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Sep 19

Unveiling the World of Exmormons: Who are Exmormons and How Do You Become One?

The term 'ExMormon' is broad, reflecting diverse experiences and beliefs among those who've left the LDS Church. Leaving the church often involves a disaffiliation process, and some formally resign. Seeking support and community, ExMormons connect online and offline to share their stories.

Exmormons were once part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) but have since chosen to leave the faith. The Exmormon experience is also marked by resilience, personal growth, and the pursuit of authenticity. Many Exmormons find hope in discovering new belief systems, forming supportive communities, and embracing their freedom to explore diverse spiritual paths and worldviews.

Other popular terms for leaving the Mormon church include "Post Mormon" and "Exmo." Some people who still attend church but don't adhere to all the religious rules are called "Jack Mormons," though this is often viewed as a derogatory term within the culture. Someone may also be called a "cultural Mormon" if they identify with the culture of the church but don't observe all the spiritual or religious beliefs of the church.

There are many different reasons people leave the Mormon church.

Top Reasons for Leaving the Mormon Church

  1. Doctrinal or Belief Differences: Some individuals may come to disagree with certain core doctrines or teachings of the LDS Church. This can include issues related to theology, doctrine, or church policy.
  2. Historical Concerns: Learning about certain aspects of Mormon history, such as the practice of polygamy in the past or the history of race and the priesthood in the church, can be troubling for some members and may lead to disaffiliation.
  3. Personal Spiritual Journeys: People's spiritual beliefs and experiences can evolve over time. Some may feel that their spiritual path leads them away from the LDS Church and toward other belief systems or forms of spirituality.
  4. Social or Cultural Reasons: Social or cultural factors, such as feeling ostracized or judged by fellow members, can contribute to someone's decision to leave the church. This may particularly be the case for LGBTQ+ individuals who do not feel fully accepted within the LDS Church.
  5. Family or Relationship Issues: Interpersonal conflicts or differences in religious beliefs within a family or romantic relationship can lead some Mormons to distance themselves from the church.
  6. Lifestyle Choices: Some individuals may choose to leave the LDS Church because they no longer wish to adhere to the church's code of conduct, which includes abstaining from certain behaviors like alcohol consumption, premarital sex, or coffee and tea consumption.
  7. Loss of Faith: A loss of faith in the church's truth claims or in religious belief in general can be a significant factor in someone's decision to leave.
  8. Seeking a Different Religious Community: Some former Mormons join other religious denominations or spiritual communities that align more closely with their current beliefs and values.
  9. Personal Growth and Autonomy: Leaving the LDS Church can represent a desire for personal autonomy and the freedom to explore one's own beliefs and values without the constraints of a religious institution.

Top Beliefs of Exmormons

When people leave the Mormon Church, their beliefs can vary widely, as they embark on different spiritual, philosophical, or religious journeys. There is no single set of beliefs that all Exmormons adopt, but some common trends and beliefs that some Exmormons may embrace include:

  1. Atheism or Agnosticism: Some Exmormons may become atheists or agnostics, rejecting belief in the existence of God or adopting a stance of uncertainty regarding matters of faith.
  2. Exploration of Other Christian Denominations: Some former Mormons transition to other Christian denominations, seeking a more familiar Christian theology and worship experience.
  3. Spiritual But Not Religious (SBNR): Many Exmormons identify as "spiritual but not religious," emphasizing personal spirituality and connection with a higher power outside of organized religion.
  4. Humanism: Humanism emphasizes the value of human reason and ethics, often rejecting supernatural beliefs in favor of secular, rational, and human-centered values.
  5. New Age or Alternative Spirituality: Some Exmormons explore New Age or alternative spiritual practices, such as meditation, yoga, or Eastern philosophies.
  6. Secular Humanism: Secular humanists emphasize human values and ethics without religious or supernatural beliefs. They focus on rational thought, science, and ethics to guide their lives.
  7. LGBTQ+ Acceptance: Some former Mormons who are part of the LGBTQ+ community may leave the church due to its stance on LGBTQ+ issues. They may adopt more accepting and affirming beliefs and seek supportive communities.
  8. Cultural Mormonism: While not believing in the religious aspects, some Exmormons retain a cultural connection to Mormonism, participating in cultural events and practices associated with their Mormon heritage.
  9. Interfaith or Ecumenical Engagement: Some Exmormons engage in interfaith or ecumenical dialogue, seeking common ground and understanding among different religious traditions.
  10. Personalized Spirituality: Many Exmormons embark on a journey of self-discovery, crafting their own unique spiritual beliefs and practices that align with their evolving values and experiences.

It's essential to recognize that the beliefs of Exmormons can be highly individualized and can change over time. Leaving a religious community often represents a quest for personal authenticity and alignment with one's deeply held convictions, and the beliefs adopted afterward can reflect this search for personal meaning and fulfillment.

What steps do you take to become an Exmormon?

  1. Personal Decision: The process begins with the individual making a personal decision to leave the church. This decision is a deeply personal one and can be based on various reasons, as discussed earlier.
  2. Contact Local Church Leaders: The next step is to contact local church leaders, such as the bishop or branch president, to express the desire to resign. This can often be done through a written letter or email. In some cases, individuals may prefer to meet with their local leader in person. You can also use and avoid speaking to anyone specifically.
  3. Meeting with Local Leaders: After contacting local leaders, a meeting may be scheduled to discuss the decision to resign. During this meeting, leaders may inquire about the reasons for leaving, but individuals are not obligated to provide detailed explanations if they don't wish to.
  4. Written Resignation Letter: It is typically required to provide a written resignation letter to formalize the process. This letter should include a clear statement of intent to resign from the LDS Church and a request to have one's name removed from the church records.
  5. Name Removal Process: Once the written resignation letter is submitted, the local leaders will send it to higher-level church authorities. The process may vary depending on the region and specific circumstances, but generally, the request is forwarded to the church's Membership Records Division.
  6. Confirmation Letter: After the church processes the request, the individual will receive a confirmation letter indicating that their name has been removed from the church's records. This confirms their official resignation.
  7. Follow-Up: It's important for individuals to keep a copy of their resignation letter and confirmation for their records. In some cases, it may be necessary to follow up with church leaders if there are any delays in receiving confirmation or if there are other issues related to the process.

What are the consequences of leaving the Mormon church?

Leaving the Mormon Church can have various consequences, which can vary widely depending on an individual's personal circumstances, family dynamics, and the community in which they live. Here are some potential consequences that people who leave the LDS Church may encounter:

  1. Social and Family Tensions: Leaving the LDS Church can strain relationships with family members and friends who are still active members. There may be disagreements, misunderstandings, or even estrangement as a result of differences in belief. Here's advice on how to break the news to your family.
  2. Emotional and Psychological Challenges: The process of leaving a high-demand religious community like the LDS Church can be emotionally challenging. Some individuals may experience feelings of grief, loss, or isolation as they navigate their post-Mormon identity.
  3. Loss of Community: Active LDS Church members often have a strong sense of community within their congregations. Leaving the church can mean losing this sense of community and connection, which can be difficult for some.
  4. Impact on Marriage and Relationships: Mixed-faith marriages, where one spouse remains active in the LDS Church while the other leaves, can face significant challenges. Communication and understanding become crucial in such situations.
  5. Impact on Employment: In regions with a significant LDS Church presence, some individuals have reported discrimination or challenges in their employment due to their decision to leave the church. This can vary depending on the local culture and workplace environment.
  6. Loss of Belief System: Leaving the LDS Church often involves a fundamental shift in one's belief system. This can lead to a period of existential questioning and the need to develop new beliefs and values.
  7. Identity and Community Building: Former Mormons may need to rebuild their sense of identity and community outside of the church. This process can involve exploring new social circles and support networks.
  8. Legal and Financial Implications: There can be legal and financial considerations, especially if an individual was heavily involved in church leadership roles or if they made significant financial contributions to the church. Consulting with legal professionals may be necessary in some cases.
  9. Excommunication or Disfellowshipment: In some cases, individuals who openly criticize the LDS Church or engage in activities considered contrary to church teachings may face disciplinary actions, such as excommunication or disfellowshipment.

It's important to note that while some individuals may experience negative consequences or challenges after leaving the LDS Church, others may find a sense of liberation, personal growth, and fulfillment in their post-Mormon lives. The impact of leaving the LDS Church is highly individualized and can depend on a variety of factors, including an individual's personal beliefs, support system, and geographic location. Many Exmormons have successfully navigated these challenges and built fulfilling lives outside of the church.

Exmormon Support Groups

Exmormons connect online for various reasons, and there are several ways they do so. Here are some common ways and reasons exmormons connect online:

  1. Online Support Groups: Exmormons often join online support groups and communities where they can share their experiences, ask questions, and seek advice from others who have left the LDS Church. These groups can provide a sense of belonging and understanding.
  2. Social Media: Many exmormons use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit to connect with fellow exmormons and engage in discussions about their experiences, beliefs, and the challenges they face.
  3. Online Forums: There are dedicated online forums and message boards where exmormons can discuss various topics related to leaving the church, such as recovery from religious trauma, navigating relationships with still-believing family members, and exploring new belief systems.
  4. YouTube Channels and Podcasts: Some exmormons create YouTube channels and podcasts to share their personal stories, insights, and perspectives on leaving the LDS Church. These platforms allow them to reach a broader audience and provide valuable information and support.
  5. Blogs and Personal Websites: Exmormons often share their experiences and reflections on blogs and personal websites. This can be a way to process their own journey and offer guidance and support to others going through similar experiences.
  6. Online Events and Conferences: Exmormon organizations and communities sometimes host online events, conferences, and webinars to facilitate discussions, provide resources, and build a sense of community among those who have left the church.
  7. Recovery and Counseling Resources: Some exmormons may seek online resources related to recovery from religious trauma or counseling services specifically tailored to their experiences of leaving a high-demand religious organization.
  8. Advocacy and Activism: Exmormons who want to raise awareness about issues within the LDS Church, advocate for change, or support others in their transition may use online platforms to mobilize and organize efforts.

Being an Exmormon means having once been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but choosing to leave the faith. Data shows that individuals leave the LDS Church for a variety of reasons, including differences in beliefs, dissatisfaction with church practices, and personal spiritual transformations. Leaving can bring challenges such as strained relationships, emotional turmoil, and a sense of loss of community.

However, the Exmormon experience is also marked by resilience, personal growth, and the pursuit of authenticity. Many Exmormons find hope in discovering new belief systems, forming supportive communities, and embracing their freedom to explore diverse spiritual paths and worldviews.