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When to call it quits… and when to stick around

Posted by nebula0 on November 1, 2008


Since I’ve dropped my Mormon identity, I’ve gone through a lot of moods.  Sometimes I have been close to anti-Mormonism, feeling within me a burning resentment of the religion I once embraced.  I’ve gone through nostalgia and moments that I longed to be back but knowing it cannot be.  I suppose it’s that way with every major break up.  Now I’ve moved on to the stage that I’m ready to court new suitors and feel that I can honestly be friends with my ex.  So what advice would I give to someone considering breaking up?

1.  Assess your differences.  Make a list of the things that are driving a wedge between you and Mormonism, item by item.

2.  Rate the importance of each item to you.  Which ones are mere annoyances (such as, boring sacrament meetings) and which ones are potential deal breakers, and which ones somewhere inbetween?

3.  Ignore the annoyances, for now.  Make a new list, this time, only with potential deal breakers.  No matter how you live or who you live with, there will be annoyances.  You can manage those. 

4.  Assess the deal breaking items, are they really deal breakers?  For instance, say that you put down “women in the priesthood” as one of those items.  Even if women never get the priesthood, do you still accept the priesthood authority in the LDS church as valid?  If you do, this is not really a deal breaking item for you.  On the other hand, if you believe that unless women get the priesthood, the priesthood authority of the LDS church is invalidated or incomplete, this is a potential deal breaker.

5.  Try to be as honest as possible.  This is tougher than it sounds.  When you have LDS family and friends, when you’ve learned Mormon lingo and ways of life, you may be tempted to try to brush deal breaking issues under the rug.  It won’t work.  Life is way too short to live a lie.  You may find that you realize that you need to break up with Mormonism late in life, after you have established your children and grandchildren as Mormons.  You may not want to officially, publically leave.  That’s okay.  Do what you can to explore your options and deepen an authentic relationship with God.

In short, don’t expect Mormonism to be perfect.  It’s a church run by humans on every level, fallible people.  If you are honest, there are going to be things that you dislike, even dislike strongly, but being annoyed at Home Teaching is not a reason to call it quits- unless you didn’t really believe in the first place.  If you believe that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and the Son that day in the grove of trees, if you believe that the LDS church is the restored church of Christ, then the LDS church is where you belong, with its blemishes, boring Sacrament Meetings, and all.  If you doubt those grounding principles, then no matter how much you may like and enjoy other aspects of Mormonism, for your own sanity and growth, you may need to disassociate, even if not publicly.

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