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Now that you don’t have to feel obligated to read The Book of Mormon every day, it’s time to start reading some worthwhile books! Here are some I highly recommend to those who have gone through a faith transition and want to better understand themselves and the world around them.
As a Mormon, you’re taught that we were put on the Earth, when the truth is, we’ve always been part of it — we are no less “the Earth” than the mountains or the trees. Learning why humans evolved to be the way that we are has helped me immensely when it comes to understanding my own mind and what does and doesn’t really matter in life. It’s also helped me feel more sympathetic toward those with crazy religious views, and has changed my views on a number of things. It’s also helped me realize how important it is that humans don’t repeat certain mistakes that we’ve consistently made throughout history. This book is incredibly fascinating and enlightening, and was even on Barack Obama’s recommended reading list last year.
If you’re struggling to deal with your Mormon friends and family members after leaving the LDS Church, this book is definitely worth reading. It explains why good people can be so greatly divided on moral issues, and helps you understand effective and ineffective ways to deal with those differences in worldview. It’s also a great read in light of the current political climate. In the words of Amazon’s product description, “If you’re ready to trade in anger for understanding, read The Righteous Mind.”
One of the challenges of leaving Mormonism (or any high-demand religion) is feeling like you can’t trust your own mind anymore. This book does an amazing job at explaining why you think the way that you do, and better equips you to deal with life, relationships, and decision-making more intelligently. It’s also written by a neuroscientist who also does stand-up comedy, so it’s very entertaining.
I am a huge Eckhart Tolle fan, despite being initially put off by some of the more “mystic” language he uses. (It took some time getting used to the “New Age-ness” of it, as I’d become so disillusioned by anything “spiritual” after finding out Mormonism wasn’t true. But the more I’ve read Ekchart Tolle, the more I’ve realized that his ideas about spirituality are grounded in logic and the science of happiness, and really only serve to understand yourself better.) This book, which uses a lot of Buddhist teachings, has drastically improved my mental health, and has given me the tools I need to be able to overcome feelings of anxiety and depression in my life, while inviting in more peace.
Learning more about other types of societies has been an important part of my self-development since leaving Mormonism, and I think this book is a really beautiful must-read. It tells the true story of a girl who was shot by the Taliban for standing up to girls’ education, and highlights just how important education is for everyone in the world. Malala’s strength is inspiring, and reading about what she went through will make you more grateful for the freedoms you enjoy.
There’s a lot of stuff worth learning about in life, but is any of it more important than learning how to be genuinely happy and at peace, even when times are hard? This is a beautiful read that details both the friendship of two great spiritual leaders, and their thoughts on joy. It also puts Thomas S. Monson ‘s paltry efforts to shame!
Do you have any must-reads for other ex-Mormons? Share them in the comments!