I often get the question: “Why and how did I leave the Mormon church” so I wanted to address that in this post. I have to say that this was not something that happened over night; in fact when I look back I can see that it took years. First, let me cover why I decided to leave.
I believe that it is best to start at the beginning. When I was growing up, I believed the Mormon Church to be true and I never questioned it. As a teen, I never drank alcohol, smoked or did drugs and never even wanted to try any of those things. I knew that I wanted to go on a mission and everything that I did as a young man was in pursuit of that goal. I took jobs to earn money, I studied, I would even hang out with the missionaries in my ward. I can still remember that day that I got my Mission call. It was one of the greatest days of my life up to that point. While serving my mission I worked hard and served in many leadership positions. After my mission I also found that I was excited to serve in the church and found myself in leadership positions. I was a great home teacher and a good leader but something kept gnawing at me.
Let’s go back to my mission. You see, where I served, there was a large number of Christian groups. We would often be confronted by groups of people wanting to argue about the differences in our religions. Because of this I took it upon myself to find a way to prove to them that what we were teaching was the truth, but this would have to be done with the Bible. I had read the bible (Old and New Testament) a couple of times before my mission, but now I had a goal in mind as to why I was reading it. One issue that kept coming up was Grace. Well, I knew that Christ died for my sins on the cross, and that because of this I could be forgiven of my sins if I repent of them, so I didn’t see what the big deal was. So I read the New Testament over and over again in hopes of finding that thing that would prove to the Christians that there was more to it than what they knew or had. I read the New Testament 14 times while I was on my mission. It was hard for me to have people not see what I had and how great it was.
So now let’s fast forward a few years to around the time I was 30 years old. I was serving in the Elders quorum presidency and this was about the time I started to question the little things that did not seem to be the way I believed them to be. This was also during a time the LDS church members were told to read the New Testament. I decided that I would read the New Testament without any cross references to the Book of Mormon or Doctrine and Covenants . I decided that I wanted to find out just what the Bible said and to see if it really was teaching a different message than what I believed. I found that it was hard using my old Mormon Study Bible as it had all the references, plus my notes from my previous years of study. I then a purchased a KJV bible at a Christian bookstore and started my study. As I studied I became aware that I had not ever understood some of what the Apostle Paul spoke about, the way he spoke about his works being nothing and that without the grace of God that his works were as filthy rags. So I thought here is a person that is perfect; he went from being a Pharisee of Pharisees and living what he thought to be a perfect life, to meeting the resurrected Christ on the road to Damascus. I would challenge anyone to really read and try to understand what Paul is really trying to tell us in his writings in the Bible. Basically, I found that I would have to say that the teachings of the Bible are correct or that the teachings of the LDS Church are correct. I believe that there are just too many differences. It is easy to have someone tell you what the Bible is supposedly telling you, but I challenge anyone and everyone to search for the true meaning. Hey, the Jews were so caught up in the way that they were told to live that they did not recognize their savior when he stood in from of them. So in short you may say that I left the Mormon Church because of the Bible.
Well, during this year when I was really studying the bible, I started to feel like I did not really fit in the Mormon Church. If I had questions about doctrine I would get the old canned response and then be told that I needed to believe it. Some of my questions were answered, but a lot of them just weren’t answered at all or caused me to question things even more. I found myself not wanting to be a part of this church as much. I found that I did not have the commitment to the Mormon Church that I once had. I found myself just going to sacrament meeting and not the others or sometimes skipping it all together. This caused me to start to question everything. In the long run, I found that the most important part of religion for me is my personal relationship with God. Most of what I thought was the most important part of my life as a Mormon was things that I was having a hard time believing anymore.
One day I moved to a different ward area and it was then that I decided that I would no longer be attending the Mormon Church. I was not easy as word travels fast; I had people call me up from out of the blue and ask me why I was not going to church and some would call me to see if the rumors that they heard were true. That’s another thing that I found. When someone leaves the Mormon Church, it seems the church members are sure there has to be some sort of major sin involved (even if it is made up). So in my case I started hearing from people asking me about strange things they heard about me, “I heard you were taking drugs” or “ I heard you were drinking alcohol” among many other things. The truth is that the only reason was simple that I did not believe.
In the long run, remember that if you leave the Mormon Church, you will most likely not have any of your old Mormon friends anymore and may find you’ll be an outsider in your own family (for those with Mormon family members). That is where I am. I have no regrets, though, I still have my strong faith in God and my relationship with Him is more personal than it ever was and I made new friends as I moved on with my life.