I feel like I can't leave even if I wanted to.

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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Beefster
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Joined: 04 Aug 2017, 18:38

I feel like I can't leave even if I wanted to.

Post by Beefster » 11 Mar 2018, 16:36

I just got new home teaching assignments today. My companion is the WML and a recent convert is one of my home teachees. This is not a situation I can handle right now, but I feel somewhat obligated with the RC thrown in the mix.

Even before this, I felt trapped by my duties and obligations. Since November or so, when I began seriously considering leaving the church, I had this idea that I would need to have an "exit plan" because these obligations sort of keep you trapped. The easy thing would be to just stop going and then get my name removed, but seeing as I do not want to get my name removed unless the church does something truly unforgivable, that makes the easiest plan of action unfeasible.

I think this is part of why I don't want to leave- because I feel like I can't without making a big spectacle or attracting unwanted attention from the casserole patrol. I wish I could leave with no fanfare and simply disappear into the shadows completely unnoticed.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Sometimes our journeys take us to unexpected places. That is a truly beautiful thing.

DancingCarrot
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Joined: 23 May 2014, 18:24

Re: I feel like I can't leave even if I wanted to.

Post by DancingCarrot » 11 Mar 2018, 16:56

The intensity differs for all of us, but I think that most of us need to process things on our own, especially deeply personal things. Some people are much more expressive and social in how they process. I am a person that needs to process a certain amount on my own. I will talk with trusted people after that point, but the initial part needs to be done by myself. It sounds like you may be along those lines as well.

In my experience, in Utah, I faded away with zero problems. Considering that my records were in my old ward where I was mostly active and someone reached out to have them moved and I was *still* not contacted by the new ward OR the ward after that, I was surprised and happy to be left alone. However, I was also prepared to politely tell any inquirers that I was not interested in church at the moment. Your mileage may vary, but it's not rude to have a polite way to deflect requests on hand.

I never had an exit plan when I stopped going to church. It became too difficult and painful for me to continue so I just stopped. I also toyed around with the idea of removing my name, but never found myself up to the process. I think there's more peace in letting things go just from my side sometimes. The only other thing I would repeat is this site's unofficial mantra: Go slow. Adding: Slow can have many meanings: weeks, months, years, a lifetime. Breaks can be useful, but remember to trade up. The idea is to recuperate.
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. -Dumbledore

Roll away your stone, I'll roll away mine. Together we can see what we will find. -Mumford & Sons

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dande48
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Re: I feel like I can't leave even if I wanted to.

Post by dande48 » 11 Mar 2018, 21:25

Gotta take a tip from Nancy Reagan, and "Just say no".

It's scary, the first time, and a pain every time after that. But if you tell it how it is, set up clear boundaries, I've found that most Church leaders will respect that. If you're seeking truth, wanting to follow God, pray about it, and feel God is leading you down a different path, that's Joseph Smith's story. No Church leader can argue it.

Especially, if you can say you were living the doctrines and commandments the best you can. If they can find fault with you, it's easier for them to blame "other causes". If they can't find any fault in your behavior, you'll be much freer to dictate your own rules for your Church involvement. "I love the Church, I still want to attend, but I don't feel comfortable accepting any Church assignments at this time. If I change my mind, I'll let you know."
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

AmyJ
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Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: I feel like I can't leave even if I wanted to.

Post by AmyJ » 12 Mar 2018, 06:30

Beefster wrote:
11 Mar 2018, 16:36
I just got new home teaching assignments today. My companion is the WML and a recent convert is one of my home teachees. This is not a situation I can handle right now, but I feel somewhat obligated with the RC thrown in the mix.
3 Thoughts:
1) Just because you have a route doesn't mean that you will be able to visit every month with your WML companion.
2) Even if he is that zealous, you can control the lesson/message by offering to teach it.
3) HT means being a good friend and helping with practical stuff if you are so inclined.
Beefster wrote:
11 Mar 2018, 16:36
I think this is part of why I don't want to leave- because I feel like I can't without making a big spectacle or attracting unwanted attention from the casserole patrol. I wish I could leave with no fanfare and simply disappear into the shadows completely unnoticed.
Get a job where you work Sundays and you will be able to disappear over time without as much fanfare.
Last edited by AmyJ on 13 Mar 2018, 06:33, edited 1 time in total.

Roy
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Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: I feel like I can't leave even if I wanted to.

Post by Roy » 12 Mar 2018, 13:56

1) I recommend not going the name removal path. It burns bridges and reduces options.

2) Setting limits / boundaries is crucial but they must be regularly maintained. It can be exhausting and frustrating that people continue to push your limits and boundaries. That is part of the struggle of a middle path.

3) I agree with what DC and Amy have said. If you have a life change such as a move or getting a new job your reduced involvement might better received by your ward community. Full disclosure, I do work on most Sundays and I still feel that I must actively work to maintain my boundaries.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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Beefster
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Re: I feel like I can't leave even if I wanted to.

Post by Beefster » 18 Mar 2018, 19:39

I'm sure this link has been posted elsewhere, so I didn't think it was a good idea to make a separate thread for this.

I just watched this presentation by John Dehlin and I thought it might be a good way to "butter up" my parents before "coming out" to them. I wish I had thought of anonymity a little more when I joined the site because otherwise I would have sent this to them already (the video mentions StayLDS and its sister sites at the end). They probably wouldn't bother looking in the forums, but you never know. If they did at all, they would instantly recognize me since my username is a variant of a childhood nickname and something I've been using everywhere since I was about 12. (I don't think I really want to change my username just to smooth this out even though Curt probably would do that for me if I asked.)

After seeing what happened with my sister (which I'll admit I contributed to the poor treatment somewhat), I am terrified to talk to my parents head-on about my faith crisis. My mom has expressed to me that she would be mad at me if I married a non-member and deeply anguished by it if I left the church. I've hinted at some of my concerns, but it's going to have to come out in full sooner or later. I've been somewhat avoiding talking with my mom or visiting them because I'm afraid of how they might treat me when I raise my concerns with them. And my mom is always asking about church and occasionally asks about my porn usage (which has actually gone down slightly in the past month), so it's something I'm going to have to address soon after I make the final decision (if I leave).
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Sometimes our journeys take us to unexpected places. That is a truly beautiful thing.

Curt Sunshine
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Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: I feel like I can't leave even if I wanted to.

Post by Curt Sunshine » 20 Mar 2018, 13:59

We mention this a lot, but make sure you figure out the foundation of what you believe if you decide to leave, since, without that, you will end up just changing one partial match for another one - if you choose another religion / denomination. I can pretty much guarantee you won't find one that matches exactly what you believe doctrinally, unless you choose to give up all or most doctrinal beliefs and just go with the flow of wherever you feel comfortable socially and theologically, in general terms. One reason I am fairly certain I will not leave is that I don't like the core theology of mainstream Christianity, but I like the concept of a Savior - whether or not it is literal or merely figurative / symbolic. I have studied just about everything else out there, and I just don't like the theological core as much as I do that of what I believe Mormonism is supposed to teach. Theology isn't important for lots of people; it is for me.

Being able to "trade up" is critical for those who actually decide to leave, and it isn't as easy as it sounds to many - especially for those who leave for doctrinal reasons. Burning bridges is fine in some situations, but you have to weigh the overall costs carefully and, if you choose to stay, decide on the maximum involvement you personally can take.

For example, while I was serving on a High Council, my family never attended any church activities except for Sunday meetings and most Wednesday youth activities. I had started over professionally in a career that didn't pay well at the bottom of the ladder, and we lived 40 minutes from the church. We couldn't afford to attend more than twice a week, especially with the cost of my travel for my calling - so we didn't. Period. I was an "agent unto myself", as the Book of Mormon says, and that was a vital part of what I could and couldn't do.

I have never skipped Sunday School for an extended period of time, but I have attended Gospel Essentials instead of Gospel Doctrine more than once - strictly because I got more from that class at the time.

I have said I would accept a calling but not be able to do what the leadership expected, and I meant it. Twice, they didn't end up asking me to accept it; once, they still did - and I did what I could, which was nowhere near what they wanted. I was released a few months later, with no hard feelings on my part, since I knew I couldn't do what they wanted done.

This is your choice, but don't rush it. Find yourself doctrinally and theologically even more deeply and OWN your decision, whatever it is.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Beefster
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Joined: 04 Aug 2017, 18:38

Re: I feel like I can't leave even if I wanted to.

Post by Beefster » 20 Mar 2018, 21:16

There's no way I'd go to another church. It's either this church or I'm done with organized religion altogether. I wouldn't mind visiting this or any other church though. I could see myself going with my parents on Christmas or occasionally tuning in to GC, for instance. I'm not angry at the church. Maybe I feel a bit betrayed or failed by it, but I'm not angry.

For me, spending Sundays not at church would be trading up (I think). It's sinking in that trading up doesn't mean the same thing for everyone. I guess it means you want to try not to leave a gaping hole where your faith used to be, but I think it's unavoidable to some extent. I'm definitely not dropping to hedonism. I'm really putting a lot of thought into defining my own values independent from a church context. I definitely still believe in God (or Gods, really), not sure if I believe Jesus was the Son of God (but I like the concept of a savior and can truly say that Jesus the man was of exemplary character), and I think there is some sort of universal force that could be called the Holy Ghost, but it's not a personage.

I guess the not coming to church anymore thing isn't technically the final decision anyway since I've decided to give that whole thing a trial period before I decide to stick to anything. From April 2 to July 4 (unless something between now and then changes my mind), I won't be going to church or wearing garments, but I will continue to live the WoW and LoC just so that it makes a return simpler should I change my mind in that period of time. As previously mentioned, I have no plans to have my name removed.

It'll probably take me a while to figure out what to do with my Sundays. :lol:

I plan to carry the good parts of Mormonism with me. I would consider myself a deist with Mormon influences.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Sometimes our journeys take us to unexpected places. That is a truly beautiful thing.

AmyJ
Posts: 780
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: I feel like I can't leave even if I wanted to.

Post by AmyJ » 21 Mar 2018, 06:45

Curt Sunshine wrote:
20 Mar 2018, 13:59
We mention this a lot, but make sure you figure out the foundation of what you believe if you decide to leave, since, without that, you will end up just changing one partial match for another one - if you choose another religion / denomination.
I take this statement to the bank regularly, and it seems to have paid off good dividends :D
Curt Sunshine wrote:
20 Mar 2018, 13:59
I can pretty much guarantee you won't find one that matches exactly what you believe doctrinally, unless you choose to give up all or most doctrinal beliefs and just go with the flow of wherever you feel comfortable socially and theologically, in general terms. One reason I am fairly certain I will not leave is that I don't like the core theology of mainstream Christianity, but I like the concept of a Savior - whether or not it is literal or merely figurative / symbolic. I have studied just about everything else out there, and I just don't like the theological core as much as I do that of what I believe Mormonism is supposed to teach. Theology isn't important for lots of people; it is for me.
I am striving to go slow deconstructing my doctrinal beliefs.
I have a love-hate relationship with being social. I can be "social" here easily enough. I can also be "social" at church - but who I am is not whom they are expecting, and it can get interesting (mostly if I become aware that I missed their expectation mark). Being "social" outside of here and church is not easy, and is only worth it if I am doing it for my kids (sometimes - maybe - the jury is still out).

I am working on getting outside of my head enough to not focus on the social stuff. I am also working on trying to develop relationships with the Primary Kid Moms - it is frustrating, wearying, and might be worth it. I feel that the place where my children and husband are is not a place that they can relate to - and that the things that are important to me are not important to them. I hope that I am wrong.
Curt Sunshine wrote:
20 Mar 2018, 13:59
Being able to "trade up" is critical for those who actually decide to leave, and it isn't as easy as it sounds to many - especially for those who leave for doctrinal reasons. Burning bridges is fine in some situations, but you have to weigh the overall costs carefully and, if you choose to stay, decide on the maximum involvement you personally can take.

For example, while I was serving on a High Council, my family never attended any church activities except for Sunday meetings and most Wednesday youth activities. I had started over professionally in a career that didn't pay well at the bottom of the ladder, and we lived 40 minutes from the church. We couldn't afford to attend more than twice a week, especially with the cost of my travel for my calling - so we didn't. Period. I was an "agent unto myself", as the Book of Mormon says, and that was a vital part of what I could and couldn't do.
We are working on figuring out the church/life balance between my education, my husband's resources dealing with chronic health problems, and the needs of our children. We have gotten some surprised looks at what applying those principles meant in terms of our activity level.
Curt Sunshine wrote:
20 Mar 2018, 13:59
I have never skipped Sunday School for an extended period of time, but I have attended Gospel Essentials instead of Gospel Doctrine more than once - strictly because I got more from that class at the time.
I am thankful that most Sundays we are there I wind up in the nursery for the last 2 hours. My youngest daughter has more fun/tires herself out there, and I am able to have a socially acceptable reason to dodge most doctrinal bullets.
Curt Sunshine wrote:
20 Mar 2018, 13:59
This is your choice, but don't rush it. Find yourself doctrinally and theologically even more deeply and OWN your decision, whatever it is.
This :thumbup: :clap: :thumbup: :wave:

Curt Sunshine
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Re: I feel like I can't leave even if I wanted to.

Post by Curt Sunshine » 21 Mar 2018, 14:38

Trading up doesn't mean the same thing for everyone.


This is an important realization.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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