Skip to main content


By SP ~

Thank you for your wonderful site. It has helped me tremendously. The articles and comments I have read have not only been inspiring and educational, but they have also been empowering. Although I know my experience is not unique, I would like to share how I was able to realize that I had developed a faulty sense of reality due to my dependence on religion to think for me. While my childhood was filled with mostly positive experiences, my life as an adult became unnecessarily difficult, partly because I was afraid to step outside a world that was familiar and seemingly good.

When I was fourteen, I made a conscious decision to believe in the Mormon church. Little did I know that I based this decision on my experiences and limited ability to reason critically. For example, I believed God was the source of all truth and light; making him my only resource. The problem with that is there is an obvious conflict of interest. Even as I lumped moral behavior with religious belief, I confused logic and reason with objective truth. This lack of distinction enabled me to accept the testimonies of others based upon opinion alone, making myself vulnerable to persuasion. So, if God is good, he must stand for morality and be the source of all righteousness; therefore, those who represent him (Jesus, prophets, scriptures, religious leaders, great people) must be telling the truth. I then had to decide which church was “true” and came to the conclusion the LDS church was (big surprise there). Once I made that commitment, I stuck to it through thick and thin, even as doubts began to surface and accumulate.

Although my parents were not active in church, my roots run deep in the Mormon faith, all the way to the beginning of church history, with family of both heroic and infamous variety, such as Butch Cassidy. As an army brat, visits to Utah were like going home to enjoy great memories with my wonderful extended family, all of whom I love dearly and am extremely proud! My best friend, who was also Mormon, has been a huge influence for good in my life as well. Their love and examples helped shape the person I am today. It was not until I got older and started to notice problems with doctrine and The Plan of Salvation, that cracks in the marble of my belief began to appear.

Since my husband and I married young and began a family (Within eight years, we had six kids!), my growth in the church leveled out rather quickly. I never got into Temple worship or advanced teachings (I was too busy living); I guess you can also say I had a middle school education in the gospel, although I was extremely loyal and lived the values. To the nonmembers, however, I was a diehard Mormon (although I was not trying for that image). We lived in the Bible Belt and my husband’s family is Baptist. His family put us through so much grief; I might as well been openly atheist or Satan himself.

Now, our children are young adults and, along with my deconversion, I have been able to sort out and deconstruct the mental processes it took for me to adopt the belief system I held onto for so long. My husband and children have been extremely supportive, even wondering what took me so long. Since then, I have grown in ways that I never could have as a Christian. The church used to tell me the reasons people apostatized, or left, were because they were disillusioned or lazy or immoral or just plain rebellious. None of that is true for me, nor have I read that into any of the exit testimonies of others.

Eventually, I was able to see how my emotional, familial and cultural ties were the hooks that kept me believing, even as the threads of my faith were unraveling. Although I had a great childhood in which the church was a big part, I still did not come through the other end unscathed. For example, I internalized many teachings, carrying them around like extra baggage. The most insidious was the idea that God (or any spirit, for that matter) knew all of my thoughts and was watching me, holding me accountable for every little thing. Not only did that produce a private, unwarranted guilt complex, it was the filter by which I sifted everything. One can only image the problems that caused. Next, was how my place as a woman was generally decided for me by the church. While such beliefs made life easier for those around me, the emphasis on service to others and perfection, both fairly unique to Mormonism, weighed heavy on me. Even so, due to family circumstances, I usually remained on the fringe of LDS culture.

There was another problem; not only did I not quite fit in my Southern Baptist community (although I was respected for my values), but I also did not quite measure up within my own church circle because my immediate family was not considered the ideal Mormon family. Still, there is something in the core of me that loves life and people and, even though I sensed these things, was often oblivious to the cause of the undercurrent. It was not until I had lived through some experiences, and had time to evaluate them, that I was able to make such connections. I also learned that many of the gospel principles did not translate very well in real life, with real people. Even so, I have to say that my desire for goodness was the common denominator in determining what truths I held dear and love was the driving force by which I was able to remain true to myself at some basic level.

Then, one day, I got the rug pulled out from under me. Ironically, even as I struggled with my mortality, I was able to set myself free from religion. I needed to get away from everything, to decompress and learn to think things through to a logical conclusion. I needed to have nothing left to lose. I had to recognize the fear instilled in me by the church for what it was: an attempt to control and put me into a convenient category. I had to break the emotional ties one by one. Also, the internet gave me access to resources previous unavailable: original documents and editions, letters and journals as well as the support of my immediate family and blogs like yours. Not only was I older, more mature and better able to reason, but, for the first time, I had the courage to question. I had the confidence to look.

There have been two crossroads in my life. I was fourteen when I choose the first path. Since I attributed the very essence of life and goodness to God, my question was not whether to believe in him, but which version. Since I was already Mormon, I had to make the best choice I could, given my circumstance and ability to reason. I chose to be a Mormon then. Thirty years later, I came to the same crossroad; this time, I realized the road I took as a teenager was really a detour. Now, I take the road less traveled; what a difference it has made.


Popular posts from this blog


By David Andrew Dugle ~ O ctober. Halloween. It's time to visit the haunted house I used to live in. When I was five my dad was able to build a big modern house. Moving in before it was complete, my younger brother and I were sleeping in a large unfinished area directly under the living room. It should have been too new to be a haunted house, but now and then I would wake up in the tiny, dark hours and see the blurry image of a face, or at least what I took to be a face, glowing, faintly yellow, high up on the wall near the ceiling. I'm not kidding! Most nights it didn’t appear at all. But when it did show itself, at first I thought it was a ghost and it scared me like nothing else I’d ever seen. But the face never did anything; unmoving, it just stayed in that one spot. Turning on the lights would make it disappear, making my fears difficult to explain, so I never told anyone. My Sunday School teachers had always told me to be good because God was just behind m

How to come out to your parents as non-religious

By Marlene Winell ~  A fter going through your own deconstruction of religious belief, it can feel like a challenge to reveal your change to your religious parents.   You might have a lot of fear about their reaction – anger, hurt, disappointment in you, and so on.   You might fear being disowned.   This is a common concern because our families mean a lot to us.   It’s natural to want approval from your parents.   When you were young, you depended on them for your life; you absolutely needed their love, care, and approval.   So, even in adulthood, we long for our parents to love us unconditionally.     However, in terms of human development over the life span,  it is necessary for   everyone   to outgrow their parents.   Growing up to maturity involves becoming the authority in your own life and taking on the job of self-care and self-love.   This is true even if you aren’t recovering from religion.   Personal health and well-being, in other words, means that your inner “Adult” is tak

Are You an Atheist Success Story?

By Avangelism Project ~ F acts don’t spread. Stories do. It’s how (good) marketing works, it’s how elections (unfortunately) are won and lost, and it’s how (all) religion spreads. Proselytization isn’t accomplished with better arguments. It’s accomplished with better stories and it’s time we atheists catch up. It’s not like atheists don’t love a good story. Head over to the atheist reddit and take a look if you don’t believe me. We’re all over stories painting religion in a bad light. Nothing wrong with that, but we ignore the value of a story or a testimonial when we’re dealing with Christians. We can’t be so proud to argue the semantics of whether atheism is a belief or deconversion is actually proselytization. When we become more interested in defining our terms than in affecting people, we’ve relegated ourselves to irrelevance preferring to be smug in our minority, but semantically correct, nonbelief. Results Determine Reality The thing is when we opt to bury our

Why I left the Canadian Reformed Church

By Chuck Eelhart ~ I was born into a believing family. The denomination is called Canadian Reformed Church . It is a Dutch Calvinistic Christian Church. My parents were Dutch immigrants to Canada in 1951. They had come from two slightly differing factions of the same Reformed faith in the Netherlands . Arriving unmarried in Canada they joined the slightly more conservative of the factions. It was a small group at first. Being far from Holland and strangers in a new country these young families found a strong bonding point in their church. Deutsch: Heidelberger Katechismus, Druck 1563 (Photo credit: Wikipedia ) I was born in 1955 the third of eventually 9 children. We lived in a small southern Ontario farming community of Fergus. Being young conservative and industrious the community of immigrants prospered. While they did mix and work in the community almost all of the social bonding was within the church group. Being of the first generation born here we had a foot in two

So Just How Dumb Were Jesus’ Disciples? The Resurrection, Part VII.

By Robert Conner ~ T he first mention of Jesus’ resurrection comes from a letter written by Paul of Tarsus. Paul appears to have had no interest whatsoever in the “historical” Jesus: “even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, we know him so no longer.” ( 2 Corinthians 5:16 ) Paul’s surviving letters never once mention any of Jesus’ many exorcisms and healings, the raising of Lazarus, or Jesus’ virgin birth, and barely allude to Jesus’ teaching. For Paul, Jesus only gets interesting after he’s dead, but even here Paul’s attention to detail is sketchy at best. For instance, Paul says Jesus “was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” ( 1 Corinthians 15:4 ), but there are no scriptures that foretell the Jewish Messiah would at long last appear only to die at the hands of Gentiles, much less that the Messiah would then be raised from the dead after three days. After his miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus—an event Paul never mentions in his lette

Christian TV presenter reads out Star Wars plot as story of salvation

An email prankster tricked the host of a Christian TV show into reading out the plots of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Star Wars in the belief they were stories of personal salvation. The unsuspecting host read out most of the opening rap to The Fresh Prince, a 1990s US sitcom starring Will Smith , apparently unaware that it was not a genuine testimony of faith. The prankster had slightly adapted the lyrics but the references to a misspent youth playing basketball in West Philadelphia would have been instantly familiar to most viewers. The lines read out by the DJ included: "One day a couple of guys who were up to no good starting making trouble in my living area. I ended up getting into a fight, which terrified my mother." The presenter on Genesis TV , a British Christian channel, eventually realised that he was being pranked and cut the story short – only to move on to another spoof email based on the plot of the Star Wars films. It began: &quo