Michaelann Bradley was living the good Mormon life. A faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Bradley had moved from Texas to Provo, Utah, the fervent epicenter of Mormon culture, to attend Brigham Young University. At church, she played the organ, taught Sunday school, and often served in leadership roles in her congregation.
Bradley was “living by the Spirit” — a practice she learned as a young girl and refined during her time as a missionary in Switzerland. In everyday situations, she would pause and reflect, trying to intuit what God would want her to do: Did he want her to take the long way home from campus? Who should she assign to look after a member with unique needs in her congregation? She felt guided.
Until she didn’t.
The crisis came during her senior year of college when she felt the spirit pushing her to marry someone she sensed was a bad fit. He was abusive, and she knew that if she married him, it wouldn’t end well. “I had to make a decision between what I knew was best for me and what I thought God expected of me,” she said. The disconnect pained her, but she told God no.
“I remember praying, telling God, ‘It’s my eternity, not yours,’” she said. The decision drove a wedge between her and God — and between her and other Mormons, who she felt didn’t understand her doubts. So she quietly wrestled with God alone for years.
In 2013, Bradley met her future husband, Don, at an academic scripture study group. He was a thoughtful historian 18 years her senior whose own faith in the LDS Church had been shaken years before. Many of their early dates were to “Mormon-adjacent gatherings,” Bradley said, so she hardly batted an eye when Don invited her to a meeting of the Mormon Transhumanist Association. He billed it as a group of thoughtful folks tackling slightly different ideas about Mormonism. “I thought he meant…