I am a happily married wife and mother who has just realized that the "church" has been controlling me all my life thru fear. My husband (the most amazing man ever!) is from Peru and is/was a convert while I was raised in the church so his views on a lot of doctrine/issues have always differed from mine. Until recently, whenever he would ask me a question about the church or just start a conversation it always ended up in a fight because I would get so defensive. I didn't like him questioning my beliefs that I "knew" were true and make me think about them! I was the typical mormon that ignored all the questions and followed blindly. But after I had my son in Feb 2010 I stopped going to church (did not want to ruin a nap routine) and being away from the constant reminder (or brainwashing) of the doctrine I started to let myself think and question. I didn't do tons of research on church doctrine or anything, I would just think. The thing that got me out was fear. I wasn't paying tithing or going to church so I was afraid of what would happen. It also didn't make sense that I was arguing with my hubby about church. That is the last thing a couple should argue about! So I was getting more and more scared cuz I wanted out. Then a very good friend of mine (who was the last person I ever thought would leave the church) told me she and her family have left. It gave me the courage to finaly leave. This was less than a month ago. My hubby is all on board! He only went to the temple to marry me anyway (he never understood how the house of god was so restricting and only the "good" mormons could enter. But he loves me and did what he had to marry me). So here I am, just beginning my journey of leaving mormonism and I would like to know how you start. I have only told a few select people who don't judge and are happy for me. Last night our whole bishopric showed up at our door (ironically the day after I read the post on here about officially resigning from the church) and were checking up on us cuz we haven't been going to church. The bishop had the nerve to ask me if I missed taking the sacrament to renew my covanents! I told him no, I'm good. Then he asked if we have family prayer and scripture study! It's none of their business. I totally lied and said yes, we're good, don't worry about us. I wanted to kick them out! My hubby is a bit more calm about it and it doesn't bother him to lie to those sorts of questions. It bothers me. I feel like a hypocrit if I say one thing but am doing another. But these are my neighbors and some are friedns and I don't know how to begin! Who do I tell and when? What about our son? We want to raise him believing in God, but aren't sure how to go about it. Do we raise him in the mormon church (even tho we don't believe) because we live in SLC and don't want him to suffer because he's not, or do we raise him catholic cuz that's what my hubby knows best, or neither? What are you all doing to make sure your kids are raised with morals and values?
How do you begin your journey away from the church?
You don't have to tell anyone until you are ready although when you send in your letter your bishop and ward clerk will of course know. You can put in there not to tell anyone else, get your letter notarized so it's legal, and then set out to tell people at your own pace as you feel more comfortable with your decisions.
As for your son- it doesn't take going to church to teach him about God. Sitting in some specific building isn't what's important anyway. I do suggest that before you begin teaching him about god that you and your husband take time (good thing your son is little still!) to evaluate what you do believe and be on the same page so that one of you isn't telling him things that the other doesn't want him to know without having cleared it with each other first. And honestly, you don't have to set aside time to teach him either. The subject will come up in your every day surroundings and adventures and in the questions he will eventually ask. There doesn't have to be any structure to it at all.
Your question "What are you all doing to make sure your kids are raised with morals and values?" indicates that you do not think that morals and values exist outside of Christianity.
I have to tell you that you are mistaken. Morals and values are independent of your faith in any kind of deity.
We, as humans, have an inborn sense of justice and fairness. We are social beings and have instincts on how to behave in a society.
If you take the 10 Commandments and disregard those that deal specifically with the Judaic God, you get a set of universal rules of basic behavior in a society. These rules can be found in any religion. They are the basic morals and values that you can teach your children without any reference to god.
Have you ever heard someone in the church describing their acquaintance as "He is not a Mormon, but he is a nice person"? as if it is so surprising that a person who does not believe in god can be nice. Your faith in god is not the only thing that stops you from killing and stealing. It is possible for an absolute atheist to be a person of high morals.
I have 2 young kids and I am an atheist. I teach my kids to be nice to others. I explain to them when their behavior is offensive to others. I teach honesty, fairness, self-reliance, and charity. I do not have to do it in the name of God. I do it in the name of humanity.
Start? You are already there.
I imagine there are plenty of ex Mormons in SLC with kids you could network with. Don't take the kids to church if your heart is not in it, it won't do them any good; this was something I did consider heavily when my first son was born. Also, as for morality, you are the one who teaches moral values, you enforce the rules you consider important. What my spouse and I do with our kids is have conversations about right and wrong. It is you they will be looking toward as the example there is no need to bring in supernatural beings, unless you want to. (or maybe your son views you as supernatural.)
Hi Phoenix --
Buddhism does have a rigid set of doctrines. In fact some monastaries have at least 250 rules that monks have to follow, it they want to remain monks. As a lay Buddhist I have 16 precepts that I follow. Though I relate to them differently than I did to the ten commandments, the precepts are not that different.
Taoism is the one with the way.