• K.A. YATES

The 1st Step

Updated: Jan 9

"Some People Walk Away From You, But I won't..."

FIRST & FOREMOST, let's acknowledge that when a person leaves the church there is pain.


Travelers (aka Ex-Mormon) did you know...

(I will call us travelers because we left to find our own path)

  • Members feel pain and loss of a friend who left the community.

  • Worries press on Member's hearts and minds for those who left because (as we know) LDS beliefs revolve very much around what will happen to people in the next life according to their choices in this one.

  • There is confusion. "Why did you leave?"

  • There is trepidation, "How do I talk to them?"

  • Some people may even worry Travelers may share information that will cause them to doubt and thus they keep Travelers at a distance.


Members, did you know...

  • Travelers feel pain and isolation.

  • Travelers often feel isolated because they don't want to share the information that broke their hearts because the process of leaving is INCREDIBLY painful. They want to protect you.

  • Travelers sometimes feel like they cannot speak to you because we've been deemed unsafe and thus are alienated.

  • There is so much pain and heart ache. Everything Travelers held dear before they left literally dies. It's very much like losing a beloved parent, and for some even a hated parent, or both at the same time. Each scenario is physically, mentally, and emotionally draining especially when you're alone.

  • Don't forget, Travelers just lost their community...and are trying to find another whilst navigating and rebuilding.

Q: SO WHAT DO WE ALL DO?


We show Love & Respect for one another! :A


After we left church, ya know, that day I made my unplanned confession of doubts, radio silence prevailed. I personally received a few texts from four true friends (who remain my friends to this day), and had several concerned conversations with my dad, but for my husband and kids that silence remained constant for the most part (other than his family).

"Why?"


We knew what members were taught about less active and non-members. We were members our entire lives.

"Bring them into the fold, save their souls, but if they had the light, and chose to leave, they are damned and darker then evil. Be warry. Stay away, protect yourself from their toxic poison."


The most ironic thing is (I can laugh at now) we're the same people. We still believe in being kind, helping others, donating to those in need, and honesty. But because we don't attend, we are unsafe.


Did we handle the break up with family and friends well?


NO!




After several texting arguments with family, phone call lectures, and defensive replies, things got weird. We stopped following family text threads, and some of them blocked us for a while.


Contrary to Simon and Garfunkel's song title "I am a Rock," our strength wained. Yes, we felt empowered to make our own faith choices, but in truth we felt more like islands, alone in the world.


Months later, after finding a new community of other local Travelers from the LDS Faith, I realized, our stories, our journeys all shared similar threads of pain.


SO...I jumped on Facebook for a safe platform to get help--to save families, the "heart of the plan of salvation." My goal and intention was to find a way to repair the sudden chasm between all of us. To safeguard the family relationships that give us strength and a sense of home--something Travelers desperately need after losing their worldview home, future prospect home (heaven) etc.


I posted a series of unbiased questions to both sides:



  • What questions or religious concerns test your faith, if any, or which are you waiting to receive answers to after you die or get to the pearly gates? (Please Private message me if you’re not comfortable to post here. More research)

  • Do you have family that has left the LDS church? How do you feel about it?

  • Friends, if you are still active how does the church help you strengthen relationships with others outside the church?

  • Friends, how have your relationships with family changed after leaving the church? And, how long has it been since you left?

  • Friends, would you say leaving the Church strengthened your marriage or not?

  • LDS friends, how has your family or friend’s lives, attitudes, moods, etc changed (after they left the church) for the better and/or for the worse?

  • Friends, if you’ve left your childhood faith, what beliefs and values have not changed for you?

  • LDS friends (please private message me-I’m doing research for my MFA- what faith/life questions do you feel like you can’t ask or get answers to without damaging your faith or worthiness?

  • If you have left or want to leave your faith, what do you want your family and friends to know about you? What would you tell them but feel like you can’t and why?

  • If you have family or friends who have left the LDS church what would you want them to know and why?


BUT


I ended up getting blocked by people. I was told I was attacking the church and destroying relationships.

"OKAY? What just happened? The very thing I was trying to fix just blew up in my face."

DISCOVERY #1


Social Media is a freaking war zone packed with people just waiting to be offended and without the face-to-face consequences, they launch counter attacks riddled with NUKES!

ACTUAL DISCOVERY #1 Deep down, people are afraid!


Travelers know the diatribe that is said about those who leave.

We sat on those ward councils. So what floods our minds?


"Are they going to feel that way about me? But I'm still the same person."


Thankfully some members don't believe the prescribed script that is taught out of Salt Lake. That Travelers are:

  • "lazy learners,"

  • "deceived,"

  • "Sinners," (though even in the church everyone's a sinner, right? Or we wouldn't need a Savior),

  • or "our lives are going to fall apart without the gospel."


DISCOVERY #2


People inside the Church want to know why you left, but they don't want to know specifics.

Why do Traveler's leave?

THE TRUTH:

Travelers wander away because we were taught, grilled, and trained to follow and seek after truth when we are members. We were commanded to be perfectly obedient, and when the gospel truths we sacrificed our time and talents for change in texts, talks, and thought, we cannot remain.

I believe truth means fact; fact means it doesn't change; so what was said 100 years ago and taught as divine revelation from God should never change. God the omniscient one cannot lie, right?


Why don't Travelers leave the Church alone after they leave?

Again, all members are trained and taught to proclaim truth boldly and nobly. Travelers received and digested that training. We grew up with examples of Martyrs for truth. Travelers took a leap of faith (like the pioneers, and we will go forth boldly and nobly until the truth has sounded in every ear--our discovered truth).


Why?


Because we love you, and we are still the same people with the same basic values. We want to save you from the church.


Discovery #3


Love has no boundaries or limits, but boundaries and rules of engagement are key.

Grief of losing your world view is real.

In case you weren't aware the stages of grief are:

  • shock or disbelief

  • denial

  • bargaining

  • guilt

  • anger

  • depression

  • acceptance and hope.

As many of you know, these don't happen in order, but they definitely happen for Travelers. If it happens for Members with loved ones who Travel away please comment below. I cannot personally speak to that.


Boundaries

What triggers Travelers and What Members fear, can vary from individual to individual, so it's key that you define these boundaries when building a bridge of safe communication with one another.


HOWEVER...as my family learned by making mistakes. Until Travelers pass through the "angry phase," members might want to snooze social media, texting, or be ready for the "burn down the house phase," Which inevitably comes.


"Some People Walk Away From You, But I won't..."

Even though Traveler's leave their world views, relationships don't have to.

Both parties may have to adjust communication, but love still remains.

If the bridge did get burned (which unfortunately happens more often than not) hopefully these tips, discoveries, and insights can assist in rebuilding.



"To love those who give you the best, worst, and everything in between, is what it means to be family. And, world peace begins in the home." ~ K.A. Yates












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