Hi there, I’m Beth.
I’m an easy going, witty, responsibly spontaneous person, and generally thrilled to be alive. I was a mormon.
I was born into the church with LDS pioneer ancestry on my dad’s side and a convert mom. I checked all the Mormon boxes, except the most critically important temple marriage/sealing one.
Why I left More answers about 'Why I left' the mormon church
I had many negative experiences at church over the years, beginning as a teenager, that have influenced my decision that the church is an abusive environment for me. As I gained life experience, there developed a divide between what I was taught and what I actually experienced. Then, another divide developed when I began to learn some of what I was taught wasn’t actually true. This led me to the conclusion that the LDS church is not what it professes to be and I no longer believe in any of it’s truth claims.
My faith transition was not something I took lightly. I spent several painful years trying to make the church work for me. Over time, it became more and more difficult to defend and justify certain things about church history, doctrine, teachings, and culture. I had pushed those thoughts away, put them on the proverbial shelf as we are taught to do but eventually I found myself in a position where my faithful arguments were so strained and untenable that I could no longer make them in good conscience. I could not force myself to believe that they were possible explanations any longer. I could not engage in the mental gymnastics required to make it all make sense.
Questions about Mormons My Answers to Questions about Mormonism
Why are you sharing your story? See more answers about 'Why are you sharing your story?'
I want people to understand I left the church to save my life. The church was killing me, destroying me emotionally and mentally. Anyone who is sad for me is pointing their grief in the wrong direction.
Religious shame controlled my life. I hid my faith transition for years but have found healing in talking about my experience. There is a lot of stigma around people who choose to leave. I’m proud I found the courage to live authentically.
What parts of Mormonism were harmful to you? See more answers about 'What parts of Mormonism were harmful to you?'
A prophet, Spencer W. Kimball, taught that sexual assault victims bear some responsibility for the sin and it is better to die defending your virtue than to live having lost it. I was led to believe it would’ve been better for me to not have survived being raped at 16. Prophets taught your virtue is more valuable thank your life so grew up believing that I was worthless, and no Mormon man would want to marry me. I truly believed I would be better off dead.
I had been taught since I was a child, the purpose of my life on earth was to be a wife and mother. My failure to marry and have children left me feeling like my life was meaningless, devoid of value, and that I had failed spectacularly. This reinforced what I was taught in my youth, that my life had no value, that I was worthless.
I felt so much shame that I had done everything I could to follow all the teachings, to be faithful and obedient but it didn’t seem to matter. All the blessings I was promised but didn’t receive were because I wasn’t good enough, righteous enough, worthy enough.
These beliefs that I was unworthy rotted away at my self esteem until I found myself in a deep depression with suicidal ideation. When I say I left the church to save my life, I mean it.
What was transitioning out of Mormonism (or Orthodox Mormonism) like for you? What was most painful about it? What was most healing or joyful about the transition? See more answers about 'What was transitioning out of Mormonism (or Orthodox Mormonism) like for you? What was most painful about it? What was most healing or joyful about the transition?'
I feel I have been lied to and feel deeply betrayed and hurt by the church. I feel much of my life has been stolen from me. The church prevented me from living the life I wanted for myself and accepting the reality of that is painful.
Confronting these emotions caused intense grief and anger. I had to mourn the loss of my former life and culture and my identity as a member. I felt awful knowing I disappointed my family and how my choices impact their belief system about the eternal family. I worried I will be judged and disrespected by the people I love.
Finally being able to release all the shame I was holding has been incredible. I had carried it for so long I didn’t realize how heavy it had become.
How long was your struggle? See more answers about 'How long was your struggle?'
My first faith crisis happened at 2000. I stopped fully believing around 2010, and disclosed my intent to leave church in 2020. I removed my name from church records in 2022.
If you have remained active or semi-active in the church as a non-believer or semi-believer, why do you remain active? See more answers about 'If you have remained active or semi-active in the church as a non-believer or semi-believer, why do you remain active?'
After I realized I no longer believed the church was true, I spent several years fighting my faith transition, because I was afraid to admit it.
Accepting my disillusionment was heartbreaking. The culture of fear and judgement the church instilled in me was so powerful and I slipped into a double life where I conducted my life outside church standards with some people and put on a façade of faithfulness with others. Neither version of myself was authentic but I was so afraid to be honest with myself and my community. I was too scared to admit what I believed for fear of judgement, fear of hurting people, and the fear of not knowing how to live my life fully outside Mormonism.
How/why did/do you stay in the pew? See more answers about 'How/why did/do you stay in the pew?'
I would describe myself in my 30s as a progressive Mormon feminist who desperately wanted the church to be true. Hope made want to stay and fear kept me from leaving.
Has your struggle improved since you left? See more answers about 'Has your struggle improved since you left?'
After I disclosed my faith transition, my struggle grew immensely more difficult as I sorted out all the difficult emotions that brought. It took about a year to feel stabilized and another year to settle into the new normal. It feels like each year is just getting better and better.
Are you happy? See more answers about 'Are you happy?'
I’m happier and more at peace now than I have been in years. I feel more authentic and true to myself. Living my life outside of the church didn’t bring any of the unhappiness I was taught or feared it would. Leaving the church made me realize the church limits happiness and joy to this one little box but there are so many ways to live a fulfilling, happy, purposeful and joyful life. I feel like my world has expanded and there is so much potential for love and happiness. It feels like a rainbow of joy exploded.
What are the blessings of your faith transition? See more answers about 'What are the blessings of your faith transition?'
Learning to trust myself has been a remarkable and unexpected blessing. I didn’t realize my ability to rely on my own feelings, intuition and opinions was always overshadowed by what the church taught I should do, feel or think.
I am finally getting to know the real me and I love her.
What resources have helped you through the process of leaving? See more answers about 'What resources have helped you through the process of leaving?'
I was fortunate that I was able to see a therapist to help guide me through the transition. I had been semi-active or inactive for a number of years before I disclosed my faith transition to others and I was completely blindsided by the fallout. I had no idea how unstable I would feel and how many complex emotions would arise.
My post Mormon friends, online and in real life, have been invaluable. The experience of leaving is fairly universal. They helped me feel like I wasn't alone, that my grief and anger were normal, that feeling like a stranger to yourself is part of the process. They truly mourned with me, sat with me in my pain, and offered unconditional love. Their support has been a lifeline.
What do you believe now? See more answers about 'What do you believe now?'
I don’t subscribe to any belief system and consider myself agnostic. I believe in human kindness and treating others with love and respect. Leading with compassion and empathy are the values I use to guide my interactions with others.
How has your leaving Mormonism affected your family relationships, friendships, job, neighbor relationships, social life, etc.? See more answers about 'How has your leaving Mormonism affected your family relationships, friendships, job, neighbor relationships, social life, etc.?'
Leaving Mormonism has been the best decision I’ve ever made, but I don’t think my family is truly happy for me. Some relationships are strained and will never be the same, but I am immensely grateful I have been able to maintain relationships. This was very important to me.
I do struggle to make peace that people in my life know how much I’ve been hurt. They’ve seen my pain but they still support and defend the church. No one has come to my defense. It makes me feel like I don’t matter. I don’t know how to reconcile this.
What broke your shelf? See more answers about 'What broke your shelf?'
Learning the true history of Joseph Smith. It started when I read a biography about Emma Smith that my orthodox parents owned. I was horrified by what I learned in that book. The evidence is overwhelming that he was a fraud, a liar and a sexual predator. He wasn’t who he claimed to be therefore the Book of Mormon is fraudulent and the entire foundation of the church and my testimony crumbled.
What are your thoughts about leaving the church alone? See more answers about 'What are your thoughts about leaving the church alone?'
How can you leave something alone after it dictated the course of your entire life? The church caused me a great deal of harm and when I speak about that and am told to “leave it alone” it’s dismissive and hurtful. The church is so much a part of who I am I don't think I'll ever be able to fully leave Mormonism behind me, but I am moving forward.
Were you offended? Is that why you left? See more answers about 'Were you offended? Is that why you left?'
As a childless and unmarried woman, I was treated poorly, often ignored in my wards. I felt invisible and worthless; that I brought no value to the church and that I was not needed. Yes, I was offended and it was painful but I remained in the church despite that mistreatment. I left when I no longer believed the church’s truth claims.
Are you lazy? Is that why you left? See more answers about 'Are you lazy? Is that why you left?'
I spent nearly a decade wrestling with gospel questions I didn’t understand. I studied, pondered and questioned everything in that search. It was anything but lazy or easy.
Did you want to sin? Is that why you left? See more answers about 'Did you want to sin? Is that why you left?'
I certainly wanted to enjoy a sexually fulfilling life, which in my unmarried state was forbidden by the church. I remained true to my covenants until I didn’t believe those convents to be meaningful. I left because I didn’t find the truth, not because I wanted to sin.
What advice would you give folks who are transitioning? See more answers about 'What advice would you give folks who are transitioning?'
The transition is painful. There will be a lot of grief and anger but those emotions do not mean the transition is wrong.
How do you now explain the spiritual experiences that you had as an Orthodox Mormon? See more answers about 'How do you now explain the spiritual experiences that you had as an Orthodox Mormon?'
Confirmation bias. I wanted to believe so I interpreted my feelings to validate what I wanted to believe. I was taught how to do this from a young age. Feelings are not facts.
What do you feel or know about Plural Marriage in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? See more answers about 'What do you feel or know about Plural Marriage in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?'
Plural marriage is an unholy and impure practice. It devalues women, essentially reducing them to property. When the church denounced polygamy, for political reasons, in 1890, they continued the practice in Canada and Mexico and lied about it. Polygamy is official doctrine, canonized in the scriptures, any attempt the church makes to distance itself from it is gaslighting and manipulative.
What do you feel or know about the translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham? See more answers about 'What do you feel or know about the translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham?'
It has been documented as fraudulent by experts in and out of the church. Joseph Smith willfully deceived his followers. This alone is enough to cast sufficient doubt on any of Joseph Smith’s claims.
What do you feel or know about the different First Vision accounts? See more answers about 'What do you feel or know about the different First Vision accounts?'
I used to defend the various accounts when I was an active member. Now I understand that the difference in the accounts are very significant. The first documented account in 1832 makes no mention of God the Father and Jesus Christ, being overcome by Satan or that Joseph Smith wanted to know which church to join. Those three items are the crux of the official account written in 1838.
What do you feel or know about tithing? See more answers about 'What do you feel or know about tithing?'
The church took the law of tithing, turning it from a voluntary and temporary practice to being tied directly to your worthiness and salvation. Being required to pay 10% of your income to worship in the temple is a corrupt practice.
What is the Word of Wisdom? See more answers about 'What is the Word of Wisdom?'
It’s used as a device to prove loyalty and obedience to the organization. It’s implementation in modern Mormonism was a reaction to the prohibition movement, and until then most prophets drank alcohol. It’s also entirely nonsensical. The quickest way to evaluate its absurdity is to try to explain it.
What did and do you feel about the Mormon Temple Ceremony? See more answers about 'What did and do you feel about the Mormon Temple Ceremony?'
If all time and money dedicated to temple worship was spent on serving the living in local communities, the amount of good Mormons could do is incredible.
The ceremony itself is very weird and loaded with misogyny. If I had known what it entailed ahead of time I would not have gone through with it.