Modern Day


Portrait of Matt
Occupation: Anartist and Mental Disabilities Advocate
Located: Chicago, IL
Born: Rexburg, ID
Upbringing: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Status: Inactive since 2009

When I returned home early from my mission, everybody was looking at me like, what did you do wrong? I’m sick. Well, what wrong did you do to become sick? The Church never acknowledged my time served, and when you subscribe to a religion that says illness is a curse brought about to those who sin, you see sickness as failure.

I went back to school at Ricks, was married in the temple, and had a child with my first wife. During this time I became even more sick and eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia. Again, I was made to feel like this was my fault. There were medical doctors I was seeing who were telling me I just needed to go to see my Bishop and repent.

I was traveling back and forth to Boise staying with my parents while getting treatment. Things were a bit cloudy, but I eventually realized my wife was having an affair. I presented proof of adultery and The Church not only took her side, but saw her as this suffering woman forced to deal with an insane husband. They refused to see my evidence; they refused to listen to me; and The Church allowed her to hold my illness against me.

In the church you’re called to positions because God calls you to those positions. You’re a Bishop because God has told the Stake President that you’re the person for that job and so on. I personally knew people in high ranking positions who were doing things not condoned by God. Why wasn’t I picked but they were? I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I was never in a leadership position, but I guarantee if I had been while going through both divorces my story would have been heard. How I was treated was wrong.

I find it ironic that the person who hears voices is the person no one believes hears God’s voice. Speaking as a person with schizophrenia, I get it. All of our ideologies are fragile. Therefore, if you were to tell me that my delusions or hallucinations were not real, I would have to question my whole life, my whole belief system. I would have to face things that I am not prepared to face. That’s why people dig in when they’re confronted with any opposition to their ideologies; they were never told how to handle being wrong.

During my second marriage - I was around 28 at the time - I was going to grad school and working long hours on projects. My wife accused me of cheating on her. I went to our house to get my things and she wouldn’t let me through the door. I called the cops. She called the Bishop. Again, no one would hear me out, no one would believe me. I saw how The Church put itself and its image before its members. For the second time, I was discredited because of who I am. I told the Bishop he failed as the steward and I’m out. He said, if you ever want to come back, we’re here. You’re missing the point, I told him, you weren’t here for me through any of this.

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