An open letter to my fellow ex-Mormons

I wish that we could have this conversation in person, eye to eye, sharing whatever beverage brings you joy. That I could hold your hands and hold space for you in this moment.

Here is what I know: You will never stop leaving the Mormon church.

It’s been twenty years since I left the LDS Church; twenty years in and twenty years out. And to this day, I find myself continuing to unravel the knot of separating life from doctrine. Sifting truth from falsehoods. Second guessing from what source I first gleaned the pieces of my faith, and whether those sources can be trusted.

If the Mormon journey is a path, I have the point at which I diverged from that path, rites and passages that I did not partake in. But the culture is so pervasive, every new life stage contains the influence of that original system. Marriage. Children. Death. Birth. And then there is family: the places I have not walked the path are being walked by sisters, parents, nieces, nephews, so I walk alongside them, me in the outside space, them on the narrow, punishing path.

There will be moments you are angry. You will rail against the falsehoods and the deception. You will shake your fist at the powers that conspired to punish you with this church. Do not stay angry, it will only make you bitter.

There will be moments you despair. You will mourn the loss of community and the lack of familiar patterns. Strains of a Sunday School song will knock you on your heels. You’ll miss things. Do not stay sad, it will only rob your future. 

There will be moments you don’t know what to do. The expansive freedom of grace-filled faith can feel cavernous compared to your former strict confines. You may miss those fences that kept you so close in. Do not stay lost, it will trap you in stasis and stagnation.

You will regularly be an outlier. 

Those who have not experienced will struggle to understand. 

You’ll get better at leaving every time. You’ll start to recognize the moments as they approach, rather than being knocked off your center by them. And as you grow, you’ll look around and extend a hand to others, recognizing as you share your experience with them, that you’ve come so far. 

You’ve come so far. And you’ll never stop leaving. 

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