If Only I Stayed
Raised in the Mormon “Church of Latter-Day Saints” (LDS) and studying at an LDS-owned university, Brinley Froelich took psychedelics a month before graduating and decided to drop out. Then she went back.
What do you do when your head breaks open and the influx of visions run opposite of everything you learned growing up? When this happened to me for the first time, I felt a peace I’d never known through the faith I was raised in – it gave me the faith to let go of it.
Brigham Young –the second prophet of the Mormon “Church of Latter-Day Saints” (LDS) –shares a birthday with me, so in the beginning, it made sense to attend school at his namesake university. Feeling uncertain with myself, I allowed my family to guide my post high school world in exchange for their assistance. I knew that Brigham Young University (BYU) was weird going into it, but I didn’t realize how deeply the school sinks its fingers into every aspect of your life. When I expressed frustration about this to family or authorities, I was met with drivel about how BYU isn’t the same as the LDS church, so I shouldn’t lose faith. But what I saw was different: I found a reflection in BYU culture of what the Mormon church wants to be, but can’t legally get away with. BYU breeds a surveillance culture more pervasive than the NSA datacenter just a few miles away, and calls upon untrained and unfit leaders who perpetuate shame, abuse, and scare tactics on members. For a long time, I tried to straddle the life I felt to be genuine, which didn’t align with the university standards, with scraping by the rules to get by.