Therapy. It's crazy to me that a month in therapy did more good for my mental health than two decades in God's supposed one true church ever could. Making my own decisions and being confident about them has freed me from the guilt and anxiety that come with believing there's a God and a church who will shun you if you make any mistake (or violate any of hundreds of contradictory commandments).
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.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
-William Ernest Henley
One thing I love about the church is the people. I love my Mormon extended family and members I grew up with. I loved having that community and I feared losing it. Then I found an amazing group of people in my area that were all having the same feelings. It created a fast bond and some have become family.
These last 3 years have been so hard, so painful, and so damn rewarding. I feel more me than I ever have.
Which is both awesome, and let’s be honest..sometimes sorta crappy.
But it’s me and I kinda like me.
I wrote a book about it called The Mormon Mirage: amazon.com/Mormon-Mirage-Former-Member-Church/dp/…
In it, I share my journey out of Mormonism as I uncovered shocking inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and contradictions in the faith I had loved and lived. I've revised it thirty years later as Mormonism and Mormon scholarship have evolved with the times. The third, revised and updated edition keeps pace with changes and advances in Mormonism, and reveals formidable new challenges to its claims and teachings.
The Mormon Mirage provides fascinating, carefully documented insights into:
• DNA research’s withering implications for the Book of Mormon
• the impact of new “revelations” on Latter-day Saint (LDS) race relations
• new findings about Mormon history
• increasing publicity about LDS splinter groups, particularly polygamous ones
• recent disavowals of long-held doctrines by church leadership
• the rise of Mormon apologetics on the Internet.
More than a riveting, insider’s scrutiny of the Mormon faith, the book is a testimony to the trustworthiness of Scripture and the grace of Jesus Christ.
I wrote a book called the Keystone of Mormonism. Please find here: amazon.com/Keystone-Mormonism-Arza-Evans/dp/…
It presents excellent reasoning and scientific evidence that The Book Of Mormon is not sacred ancient American history, as claimed by Mormons, but a clever nineteenth-century fraud.
Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, declared his Book of Mormon to be "…the most correct of any book on earth." However, this careful study reveals a large number of serious errors. For example, his characters had access to spring steel, window glass, machinery, and submarines centuries before these things were invented. They also had horses, chariots, elephants, silk, and linen contrary to the claims of archaeologists, anthropologists, and other scientists. Smith's Nephites and Lamanites were alone here in their "promised land" despite overwhelming scientific proof that many other civilizations have been in America for thousands of years. Also, his "prophets" quoted Old and New Testament Prophets hundreds of years before these men were born in the Old World. The Keystone of Mormonism documents these and other serious errors in Smith's book.
Friends and certain family members (you know who you are) helped me more then they'll ever know. They helped me realize that Mormonism didn't define who I was. YouTube was an amazing source for learning how to be yourself post Mormonism. The Exmormon subreddit is for sure one of the best resources for Information or if you just need a stranger to talk to.
I have a strong friend group that is very supportive of me and lets me use them as a sounding board when I just need to vent or work through my evolving sense of morality. I also have turned to science, philosophy, and nature to find truth, meaning, morality, and peace. The best resource I used though was "The Cosmos" by Neil deGrasse Tyson. It helped remind me of my place in history, nature, and society.
Finding others who have had the same experience, mainly on the exmormon subreddit. I've also found people on YouTube who are a voice for exmormons and atheists that I quite enjoy. In addition, sharing with those I'm closest with has been a comforting and liberating experience so far. It's been tough to feel alone and out in no-man's land.
cesletter.org/ reddit.com/r/exmormon/ other sources found within these. Talking though issues with others is extremely valuable. Look at mormon news objectively. See what others are saying. Get samples from all sides. Remember that your faith is your business and your business alone.
I read quite a few books and listened to lots of podcasts. Also many many therapy sessions and long long talks with anyone who was available.
Books I found helpful:
- History of the Church
- Navigating a Mormon Faith Crisis (Thomas Wirthlin McConkie)
- Losing Your Faith, Finding Your Soul (David Anderson)
- Rough Stone Rolling (Richard Bushman)
- ExMormon's Search For Meaning (Zach Olsen)
- Bridges (David Ostler)
- Falling Upward (Richard Rohr)
- Daring Greatly (Brené Brown)
- Stages of Faith (James Fowler)
- Why Buddhism is True (Robert Wright)
- The Wisdom of Insecurity (Alan Watts)
- The Crucible of Doubt (Givens)
- God Is Not One (Stephen Prothero)
- The Righteous Mind (Jonathan Haidt)
- Mormon Stories (John Dehlin)
- Mormon Discussions (Bill Reel)
- A Thoughtful Faith (Gina Colvin)
- Mindfulness+ (Thomas McConkie)
- Secular Buddhism (Noah Rasheta)
The Gospel Topics Essays