The cult. (ft. Leah Astore)

I grew up Mormon, but more than that, I’m a descendant of Joseph Smith; so not only was it a religion for me, it’s an entire culture and patriarchal system that runs deep in my family and ancestry.

I view it as a cult. (My parents would be mortified to hear me say that.)

I’ve chosen to live my own life, and as you can imagine, they have been less than proud of me for it. There is a bitter sadness that gives me an underlying melancholic ache, when I think of how strained my relationship is with them, simply because I have chosen to step away from their ideologies and “God”. Hopefully that doesn’t villianize them too severely. I love them, and I know they try, but our family dynamic is extremely awkward and contentious if we talk about anything other than the weather, and I was not welcome home for Christmas this past year, so that was . . . a thing that happened.

This past year, especially after my experiences in the Army, I came to the opinion, that while I greatly value culture and the way that religion influences it, (cue my love for anthropology studies) I honestly wish religion didn’t exist anymore. At least for my own family, and personal experiences, I have found it to be incredibly damaging, and ironically counter intuitive, to the spiritual and emotional growth it claims to help facilitate in it’s members.

These photos are a therapeutic gesture of my feelings on the subject.