Every religious system talks about having a relationship with God. This concept is really important, but not everyone means the same thing when they talk about it. What it means to have a relationship with God as a Mormon is different from what it means to have a relationship with God as a traditional Christian.
Having a relationship with God as a Mormon
LDS parents teach their children about God with the best of intentions. It is part of their culture, what they do, and who they are. However, as a Mormon, God can feel very distant and far away. For instance, you may have learned about prayer and prayed every night, but it may have felt like you really did not know God. As a Mormon, you knew that if you became ill or if you were placed in a desperate situation you would call someone with priesthood authority to step in and pray the really important prayers. It may have left you feeling like you had no authority and that God might not have even heard your prayers. You might have even prayed to Heavenly Mother sometimes thinking that maybe she would listen instead. It is very difficult having this experience as your basis of who God is and how you relate to Him.
Having a relationship with God as a Christian
After transitioning out of Mormonism, your view of a relationship with God should change. You felt distant before, but now you can feel close to him. It is like you have access to God that you did not have before. However, it may take a while to learn how to have an intimate relationship with God because in the past you misunderstood who he was, mistrusted His Word, and did not understand his holiness.
As a Mormon, you may have been assigned duties that were out of your range. However, as a traditional, Biblical Christian you can see the amazing gifts God has given you and all that he has created you to be. You can discover how he wants you to serve in prayer. Serving is no longer just a church job that you are waiting to be assigned, but something that you feel the Holy Spirit is leading you to do.
One worry that some Mormons have when they leave the LDS church is that the Holy Spirit is going to leave them. Yet the Bible says you receive the Holy Spirit when you put your trust in Christ, not when a mediator gives him to you. As a Christian, the Holy Spirit lives inside you and works in your life in many ways. As the Holy Spirit guides you and as you read God’s Word, an intimacy forms between you and your Savior. It is a constant connection with him all day, every day, whereas in Mormonism many of us were just reaching for that relationship from a distance.
Reading the Bible as a Mormon vs. reading the Bible as a Christian
As you leave the LDS church, your experience studying God’s Word will also change. You may feel hurt that you were told not to trust the Bible. However, there is so much joy and beauty in discovering that God’s Word is trustworthy and that everything he wants us to know is in it.
Due to all the references to religious texts in Mormon teachings and conferences, it may have felt like you were in the Scriptures, but now it is completely different. You can dive into Bible passages, study verse by verse, and see God’s divine plan. He is so clear in his Word about everything he wants us to know, and we have direct access to it and to him. The Christian experience in God’s Word is beautifully and absolutely different than the Mormon experience in their Scriptures.
It is not enough just to know God from a distance. Pursue an intimate and individual relationship with him. Seek Jesus and discover that he is faithful and will be with you day by day and moment by moment.