I was adopted by a good Utah Mormon family when only an infant. I had no understanding of what that meant through childhood, however, I recall that I never really felt comfortable with the Mormon teachings from my earliest days of cognition. As I passed through, and out of the Mormon faith at the age of 23 by way of ex-communication, it became very clear that it was a blessing in disguise.
I remember my first contact with the Wiccan faith very well, as it came about absolutely by what I believe to be pre-destiny. I was attending Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah at the time and had a class about the Sociology of Religion. I knew from the beginning that having a professor that was Jewish and an openly gay woman, this class would be interesting. We were all given an assignment to do research, and a report, on a religion. The only catch was that it could not be on any faith that you were a member of, had knowledge of, or had previously attended. My attention was captured and I was absolutely intrigued by the idea. I began to diligently search and after going through over 100 different faiths I was at a point of complete and utter frustration. Which one do I choose ??? I did not have to wait long for an answer …… none of them.
A few days into my search I was walking across the campus of SUU and was stopped by a very plain looking young lady, which I had never met, and she said, "this book is for you". Startled, I simply took it and thanked her without asking any questions and she quickly walked away. I never saw her again from that day forward ….. on or off campus. That book would prove to be the turning point for my finding the faith that I am today.
The book in question? The Complete Book of Witchcraft by Raymond Buckland. It was worn and tattered and I could tell that it had been read many times, however, it was complete in every way …… including all of the workbook section not yet written up. And so my research began. The more I researched and the more I read the more intrigued and enlightened Ibecame. I was like a firework that had been lit. I not only did my research paper and report on the faith but continued as a strong student for the following 3 years. This faith had been right there, under my nose all of this time? Well, sort of. I learned early on that this faith fit my thinking and my belief systems to a "t". I also learned, however, that it was still very much in hiding. Being the legal minded type that I was and still am, I asked how that could be? How could people possibly still be hiding their faith from the public? I knew there was nothing illegal or immoral about Wicca, so why was it it so difficult to find others of my faith?
I beame an activist of texts and began to broadcast (quietly) that I was Wiccan after I initiated in my 3rd year of study as a voluntary. I wore pendant necklaces with pentacles and a shirt that had "proud to be Wiccan" emblazoned upon it. I was proud! And I remain so today. Shortly after I began doing this though, I began getting scripts left on my vehicle (had bumper stickers on it stating the same pride). I began receiving threatening emails and phone calls and soon understood why so many …. too many ….. were still hiding in this great country of freedom we call the United States of America. From that day forward it became a crusade for me to declare and bring out of the broom closet as many fellow Wiccans as I could. I refused to live with my rights given away out of sheer ignorance and fear. I started a pagan student group at SUU and again gained an uphill battle with the student association as well as with some of the administration at the time.
Then came the turning point. I met with then President Gerald Sheratt, and within the week the student association approved the Pagan Student Association. While it has notasted through the past 13 years it did exist, and many people became aware of this faiths existence. I was not through at that point and soon discovered that other Wiccans in the majority of Utah were coming out more and more and the public soon began to take notice in even the smaller towns and cities in Utah. Not due to what I was doing but because the social connections on the internet and elswhere was empowering us to be who we are. It was not long after that I decided that there really was no business that was catering to us, except in SLC, and that was much too far for many of us to travel to pick up essential ritual (prayer) tools and supplies.
I got the idea after graduating college that I would open a shop out of my home that would stock the necessary herbs and supplies. The shop was called The Witches Haven and was founded in 2004. Again it was a bit of a fight to gain a business license and it was put away by the city council a number of times. Coincidentally, the former president of the university had become mayor and after meeting with him the license was approved. It remained quite successful for approximately 3 years and I finally sold it to one of my younger friends so she could cater to the increasingly youngger following, and I could then raise my family.
To make this long story short I am Wiccan today. By pre-destiny, by choice, or by chance. In the end it really does not matter. My family remains devout Mormon and they have become very accepting of what I believe and the fact that it differs from their beliefs causes no friction or heartache. I really like some of the Christian hyms and my favorite volumes up my feeling on my transition from Mormon to Wiccan. "I once was lost, but now I'm found." Peace and bright blessings to each and every one of you and be kind to others and be who you are!
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