I would not hide anything.
I am just flat out honest with everyone.
It scares the TBM and I get nods from the thinking members.
"It just does not work for me" is something that they cannot fight with.
If any persist I just launch into the 14 year old wife, Blacks, Gays, Women Rights.
People do accept if you are friendly but firm.
Hi Michael. If you think it'll cause too much difficulty while you're at home, I would definitely recommend keeping it to yourself until you've left home. After that, though, I think the most important thing to remember is that you can't help how other people react to your decisions. If they get offended, it's their problem, not yours.
You can take it very slowly, and by that I mean, drop into inactivity and just kind of quietly slip out. Your family will eventually figure it out, though. That's the route I took, I just let them deal with my "struggling faith" for awhile until they realized on their own that I was out and had no intention of coming back.
But however you decide to go about it, I can't stress enough that it's not your fault if they get hurt by your decision. As Mormons, they should accept their own belief that we all have free agency, and you're using yours.
Thank you for the advice, I am going to try and take it slow. I guess i really just needed a backboard to hear the options off of.
Yes, do take it slow. My departure from the church happened about 6 months to a year after my mission. I returned home, gun-ho into it all, but then left for university far away from family. I made new friends in my new location, and even the single's branch there, but I felt more connected with my university friends. I began to have my eyes opened to new possibilities and finding out that by the end of the day, it does not matter how and what we believe. Now this realisation took me about 6 years to come to terms within myself, and eventually became true to who and what I am. When I learned to appreciate and love who and what I am, that god made me just who I am and does not love me any less, that I became stronger in my conviction that the LDS church was wrong. I was excommunicated, not for apostasy, but because I would not continue lying to myself.
Then I told my family what had happened. At this point, there was nothing they could do to try and 'save' me. It did take them a while to come to terms with it, but that was their burden, not mine.
Whatever your decision, make sure it is one that will do you well and make you happy in this life. This life we have is not meant to be miserable or sad, but one to be enjoyed and like. Immediately after my stake president said that the decision was for excommunication, a giant weight lifted off my chest and I was relieved that I was no longer a part of that church.
Keep us posted on your decision.
These are good suggestions and I agree with the comment about being up-front and honest.
Getting out while you're 17 is a hell of a lot better than when you're temple married and have kids. Congratulations for making this big step at such a young age!
I have been in a similar situation. My belief in the church dissipated while I was in college. I didn't make any announcements about my disbelief. I wasn't living at home so I just quit going. Over the next five or so years it became clear that I never attended church. My hair was too long and my parents always asked me about what callings I had. You can only answer that you are "between callings" so many times.
You could leave for college and drift away, giving you time to let crumbs of your apostasy fall to the floor. By crumbs I mean things like your parents noticing that you have zero church posters etc in your room or them finding coffee in your cupboard. The slow approach might be easier on your parents as well.
Admittedly, I didn't set out to do it this way. I took this path by default because I was already out of the house and it was an easy path to take. Still, it more or less worked for me.
Note: I have found that there as many ways to leave the church as there are apostates. Your situation might be totally different.
The one and only way to leave without offending anyone is to leave in secret, continue attending and living a lie. I know this isn't what you want to hear.
If you want to live an authentic life, the first thing you will need to learn is that you are not responsible for how other people react to your choices. They can choose to be respectful, understanding and compassionate; or--not. If they choose to be hurt and offended, then your job is to be okay enough with yourself to say to them "I'm so sorry this hurts you. That was never my intention. Just as your choice to live differently than me doesn't affect my love and respect for you, I hope that my choices don't affect your love and respect for me."
Leaving the church was a hard and lonely road. I lost many friends and family. But it was better than losing myself. With time, I gained so much more than I lost. You are not alone.
Remember to practice compassion for the believing Mormon. This saved me during many trying times. Understand that your leaving challenges THEIR beliefs, which terrifies them. Their beliefs are based on fear. Anything that shakes that will cause a myriad of emotions, from anger to hurt to vilification. They might try to hurt you, shame you, guilt you, frighten you. Remember: this is what they need to do to feel safe. You don't need to take abuse, but when they try to rope you into a dialog or arguments, the best way to approach it is with an attitude of love, peace and confidence. Don't argue; just use something like the above phrase and walk away.
I have to agree with the others here. There is no easy, or secret way out. Most people that are TBM freak out on you at first, but the ones worth keeping in your life will come around. Just make sure you are as stable on your own as possible before doing or saying anything you can't take back. If you continue to need any assistance (financial or otherwise) from your family, keep it under wraps until you have yourself together.
Good luck! You are heading down a path that has brought me more happiness than I could have ever guessed when I started this little adventure!!