It’s a frequent question that I’m asked, “why did you leave the church Amber?” (the church being the LDS church) It’s been almost two years since I stopped attending, and about two years minus a week since I stopped believing that the LDS church was “True.” In that time I’ve learned that most people when they ask that question don’t really want to know the answer, that they’re really asking the wrong question. The question they should have asked is, “what is the one ‘problem’ you have with the church so that I can tell you why you’re wrong, or ‘offended’ and ‘fix’ you and you will come back and be active (fully attending and believing) again.” That is what most people mean when they ask that question.
But then there are the others. The people who ask, “why did you leave the church?” People who want to know because they are hoping they’re not alone. They come seeking comfort and help in the darkest time of their lives when they don’t know where it is safe to turn. When uttering the words, “I don’t think the church is what it says it is” could mean divorce, loss of employment, disowning from parents or kids, loss of friendships and everything they’ve ever known. When they know they can’t trust their ecclesiastical leaders without repercussions for doubt and the safest place to turn is the friendly apostate neighbor, the high school friend they’re reconnected with through Facebook, or friend of a friend of a friend that they’ve been hearing stories about (and looked up on Facebook to have someone to talk to- hey it’s happened). I’m grateful to be that person. For those people my answer is usually, “I didn’t leave the church for one reason, it was hundreds of reasons added together.” Then our very long conversation begins.
For them, and for myself I’m going to attempt to discuss my reasons, my story and some experiences so I have a place to point people when I get asked that favorite question. But it’s not going to be short and it’s not going to pretty, hopefully I can at least make it interesting.