Considering leaving the church forever

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Grover
Posts: 8
Joined: 18 Apr 2014, 08:26

Considering leaving the church forever

Post by Grover » 01 May 2014, 06:12

Hi :wave:

I’ve been reading here for a little while, registered just recently and have been anxious with joining in the conversation. A few last posters have really struck a cord with me and so now I’m pushing myself to be brave enough to contribute ;). The drive for me to post is that I’m really looking forward to hearing from people and having enlightened conversations.

I’ve been a member for 23 years. I was ‘golden’, baptized only 10 days after meeting the missionaries when I was 17. It would have been quicker but we couldn’t fit all the discussions in on time. ;) From there I zoomed into the gospel. Married, temple, kids, callings, etc. Now, 23 years later, I haven’t been to church for 18 months. It is the first time I have ever gone inactive. I’m now on the verge of leaving the church forever. My husband is on the same road as me. He was born into the church, priesthood, mission, etc. At this point we feel our lives are better without the church. The hard thing is letting something go completely when you have dedicated 20 years to it (and in my husbands case - his whole life).

There is really no one thing that has made me get to this point, it has been a journey of many things. The church actually has been great for me when I was younger. I was kicked out of home by an alcoholic mother when I was 13 and the church helped me develop self worth and to be a better person. There has been certain things along the way where I can see my opinions have grown away from the church, and my values, but it is the last 10 years, since I have been living in different parts of the world, where I have grown to disagree with many things in the church. Now I feel that I’m looking past the church, so to speak, and am looking for a more peaceful, natural and connected way to live. I guess, I’m having trouble with the whole church organization and culture, how the church views God and the gospel, and especially how members view and treat each other. I don’t want to be a part of an organization when I completely disapprove of its beliefs, methods and the delivery of teachings.

So what am I looking for from this site? I need to redefine what the church and gospel is for me. I want to stay true to myself and see if it is really best to keep hold of, or let go of, the mormon church.

I’m looking forward to reading other people’s stories. I’d like to learn how people stay in the church without being apart of the church ;) I hope I can support others too but I’m afraid that my ideas are very ‘out there’, leaning out of the church lol. ;)

Regards

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DarkJedi
Posts: 6593
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Considering leaving the church forever

Post by DarkJedi » 01 May 2014, 11:51

Hi Grover, and welcome. I feel like I'm always saying to new members of the board that I have much in common with them, but it's true. I was a golden convert as well and likewise had to wait for baptism until I could have all the lessons. I was a full true believer and gave my all to the church for many years as well, served a mission, married in the temple, etc. I have not been to church in over 10 years and did at one point consider having my name removed.

Many people here have experienced what some call a crisis of faith which sometimes leads to a transition of faith. Others seem to transition without an actual crisis. I think maybe you're part of the latter. I think rather than losing faith you are maturing in your faith. Either way, it can be painful and confusing.

I'll tell you what I tell everybody: Take it slow, don't dump all at once, and focus on what you do believe. Do you believe that there's even a possibility of God, even if that definition is completely different from the LDS version? Do you believe in the gospel or that we should love our neighbors? You don't need to answer those, they're just a starting point.

What was most helpful for me was to try and separate the gospel and the church - which you have indicated you want to try to do. For most, I think the gospel and the church are the same - but in reality they are not. The gospel is both much bigger and much simpler than the church. Believe me, I know that task is not easy - I have struggled with it and continue to struggle with it - but it has brought me peace and the understanding of plain gospel truths independent of any church. My truths, or the truths I need to know, may be different from yours, however.

Lastly, believe me, there are some ideas here that are way outside the box - don't be afraid to share yours.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

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nibbler
Posts: 4081
Joined: 14 Nov 2013, 07:34
Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: Considering leaving the church forever

Post by nibbler » 01 May 2014, 13:54

One of the justifications I use for sticking around is that the church is still a good place to find service opportunities. I recognize that the church had a positive impact on my life and was there for me when I needed it. I realize that it takes people to make that happen. I'm people. Perhaps if I stay in church might have some positive impact in someone else's life in a time when they need the church.

The church sill holds the power of assigning callings over people but I'm finding that while difficult I can reclaim that power back in my life. I now have some self confidence and will feel comfortable accepting or rejecting future callings. A big part of that is no longer feeling guilt from failing to meet obligations that I didn't accept.

Another thing that keeps my heart beating is that I want to do my part to make the church a better place for future generations. Why should the same problems I faced await them? I realize that I don't and won't hold a calling with enough "influence" that will make any difference at all in that department. None whatsoever. Still the scales are ever so slightly tipped in favor of trying to make the culture better rather than completely distancing myself from it.

Also, welcome!
If one dream dies, dream another dream. If you get knocked down, get back up and go again.
― Joel Osteen

Ann
Posts: 2572
Joined: 09 Sep 2012, 02:17

Re: Considering leaving the church forever

Post by Ann » 01 May 2014, 17:10

Grover wrote:
There is really no one thing that has made me get to this point, it has been a journey of many things. The church actually has been great for me when I was younger. I was kicked out of home by an alcoholic mother when I was 13 and the church helped me develop self worth and to be a better person. There has been certain things along the way where I can see my opinions have grown away from the church, and my values, but it is the last 10 years, since I have been living in different parts of the world, where I have grown to disagree with many things in the church. Now I feel that I’m looking past the church, so to speak, and am looking for a more peaceful, natural and connected way to live. I guess, I’m having trouble with the whole church organization and culture, how the church views God and the gospel, and especially how members view and treat each other. I don’t want to be a part of an organization when I completely disapprove of its beliefs, methods and the delivery of teachings.
Hi, Grover - Glad you're here. I think I know how you feel. The church took my parents in "out of the cold" - their abusive/neglectful alcoholic families - and gave them a sense of God' love, ideals, community, etc. I appreciate what all of that did for me. With a roof over my head, I now have the relative luxury of taking a closer look, and there is a lot that troubles me. But I try to keep the entire arc of my life in mind and I stay in the church partly to express gratitude to God and to my parents. I may not be able to see my way clear in the future to stay active in the traditional sense. But one day at a time. It's really good advice we get here to focus on what we do believe.

People here helped me separate myself from the institution somewhat, and that's been really good. I am "part of an organization," but it doesn't own me and it was my mistake (a common one, to be sure) to let it define me so thoroughly all these years. Life is happier now and I hope it will be for you, too!
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

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SilentDawning
Posts: 7201
Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: Considering leaving the church forever

Post by SilentDawning » 01 May 2014, 19:44

Grover -- my advice is to keep your membership in intact forever. I see very few benefits from resigning except maybe you won't get intentional visits from missionaries and well-meaning priesthood leaders.

And it's much harder to come back after you've resigned.

So, I suggest exploring your issues here and finding ways of staying. That is your best line of attack. It has worked for me and I am much happier than I used to be when I was TBM and suffering. Good luck, I hope our comments here help you find your own middle way.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

Minyan Man
Posts: 1662
Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: Considering leaving the church forever

Post by Minyan Man » 01 May 2014, 20:58

Grover, you said:
I need to redefine what the church and gospel is for me. I want to stay true to myself and see if it is really best to keep hold of, or let go of, the mormon church.
We won't tell how to "redefine" but we may give you a few ideas. This site has helped me to do that.
Thanks for joining with us.

scthomas34
Posts: 27
Joined: 25 Feb 2014, 22:27

Re: Considering leaving the church forever

Post by scthomas34 » 01 May 2014, 23:03

"Now I feel that I’m looking past the church, so to speak, and am looking for a more peaceful, natural and connected way to live. I guess, I’m having trouble with the whole church organization and culture, how the church views God and the gospel, and especially how members view and treat each other. I don’t want to be a part of an organization when I completely disapprove of its beliefs, methods and the delivery of teachings."
Questions, do you feel the spirit or no when you are participating in ordinances? I have posted on here for a number of weeks. I feel that sometimes people put themselves in a box of this is what Mormons do on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, etc. I feel connected on Sunday in worship, and I love connecting to God on Sunday. However, I am not a typically Mormon and I do not have an outlook like many. I am out foraging weeds that are healthy and trying new recipes several days a week and connecting with nature in a way that is very personal to me. I like to do things for other people as well not because the church says do service to gain converts, although I wouldn't mind that either, but because there are so many problems people do not give a flip about and so many people want to just sit on the couch and eat chips and watch their show and life is just peachy. I feel that a big problem personally comes when any society swings way too conservative or way too liberal. Because almost all church members are staunch conservatives-I will address this one; I feel that conservatisim for so many has become "why do I have to help them, they got themselves into their mess, they can get themselves out! Why do I need to care. am I my brothers keeper?" And often the business competition models get dragged into church and then church members can end up competing for who knows what. There are many good mormons who are horrible christians. Just curious of what bothers you about church organization? Can the church and the gospel be true even when the organization at some levels needs to be modified or can the ordinances still be true? I think they can. Let me know your take.

Grover
Posts: 8
Joined: 18 Apr 2014, 08:26

Re: Considering leaving the church forever

Post by Grover » 06 May 2014, 00:44

Thank you everyone for your comments and feedback. It's been really good to hear from you all.

It's funny, the missionaries dropped by the other day, and oh boy. They always want to know why we don't got to church, but they never ask. So I told them flat out. But I also said that it is not up to them to fix our problems. Actually we had a really good talk. However, one would always rely on standard gospel answers like 'the gospel is perfect and the church is not', he is very young and naive though. When he did drop such lines I pointed out that sayings like that have become the 'correct' excuse to use now. I said I don't see things how regular church members see things and thats what causes a lot of problems for the church. Anyway, they want to come back, of course. It seems they want weekly visits (I guess so they can write that they did something constructive down on their reporting.) Once a week, I think is too much. Once a month is ok. I have to get my husband to sms them about stopping all their daily phone calls and sms' (that we don't answer ;) )...lol. Poor guys, but really it has only been two days since we last saw them! it's not like we're dating them...lol.

Cheers
Last edited by Grover on 06 May 2014, 03:35, edited 1 time in total.

Grover
Posts: 8
Joined: 18 Apr 2014, 08:26

Re: Considering leaving the church forever

Post by Grover » 06 May 2014, 01:07

SilentDawning wrote:Grover -- my advice is to keep your membership in intact forever. I see very few benefits from resigning except maybe you won't get intentional visits from missionaries and well-meaning priesthood leaders.

And it's much harder to come back after you've resigned.

So, I suggest exploring your issues here and finding ways of staying. That is your best line of attack. It has worked for me and I am much happier than I used to be when I was TBM and suffering. Good luck, I hope our comments here help you find your own middle way.
I think this is very good advice, but in thinking on staying in the church while I work things out, it means I will still have a responsibility to the church if I do. Not in the way of callings but in the way of covenants. As a member, even an inactive member, I am bound by covenants I made at 17 and have renewed for the last 20 years. I'm very curious about myself as to what I would do or choose if I wasn't bound to the church, if I was completely free of it to re-choose what I want for my life. I actually long for that 'letting go' feeling, being free to think and say things, being free to understand things and accept things in a different way.

I don't know that it would be harder to come back to the church if I leave it. Firstly, the church is begging for members. But if you mean about receiving covenants again, it doesn't take any longer than a first convert. But perhaps you I might have to overcome things like the word of wisdom and chastity on a return? For me personally there are no concerns there. I enjoy not drinking, smoking, tea/coffee, etc - I'm a health freak anyway. And my husband and I are fully committed to each other. If I left and wanted to go back someday I don't think it would be a problem in regaining covenants. And really, there is no rush in getting them. 'Good things come to those who wait' ;)

Cheers

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Daeruin
Posts: 441
Joined: 15 Dec 2013, 20:56
Location: Utah

Considering leaving the church forever

Post by Daeruin » 06 May 2014, 01:26

Welcome to the forums! Just a quick comment while I lay awake with tooth pain. I think SilentDawning may be referring to the cultural difficulties you may face in trying to return to church. Many people may view you as damaged or dangerous. You'll have lots of hoops to jump through. It sounds like you are a pretty confident person, so maybe those things don't bother you much. What is your family situation like? Do you have kids who are members?


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"Not all those who wander are lost" —Tolkien

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