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Breaking Through

Creating a life for myself outside of organized religion is what has put me on a path of deep personal change and growth.

Welcome to my blog! Everything shared in these articles are opinions from my personal life experiences and views. It's also an invitation for people to live their lives as they feel best to progress in this life.

The Beginning

How far back I should go in these articles is always tricky. We don't want to get lost in the minutia of my childhood but still be able to see how it all worked out. So, November 29th 1990 I was born to the parents of Lisa and David Dame in Murray, Utah.

My parents were as good of parents as you could have ever asked for, they loved me, supported me and gave me any opportunity I could imagine. At the time they were committed to the Mormon religion and that's how I was raised pretty much up until I was a senior in high school. It is what I thought my parents believed in and that's what I thought I should believe in too, so I did.

We didn't live in Utah for very long in fact we moved away before I was five years old to the East Coast. Danbury, Connecticut was the first place I really remembered as a kid but even then we moved away before I was 8 to Solon, Ohio. I don't know if I have a ton to say about my childhood other than I can only remember good things. My parents did everything that they could with the knowledge they had and at the time as I mentioned Mormonism was the route to that happiness.

As a child growing up in the Mormon religion I was “programmed” to believe so many different things in terms of: Who you are, what you're going to be and how you should live your life. Which for a lot of people, they need that. They need that direction because they can't find it in themselves or maybe they don't have a foundation and need some type of higher guidance. Either way, I felt like it programmed me to believe things that maybe I didn't ultimately agree with and it took almost 25 years of my life to finally decide these programs were not the best for me.

I was programmed to believe so many different things in terms of: Who you are, what you're going to be and how you should live your life

I can't pretend that religion was all bad, it helped me think about serving others….

But during my teenage years I would say the damage was much deeper than it was when I was a little kid. The reason being, as you start to incorporate the challenges of hormones and trying to feel accepted by your peers. I often felt ostracized by my friends since I didn’t want to drink or smoke because the mormon religion didn’t allow it . My biggest challenge was abstinence in the form of sexuality. Like most Christian religions, Mormonism taught to abstain from most sexual acts until marriage which honestly for most adolescent boys is near impossible. At least it was for me.

I had a girlfriend most of high school, and lost my virginity when I was 16. This was the beginning of a lot of guilt and shame because I felt like I was not only letting myself down but also my parents, my religious leaders, and God.

Before I go further I want to say that I truly believe that people are entitled to think/follow whatever they feel serves them best. The mormon religion for example can be helpful to a lot of people and it deserves its place in their lives. What I don’t agree with is telling someone they must believe in something because it’s the only way to salvation or whatever end goal you’re trying to achieve. EVERYONE has their own path to follow and it is not up to any one person to decide which path another person should take.

I also want to include the fact that I love spirituality. I didn’t leave organized religion for any reason other than I felt I couldn’t grow anymore following its doctrine. The whole of spirituality cannot be contained by any single organized religion, it’s impossible.

Anyway, going back to my years in high school, I remember so many nights fighting the temptations to masturbate and eventually failing. These may be details you don’t want to hear but it was things like this that would put me into a guilt and shame cycle that would define who I was for many years.

What is the guilt and shame cycle?

When you do something contrary to church teachings, it means you would have to meet with a bishop or religious leader, tell them what you did and depending on the severity of the “sin” you could face some variety of consequences, like not taking the sacrament or not being able to go to the temple. From the outside this seems like a minor thing but when a big majority of your social world exists in this religion it meant feeling like a failure and unworthy because of my lack of self-discipline. I often felt like I was expected to be perfect.

I get that no one made me feel this way but the way the system was set up pushed me toward hiding my “sins” and pretending like I was perfect so I could fit in with everyone else.

Whats my point?!

My point to all this is that I wasn’t living my life how I was supposed to. I was following a program that didn’t help me reach my full potential. By releasing all these expectations set on me by religion, society, those I loved and most of all my own self; I was able to start down a path that is bringing me a new level of happiness, fulfillment and purpose that I didn’t know existed. This path is helping me find my true self. It gives me hope for a better future; a future that I can shape because of the immense power I am innately born with. We are all meant for something more than we see now, we just need to do the work that helps us achieve the power we have. The best part of this path I have found is that it has nothing to do with religion. It’s focus is on improving oneself, uprooting past traumas and triggers and then living in the present moment as I build a future that is far brighter than one created by anyone but myself. I hold the keys to what I am able to achieve and the sky's the limit!

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