I have seen this in both my son and a friend's son. After one fighting a problem with pornography and the other coming to terms with his sexuality, both went through tremendous pain and then when they made the determination to leave, felt great relief. The loss of the light is easy to see from the outside, but as mother's it seems all we can do is love and pray for our precious children.
If I were to leave the Church and those in it, it wouldn’t be because I have loved the Lord; or because I have loved myself as the Lord loves me; or because I have loved those around me and seen them as bothers and sisters; as children of my Father in Heaven.
Even if my attempts to love are one-sided, I (each of us) have been asked by the Lord to cultivate it one-sided or not! I am responsible to try to love the Lord and myself and others even if I and those around me don’t love me. If I were to leave the church and those in it, it would possibly be because I was afraid to love (forgive) as Jesus did: even to love those who I felt didn’t love me.
https://www.amazon.com/Bridges-Ministering-Those-Who-Question/dp/158958726X/ref=asc_df_158958726X/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=366384527453&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=11028291317927208181&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=m&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9010076&hvtargid=pla-791301016699&psc=1&tag=&ref=&adgrpid=78795692320&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvadid=366384527453&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=11028291317927208181&hvqmt=&hvdev=m&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9010076&hvtargid=pla-791301016699 I would recommend two books for those trying to understand the mystery of Faith Transitions. If your heart is drawn toward building healthy dialogue with loved ones and friends who have struggled.. Read the above book and also Thomas McConkies, "Navigating the Mormon Faith Crisis". There aren't simple reasons or easy answers to anyone's personal journey.
One thing to know is that this kind of separation is not restricted solely by ex-members or our Church. Indeed, my wife, who used to be Catholic, experienced everything as well. Anyone who had a deep faith and commitment to their Church and has subsequently left, also feels these things.
I am near 80 and have been fully active for over 60 years. In that long time I have found those who leave and "feel pain" about are simply finding some fault in the church or its doctrine to cover their own pride and sinful conduct.
Put simply we are all being tested and they just flunked. Hopefully, some may see their error at a later time and return.
...deep abiding joy that doesn’t go away even when tragedy strikes...Beautiful.
Great article...thank you so much. My experience from being a "prodigal", getting caught in addiction even as I was in church on Sundays, taught me that I'm a spiritual being having an earthly experience here.
There is such a large celestial spark in each of us, although many never choose to be aware of it, and who they really are, that when we have fed that spark for a time, or all of our lives, and then turn away, our spirit just rebels. And that hurts. A lot. And it can make us physically ill. Such was my experience.
True deep joy comes from being aligned with Christ and our Father, as described in John 15. And life just works better when my spirit is not at war with my mind or my body. Just a very natural thing...
Thank you SO much for this precious and moving article. I have many inactive members on my ministering list and this will help me better understand them--and love them.
My husband left the church for 20 years and he will attest that everything you say is true. Coming back was a joyful experience for him, and he brought me with him as a new member--23 years ago.
One thing I've noticed is a huge difference in the light once radiated by formerly active Latter-day Saints once they leave. It's like the lamp is switched off. A former light-bright looks just like everyone else.
I can’t begin to tell you how much this article and your insights mean to me, as I have experienced the falling away of my oldest beloved child. You describe what I have observed perfectly, and I am saving this article to refer to when I need more understanding and comfort. It really is a remarkable gift, and I thank you again
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