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Life On My Own Terms – EP. 56

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After growing up in the strict, patriarchal atmosphere of the Mormon religion, Shelly Johnson decided to abandon everything she knew in order to live in her truth. The Brave Files.



Top Takeaways From This Episode:

  • No one can give you what you need at all times.
  • Feeling unified with the people around you can change everything.
  • When you stop judging, you can love more fully.
  • Bravery is found in the small steps taken towards being true to yourself.

Show Notes:

An Obedient Life

Shelly Johnson fully encompasses the definition of resilience and authenticity. Additionally, her decision to abandon beliefs that no longer serve the life she wants to live exemplifies true bravery.

Growing up in the Mormon religion, she internalized the importance of unfaltering obedience. Likewise, she grew up believing in the importance of ensuring the patriarchy’s happiness. Based on Shelly's lived experiences, this is the highest priority in traditional Mormonism. Without a doubt, the strict and controlling fundamental beliefs of her religion shaped Shelly’s life in ways that took years to unravel.

Dutiful Beginnings

Following a customary Mormon upbringing, Shelly married in the temple. Her now ex-husband looked ideal on paper. He pleased her father; he pleased God. Subsequently, the two had seven children and lived a seemingly wonderful and devout life. However, Shelly felt anything but perfect. On the inside, she was depressed, detached, and exhausted. Raising seven children is no easy task! Eventually, Shelly reached her breaking point.


Shelly and her ex-husband, Brent, on their wedding day.

Leaving the Church

As an adult, Shelly realized her personal beliefs were not aligned with those imposed by her religion. Things like drinking coffee and beer are a sin, and one who partakes is no longer “worthy to be saved” in the eyes of the church. Pleading for help, Shelly tried desperately to find comfort. However, the church turned her away, during her most vulnerable time of need.

With the support of her husband, Shelly made the life-altering decision to leave the Mormon church. Consequently, nearly all of Shelly's relationships immediately fell flat. She sacrificed everything in order to live life on her own terms. That is the definition of living courageously.

Coming Out and Becoming Whole

After leaving the Church, Shelly felt free – – for the first time in her life! Eventually, she realized her marriage wasn’t working well either. Finally, she acknowledged that she'd spent so long following other people’s rules that she didn’t even know there were other options.

However, it didn't take long for Shelly to recognize something in herself that, not that long ago, she was actively opposed to. Shelly discovered she was a lesbian.

Suddenly, everything made sense.

Shelly Johnson and her partner, Mary, produce the Latter-Day Lesbian Podcast.

Living a Life of Love

Soon after embracing her truest self, Shelly found love. But it was more than just love with her new partner, Mary. What Shelly discovered was an overall love of other people. Previously encircled by the judgmental views of the Mormon Church, she'd never before felt an openness to love others on a basic, human level. This sense of community undoubtedly took Shelly’s life to new heights.

Learning to love people as they are and for who they are, Shelly says, is a gift she rejoices in every day.

After growing up in the strict, patriarchal atmosphere of the Mormon religion, Shelly Johnson decided to abandon everything she knew in order to live in her truth. The Brave Files.

The Latter-DayLesbian Podcast

Through her grit, humor, and honesty, Shelly reaches countless others in similar situations. Her story is one of true bravery!

Tune in now, and we promise you won't be disappointed!

Brilliantly hilarious and educational, Latter-Day Lesbian Podcast is a must listen! Excitingly, the show's following grows exponentially each week. It seems this story powerfully and directly relates to so many! Trust us, we highly encourage you to check it out.

Additionally, you can connect with Shelly on FacebookInstagramTwitter, or through her website.

Latter Day Lesbian host, Shelly Johnson, Joins The Brave Files to share her story of leaving the Mormon Church, coming out and living life on her own terms!

Giving is Good:

In light of this newfound love of humanity, Shelly supports The Lamb Center. She volunteers her time at this Virginia based organization catering to the homeless. The Lamb Center provides a place for homeless people to gather in community, receive meals, take showers, and clean their clothes.

Overall, facilities like The Lamb Center make a real difference in the life of people living on the streets. Without a place to clean their clothes and bodies, it is extremely difficult for someone who is homeless to find a job. Education and resources available through the center assist people in need down the path of being able to support themselves.

Shelly Johnson from Latter Day Lesbian joins Heather Vickery on The Brave Files to share her story of leaving the Mormon Church and living a life of love.
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About Your Host:
Heather Vickery
Heather Vickery
Heather Vickery is an award-winning business owner and global leader with over 20 years as an entrepreneur. She leverages her entrepreneurial skills and expertise to coach individuals towards greater personal and professional fulfillment by helping them leverage their fear into intentional bravery. Heather says “When we choose bravely, on purpose, we choose bigger, have bigger successes and it’s contagious” A celebrated public speaker, Heather inspires audiences and empowers attendees with the tools they need to live bold and successful lives through creating balance, time management, mindfulness, as well as countless systems, strategies, and boundaries. She’s the author of Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus and Grow Grateful: A Gratitude Journal for Kids and Families. Heather is also the host and executive producer of The Brave Files Podcast.
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