‘One Of The Biggest Things I’ve Been Through’: Poh Ling Yeow Discusses Leaving The Mormon Church

Oh Thursday night, Poh opened up about her experiences growing up in the Mormon church, and how she made the decision to leave.

Speaking to Cal Wilson, Poh said that when she was about 16-years-old, missionaries from the Mormon church knocked on the door of her family’s home.

“We were going through some hard times and it was just kind of what we needed,” Poh explained. The sense of community the church offered resonated with her family and from the ages of about 16 to 24, Poh was a member of the church.

“So [I] came from a very conservative, very protective upbringing and wasn’t really allowed to socialise much even in my late teens,” she continued.

Deciding she wanted to explore her own identity, Poh saved up money and went to Canada where an uncle was living, to see more of the world.

“That totally flipped my world… upside down and I was just like, oh man,” she said. Poh also said her best friend in Canada, a trans woman, completely opened up her eyes to a whole new side of life.

“She was so kind to me, she taught me how to catch the subway, gave me mace, told me I could call her anytime if I needed help and she was just hilarious,” she said, adding that Canada’s liberal lifestyle continued to broaden her horizons.

“I was going to friends’ houses and the mum would be like smoking pot,” Poh said, laughing, “I was like oh my gosh my world is so different right now”.

Reflecting on her time away from home, and the church, Poh said her worldview completely changed. “I was just transformed, like, I couldn’t really hold on to the views that I had grown up with anymore.”

Returning home to Adelaide, Poh said it felt like “the beginning of the end”.

“I didn’t know how to reconcile my new morality with the one that I had come from and I slowly drifted apart,” she said. As she drifted from the church, Poh met her ex-husband Matt Phipps.

“He was a church member as well and we were both thinking about all the things that we didn’t quite agree with, you know?”

Making the difficult decision to leave the church, Poh said things between herself and her family, who are still part of the church, became “very tense at the beginning”.

“That was probably one of the biggest things I’ve ever been through in my life,” she said, later admitting her decision caused “quite a lot of family heartache”.

Despite the initial difficulties, Poh said she has absolutely no regrets.

“I think that everything informs you and I think it just shows, right? My experience, that was a positive thing… it’s just about what’s right for you.”

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! airs Sunday to Thursday at 7.30 on Network 10 and on demand on 10 play