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Questions for those who left mormonism or almost did

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 

I am going through lots of issues in my life am finally realized it all stems from my religion.  I was raised LDS my whole life and all my family is LDS.  Dh is newly mormon since we got married 6 years ago.  He was kid of pushed  into it.  I am actually questioning my religious leaders and it is so freeing.  I cant believe I am happy about this.  But my family is probably going to disown me and I am freaking out about that. 

 

Several questions for those who were mormon and left and hose who thought about it and stayed-

 

Why did you leave or stay?

 

How did your family handle it?  How did your spouse or kids handle it?

 

Is it possible to be a semi mormon believing in some things and not others?

 

How do you raise your kids now if you have any?

 

Did any evil things happen to you for "rebeling"?

 

How is it I was born and raised LDS, and was told to pray to know the truth and felt right about it and now I am feeling right to leave?  Were those feeling a lie or did God change?

 

Did you ever read any anti moron literature in your decsion to leave?  I have yet to research any as I feel like I will be lied to or not like what I read.

 

In a most light discission, did you go to the temple and how do you feel about that now?

 

Do you still read the BOM?

 

If you go to church still, do you take the sacrement?

 

And most of all- for those who had the church totally engrained in every bit of who they were, how do you go about leaving the church as I feel like by doing so I have no idea who I am anymore?

 

Thanks for your time for these most deep questions!

 

PS- for those who arent mormon, I am open to hearing about your religious decisions too.


Edited by Koalamom - 2/4/11 at 4:00pm
post #2 of 46
Thread Starter 

Bump!  Are there too many questions?

post #3 of 46

My DH left the LDS church he was raised in.  I can answer some of these questions based on his experience.

 

Why did you leave or stay?  He left for many reasons, but if he had to some it up it would be false doctrine.

 

How did your family handle it?  How did your spouse or kids handle it?  Some of his family are still LDS, if religion every comes up in conversation it can get touchy, but noone disowned him or anything like that.  I don't think his family is really serious about their faith though.

 

Is it possible to be a semi mormon believing in some things and not others?  My DH would say no.  My personal take on this is that if you don't support the church as a whole, why would you stay?

 

How do you raise your kids now if you have any?  DH and I converted to the Roman Catholic church the year our first son was born.

 

Did any evil things happen to you for "rebeling"?  No.

 

How is it I was born and raised LDS, and was told to pray to know the truth and felt right about it and now I am feeling right to leave?  Were those feeling a lie or did God change?  Other people might be able to answer this better, but I would say the Spirit moves us when we least expect it.

 

Did you ever read any anti moron literature in your decsion to leave?  I have yet to research any as I feel like I will be lied to or not like what I read.  My DH has read a ton.  I can ask him to recommend somethings to you if you'd like.

 

In a most light discission, did you go to the temple and how do you feel about that now?  I'll ask him when he wakes up.

 

Do you still read the BOM?  No.

 

If you go to church still, do you take the sacrement?

post #4 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KempsMama View Post

 

Is it possible to be a semi mormon believing in some things and not others?  My DH would say no.  My personal take on this is that if you don't support the church as a whole, why would you stay?

 

Good point.

 

How is it I was born and raised LDS, and was told to pray to know the truth and felt right about it and now I am feeling right to leave?  Were those feeling a lie or did God change?  Other people might be able to answer this better, but I would say the Spirit moves us when we least expect it.

 

My mind is thinking on this too.

 

Did you ever read any anti moron literature in your decsion to leave?  I have yet to research any as I feel like I will be lied to or not like what I read.  My DH has read a ton.  I can ask him to recommend somethings to you if you'd like.


I would say yes to something that isn't just radical but that he would consider true.  I am not looking to be stired up but just want facts.  But I think you may have to pm me as this thread might be removed with that kind of info.  This is more of a personal sharing thread.    Thanks kempsmama!

post #5 of 46

Certainly! I will let you know what he says.  Also feel free to pm me any specific questions you might have.  My DH is an instructor at our church and teaches a class on Apologetics, so we both have pretty solid understandings of several different faiths. 

post #6 of 46

I'll try to answer your questions :).

 

Why did you leave or stay?

Basically I left because I didn't believe anymore.  I had doubts and questions and set out to find answers.  I initially thought I'd come through with a stronger testimony but it didn't work out that way.

 

How did your family handle it? How did your spouse or kids handle it?

I know it hurt my parents and shocked my relatives, but they've learned to live with it.  Nobody disowned me.  My DH followed me right out of the church.  He was much angrier than me when he realized the truth, but neither one of us has regretted the decision.  My two oldest kids were 2 years and newborn when we left so no issue there.

 

Is it possible to be a semi mormon believing in some things and not others?

I am sure people do this, especially if they have a believing spouse.  At first I thought I would continue being an active mormon even though I no longer believed it because I liked it so much and couldn't imagine my life without the church.  That didn't last very long.  The less I believed, the harder it was to put up with all the crap.  And I begin to recognize the guilt and emotional manipulation I'd been living with.  When the church started its anti-gay marriage initiatives in the late 90s that was the last straw for me.

 

How do you raise your kids now if you have any?

I consider myself agnostic and have raised my kids as such.  We attend a UU church now.

 

Did any evil things happen to you for "rebeling"?

LOL, I remember feeling this way!  Like I was going to be punished for not toeing the line, even after I quit believing.  This indoctrination was hard to shed.  No, nothing bad has happened and it's been 12 years.

 

How is it I was born and raised LDS, and was told to pray to know the truth and felt right about it and now I am feeling right to leave?  Were those feeling a lie or did God change?

I felt right about being mormon because it was all I knew.  When I felt the spirit at church meetings I assumed it was proof the church was true because that's what they told me it meant.  But, what mormons call the spirit is not exclusive to mormonism.  All of my spiritual experiences centered around activities like girls camp and youth conference.  It felt so good being with people who shared my beliefs and having fun with them.  But, seriously, people had the same experience at Woodstock.  It had nothing to do with the true church.

 

I never got an answer from god that the church and BOM was true.  You know,  the whole line about asking with a sincere heart--it never worked for me.  I honestly believed everything I learned at church, but I never got the manifestation.  It was extremely frustrating and disappointing.  I thought for many years that I was unworthy and that was why god was ignoring me.  I look back on those years and it makes me angry--I was such a perfect little mormon girl.  I did everything right according to the church, and never got the promised answer.  To think I could have been out having fun instead of living bogged down with guilt!

 

Did you ever read any anti moron literature in your decsion to leave? I have yet to research any as I feel like I will be lied to or not like what I read.

I read everything I could get my hands on.  I decided that if the church was true, it would still be true no matter what I read.  Most of my research was done pre-internet.  The Orem, UT library has an excellent mormon studies section and I think I read every book they had.  At first I stayed away from what was considered anti-mormon and read apologists.  When the apologists couldn't answer my questions (I was an anthro major in college and the whole BOM archaeology was a huge issue for me), I branched out to more scholarly books.  I read the books that had gotten people excommunicated because I curious to know what could be so bad that the church would do that.

 

My advice would be to stay away from christian antis because some of the them are just crazy, though the Tanners are generally considered to be reliable.  Anything published by Signature books and University of Illinois press are going to be fact-checked fairly well.  I'm sure there great sources online too.  It's been so long since I cared to research that I'm a bit out of the loop.  You could try exmormon.org for suggestions.

 

Honestly, it's part of the indoctrination to be afraid to look at alternate sources.  There is tons of damning evidence out there and you don't have to look very hard at all--and the church knows it.

 

In a most light discission, did you go to the temple and how do you feel about that now?

I was married in the temple and I regret not having a real wedding.  The temple is just plain weird.  Everyone knows it but they don't talk about because it's too "sacred."

 

Do you still read the BOM?

No.  Complete lack of archaeological and DNA evidence for its authenticity played a huge part in my disbelief.  Why would I read it?

 

 

If you go to church still, do you take the sacrement?

N/A

 

And most of all- for those who had the church totally engrained in every bit of who they were, how do you go about leaving the church as I feel like by doing so I have no idea who I am anymore?

It was extremely difficult to leave the church--easily the hardest thing I have ever done.  I felt like I'd fallen off a cliff and had nothing to break my fall.  Your feelings are normal.  But the fun part is now you are in charge--you get to decide who you are and what you believe.  Once the initial shock wears off, you will see how free you really are.

post #7 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by springbabes View Post

And most of all- for those who had the church totally engrained in every bit of who they were, how do you go about leaving the church as I feel like by doing so I have no idea who I am anymore?

It was extremely difficult to leave the church--easily the hardest thing I have ever done.  I felt like I'd fallen off a cliff and had nothing to break my fall.  Your feelings are normal.  But the fun part is now you are in charge--you get to decide who you are and what you believe.  Once the initial shock wears off, you will see how free you really are.


Thanks for taking the time to answer! I do feel amazingly lighter knowing that I can make the decisions for myself.
post #8 of 46

Why did you leave or stay? Initially, I left because I felt very, very judged by the people in my ward. I couldn't connect with anyone - the community that I loved about church disappeared because of some bad decisions that I made (excommunicatably bad decisions by LDS standards, poor decision making by "normal" standards)

 

How did your family handle it?  How did your spouse or kids handle it? My family hasn't said two words to me about it. I know my mom was pretty torn up about it initially, but it just isn't a subject that comes up. I don't go to church with them, and they don't ask me to.

 

Is it possible to be a semi mormon believing in some things and not others? I would say yes. I also think that beliefs evolve. Initially, I still believed a lot of the teachings/doctrine of Mormonism, but that has changed for me - mostly due to the Prop 8 stuff, honestly.

 

How do you raise your kids now if you have any? "Spiritual but not religious" I think. My only child is 1, so I haven't quite come to that yet. Both my husband and I are Christian-leaning, but not really into organized religion. I believe in God with all of my heart, but I do not think that I have to attend church in order for him to know that.

 

Did any evil things happen to you for "rebeling"? Ha ha. Maybe. But! Right after I consciously decided to NEVER go back, I met my wonderful, amazing, fantastic husband.

 

How is it I was born and raised LDS, and was told to pray to know the truth and felt right about it and now I am feeling right to leave?  Were those feeling a lie or did God change? Maybe YOU changed! I strongly think that we need different things at different times in our lives... maybe you once needed mormonism, and now you do not (I am not qualified to make this statement... just speculation).

 

Did you ever read any anti moron literature in your decsion to leave? No. No thanks. I don't like to read anything hateful.

 

In a most light discission, did you go to the temple and how do you feel about that now? Weird. Maybe it wasn't my best choice to go... but it felt right at the time, I think. Now it just seems weird. For whatever it is worth, I try to be respectful of the ceremony... and I spent HOURs once destroying temple garments properly.

 

Do you still read the BOM? Nah. I don't have time.

 

If you go to church still, do you take the sacrement? I don't go to church, but I wouldn't take the sacrament if I were to go.

 

And most of all- for those who had the church totally engrained in every bit of who they were, how do you go about leaving the church as I feel like by doing so I have no idea who I am anymore? I felt like that too - my whole community & ALL of my friends were gone, just like that. But, after a while, I made new friends. I found a new community.

 

Good luck to you in your decision! It is hard to leave everything you know.

post #9 of 46

Count me in as one who thought about it, but stayed.

 

Why did you leave or stay?

 

I almost left after a traumatic experience (let's just say I was "attacked") in which neither my family, nor the Bishop I went to for help were supportive.  Rather, they were openly antagonistic and blamed me.  It took me many years to become somewhat stable after this experience, and during that time I was only "partially" active-- and considered many times if I should even bother sticking around.  I ended up staying because I had already such depth of spiritual experiences within the church, and I finally began learning to distinguish mormon "culture" versus mormon "doctrine".  The doctrine won out for me, in spite of the falseness I often saw in people, even in some leaders.

 

How did your family handle it?

 

I think my parents think I'm inactive!  They don't dare ask :) and I'm not in the mood to discuss personal things with them anymore!  I reached a point where their opinion of what I do in my life doesn't matter to me.  I'll do what I feel I need to, regardless of what they think. 

If you feel close and connected to your family and their opinion matters to you, you should take that into consideration...but I think you should not be part of a religion which you personally don't believe in.   I'm all for being fearlessly authentic. 

There are other ways to bond as a family.  If they truly love you, they will love you even if you are not a member.  If your relationship to them is based solely on your church membership, then it's not a healthy relationship, and you need to realize this and find other ways to connect.

I ended up marrying a hindu...!  So the spouse issue is moot, and we don't have kids yet...not sure exactly how we will raise them, but I plan to take them to church with me...but also have separate chats with them about learning for themselves and not blindly believing everything they hear, even in church.  And I'm sure DH will share his beliefs with them. 

Ultimately, every person has to develop their own relationship with God (if they choose to have this relationship at all), including children raised within the church.

 

Is it possible to be a semi mormon believing in some things and not others?

 

There are things I believe in and have experienced which I don't openly share in church.  While these things don't directly conflict with doctrine, they're not typical mormon thinking.  There are many aspects of mormon culture which I outright dislike (like the gay bashing)-- and I see it in direct conflict with actual doctrine.  Things like that bother me, and if mentioned, I speak up and share my views.  Doctrinally, I don't have issues.  Culturally, I have many.  Small example of culture vs. doctrine: A single piercing in each ear is ok, but more is evil?  Nonsense.  If piercings were evil, then having any at all would be wrong.  It's a total culture thing.  In our western culture, 2 piercings is normal, more is "rebellious".  But it's masqueraded as doctrine to only have 2.

 

Did any evil things happen to you for "rebelling"?

 

Evil things happen to me regardless of my membership status!  That's life!  It's false that if you are doing everything right, nothing bad will happen to you.  OTOH, if you mean getting involved in drugs, illicit sex, that kind of rebelling, then of course there are direct consequences and risks to that kind of life!  I think that's not what you mean tho.

 

How is it I was born and raised LDS, and was told to pray to know the truth and felt right about it and now I am feeling right to leave?  Were those feeling a lie or did God change?

 

Learning to listen to and understand spiritual guidance is something I would encourage, regardless of whether you stay in the church.  Trust your intuition, trust your guidance.  Spirituality is beyond reason, it doesn't always make immediate sense in an intellectual way.

 

 

Did you ever read any anti mormon literature in your decsion to leave?  I have yet to research any as I feel like I will be lied to or not like what I read.

 

I've read some, but found nothing compelling enough to cause me to leave.  Much of it is anger in response to the before mentioned "cultural" aspects of things.  Or frustration or anger at the misdeeds of some people within the church.  I guess the question they ask is, if the church is true, how can this be allowed?  or how can this leader claim to be speaking for God, when he did this bad thing? 

It doesn't bother me...first, I wasn't there or witness those things they are being accused of, so don't feel it's my place to judge (since I don't have the full story).  Like the peeping stone thing, I'm like...  If Joseph was being inspired he could've gazed into the mud and been inspired still.  Do I care if he gave some credit to the power of a rock?  No.  He can give credit to his shoelaces for all I care.  If what he speaks still inspires me and teaches me about God, that's what I care about.

 

And I try not to judge truth based on the failure of people to follow it.

 

In a most light discussion, did you go to the temple and how do you feel about that now?

 

Yes, but I haven't been back since that "incident" many years ago.  I miss it, and am planning to go again soon.  Many never connect with the Temple experience and are confused by the Temple rites.  My experiences in the Temple, however, have been powerful and very relevant for my life.  So to me it's a beautiful place in which direct inspiration is available.  But I can also see how others might be a bit baffled by it all.

 

Do you still read the BOM?

 

Yes, almost daily.  I imagine if I ceased learning from it, or didn't see relevance in my life, then I would stop.  But to me it's full of examples of people struggling through life while still trying to connect with God.  I can relate to that. 

Not trying to argue with a pp, but there are many archaeological evidences for the BOM.  For whatever reason, very little is known or spoken about the archeaology of North America.  If you have the interest, it's a fascinating subject, and many place names in the US are identical/similar to names in the BOM.  Unfortunately, much history was lost when our ancestors slaughtered the American Indians.  They didn't bother to ask the histories before wiping them out, ya know?

 

And most of all- for those who had the church totally engrained in every bit of who they were, how do you go about leaving the church as I feel like by doing so I have no idea who I am anymore?

 

Maybe this is why you feel the need to leave?  To find your own identity? 

Find your own connection to God/spirituality, and whatever path you follow will still lead you to accomplish what you are meant to in this life. 

If you do leave, do so out of following your guidance and leave any resentments behind.  It's sad to see others who leave become bitter and antagonistic...and seek to fight the church and everyone in it.  Even if I left, I would just leave and move on with life.  Why leave only to build a life of fighting and bitterness?  Leave with the intent to build a good and happy life for yourself and your family, and I'm sure God will watch over you still, and not condemn you for your choice (since it seems you have this concern).

post #10 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by rush2ady View Post
 

Not trying to argue with a pp, but there are many archaeological evidences for the BOM.  For whatever reason, very little is known or spoken about the archeaology of North America.  If you have the interest, it's a fascinating subject, and many place names in the US are identical/similar to names in the hhBOM.  Unfortunately, much history was lost when our ancestors slaughtered the American Indians.  They didn't bother to ask the histories before wiping them out, ya know?

 

Where have you heard that there is very little known about the archaeology of North America? This just isn't true. I've taken two university level classes (at BYU, no less) on North American archaeology and there is enough known about the previous inhabitants of this land to know that they didn't have wheat, steel, horses, chariots, flocks of sheep, large cities, etc. I stand by my previous assertion that there is little compelling evidence that the BOM is a literal history. The lack of evidence is damnning enough.  As far as the place names being similar, that would much more amazing if Joseph Smith was unfamiliar with American geography.  If you wish, I'll read and critique anything about the subject you send my way. You need to be a little careful with BOM apologists. They really rely on the reader being unfamiliar with the science of archaeology. You have to ask yourself why no BYU archaeology professors publish books on the subject.

post #11 of 46
Rush2lady, I wanted to add, that despite what I just wrote, I really appreciated your perspective. I think you take a very balanced approach to the church and I'm glad you can get peace and comfort from it.
post #12 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebirdmama1 View Post

 

Why did you leave or stay?


My parents raised me LDS and I was totally Mormon until about age 21.  A combination of being in college (being exposed to new ideas) and dating my non-Mormon boyfriend (now husband) affected my decision to not go to church anymore.  I made my leave official a few years ago.

 

How did your family handle it?  How did your spouse or kids handle it?

 

My parents were/are unhappy about it.  My dh is non-LDS, and we never raised our kids LDS. 

 

Is it possible to be a semi mormon believing in some things and not others?

 

Depends on who you ask. 

 

How do you raise your kids now if you have any?

 

We're doing our best to raise them to be good human beings.  And sometimes we take them to the Unitarian church. 

 

Did any evil things happen to you for "rebeling"?

 

LOL.  No. 

 

How is it I was born and raised LDS, and was told to pray to know the truth and felt right about it and now I am feeling right to leave?  Were those feeling a lie or did God change?

 

You have to answer those questions for yourself. 

 

Did you ever read any anti mormon literature in your decsion to leave?  I have yet to research any as I feel like I will be lied to or not like what I read.

 

No. 

 

In a most light discission, did you go to the temple and how do you feel about that now?

 

No, I never did. 

 

Do you still read the BOM?

 

No

 

If you go to church still, do you take the sacrement?

 

I don't go to the LDS church, and I wouldn't take the sacrament if I did. 

 

And most of all- for those who had the church totally engrained in every bit of who they were, how do you go about leaving the church as I feel like by doing so I have no idea who I am anymore?

 

Again, that's mostly a question you have to answer for yourself.  There are online support groups for people who are questioning and/or leaving the LDS church, if you're interested.   www.lifeaftermormonism.net is one of them. 

 

post #13 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by springbabes View Post



Where have you heard that there is very little known about the archaeology of North America? This just isn't true. I've taken two university level classes (at BYU, no less) on North American archaeology and there is enough known about the previous inhabitants of this land to know that they didn't have wheat, steel, horses, chariots, flocks of sheep, large cities, etc. I stand by my previous assertion that there is little compelling evidence that the BOM is a literal history. The lack of evidence is damnning enough. As far as the place names being similar, that would much more amazing if Joseph Smith was unfamiliar with American geography. If you wish, I'll read and critique anything about the subject you send my way. You need to be a little careful with BOM apologists. They really rely on the reader being unfamiliar with the science of archaeology. You have to ask yourself why no BYU archaeology professors publish books on the subject.


Thanks everyone for answering the questions. I am really appreciating every comment.

Now Rush2Lady and springbabes, please no debate- I think this thread could get removed. Without debate, I did want to add a little tidbit of info I learned. There a is a great BYU professor, Wayne N. May, who was asked to stop sharing about the fact that BOM didn't take place in mexico and did around Palmyra. I think he was asked to leave and now writes books with no church endorsement. So perhaps the LDS church asks all the professors to leave that are onto something. Who knows.
post #14 of 46

Hi Bluebird,

don't worry!  I'm not interested in debating! but I do want to respond to this one little point...coz I find archeology and history so fascinating. 

Which, when I say there is little known, I mean there is little known in the general population about North American archeology.  It's the sort of topic you specifically have to seek out if interested.  I didn't attend BYU, but the schools/colleges I did attend I never heard one peep about North American archeology.  Maybe nowadays they are trying to diversify and teach more about American Indian history at least, but when I went to school it was pretty scarce stuff. 

I do find it odd that BYU throws out their professors who express an interest in it.  Which is too bad, coz it can't be good for research if those interested in the subject are threatened with losing their jobs.

 

And thanks Springbabes...I try to be balanced and not irrational in my choices.  Everyone has different experiences in life, and what may be meaningful and helpful to someone, may be the worst thing ever to someone else.  I never take it personally when someone chooses not to be a part of the same religion/belief system I follow.

 

As for leaving the church or not, I don't know if this will be helpful to you Bluebird.  But sometimes when making a decision which is super complex and challenging, I just take out a piece of paper, put pros on one side, cons on the other....and if the pros outweigh the cons, I'll go with that choice.  Maybe involve DH and kids in adding their pros and cons as well-- since it's ultimately a family decision, not just an individual one.  This has a way of taking out some of the emotional difficulty of making a decision.  Then it's easier to follow through with it.  You can always change your mind later and reassess if things don't work out as you were hoping. 

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by springbabes View Post

Where have you heard that there is very little known about the archaeology of North America?

post #15 of 46


Why did I leave?

Because I admitted to myself that it wasn't real and after that there is no reason so make the sacrifices to stay.

 

How did family handle it?

My family was thrilled (I was a convert). My mother went through a lot of grief when I got sucked in during my teen years (the family that converted me were great at "lying for the lord" but I didn't see them for what they really were until I left). My in-laws were pissed, and our relationship continues to be strained. We keep them at arm's distance. We're doing great with the two siblings who aren't Mormon anymore either and really great with a somewhat inactive sibling who isn't sure what he believes.

My spouse left with me. Our daughter was a newborn at the time (we left before she was blessed, so her name never got on the records as far as I know. Yay! :)   )

 

Is it possible to be a semi-Mormon?

Oh, heck yes. Spend some time on support forums for ex-members and members who are just going through the motions. There are lots of people who stay in to keep their marriage from ending. It's really, really hard though. Eventually, if you fail to be true to yourself, it takes a toll. And the church demands a LOT from its members. It's hard to keep up the facade and go to 3+ hours of church/meetings every week, have a calling, etc. when you don't really believe it all. And it can feel very lonely. I promise you their are people in your ward with doubts, but most will never talk about those doubts with each other.

 

Did any evil things happen for rebelling?

Our life is very similar except that we got a 10% raise and more free time. ;)  Actually, we're both much happier now. We have less unnecessary guilt/stress, and we feel we're better people as we've become much more accepting, laid-back, etc. We look back on our life in the church and find that back then we never really knew just how much fear and obligation weighed us down. It's liberating to not worry that every little thing might offend god, or all the other religious worries we had before.

 

Did we read anything anti-Mormon:

We read *nothing* but our scriptures until we prayed and realized we didn't think the church was true. After that we slowly allowed ourself to read dissenting opinion. Ease into it if you're worried how you'll react. It's taken us some time to heal from the anger/hurt of discovering that, far from being lied to by so-called "anti-Mormons" we were misled by the church itself. This was especially hard on me as a convert, knowing what I had sacrificed based on what I was taught.

 

Did we go to the temple?

Temple married, and tried to attend monthly (though didn't make it as often as we tried to). I loved temple baptisms. But when I was endowed I was severely disappointed and each consecutive visit was a worse and worse experience. I felt guilty for not enjoying the temple like I was "supposed" to, despite everything I tried to do right to make it a special experience. In hindsight I know now that the temple was actually a big factor in my eventual exit from mormonism. It was not what I was told it would be, it taught things in direct conflict to what I was taught on Sundays, and it was not uplifting. After leaving I learned about the changes that had been made over the years to the ceremonies and that really upset me because I had been taught it was a sacred ordinance straight from god, yet here the church kept changing it. I converted within a year of the most recent changes, DH had been through before those changes. His parents had gone through before the big changes before that. I have no problem discussing specifics with anyone who wants to. I'm no longer afraid of being eternally punished for revealing "sacred" things.

 

I don't read any scriptures now. I was so defined by my belief that my entire universe was rocked when we left. I read a lot of materials on a lot of things and when what I was reading made the case for non-belief I knew that was the only thing that I could accept as reality...despite desperately wanting, at the time, to have a higher power or religious code that could tell me what to do/think. That's one of the scary things about leaving. You don't realize it while you're in, but as soon as you're out you realize that, for the most part, "the thinking had been done" for you. We had a newborn when we left (our first and only) and we were totally lost as to what to teach her and how to raise her and we had to really read and study about the world, and ethics, and what science and the facts say and think hard about what our own hearts and minds were telling us.

 

I'm not going to lie. Leaving is hard. It's scary. You will probably be very bitter for a while (and with lots of good reason). But it's been about two years now and I feel mostly healed from it all. I still have to deal with the consequences of decisions we made because of what the church taught us, but I'm not angry any more and I'm not consumed by it anymore. For a while, as you've lost your identity, you identify as an "ex-Mormon." But I don't feel that way anymore. I'm just me. I like to discuss issues with the church with anyone who's interested. But I gave up quite a while ago on getting friends and family out. If anyone is going to leave they'll do it on their own time, just like we did. I used write a blog entirely about our exit (I don't have an interest in maintaining it these days, but it's still live online). If you're interested I can send you a link. It has some more in depth answers to some of your questions (such as WHY we left).

 

Good luck. You're on an intimidating path. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. The plus side for you is that, and this is purely anecdotal, but it seems that in most cases if it's only the wife who leaves the marriages survive better than when it's only the husband (because their wives can't handle the fear/worry about having no priesthood holder in their family-as they've been taught they need). So if you go this path alone your odds aren't bad. It certainly isn't easy, and takes work, but it's possible.

post #16 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by rush2ady View Post

 

If you do leave, do so out of following your guidance and leave any resentments behind.  It's sad to see others who leave become bitter and antagonistic...and seek to fight the church and everyone in it.  Even if I left, I would just leave and move on with life.  Why leave only to build a life of fighting and bitterness?  Leave with the intent to build a good and happy life for yourself and your family, and I'm sure God will watch over you still, and not condemn you for your choice (since it seems you have this concern).



rush2ady, it can be hard to put yourself in the shoes of those who have left. But there is good reason people have anger as a result. It is not without reason. Most move on after working through those emotions of deception, betrayal and disappointment. But it takes time. My husband spent 2 years of his life being bullied and working his ass off only to discover he was teaching things that simply weren't true, but he was teaching what he was taught. That made him very upset. I hurt my mother immeasurably, was not able to have her attend my wedding, lost friendships, etc. to join the church...and came to find I joined under false pretenses because, again, I was taught things as fact that were not the case. When your whole life revolves around building the kingdom and you come to find that the "kingdom" is hiding some pretty important tidbits, well...it makes people angry. It also makes people want to "save" their loved ones and prevent non-members from the same fate. You can take the mormon out of mormonism, but s/he still has the missionary spirit. :) The same thing that motivates members to preach the gospel is what motivates former members to share what they've learned. When you reduce the long, hard journey through the stages of loss (which is what exiting the church is all about) to "building a life of fighting and bitterness" you do a great injustice to the people on that journey. There is a lot of grief, pain, anger, worry, and frustration to deal with. This is especially true for those who suddenly find themselves treated very poorly by people they considered friends, and by their family members for their lack of belief. My MIL has said some terrible things to DH since he left, and our entire social circle collapsed because people didn't want to associate with us apostates. We did OK, but for some people, especially those in Utah, this is a very big deal. They often find themselves treated as second-class citizens by their neighbors, associates, and the very people who should love them unconditionally. 

 

You can say what you think you would do if you left, but until you've truly been there you can't predict how it would make you feel. Please try to have respect and compassion for what people go through when their life paradigm is shattered and don't fall prey to the misconception that people who leave don't do it for good reasons and that they simply have the spirit of contention. Anger is not a dirty thing, it's a normal emotion that comes from being hurt. And leaving hurts for a long time. For some it hurts for a few years...for others, it can hurt their whole lives depending on their situation (I know people whose spouses left them because of their non-belief in the church - that kind of hurt doesn't heal easily). Basically, what I'm saying is this...please don't give more weight to the ideas the church teaches about apostates than you do to the idea your lord taught: judge not.

post #17 of 46

Hollyvangogh, I am truly sorry to hear people treated you badly for leaving. 

 

Please don't underestimate my experiences either-- I almost did leave the church, for reasons I won't share on an open forum, and I did in fact work through a lot of pain and difficulties in making my decision to stay (in fact I was what they considered "less-active" for quite a few years).  I had every reason to leave, and yet I stayed.  Specifically, because in the end I still feel a spiritual connection in church which I have not found elsewhere, and I didn't want to lose that. 

 

I posted to this forum to give my own experience. 

Not to say someone else's experiences or opinions are any less real or valid.

 

Maybe if I knew you and your experiences, I would make different comments than I did to Bluebird...but honestly I didn't get the impression from her that she was considering leaving due to the same feelings and negative experiences you have had.

Maybe she can clarify, but I got the impression that she has many doubts, no longer feels spiritually supported and connected in the church, and is just trying to make the best decision for herself and her family-- and doesn't want to continue in something she doesn't wholeheartedly believe in.  To which I would still say, if she does choose to leave, to leave with a hopeful attitude of finding a better life for herself and her family, rather than making a hateful experience of it.  If she doesn't feel strongly negative and angry at the church, why would anyone encourage that kind of negative feeling on her behalf?  That is all I was trying to say. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hollyvangogh View Post





rush2ady, it can be hard to put yourself in the shoes of those who have left. But there is good reason people have anger as a result. It is not without reason. Most move on after working through those emotions of deception, betrayal and disappointment. But it takes time. My husband spent 2 years of his life being bullied and working his ass off only to discover he was teaching things that simply weren't true, but he was teaching what he was taught. That made him very upset. I hurt my mother immeasurably, was not able to have her attend my wedding, lost friendships, etc. to join the church...and came to find I joined under false pretenses because, again, I was taught things as fact that were not the case. When your whole life revolves around building the kingdom and you come to find that the "kingdom" is hiding some pretty important tidbits, well...it makes people angry. It also makes people want to "save" their loved ones and prevent non-members from the same fate. You can take the mormon out of mormonism, but s/he still has the missionary spirit. :) The same thing that motivates members to preach the gospel is what motivates former members to share what they've learned. When you reduce the long, hard journey through the stages of loss (which is what exiting the church is all about) to "building a life of fighting and bitterness" you do a great injustice to the people on that journey. There is a lot of grief, pain, anger, worry, and frustration to deal with. This is especially true for those who suddenly find themselves treated very poorly by people they considered friends, and by their family members for their lack of belief. My MIL has said some terrible things to DH since he left, and our entire social circle collapsed because people didn't want to associate with us apostates. We did OK, but for some people, especially those in Utah, this is a very big deal. They often find themselves treated as second-class citizens by their neighbors, associates, and the very people who should love them unconditionally. 

 

You can say what you think you would do if you left, but until you've truly been there you can't predict how it would make you feel. Please try to have respect and compassion for what people go through when their life paradigm is shattered and don't fall prey to the misconception that people who leave don't do it for good reasons and that they simply have the spirit of contention. Anger is not a dirty thing, it's a normal emotion that comes from being hurt. And leaving hurts for a long time. For some it hurts for a few years...for others, it can hurt their whole lives depending on their situation (I know people whose spouses left them because of their non-belief in the church - that kind of hurt doesn't heal easily). Basically, what I'm saying is this...please don't give more weight to the ideas the church teaches about apostates than you do to the idea your lord taught: judge not.

post #18 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by rush2ady View Post

Maybe if I knew you and your experiences, I would make different comments than I did to Bluebird...but honestly I didn't get the impression from her that she was considering leaving due to the same feelings and negative experiences you have had. Maybe she can clarify, but I got the impression that she has many doubts, no longer feels spiritually supported and connected in the church, and is just trying to make the best decision for herself and her family-- and doesn't want to continue in something she doesn't wholeheartedly believe in.  To which I would still say, if she does choose to leave, to leave with a hopeful attitude of finding a better life for herself and her family, rather than making a hateful experience of it.  If she doesn't feel strongly negative and angry at the church, why would anyone encourage that kind of negative feeling on her behalf?  That is all I was trying to say. 

 

 

 


 


I never said anything about encouraging people to be angry. I just pointed out that it's an all-too-common reality, and not without reason and that those reactions shouldn't be written off. Nobody sets out to leave the church and wants to be angry. But once you do and things come to light you never knew and people treat you a certain way it's not unreasonable to have to face some negative emotions. I have been in many different shoes regarding relationships with the church, from converting, to doubting but staying, and finally, years later after redoubling my efforts to build my faith, resigning my membership. And when we (DH and myself) both admitted to each other and to ourselves that we didn't believe it was real we were sad, and a little scared but not angry. Anger came after discovering the lies we had both been taught, and taught to others and after discovering the true colors of people who preached one thing and practiced something very different. To compare justified hurt and anger to "making a hateful experience" and to suggest that former members would want to encourage such a thing illustrates a lack of true understanding of what it means to lose and leave the faith. There is a big difference between telling someone to be angry and saying that they may feel very angry and that's a normal part of the process. I know that wrestling with doubts can be hard. I've been there. But, for most people, it doesn't compare to the difficulty of leaving.

 

I did not leave *because* of negative experiences. The hurt and sense of betrayal did not come until after we decided to leave. I started much like Bluebird, with doubts (and in my case, not feeling the "spirit" despite doing all the things I was "supposed" to be doing, reading scriptures, temple, prayer, etc.).

 

Also, working through anger is not mutually exclusive to having a hopeful attitude of finding a better life. Just because some people chose not to bury any emotion that isn't 100% positive does not mean they are making something a hateful experience. 

post #19 of 46
Thread Starter 
I will kind of answer my own questions now. I am in the middle of leaving and still figuring things out. I will comment that I do have feeling or anger but I am not trying to get that in the way of my final decisions for leaving. I just cant fight the feelings as they are real. But I am not focusing on that and embarrassing the fact that I have a whole new life ahead of me. Scary and exciting,



Why did you leave or stay?
The temple freaked me out and I felt bad feelings about it. The whole baptism portion felt good but when I went for my endowments I was sitting there looking around with all the chairs full thinking- "does no one else have a problem with this!!!!???" It is then when I started to question. And then when I got super sick following the word of wisdom, I questioned. I met with my bishop about it and he laughed at me. I was thinking "could a divine revealed part of the Doctrine and Covenants be wrong?"
The I never knew that my sexual issues were from the church making me feel like I had to suppress my womanly sexual side. I just thought there was something wrong with me and I was sinning if I wanted to think of myself in any way.

And then came the final straw knowing that I was a sinner by turning down my calling and showing up late to church and not going to the temple that I felt judged and I finally said that all the "stuff" doesn't matter and I just want to have christ in my life all the extra baggage aside. We are taught we dont believe in grace and now I know that is wrong. God loves me no matter what. I am so tired of the church using fear and guilt to get members to obey.


How did your family handle it? How did your spouse or kids handle it?
I only told my sister who is the outcast in the family anyway and she is not wanting to stay with the church as she feels like from the bishop that she is no good and a sinner and not worthy to God. She feels like she cant pray because she is a "sinner".

My dh joined when we got married and he is leaving with me so happily. Our marriage is better than ever and he told me that he felt so suppressed by the churches teachings as he is native american and has a passion for earthy spirituality. After he joined he shut down emotionally and finally told me a few weeks ago that my father came to him and told him he had to stop living 2 religions years ago. He did and thought that is what I wanted. I always thought he was a jerk and so lifeless, and now for the first time I see how much love he has for me. We are closer than ever.

My 3 yr old dd still asks to go to church and I am not sure what to do.


Is it possible to be a semi mormon believing in some things and not others?
Still figuring this out but now it is not what he church wants m ti believe but what I want. Wow I have a choice and a real identity now!


How do you raise your kids now if you have any?
With love and teaching them that christ loves all.


Did any evil things happen to you for "rebeling"?
No. lol.


How is it I was born and raised LDS, and was told to pray to know the truth and felt right about it and now I am feeling right to leave? Were those feeling a lie or did God change?
Still processing this but I do know I had to feel that it was right at the time as if I didn't I would have been kicked out of the house or forced to go anyway.


Did you ever read any anti moron literature in your decsion to leave? I have yet to research any as I feel like I will be lied to or not like what I read.
I read some but I don't want that to cloud my real reasons for leaving.


In a most light discussion, did you go to the temple and how do you feel about that now?
I just took the garments off and I was afraid to do so. My brother is going on a mission in a few weeks and is going to the temple for the first time and my family keeps calling me up grilling me how I am not worthy to go because I dont make it to church on time and dont pay my tithing. don't go to the same ward as them though but word travels as they are friends with people from the ward I was going to. The grilling makes me feel like crap and I shut down emotionally afterward. Very hard going through the family judging.


Do you still read the BOM?
No but it is still on the shelf. I do believe that christ did visit the native people though. I purged and got rid of all the other piles of books from the church. I have so much room on my shelves now. I am filling it with new books for the new me!


If you go to church still, do you take the sacrement?
no


And most of all- for those who had the church totally engrained in every bit of who they were, how do you go about leaving the church as I feel like by doing so I have no idea who I am anymore?
Still figuring this out but it is exciting that I have a clean slate.
post #20 of 46

I'm not a Mormon and never have been, so take this for what it's worth.  But I have been close to some people who left.

 

One of your questions strikes me in particular, and it's an issue I've seen with the people I know who have left the LDS church.  Mormons tend to refer to any non-faith promoting information as "anti-Mormon," and say it should be avoided like the plague.

 

I find that very telling.  I know of no other mainstream religion like that.  If a religion is true, why would it not stand up to scrutiny?  Most other religions are fine with people reading widely and coming to their own conclusions.  As a minister friend of mine says, "A faith that is unquestioning is a very weak faith indeed."

 

Do you apply this practice to other facets of your life?  I would guess that for most important decisions in your life you read widely and critically, have intellectual curiosity, and come to your own decisions after weighing the pros and cons of all sides of an issue.  I'll bet you wouldn't just read the pro-breast feeding or pro-circ or pro-co-sleeping literature and not consider the alternative information, before drawing a conclusion.

 

I also wouldn't consider information that doesn't support one's point of view as "anti."  I don't think independent research investigating the history of the Methodist church to be "anti-Methodist" or objective research into alternative health care as "anti-mainstream medicine."  Obviously, you need to examine any information for bias, but I do think that there is a tendency with the LDS church to label anything that isn't published by the church to promote the church as "anti."  All organizations have their warts.  I think it makes the organization stronger to have members examine those warts critically and objectively using all the sources available, and acknowledging them honestly.

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