“Nothing about this woman is Mormon anymore.”

STOP— just stop scrolling for a sec to read this.
Ten years. It’s been 10 years and still this morning I woke up & the first thing that happened was I ended up in tears. Multiple comments from multiple members of our church, and those who chose to hit the follow button on my instagram, creating a long strand of how disgusting I am. 
NO, no, this had nothing to do with my tattoos– they mentioned specifically my weight & the color of my hair????
They all quite literally said “nothing about this woman is mormon anymore.”
(Apparently spirituality is based on that??????) 

10 years I’ve been a member. TEN YEARS straight I have been told by ONLY members of my church that for every reason you can THINK of, (probably ones you wouldn’t believe), that no matter what I’m doing or how I dress or look, or what I write:
That I’m doing it wrong.
Ya’ll have been extremely creative through these 10 yrs to find the most bizarre reasons to tell me that I do not belong. 

Only members of my church have told me, still, for 10 years straight, word for word,
that God does not love me.

As a convert from the east coast, “Bothers & sisters” is a literal term. Church family is
quite literally family. In every way. Oooooh how ignorantly excited I was to follow the spirit away from my small east coast branch knowing where I was going completely by myself, abandoning literally everything to follow my new-found God, I would still have “family” there for me.

TEN YEARS and it’s my “family” that are the only ones that continuously cause unexpected tears in the morning right when I wake up. How ironic this all has been to me, because I thought we were all supposed to be in this together? Why is it people are so set on driving people away?

Nothing I hate more than when my integrity and intentions are assumed and exploited by people I’ll never meet. Nothing worst than your entire character and SOUL are destroyed by people who I thought were in this together with me, because there will always be someone waiting to get offended by something because they hold the world to their own personal expectations.

But here I am, 10 years later & though it all—
the hurt, the tears, the confusion, the loneliness, the judgement—
I really like me. I reaaallly truly like me.
And when you have found contentment and love in yourself THERE IS POWER that comes to you & protects you. 

The power to keep going. The power to move past it. The power to show up still. The power to laugh minutes after tears during breakfast with your husband.
I’m not letting anyone turn me away from a REAL God and I hope everyone invests to get to that point, too.

LISTEN—PLEASE, LET GO of any hurt or weight caused by others. of any hurt or weight caused by others. Who is anyone to say you don’t belong here or part of this church? Who is anyone to tell you that God is not your Father & you are not His????

LISTEN—PLEASE, please please please, with ALL THAT I HAVE LEFT IN ME
INVEST in taking the time to learning how to like yourself.
PLEASE, pllleaaaassseeee invest in being able to see yourself the way that God sees you.
THERE IS A PROTECTING POWER that comes— there is a contentment & happiness that comes—
And wow does life blossom when you invest in building and knowing in what really matters. 

It’s God that matters. it’s your SOUL that can never die that matters.
It’s taking advantage of every second we have to LIVE on this planet, in this phase of life we will never have again, that matters.
It’s you that matters.
It’s how God sees us is what matters. And He sees us as someone capable of becoming like Him.
And when you invest to feel & KNOW that, everything else is just noise.

xoxAL

READ MORE FROM AL!
BOOKS:  Wildly Optimistic : Gaining New Perspective to Life’s Challenges
More Than the Tattooed Mormon: HERE
Cheers to Eternity: HERE.
Scripture Study JournalRooted
Fireside CD: Choosing God in Hard Times
Inspiring Video Messages: HERE
More products: journals, home decor, jewelry: HERE.
Instagram: @alcarraway | Twitter: @alcarraway | Facebook 

202 comments

  1. I love the way you are so open and speak so literally from your heart. I am 63 …. raised in a small community in Southern Alberta Canada in a gospel centered home. My parents are a beautiful example of loving all kinds. I don’t know what it is like to have not been raised in the church. Great sacrifices have been made by members of my family to be where I am today. I am grateful for that. I am grateful to you and the way you are so open and have given me a glimpse what it’s like from the other side joining in. You are incredible in every way and such an example in so many ways of how we really should live and love. You are pretty much everything my parents have taught and lived. Thank you 💖🤸‍♀️

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  2. Wow! So true, sister! I’ve been a Latter-day Saint since 1992. I grew up in the Middle East and I’ve seen how judgmental the overly pious can be from any religious tradition. It wasn’t until I served a mission when I truly understood how God will take us as we are and then in time, sooner or later, we become a different creature in Christ. I smile at folks who think they have to judge others based on cultural idiosyncrasies. They look through a very narrow lens and complicate the faith. But with patience and knowing who we are and how we stand with God in our own spiritual growth —well, God love ‘em 😉

    I loved your article. And thanks for talking to our youth a few years ago in AZ!

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  3. It makes my heart hurt to hear you are attacked by members of our own faith. Each year older I get I come more to an understanding that I can’t judge others because there are so many unknowns that I don’t know about. All I can do is love people for who they are and try to help them feel the love of Christ. I look forward to your positive and uplifting messages. I am so imoressed that you are always able to look on the bright side. Keep up the good fight and thank you for your positive messages!

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  4. Be strong and don’t let others pull you down, you’re doing great and remember Jesus broke rules himself, I really admire you for what you’ve done,

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  5. Sister Fox – unbelievable story!! – So glad you are able to stand through it all with your God. I am deeply grateful for your strength and courage, and your testimony and praise, as you open yourself and your family to the world to lift, love, and lead others to Christ.

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  6. Al, you don’t know me but I was touched by your ability to be tolerant of the intolerant. I was saddened by the way you have been treated by people who “draw near to (God) with their lips but (whose) hearts are far from (Him). “ Hang in there!!

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  7. Thank you for this beautiful post from the beautiful woman you are, inside, outside, and sideways! I’m baffled your church family are so destructive. Im one of your church family and love you the way you are. Please know for every 1 person that is negative, there are 1000 more of us out there who are kind and loving!! ♥️♥️♥️

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  8. Members of the church are often judgemental assholes because that’s what the church has pushed for so long. Inside doesn’t matter. External is where the value is. That’s how I was raised and taught, and I know that that toe of thinking is prevelant. You are amazing. You are enough. Your relationship with your Heavenly Father is your business, and they can go screw themselves. I hate BYU fans for this very judgemental ideology – and it trickles into actually ward houses and that’s stupid. I’m sorry you deal with Karen’s, these people should be ashamed. That isn’t how Christ behaved, and if they claim to be a part of his church and continue to be Pharisees, then let them be judged for their idiocy on the other side.

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  9. My wife and I have followed you for a while now and think you are incredible! We love the and ha e a strong testimony in the Church of Jesus Christ of Larter Day Saints that it hurts our hearts that members treat each other this way. I personally am sorry for their misconduct towards you. I also have felt your testimony through your posts. Many have helped my wife and I through very difficult times.

    Thank you for your testimony thank you for being a light on top of the mountain that everyone can see. The lord said let your light so shine that others may see it and feel of it love. (I think I added some things there).

    Keep up the good work of the lord.

    Adam and Michelle Williams

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  10. Thank you for your strength to hold on to what you know is true AND for reminding me I need to love myself. I know Satan really likes to make us feel worthless. We are daughters of God!

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  11. Al,

    I hope I got that right. If not I will try this. Sister Carraway- I want to apologize for our fellow brothers and sisters who make fun of you, who disrespect you, you tell you that you don’t belong. Nothing can be further from the truth. You are a daughter of a loving Father in heaven, a child of God, who loves you and counts your tears.
    Sister, you are a wonderful human being. I have not read your books, nor have you and I ever met. Yet there is something in your words above that speaks to my heart, to my soul. I too have been shunned. I have been looked at as “less than. It is sad that the love for family is difficult to find at times in the gospel of our Savior.
    I have not had tattoos, my sin is having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and I have had members tell me to “forget about it.” Or “Put it all in a box and never think about it again.” Or “You have secondary PTSD.” I want to yell have you ever seen death up close and personal, Have you ever held a dead baby in your arms. I am sorry if too graphic. I have spent years trying in counseling seeking help.
    I worked as a medic for thirty years and saw some horrible things and for that reason I have been shunned by members. What members like us must realize is that the church is perfect the people are not. God loves us even with our lives battle wounds.
    I wish you all the very best.

    Vern

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  12. Thank you for your comments. At church, we encounter imperfect people. For some of them, their imperfection includes being unChristlike to one another. I have been treated very kindly by most people at church, but some have treated me so badly that I actually stopped and asked myself why I would even want to go back. The first time, I came to that point, I was 15. I determined that I must keep going because it was through my membership in Jesus’s church, and through the covenants and principles and ordinances an adherence to the Gospel, that I could return to my Father in Heaven, who loves me infinitely!

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  13. Thanks for sharing your heart. I’ve pondered on this topic that we as women have it tough, especially as women in the church. Women are having an identity crisis. As time goes on and every opportunity is expanded to us, no matter who we are or what we choose to pursue, we will be wrong. Stay at home mom, working mom, both, pursuing talents, taking care of kids, etc. To someone, we will be doing it wrong. Every good thing we could be doing will be the wrong answer, even to ourselves at times. And that can be confusing. Because when we make a choice to do something, that automatically closes other opportunities (as much as we think we’d like to do everything all at once, we can’t). So what should we be doing anyway? You hit the nail on the head. What matters is God. Learn personal revelation because if we are right with God, nothing else really matters – even all the arrows of judgment from culture, church members, etc. It is His plan, and He is the one who gave us this opportunity to learn and grow to become who we were meant to become – to achieve the potential He sees in us. It’s about time we came to hear Him and know Him. Like you said, the rest is just noise. Thanks for being an ambassador for Him!

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  14. I think the silent majority is much bigger than the vocal haters, Al. I’d also wager that the hate you’re getting is coming from the Mountain West area members, whereas people from areas where church members are in the minority are much more loving to those who are not cookie cutter members. Please remember that and stay strong!

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  15. This is so true. How many times do I allow others critical judgement affect how I feel about myself. I know God believes in me, but too often I think it is more important of what others think. If only I could believe in myself the way God does.

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  16. I need you to know that you have always inspired me to be a better member our or church. Please know that while the trolls love to fill up your feed with negative comments and judgment that you are filling other souls with joy and brightness.

    You are awesome! Your family seems awesome. Keep being the genuine you please. The world needs a splash of color and the spirit of joy.

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  17. You are a beautiful daughter of God. I love read in your experiences and thoughts. Thank you for sharing them with us all. I find personal strength in them and in you. Love you Sister.

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  18. I am so sorry that people may be so mean and ignorant to write hurtful comments about you.
    When people attacks your appearance and persona like that it means that they don’t have anything else to criticize you about.
    I am glad that you know your worth and that God loves you, and He really does!!
    You are wonderful and I am sending you lots of LOVE all the way from Lund,Sweden.

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  19. Fantastic post. While I admire all you’ve done, I’ve not been a follower per se. Regardless, I have respect for the way you seek to lift others. Members of Christ’s true church, unfortunately, are some of the least charitable, unkind, judgmental people. Some can be just like the Pharisees of Christ’s time—so caught in their world that they fail to see God right in front of them. Live the gospel. It’s between you and the Savior. His judgment is the one that matters. You got this.

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  20. My first reaction is to apologize for the way you’ve been treated. I think this comes from the knee-jerk reaction of knowing…I was raised around those people. However, I’ve tried to stop the habit of apologizing for them because I am NOT, nor have I ever, been them.
    Rather, thank you for your honesty and showing those of us who feel like outcasts that ‘their’ opinions of us don’t matter.
    The truth is, I’m working on a major publishing contract for a book I am writing and I’m bracing myself for the backlash that is surely to come from other members of the church. My book isn’t by any means against the church or contains anything bad, it’s just not a typical ‘Mormon’ thing to write and so will invite the scrutiny of those who…well, scrutinize. Perhaps if things get too heavy I’ll look you up or at least look to your example.
    Stay who you are. Stay the way you are. For me. For my daughter. And most importantly for you.
    Thank you.

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  21. I don’t know you personally, but I love your inspiration and your soul. I think you are beautiful. I am so sorry so many others in our faith are so mean, short sighted and judgemental. Stay strong. And if you ever need a boost, look me up. Always happy to make a new friend in real life.

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  22. I’m so sorry that people are idiots. I’m a convert of over 40 years, and I still get grief sometimes when I bring up my “gentile” days. Easier said than done, I know, but realize they’re jealous – angry – and not in tune with the Spirit. Christians can sometimes be the most non-Christian people I know. Hang in there – you’re going great.

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  23. Man, I am really heartbroken by how you have been treated by supposed believers of Christ. Please know that you are loved and respected by the vast majority of this church. Please don’t take the poison that others post online. They are not true, and deep down you know it too.

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  24. I’m member of the Church of Jesus Christ and I feel how Heavenly Father loves me and loves you; He is my Father as He is yours. Jesus Christ loves us equal.

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  25. Dang it! You are such a breath of fresh air. I love everything you are doing. Keep doing it. Keep bring a light.

    I really appreciate what you say.

    I love you, sister!

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  26. Thank you for this. I am not LDS but I do follow you. I have been told numerous times that because of the way I look & that I have a bad past I can’t be a integral part of a church community. All I’ve ever wanted to do since I was 5 was go to Africa & help people. I have found a way to do it on my own. I pray persevere pays off when all this quarantine is over! God is good!!

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  27. Al, you are an inspiration. People who treat others badly in any way are the ones who are “nothing like a Mormon”. There will always be haters and those who try to tear others down. There are millions of loving kind members who would never dream of saying or even thinking such unkind things. Focus on all of those who adore you and have felt your “Mormon” light and have been lifted by your example. Don’t let them make you cry unless they are tears of pity. They can not diminish the beautiful you that you are! Thank you for being that you.

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  28. Dear Al, don’t listen to anyone who has negative comments about you or what you believe. Doesn’t matter weight, hair color or style, doesn’t matter the tattoos… what matters is what you think of yourself and your testimony. The one that make you feel close to your Heavenly Father. Remember that the Church is just a spiritual hospital where everyone has something to take care of. I’m a member since forever and I’ve seen people who still doesn’t understand what is to apply mercy, kindness, long suffering, charity, love and understanding. We are all struggling to be perfected in Christ. So, don’t worry about what other people says, just keep the commandments, endure to the end, pray always and follow the best examples, and the best of all, Christ.

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  29. You are beautiful – let no one ever tell you otherwise – you have a beautiful heart, a beautiful attitude and a beautiful spirit.
    When everything else flops, falls out or fades, yes even those tats, you will still have a beautiful heart, a beautiful attitude and a beautiful spirit. THAT is what it means to be an Eternal daughter of a Heavenly Father you loves you.

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  30. I’m so sorry for how you’ve been treated. It breaks my heart! Keep being strong 💪🏼 You are an amazing person.

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  31. Oh my dear and lovely Al !
    You are wonderful as you are.
    I know that unfortunately there is people in the church that born within a LDS family that haven’t knew God’s love yet . They are afraid of others that look different , they think to know the gospel but they don’t practice it .
    Put apart all of them and remember that there is much more people who loves you ! God loves you !

    You are wonderful ! Keep going and trying . You inspired a lot of people

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  32. Members of the Church need to repent for causing the heartache you have been put through. People are more than what is seen on the outside. Loving the Savior and following his cammanments, showing faith inhim in all we do will get you back home to him and Eternal Life. These judges of you won’t make it if they don’t change their ways.

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  33. I’m so sorry this has happened to you! I certainly don’t feel that way. I have heard you speak, I’ve met you and think you are a special daughter of God. You have a sweet family and you are beautiful inside and out! ❤️🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻

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  34. Al! I believe you have so much to teach this world! Satan will fight and oppose you to the bitter end. He has influence on so many. Know you have millions here on the earth and countless on the other side of the veil who are behind your purpose and truly LOVE you for who you are, a literal spirit sister to us all. Please keep fighting, don’t lose the beautiful hope and testimony you have. We are all so different and unique with different purposes and maybe some are to oppose to test others. Usually they are in pain themselves, deep dark pain. Like a thwarting illness it drives them to do things and say things that they wouldn’t otherwise do if it didn’t hurt so much. We should never judge them and rise above to love them regardless. Heavenly Father helps to teach us how to accomplish such a thing. I hope this reaches you. I was truly touched by this note you posted and admire you greatly. I love you sister! Love, your sister Rachelle M. in Diamond Springs, CA.

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  35. I was told a long time ago as a convert to the gospel that “if you were lucky, maybe in your lifetime, you will meet a handful of people who shines with the gospel of Jesus Christ in their eyes”, and I met one today by looking into yours. Thank you for your purity and faith, you are a blessing to God’s kingdom here on earth.

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  36. Amen!!!! And tons of hugs!!!! I am constantly appalled by what people are able to spew on social media. Even friends say things they would never say around you. I am so happy you have found the joy and happiness and strength that comes from a true relationship with our Lord and Savior. I am happy to call you sister.

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  37. Thank you for being such a Beautiful example! Being a fellow convert, having lived a very opposite “churchy” background, I’ve heard and felt very similarly to what you have in the past. I literally pray that I hyper focus on what Heavenly Father thinks of me and not worry about what others think of me. It’s not easy but it’s truly where our focus should always be. His opinion is the only one that we should ever worry about. Again, thank you for being the example that everyone needs and keep up the great work! You are a true Sister Warrior!

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  38. Al . I just wanted to let you know how inspirational you are. I know EXACTLY why people still choose to tell you how not “Mormon” you are. And what is a typical Mormon anyways? Lol. They say that because they can’t hide from their own imperfections, so in order to justify their imperfections they point out yours. I know it also comes from a place of jealousy, you have chosen to go against the odds and be a living example for the church when you knew there would be opposition. That within itself is so BEAUTIFUL. Thank those people for coming at you and discouraging you, because what they don’t know is they have given you the PERFECT set-up to become like Christ and to love “those that hate you and persecute you.” I Absolutely LOVE what Christ said before he died on the Cross. He said “ Father forgive them, for they now what they do.” YOU, Al, can be that example and show love regardless. I Love reading your blogs because I feel like you are reading my mind in the way you speak. As a mother who had two extreme cases of post partum depression, a husband who is a recovering heroin addict (and yes we got married in the temple and it happened AFTER the fact),who had her first child out of wedlock and then cheated on my husband (something I thought a good “Mormon” girl like me wasn’t capable of), I have learned the moment we start judging and thinking we are not prone to sin, that is where we start to slip down into endless woe. And to know that because if Christ, even our ugliest sins can be removed. It is pretty amazing. I am so grateful for your testimony and your strength. I would love to be able to meet you one day and just talk. I just thought you needed to hear what a light you are ! Feel free to email me back.

    Sincerely,
    Erika

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  39. I don’t always read your posts and I don’t “know” you. I know about you and I have always admired that in a church that asks us to choose not to have tattoos and piercings and all that, you don’t hide who you are and what you were in the past. I love that you stand for who you and the Church really are. That being said, I know what you are talking about. I lived for years as a divorced mom in a small “Mormon community. I won’t go into the hell that it was. I just want to say that those people would not let me change. I started out sad and lonely and not very nice. After 10 years I was still sad and lonely but I was a nicer person and I had gained a testimony and was finally able to move on. Those people and a lot of other people in the Church don’t like to see us move forward. They are so stuck in their bad feelings about themselves that they project all of that on someone that they think is more successful than them and try to make themselves feel better by finding fault with everyone else. Keep up with what you are doing and make them uncomfortable. You are amazing.

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  40. Every time I read that people judge so freely and are bold enough to tell ANYONE that they don’t belong in the church, I am flabbergasted! What do they think the reason for the gospel is? You belong!
    And I love the encouragement of this post.
    Thanks!!

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  41. Oh sweet woman. I know nothing about you or your seemingly marvelous creations and contributions to the world. In just reading your one tweet and this one post I feel so much love and appreciation for you. Thank you for bravely following our God and staying secure in His love despite the negative destruction thrown at you.
    I’m also an east coast Mormon 🙂 and after moving to Utah at age 16 I had a similar reception. It’s baffling but it happens and not only to you. However, there are countless positive interactions too. I hope you can add this interaction to the positive bucket and I know I appreciate your vulnerability, bravery and bright smile! 😊 Confidence and self esteem come from being secure in our standing with ourselves and our Creator. Keep it up!

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  42. I don’t know what some blind people are saying to you, but I am proud to have you as a sister in my Church. Keep up the good work.

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  43. Love your writing and realization that it is the Lord that matters. I just finished 5-years as an addiction recovery missionary. There is an awesome spirit that comes from open and honest sharing. Your path is open and honest and a great blessing to all of us! Thank you!!! My blog is higherpath.net Bless you!!

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  44. Thank you for the gift of your testimony. While I am heartbroken for what you have endured, I am grateful you have been willing to persevere in spite of the lies/judgements/painful messages and continue your mission to bear your testimony and share the light within you with others. I have felt the Spirit so strongly many times listening to or reading your words. 3 Nephi 12: 9-12. You have been persecuted while trying to share gospel truths and you are a peacemaker. This sister of yours in the gospel is grateful for you!

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  45. Dear Al, Thank you for this 10 years ago I moved from the Midwest to Idaho.(Im also a convert) . I was told my children will not be sealed im the temple. I was told Im outsider I will never fit in. I offended people because of who I am. And I truly want to give up remove my name from the church. I struggle every day with being belittled gossiped about or excluded from groups. I felt so alone in all this. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and being real.

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  46. You’re so brave and such an inspiration to many! We, as in everyone need to learn to more accepting. I love the influence for good you are for young girls! I also love your personality and happiness. You have been blessed with this! Keep doing your thing!

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  47. Al I have read your first book about three times,and Cheers twice and Wildly Optimistic once.Al I am 85 years old and have been married 58 years. I was born with Asperber’s Syndrome. I have had a hard life dealing with people did not understand A S. Your book filled in the bits and pieces that were missing in my life. Like you, I have read the B of M 116 times cover to cover. I have the works of Hugh Nibley and Bruce Mc Conkie. I have read the histories of most of all the prophets. I read a book a day sometimes. I remember what I read. I love your books, i Have given lots of them to my friends who would profit by reading your books.
    You were good enough to let your spirit guide you to do what the Lord needed you to do. Even when your mortal self said otherwise. You were wise enough to let your spirit control your body. You may not answer this reply, but I would like to be you and Ben’s friend.
    Cheers,
    Ernie A

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  48. You are wonderful! I have only been a member for a few months and I am struggling. It is me that is telling me I don’t belong and I can’t do this and I am too weak to follow the rules. I love my tattoos and piercings and want more. Why does that make me less worthy of God’s love?? I think you are an amazing example and role model. I am so glad someone referred me to your blog! I am so excited to get reading. Your journey to self love will help me with mine. God loves you no matter what. We are family, and I am here for you. No judgements!

    Like

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