I got out of work yesterday (yes, I’m one of those evil Mormon mommies with a job outside of the home – GASP!) and found this absolutely amazing message in my Facebook inbox from an old co-worker of mine from years back.
She was a blast to work with for lots of reasons, mostly because she is AWESOME, but it was so neat chatting with her because she was VERY devout in her NON-Mormon religion, and we would occasionally sit and compare notes; I found it fascinating learning about their beliefs and practices and seeing our similarities.
This is what she had to say (with some obvious editing to protect the innocent hahaha OH, and of COURSE I got her permission before sharing something so personal! I’m a total cow sometimes, but come on!)
So…you are going to be very surprised reading this email from me. I’ve been following your new blog, and I need to say “thank-you” for sharing your feelings…your feelings and that of your hubby have even crossed the border to other religions! Although [religion B] and Mormons have different beliefs, the “culture” and “jargon” are very similar. Your “in the world but not of the world” is an exact same expression that is used in the [religion B] faith. After I met your family, I actually did a lot of research into your religion because it intrigued me how similar we actually were despite having different beliefs. [Religion B] also believe in an everlasting life together as families so I know how important that is to you.
Here is where it gets interesting…I have been on both sides of your story. 10 years ago we received the devastating news that my mom no longer wanted to be [religion B] and didn’t believe in it anymore for similar reasons [your husband] is no longer Mormon. I loved reading your feelings because it is how I felt and how my father felt at the time we got this news, but I’m terrible at putting my feelings into words.
Now…I’ve also been on [your husband]’s side of the story. SURPRISE! 4 years ago, [my husband] and I broke the news to my father and some of our practicing family that we no longer believed in [religion B] beliefs any longer as well. We also went down the same road as [your husband], doing some research, and now fighting our own conscience in practicing something we no longer felt was true. It was something we kept secret for months and were afraid to disclose. Leaving [religion B] is much harsher it seems than leaving LDS because once you leave [religion B], you are no longer allowed to communicate with your friends, your friends and sometimes family shun you. It was a very courageous move on our part, something we went ahead and did, and we lost everything. All our friends have left us and some family also have very limited dealing with us. And we also live with the fear that if we get caught doing something that isn’t allowed in the religion, we get a public removal from the congregation where they announce that we are excommunicated, even if it is years after we leave.
Funny thing, part of what started me down this road was when I met your family…and after realizing just how similar the two churches were…I was floored! I was raised and taught that only [religion B] do this, and only [religion B] do that, and no other religion in the world are like this…and then I met your family….and I was like “Wait a second, none of that’s true!” LOL, thanks for that. 😉
I’m really appreciating your blog. It’s very near and dear to me. Fortunately for me, [my husband] and I left together. First it was me, although he had similar feelings to mine, and the more I talked to him, the stronger he felt he didn’t believe any more either. But my dad continues on your side of the fence, ten years down the road still alone as a practicing [religion B] and my mom isn’t. They have a good marriage though but still have some bumps in the road since my dad attends meetings but my mom doesn’t participate at all. They both feel lonely at times. Now that I’ve been on both sides, I’m so happy you are being supportive of [your husband] because it’s a very courageous and difficult thing to do, and I understand his inner fight in no longer believing but trying not to devastate your family. It ate me up inside for a few years. I prayed about it for years. I kept the developing doubt secret for years. My mom doesn’t have the same support from my dad as you give [your husband], they can’t even have a conversation about [religion B] without it breaking out into a huge fight, that’s where their marital problems come in. If you and [your husband] are able to talk about it calmly and understand each other without necessarily changing each other’s beliefs, you will be ok.
Just wanted to let you know that your blog and confessions have reached parts you didn’t even think were reachable, it’s crossed the border in to [religion B] land.
Thanks so much for writing it. It’s given me some insight on how we need to go easy on those that are still practicing.
Life’s hard, isn’t it?
Hey, Mormon friends! When people you know and love leave the Church, for whatever reason, DON’T FREAKING SHUN THEM!! I was FLOORED to read that her ex-church actually TEACHES that you are to shun people who leave! She clarified that point for me, and they teach, basically that you shun the crap out of defectors to basically guilt them into coming back? IT’S INSANE!
THINK about it, for a second. Regardless of if you’re a Mormon believer or not, just THINK about Christ and His example – did he shun the sinners? Did he treat people differently because of…well, anything? GEEZE!! It’s SO INFURIATING to watch people in the Church act like idiots around those who’ve left just because…I don’t know. Maybe they’re idiots? I had a woman call me once and ask if she was more or less allowed to talk to a girl who used to be in our ward who has moved out, moved on, and has come out as a lesbian. I was stunned. OF COURSE YOU CAN TALK TO HER!! WHY THE HECK WOULDN’T YOU?! SHE’S BLOOMIN’ DELIGHTFUL!!
Just, for pity’s sake, use your brains and everyone just get along with everyone else. It makes life SO much better.
Thanks for letting me use your message, dear friend. I’m so glad you and your husband have each other. I’m sorry my family stirred things up for ya’ O:-) but am thrilled you’re happy where you are. That’s what it’s all about – being as happy as you can with the faith, or lack thereof, that you have. That’s all He needs from us, is to do the dang best job we can. And if you don’t believe in Him then do it anyway, ’cause otherwise what in the heck are you wasting your time on? 😉