I have a fair amount of liberal LDS friends and this year has been a rough one for them. Today I read a blog post: It Hurts To Be A Mormon Right Now that I think summarizes how many of them feel at the moment. It’s difficult to know if that pain is isolated to those “new order Mormons”, or if it goes even deeper because, frankly, most Mormons don’t want to talk about this sort of thing.
I usually refrain from commenting publicly on the dealings of the LDS church (unless they do something to influence the political landscape, then all bets are off). I’m no longer LDS, religious, or even spiritual, really, and know full well that once you leave the LDS church, your opinion on such things no longer matters to those on the inside. It was how I handled such people when I was LDS, “Oh, they left the church. Oh.” That second “oh” was a dismissal. Nothing they said on the subject was relevant anymore. Because they left. The fact that even though I spent almost 30 years in the church, read all of the Standard Works, read the Book of Mormon more times than I can even remember, went to the temple, served a mission, read the Missionary Library, Church History Institute Manual, (etc. etc.), people act as though as soon as I left, I didn’t have a right to weigh in anymore because I’m an outsider. And outsiders don’t understand us.
But I do understand.
I understand what it was like to feel as though you were part of the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times and to feel the majesty of that. To feel loved by God. To feel God answering your prayers. To feel love for your Church and to feel like you belong. I know the feeling of hearing the prophet’s voice and know that they were conveying the Word of God. I understand those feelings.
But I also understand what it was like to have the feeling that the church you love isn’t what you thought it was. To feel the anxiety of wondering what else has been left out of the narrative. To feel that maybe what I value and what the church values aren’t the same things. To feel questioning, disappointment, regret. To feel that you might not belong as well as you thought. I understand those feelings, too.
There are a lot of people, people I know, for whom going to church really hurts right now. To those people, I just want to say I understand. Unlike some, I know that you aren’t looking for reasons to leave. Quite the contrary, you are desperate to stay. I understand that, even though you may consider me a friend, you don’t want my path to be your path. I understand that, too. But, in spite of that, should you feel the need to to talk to someone who understands, who honestly doesn’t care if you leave or if your stay as long as you end up in a place of lasting peace and love, then call me. Or send me a text. Or a Facebook message. Or invite yourself over for dinner. If I am not that friend for you, speak to someone. No one can walk this path for you, but it helps to walk it with someone.
Be gentle with yourself, friend. I hope that however all this turns out for you, you arrive a place where you can have a quiet heart and mind.