Hi, I’m Ian!
I am a musician and a friend to many, and I am a Soldier. I am the atheist in the foxhole they claim doesn’t exist. I was a Mormon.
I was born and raised in the church to loving parents, that I can’t deny and never would. I had the standard Mormon life: church, Boy Scouts, growing and young family.
However, at age 9 my parents decided to get a divorce and to this day I do not know all of the reasons, but I know part of it was my mom’s disillusionment with the Church. She left the church very soon after the divorce, and mine and my 3 siblings lives were thrown into turmoil.
Growing up with two homes to live between, especially as the oldest, was difficult, especially since my dad moved in with my grandparents and my aunt and uncle with their four children, asking us 13 people in one house.
At times I feel I matured quickly, though I know I probably didn’t, as I had to be a rock for my siblings. Eventually we settled into our new life, and we grew up as normally as we could. I had taken up music as a Cellist just after the divorce and it proved to be an outlet I needed, and continues to be to this day.
Years passed and at the age of 19, partially to avoid going on a mission and to avoid repercussions from recently leaving the church, but mostly because I always wanted to, I joined the United States Army as an infantryman, and nearly 4 years later I still am.
On my shelf
On the Mormon Spectrum
# Why I left More stories of 'Why I left' the Mormon church
Initially, my struggles with the church started with the divorce. I blamed myself for it, even though I know I had no part in it, but even still it hurt me. I prayed every day and night asking for my family to be fixed and for Him to forgive me for whatever I’d done to make this happen. Years and years passed and I had no answers and only more questions had joined the fray. Why can I not drink coffee? Why can’t I have sex until I’m married? Simple questions a preteen would have with a growing mine.
However, soon enough these questions grew to larger questions. Why can’t I see you God? Why haven’t you spoken to me? Why do you allow suffering? I delved into the Scriptures, desperately looking for answers, but what I found was more troubling. Contradicting teachings everywhere I looked, strange beliefs and statements.
This couldn’t be right, so I watched Conference talks as much as I could. But something stuck with me from one, and I can’t remember who’s it was, but he said to “doubt your doubts,”
look not to the world but only church approved teachings. This struck me as strange, why should I avoid the worldly teachings if they’re so obviously false? Besides, if I couldn’t find answers within the church, where else would I look but outside of it?
That’s when I found the CES Letter. It flipped everyone I knew upside down and tore it to shreds. For those who have read it, I’m sure you know why. So many falsehoods and lies the church taught me since childhood, I couldn’t believe it. I had to find more. And so I did.
My shelf crumbled at the age of 16 or 17 and I stayed a closeted atheist for nearly that whole time, waiting for the right time to announce my unbelief to the world. The right time would come soon, though.
During this time, my younger brother had delved deeper into the scripture as well, becoming even more devout than ever. He studied and made notes every night, prayed and discussed with my grandpa, who was in the bishopric. He was the star Mormon teenage boy. And then suddenly he publicly announced he was an atheist and despised the church and all it stood for.
This took me by complete surprise, and what surprised me even more was the reaction of those we knew. The responses he got were vile, telling him he’d burn forever, saying he was possessed by the spirit of the devil, saying he had no right to make that choice as he was still a minor. He became depressed and withdrew from all of us. This was the time, I felt.
Less than two months later, I announced my own atheism, and my subsequent leaving of the church. The response was the same. I lost many friends in an instant. But I chose that time to show my brother he was not alone, that I’d had the same thoughts and conclusions he had. I wanted him to know it, and this was my way of showing him. I’m now closer to him than ever.
Six months later, I shipped off to basic training, avoiding much of the fallout of my falling away, which took a lot of the flak off of my brothers back. Now, 4 years later on, all of my siblings have stated to me their disillusionment with the church and their desire to abandon it, as well as making it clear publicly. Most of my extended family has come to terms and accepts this of us, much to our surprise.
Surprisingly, my aunt and uncle and their 4 children have also left the church. I only found this out recently, and it blindsided me as my aunt especially was so deeply involved in the church, but she couldn’t look past the skeletons in the church’s closet. It makes me happy to know they’ve come to their senses. I only hope that more of my family will do the same and leave this destructive cult.
Questions about Mormons My Answers to Questions about Mormonism
#Link to this answer of 'Are you happy?' by Ian Harward Are you happy? See more answers about 'Are you happy?'
I’m very much happy, although I have been diagnosed with depression, but this is due to the Army.
#Link to this answer of 'Did you want to sin? Is that why you left?' by Ian Harward Did you want to sin? Is that why you left? See more answers about 'Did you want to sin? Is that why you left?'
No, that had no part in it. Even today, I hardly “sin.” I don’t smoke, I haven’t slept with anyone in a long while, I only drink socially. The only thing I do consistently is swear.
#Link to this answer of 'Has the church been dishonest with its own history?' by Ian Harward Has the church been dishonest with its own history? See more answers about 'Has the church been dishonest with its own history?'
Not only has it been dishonest, it had actively tried to hide and rewrite its history.
#Link to this answer of 'How have you navigated communication and relationships with believing family and friends? Any tips to keeping those people in your life?' by Ian Harward How have you navigated communication and relationships with believing family and friends? Any tips to keeping those people in your life? See more answers about 'How have you navigated communication and relationships with believing family and friends? Any tips to keeping those people in your life?'
I often have family and old friends try and reconvert me even though I’ve asked them not to, but recently its died down. My advice is to be firm and not give any ground, set boundaries and keep them.
#Link to this answer of 'Is the Mormon church a cult?' by Ian Harward Is the Mormon church a cult? See more answers about 'Is the Mormon church a cult?'
Absolutely, it’s one of the biggest cults of all human history.
#Link to this answer of 'Is there only one way to be an ex-Mormon?' by Ian Harward Is there only one way to be an ex-Mormon? See more answers about 'Is there only one way to be an ex-Mormon?'
There’s an infinite amount of ways to be ex Mormon. Whether you switch religions to Protestant or Islam, or become an atheist like me. Whether you leave it behind and not look back or you reach a hand out to help those wanting to leave. There’s no one way to be it.
#Link to this answer of 'Are you lazy? Is that why you left?' by Ian Harward Are you lazy? Is that why you left? See more answers about 'Are you lazy? Is that why you left?'
This has always been funny to me because, at least to me, it’s more lazy to blindly follow church leaders than it is to think critically.
#Link to this answer of 'What advice would you give to someone interested in joining the Mormon Church? Or for that matter, someone interested in leaving the Mormon Church?' by Ian Harward What advice would you give to someone interested in joining the Mormon Church? Or for that matter, someone interested in leaving the Mormon Church? See more answers about 'What advice would you give to someone interested in joining the Mormon Church? Or for that matter, someone interested in leaving the Mormon Church?'
The church is incredibly damaging and lead by evil, hate filled old me. Stay away from it.
#Link to this answer of 'What church callings did you serve in?' by Ian Harward What church callings did you serve in? See more answers about 'What church callings did you serve in?'
I was my ward Music Director for about 3 or 4 years before I left. Before that I had various minor callings like a secretary.
#Link to this answer of 'What do you call yourself now that you aren't mormon?' by Ian Harward What do you call yourself now that you aren't mormon? See more answers about 'What do you call yourself now that you aren't mormon?'
I call myself a lot of things but mostly an Ex Mormon Atheist Apostate. Really covers all the bases.