I grew up in what was probably the most strict family in our stake. My mom was Relief Society president for a while, and my dad was Bishop for 5 years. I left the church when I was 19 (only two years ago) but I still find myself looking for things on the church website or anywhere that will give me something to argue with. Am I still trying to convince myself that it's untrue? Or am I just looking for something to be angry with?
I have never been a mean or hateful person, but I can't seem to let my past go. I need closure. Is there ever a point where that happens? Or do you just come to accept life as the way it is?
I need some support, my only exmo friends were Jack Mormons even when they were in the church, and my family is still 110% committed to the gospel, so nobody I know really understands what I'm feeling. Please excuse my ranting, I'm feeling a little lost.
Admin Edit: Managing and Resolving Anger
We can only hope. I go through apathetic days and furious days.
Getting to know amazing people who are also exmo has given me a lot of joy yet it keeps me talking about the church. I never really believed, so i dont have that huge betrayal anger, but I've wasted 20 years faking it for my wife's sake. I just try to enjoy being free.
Can I ask how you met more exmos? I mean other than online. I have this need to connect with more people like me but I am scared to go to meetup groups or things of that nature because I don't want to just talk about anger during the meeting time and walk away feeling worse. I also want to get rid of the anger. I have some days that are better than others. I want to get past my anger, not just inflame it so I am apprehensive to meet others in a group setting but I don't know how else to do it. So any suggestions would be great. Also, are you still married and if so, how is that going? My husband is determined to keep his eyes and mind closed to all possibilities that the church is not what it seems. I think he is terrified of what might happen if he opens his mind. We have been trying to work it out but in all honesty, I don't see how he will ever be able to let me live my life outside the church. He still has that "couple" mentality that being "sealed" in the temple brings. Not to mention that he is the "priesthood" holder and very used to always having the final say and I as the subservient wife cowing down to him. Okay, I'm getting angry..haha..better end here. Any advice or answers are greatly appreciated! Thanks
I started getting involved in Facebook groups, (Mormon Expression VIP lounge, Postmormon) and found the Mormon Stories had local group. I joined the local (Idaho Falls - Rexburg ) and the Boise FB groups. My local is not too active, bit we get together once a month, and I've been able to hit some Boise get togethers, (they usually meet weekly on Wednesday nights for 'Mutual ') when I'm in town. Just Finding others online was such a great thing for me, having an outlet was just what I needed. Facebook and the ME podcast were vital as I was going through my disaffection.
I am married to the Primary president, (she has been awesome, but that's a whole 'nuther story) and within a month from 'coming out ' as an apostate, I went to my first local meetup , and she came with me. She has been to a few of them over the last several months, both here and Boise. Recently she came to a big potluck and wanted to bring the kids (boy 17, girl 13) so they could see that the people dad was hanging out with were normal, good people. We've met online friends who were passing through town or when we were on the road. I've gone to a book club on 'Insider 's View of Mormon Origins ' and a kickball picnic. Everyone has been so great! Just sitting around sharing your exit stories is so empowering and validating. It has always been just a great time I've never come away feeling anything negative other than sad that it was over. The post Mormon community has been more authentically caring and supportive than the church has ever been for us.
It sounds like you could really use that outlet. Unfortunately' not all tbm spouses are as liberal and open minded as mine, and put the church before their wife/husband. A crisis of faith is really hard, and Being in a one-in/one-out relationship is even tougher. Not having someone to talk to about all the stuff (polyandry, multiple 1st visions, seer stones, whatever) leads to a build up of pressure and cognitive dissonance that can really do a number on you. Sitting in a coffeehouse (or bar) making jokes about Fanny Alger and Pay Lay Sleep is such a release. It sounds like a lds cliché, but those meet ups really recharge my batteries.
Where are you? If you want, I can try and help hook you up with some people in your area.
The anger is a natural phase during your transition out of the church. It doesn't have to be a permanent phase though. Anger is one of the "fight or flight" responses and is there to aid in getting back to a safe place. Once you're out though, you can let it go through accepting what is, is.
Your can't change the past, but you can change how your feel about it. Understanding why you feel anger is a step in accepting that you no longer need to keep feeling it. Yes, the church isn't true, and does its best to preserve faith, obedience and loyal fellowship. For the most part though, they aren't evil and don't realize the hurt they cause themselves and others. Realizing the human nature aspects of Mormonism can provide empathy for why this organization acts the way it does. Empathy can in turn help turn anger into compassion and resolution for your Mormon past and involvement.
You can also control to some degree avoiding information that triggers the now unnecessary anger. Exmormons don't always focus on just Mormon related topics, so you too can look to other interests, hobbies and causes to take your mind off the church. Time can also prove to be a healer and it does get better the longer you're out of Mormonism, until the point of seeing Mormonism in a similar light as other religions: it exists, but it no longer defines you.
Good luck. You might find other helpful information in the Exit Strategy guide.
I completely empathize with you. I've been out now for about a decade, got out when I was 16-18 (18 is when they finally kicked me out). There are a lot of good aspects of getting out early, like not wasting your entire life in that... system. Some downsides are that, on top of the normal young adult BS that you have to deal with, you have to deal with looking at things in a fundamentally different way than even your family does. Your family thinks you are lost, but you know that they're the ones who are lost. It is very frustrating, I know.
I finally stopped being angry when I realized that my anger was a sort of hold, or power that they still had over me, and I didn't want to give them that. I wanted to rise above it and them as well. I wanted to finally be free of it all. Using anger as a tool to get rid of... anger, I guess. Probably the only good use of such an awful feeling emotion anyway.
As far as arguing with them goes, you probably think that maybe just the right combo of words will be perfect and they'll finally snap out of their delusion, but I've found that this is a pretty futile effort. The more you fight them, the more validation you give them. In their sick minds they think that attacks on the church are just further "proof" that it is true, remember that?
Just go be you. There's a whole world waiting out there, new things to try, new friends to make. Forget about them, hunched over their books of lies, judging the rest of the world, listening to the same lessons over and over and over... at least you are not condemned to that anymore. You are FREE! Stop giving them real estate in your head. It will take time, but you'll see. One day you'll just be doing whatever it is you do and you'll just be.. happy.
I prefer to have the top of my head chopped off. It was done on purpose.
Thank you all for your advice, it's very helpful. It's so good to hear I'm not alone in what I'm feeling, and especially that it will get better, if I let it.
In looking at your leaving the church as part of the grief process, you may be in the third stage:
Stage 1 - Denial
Stage 2 - Anger
Stage 3 - Bargaining (Looking for info on church websites...just a suggestion with the limited info available)
Stage 4 - Depression
Stage 5 - Acceptance
Going through this process is by no means linear. We may think we've made it all the way to Stage 5 only to have something happen and trigger memories or feelings and end up back at Stage 2. Be gentle with yourself and your process. In my own personal experience, time does eventually soften the blow.
I think, that to a certain extent, I know exactly how you feel. After you find out how the Church really is, you often go through this weird phase. I believe the words "cognitive dissonance" best describe the experience that we both have in common.
I joined the Church in 2008. I left during my second year of graduate school. It had a lot to do with how hard it was for me to make new friends. I also don't like being told how to live my life.
Let these things go. When you stay angry over these things, the only person who really loses is you. The Church SAYS they care about their lost sheep, but they really don't in some ways. There are good people in the Church. However, there are a ton of people outside of the church who are GREAT people, too. Message me on here if you'd like to talk more.
I was also raised in an extremely, bordering on abusively strict upbringing. When my mom realized the church was untrue, all of the pain and hurt that I had literally just melted away. I realized that her strict upbringing was b/c of the fear the church taught her to have, and was really just a twisted since of her fear of losing me eternally that manifested itself in crazy strictness out of love. I was able to let go of those feelings and anger when I discovered the church was behind her actions. It's hard to explain how deep that pain was, and how that realization literally set me... and my mom free and repaired our relationship. Just keep on. Even if your parents never learn the truth like you have, you can still come to that realization.