Leaving but Maintaining Friendships... remotely possible?

Just out of curiosity, once you left, did you maintain contact with *anyone* you were once friends with at church? If so, how? How do you nicely and un-awkwardly as possible answer the question when you bump into someone, "How are you doing, we haven't seen you at church in a while?"

Most advice I read is mostly to have a clean break with requests of no contact if they don't take the hint when you quietly stop going. But, for many of us, especially stay at home moms or housewives, the social aspect and friends we have at church is all we have, and have developed some close friendships with these people. I love my time out with these ladies and even some of the activities we do together. You know, I like attending Super Saturday and stuff. I actually hold a very busy young women's presidency calling that I enjoy...  how does one just walk away from that part of themselves, and quit a calling and give their binders back without any excuse? I understand that most of the friends will drop since they can no longer relate to an apostate person who "questioned their faith". I know I can meet new people, I just want to know if anyone has had luck in keeping friends in the church and how.

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I had a few friends who stayed on as Facebook friends but all of my face to face social contacts and outings were done when i had skipped about 3 weeks of church and it was clear I wasn't going back.  I have heard people say that they have retained a few stong LDS friendships but for me that has not been the case. 

Not really.  In fact, I was dropped like a hot potato. My daughter was friends with the Stake Primary President and Secretary's kids. The Pres won't even say "hi" to me at the store. The secretary did just invite my daughter to a birthday party, but I am suspicious of their motives.

Even much of my extended family won't have much to do with me.

It's quite unfortunate that most friendships in the church are only skin deep.  Once the common faith aspect is gone, it's sad how few will still associate with you in the same friendly manner.  I think friendships can be salvaged if some other common interest replaces the faith aspect, such as parenting, sports, or other hobbies.  You may feel like you're starting out from scratch though, despite having know them for much longer.  As for when those relationships do fail, these online forums and chat room can help get you through to when you form new local relationships.  This blog might also prove useful: Preserving Mixed Faith Relationships


Wow, the comments so far have been really negative. Unfortunately I agree with all of them.  Being a Mormon in my view is a lot less about religious dogma, than it is about adopting a lifestyle. For 10% of your earnings, plus most of your free time, you get a wedding in a really nice building, a guaranteed social structure and all the service projects you want.  Many religions only ask that you show up on Sunday and then just please give what you can and help from time to time.  Think of how important it was to live back 100 years ago in the middle of nowhere and be a Mormon and actually have a social life.  More than anything the Mormons sell family togetherness and a social life. For many I think it works well. Look at Glen Beck, once an alchoholic, why not be a Mormon and have all your friends be non-drinkers. 

Unfortunately when you quit being a Mormon, it is unlikely that you will hold on to any of those friendships in a real way.  Even if they wanted to maintain the friendship, their Mormon social structure leaves very little time for them to interact with you.  I wish there was something similar waiting for you, when you leave but there isn't.  You just have to make friends the old fashioned way. 

If all else fails, you have all of us here on LAM.  Good luck to you leeloo, whatever you decide. 

Devil Bar

You are in a tough position. Being a SAHM the church is a lifeline for you. It provides so much that dropping it will leave a huge void. If you do leave be prepared to lose it all because as Mike says, those relationships are generally skin deep and are held together by the common foundation of the LDS culture.  If any of those ladies remains your friend if you leave - KEEP her! She is genuine and not just your friend because of the LDS culture, but I doubt that will be the case.

My best friend for almost 20 years is still active LDS and we are still best friends, however, we haven't lived near each other since I left the church and her family's version of 'active LDS' is more cultural than religious dedication. We don't discuss a lot about church and when she got married in the temple last year I just played a long being a super supportive friend outside the temple. My roommates from BYU who were my 'friends' all disappeared and hated me once I left the church.

It has taken me years to find a social life that wasn't set up by the church. If you leave then you will have to do some homework. Do you want to go to another church? We have and that has helped me find a network of people with common beliefs. If not, how about playgroups or book clubs. I haven't tried it but I have known several people who have had great success and friendships from meeting people on meetup.com. Their are lots of options out there, its just that you have to do the work yourself and it isn't set up for you, which isn't always a bad thing!!!

To answer your question, not really. Only sincere, true people will be your friend once you leave but you will know very fast who those people are!! Hope that helps! Hang in there!

Relationships with LDS people have become tenuous. I have lost more than I have gained but the ones who have stuck around are gems and accept me for who I am and what I believe.


I used to try to avoid LDS people neighbors and such ,but this year I turned a corner and have tried of reaching out in a neighborly way I have tried to get to know them to test the water and see if they can accept me. Trying to find common ground letting them know from the beginning that I'm not going and have no intention in going to LDS things or being a part of it.


Some have ran screaming with their hands over their ears running for the hills. Others have pretended to accept me but secretly tried to manipulate me back into the church. Most of these people who react this way met me in the church.


 And others have pleasantly surprised me by not only accepting me but sharing their own doubts and skepticism about the church with me this has been rare.


So in answer to your question; you most likely will lose LDS aquaintences and friends when you tell them you have left but the ones that drop you were never true friends in the first place. Its easier if they never knew me while I was in the church.


The people who truly care and love me have stuck around and we have been able to find common ground. I used to get sad thinking about all the people who have left my life since leaving the church but now I realize that it made room for true friends.


It weeded out the wheat from the tares. And now I know when push comes to shove who cares and who will still be there.


Best wishes Leeloo! and I hope that no matter what happens in your life that you will find peace and joy along the way.


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