If I'm not mormon in my heart, why is it so difficult to stop being mormon on paper?

I'm new to this forum and I hope it is appropriate to ask questions here.  I went to visit a casual friend who is a member of the church and also my visiting teacher.  I explained that I no longer consider myself Mormon and am planning on
having my name removed from the records. 
She was not mean about it – surprised maybe – and said she was sure it
wouldn’t be a big deal.  I am so
surprised by my reaction to saying it out loud.yes"">  I actually felt sadness and uneasiness.  I don’t understand why I felt these
things.  I don’t believe in
organized religion at all.  I think
religion is mostly superstition, group behavior modification, and social
support.  I don’t really like
labels but I guess I would call myself a realist or a scientist – I’m not going
to believe amazing claims without proof. 
I haven’t been to church in over a year.yes"">  I follow my heart on what I believe it the right thing to do
and no longer follow the dictates of the church.yes"">  I am the only member of the Church in my family so no one
cares if I leave except for one very close friend.yes"">  However, I did join the church when I was 17 so I have been
a member over 30 years.  For so
many years, being mormon was part of my identification.  But I thought I’d moved on – I’m not
that person anymore so why is it so difficult to make that final step?  As I have been reading the discussion
on this forum, it seems like many people are farther along in the process of
leaving and I thought maybe you could help me understand - If I’m not mormon in
my heart, why is it so difficult to stop being mormon on paper?

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Welcome Christine! The mind-guilt programming runs deep in Mormonism and isn't easily released except over time and with gentleness towards yourself. Also, there is likely some aspects of Mormonism that you genuinely enjoyed and loved. Letting go of Mormonism is in some ways like saying goodbye forever to a good friend, a good friend who may have served you well for 30 years even. That can be a little heart wrenching and sad. You are likely still transitioning part of your identity from being a believing Mormon to something else. I would suggest not thinking on it too heavily though. Just let your emotions and feeling run through you and then let them go; don't hold them in any longer. When you're ready, be done with it and mail your letter. I hope this helps. Good luck in your journey!
I'm the same. I was baptized just after my 17th birthday and was a member for over 30 years.

The only regret that I had was experiencing a sort of "loss of tribe." The people in my Ward had watched me grow up, as I first appeared when I was only 16 years old, and here I was, 50 years old, and separating myself from these people I'd known most of my life.

My leaving wasn't personal to them. I still loved them. I no longer believed and it was the right thing for me to resign, but I did feel a loss of tribe. And it was something which was a huge part of my life. Being Mormon is a part of your very identity. That part isn't as easy to let go of without feeling a bit of nostalgia.
By coming here and sharing your feelings, you are getting them out in the open and processing them. It is the only way. For me I had to go through the five stages of grieving...anger, something, something, something, and acceptance. When I first realized I didn't want to be a Mormon anymore, there was mainly fear. Fear and sorrow. Then the anger set in, very slowly. Later there was shame and guilt. Many of these feelings remain and come up from time to time. It is useful to be able to come here and to other forums online to share what I'm going through.

For me, the final resignation: sending in my letter and waiting for my name removal, was the easy part. Changing my beliefs has been the hard part, but I'm getting better at it all the time. Good luck to you on your path, and a big welcome hug for you from me!
Although I never did completely buy into mormonism when I married my moromon wife I can relate to the guilt of leaving. For me, personally, it was the sense of guilt of leaving christianity; the belief in a God. For years I felt a sick sensation in myself when I contemplated that I did not believe in the bible being literal. It took years after that, for me to let go of the sick feeling when I contemplated that I did not believe a god created the universe and that I have no spirit that exists outside my sense of self. For me, decades later, I can say without guilt, that I am not christian and I have no belief in God.

Why is it hard to let go? I read some research recently that studied the phenomenon. When we believe something, it is human nature to defend what we believe in, when confronted with information that is scientifically provable, or information that contradicts our belief and is considered correct and rational reasoning. In all our cases, it takes time. For you, you are questioning; that is a phase you will pass through. I wish you well on your journey. Our beliefs are not changed like taking off one shirt and putting on another. A whole host of connections with our beliefs are threads that are temporarily broken; we need time to reconnect them into our evolving belief system.

You will come to believe. Just as you came to believe in mormonism. Give it time, and yes, this is the appropriate place to ask. I can speak for all of us, you are welcome here.

I am out after some 50 years. The scale just finally tipped and I said, "ENOUGH".
For my part I started to attend the local Methodist Church. They love gays, blacks and ordain women.
They made me feel very welcome and never ask about Mormonism.
So the first question is are you leaving Christianity or not.
I think that most Mormons leave everything having lost faith in religion and leaders.
But I left with love in my heart and I avoid being anti-Mormon or even getting into discussions about it.

I used to miss somethings so I went back two Sundays and that was enough.

Thank you everyone. Your replies meant a lot to me and I really identified with what you were saying. It is difficult to say good-bye to something that was such a big part of my life even though I don't think it's the truth and it does fit anymore. I realized as I was reading the comments that I have friends who are Mormons and I have friends who are not Mormon but I don't know a single person (except me) that has left the church. It was good to hear from people who share this experience. And I did enjoy many things about being a part of the LDS community and I still care about the people. In fact, I think that feeling of community was the reason I went to church even when I didn't believe it was true. It wasn't until Prop 8 that I realized my attendance was not just a lie but supporting something I really didn't support. And I haven't been back to church since then. I feel good about my decision but I'm starting to realize that this journey is a little more complicated than just not attending church. Thanks again.


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