Are you happy?

More than I've ever been. Life is newly meaningful, and I'm finally free to follow my conscience rather than the dictates of a church run by lawyers and businessmen.

Landon profile image for wasmormon.orgelementalepistles

Absolutely yes. Leaving the mormon church after 60 years was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I now have a much better relationship with my grandchildren, kids and spouse. Friendships with others have become so much more genuine (when the only thing you have in common is a superficial church, the friendships are quite weak). The Church thrives on guilt and manipulation.  Once you let all of that go, you really do have your free agency to live a good and happy life. I’ve never been so happy and contented as I am now that I’m free from mormon manipulations. It is a wonderful life. No regrets at all.

Tom profile image for wasmormon.orgtom808

I cannot stress enough, that YES. Oh my gosh, YES.
Frankly, that shouldn't be the litmus test alone, because leaving a cult can be traumatizing as people lose everything they have and know, but I, fortunately, am VERY happy.
I view myself as a human. I'm capable of great good and great stupidity simultaneously, and nobody gets credit for my actions but me, and me alone. The good I do isn't God. It's me. The crap I do isn't Satan. It's the basic human condition, which is beautiful in its variability. Mistakes are not damning. Mistakes are just that, and they're easy to let go of.
I no longer walk through a world of strangers, but a world of equals. I didn't know how scared I was of people outside the church until I wasn't afraid anymore, until I saw myself for what I was - truly one of them. The world is full of amazing, AMAZING good people who are happy and free.

murphy profile image for wasmormon.orgmurphy

I am happy now. Yes I reflect things that I have issues with. I see a therapist and it has helped immensely. I refuse to let the people and the church bring me down because I know that is not what God wants. My purpose in life is to ascend to a higher state of consciousness, and to live the best life that I possibly can and to love those who are struggling. That’s truly Christlike to me.

kathyh1976 profile image for wasmormon.orgkathyh1976

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.

bethlundgreen profile image for wasmormon.orgbethlundgreen

Oh my gods, YES..!!! I'm away from the "worthiness culture" of the Mormon (victory for Satan) Church. "I" am responsible for my own actions and, when necessary, to correct things I may have royally messed up and may have hurt people in the process. I was responsible for that behavior, not by the influence of some demon or devil.

The freedom to think, to ruminate, and live on this amazing planet is truly a gift. To remember that I made myself miserable only to have hope that the misery would turn to miraculous in the after-life makes me ill to think about. Do we have another life after this one? I don't honestly know. I believe there is something, but I am going to be the best damn human being I can in the short time I'll be walking on the planet.

Oh, one of the best parts (aside from discovering coffee, wine, and spirits) is that Hanes underwear actually fits! No more "garmies" for me! :-)

Jim Adlhoch profile image for wasmormon.orgjim-adlhoch

I have never been happier. Autonomy, integrity and morals are not to be diminished.

susanc profile image for wasmormon.orgsusan_groom_1956

Yes. Exceedingly! More importantly, I am available to experience and embrace joy, grace, wisdom and truth through open seeking of it.

Mike profile image for wasmormon.orgdeserveliberty

I’m very much happy, although I have been diagnosed with depression, but this is due to the Army.

Ian Harward profile image for wasmormon.orggreensockninja

Much more so now. The church has always felt oppressive. The expectation to keep up with religious appearances; the small and seemingly insignificant ways the church reminds you of its hold on your life (music and media choices, modest fashion, the Word of Wisdom); the feeling of inadequacy when I was unable to go on a mission; all the times I lied to my bishop about my sexual activity, or whether I read the Book of Mormon; all these things weighed heavy on me. I know now how little those things truly matter, or how much they are my own business and nobody else's. Having a faith crisis has also completely changed how I view all things that enter my life. I doubt everything, and critically consider any new opportunities that arise. Having something whose truth I held so strongly be destroyed was one of the most painful things I've ever had to go through, and I highly recommend it to everyone.

Brian profile image for wasmormon.orgbwilliams8492

I'm happier now than I ever was in the church. As a Mormon, I perpetually felt like I wasn't good enough. My family was often in conflict over how to live the standards of the church and I was passing on the feelings of inadequacy to my children.

Now, as an atheist, I'm free from all of that, I am me. I don't need to be someone else. I'm the father of my children and I can choose to teach them what I truly feel is right, not what some old white dude says I should teach them. I can simply focus on my own goals and I can forgive myself of my own mistakes.

My life finally feels REAL. When I'm sad, I don't need to pretend that some supernatural being is making me feel differently. When succeed, I don't need to attribute my success to a deity to avoid being prideful. When I'm upset, I can evaluate the true causes of my emotions, rather than being afraid that Satan is attacking me. My life is mine, and it's logical, rational, and real. I love it.

Adam J profile image for wasmormon.orgadamj

I'm the most happy I've ever been in my entire life.

Frey Higley profile image for wasmormon.orgfrey

Unequivocally yes.

nancypantsy72 profile image for wasmormon.orgnancypantsy72

I'm the happiest I've ever been. After years of dealing with depression, self worth issues, and suicidal thoughts, I'm finally at peace with who I am and where I am.

livandletlive profile image for wasmormon.orglivandletlive

I went through hell to come out of the gay closet whilst being a Mormon, and it took years of cognitive therapy to learn how to be happy. I am human; I'm not happy every minute of every day, but I am happy with my life. I'm at peace with myself and my being gay, and with both the good things I learned while being raised Mormon, as well as the bad things. Learning how to understand nuance versus the black-and-white thinking of a religion like Mormonism is very valuable to my happiness.

Kevin Rex profile image for wasmormon.orgkevinrex4

So very much!! I don't have to feel guilty for following my conscience anymore. I am free to love & accept others as they are, not as Corporate Mormon Jesus thinks they should be. And the coffee!! *Chef's kiss* 

sallygirl75 profile image for wasmormon.orgsallygirl75

Not all the time--but I would say that by far I am happier now than I have been in my entire life. It's exhausting trying to live in a world that is built on such cognitive dissonance. Mormons are like Boxer from Animal Farm, constantly working harder at a task that will never be finished for a leader that can do no wrong. It is an enormous burden to bear, and leaving it behind has left me feeling so much better and happier. 

 profile image for wasmormon.orgAnonymous

I am much happier now than when I was in the church. I am struggling to find community though. That is the part that is hard (leaving the community). But I have a lot more joy than I ever had trying to check all those Mormon "boxes" that I could never get quite right, it seemed. We spend more quality time as a family. And I am learning to reclaim my own self. I see myself becoming happier & happier.

My new favorite songs are Brandi Carlile songs... "The Story" & "The Joke." I lost my belief 2 years ago & these songs have truly resonated with my faith journey/transition/crisis.

lostinbetween22 profile image for wasmormon.orglostinbetween22

I am happy! Even with the ongoing genocidal attacks on trans people in America right now, transitioning and living as my fullest self has brought me more peace and joy more consistently than I ever found in the LDS faith.

anjaisagirl profile image for wasmormon.organjaisagirl

Im so happy now. Fitness and aging gracefully are important to me so wearing 3 layers of clothing doesn't jive with respecting and adoring my healthy body. My husband took a minute to cross over to the new me and though he is a TBM he loves me for who I am.

graydame profile image for wasmormon.orggraydame

I’m a happy person by nature and religion doesn’t affect  my level of happiness to any degree.

flyinlate profile image for wasmormon.orgflyinlate

After leaving, I became happier because I was able to embrace my true self, and no longer felt the pressure to be "perfect" and to fit into the mold that the cult expects women to fit into. As a liberal, feminist, bisexual, polyamorous,neurodivergent woman, I never really fit in among all the Stepford wives in the church no matter how hard I tried. #exmo

 profile image for wasmormon.orgAnonymous

I am happier out of the church, except for the trouble it has caused with my family. They are not interested in anything that I have learned. They don't want me to talk with them or their children. They seem to love the darkness.

Arza Evans profile image for wasmormon.orgarzaevans

Happy not to be controlled or influenced by the church. Not happy that my wife chose the church over me. I did not ask her to choose she decided that all on her own, or maybe someone at church did it for her.

Evert profile image for wasmormon.orgevert

In some sense, yes. I would be a lot happier but due to the misogynistic beliefs of my father, I've been stuck at home with my active parents, taking care of my mother and all the "womanly duties" of the house. So I'm still somewhat stuck in the Mormon world.

emae423 profile image for wasmormon.orgemae423

I'm happier than I've ever been. I finally feel like I matter. I feel like I can give my kids what they need. I feel free.

Just Jeff profile image for wasmormon.orgdarthyagi

This is one of the most absurd questions that we who leave the church get asked. You'd think the answer would be obvious. If they who ask this question simply asked it of themselves they'd come up with the right answer: It depends - on when you are being asked and what you are being asked about.

For example - I am not happy about the progress of my career and my financial situation. I had expected to be in a much better place by now on both counts. Then again, by another set of measures I'm actually doing quite well and have a great deal to be grateful for on both counts, considering that we are in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak (June 2020), and the fact that, unlike many other people, I still have a job in which I often get to do things I enjoy and one that doesn't pay too badly either. So, in light of those considerations, despite the points in which I am disappointed - I think many people would agree that at this moment I ought to be pretty happy with my career and financial situation, and - in light of those considersations - I am.

Most of my life is like that - a rollercoaster ride full of ups and downs. Part satisfaction, part disappointment, Just like everyone else's - drifting from happiness to sadness to anger, depending on the topic and current state of affairs.

Of course, what's behind this question is the myth spread within the church that "it's all down hill from here" for those who leave.

Here is one example of this message from a talk by N. Eldon Tanner:

“There is a sad ending to nearly every story I have heard about those who drift away from the straight and narrow path. Such a tragedy ended the life of the young man to whom I refer. Under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and motorcycling with his companions late one night, he plunged through the rails of a bridge over a murky river and was killed. In agreement with some facetious pact he had supposedly made with his friends, they, without consulting his parents, conducted his funeral service, cremated the body, and strewed the ashes over the spot where he died.

... Punishment and remorse, one way or another, will come to all who wander from the path of truth and righteousness, while obedience to God’s laws brings blessings and happiness. It is that simple: as we sow, so shall we reap. (See Gal. 6:7.)"(N. Eldon Tanner, "Why Is My Boy Wandering Tonight?", October 1974 General Conference)

That narrative - that those who leave the church are destined for calamity and misery of one kind or another - has been drilled into most member's heads from the time they were babes in arms. Consequently, when they encounter a person who has left the church, they often pull out this question - “are you happy?” - as though it were some silver-bullet way of revealing the apostates "true" state, even if, as in one case from my own life, they had just spent the day complaining to you about their life and the world while you were obviously feeling optimistic and hopeful. It would be just funny if it weren't so pernicious and annoying… no - that’s not strong enough - it would be just funny if our normal human emotions weren’t being hypocritically used as weapons with which to slander and discredit us.

Of course, this idea that apostate’s are unhappy, though severely misguided, isn't entirely baseless. The simplistic version of what many members of the church encounter in those who have left the church is a person who they formerly knew to be generally happy, seemingly out of the blue, becoming depressed and angry.

What they fail to grasp, of course, is just what the person leaving the church is actually going through. Namely, a complete upturning of their entire world view, coupled with the feeling that they've been lied to their entire lives, that sacrifices that they had made for their faith had all been for naught, and so much more. The feelings of betrayal and injustice that afflict the person who is in the midst of leaving the church, or has recently done so are quite sharp. They are exactly the sort of thing that would make anyone angry. And the believer's in their lives usually make things worse with their ignorance and insensitivity.

I wrote something that really speaks to this point in answering the question “Do ex Mormons ever feel guilty for leaving the church?” on Quora:

“The conversion from a Mormon to an ex-Mormon is a process that takes time. During that process, people typically experience a great deal of emotional and cognitive turmoil that can include anger, fear, sadness, regret, uncertainty and yes - guilt, which should come as no surprise if you honestly consider what they are actually going through.

A person who experiences a conversion from Mormonism to what you might call ex-Mormonism, has typically had their world-view turned upside down by some new information, and/or ways of looking at things. Consequently there is a period in which they are trying to figure out which way is up and one of the questions they have to contend with is whether - as they have typically been told their entire lives - their crisis of faith is a symptom of some failing of their own. At such times, many members will begin to scrutinize every little way in which they might fail to measure up to expectations, and wonder if it had either caused, or was a symptom of some other failing or flaw which caused them to be that much less receptive to the promptings of the Spirit, which would otherwise clear away all their doubts, or help them find the answers they need, or simply have strong enough faith in the face of all that presently assails their belief. At such times, a person can feel a great deal of guilt as they take upon themselves the assumption that it - their unbelief - is their fault.

Even after a person has intellectually accepted that the church is not True, stopped attending and so forth, some may find that the reflexive responses which have been ingrained in them via the church program continue to affect them, perhaps occasionally showing up as brief spikes of guilt or panic, or a feeling that someone is watching them, say when they drink their first cup of coffee, or shop on a Sunday, or are reprimanded for letting down their family by a supposedly well-meaning person.

Again, it shouldn't take much insight into the nature of the human mind to understand these sort of responses without resort to explanations such as that they are experiencing an actual prompting from the Spirit of God (After-all, you will find that people experience these things no matter what religion they leave behind). To suggest otherwise should be viewed as on par with explaining mental illnesses and physical ailments as the workings of disembodied evil spirits that are attacking or have taken possession of the person in question.

I have gone through that period of turmoil. But since then, while I have frequently found myself confronted with cause to feel anger and frustration toward the church and its membership (for reasons I wont outline here), I have never once felt guilt. Instead, when I am asked to consider whether my change of belief was right, I feel a warm glow inside me - a sense of peace and certainty that it was.”

In time, most people who leave the church do begin to heal and find peace again. To expound on that point more fully I will end with part of my answer to another question on Quora - "How has stopping being a Mormon bettered your life (for ex-Mormons)?"

"I now continue to face challenges on account of unbroken ties to the church through friends and family, but when I'm able to just be by myself with my new set of beliefs, if I reflect on that change, the predominant feeling is one of RELIEF. For me, the primary benefit of leaving the church has been a general rolling away of tensions that have bound me up for most of my life. This, combined with the sort of spiritual-like science-oriented view of the universe - its grandeur and immensity, my actual, much more humble, place within it, the precious gift that my fleeting life is, my view of the road before me on my "spiritual" journey, and the simple fact that I am now FREE to be HONEST - with myself most of all - about what really makes sense to me - all of this settles on my mind and heart like the gentle rays of a setting sun, imbuing me with a feeling of real peace and happiness.

Like many others, I am so excited to be able to learn new things without having to engage in the mental gymnastics that are so often necessary to fit new information into the little box of ideas, trains of thought, and conclusions that do not pose a threat to the church's claims to authority. The freedom to just follow a line of inquiry to its natural conclusion, to accept or reject ideas purely on the basis of their merits as I personally see them, is a balm to my soul.

I have also felt much more free to be myself socially. This has especially benefited my ability to engage with non-Mormon's (it might be worth pointing out that I still don't drink alcohol, so this difference is not due to such things), but not only with non-Mormons - with active Mormon's too I am, in many ways, more authentic and at ease. Though there are the new tensions related to my apostate status that sometimes get in the way, when those aren't in play I now feel better equipped to build genuine relationships, because I am being the more genuine me."

Francis Bezooyen profile image for wasmormon.orgfbb

Leading up to my "faith crisis" I often felt like I was, on average, unhappy and couldn't say why. I described it like having someone pressing down my shoulders. But once I stopped claiming to believe, that weight went away. Now, whatever I decide to do, even if that's drink alcohol or have sex with a guy I met online, I'm satisfied because I know why I did it. I considered the risks and rewards, and I accept the consequences. I've got plenty of problems to deal with in my life, but I don't have regrets.

Dallin profile image for wasmormon.orgvallian

Yes!

I shared a video as part of the "I'm an Ex-Mormon" campaign, view it here: youtube.com/…

Lyndon Lamborn profile image for wasmormon.orglyndonlamborn

I have yet to find joy in leaving the church. I’ve cried a lot. But I’ve always been a pretty happy person, and I’ve been blessed with hobbies, real friendships, an engaging career, and a loving and fun fiancé who comforts me when things get tough. Happiness can only be pursued successfully indirectly. Make good habits & find good people. We were born on this earth to be happy, after all.

malia7 profile image for wasmormon.orgmalia7

I love this question. Of course as an active member of the church, we are taught that if you leave the church, you will never be happy. I was shocked to find out that this is, in fact, not true. I am happier now in my life than I have ever been as an active member of the church. I am free to make my own decision and live the kind of life that feels true and genuine to me. I am a better wife, a better mother, and a more well-rounded individual since leaving the church.

debrac28 profile image for wasmormon.orgdebrac28

Yes, I'd say I am.

kf7heh profile image for wasmormon.orgkf7heh

I've never been happier. I have struggled with suicidal ideation since I was 9, and even though I still have my issues and my struggles, I have not had one serious incident since the day I sent my resignation in. I feel free of the pressure and people-pleasing that comes with Church culture, and I feel I am able to truly enjoy people without judgement.

Autumn Phelps profile image for wasmormon.orgautumn-phelps

Yes, I'm happier than I have ever been. My kids are happier too. My deconstruction of Mormonism led to the deconstruction of so many other things as well: I deconstructed patriarchy and reconstructed beautiful, badass womanhood. I deconstructed homophobia and reconstructed love and full acceptance for the lgbtq community that my beautiful children are now a part of. I deconstructed abuse from my personal relationships and reconstructed boundaries of safety and respect. Deconstruction has been the most painful and rewarding, beautiful experience of my life.

Heidi Smith profile image for wasmormon.orghmsmith0320

I am so much happier without the Mormon church. The impossible standards, the constant feeling of never doing enough, the never measuring up, the feeling of failure every night before bed, the sorrow that I have to face another day tomorrow and knowing I will not be good enough -

It is all gone from me!

I live with a life that is bright and happy and full of possibility. I can accept not getting everything done and catch up the next day without fear that I not be with my family forever because of it. I do not have an unattainable checklist in head - now its called THE COVENANT PATH - that I cannot possibly complete every day.

I end each day watching a show with my wife and a cold beer. What is better than that?

Steve profile image for wasmormon.orgswennergren

Yes, I am very happy. I am happy not being a part of a religion that doesn't fully like and accept me as an openly gay man of color.

Carlos profile image for wasmormon.orgclos75

Yes. After Mormonism I am able to own my own self. That includes wearing underwear not issued by the church, having permission to think independently, and let go of shame I usually had in day-to-day. Been able to experience life more realistically, I have more motivation and my marriage relationship is better. 

livsters profile image for wasmormon.orglivsters

No, feel lost now!

Brian Caulfield profile image for wasmormon.orgbrian-caulfield

Very! The happiest I've been in a long time. I am no longer pressured to keep a persona that isn't me. I can do what I need to do to be the best version of myself without guilt. I am away from a man who would bring the worst out in me. Im raising my child free from unnecessary guilt and sin and that makes me happiest of all!

Debbie Knudsen profile image for wasmormon.orgdebbie-knudsen

Yes! Everything good from before is still good. I've just removed some things that were making me unhappy.

Ella profile image for wasmormon.orgellar

It has been a long road, but I've enjoyed learning more about other wisdom traditions and things like mindfulness and meditation. I'm drawn to those things because they don't offer prescribed answers to questions, but answer those questions by simply sitting with them. The answers aren't possible or required, and often pondering the very questions or who is asking them is just as profound as any answer could be anyways.

Evan Mullins profile image for wasmormon.orgevan-mullins