Since my announcement of my departure from the LDS church, I've had some genuine questions, mostly from my family but also from a few friends. I figured this was a good opportunity to address those questions here, before addressing some broader issues. This post will be a little lengthy, but please read to the end. It's worth it.
1. Are you having your name removed from the records?
Short answer, yes with a but; I have not at this time sent in my letter of resignation from the church but will be doing so at some point in the fairly near future. I've talked with my bishop via email and he is aware of my feelings and my situation, and quite honestly, I have enough going on right now that the actual letter is not anywhere near the top of my priority list.
2. Is Brett also leaving or is he still a member?
As of right now, Brett is still a member and does not share my perspective.
3. What church are you attending now?
I am not currently attending a church, nor do I plan to at the moment. I still have a lot of personal faith issues to work out before I even venture toward organized religion/a particular denomination again.
4. So...what do you believe?
Short answer: I'm not sure. I'm working through that at the moment.
5. Does this mean you're anti-Mormon?
No! I do not personally believe much of the doctrine. It simply doesn't work for me. There are aspects of it that greatly bother me. But that doesn't mean others can't find peace and happiness in it. I think this is the hardest thing for people inside the church to understand. Just because I don't believe and don't want to be affiliated with the church, doesn't mean I'm going to start attacking their beliefs and tearing them down. Your path is yours, and my path is mine. And I am okay with that. I will, on occasion, voice my opinion when something occurs in the church. I try to maintain a respectful attitude when I do so, but I am done being silent.
Recently in a Facebook support group (for those doubting/transitioning out of/trying to stay in/completely out of the LDS church), I asked the other people in the group the following question:
What do you wish people knew when you left the church?
"We aren't deceived, and we don't forget everything we knew about the church. Many of us had a testimony and understand the doctrine. And many of us respect Mormons and love them, but we have issues with the church as an organization." ~Desiree Casperson
"I do have morals, I have values, I care about my family, my fellow humans. I still bake and occasionally make some crafty thing. I'm still nice. I don't lack anything--I'm not a "non," not a subset of what you are. My beliefs and yours are no longer identical, but I have beliefs and I hold them as dear to me as you hold yours. Oh. . .and I'm not going to hell, outer darkness, the terrestrial kingdom or any such place once I shed this mortal coil. So, not to worry." ~Teri Lyn
"I'm not hurting my kids by leaving. I'm leaving to protect them."
"I'm no different. I'm still the same person." ~Rachel Flynn
"I want them to understand how difficult the process was and how painful it was. There were times I wished that I wouldn't have found out what I did. I tried so hard to just continue on, but it was killing me to do so. I didn't make my decision lightly and much thought, prayer/meditation went into my decision. I feel like I am the same person and I have become even more loving and compassionate."
"It doesn't mean that I judge people who haven't left as being idiots or as being deceived--all I really hope is that they won't judge me as being that way. Can't we just all get along?!" ~Kirsti Miller
"Leaving ISN'T the easier choice. But due to matters of integrity, leaving was the RIGHT choice. I was Mormon because I believed it was the truth. When I discovered it wasn't, I couldn't stay." ~TC
"My kids are still safe for your kids to play with. Just because we chose not to attend church doesn't mean we are bad people or that my kids are going to teach your kids bad things. In fact, just because we quit going to church doesn't mean I quit teaching values."
"I still love Mormons and truly believe they are some of the kindest people I know. I can respect that we agree to disagree. Oh, and I'm not out spouting anti- Mormon stuff to everyone I meet." ~Sarah Elzinga
"My leaving was not a choice I came to lightly. I was aware of what the church teaches are the eternal consequences of my actions, even though I disagree with such teachings. Furthermore, if the church is working for you, I wish you all the best. Please understand that I continue to occasionally have anger towards the church because it has caused me harm and it continues to harm many that I care about. My vocality has little to do with your position or belief in the church, but I do understand how it may feel otherwise. I object to abuse suffered there, just as I object to abuse suffered in many other establishments and dynamics.
Also: I am not broken. I do not need to be saved. I realize this may be hard to accept from point of beliefs in Mormonism and Christianity. This also doesn't mean I think myself perfect, but rather I see my mistakes as part of the learning process of what it means to be human." ~Lindsay Butler
"That I'm not fake happy. There are different ways for different people to be happy. I didn't stop going to church because it was easy or because I'm lazy. I didn't stop attending church because I got offended. I am still the same person I was before." ~Melissa Blair