June 22, 2016

Part 2: Carrying the Weight

Body shaking.
There is so much pain.
My community has turned on me.
I ruined my family's eternal togetherness.
Knees pulled to my chest, I rock back and forth.
My family relationships will never be the same again.
They say they miss the person that I was like I've died.
People call me disingenuous, ungrateful,  a disappointment.
They want me to stop talking, they don't want to listen.
I didn't try hard enough. I wasn't good enough.
They feel pain, and it is all my fault.
Gasping for air between sobs.
Everything is my fault.
It's all my fault.
My fault.
My fault.
My fault.

They could have said, "Wow, this must have been a really hard decision for you. How are you doing?" No. Instead, it's questions like, "Don't you know that you are just being deceived? Don't you now that you are hurting all the people you love?" Heap on the guilt, pile up the shame, tell me that I am causing So. Much. Pain. And it's all my fault.

This post is hard to write, so it's short. I don't like rehashing these thoughts in my mind, but I wanted to try and convey how much emotional weight I've carried, for months, because of leaving the church.


  1. You are so brave. My heart has been broken for your pain, and I hope our family has never added to it. If we have, I am sorry. Please accept my sincere desire for you to feel safe and respected in your honest quest for truth and meaning in your life. We are inextricably connected, and I am grateful for you. I feel your loss, and have stared down some of those same chasms myself. It is a hard place, and you should never have to feel alone.

  2. I'm sorry for all the pain and anger that's been directed at you. I'm glad you were able to express it. It's frustrating to me to see honesty and integrity of heart rewarded this way from people of my own religion. Personally, I admire this kind of honesty (it's actually a major tenet of the restoration, whether it's practiced or not). Change is hard and scary to a lot of people for some reason, and too often results in anger wrongly directed. I do believe that if allowed and given time, people do accept and even embrace change. It's just messy and takes longer than it should. It doesn't justify what others have done, but it does give hope things will get better. While I'm sure I'm more ignorant than I realize and may have even contributed to this pain, I only hope we've made this time a little less lonely for you. I'm glad you're part of our family and think your view of the world enriches my own. I hope that in the future you can be and feel accepted for who you are instead of judged by what religion you do or don't follow. I've always hoped others would give me that same benefit. "Religion" has always been a poor measure of character of a person when taken at face value anyway.

  3. "Heap on the guilt, pile up the shame, tell me that I am causing So. Much. Pain. And it's all my fault."

    You must not blame yourself for this situation. So many things we are told from Mormon leaders are all about how family is the most important thing in our lives, but you're learning now that Mormons often value obedience and the church itself more than their any one person or multiple people in their families. This is one of the hardest things to ever go through, but please, don't lose hope. Keep your chin up. Hold your head high.

    Things really do get better. There is a light in this darkness, and if you hold to it, it will fill you and emanate from you to others who need it too.

  4. This...this is the very essence of redefining and giving deep meaning to the the (please pardon me) expletive "Holy s___!" What other than our personal life, heart and soul is more sacred in our quest for truth we can trust? And, what other characterization can you give the immensity of error that one has to dig out of? How long it must be before the odor of it all dissipates to a tolerable level? What other language is strong enough or explicit enough or impactful enough to convey the realities of these experiences?

    May the Almighty hold you close and keep you.

  5. The culture of this church is very harmful to the human psyche. Things you have to repressed because you think it's god's church. Thoughts of extreme guilt become automatic when you leave. It's not just a Mormon thing, it's true for any cult and new religion movement. It's very very hard. But you should also be very very proud of yourself, that despite all this, you stand firm against the harmful culture and harmful teachings. There is so much pain in this church, probably more than there is happy people. Avoid toxic people and toxic environments. Find good friends. Sometimes, you just got to rebuilt your life entirely.

  6. Thanks to everyone who responded to this. I am still very hopeful and I am finding ways to move on, but it was very important to me to be able to express these feelings. Writing them out felt like I was getting to express and unload the emotion at the same time without diminishing or dismissing the experience for what it was, which was a very painful transition out of a damaging organization.

  7. Love to you. I'm still healing 23 years later and your words help me. Thanks.