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Questions for those who left mormonism or almost did - Page 2

post #21 of 46

All the best wishes in your journey Bluebird!

post #22 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollyvangogh View Post


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.


I am not LDS but I went through something very powerful and am seeming to wake up from it now... I am reading things that parallel to this. Would you mind talking more about "temple" and/or sending me the link to your blog? 

 

Thanks! And God bless your life, so sad it sounds like they told you He didn't.

post #23 of 46

Good luck, Blue bird!

 

I was raised LDS and knew nothing else. Once my daughters started getting older (my oldest daughter is 9) I started questioning whether I wanted her to go to Young Womens and I was uncomfortable with her being pressured to be a certain type of woman. I wanted her to be free to choose and that made me realize that I needed to take the same control over my spirituality that I was wanting for my daughters. I stepped back and questioned everything. I almost left entirely during that period but thankfully I had the support of my husband.

 

In the end I haven't left but my approach to Mormonism is entirely different and I don't feel that the church controls me or my family or my lifestyle at all. I no longer feel any guilt for being active in the church in the way that I feel comfortable. I go every week and we do read the BOM as a family but we firmly believe that the majority of spiritual teaching needs to come from us as parents. What they get at church is only a support to what I'm teaching at home and if there is a difference in teachings then we talk during Sunday dinner and we correct anything they heard at church. We've had teachers tell us something that our kids have said during sunday school class and we've told the teachers that the kids are repeating what we've taught them at home and we support our kids. We've never had any other questions or anything about that. I love that my kids are clear about what they believe and they are confident enough to tell their teachers what they believe. The kids have come home a couple times and said that they told the teacher that they were wrong about a particular part of doctrine and then explain it to the teacher the way they have been taught at home. I believe that there is room for personality and belief differences.

 

It sounds like you are finding a way to keep your personal integrity and uniqueness and whether you stay or leave mormonism I wish you well.

 

(If there are any misspellings or grammar errors I apologize. I'm writing this quickly while my kids are doing this math school work so my time is limited. ;) )

post #24 of 46

I am not Mormon and never have been.  I was raised United Methodist and have found my way back there in recent years.  Anyway, I was poking around MDC and found this thread.  I have been interested in Mormonism from afar for a long time.  A few years ago a friend told me about this website: www.feministmormonhousewives.com  I don't understand some of the dialogue, not being a Mormon and all.  But it seems like there are a lot of people there who wrestle with being at odds with some parts of Mormon doctrine and practice but who also maintain some connection, often quite devout, with Mormon culture and Church practice/doctrine.  You might find it helpful.  Good luck.

post #25 of 46
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for the comments. And happycalm- off to check out the link...thnks!
post #26 of 46

oops.  It appears to be www.feministmormonhousewives.ORG

post #27 of 46
Thread Starter 
It took me to .org anyway when I googled it.
post #28 of 46

Bluebird I am not Mormon but I have followed Tal Bachman's story for years (I went to school with him). He was raised Mormon and left the church. He is pretty famous as singer and songwriter. He has been very out spoken why he left. You can follow some of it here: http://www.mormoncurtain.com/  and Frontline did a series The Mormons and he is in it also stating why he left the church. http://www.pbs.org/mormons/ 

 

I wish you the very best luck in your search.

post #29 of 46

 

 

Why did you leave or stay?

 

I began to go in and out of the church during my teen years. I really began to question a lot of the doctrine, specifically tithing and Joseph Smith. My parents were very much of the mind that while I was in their house, I would do as they practiced, but this pushed me further out of the church, ultimately.  When I made the official decision to leave, permanently, it was simply for two reasons: I hated what the church made me into, or the person I became while in the church, and I quite simply had too many issues with the doctrine (temple, feminism, BOM, Joseph Smith). 

 

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

 

I was going through a divorce at the time when I finally made the decision to officially leave (part of the reason we divorced was my inability to see eye to eye with him regarding church doctrine), so he had little say in my final decision. My family however lost their minds. They are truly the definition of fundamentalists, in my opinion. So, for me to be officially leaving the church, it shook them to the core. I ended up not speaking to them for a good while, had to change my number, address etc, because they were hounding me with messages about my salvation, and sending missionaries to my house. It was bad, I won't lie. It's better, but I've also had to come to the conclusion that my parents will never fully accept me unless I go back to church. THAT was a hard pill to swallow. 

 

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

 

Absolutely not. They don't allow for any middle belief system. You either believe it all, or aspire to, or you don't. 

 

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

 

With no religion. No pressure, no expectations in terms of religious beliefs. My husband is agnostic leaning towards Christianity, and I am atheist. I hope to instill a firm belief in always asking questions, in understanding the origin of religion and why it's there. I don't see religion as something that I need in order to parent my children accordingly. 

 

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

 

Hahaha, no. Ask my parents though, and they'll say otherwise. ;)

 

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?T

 

This is a hard question for me to answer; I felt that feeling, but I also think, knowing what I know now, that when you want to believe something, when you are told to believe something, and it's drilled into your mind for years, and years, it's hard NOT to feel that feeling. I went through a process when I left, that I called "re-wiring". Because of the brainwashing they do at such a young age, I was programmed to think specific things, and to feel certain things. It was a tough thing for me to get through.  The feelings were likely real, but the religion is set up in away to make sure you feel them- does that make sense? 

 

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 did. And I didn't like it. In the end, reading other stories from other people who left is what helped me make me feel better. Knowing there were others who questioned, who thought it was a farce. And still came out alive. 

 

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

 

I did. I had my turning point, where I was sure it was time to leave in the temple. It was a specific moment, and I cried hysterically realizing that I was a part of something that, in my opinion was insidious, and so wrong. I have no qualms sharing the ins and outs of the temple ceremony with people because in my opinion, it's the one thing Mormons are hellbent on hiding from the world. If they spoke freely about the ceremonies and rituals within, they would go from being a religious group to absolutely being called a cult.

 

Do you still read the BOM?

 

Not a chance. 

 

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

 

Nope. 

 

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?

 

You will feel lost for a bit. Especially if you were raised in the church. It's literally like re-wiring a computer to be a Mac instead of a PC. It's infuriating, it's frustrating, and it's really lonely. You will second guess yourself. You will feel a pull to go back. Your family will probably make it hard for you. But the hard work in the beginning is worth the freedom. Because, that's what it is, it's complete freedom. When you are this far out, you are able to see things that those within the church don't see because their blinders are on. My only advice is to seek support of others who have left. Find them, talk to them, and you'll see you are not alone. 

 

Thanks for your time for these most deep questions!

post #30 of 46
Thread Starter 
Thanks for taking the time to share Teale. Crazy what you went through with your family. Things are really weird with mine and the family acts as if I am an outsider, dark horse. Interesting what you felt about the temple as that was the big turning point for me. I just wanted to scream as I went through the session for the first time and felt totally horrid and no one was have a problem with what was going on. I thought "am I the only one feeling like this, wake up people!" I never went back after that.


It has been several months since I left mormonism, and I am now feeling anger towards the church and everything about it. I feel like I was robbed or more like raped 25 years of my life. I am speaking up now that the sexual oppression they put me through might as well have been real abuse.
post #31 of 46

Oh, I can completely and entirely relate to the anger. I was livid for a good year or so. I felt much like you; that I had been abused, raped, and held back. It wasn't until I went to therapy and told that what I went through was a form of religious abuse. It's normal to be angry and I can tell you, it does pass. Occasionally, I'll feel that anger again; recently when Boyd K Packer made that horrendous talk about homosexuality, I was so mad. Furious. But now I can pinpoint where the anger comes from. 

 

I've been out of the church for going on...9 years now? Wow. So I can tell you, this part passes, and you will get less angry. I'm not mad at the church; I don't agree with their teachings, and I will speak candidly about the church, and their doctrine. I can laugh about a lot of the things I went through. 

 

My relationship with my family is still...well, I'm still the dark horse. The outsider. DH says they treat me like I'm not one of them. And it's true. They definitely have a hard time accepting my decision to leave fully. I had to tell my dad a couple years ago, that I was never coming back. Prayers or not, but that he should stop wishing upon a star. They've since stopped telling me that they pray for my soul :P 

 

If you ever need to talk, let me know. This is the toughest part to get through!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebirdmama1 View Post

Thanks for taking the time to share Teale. Crazy what you went through with your family. Things are really weird with mine and the family acts as if I am an outsider, dark horse. Interesting what you felt about the temple as that was the big turning point for me. I just wanted to scream as I went through the session for the first time and felt totally horrid and no one was have a problem with what was going on. I thought "am I the only one feeling like this, wake up people!" I never went back after that.


It has been several months since I left mormonism, and I am now feeling anger towards the church and everything about it. I feel like I was robbed or more like raped 25 years of my life. I am speaking up now that the sexual oppression they put me through might as well have been real abuse.


 

post #32 of 46

 

Why did you leave or stay?

I left because I didn't believe it, and I didn't want to limit my life by following rules that stemmed from a belief I didn't have. 

 

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

Not well. I wasn't married, I was 18. I stopped going to church the week I turned 18, because my dad said he couldn't force me to go anymore. I haven't been back to a church building since, except for my grandfather's funeral. My spouse wouldn't be my spouse if I hadn't left. 

My mom is unwilling to accept it. She thinks I'll inevitably come back. My dad just doesn't bring it up.  

 

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

I don't think so. Mormonism is not a 'pick and choose' religion. Either you believe the whole package or you don't believe any of it. It doesn't mean they're wrong about everything. But if some things are wrong, the religion is wrong, IMO. 

 

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

Agnostic. We don't raise our kids to have any belief. It's their choice when they're older. 

 

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

Nope.  

 

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?

Because it was never true to begin with. I think those feelings were a sense of community and belonging. And sometimes the way I get choked up over a beautiful song or poem. Beauty is beauty, kwim? And sometimes the church seemed beautiful. 

 

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.

Not really. I read a couple of things online. But mostly it was my own realizations. 

 

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

I did. It seemed weird at the time. It seems even weirder to me now. 

 

Do you still read the BOM?

Never. I don't even have one. 

 

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?

I was born and raised Mormon. I was born to a Mormon young woman who put me up for adoption through the LDS adoption agency, adopted to a devoutly Mormon. My parents bleed Mormonism. It's everything they are. Without it, they would lose themselves.

There were a few rough years where I had to stop and ask myself, is this my opinion, or what I was told should be my opinion? My opinion is nothing like what I thought it was.  

 

 

post #33 of 46

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Edited by holyhelianthus - 3/30/11 at 7:54pm
post #34 of 46


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Edited by holyhelianthus - 3/30/11 at 7:53pm
post #35 of 46

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post #36 of 46

Bluebird, and all the other commenters, thank you. Bluebird, I feel like so much of your story echoes mine, and I appreciate a forum that is less bitter and angry than most.

 

I am currently trying to figure out where I stand with the church. It is all I've ever known and it is scary to jump off the cliff into the unknown. My brother is leaving on a mission in a few weeks and my oldest son would get baptized in May. I am scared of what my family will think, since they are all fully invested and I think it would deeply hurt them if my family and I left the church.

 

I second feministmormonhousewives.org. There is a great mix of people on there with a broad range of activity (non-Mormon, active, inactive). I have found a community there that I can relate to. My husband recently joined postmormon.org, but there is much bitterness and anger there. RIght now I feel like I am grieving more than feeling angry about the church.

 

THanks for sharing your journey with us.

 

 

 

Why did you leave or stay?

Leaning toward leaving. My husband is pretty much checked out, but is staying because he knows it is a harder decision for me.

 

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

My spouse and I are very open in our communication with each other. We haven't discussed it with our kids yet (all boys, ages 7,5,3, and 1), mostly because I don't know where I stand yet. All my immediate family are active, deeply believing members of the church. It would break their hearts if we left. It is the only thing keeping me in. 

 

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

I don't know.

 

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

UNdecided. I would like to find some sort of religious community to raise them in, but I don't think I am giong to find anything that works for me. We will probably end up being deeply involved in the community we live in and finding similarly-minded people who want to raise their kids morally but without much organized religion.

 

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

I'm not all the way there yet. I know that when I feel my relationship with God is distant (unrelated to church activity), I am less patient with my kids and am less like the person I want to be. However, I don't think that is church related.

 

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 agree with other commenters, who have mentined that there is a lot of good in the world. LDS people don't have a monopoly on good feelings. I believe that the church does a lot of good for a lot of people. When it ceases doing good for you (and you disagree with major points of doctrine), it is probably time to move on.

 

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 doubts mostly stemmed from internal thoughts and have been supported by things I have read. I don't like reading negative stuff, whether it is about the MOrmons, the Catholics, or the Hindus. I don't think it is productive and it doesn't help me become a better person.

 

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

Yes, married in the temple and attended regularly for a while. It was a never a place of great peace for me; I always went to the mountains to pray. 

 

Do you still read the BOM?

Occasionally, I believe that there is good to be found in a lot of literature and religious texts, so I take the good and go with it.

 

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

yes

 

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?

Let me konw when you figure that out - I feel the same way. I do have some friends that are sending in their letters of resignation this week, but I'm not there yet.

 

 

Thanks again for a forum of support.  

 

post #37 of 46

A lot of people question where they are religiously. Many of them return to where they started.

 

I am not Mormon, but I find a lot of truths in it. Now, since I am not LDS, I do not know everything about it. But if it were not for my dh's objections, we would have converted years ago. I am unsure what things you are taking issue with, what you do not believe in, that sort of thing. But it is completely ok to question where you are at and even make changes. 

post #38 of 46

blue bird I just want to say that I am very happy for you! My dh and I had a couple of friends some years back that were LDS. They were the most confusing pair. Great people but obviously highly convicted and struggling with a lot of suppression, guilt and sadness....I wanted so badly for them to see the way they were being controlled...

Anyway, I read through thisconversation and came to the post where you answered your own questions and it nearly brought me to tears. I am so happy for you, for your liberation and what it means for your future; living your own life and freedom to love and be loved by your husband. I wish you all the very best! And will pray for you as you deal with the resulting clash with your parents.

 

Oh and I thought I might like to answer this one of your questions ......

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 believe that the Lord always answers those who seek Him. He is not restricted in any way by where you are. My friends for example, the husband I do not believe was crying out to God with an honest, open, maleable heart. The wife on the other hand, when I knew her, was crying out genuinely seeking Him, and I believe that she was getting answers from Him. Unfortunately I think that when she saw the Lord from whom she was hearing was incompatible with the church's portrayal of God I think she let go of Him. ...... .............. but the point is when someone  cries out to God He will answer. And if He led you to leave the church and to the freedom you are experiencing now then I would say keep looking to Him! He will continue to reveal Himself.

post #39 of 46

great questions!

 

i'm excited to answer them, i will sometime this weekend :)

post #40 of 46

I noticed that some of you have been to feministmormonhousewives - great site - or postmormon.org. I found postmormon.org to be freeing for the first few months and then way too angry after that. If you want a recommendation for a friendlier, more intellectual board that is postmormon, message me and I'll send you the link. I'd rather not put it here because last time I did that, I had some Mormon mothers from here follow me and get really hateful. So I just pm it now. :)

 

 

I don't have enough energy to answer the questions right now, but wanted to say that anger is a normal part of leaving Mormonism - especially if you were raised in it. The feelings of betrayal are strong once you start to realize how extensively you were lied to and used. Don't deny the anger, but don't dwell their either. My brother took 2 years to work through his anger, my older sister took 11 months, though the feminist issue can still get her going, ;) and I took probably 6 months. But I was pregnant and not wanting to be so angry while pregnant. :) All of us took as long as we needed to to get through it - my brother had been damaged the most by it.

 

 

 

 



 

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