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Hey there. How’s it going?

When I left the LDS Church three years ago, I vacillated between feeling great—even euphoric—that I didn’t have to keep grappling to convince myself that false things were true anymore, and feeling deeply hurt after losing my God, my community, and my entire worldview.

I don’t know exactly where you’re at right now, or how you’re feeling, but I do think there are some general trends you’re likely to align with. And whatever’s going through your mind and heart right now—just know that you’re not alone. You’re about to begin a journey that will be yours and yours alone, but one that plenty of us have gone on. You’re going to survive, and you’re going to come out on top—especially if you have that attitude about it all. 😉

In the interest of offering a helping hand and all that jazz, here are four things I want you to know.

 

1. Healing takes time. Be kind to yourself.

Maybe you feel angry. Maybe you don’t know how to even begin telling your loved ones what you’ve been going through and how you feel. Maybe you’re scared shitless. Maybe you feel amazing one day and terrible the next. However you’re feeling, chances are it’s totally normal. Losing your worldview is a big deal, and your brain is going to need some time to recover and unpack your life experiences with this new perspective you’ve gained. You’re likely to experience a whole range of emotions in the coming weeks, months, and even years—and that is, say it with me, NORMAL!

 

2. Don’t you dare blame yourself.

In case you don’t know this already, you are not to blame for losing faith in a demonstrably false church. But if you grew up Mormon, you’ve likely been conditioned since birth to believe that there is no good reason to leave the LDS Church and that Satan is capable of sophisticated trickery, so you might still experience random feelings of guilt and “but what if it IS true?”—even if they don’t make logical sense to you.

You’ve probably seen other people leave the LDS Church, and watched it cause pain to your community. I imagine you hate the thought of putting your loved ones through that pain. But it’s not your fault. You are not responsible for people hurting because you don’t believe something they believe. It still sucks to watch people you care about suffer, but DO NOT blame yourself in any way. Just try to remain loving, and if someone’s treatment of you is damaging, be strong enough to distance yourself from it.

 

3. Don’t expect telling people to go perfectly.

There are certainly strategies I’d advise when talking to Mormons about your faith transition—remaining calm, using a lot of “I feel” statements, and avoiding attempts to convince THEM that the church is false being a few of them. (They will almost certainly double down when confronted with evidence that their beliefs are false.) But at the end of the day, you’re human. Unless you’re an absolute wizard in mindful communication (and are somehow able to emotionally detach yourself from what is likely one of the most emotional things you’ve ever gone through), you’re not going to say all the right things. You’re not going to be able to generate a perfect response in everyone. So don’t put that kind of pressure on yourself. Just do your best to be authentic and non-accusatory, and forgive yourself for the ways you will inevitably fall short.

If I could go back in time and tell people I was leaving the LDS Church all over again, I’d do it completely differently. But you learn through experiences, and I don’t think it’s healthy to delay being authentic with your loved ones just because you’re worried you won’t be able to say everything perfectly. (By all means, give yourself the time you need to feel strong and stable enough to enter a potential lion’s den, but don’t burden yourself with the task of becoming a zen master before opening up to people you care about.)

 

4. We are all the products of our experiences. You will have SO many new ones that make Mormonism feel far less important.

I’m not suggesting that by the time a year or two has gone by you won’t give a flying fuck about Mormonism. I don’t think that’s realistic when it was something that meant so much to you—especially if you grew up in it and it’s still a huge part of your family’s lives. But the more you live your life without Mormonism, the less significant it will feel. You will learn things about yourself and the world that make it seem smaller, and you’ll likely recognize what a tiny drop it is in the ocean of global ideologies.

Now that you’re (hopefully) ready to expand your worldview and learn more about life, here are some books that have made a huge impact on me since leaving religion!

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Idiot Brain: What Your Head Is Really Up To by Dean Burnett

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle 

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Samantha Shelley
Samantha Shelley
Samantha is a freelance writer from England, known in the Mormon blogosphere for co-founding Millennial Mormons and Whatsoever is Good. She has guest blogged for LDS Living and Mormon Women Stand, and worked as a social media intern for Deseret Book. She hated writing all of that in this bio. You can Venmo her money for sandwiches using @Samantha-Shelley-1, and follow her on Twitter @TheSamspo for half-assed jokes and opinions.
  • Don’t you get tired of being a victim all the time?

    Everything about your words blames others. Nothing about you proposes yourself as a solution (how many executions will satiate your emotional bloodlust of revenge for perceived crimes? I shudder to even guess.)

    By your own words you’re a disillusioned, hate-filled, empty man – lost and drowning in an “ocean of global ideologies”. Commiserating with other hateful people isn’t going to help you. Try building your OWN ideas, independent of your victim identity.

    I suggest Archimedes, Polybius, and George Washington. And “The Prince” by Machiavelli. Even Mother Theresa. But man relax! you sound so stressed and irrational.

    When are you going to take control of your own life and live by your own standards and beliefs? There’s a book called “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand that will help you stop being such a whiny victim. It might help you be strong and independent.

    Life is called the “animating contest” of liberty for a reason. It’s a lot more fun than being another obedient socialist SJW drone. You just chose another random idol, and dedicated your life to being a victim to your previous one. Truly puzzling. I was molested as a kid. It’s like if I dedicated EVERY journal/blog to that pedophile. That’s what you look like. Even if your vapid claims were substantiated. I see a child who likes to cry in you.

    You are far less responsible to your audience than the people you criticize too! in my opinion. Your current religion – a butchered quilt of stolen ideas you didn’t even come up with – doesn’t even seem to work for you. Psychologically you’re all over the map. I can break down the math of your ideas – how they don’t work – if you want, but I really don’t like making grown men cry.

    You just don’t have a church of your victims to become disillusioned with your ideas (yet). Hey man I’m just talking to you like you talk in all your posts. No offense intended.

    You look like a spiritually masturbating hypocrite. I hope you find your sanity. If I could help you, I would. As it stands, here are some free words for you that I usually charge consulting fees for.

    And let’s please do a podcast so I can eviscerate your ideas if you’d like to actually go over the mechanics of it.

    Good luck! I assume you know your ideas are a joke, but I’m trying to be respectful, serious, and honest here. Just to show you what being vulnerable and powerful in ideas at the same time looks like.

    Judaism has lasted thousands of years. You won’t. Make the most of your mortality.


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