Often I hear True Believing Mormons say I should just go away, & get on with my life. Leave the Church alone.
After all, it looks like it should be so easy for us, as apostates, to just walk away.
It seems to be what we should want to do if we no longer believe! Doesn’t it? Aren’t we leaving because we’ve been offended, or have a desire to sin? Aren’t we leaving because we no longer have a desire to live the commandments & standards of Mormon life? The first thing a close relative said to me was, “You’re only leaving so you can sin!” I was shocked! The thought had never occurred to me I could sin if I left! And I was even more shocked that a close relative didn’t know me well enough to realise this was not in my character!
Other friends and family just thought I was leaving because it was easier for me! That my new beliefs were somehow consoling!
Let me now state categorically that there was no consolation & no desire for sin!
It really is not that simple for most apostates from the Mormon Church.
But, it is difficult, if not impossible, for any True Believing Members to understand the difficult process of transition out of Mormonism. The Church doctrines have been such an integral part of my life since birth that they form a part of my neurology. My thought processes are ‘Mormon’ despite a change of belief.
The doctrines, beliefs & practices of the LDS Church were so well integrated into my life that my personality, who I am as a person, has been so central to my life that it’s simply not easy to ‘just let it go’!
Every decision of my life was influenced by the Church.
I lived my life as if everything depended on my Mormon faith. I ‘knew’ who I was as a person because of the central defining beliefs of Mormonism related to my ‘divine relationship to God’.
When the ‘personal identity’ beliefs of Mormonism are placed in doubt, it is so disruptive to an individual that it feels like a ‘death’! It feels like one is dying on the inside!
It truly has been for me, & is likewise for many others, the most painful & difficult thing I’ve ever had to deal with.
Sometimes, I would just love for it all to go away & not plague my thoughts and feelings any further. But my thought processes are ‘Mormon’.
Everything I ever believed is related in some way to my Mormon beliefs.
As a True Believing Mormon the whole world is looked at through the lens of Mormonism. So every single aspect of one’s life has to be re-evaluated. All my references for truth have come through my Mormon faith.
Once that faith is dead, life seems so frightening, till new reference points are made & new paradigms for life are framed. It is like being ‘Born Again’. Initially painful, but ultimately joyful & full of wondrous new possibilities. But just like a new born child, life should be approached carefully, gently at first, till one finds one’s feet & gains confidence in the new world we have suddenly & unexpectedly found ourselves in.
If one accepts the findings of experts in cult recovery, then one can understand just how & why it is so difficult for so many people who leave the Church to ‘just get on with life’ and move forwards!
The other aspect of all this unexpected & initially unwanted change of beliefs is that now I see things more clearly, now I have the benefit of so much more information about the origins of Mormonism, I feel a great sense of compassion for my friends & family still in the Church. I desperately want to share with them what I’ve discovered. Not because I want them to agree with me, but so they are not deceived as I was, but can deal with the truth whichever way they choose. If they want to continue to believe in the doctrines of Mormonism that’s fine, but at least they can have a belief with an awareness of all the facts, not just the sanitised ones which the Church teaches.
Just like when I was a young missionary for the Church, I yearn for people to know the truth.
It’s my compassion which drives me onwards to push the Church to be more open about its origins & history.
All the best in your search for truth,