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Jun 24

How to Leave the Mormon Church: A Step by Step Guide

Leaving any religious organization can be a difficult and emotional process, especially when it is a deeply ingrained part of your life. If you have been considering leaving the Mormon Church, you may be feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about what to do next. 

You May Wonder: What Happens if you Leave the Mormon Church?

Leaving the church looks different for everyone, but there are several stages most people pass through on their way out. Approach this time of your life with supreme patience and contemplation. Don’t rush yourself with big changes like telling your family, or drinking for the first time. Educate yourself as much as possible. Talk to your loved ones, and find a close friend who is out of the church or was never Mormon to support you through your transition. You can officially resign from the church, or you can just stop attending. Learn about the new you outside of Mormonism. 

If you’re reading this, you are at the beginning of a long and worthwhile journey. Leaving the religion of your family and of your ancestors is earth shattering, but it is also the most important expedition you may make in your entire life.

Step 1: Educate Yourself

Before making any major life decisions, it is important to educate yourself on the beliefs and practices of the religion in question. The church is full of rebuttals and apologists explaining away historical questions and concerns. When I left the church, many people sent me articles and suggested books to “help with my faith.” 

As you educate yourself, read primary sources and documents. Listen to both sides of the conversation. You are probably quite familiar with the Mormon narrative; take this opportunity to read sources you’ve never encountered before. If you are looking for a church approved source about challenging aspects of church doctrine and history, read the gospel topics essays. For a broad overview of concerns and questions about the church, read The CES Letter

Read books and articles, watch videos, and engage in conversations with those who have already left the Mormon Church. Listen to these podcasts. This will help you gain a better understanding of what you believe and what you want out of your religious beliefs (if you want religion at all). Once you have read and educated yourself, you’ll be much more prepared to make a choice about the church.

Step 2: Talk to Your Loved Ones

Leaving the LDS church can have a major impact on your relationships with friends and family who are still members. It is important to have open and honest conversations with your loved ones about your decision to leave the church. Read here to learn more about telling your family you are leaving the church. While some may not understand or support your decision, it is important to respect their beliefs and be open to hearing their perspective. Just because you are leaving the church, it does not mean your family has to fall apart.

Step 3: Form a Support Network

Leaving the Mormon church will likely be a lonely experience, especially if you have been surrounded by the Mormon community for many years. It is important to find support from others who have gone through the same experience. Consider joining online forums or attending support groups for ex-Mormons. Follow exmormons on social media to learn new perpectvies and hear stories of leaving the church.

The exmormon subreddit is a great place to go for memes, advice, and stories to feel sane. Often you can find local exmormon groups by searching on Facebook. Many communities of exmormons have meetups.

Surrounding yourself with people who understand and support your journey will help you feel less isolated and more empowered.

Step 4: Officially Resign from the Church

In order to officially leave the Mormon Church, you will need to submit a letter of resignation to your local church leaders. You can use the Quitmormon website to resign quickly and easily—without talking with a bishop or local leader. You don’t necessarily have to resign, but this is one way to separate your name from the church completely. 

As long as you remain on the records, you will get visits from missionaries and members of the ward. Your records can be moved without your consent, so if you move to a new address, your mom could update the church records, and you’ll end up with church visitors anyways. I removed my name from the roster of the church in 2018.

Step 5: Be open to the world and all it has to offer

First and foremost, trying new experiences enables ex-Mormons to break free from the constraints of their previous belief system and explore life from a fresh perspective. It encourages them to challenge preconceived notions, question ingrained beliefs, and embark on a journey of self-determination. By opening themselves up to new experiences, ex-Mormons can discover aspects of their identity that were once suppressed or overlooked, leading to a greater understanding of who they truly are and what they genuinely desire.

Trying new experiences fosters personal growth and self-empowerment. Stepping outside one's comfort zone allows for the development of resilience, adaptability, and an enhanced sense of self-confidence. Each new experience brings unique challenges and opportunities for learning, pushing ex-Mormons to develop skills, overcome obstacles, and expand their capabilities. It instills a belief in their ability to navigate unfamiliar terrain and embrace personal transformation. This newfound freedom allows for the pursuit of hobbies, interests, and aspirations that bring joy, fulfillment, and a sense of purpose. It is an opportunity to unearth untapped potential, fuel personal growth, and pursue paths aligned with their authentic selves.

This journey empowers individuals to break free from limitations, embrace personal growth, foster empathy and understanding, explore hidden passions, and connect with a diverse community of like-minded individuals. By stepping into the unknown and embracing new horizons, ex-Mormons create a life that is authentically their own, full of meaning, growth, and endless possibilities.

Step 6: Take Care of Yourself

After the dust has settled from your shelf breaking, prioritize yourself and your mental health first. I went through a depressive episode after leaving the church, and it was hard to recover emotionally. So much of my life was devoted to the church, and it was swept away from me overnight. This is bound to have some negative repercussions. Find news ways to define yourself and find value in the world around you.

It is important to take care of yourself during this time by eating well, exercising regularly, and engaging in activities that bring you joy. Replace old church activities with new ways of loving. Instead of church, go on a hike. Laugh at some exmormon memes. Use your tithing money to pay off your car more quickly, buy some new non-garment approved clothing, or donate it to a charitable organization who won’t just keep it in a giant $100 billion investment account. 

Remember that it is okay to take time to process your feelings and to seek out professional help if necessary. Therapy is an excellent way to work through the difficult experience of leaving the church.

Everything is Going to Be Okay

Leaving the Mormon Church can be a difficult and emotional journey, but it can also be a liberating and empowering experience. By educating yourself, talking to your loved ones, forming a support network, and taking care of yourself, you can learn an enormous amount about yourself through this transition.