To those that are wrestling with their love for Mormonism but feel like the Church is wrong.
We love you.
The faithful and those like me that have left the Church love you. It is a frustrating time to be Latter-day Saint. You are asked to support things your inner voice tells you are wrong. The decision to follow the brethren or follow your own moral compass is a difficult one, and it is one that you will wrestle with all too regularly.
One thing that I am sure you and I can agree on is that President Uchtdorf is wrong: doubting is not easy. The mental strain and emotional exhaustion that comes with a faith transition can be debilitating and lonely. You can feel absolutely alone and blame yourself for a lack of faith. But you never asked for this. You never wanted this. You wanted everything you learned in primary to be true. You still want it to be. But you are faced with facts, and you are trying to figure out how to make it work.
I will understand if you decide to stay in the Church, even if I personally disagree. Everyone is different, and different things are right for different people. But if you decide to leave I want you to know something.
We are here with our arms outstretched.
We know how painful it is, and you are not alone! We have felt that pain, that sadness, that hole in our heart. We felt that feeling of being kicked out of our spiritual home even though we didn’t want to leave. We know what it’s like to feel like you are doing the right thing, but everyone else is telling you that you’ve been deceived. We know the conflicting emotions when you pass by the chapel. We know the anger you feel when you see someone treated poorly because of church doctrine or culture. We know that longing wish that if the people you loved would just read this or just understand this, maybe they would have a little more compassion for you. We the know the friction and the fights that it can cause with your spouse. We know that feeling of wanting to pray but feeling like you can’t trust God anymore – or if He even really exists. We know the tears that you have cried, because we have cried them too. It is truly awful.
You have probably been told your whole life that ex-Mormons are terrible, miserable, bitter people. Guess what: it isn’t that black and white. Some are bitter for a little bit, then move on. Some become destructive and fill their lives with complete negativity. Others spend their new time doing something constructive and charitable. Some don’t ever mention the Church again. If you decide to ascend out of the LDS Church, you get to do it on your terms.
If you are like me, you might be afraid of what your family will think. Or your boss. Or your friends. And that’s warranted. It can be really painful. In those moments, I cling to the truths that Mormonism did teach me: Dare to stand alone.
But you won’t really be alone. There are so many communities, online and in-person, that are here for you. We will listen to you vent. We will encourage you to chase your dreams. We won’t just tell you do whatever you want: if you are doing something destructive, we will try and help you see that. We will mourn with you when you are mourning, and we will comfort you when you stand in need of comfort. Don’t forget that many of us were RMs, Bishops, Stake Presidents, Young Women’s Leaders, Home Teachers, Sunday School Teachers, and every calling in between. We may no longer believe in the First Vision, but we still believe in the golden rule. Our God is love and we have no greater commandment than loving our fellow man. In this way, you can take the apostates out of Mormonism, but you can’t take the Mormonism out of the apostates.
If you decide to stay, speak up. There are many others like you. Any good change in the Church will come from the truly loving men and women in the ranks of its membership.
We know what it is like to feel rejected by the community that once accepted you. It can really hurt to do the right thing, then hear everyone tell you the light is gone from your eyes. It can feel like someone died, that you need to mourn for the life you thought you were going to have. We have felt that. We have walked a similar path.
You don’t have to do what we did and leave. But if you do, we will be here for you. We will catch you, we will feed you, and we will heal together.
You are not alone.