The following is excerpted from LDS Living. To read the full article, CLICK HERE.

Emily Snyder can trace the idea for Why I Stay back to the years she spent working with Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen. While Christensen is recognized as one of the great business minds of today, one of his greatest loves was sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and he wrote about his convictions and conversion to the gospel in an essay called “Why I Belong, and Why I Believe.” This essay was located front and center on his personal website and it resonated with Snyder, who felt that “because he had the words articulated, he was ready and willing to appropriately share at any time.”

Additionally, Snyder had been in the middle of many discussions about missionary efforts—which she says were a constant topic of conversation—while she worked with Christensen. Those discussions left her wondering “if there could be a world where missionaries worked with members to help them write and articulate ‘why they belong and why they believe,’” she wrote in an Instagram post.

However, the idea never fully came to fruition until a couple of months ago, when Snyder was talking to a friend and had an empowering realization.

“[I] had the thought, ‘Wait a minute. I don’t need to rely on missionaries. [Through] social media … I can give the invitation.”

So this past August, Snyder introduced Why I Stay on Instagram. In her first post, she explains that many people she loves have chosen to leave their faith communities. She also says that she believes a choice to stay or a choice to leave requires a great personal wrestle and either outcome deserves compassion and respect. And while there are a number of places talking about leaving religion, this space on Instagram would be for people of all faiths to share posts about why they stay.

“There [are] a lot of conversations about people leaving. And I completely respect how hard it is to leave a community in which you’re embedded and in which you’ve created life with,” Snyder says. “Community forms so easily in our faith. And to leave that and to walk away from that is very, very hard and complicated. … So I respect that place—and yet I also want there to be a space for individuals to understand why they do what they do.”

While those who leave their faith often express their decision for doing so, Snyder says, those who stay haven’t really been invited to do the same.

“There’s a lot of space to articulate … why you’re leaving the community. You have to articulate it and know personally why you’re leaving. But we haven’t invited that space to … articulate why we’re staying,” she says. “I’m not trying to convert anybody. I’m not trying to convince anybody. And I think that’s why I’ve loved this question is because it has nothing to do with anybody else and it is completely a ‘This is why I make the choices I make.’”

To read the full article, CLICK HERE.