What I Did On My Ex-Mormon Vacation

Posted by: Andee / Category: , , , , ,

Mom and I went to Salt Lake City to be a part of the Ex-Mormon Foundation Conference. We met up with our cousin, Donna, as well as many of the internet friends that have helped keep us sane over the past year and a half. It was an experience I will never forget.

We packed up our stuff in her truck, and started the one and a half hour drive to the SigningForSomething.org petition and letter delivery in Salt Lake City. This photo was taken from Mom's moving vehicle, so forgive the odd colors on the mountains in the background. That comes from the windshield tinting on her truck.

Another shot taken on the drive to Salt Lake City. It was a beautiful drive, the autumn colors were bright and beautiful.

We made it to State Street in one piece, which is saying something because I was in charge of navigation and I have zero sense of direction. None. I am surprised we didn't end up in Alaska with me behind the directions!

It was then time to help with the SigningForSomething.org petition and letter delivery at the COB in Salt Lake City. If you haven't seen the photo essay for that yet, go here.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints' Church office building

The SigningForSomething.org event went off smoothly. We were all extremely happy with the turnout, and the amount of reporters willing to take on the story. It was something I will never forget.

We made our way to the hotel, Embassy Suites, and checked into our room. It was really nice... We had a separate living area, bathroom, and the bedroom. It worked out perfectly for us because I am usually up all night reading or writing and I didn't have to keep my Mom up! When I go back next year I plan on staying at the same hotel.

We turned on the television and immediately saw a news story on Chad Hardy and his BYU diploma being revoked. People all over the country are pissed about this, and he has interviews set up to talk about this with the media in the future. I apologize for the quality of this photo, I had two seconds to turn the camera on, and aim it before the story was going to be over. I had little time to get a nice shot.

This morning CBS nixed an interview with Chad because the church pressured them to do so. MSNBC, however, has this article up to give Chad and his diploma fight some decent exposure. Be sure to check it out!!!

We had a small dinner before we went to the "Ex-Mormon Testimony Meeting" at the hotel's restaurant, "The Plum." Eat there. It was delicious. Since I am now a vegetarian I didn't have a huge selection, so I had the apple crisp dessert. It was the best apple crisp I have ever had in my life. If you ever have the chance to try it, do!!! I didn't want to start taking photos in the middle of the restaurant, so I don't have a photo of it. Damn.

We made our way to the conference room and listened to a funny and warm welcome from Sue Emmett, Chad Spjut and Richard Packham. Then, Sue told everyone she had a surprise special guest. I thought for sure she was talking about Andrew Callahan from SigningForSomething, but I was wrong. We were all happily surprised when Chad Hardy came up to the front of the room to talk about his fight with the LDS Church over his calendar and his diploma. It was funny and interesting. He is a cool guy, and I hope someone grows a brain and decides to give him what he earned (and paid for)!

The microphone was open for anyone to get up and introduce themselves and share their experiences about learning the truth about Mormonism and their struggles when leaving the church. There were some amazing stories that made me cheer and cry... it was an amazing beginning to what would become an amazing weekend.

After the introduction we went up to our cousin Donna's room for a family chat. I asked tons of questions about my older relatives and our connection to the Mountain Meadows Massacre, as well as some of the women in my family who have always disliked the church like my Grandmother. My grandma and I had a special relationship, and I would love to think that she is out there somewhere cheering me on as I stand up and scream about how much the church lies to people.

It was really cool talking to Donna, and hearing about family members that I never knew. Donna is an amazing person who left the church in the '6o's after her mission in Southern California. She had a horrible mission experience, and if I can get her permission I will write more about that at a different time.

Saturday morning I woke up excited, and went out to take some photos of the sunrise. I walked up to the parking garage roof and took these photos.

We had some breakfast in the lobby. It was fantastic because they cooked us breakfast to order... it's not just a little continental breakfast. I had a cheese omelette, hash browns and toast. It was really good, and a nice start to the day.

The first lecture of the day was three separate couples who survived their exit from Mormonism together. Each story was different, and they took questions from the audience after they shared their thoughts about staying best friends even though one spouse leaves Mormonism before the other. It's nice to see that not all marriages break up when something like this happens, and that leaving the church doesn't have to break up your family, you just have to be wise in how you handle it.

Ken Clark then gave a presentation about "Lying for the Lord." I learned so much during his lecture, that I took notes. I was trying to be a sponge and absorb all the information, and I know there are things I will forget. Luckily, all the lectures are available online soon, so anyone can hear what they had to say. It was an awesome presentation, and he is a really nice guy. There will be an article about what he had to say later, after I get my thoughts together :)

Steve Hassan

Mom and I had a quick lunch in the hotel room to talk about some of the things Mr. Clark talked about. We were both thrilled for the next speaker, Steve Hassan, a noted mental health counselor who has personal experience in leaving a mind control cult. He was a member of the Moon cult, and shared his methods of learning to think for yourself and helping family members who are involved in cults. He was a smart and funny guy, I liked him a lot. I plan on writing about his lecture as well in the near future. I plan on buying his books to help me understand how cults and mind control works. It's very interesting.

Mom and I went to see Sue Emmett's talk about her exit from Mormonism and the toll it took on her and her family. She is a strong woman who has had her share of struggles, and I look up and admire her ability to stand for what she believes in. She is good people.

After a short break it was time for the banquet. I think I was the only one who didn't get dressed up for the dinner, but I hate dresses and I refuse to wear one. :) Here are some photos of the dinner tables as well as the guest lecturer, Lyndon Lamborn, who was "Chased out of Mormonism." If you haven't listened to his excommunication hearing, you should! He was amazing and stood his ground. He called his leaders out for not telling the truth and giving members of the church full and complete information.

I won some cool stuff at the raffle, too!

After the dinner I had the chance to meet up with many of my friends from PostMormon.org. I can't explain in words how cool it was to actually give these people a hug and thank them for their support and help during the last year and a half. We pretty much took over the hotel bar and just sat around talking to each other. I had a permanent smile on my face the entire time. It was amazing!

Thanks for reading, it was probably boring, but I will have better stuff up tomorrow after I get through my notebook full of notes. Here is one last shot of me in my hotel room...



  1. Travis Says:

    Sounds like a you had a blast. In case you were worried, Logan was OK without you there. I spent the weekend up there and it was really nice. I thought it would be cold, but it was really warm the whole time. /Travis

  1. Andee Says:

    I did have a blast... I will return next year and look forward to it! Glad to hear Logan didn't burn down while I was gone!!! :)