I was born into the church to a conservative LDS family with a pioneer heritage. I was never good at fully accepting all of the gospel but I did become adept at putting things on a shelf. I embraced the LDS way of life. Despite several traumatic experiences and some serious personal ups and downs along the way I was fortunate to marry a wonderful supportive man. We have four beautiful children, two through birth and two through adoption.
My husband is having his own doubts but he is on a separate journey. I don't feel it's helpful to his discovery for me to vent to him all of my frustrations, fears, and anger. This is hard place to be in. My closest friends aren't an option either as they are all LDS.
It's been a difficult few years. My parents are not really speaking to me. I'm 35 years old and it's high time I grow up but it is difficult to loose the acceptance of the people I come from. I have a deep love and respect for my parents, brothers, and extended family. I have known from day one that I couldn't discuss any of my doubts and the things I researched. Instead I deal with the comments, being accused of sinning, of not having the "spirit," etc. I have put up some boundaries with a few people who were sending me scriptures and links to help my unbelief. Some were texting me multiple times a day. I realize this is shocking to them and it is painful for those who love me. I was a long time TBM. Former Primary President, my husband was put in the Bishop-ric at 25 and has served in various "high Priest" callings since this time. People like me don't leave unless we have a serious character flaw. It is hard for me to know that is how I am viewed. It is difficult for me to accept that I can't change this. I wish I was one of those people who didn't care so much.
In addition to the theology and historical issues I have it is difficult for me to separate the abuse I witnessed and experienced by those who are LDS from the LDS church. Everything was experienced through my LDS washed lense by LDS people. I have many things that I have refused to face or deal with and now I find that I have no other choice.
I struggle deeply with the split my leaving has caused within my own family. My oldest children are torn, I want to take them out of something I see as mind controlling and damaging and yet I have taught them to believe this. Most of the time I feel that as a parent there is nothing I can do. I know that it hurts them to see their mom not going to church. I feel very helpless.
I'm sorry if this was a long vent. I hope I can find people who can relate. Thanks to those who created this place.
Thank you for your reply. It's nice to know I'm not the only one :).
Many here will be able to relate Elle. It's not an easy path. As for dealing with the judgment or condescension of others, I find the following mantra to be very helpful:
"Be who you are and say what you want because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind".
Leaving a fundamentalist type religion is often the painful discovery of who your real family and friends are. Those who accept you as you are will be able to continue as your close family or friends and support you in this journey. Those who can't should perhaps be kept at a greater distance for your own well-being. Learning to not care what others think about you will go a long ways to returning to peace, on top of unconditional self love and acceptance. Your kids have their own journeys and paths. If they are open to exploring alternative facts about Mormonism, share what you've learned with them. If not, sharing too much will more likely drive them away. This post might also be helpful: Preserving Mixed Faith Relationships
Is that Dr. Seuss?
Either people have put up walls or I put up clear boundaries but I haven't formed new friendships to replace the old and I feel isolated. I left about a year ago so it's not a new part of my life but what I'm finding is that I am not feeling better. I keep waiting for that to happen. I will never return to the LDS faith, I have absolutely no lingering doubts or questions as to how I feel about that.
My initial response was to talk to my 15 and 11 year old daughters about some of what I was learning in a careful way. My husband and I discussed it and he didn't think I should, he thought it could damage them and I agreed with many of his points. Out of respect I chose not to but I told him if they asked I wasn't going to lie. I suddenly stopped attending church and naturally the children are asking questions. We have agreed that we will not raise our sons who are 5 and 2 in the LDS church. But with my older two it's a complex situation. I'm the parent, I was wrong, I taught them, helped with the brain washing...and now I can't undue it without totally undermining the meaning of life for them, my influence as their mother who essentially is now turning it all upside down. UGH! My fear is that eventually they are going to repeat my cycle. I don't know if my daughters, who I've also raised more independently thinking (as much as I could being an LDS mom) can remain LDS. The discussions we've had have been mixed, at times I said too much and ended up with sobbing terrified girls, other times I feel they see a little more what I'm concerned about. Prop 8 was a big thing for me and was the turning point. My husband feels the same way and is essentially his biggest issue. Thankfully we also live in NY and my girls are much more open minded then I ever was at their age being raised in UT. Still, their identity is LDS. It's frustrating. I have considered a family therapist that is not affiliated with any religion to deprogram them. If that is even possible, and then my husband would have to agree with me.
Anyway thanks for your reply and the link. I'm going there right now.
Yes, that saying is usually attributed to Dr. Seuss. One thing I try to keep in mind is that we were raised with Mormonism by default. Family tradition and pressure made for little real choice in our youth to doubt the LDS church as being God's one and only. When new, more solid information is presented to us, along with agreeing with logic and reason, it is perfectly acceptable or even expected that our opinions and beliefs being subject to change. I prefer honesty and authenticity and find that being such usually results in the best outcome for all involved. I think simply explaining to your daughters that you have encountered new information that challenges and contradicts the claims of Mormonism and thus your change in beliefs. It would also probably go a long ways to explain to them that you respect their decision to follow whatever path they ultimately choose and don't blame them for following what you previously taught them as true. Also let them know that if they want to explore the information that proves Mormonism a fraud, that you would be willing to allow them to do so. Also, though they are very much identified with Mormonism, my guess is that somewhere deep inside of them is an independent and free spirit that wants to pursue education and career opportunities outside what is typically encouraged or allowed in Mormonism. Good luck and keep us informed as to your/their progression.
OMG I have the 8 year old who was baptised the year I left I am the one tought her and to look forward to that day. Gave her priesthood blessings was very adament that she be indoctrinated.. WOW I can seriously relate on that level. and I saw with a moment of clarity the falseness of J. Smith... then it all came some here and some there.. my daughter goes every week with my TBM parents who indoctrinate her just as the church teaches is their responsibility when the parent "errs" and they are being good little mormons in that area.. I know that pain of bringing kids into it from birth and now what I tell her I believe doesnt seem creditable in her mind. esp. since TBM family will see to it... I just carry on with my adventure... the example Im setting is my only hope for her in this.. i like what u say about boundaries.. I set some too. I am firm in my convictions as well I wish you the best it takes time for us to recover from this control.this bunch of lies from the foundation of that church peace out
I am actually in the middle of The Power of Now. I like the idea of living in the moment and as I struggle with an anxiety disorder I have found this book a powerful tool to help me. It's a little "out there," at times for me-but it's good.
I think I'll read "Finding your Own North Star," by Martha Beck next. Is there a book club section on this forum?
I was married at 19 in the temple to a man I knew for 3 months. Awesome. I also got divorced but unfortunately I was not in a place I could be open about my doubts. The easiest path was always to embrace the very thing that made me miserable. We experienced the traumatic loss of my brother through suicide when he was 15 years old. I remember that knowledge of what I want or think or feel is secondary to making sure I made my parents happy and proud. I divorced against their wishes and I too began dating somebody who wasn't LDS. My parents came down very hard on me as well. I don't regret my marriage but I also feel it was based on a less then authentic version of who I really was. It's futile for me to wish to change anything. I met and married a wonderful man, I was able to have my first temple sealing cancelled (which is a long story-and is something that bothers me) and so we married in the temple and everyone was thrilled. He adopted my daughter...and life went on.
Free to choose? It's just something they say. We will not be accepted and we all know it if we deviate from the path. That is a hard choice to make but one I think that is the only choice. I wish you the best-the earlier you do it the better! You go girl.
Well I sure know the emotion. I suffered a breakdown by the time I got out. The doctrine is so deeply ingrained that you have to rip up part of your mind to get it out. My grandfather walked to Utah at the age of 13. I had ancestors in the Willies handcart company. I served a mission and was active for 60 years. I did not get out until I got mad. The facts of the history of the church just tipped the balance. I found that you had to learn to be happy with yourself and learn to say "NO" and "NO WAY". I do miss somethings i had in the MoCh and may do so forever. But I am now a happy Methodist and have developed my own doctrine that fits me. When pressed by the TBMs, I ask three questions:
1. How old was Joseph's youngest wife?
2. Why was I allowed to grow up with false doctrine about Blacks in my head?
3. Why was Prop(H)8 in California backed by "loving" people?
I can tell you that it HURT to get out but Joy is on the other side of sorrow.
To quote Bill Clinton "I feel you pain"
Love more and be happy about the future.
Thank you Gene. I had my own melt down...actually four. I like your 3 question idea. I think I'll come up with my own, prop 8 will be there.
I think the story is fairly the same for everyone. Devastation when we find out the truth. Family members shunning us. Feeling like EVERYTHING we've EVER been told might be a lie. It's just that the characters are different. Some have more characters in the drama, some less. But, the script is basically the same.
Gene...I had ancestors in the Willie Company too. Are we related???
I hear you talking but it sounds like me. It is just how I feel. I have 3 daughters two of whom are married in the temple. One headed that way. I have taught them that this is the true church and the way to happiness. This is what I believed! But I am a person who must have integrity, I cannot live in a dream world like some people I know, they just pretend its true and so to them it is. But I think this dream type of thinking has a price. My biggest fear is the ones I love the most, my girls will reject me, and look down on me for not being good enough.
I feel very alone also so if you post here often I'm sure we have a lot in common. I also married my first husband after 3 months. And I am married to a great man now, who is a convert to the church so, really loves me for me, and supports me in my decisions and is starting to see the light.