transformation.

mother|daughter hands, seejaneblog

I was raised by a mother who had been raised Methodist, temporarily Presbyterian, and later converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Washington state when I was four years old. I’m not sure what church or religion my Dad grew-up participating in, but he was an extremely liberal christian also converted to the LDS church by the time I was five. I share this with you to give you a peek into my personal religious/spiritual history — raised Mormon by parents who were converts to the religion — I grew-up by all the standards considered normal by mormon terms: I attended primary as a child, young women’s once I was twelve – earned my young women’s medallion, went to girls camp, graduated from seminary, married a return missionary and was sealed in the temple for all eternity.

Yet, through all of those years — my soul greatly struggled with one major commitment (and a few other things) with the LDS faith. I did not believe it was the only true church on earth. In a nutshell: I did not have a testimony of Joseph Smith, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. I struggled to believe in organized religion.

Over the years, I tried so hard — minus a few hiccups through my teenage years I fully committed to the gospel, it’s standards, and attempted to live just as I should by mormon values. I attended church regularly, I participated actively in my religion and helped whenever possible or whenever I was needed, I read my scriptures diligently, I attended the temple — and yet, whenever I was expected to share my testimony or acknowledge that mormonism is the only true church, or that Joseph Smith among others was a prophet of god — instead of feeling a warm confirming spirit that this was true — a serious case of nausea would sweep over me, and I’d get dizzy and sick just thinking the words. A mental battle would break out. It was constantly the opposite experience that I had learned growing up was supposed to happen.

When I was twenty-seven years old, I had just had our third child – our son KJ. My husband and I lived in Provo, Utah – we were completely submersed in the mormon culture in the area. My husband was the elder’s quorum president in our ward – this is a male leader holding the Melchizedek priesthood in the office of an elder over the men in the area, I was a counselor in our primary presidency (primary includes the children 12 and younger) and one Sunday when I was finishing a sharing time with the primary kids, I knew I needed {and was expected} to close the lesson with my testimony confirming that I believed what I had just taught the children. And with all the mental strength I could conjure up, I couldn’t do it. I had finally reached a point where my “fake it till you make it” religious attitude wasn’t going to hold up any longer. I could not be dishonest with myself anymore. I couldn’t tell these kids {mine included in the group} that what I taught them was true, and that I believed it, when I didn’t. Not a fiber of my being believed it. that was the truth.

This is when I learned courage. REAL COURAGE. I had to tell my husband how I felt. I had to be honest.

Being raised LDS (or any religion), you know the intense emotion involved with remaining true to that way of life. You KNOW the heart ache that families go through when a member of the family chooses a different way. You know what they are going to think of you. You already know the judgements that are going to be made about you. You know the disappointment you are going to cause. You know that this doesn’t just affect your family, but also your extended family – your neighborhood – your friends – your children – especially living in Utah – where so many saints live, diversity is not commonly celebrated.

My husband and I were driving around one Saturday afternoon running errands, around this same time, he and I in the front seat of his truck and all the kids in the back seat —– when it hit me —- I had to tell him now.

It was very intense, and because it was so emotional, I don’t remember exactly how it all went down, but it was something like this, “you know how other people are just as committed and devout to their religions as mormons are – i.e. baptists, catholics, muslims, etc. etc” and yet the LDS church strongly believes that we are still the only true church…..”

Yeah.

“I don’t believe it.”

Right then, as my tears were forming and I could see his anger and frustration in his eyes — my husband told me to not talk about this in front of the kids. So, I stopped talking about it. And I knew. I knew I had upset the first person I was going to upset. There would be more. There would always be more…

Now I had to be brave. I had to find inner strength to not cave when all the people I loved chose to question my integrity, question my lack of belief, they would doubt my every inner quality as a person, as a mother.

My husband and I continued our conversation in private, after the kids were in bed. Me: explaining all my inner-most feelings with the religion I had grown-up with, with religions in general – explaining my views about spirituality as I see it. Him: listening. Very intently. So intently that he actually agreed with my perspective, and over the course of the time to follow he abandoned his testimony and childhood religion quicker than I did.

Here’s what followed immediately: I finally had the spiritual experiences and feelings I had been waiting for my entire life. For the first time after all those years, I felt peace. Truly, beautiful peace. My heart and every inner cell of my being felt right. I had confirmation after confirmation within our family and in the life around me, that I had made the correct decision. I felt this amazing inner strength that it was hard to tell those around me how I felt, but that it was right, and would all be ok.

This is one point that I think members of the church don’t always understand: I feel more in tune, and accurate now about my beliefs and inner moral compass than I ever did as an involved member of the gospel. However, with that said, I adore the “church” and greatly miss it at times. If only there was a forum for non-believers who love the philanthropy and social aspects of the church! I often wish there was a room for us at the temples, because who doesn’t want to escape the world more often to a place of peace, and calmness?!?

This time in my life was over eleven years ago – and this is the first time I’ve written about it anywhere. I’ve been writing THIS POST for over a year. It’s odd to me, that as adults, we still struggle to share our honest opinions about such matters. I have dozens of friends who feel the same way – apprehensive to discuss their thoughts. I have friends who passionately don’t believe, but are willing to keep pretending in order to not upset those around them. Religious pressure.

I’d like to mention one more thing: I don’t usually freely offer how I feel about religion because (one) it didn’t relate to my blog. and (two) I feel my personal views, when discussed in finer detail, can be very compelling to other members of the church who may have never questioned their LDS religion. For some dysfunctional reason, I carry a sense of guilt with the idea that someone would leave their religion after hearing how I feel. Everyone should be exploring religion, and spirituality on their own. Yes, our kids all know how we feel and as one of their parents I strongly support them and encourage them in finding and knowing their own individual opinions about such matters.

To be a real seeker of truth,
one must challenge the veracity of EVERYTHING-
truly challenge it without bias.

For the past couple of years I’ve had this growing urge to share my thoughts on the topic on my blog. And each time I attend a bloggers conference I keep hearing the echo – Find your voice. Be genuine. Share how you feel. Others will appreciate the honesty. So, once again, I will likely upset people. But I will also find a community that understands me and/or agrees with me, and maybe, they need to hear my story.

And I realize, this topic is big, the journey doesn’t end here. How do I feel eleven years later? About religion? About the LDS church? What do I believe? How does my family feel about living in the heart of Utah? How are my kids treated at school, in our neighborhood? (maybe future posts. Especially now with the popularity of Mormon intellectual discussions like those by John Dehlin, etc)

So – readers, have you ever had such an experience? Have you abandoned a belief system, a culture, something dear to you?

I have to add one funny story here – in the early years of my blog (c. 2007-09) I had posted about one of our annual trips to Mexico. I think I was wearing a bikini in a couple of the images. If you are unfamiliar with the LDS beliefs – modesty is encouraged and two piece swimsuits are somewhat discouraged, but I think most modern day saints would agree that this teaching is also an individuals choice. I had already not been involved with the church for years at this point of my life and if you knew me personally, you already knew this. Someone anonymous added a comment to the post saying, “It looks like when you go on vacation, your values go on vacation too!” I about died, I thought it was so hilariously judgmental. HUMANS! If that person is still reading this blog and/or anyone else has ever been curious as to what is going on with religion and/or values in our home… hopefully, your questions have been somewhat answered. xoxo.

Photo by: Mindy Johnson – mine & my daughter Kiana’s hands.

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A Religious Journey / jane / philosophies of life

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  1. I love this post. And I love you. Love your heart. Love your sincerity. Your honesty. Your bravery. Your genuine concern for others. Your loyalty. I am proud of you for sharing what is nearest and dearest to your heart. You, my dear, are one of THE BEST examples of human goodness. Kindness. Charity. Love. Hugs, sweet friend. And always admiration.

  2. i love you jane. i’m so glad i read this post. (i never read posts). i am truly happy you have found peace. i have found the same beautiful peace through and in the gospel but i love everything you wrote and respect you and hope you have never felt any judgment from me. you really are one of the most thoughtful and kind and good people i know. so glad we are friends. xo.

    • sarah. i have never-ever felt judgement from you – you my dear have the most genuine soul. ditto to being happy we are friends, cheers to many more years!xo.

  3. loved your post. love your honesty. you have always been genuine. that is one of the qualities i love the most about you. there is nothing feigned, nothing fake. to sarah’s comment… we have not! nor have we felt judged…really by any. people talk about how self righteous utah county is but i’ve always been honest about my feelings and faithfulness and not once felt disadvantaged or seen a look of disgust from any. i’ve seen heartbreak… i’ve seen a genuine sadness by many who believe. i don’t love breaking their hearts but love THEIR LOVE and appreciate the reasons they feel it. if anything mormons open their arms wider to activate you! 🙂 THANK YOU!
    this brings up an interesting point, i think there is the same sort of judgement that comes back at those faithful members from many that have left the church. it’s interesting really… it’s not fair. to each his own. i think the church is exactly what many are looking for.
    cheers to diversity! cheers to discovery! cheers for finding peace and happiness… it’s downright necessary in this life.

    • dusty rhodes, if only you knew how amazing it is to me that you ENDLESSLY support me – even by the fact you are at work and add comments to my blog posts. cheers m’love! lomiwan.

    • Wonderful post. I am not Mormon, not really religious at all. I was raised Jewish but “lightly” so and now am married to someone who was raised catholic and neither of us practice a religion officially, but we like to cover all the holidays and want to teach our daughter to make her own choices. While I have many issues and questions about what I see from the Mormon church, what I’ve always appreciated is the family values that is instilled in the Mormon families I know. They are some of the most generous and happy people I know. They find fun in things I do (I’ve never been a drinker or partier). So what I’m saying is that what you seem to have with your family seems like the very best part of Mormonism (or any religion or non-religion, frankly.) it takes great courage to go against the tide but when you do, and if you reach the peace you have, then you made the right decision for you and the people you love. Sorry I am rambling!

  4. Thank you for sharing! We, too, have found that deep inner peace as we have stepped away from the church and are living our lives true to our hearts. But, it is a tough thing to talk about and share, that’s for sure. Loved it!

    • we have a lot of people cheering for us to come “full circle” and hopefully come back one day. i guess the future only knows. xoxo.

  5. This post spoke to me in so many ways. Thank you for sharing. I left my church (Roman Catholic) after a long period of self doubt. The peace I have felt since then has been the best testament to my decision.

    • Kathryn – isn’t it amazing how much we feel as humans, and knowing when we are doing something right just feels so good. thanks for your comment. be well. xo.

  6. I FREAKING LOVE YOU!! I LOVE how honest and sincere you are, I LOVE how vulnerable you just made yourself to the comments of others…because that is what it is truly like to be a believer of God! To allow others to see us for who we are and know that those who are honest and true to themselves (member or nonmember) will love us for our honesty! I LOVE the Gospel of Jesus Christ and am Blessed to be a member of it…and BECAUSE of it I LOVE and accept who you are in EVERYWAY! We are Blessed to travel with you for the last 12 years and know we have MANY more years to come! Your love, sincerity, genuine kindness, respect and love you have for other people is more then what a lot of people have!
    And if someone EVER criticizes you for this post..they need to remember we are judged by what is in our hearts NOT by going to church every Sunday!!

    • thank you, suzu. of all the people in the world – you probably know me the best, and regardless you give me unconditional love. I could write a novel on the goodness of your heart. thank you for being a stellar example, and cheers to many more years of Rhodes-Bland memories!!!

  7. I believe it is important to connect yourself with humanity, nature, the universe and even yourself in whatever way feels right to you. Following your heart can only lead to good things. Hugs to you my friend!

  8. I appreciate this post. I often wondered why it was you were not actively LDS, as you seemed like such a perfect Mormon family. It’s hard for me to understand your feelings, because I do find a lot of peace in the gospel. However, I do understand your point of view about the church. I believe that there is truth in every religion. But that maybe we have a little more truth and a clearer perspective than most. With that said, it irks me when I hear people say “I know this church is true.” In my opinion, the church is just as flawed as it’s members. But I believe in the principles I am taught at church, and that when I follow those principles my life is a little easier. And I appreciate the community aspects, knowing that I have a built in support system wherever I go. Thank you for bravely sharing your feelings!

    • hey cicely. I agree with you in so many ways – I cherish the community and built-in support system too. what I have found is that – that support system can be found in a lot of places – when we are overseas, americans in general feel that way, no matter what our religion is – when you see another Joe you instantly are connected, when I go to yoga anywhere I have an instant support group. I believe there is so much good in humans – no matter where we are. what we believe. most people want to love one another. thanks for your comment, xo.

  9. Thank you for sharing this. I loved reading because I have gone through a very similar “awakening”. I love hearing about your courage and bravery to do what you felt was right even though it is scary and can be almost traumatic especially being so immersed in the LDS culture.

  10. I love this….for so long I have felt like a loner on this path. I grew up LDS and left at 27. My husband, a return missionary, had left a year prior and finally I had the strength to move on and like you said I have felt the most peace I have ever felt in my life. I miss it too sometimes specially now that we live in California and not in Utah. In Utah we had people not allow their children to play with our sweet 2 year old boy because of the decision we had made.

    • Laura – thanks for your comment. I hope you find a big support group soon in California – what I said to Cicely above – look for that group in all the other places you are. Maybe it’s a book club, exercise group, other mother’s you are around. There are probably others who need the same thing you do. be well. xo.

  11. First off, I admire your courage and bravery to be true to yourself and your beliefs! That is a very rare thing in this world, especially in Utah it seems.

    This hits home for me, as my husband confessed the same thing to me just several months ago. It has been so, so hard. There is a lot I don’t know about the church…but what I do know works for me at this point in my life. My husband, on the other hand, wants to tell me all the reasons the church isn’t true. While I admire his tenacity to have me not follow blindly, I am not ready to hear it all with everything else going on in my life right now. I don’t feel like I have to know it all, at least right now. What would you have done if your husband remained true to his beliefs of the church? Would you support him? I simply ask, because the support is hard to come by right now in my own home.

    • Hopefully he’ll learn to respect your views as you respect his! Just show him by example without telling him to do so. One thing I’ve learned in 17 years of marriage is you can’t change ANYTHING about your spouse… You can only love, support and trust the person you chose in their own journey. There is nothing wrong with being devout in any religion that promotes good and after being Mormon for 30+ years the church most definitely promotes good and does good… How could that be bad? He should be stoked you are following your heart and doing what you feel is right! There are worse things you could be doing. ;). I still call myself Mormon to those who ask. I’m proud to be a member of the church. Whether they accept me and my beliefs is up to them. Good Luck…(Jane’s husband)

    • hey Denise. Thank you. You are definitely in a sensitive situation, but very doable. I have no idea what I would have done in your situation, and it doesn’t really matter what others would have done, this is YOUR journey. There is a LOT of reasons floating around right now offering evidence as to why members of the church should not believe in the church. But, regardless of what religion you are a part of, if YOU choose to believe, that is all that matters. I hope you can find a place of peace to live amongst one another – my husband often references this John Dehlin interview, maybe it will help you in explaining how you feel to your husband or others. Google: John Dehlin, Richard Bushman – there are four interviews, but I REALLY like what Richard has to say about his testimony. xoxo.

      • Your husband should listen to the John Dehlin Richard Bushman interview… Bushman is a patriarch AND historian. He knows all the worts especially with Joseph Smith and he chooses to believe. I love his explanation of why! Great guy, smarter than your husband! 🙂 Smarter than all of us… and believes and can defend it. 🙂

  12. Everything Sus said is spot on! I wouldn’t change you (or Dust) for the world! Genuine, kind, giving, thoughtful. Pretty sure you are going straight up my friend!

  13. Wow, I am feeling a little choked up right now. I have had a similar experience, only my husband was the one who came to me one night and said he no longer believed. He was also raised in the church, served a misson in South Korea, we were married in the temple, attended church regularly etc. I was completely devistated for months afterward and felt betrayed. I have come to peace with it now and admire him for being honest and true to what is right for him spiritually. He is the kindest, most loving man I have ever known. Member or not. This was over 6 years ago and I have started to question things that I never did before. I am not quite as brave as you and my husband are. I still “go through the motions” and stick to what is familiar and comfortable for me. My oldest is a freshman in high school and does not believe. I am always concerned about how he is treated in school etc. and would love to hear more about your family’s experiences with peers and neighbors.
    Thank you for opening up and sharing. It meant a lot to me today.

    • kelli, thanks for sharing. We are all in this together, right?!? I feel like once we really embrace that we are on a JOURNEY and don’t have to have everything figured out at once, at any time, there is so much less pressure. LOVE to you and your family. And thank you for your years of support here at my blog. I hope to write about more of these topics soon. You are a gem. hugs.

  14. Your post is ME. Born and raised in Utah. My whole life I felt odd because I didn’t “feel” the way members were saying I should feel. I remember trying to memorize other people’s testimony so that I could say the same thing — everyone’s testimony sounded identical. It took me years to finally come out and say I do NOT believe. I called the LDS head quarters and did something I should have done a long time ago. I had my name removed. About a year later after attending a non-denominational Christian church I was finally baptized just as a believer of Christ. I became a true Christian. BEST DAY OF MY LIFE! I have never felt closer to God. I enjoy my glass of wine. I love my bible. I make mistakes. I love KNOWING the person I’m praying too. It took courage and a lot of heart to publicly declare I didn’t believe what “everyone else” believed. My only regret is I didn’t speak up at 8 years old that none of it made sense. None of it seemed right. Good for you! And to each their own 🙂

    IF you ever become interested, the church that changed my life is Red Rocks Church in Golden, CO. They have online services every Sunday. You will not regret it.

    I don’t know you, but I’m proud of you!

    Whitney Jeski

  15. Thank you for this vulnerable, honest post. And thank you for daring greatly by writing and sharing it. I love your blog/Instagram and what you create with your family. You’ve inspired me in many ways. I would LOVE to hear more about your journey and how this change has impacted your family. I live in Utah and am married to someone who had a similar realization 8 years ago, and it has been a journey with lots of ups and downs. It has been difficult for the two of us, our family and extended family, and it has changed the social dynamics where we live. While this isn’t the case for everyone, often there is a level of shame felt with something like this. Thank you for sharing your journey and story. It’s been comforting and inspiring to me.

  16. We love you and your sweet family! You know where I stand so I don’t feel the need to share but I would like to mention my biggest struggle of this entire experience (as ours has been very much alike). I am so happy you haven’t felt judged. The hardest part of living in Utah and Utah county in particular for me is the scrutiny my children are under. Maybe I am overly sensitive when it comes to my children and maybe I don’t notice as much when it is directed to me because I just don’t give a damn what people think about ME. I do, however, care very much how my children are perceived. I like many other mothers think my children are the sweetest. It breaks my heart that my kids have no friends in the neighborhood. Nobody EVER comes knocking on our door, wanting to play. And we have lived here for almost 5 years. My children go to a charter school, where I have found more diversity and religion seems to play less of a role. Let me share with you the saddest experience my outgoing and friendly son had a few years ago. A new friend moved into our neighborhood and he got along so great with my son. Then my kids stopped going to church and this friend never wanted to play anymore. His parents always tuned my son away. One day his mom told my son her son can’t play because he is “watching TV”. My son didn’t understand why this boy never wanted to play. He asked me “I wonder what I’ve done wrong.” My heart was broken for him. To be turned down over and over is sad but the reason being his religious preference was just cruel. I told him to not go back anymore (to spare him more heartache).
    My oldest daughter doesn’t have a single friend in our neighborhood because she doesn’t attend the Young Women’s organization.
    I have therefore made my children so busy with after school activities that they don’t even notice anymore. They have lots of friends, at school and in their sports clubs and friends that are not LDS or of other religions. They are not at all lonely but it would be nice to feel loved by your neighbors.
    My sincere prayer would be to please let your children be children. I don’t believe this boy would have ever turned my son away but his parents told him to. This is where my bitterness comes from. I understand you might not agree with our choice but it is our choice. It’s very personal. I don’t turn friends of my children away, ever. Not because they are republican, or black or jewish. If they are kind to my children and my children like to play with them they will always be welcome in our home. Furthermore, I wish religion didn’t define you as much as it does in Utah. I have never experienced it anywhere else I have lived in the world. I wish we lived in a community where nobody knows your religious views, nobody asks, nobody cares…they simply care whether you are nice or not…let’s focus on the basic human trait…which is love.

    • ditto — beautiful Kami!!! I think this is a struggle for MOST people in our situation. But we have each other!!!! I knew of this story, and it always breaks my heart. Your kiddos are lucky to have such an amazing, caring momma. cheers to LOVE!!! xo.

    • Kami! I happend to read this comment and it really broke my heart!!! I hope you know that your kids are welcome at my house, any day!!!!! My poor homeschooled kids could use some friends! HA! I love you and love your kids. You have raised some of the sweetest kids I know! Maybe just don’t send over your little blonde bombshell Simone! Mikey has had a crush on her for YEARS! HA! Don’t tell her, he would kill me! But send her too, Mckelle could use some girls around! I hope when you say “this neighborhood” I was an exception, because if I wasn’t I have done a HORRIBLE job at being a friend! I think you and Kevin are some of the greatest people, I truly do. You are both so kind and so thoughtful. SO, hopefully Lukas is knocking on my door after school today, ha!!

  17. Just like you have been writing this for such a long time I feel like I need awhile to write a comment. But, I feel like I need to comment. I have never, ever read your blog before, this was sent to me by a dear friend. Anyway, this is so similar to my experience. My husband and I have left the church. He was the brave one and took the first step, but it led the way to a more clear and beautiful life because I felt the way that you did since I was a teenager and he had struggled so much more than I ever did with “gaining a testimony” of the church. You did such a wonderful job telling your story. I admire how well you expressed yourself without making it about anyone else, but still making it very accessible and understandable… and for me, relatable. Thank you so much for this beautiful post. It was healing for me in many ways.

    • I’m happy you did comment, Court. and I’m glad to know that you feel it was understandable – it’s HARD to write about this type of thing and try to imagine every way someone might take it, and misunderstand so easily. I hope your journey continues in a way that you always feel love and peace. xo.

  18. You are so brave to share this Jane, and I hope people understand it in the spirit it is given. There are many wrong reasons to leave the LDS church, and clearly you are not advocating those. Until recently I did not realize there are also right reasons. 😉

    Though I still actively participate in my ward, I recently left the church in my heart. I was truly surprised when my sincere efforts to understand the scriptures, and seek the truth of things opened my eyes to understand God in a way I never have. I am actually leaving the LDS church because I believe the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and it teaches truth contrary to the correlated doctrine taught in the LDS church.

    I wonder if there are many like you, and now me, who leave in order to be faithful to the truth they feel God has given them.

    Perhaps you will understand this scripture as it was meant:
    (Alma 29:8) For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true.

    • JOHN WRIGHT!!! so good to hear from you. We also attempt to participate in our ward when it deems itself appropriate. I hope you and your family are doing well. xo.

      • Thanks Jane, we are doing well. It is a little surprising, right, to get a comment from hermitish me.

        You really don’t know how timely it is for you to share this. As my wife and I are struggling with a similar conversation these days, I really do appreciate your (and Dusty’s) thoughts. Thanks!

  19. It takes great courage, honesty, and introspection to address this topic in the fashion that you did. I strikes me that the church would be well served today in being just as honest and introspective as it considers its history, culture, and claims as “God’s “one and only”. I have observed that a healthy majority of my friends, most of which could have been considered devout at times, have come to develop serious doubts on the church’s validity as they approach their mid 30’s-early 40’s. I don’t know that this qualifies as a panic button moment for the church but it seems to me that more are leaving every year than joining. And within the ranks of those that regularly attend, there are a massive amount that don’t believe at all. Perhaps it is time to drop the “one and only” in favor of love and inclusion, regardless of what you believe or how you want to live on the spectrum. No guilt, just love. Well done, Jane.

  20. I confess I am not a regular reader of your blog, and this is in fact the first time I have ever visited your blog. But I just wanted to say thank you so much for taking the time to write this post. I too live in Utah and have made the decision to step away from the church and it has been the most difficult decision of my life, yet at the same time the best decision I’ve ever made. I did not come by my decision easily, or lightly. It was a very in depth search and study for truth. In this study I was saddened and shocked by what I found. Anyway, I am so much happier now and feel so much better living a more authentic life. It has however, been very difficult for my friends and family to understand this decision to step away. Today I had two separate friends send me the link to your post and I just now sat down and read it, and I am so thankful you listened to your gut and did the difficult thing and wrote this post. Both of my friends said reading your story gave them a better understanding of my journey and how difficult it must have been for me to make the decision I did. So thank you for that. A million times over.

    • Amy… this is such a cool connection. I find it very sweet of your friends to send you the link, when they thought of you. I hope your journey only continues to get easier, and be beautiful. While so many people are leaving the church, I’d like to think we are on the brink of members perhaps understanding better. At least, I want to hope for that. be well.

  21. “Be YOU, because those who matter don’t mind and those who mind, don’t matter.”

    I don’t really ‘know’ you, but I’m proud of you. I admire you for being honest and genuine and really saying ‘This is me and I’m okay with it’. It took real courage to make this post and to be completely honest with you, if you lose a friend or two over it, then that friendship just wasn’t meant to be. The important people in your life will accept you as you are. As someone who did not grow up Mormon and barely Catholic… I believe that happiness, contentment and the meaning of your life comes from your family, friends and the spirit inside of you, not from a holy being. I’m not atheist at all (and I don’t gather that you are!); I’m perfectly fine accepting that people need something to believe in and respect their decision. However, there are so many of us in the world that are absolutely not going to judge you for your decision to find your own way.

    • Natasha – the perfect quote, and I LOVE your thoughts on the subject. I’m not atheist either, that thought just makes me a bit too sad. I definitely believe in something bigger than me. Thank you for reading and following along. xo.

  22. Sweet jane. I am so happy I clicked over to read this post, I almost never read blogs. I love your honesty and understand where you’re coming from 100% I truly believe that every person in the church (or really whatever church they attend) should have a spiritual journey, it shouldn’t be taboo to question, explore and seek your own individual truth. I am so happy you are living yours. I love you so much and feel so happy and proud to call you my friend. Also, I just have to add that I (as an active member of the lds faith) do not at all believe that the LDS church is the only true church. Love you girl.

    • AMY!!! I can’t tell you enough how much it meant to me to have girlfriends read this post and comment, and share their love and support. I ADORE you, and your sweet family. you have the sweetest, genuine souls. HUGS HUGS HUGS, y’know, tight ones. 🙂

  23. First, I’m so glad you’re back blogging again! There are very few blogs written from the perspective of a mom with teenagers, so I always look forward to your updates 🙂

    Second, I totally understand where you are coming from. I am not a Mormon, but have been born and raised in a different Christian religion. My Grandfather was a pastor, my father is a pastor, so religion is pretty ingrained in me. My husband has also been raised in the church, and we both attended church schools through high school, and for me, through college.

    That said, I have never had the true “conversion” experience either. I never connected emotionally with my church, and at this point in my life do not believe my church is the one true church either, and to a certain extent am not even sure I believe in God. Thankfully my husband also feels the same way.

    While we have acknowledged this to each other we have never stated this to anyone else. We continue to go to church fairly regularly (we have three teenage boys who also attend with us). I am OK with this though. I enjoy the rest and the routine that comes with church attendance each week. I like the ceremony and the music (we attend a more progressive church with contemporary Christian music). I like the break in the week it gives me, and the fact that it makes one day a week special and different. I like the social aspects of it!

    And honestly I don’t want to cause my parents or mother-in-law any pain. It isn’t worth it to me, especially since I still enjoy going to church. My parents are very loving, progressive people but they definitely believe ours is the one true church, and therefore if I were to not believe would not be saved. My parents are old, and I choose to not make this an issue.

    In addition, I don’t mind if my children choose to believe and practice our religion, and don’t want my non-belief to influence them. They can obviously tell we are not strict church-goers, but I want them to have the community and fellowship if they so desire. There is a lot of good about our religion, and I suppose religion in general, and I do want them exposed to it.

    This whole thing is still a work in progress for me; my husband and I do discuss it a lot. I appreciate you starting this discussion on your blog. It’s good to hear from others who feel the same way!

    • Lisl – thank you – I totally agree about the blogs that talk about teenagers, I am going to try REALLY hard to gently approach subjects relating to teens as often as I can.

      I totally understand your history and choosing to live the way you are – I think it’s a good choice too. I was totally prepared to consider that route when I upset my husband and easily could have continued in the way I had lived. I miss that church-Sunday time – ALL the time. I LOVE the social aspects of church, which does make living in Utah hard because not many things are planned in neighborhoods outside of the church. We also don’t mind if our children participate in the LDS church, in fact, I probably encourage it more than people realize because I want them to have the christian education that is supplied there. I just love your comments – I hope this does keep an ongoing discussion going, I feel the less persecuted people feel, and the more love there is, the better we all will be, right? HUGS to you.

    • ditto – LOVE the Ludwig’s!!! happy we pretty much had this talk while you were here too. you are such a genuine saint. btw, Myla made your baked s’mores yesterday!!! HUGS.

  24. Jane,
    For years I’ve known about your blog and have never really taken interest in it, I always hear about your remarkable posts and think to myself that I should read them, but never done it. This time was different, I saw your instagram post, and for some reason felt inclined to read it, I am SO beyond glad that I did. Your words hit such a sensitive area for me, I can relate to your words in many ways. Thank you for helping me understand better what I need to do for myself!
    You are a remarkable woman! I have oodles of respect for you!
    ~Nikki

  25. Dusty & Jane, Thank you for being so honest about such a personal topic. You are both respectful to those whose opinions fall on either side of this topic. Thank you for that. I love being LDS. It motivates me to be a better person–no doubt. That being said, I think what you share is very important. It isn’t our place to judge. It’s personal. It sometimes seems to be easier said than done. I hope that you and your family feel genuine love and friendship regardless of your church attendance. This is a great reminder! Thanks again for your insight.

  26. I think this is my favorite post of yours to date, Jane. It was so real that I feel like I ‘know’ you that much better. I have always admired your creative eye and fun ideas but now I’m adding yet another reason to the list :).
    I can absolutely see why it took you over a year to get the words just right (and to muster the courage to do so). Your honesty is not attacking the LDS faith, nor is it encouraging others to leave and question their beliefs. You have an incredible gift (one of many) to be concise and unbiased. I truly respect your honesty, your bravery and your openness with your husband. The support that you two have of one another is what I believe God truly intended for marriage.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • wow Kristin, thank you for those kind words. Thank you for being part of my community, for reading, for commenting. much love to you. be well.

  27. Jane,
    Thank you for sharing your personal journey with us. I love you! It’s so important to think of people as human beings and that we are all connected on a deeper level instead of predetermining an opinion about someone because of a label. You are an amazing person and such a wonderful example of a wife, mother and friend. I’m so grateful to have you in my life!
    xo

    • gygi!!!!!!! oh girl you are a gem, and i adore you. i love that you said, “we are all connected on a deeper level” because that is so true. I knew from the first time I met you that I’d always be grateful you were a friend. hugs.

  28. Jane,
    I typically never comment on blog posts – but I saw that you were back in blogging action, and then read this post and was compelled to stop and say hello. I started following your blog sometime in 2012 (I think) and how I found it, is actually a very funny story. A friend of mine is a former Red Sox pitcher, which is how I was introduced to the Boston area. As a life-long Texan, Boston is just so different, and naturally, I immediately fell in love with that city. Sometime in August 2012, I visited Boston for a charity event and then attended a smaller event at a home in Wellesley. Oh my goodness – so charming. When I returned home, I remember searching something Wellesley related on the internet – and came across your blog. My friend was soon after traded to a west coast team (He-who-shall-not-be-named, due to leaving the Red Sox on less than favorable terms with the fans) and my dreams of relocating to Boston and actually having friends there were crushed. One day perhaps!
    I related to your post because that is how I’ve felt lately about my relationship with the Catholic Church. It may just be a reflection of where I am in my journey. Most of the time, I love the church – tradition and structure can be a beautiful thing. Other times – I feel like I’m just going through the motions. I feel like God is much bigger than one church and one set of values. I know God works in my life – and I don’t know where I’d be without him. I’m currently in a very different place in life – very late 20s, not married, and no children because I wanted a PhD. While I’ve been in a relationship foreverrrrr – the pressure to “get married” to appease family members has been growing – but I refuse to commit to something, and essentially – the biggest promise I will ever make in front of God – because everyone else expects it. Timing is everything, as they always say. So while this is an entire different “societal pressure” I know where you’re coming from and thank you for your honesty. I constantly have people who interject their own opinions based on their religious beliefs or outlooks on life. My funny story includes a very religious person who was a not at all religious person before they were married with a family, tell me that I shouldn’t read Harry Potter Books because they’re “bad” and also I shouldn’t celebrate Halloween because it’s “bad.” Someone has obviously never celebrated Halloween on Beacon Hill! So while I don’t personally know you, you are such an inspiration to me! If I am one day blessed with a family of my own (when I’m ready of course), you’ve completely changed my perspective of motherhood, and family life, and given me another chapter in my own life to look forward to. So thank you for being Jane!

    • Abbie – thank you for stopping to comment. My husband is going to be THRILLED to find out a friend of a red sox pitcher is reading my blog!!! (all smiles) — but in seriousness, is Wellesley not charming on steroids? we miss it so much. maybe we’ll end up there together one day – and be friends, and trick or treat on Beacon Hill as families. 😉

      oh goodness, I wish I already had a PhD — congrats. if only we could split our lives and balance each other out a bit, yes? You can pick two of my kids, I’ll take half your education! I commend you for staying loyal to your goals, and desires. THAT IS HUGE, especially with the pressures of family opinions. I wish you all the best. keep in touch. hugs.

  29. Jane… Thank you, thank you, thank you! It was so nice to read someone’s feelings that mimmick mine. As you know, I’m not LDS at all and have NEVER had those feelings telling me it is truly right no matter how much studying and reading and praying is done. But it is so hard to live in an area where people think that if you aren’t LDS then you have no morals or values. I was raised in the South by a mother who taught me all of those things and I cling to them today and raise my children the same way. Yet I always feel judged and actually pitied by people who think me and my girls have gone down the wrong path in life. My girls are all baptized and have been taught to make their own decisions. Just recently Jamie was married in the Temple which was an extremely hard thing for me to deal with. I wanted her to have the wedding she wanted yet I felt as though I was not “good enough” or “worthy” when all I have ever done is tried to raise those girls to be kind, compassionate, conservative and the best people they could be. The fact that a church made me feel that way was very disappointing and therefore something I can never embrace. Everything you wrote made me feel so much better.. Thank you again!

    • TRACY!!! I have ALWAYS wanted to have this conversation with you, and there’s really no reason it hasn’t happened. I wasn’t apprehensive about the discussion, we are just both so busy raising our kids that I’ve never had the chance to talk to you! It’s challenging to feel judged by anyone around us, when we want to be loyal neighbors and friends, and create memories with those who are near to us! You, and your daughters are all the sweetest. Lets not wait any longer and get together soon! I always love to hear that Kiana is hanging out with Maddie. She is such a creative, fun, ambitious soul. Lets get together soon! hugs.

  30. Jane, you know I love you guys – always have and always will…I am close enough to you to know this isn’t something “out of the blue” at all, but you posting it here took a ton of courage and I respect the hell out of you for taking that leap. I’m proud to call you a friend and i have NEVER felt anything form you or that man of yours, but love and respect for what I believe. It makes me sad that some in the Church would treat anyone, LDS or not, with anything but respect because that is what the Savior taught.

    • Jared – I do know you love us, AND THAT is one of the things i LOVE most about you — how genuine and caring you are and that YOU SHOW that care to everyone. I’m totally flattered by your comment, thank you. You are one of the most genuine, supportive, un-judgemental people I know. If only there were more *Jared’s in the world!!! hugs. (*EVERYONE’S printers would always be working!!! hehe… just a lil joke.)

  31. The world is a better place for your presence. You are a brave and wise woman. We only touch down and overlap at varied times and places! But it is always wonderful. Love you tons.

  32. Jane I can not tell you how much I appreciate this post!! I can tell you that our stories are SO similar it gave me chills.Thank you for having the courage it takes to post this.

    • JULIE HARMON!!! It’s so good to hear from you. i love emotional-chills, always makes me feel like i’m doing the right thing at the right time. i hope all is well with you and your family. xo.

  33. Jane, I love this post. I love that it is so heart felt. I am sure it has been something you have wanted to say for years, and I am happy you did. Everyone finds peace and happiness in different ways, and that fact that you found yours should make people feel nothing but happiness for you. You make this world a better place. You are a loyal, sweet, kind, loving, fun, and so talented! I am happy to call you one of my favorite friends! Love you tons!

  34. Hi Jane! You and Dusty have always been so kind to us. You included us in your Mexico vacation and also in parties in your lovely homes. We have always been grateful for that kindness. Thank you! Thank you! Thank You! How could we not love you!! Jane, my experience was just the opposite of yours – my father was Catholic and my mom belonged to the Assembly of God Church. I attended both churches. So, when I became close friends with the LDS teenagers in high school, my parents had no problem signing for me to become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at the age of 16 years old. However, when I was 17 years old, my mom finally convinced my dad to become a member of the Assembly of God Church. I was forced to leave the church that I loved and go back to attending the Assembly of God Church; because I was living in their home. For the next ten years, after my eternal marriage to Gary, I was cut off from the family that I loved so very much. Our four sons did not get to know their grandparents, aunts and uncles during that time. I had never had the priesthood in my life, and how I treasured the priesthood that Gary held for many reasons that included my husband’s blessings to get me through those ten difficult years without family; and to give our children needed blessings in their lives. Jane, I totally respect your feelings, because I had parents who did not respect my feelings. My parents eventually accepted us back into the family and it was a joyous day in our lives. Jane, I feel that warm confirming spirit that the gospel is true; and I am sad that you have never felt it. However,thank you for sharing your true feelings and thank you again for the wonderful kindness that you and Dusty have always shown Gary and I. We love you both so very much.

    • JoAnn, it’s fun to have you following my blog – thank you. I’m heartbroken that your family cut you off for so long. Thank you for your love and support — we ADORE every Blanchard there is!!! You – have raised AMAZING sons. You are such a fine example of living righteously, motherhood, and more. We love you!!! xo.

  35. Oh sweet Jane. I read this post a few days ago, but came back to read the comments. I love this community for the support we can give each other. You are truly loved and admired. I’m sad that some have not had such a positive experience in leaving and going on a different spiritual search. If anything, I hope you know that I’ve loved you from the very beginning. You are such an example to me on how to be a friend, how to love one another, how to be more Christlike in my own life. Thank you. Thank you for accepting me and loving me. I don’t know what I did in my life to deserve such an amazing friend like you, but I’m never letting go of you. XOXO

  36. Jane. A daughter of mine sent your blog for me to read. I haven’t taken the time to read all of the comments (a little too lengthy)and hadn’t planned to respond as I have read numerous posts like this from others “leaving the Church”. After a couple of days I have felt compelled, maybe because I think you might be sincere and not just defensive about what is deep in your heart. First let me say that my daughter (an active LDS mother of two) was confused that you loved so much about the church (including the peace that is found in the temple!) without any acknowledgement of how that goodness could be from God— and true. Is that like your husband going to Red Sox games and cheering for them but claiming he is not a fan? Didn’t understand the disconnect.
    Now for my comment. It is really sad for me to watch so many (and there are quite a few) that have your same experience. There is a culture in the church (hopefully changing) that since we are the only “true church” then we have answers to all questions. We don’t usually handle it well when we find something that doesn’t confirm that belief. So we either keep quiet about or it assume that since we don’t have a good answer for a question that the whole of it must be wrong. That is very flawed thinking. It is especially curious when those who leave find “peace” and “freedom”. How could you not find those things?!? You just got a 10% raise and weekends off! Not to mention hours of lesson prep and various assignments. We have 12 kids. As 7-8 of them left the house we felt “peace” and “freedom”. Maybe having them was a bad idea? I assume you follow the logic. You see, when you really seek to understand God (through serious scripture study and history study and contemplation) you may likely come to the conclusion that Gods plan is not about perfect “peace” and “freedom” and perfect knowledge of all questions religious (at least in this life). It is about faith and patience and service and gratitude. If every answer were clear and concise there would be no need for faith. The difficulties and questions of life are intended to bring us to be submissive to God so that one day we can be like him. No Red Sox player ever played in Fenway without hours and hours of Practise and pain and possible injury and failure. Why would we ever believe we can become who we are to become without the experiences we are having that become the very catalyst for getting us there? I have studied the life a and teachings of Joseph Smith for years. I’ve slept on the floor of Liberty jail next to his mannequin and read his words from section 121 and 122. Joseph wasn’t a perfect man. No prophet that God called ever was. But he was a prophet. I am sorry that you have not travelled far enough down the road to come to know that. I’m sure you assumed it was easier to just get off the bus. Want some real “peace” and “freedom”? Be open to gain an understanding of what is true. Sometimes it is covered by Mormon “culture” so you may have to overlook some of that in the process. If you are an honest seeker, I can give you some suggestions as to where to start. Teryl Givens latest book “The Crucible of Doubt” might start you on the right path. We have always told our kids ” whatever you get for free has little value to you”. Real truth is no different. I’m sorry your perception was different. I wish you the best. You seem like a capable and very good person with a great family. Regards

    • hello Jerry. First, thank you for taking the time to read & comment in this forum.

      In regards to your comment – First, I don’t doubt at all that the good & peace in the world, or a temple, or church comes from a higher power. I absolutely believe in something bigger than me, be that a God, or something I am not unable to understand as a human. I feel that peace & sweet spirit in a LOT of places – not just in an LDS atmosphere. For years, I have enjoyed sitting in cathedrals, buddhist temples, nature — but when it comes to committing myself to one of them, or any of them, THAT is where my soul is not content. I do not believe in organized religion in any form, but definitely enjoy the atmosphere that abide in them. Even though I mention this in my blog post, as I was trying to explain my situation in as little words as possible – I don’t mind that the LDS church proclaims to be the only true church, I would expect and imagine that most churches make this claim – my most sincere feeling is that whether it’s LDS or any religion, I believe they are all human created for those who believe and want it in their lives and as humans we also have the choice to believe and realize in a different plan. I’m a seeker of truth but definitely not expecting to find all the answers in my lifetime. I do not feel that the whole of the LDS religion is wrong.

      We still donate to the LDS church regardless of the fact that we don’t go to church for personal reasons – it is a good organization to support financially, and for the time/space/etc that our family does spend there.

      And I won’t lie, our family time on Sunday is worlds better without a regular routine to one organized church. Our children are being taught values, and given an education, experiences, traveling, one on one time etc during this time. We attend other churches in the area for our kids to have a variety of religious experiences. I don’t think my husband and I shirk from responsibilities in lieu of laziness – we are still greatly involved in our communities, and helping those around us during the same time used that you are perhaps preparing lessons, etc.

      In regards to your feelings about my journey, I am confused if you feel sorry for the situation – In my eyes – I am on a path to finding truth, and deciding for myself what that is and where I find it – in no way do I think “it was easier to get off the bus.” For example, when I told my mom years ago how I felt while she was at my home having Sunday dinner. After I finished the beginning of my explanation, she started to cry, picked up her plate, left the table, and went back to her house. She still doesn’t acknowledge my feelings on the matter if I try to talk about it. I am so absolutely sure (as you are, in your life) with how I feel that I was willing to take this risk. I, very unlike the sounds of your family was an only child, my dad has already passed away, I have a very limited extended family. The few family members I have are not something I would want to chance losing their relationships over if I wasn’t solid about how I felt. I have real peace, and freedom.

      The founding fathers of our country were known for feeling very similar to me, in fact, I had a REALLY AWESOME home teacher for few years – (for privacy, I will leave his name out) he has his doctorate in theology, is a professor at BYU, he’s a wealth of knowledge for general authorities on J.S., He was assigned to our family for years while my husband and I were open about how we felt. He came to our home once for his monthly visit and actually said to me, “Jane, you are a Deist!” If you are aware of the Deism philosophies, maybe that will give you a better glimpse in to what I am trying to explain. Because heaven knows, I am in no way perfect at putting my thoughts into one comment well enough for you to possibly understand.

      I have no quarrels with mormon culture, in fact, i love most of it. I adore those who commit their lives to being active, faithful saints. I’m thrilled for our friends who decide to serve missions and support them in all ways I can – no differently than I’m thrilled for someone who just found God at a Born-Again christian church, I believe it’s exciting and amazing for everyone who discovers what they believe. I feel no need for either of us to be apologizing for how we feel.

      My feelings for you are likewise – I wish you the best. It seems you are a patriarch for your family and those around you. Your daughter is lucky to have you, as are all of your children, grandchildren. be well.

  37. I love you & your family so much! Thank you so much for pouring out your heart & sharing such a personal experience. There are so many who can be so judgemental of a descsion that is so intensely personal. I’ve watched those “good faithful members” become defensive, judgemental, and argumentative when what someone needs is support and understanding.
    I hope our pathes are able to cross soon my friend! I miss you!
    ( PS I PM’d you on FB)

    • Stephanie,

      Sorry you mistook my comments as judgmental. I don’t do facebook or twitter or pinterest or instagram and /or whatever else is out there for this reason. My experience with them has been that a lot of people who spend a lot of time on them are interested in being heard and seen and affirmed and loved (or to make $). They can also be a serious problem for younger children (as Jane herself has posted). I try to focus on a meaningful discussion that educates and edifies. That is what I was hoping with Jane. A very sincere person who will make the sacrifice to seek real truth can gain some great insight–even when there are still plenty of unanswered questions. I assume she is sincere and would like to know the truth, as opposed to just getting “likes” for making herself vulnerable. I can’t figure it out when people say it is “personal” and then they make it available to 1,000 or so people who can forward it to 10,000 more, then are critical of someone who makes a sincere gesture at answering some of the “personal” issues raised. If everyone who makes an effort to point someone in a good direction after throwing themselves out there for review is “judgmental” then I am guilty as charged. In the mean time, if one is interested in trying to make real sense of God and life and …. I would love to have conversations with them and hear what they have learned in the process, comparing notes to what my own experience has been. I thought that is what Jane was doing. I might be wrong.

      Jerry

      • Jerry – I could be wrong, but knowing the Stephanie above, I don’t think her comment was in reply to yours previously posted. I don’t think she felt your comments were judgmental, I think she’s referencing the situation in general.

        • Jane,

          Thanks for your reply and comments. I am very aware of Deism and the thoughts you expressed. I have no problem with your beliefs and comittment to them. Thanks for making them known. It has just been my experience that many people who have your experience of “leaving the Church” have not thought it through as you have nor do they have specific beliefs about what they think is right and true. They just feel they have been “deceived” about Gospel teachings and history and make no real effort to seek out information and understanding. I would still recommend “Crucible of Doubt” btw. It will likely confirm some of your thought. One of the main reasons I believe the Doctrine of Mormonism is because of the powerful teachings its scriptures have and the clarification they give to the rest of the canon of accepted scripture among Christians. I would love to send you another book to read that I think would be insightful. Doubt you want to give an address. Do you have a PO Box or other place I could send it?

          Jerry

      • Jerry… I think where your piece comes off as judgmental is that you are insinuating that Jane simply hasn’t put the effort into it. You hit that again and again even with analogies… you don’t know her, don’t know us, no idea what we’ve put into this decision. You have not idea the volumes of books we’ve read or the thousands of hours in discussions with others, prayer and such.
        I don’t know if it’s possible for you to fathom that someone can actually get the same, or heaven forbid, greater peace and happiness outside the church which frankly is naive and arrogant. There are those that would say YOU haven’t put enough time into considering the alternative.
        I love that the main sentiment here from those that DO know us and DO love us is… “Happy for you… happy for me also that we have the church and our belief therein that gives us strength, peace and happiness.” Because truly, that is how Jane and I feel about them.

        • I’ll take that to mean Jane misjudged that your comment was in fact directed at me. I guess I should feel better that you and I are both judgmental and defensive then.

          Sincerely wish you the best

          Jerry

          • No, Jane was talking about Stephanie’s comment. My comment starts; “Jerry”… definitely to you! 🙂 And yes, I will forever be trying to stop my natural judgmental side. Were you not saying that Jane wasn’t just sincere enough, didn’t give enough effort? Sorry if I judged that wrongly.

            While I’m at it… I’ve already read “Crucible of Doubt.” I actually had liked some of the points like that it is our responsibility to pick out inspired vs. not-inspired messages when it comes to church leaders and their teachings. Honestly though, the whole thing seems very apologetic and to summarize it I’d say, “Just believe! there are lots of reasons why you shouldn’t… and here are a couple of my excuses, but believe anyway!” Sorry… wasn’t a huge fan of the book. I’d suggest “A History of God” by Karen Armstrong or “There is a God” by Antony Flew or… so many good religion and theology books. I’m happy you are happy and satisfied in your belief Jerry! I think there are many that would love to have that feeling in their lives. Sad they can’t feel what you feel! I think the Mormon message would help many of those as well. I think it is an excellent recipe for many!

          • My bad again. On my cell phone and can’t see all of the comments very well. Apologies to Stephanie and Jane.
            Probably a good idea not to respond to your last message.

            Regards

            Jerry

  38. Jane! Happy to see you are blogging again! quite a lot of comments already on this post so i’ll be brief! I myself love the LDS faith and am committed to the organized factor of it due to the similarities of how god created his church on the earth before joseph smith. My cute hubby has walked me through that logic a few times since I work more emotionally than logically. I believe that firmly and i also hope that I (and others) practice what we preach about christ like love as you take a different path. It takes a spiritual journey for everyone to reach any conclusion about the church or even just life. Happy you are taking that! I was reading some comments and saw that you felt peace and love in other places than the temple and I can say i’ve felt that too! I caught myself in tears once in rome at the basilica and other gorgeous cathedrals. I think god has a special way of knowing us and reaching out to us in all those places that we take a moment to marvel at the beauty of the world. This comment is all over the place but all in all I love you and your cute family and I hope everyone is supportive of what you believe regardless if it aligns exactly with what they believe. Maybe someday you will be back but in the mean time lots of love! Thanks for your courage! always find it tough to blog about religious matters! xoxo

  39. I haven’t stopped thinking about this post for the last 2 days. I remember thinking what amazing parents you and your husband must be when your son was baptized. Your support and love for him was so admirable. (You emailed me some tips on making your crepes and I used that same luncheon idea for my sons baptism as well! thank you!)
    I appreciated hearing your thoughts as many in our family have left the church for various reasons. We have always loved them regardless of what religion they choose but this post has made me question if I’ve been judgmental at all. I hope I haven’t been. You are someone I admire without knowing personally. Thank you for being such a great example to me of enjoying and loving motherhood, and how to be a kind friend and genuine person. xoxo

  40. So are you not mormon/practicing norman religion anymore? what about the kids? do they still attend church and activities.

  41. also what does lomiwan mean? you may have talked about it before but i don’t remember. you might not want to tell, i just think its cute and am interested because i would love a secrete phrase like that one day when i get married and just wondered how you came about it. great post jane.

  42. You are amazing. Thank you for this post & honesty. I have so many feelings/stories on this topic…but all I have to say is…”I feel ya” 😉

  43. I believe also as you do….that part about the Prophet Joseph Smith and “the one and only true church” bit IS and always will be the kicker and ironically is also the very basis and foundation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I relate in the fact that I grew up outside of Utah in a heavily populated Baptist area for many years and know exactly how that feels when you are not accepted and even “cast out” socially because of personal beliefs. Truth is that will always be a consequence to many who believe in something that the majority does not. After reading your blog responses it is a beautiful thing to see that you have been overwhelmingly received and loved despite your personal choice and decisions. I just had to comment because I feel so opposite to you in fact that the two things that never set well with you are the very two things that have brought me the most beauty, joy, peace, stability, guidance and insight to my soul and purpose to be here. I mean if I had to pick just two things that were the most soul stabilizing it would be those two things because both of them point and testify of what I have long read and studied from Jesus Christ himself.
    Many more that you may insist that this is not the true church. That is their privilege. But to claim that it does not exist anywhere, that it does not even need to exist, is to deny the scriptures and what Jesus Christ himself taught. I guess that point itself is what brings me so much confusion to even think along those lines that ANY or ALL religious beliefs can lead you back to the presence of God. The New Testament teaches of “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” and speaks of “all coming in the unity of the faith” (Eph. 4:5, 13) and of a “restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21.)
    The Church of Jesus Christ did not invent the doctrine of the only true church. It came from the Lord. Whatever perception others have of us, however presumptuous we appear to be, whatever criticism is directed to us, we must teach it to all who will listen for it is the very thing that brings about the importance of temples and its saving/redeeming ordinances that seal families for time and all eternity. And I suspect because people love you so very much – as is evident on your blog by loving comments and a hefty following that they will forever be knocking on your door to have you again and again carefully reconsider. That’s not to say that the Church does not find good in other religions, quite the opposite in fact – just not the fullness of it or that they have a path that can truly bring you back to live in the presence of God. I pray and hope this doesn’t come of as argumentative. I can see and feel that you are a beautiful soul, and in fact your post has been so thought provoking. I think in many cases it leads earnest seekers of truth to evaluate both sides only to be more convinced of the “one and only truth” we have already found.
    I am steady that however preposterous the talk of angels and golden plates and restoration might be to others, I hope all that truly believe would continue to teach the truth with quiet resolved confidence. I have a firm and unyielding testimony of this truth. Much love to you Jane.

    • Very nicely stated Leslie! I really love how you explain that it makes sense to you and fits so well! Yes, If you and others believe you need to follow the prophets and shout it on the rooftops. I love it.

  44. Thanks for sharing Jane. I grew up in an extremely in-active family in Utah but I became active simply because it made me a better person. It sounds like the same for you but in reverse and I think that’s what the goal should be, to be a better person! Even though we’ve never met, I think you’re an amazing person and appreciate the talents and thoughts that you’ve shared! Thank you for returning to your blog and I want to refresh your memory to who I am, I live in Sequim not far from your sister’s house! One last thought, I think it must come from growing up inactive, but I really don’t care if people judge me and I do occasionally miss a free Sunday!

    • nancy… LOVE THIS! Jane and I have had this discussion again and again. We are seekers of good. We know the church promotes good. What would we be if we forsook that? I think that is the reason we still consider ourselves Mormon and go once in a while. While we can’t say we believe in it all we trust they are doing well because of our experiences. Great observation… great comment!!! I wish everyone here would read your comment!!

  45. I wanted to chime in and say that the greatest gift my LDS father gave me was the freedom of choice, the support for my own individual spiritual journey, and taking my bigger questions seriously whenever I came to him with them. Telling me what he believes and what others might believe and giving me space to figure out what I believe contributed greatly to my open mindedness and acceptance of other human beings and all our differences. I think you are giving your children the greatest spiritual gift.

  46. Jane!

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart and words with us. I have been going through my own faith transition for the past five years. It has been the hardest thing I have EVER done. We live in a community where we are so defined by religion. (I too live in Utah)

    I was born and raised LDS, received my young womanhood award, was seminary class president, married a return missionary in the temple (went through a tough divorce), mom is relief society president, dad is in the bishopric, in-laws have stake callings (got remarried to the most amazing guy), etc… To put it mildly our families are beyond worried about us and our eternal salvation.

    As a latter day saint we are told to find our own testimony and learn for our self if it’s true. I did just that. By listening to that little voice inside of me, following my heart, and lots of study and prayer I feel like I am living a more authentic life outside of the church. It’s such a liberating feeling knowing I am being true to myself. I know I am daughter of god, so loved, and I cherish my relationship with my savior. I have had to rely a lot on him in my short 29 years.

    There is no one-size-fits all mold. I say stand up for what you believe in, don’t judge others, and remember heavenly father wants nothing more than for his children to find peace and happiness in this life.

    I found this quote a few years ago that really hit home to me. Thought I would share:

    “When I was young I learned about love, both at home and at church. And what I learned is that love is correcting other people, teaching other people, helping other people find their way. Love is always pushing people to do more, to be better, to live to higher standards. Love is disciplining people when they wander too far from the right path. Love is learning to see people “not as they are at present but as they may become.” Love is setting expectations so that others may fill the measure of their worth by striving to live up to those expectations. Love is helping others to grow.

    This kind of love motivates people to serve missions, where they teach people about the way we’re supposed to be living. This love motivates people to support gay marriage bans. It leads bishops to forbid someone from taking the sacrament, or even leads to people being excommunicated. This love is why leaders are always encouraging members to do more. This love is why a BYU student tells the Honor Code office when his roommate is not living up to certain standards. Love like this is why young women are taught to cover their bodies, and to embrace their roles as future wives and mothers. This kind of love encourages members to see their non-member neighbors as potential converts. This love even leads people to call their loved ones to repentance when necessary. I used to understand that love was the motivation behind all these things and more.

    It turns out I didn’t truly understand love, and I’ve had to re-learn what love really is. Love doesn’t have an agenda. Love isn’t self-righteous and judgmental. Love isn’t concerned with rules or expectations. Love isn’t helping someone change into who you think they should be. Love is embracing them for who they are. Love is caring about someone’s best interests. Love is being there for someone. Love is respect. Love is understanding. Love is giving. Love is kindness. Love is acceptance.

    I’m putting the old kind of love behind me. I never liked receiving that kind of love, and I felt uncomfortable giving it. For the rest of my life I will work to love and accept people as they are, to really get to know them, to see what I can learn from them rather than thinking of what they could learn from me, to see their strengths and their beauties, and to not be threatened by it when someone’s path is different than my own. I’m sure I won’t always get it right, but I’m going to keep at it because this kind of love fills me so much more deeply than the other kind. This is the kind of love that makes life worth living.”

    Thanks again for your post. This helped me more than you know 🙂 You are INCREDIBLE!

    Cheers.

  47. jane, i loved reading this. i will admit, i knew you were semi/sort of/totally mormon (or maybe i assumed it? based on your ig friends? being from utah? haha – all ridiculous assumptions, i know!). but i wondered how much/how little. is there a scale of 1 to 10 of “how mormon are you” in mormonism anyway?! (there seems to be in christianity!) all that to say–i loved reading this and i would love to read more that you write on the subject!! i resonate with a lot of what you wrote here, though from being raised catholic now more nondenominational christian/agnostic perspective!!

    xo

  48. Jane, I knew I liked you before I read this post, but now it’s been confirmed :)! I am a convert to the church as of 8 years ago, and my husband was raised an active member, but fell away before he met me, and is back again (sort of). Although I made the decision to join the church on my own and wasn’t raised in it, I have to say that I was always hoping that my testimony would grow organically. Unfortunately, it never did. In the meantime, I’ve been holding out on going to the temple and getting sealed to my family, because I don’t feel right about making covenants (even ones I don’t believe are essential) that I don’t think I can stand by. Although we still go to church, and I hold a (minor) calling — Relief Society Activities Committee (I like to throw parties?), there is an awareness within my ward and even the community that we aren’t really devoted. For one thing, I have never been all too good at dressing the part. We live in Arizona after all, so tank tops are like my uniform. And I, like you, believe that many of us, no — almost all of us — are going to Heaven. I don’t believe that there is just one right path there. Like you, the “burning in the bosom” has come at all the wrong times and has been absent when it should have been there. Yet, we go still, for the same reasons that you miss the church. I love the culture, I love the people, I love serving, and being a part of a community of people who serve and gather and support each other. For a long time, I have felt like a lost soul, a black sheep, and a rebellious person in the eyes of the church despite the many good friends and neighbors that we have. I know that we’ll never be able to not be hypocrites with our children as long as we continue going to church and pushing them along the way. I just try to teach them that their own individual beliefs are just as important as what the church teaches and that they have to decide for themselves if what they hear is true for them. My oldest is 7 and coming close to baptism, so I’m nearing a crossroads perhaps. I just want to tell you, that like so many others, I am so relieved just to read this post. I had no idea that you were LDS honestly, but it feels better just knowing that you walked this path. I, of course, would love to hear the experiences or beliefs of which you spoke briefly, but I understand if you’d rather keep them to yourself. Thank you for this post.

  49. This post made me cry. I am in a very similar situation, except I don’t have the courage to tell my husband how I feel. We live in the heart of utah, all our family and friends are devout members and I seriously can’t imagine ‘letting everyone down’ and the effect it would have on my life. And even as I type that it just sounds so dumb. To be stuck in a religion just due to peer pressure? It’s 2014 for heavens sake! But it is the reality of the culture. When I feel discouraged for my lack of testimony, I just remind myself of the good things that the church does, the good that it does have in my life, and try to cling to those things. I love serving others and loving others and so I embrace those aspects of the gospel. I’m so impressed by you owning your true feelings and being true to yourself.

    • Almost a year later as I scroll through all the comments yours stands out. I’m asking that God has provided the courage you need to choose well no matter the cost. If your family & friends know not your heart, who do they know? Be strong & courageous for He has not given us a spirit of fear or timidity, but of power, love & a sound mind.

  50. Thank you for this post! Authentically and beautifully written! My experience is similar and I now feel at peace and free. It is authenticity not having to look the other way with disturbing issues or only be allowed to research within approved guidelines. Since I left the church, I have been surprised at how many have shared that they also are extremely torn and like I was, the last person you would expect to hear that from. It is very stressful and lonely when you think you are the only person questioning which is why I think it is so amazing that you shared and in such a respectful but heartfelt way. Someday I will put own to paper about my experience as well but like it did with you, it takes time. Thank you!!!

  51. I first heard about this post from a family member who follows you. She was actually quite annoyed about it, talking of all the damage it could possibly cause. I read it and initially, could see her reasoning, but also thought that people shouldn’t hide their feelings. At one point or another, every one, no matter their religious/non-religious background, will question and test their faith/ideals/values. Some will read this post and think nothing of it, some may even agree with you whole-heartedly, and some may begin asking questions they hadn’t before. I don’t like the idea of hiding things, God gave us agency did he not? Freedom to choose, to pursue, to discover.

    Religion needs more discussion, and while you find peace and freedom outside of the LDS church, I find peace and freedom within the LDS church. Yes, it is flawed, but who on this earth is ever perfect? And while claims of being THE MOST true church on this earth exist, do you really think God would leave us all without some sure direction? Is God not active in our lives to this very day? I find it hard to think that there isn’t a church on this earth that holds more truth and keys necessary for our return to Him. The God I know and love would not abandon us in that way.

    And while I believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints holds THE MOST truth, I also find truth and kindness and love from people of all faiths, I find it in nature, I find it in those tender moments I have with my child, and guess what? I don’t have to be sitting in the Sacrament Meeting room in my Sunday best. God loves everyone and blesses everyone, He doesn’t play favorites to the Mormons (though I believe there are special blessings we have access to because of the knowledge given through scripture and the temple).

    I don’t think the church means to discredit the goodness found in other people that are not LDS or what have you. It’s not necessarily about being the “one and only true church,” its more of having the “most truth.” People are flawed, people get offended, people justify. Those things do not change doctrine. We all have access to the same basic materials (Bibles, Book of Mormon, etc etc.) I have a brother that wishes we could just go back to simple study of the scriptures in a grove rather than the hustle and bustle that comes with today’s Church services (callings, meetings, etc…) Take that away and you have scripture, sincere prayer and faith. It all comes down to those key parts. Everything else is a distraction for those who are really seeking the core truths of life and the life hereafter.

    With the recent release of the articles regarding Joseph Smith from the LDS church, I’ve been reading the book, Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling. Very interesting read and presents a lot of information and background about the Smith family that I never knew (it’s not a one-sided book, but is presented objectively–and I get it, theres a lot of things that are questionable and don’t present a perfect picture of what we as children were brought up on when we think of Joseph Smith.) As a result of these article releases, people have left the church or are seriously questioning everything. Like I said, things should not be hidden. I say, open that door. Let people discuss. Yes, some will leave, but some will have never felt more conviction as before in their testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ found in the Book of Mormon & Bible and taught through modern-day prophets and apostles.

    Anyway, I think it was very brave of you to share and that you aren’t in the wrong for doing so. I think your article will generate conversations that need to be had. And while I don’t agree with all of your points, I do commend you for seriously seeking out truth for yourself. It’s so important!

  52. I have read this probably 20 times- My husband has brought some of his concerns to my attention and then I read this and I think it was perfect timing! Im trying to make sense of a lot of things and be a supportive wife. I feel like I have one million questions for you!!! Thank you for sharing this! You have no idea how needed it was!

  53. Thank you Jane! Your honesty, kindness, and wisdom, among many other things, is making a difference in many lives. I adore you!

  54. Thank you, Jane, for your honesty! I was raised Catholic and later when I was a teen, went to church with my Baptist friend (mostly because they took me out to lunch afterwards). I was always the girl questioning the Sunday school teacher about what she taught in class. I argued with her when she told us that the Bible teaches that women had to be submissive to men. My problem with organized religion has always been their attitude of, “it’s our way or the highway.” I don’t think that there’s one path to God and I don’t think it’s right to teach that. We all have to find our own path and there is no right or wrong in that.

  55. I’m just reading your blog now – and found this post interesting. I was raised Protestant (Litheran), and went to a Jesuit college, Loyola. When I was going thru infertility my Jewish friend gave me some rosaries – still not catholic here. I think it takes a village of all religions to shape your own. We are currently at a lovely Luther. Church but might make s change to a more urban setting. And you might step in and identify with one of them at some point in your life. Many areas in life are ebb and flows. Best of luck on your journey.

  56. Jane,
    Thank you for your post here. Of course, like most of the those that have commented, I too am able to completely relate to your post. My wife and I are in a similar situation in that we are very cautious to proceed down this path of…well honesty really. We have a small family and our kids are young. This is a huge step. The ramifications are exponential. The heart break will be grave for our family and for our friends. We have contemplated moving just to make this easier…
    Well, what I feel and where we stand are all too familiar to this posting. In any case, I wanted to just say THANK YOU, this has been helpful. I (we) look forward to possibly future posts on how your family has treated you, how your kids are treated, how you deal with all of this.

    Again, Thanks!
    -Paul

  57. I have stumbled on this post my accident. Thank you for opening up. I am a convert, and at this point only a sense of loyalty to this church and to my husband (who is very orthodox LDS) are keeping me here. I know that someday I will gain enough courage to step away. Not being on the same page with my husband makes things more complicated. I love him and my family and by focusing my life on them puts my struggle on the back burner, but someday I will have to face it. I believe there are many ways back .. So many ways.. This is not the only true church. I have never been able to believe this.

  58. Hi Jane, to read your blog about your spiritual journey away from organised religion was beautiful. I felt this way from age 8. Like you I was never able to bear my testimony to the Church being the one true church, and the Joseph Smith story. I believe that children intuitively know when something is not right and although I went through all the indoctrination milestones and loved studying religion at High School, I had many questions about things that spoke loudly to me and made me feel uncomfortable, made no sense, spoke of double standards and suppression of women. What I did enjoy was the feeling of family within the Church and as you know for the most part our family remains a Mormon one. I was very lucky to have a very enlightened seminary teacher in my final year at Church College NZ. Grant Palmer, you may have heard of him. His book “An Insiders View of Mormon Origins” is a worthy read. His class was Religious Studies and he introduced me to many exciting ideas and philosophies that led me onto studying astrophysics, quantum mechanics and sacred geometry. He also fostered my interest in studying the origins of religion(s).
    I felt turmoil for many years following becoming inactive, but when a local Bishop finally tracked me down in Australia I had no hesitation in asking for my records to be removed. I have many things to be thankful for being raised in the Church, I learnt many positive skills that have stood me in good stead throughout my life; yet I never was able to submit to the herd mentality nor able to accept that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. I have some very strong views on this subject but I can only recommend that people study the History of the Church for themselves. Like you I would be overcome with feelings of nausea and anxiety it did not resonate for me on a spiritual level and I had to stay true to myself.
    I believe that we are spiritual beings experiencing a physical existence, I am not sure of what happens when we die just as I have no memory of where the energy that is me was before being born but I do know that it is a part of our natural cycle and as having been a nurse for many years I have had the honour to be with people at the time of their passing and felt manifestation of incredible joy and love. These folk were not always religious, they were not Mormon and they did not have a testimony, so I think we are going to be okay.
    Thank you for accepting my friend request and thank you for sharing your testimony of your truth.

  59. Jane, I just read this great post. Thank you for sharing. I do believe the church is true and Jesus lives and as long as we follow the commandments we will be OK. I wish someday i can have the privilege to meet you in person and give you a hug, you inspired to me Peace, love, care and sometimes i need that.

    Thank you again for sharing, you have a wonderful family and i love to read your blog, you have a great heart.

  60. Jane – I have followed your blog for years. I was looking back at your blog (my kids call it stalking) and I found this post… I don’t know how I missed it at the time. Oh my gosh. This sounds exactly like what I think feel. I was raised in the church and have never “felt right’ about it. It’s hard to leave and let family know that you no longer want to participate. It really made me feel better to know that I’m not the only one.

  61. You are incredible. So honest. I have just discovered you and think you are fantastic. I hope you feel pride every day you are alive for how brave you are. I am a native Uthan. I am not LDS. We were treated so badly as kids for not belonging. I’m so sorry for the bikini comment. Don’t you just love judgmental people.