Utah Pastor Dr. Ross Anderson, at the 2018 Faith After Mormonism Conference, explains that as you transition out of Mormonism toward a new life, you will face certain common emotions that you must learn to deal with in healthy ways. God gives us resources to help.
When you leave Mormonism, you leave behind the culture that formed you and life as you knew it. As a result, you may lose a sense of your heritage, your cherished stories, your certainty about the world, the sense of your place in that world, a part of your identity, some family relationships, and more. How do you deal with that sense of loss?
One thing that helps is to realize that it’s not just people leaving Mormonism for the historic Christian faith who suffer loss. Anyone who comes to follow Jesus, out of whatever background, will endure loss in some way or another. Jesus warned us about this.
Mark 8:34-35 If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang onto your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.
Anyone who wants to follow Jesus will lose their own autonomy as they adopt his authority. There is a sense in which we lose our very lives – at least, our old life apart from Jesus. But those who let go of the life we had before, apart from Jesus, will find, in him, everything they were really looking for all along. The way of Jesus is contrary at some point or another to every other approach to life. So allegiance to him will result in loss. This doesn’t make it easier, but it helps to understand that you’re not alone. And in response, Jesus promises that anything we lose for him will be more than compensated for by the benefits of knowing him and of the new life he gives (Matthew 19:27-30).
So we must learn how to deal with the sorrow and grief that comes with losing elements of our old life.
[Related: Dealing with Loss]
[Related: Struggling with Sadness]
Former Latter-day Saints have a lot to be angry about. You gave thousands of hours of volunteer labor. You invested many thousands of dollars of tithing. Now you may be estranged from your children because you raised them in the LDS faith that you no longer believe. You may fee that the LDS church betrayed you in some way. If not dealt with, anger can turn into bitterness, which can linger for many years. If we don’t learn how to deal with anger, we are continuing to let the LDS church control our lives, even long after we left. If we stay in our anger that’s what happens.
[Related: Dealing with Anger After Mormonism]
[Related: Addressing Your Anger]
Fears are normal during a faith transition. What will happen to me if I leave? Maybe it is safer to just “stay in the boat”, as LDS leaders have warned. What happens if my family turns against me? If I lose my job? If I leave, will there be a hope of a significant, meaningful life after everything I know is gone? Fear can be a very real challenge.
There is a positive side of emotions like anger and fear. There are certain things we should be angry about, and some things it is appropriate to be afraid of. But they can also be harmful to our progress in life.
[Related: Facing Fear]
The Bible encourages us that God can work in our lives to overcome negative and harmful emotions.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Notice the emotional tone of this passage. This is what the Holy Spirit can produce in us over time. As we surrender to Jesus and walk with him over, our anger is replaced with joy. Our fear is replaced with peace. There is hope that as we are willing to deal with those emotions, and to deal with them biblically, we will find our way to a new life.
[Related: How Emotions Work]