July 2, 2007 @ 7:56 am

    You go with what you know. :)

RSS feed for comments on this post