Tempted to go back to the Mormon church

by momme25 Jan 2012

I’ve never posted here before but this decision has been tormenting me for months now. Perhaps if anyone has any advice or has ever been in a similar situation I would be very grateful for your words.

I grew up TBM [Mormon]….seminary every morning, temple marriage at 18, YW leader, you name it…the works. I never ONCE doubted the church and it’s truthfulness until I quit attending- cold turkey. The reason I quit is because I divorced my abusive “priesthood worthy” husband of five years and could no longer stand the sight of seeing his family every week (who I had been very close to). Attending another ward wasn’t really another option as I was living in “the mission field” at the time, and his family monopolized the stake. I have since re-married to an incredibly kind, non-Mormon and we have a 21 month old little girl.

When I quit going to church I almost immediately felt this new-found sense of freedom, something I had never experienced before, a feeling I never realized existed. It wasn’t that I felt free to rebel and party (well, that’s not 100% true) but I felt free to THINK for myself, rather than ask the priesthood holder’s opinion first. It was if a fog had been lifted from my mind and I could finally clearly see the obvious lies that had been ingrained in me so thoroughly my entire life.

Going back to church for my brother’s missionary homecoming two years later, everything felt different. The whole thing seemed so fabricated, so staged. I then realized that all I had believed my entire life was a sham. I’ve rarely even had the desire to research the lies of the Mormon doctrine—it didn’t matter when I compared it to the gut feeling of knowing it was a lie. However, with this newfound freedom and happiness, I also felt an equal amount of guilt. Incredible guilt that lingers today (more on that to come).

Here’s my dilemma: Me, my husband and my daughter and I moved to China five months ago. We both work lots of hours (especially my hubby), and although we’ve tried, we (or at least I) haven’t really “clicked” with anyone here. My coworkers are nice and all, but none have children and are still in “party” mode. I would love to meet Chinese friends, and while I’ve tried to at the playground, most seem hesitant to speak English with me. We moved in a highly concentrated expat community, and while we adore China and the opportunities it provides us, I feel a terrible loneliness. An isolation I know could be quickly eased with going to church and gaining an instant family. Yes, while that family may be disillusioned and cult-like, it’s a family, nonetheless. The LDS branch is quite strong here, with 150+ members (some of whom I recognize around “town” by their Utah accents and garments hanging out of their shorts). While I realize there are other organizations I could join besides going back to church---everything else seems so foreign in an already foreign land.

I feel this deep sense of guilt for quitting the church- a guilt I have never been able to shake in almost five years. A guilt that I NEVER want my daughter to feel for her entire life. I have also broken my grandmother’s heart by not attending church anymore. Her opinion and happiness are so significant to me, and while she quite an open-minded TBM, she still persists that I go back (she thinks the only reason I quit going was because of my ex, and now that he’s out of the picture I should be going). Another massive factor for me going back is that the recently hired director of my close-knit company is LDS (WTF!?!) and heaven forbid he find out I am an inactive member (which would realistically happen- as one member here knows I am from UT and I can’t lie to save my life). Who knows how that would influence my job, or on the flip side--how it could positively affected it by going to church every week. That sounds terrible, but I must think about my career and the future of my family….imagine the benefits of being the only other LDS employee besides my boss (and don’t pretend you don’t know that doesn’t mean anything)?
I know many of you must be thinking that I am questioning my decision to quit the church---and I’m not. Does guilt mean regret? Or that I am disgusting for considering putting my moral principles to the side to advance in my career….maybe I am.

I just need to know I’m not the only one that’s ever been torn in a similar situation before. Any non-judgmental insights would be deeply regarded.

Re: Tempted to go back...
When I left the church, the one thing I missed was the built-in social network. I was soon able to make friends in the "real" world, but I imagine that must be very difficult in an unfamiliar place.

If it were as simple as going to church for a plug-and-play social life, I would actually say try it. In fact, I'm not sure there's anything wrong with trying it. I do suspect, however, that you will not find the sense of connection that you are seeking because you will also feel the deep emptiness of knowing that you don't share the beliefs that their whole world is built on. That built-in social network used to be based on the little knowing glance of being in on the same secret. Now that you're in on the real secret, the clubhouse just won't feel the same.

Even given that, I would say give it a shot, but the director of your company being involved makes it more complicated. It would make it more difficult to just check it out and leave if you didn't like it. I wouldn't necessarily be opposed to using a church affiliation to influence your director's opinion of you, but it could seriously backfire if you find out you are unable or unwilling to maintain the ruse. and maintaining the ruse could leave you feeling worse than your current lonliness. I know I would rather feel lonely than fake. (That's a personal thing, not a judgment)

I am also concerned about your feelings of guilt. The fact that you are still experiencing them means that being in the group, especially when you are feeling vulnerable, might bring up a whole mess of emotional problems that you are ill-prepared to deal with right now. I don't think your guilt is a sign of regret, I think it is a sign that your deep mental conditioning is still partially active at an emotional level.

I think you are right to fear for your daughter. It can take very little to influence children, and I would hate to see her young mind influenced by that. She is young enough now that she's probably pretty safe, but it won't be long before that will change. It seems kind of a shame that she could be having this really amazing cultural experience as she grows up, only to end up in the evil LDS clutches. (A little melodramatic)

Think it over. I don't think there is one right answer, but I certainly wouln't be too quick to jump back into that frying pan.

Re: Tempted to go back...
You are not alone. There are quite a few military families overseas like us who have felt the EXACT same way. Here's what I did. Easy. Think of your daughter. Do you want to expose her to something toxic, that you'll have to lie to her about every day? No? I didn't think so.

Moving overseas is very, very hard and that draw of an "instant family" was what first made me very happy to convince myself the Church was true for all those years of living as a Mormon, but frankly it just, well, isn't true. As my kids got older, I just couldn't lie to them or myself any more.

We still believe in the Bible and are Christians, so we just found a Christian church who had a great children's program. With your little one only 21 months old, maybe try a church with a MOPS program, or work out some playgroups.

But if you work full-time, then you might have to come to grips with the fact that, at this season in your life, you have a full life with full-time work on top of being a wife and mother. There have been several years in my life that there just hasn't been time (or energy) for outside friendships. Hard, but just the season of life. That's when really focusing on my husband helped a lot.

Sorry not a lot of good, concrete advice, but I also didn't want to sugar-coat it, or lie to you. Having been a Mormon all your life, you've been lied to enough!!!

it's like an alcoholic yearning for a drink.
Seriously, being trapped and controlled is worse than feeling lonely.

An easy social fix of submitting to the church again won't solve a problem that takes time, luck, and hard work.

It reminds me of taking my cat to the vet. She calms down when she's enclosed in a dark confining box, but she still has to face the car ride and vet exam. The mormon church offers only false temporary security.

You're smarter than my cat and can see that.

Re: Tempted to go back...
I've only been back once, for a funeral. After the funeral, they served a lunch at the chapel. In trying to talk to everyone, I sadly realized that I no longer fit in with them.

I had really missed them all, socially, and was happy to see them, but I quickly realized that as much as I missed them, there was simply no going back.

Their talk is all church talk. Their lives revolve around the Church, and we cannot unlearn what we've learned. As they go on and on about how great it all is, you wanna scream.

It took me a while to finally stop missing them and the social life I'd had. But it was good for me to realize that if I went back, it wouldn't last long, as I simply didn't fit in anymore, and couldn't, even if I tried.

I guess it's a ready-made social life, with which we're familiar. It's a little harder to go out there and find a new social life, finding people who share our interests. I still haven't done that myself, but I imagine it would be worth giving it a shot.

Two thoughts.
One would be to investigate other Christian denominations. If there is a Mormon branch there, then there are most likely other churches as well. Sure, they wouldn't be as comfortable for you at first, but I think you might find them very welcoming. Any mainstream Protestant church would be a lot less demanding and time consuming than the Mormon church. Those churches would provide a mentally healthier experience for your daughter as well. Check out the Lutherans, the Methodists, the Presbyterians, the UU's, etc. It is not unusual for non-Mormons to go church shopping, so you can attend without worries that you'll be pressured to join.

A second idea would be to work on your Chinese language skills so that you can make more friends among the locals. I personally wouldn't feel comfortable living in a foreign country without being able to speak the language to at least some degree.

Re: Tempted to go back...
Ok, go back. I don't think anyone here is going to flame you for that decision. But just tell your husband to prepare himself for an unmerciful round of missionary bombing! Is he ready for that? Would he be a willing participant in your reactivation? You haven't written anything about the opinion of the most important person in your life. Will you eventually expect him to follow you down Temple Highway as most Mormon spouses end up requiring? Just wondering...
Re: Tempted to go back...
Guess what? I have a married TBM daughter and her husband in the Far East right now. She doesn’t work and has two little ones. Even though she is LDS and has the LDS group she says she feels just like you. This feeling of loneliness is a common thing for those that leave the states to live overseas. The flora, fauna, culture, food, language, everything is different. It’s like you’re on an alien planet. If it wasn’t your dream in the first place then it will be tough to get the mindset to enjoyably drink it all in like someone who loves foreign travel.

“I think you are right to fear for your daughter. It can take very little to influence children, and I would hate to see her young mind influenced by that. She is young enough now that she's probably pretty safe, but it won't be long before that will change. It seems kind of a shame that she could be having this really amazing cultural experience as she grows up, only to end up in the evil LDS clutches.” Pista


“Think of your daughter. Do you want to expose her to something toxic, that you'll have to lie to her about every day? No? I didn't think so.” Flare


“Any mainstream Protestant church would be a lot less demanding and time consuming than the Mormon church. Those churches would provide a mentally healthier experience for your daughter as well.” Summer


Going back doesn’t give the innocent child a choice does it? You are a parent with a child. Protect the child from bad things. Overall the church adds up to a bad thing. It’s a moral choice really and not a loneliness choice.

Re: Tempted to go back...
I wont tell you if your idea of going back is good or bad, I think you should concentrate on trying to find other ways to meet people and therefore maybe make new friends.

I think the suggestion of trying to learn a bit of the language is a very good one. And even if you don't know much, usually the people feel great that you're trying and they might end up be more open towards you. It also depends on how you approach them. If you show a truely fascination and joy and wonder about their culture they are more likely to welcome you.

Another suggestion, although I don't know if it is any good in your situation, is that I live and work around an area where are all the diplomatic missions/consulates/embassies. Immigrants and long-term visiting people usually ask to be on the mailing list of the consulates and embassies of their countries because when there are events they get to be invited and that way they meet up with others from their homeland. I don't know if that is an option for you but if so, maybe you can try this to make some acquaintances.

In any case I wish you the best of success in your journey in China.

It takes time
If you are in Beijing, I may be able to help you with ideas of where to meet other moms.
Every been in a room with 100 women and felt totally alone? That's expat life. We all feel that way. But there are opportunities out there to connect. And besides, you are in a foreign country. Think of all the great experiences you will have!

Mormons tend to stay in their own clique. Being an expat gives you the opportunity to meet people from ALL over the world. Lots of Brits, Norwegians, Koreans etc.

Going back would be the easiest way to "belong". It just might not be the best in the long run.

Re: Tempted to go back...
As for the guilt, if you haven't read much of the "true" history of the Church, it might be time to take a look. It will help you see that what you feel is so so so valid. And it will probably help take some of the guilt away. I especially like the article called "Testimony and Spiritual Witnesses" on Mormon Think's main page, because it really helped me see why I felt the way I did, and that it wasn't my fault that I didn't fit in.

Re: Tempted to go back...
I completely concur with the other posts. I don't live overseas but I homeschool and have little kids so I don't have many friends at all. But I can tell you that once I knew the church was false and I knew all the bad stuff, I couldn't stand going to church. The manipulation, lies, bad logic, fake friendships... I felt very alone at church and miserable because I couldn't say anything or be me.

Friendships are based on mutual interests and respect of the other person and their beliefs. I know that most ward members don't respect my non-beliefs, and frankly, I've lost respect for them and their beliefs. Sad but true. Birds of a feather flock together and you'll probably find that you just don't fit the flock anymore.

As for the guilt, maybe you do need to know the bad doctrines and all the BS Joseph Smith and Brigham Young did. It really cemented the fact, for me, that it was all made up and there is NOTHING to feel guilty about in regard to the church.

Morals and ethics and values guide me and determine if I feel guilt. The LDS church does not!

Re: Tempted to go back...
If you go back you will be stuck pretending in front of your boss for as long as you are there. He will be your very own personal Mormon spy, so to speak.
Re: Tempted to go back...
I'm not in the exact situation, but maybe similar in some regards. In my case I live in "happy valley" in Utah and everyone I am close to is TBM - work, family, friends, etc. I attend 1-2 hours of church every week with my wife.

A few thoughts:
1) My initial thought was yes it might be a good thing for you to go back with the opportunity for social interaction. The part that really worries me is your statement: "I feel this deep sense of guilt for quitting the church- a guilt I have never been able to shake in almost five years". I don't know what that is about and worry that going back is going to cause some major issues for you in that area. I officially requested my records be removed from the church less than 1 week ago and I don't feel one iota of guilt - I feel like I've gotten away from a scam. I feel isolated. I feel sad for the impact on relationships in my life. If sad/uncomfortable for the pain it will cause my friends/family. But not one iota of guilt. So to me that is a strong indicator you may not be able to attend in a way that is healthy for you. At least you better come to terms with this guilt first.
1a) You need to get to the point that you realize that the church is whatever you define it as a scam, a cult, not true, etc. You need to completely come to terms with this and realize that those people that you will be interacting with are caught up in this cult, scam, tribe, whatever. It is very unlikely that they are cognizant of this and think they are doing you the biggest favor in your life and eternity to involve you - their motivation to involve you more deeply will truly be out of love mixed with pride and duty. You can't be in a position where you will feel guilty not to be pulled further in.

2) If you go back the friendships you create will be real. The sense of family will be real on both sides. Just because you have different religious beliefs does not mean that you cannot create real meaningful friendships. If you are in China you are going to have to deal with having friends with wildly different beliefs than you anyway. At least in the case of the Mormons you understand where they are coming from and can speak their language (in two ways).

3) I read a study recently that the happiest people attend church regularly, regardless of what religion. The reason for the happiness is NOT a connection with god, but the fact that people are happiest when they are connected with more people. So even though I believe the Mormon church is a scam (and all religions are for that matter), I also believe you are likely to be happier if you are attending church and have the opportunity for the social interaction. If you are not attending church you need to work extra hard to compensate by finding other meaningful social interactions and connections in your life. You seem to have very limited opportunity to do so. If you decide that you are not going to attend church you need to make your top priority finding meaningful relationships somewhere. (This is coming from a staunch atheist.)

4) If you go back you should be very up front that you are there for the social interaction and that you have concerns with the beliefs (but avoid arguing the beliefs at all costs.) You don't need to rub this in everyone's face, you may not need to tell this to anyone but yourself, but you need to keep a firm boundary in this area. Keep very firm boundaries of what involvement you want. Only accept assignments you want - you are not turning down god by turning down the bishop or other church leaders. If you have been a victim of an abusive relationship and still feel guilt for leaving the church 5 years later, you may not be able to hold your ground on these boundaries and end up harming yourself and be manipulated. You have no obligation to pay tithing - in fact you could consider with the money you have paid in the past, the least the church can do is go you some social connections in China.

5) You could request visiting teachers and not go back to church. You may end up really liking them and if you do this could give you a very positive social interaction. It could also end up being negative, in which case you need to be prepared to stand up for yourself and ask for a change or ask that they no longer come.

6) I know that here in Utah MANY of the Spanish speaking wards and branches are a lot more about the social aspect than the religious aspect for those attending. You may find a similar dynamic with the English wards there in China, or you may not.

7) I believe your thinking on your career/manager is wrong. I am talking from the perspective of being a manager - I've managed hundreds of people over 15 years. Your manager is going to care about the work you do at work not whether you are an active, inactive or non mormon. I don't think this should be a factor either way in your decision. It's impossible to know if interacting with him at church would be positive or negative for your career, but most likely it would be neutral. Bosses just want employees that make their job easier, not harder.

8) Keep in mind that there is a pretty strong bias against the Mormon church in this forum. People who spend a bunch of their free time getting on here to bash the church aren't exactly neutral. This does not mean that you won't get very valuable advice, just be aware of the color of glasses those who are giving the advice are looking through.

9) With all of the baggage you have regarding the church your best bet is probably to put ALL of your available energy into finding meaningful relationships and social interactions somewhere else. You are probably a fairly strong introvert which makes this harder. But being and introvert that also has the advantage you only need to find 2-3 deep meaningful relationships to feel fulfilled. You could consider finding a therapist specifically to talk about your isolation and how to "put yourself out there" and risk rejection to meet your greater need to find some friends. I could be wrong and you could be an extrovert meaning you just crave a lot of varied social interaction but not necessarily at a deep level. If so put your energy into figuring out how to find that - a serious effort to find a Chinese tutor could be an idea - if you are the one making the effort to speak Chinese at the playground your experience may be very different.

10) Concentrate on deepening the closeness and intimacy with your husband and children. Wherever those relationships are now, take them to the next level.

Cutting to the chase... Once the bell
trying to pretend it didn't happen won't make it's ringing go away. For what ever reasons you have become too enlightened to make going back work.. JMHO

Re: Tempted to go back...
A few things to consider:

Do you want your daughter to be taught that she belongs to your first tbm husband if you were married to him in the temple and have not had a temple divorce? Do you want her to be taught that in order for her to be the best she can be her Daddy needs to be a member and a priesthood holder? If he won't join do you want her to experience the stigma of a part member family? Do you want your husband to be subjected to the pressure by members constantly letting him know he needs to join if he truly loves his family? When she is old enough to marry do you want her Dad to be told he is not worthy to see her married if he has not joined and remained active and paid his tithing for admission.

Are you willing to accept callings that require you to teach and afirm that the Church is true? If you do go back and afirm that the Church is true then you are afirming all of the above questions and many more.

Good luck.

Re: Tempted to go back...
Your reasons for wanting to go back are actually the same reasons converts join.

See a pattern?

Many people are lonely and try to attach themselves to something that promises help and companionship.

Instead, why not seek out an org that does not exploit you and lets you be yourself?

I officially requested my records be removed from the church less than 1 week ago and I don't feel one iota of guilt - ronas
Yeah Baby, Yeah!

Re: Tempted to go back...
I think that believing your job will be positively affected by being a mormom (because your boss is), is definetely a sign that you are from Utah.

Nowhere else does that hold true. I was a mormom, I am no longer a mormom. I work with many people who are mormom and know I no longer am mormom (including my boss), and it has absolutely no affect on my work or position. I live in Canada.

Believing that being a mormom will definetely be a positive bonus in your carrer has got to be the most Utahnian thing there is (for obvious reasons of course).

Are there no clubs in China that you can join that are for expats? Are there no activities in the community that you live for expats? If not, is there not something you could start up yourself? Does it have to be a religion?

I can certainly understand the feeling of wanting to belong since my family moved almost once per year while I grew up and I never felt like I could even make friendships. But don't attend something just for the sake of loneliness because chances are you will 'feel' a little warm and fuzzy and you may confuse that with some kind of feeling that the church must be true. It isn't. It's a sham.

Hope you can find an alternative.

Re: Tempted to go back...
The level of guilt you experience is just conditioning. You are now responsible for removing that conditioning. And I don't mean going back to church. That is an "avoidant defense" and is NOT the way to a healthier lifestyle.

There is NO NEED for you to feel guilt. I encourage you to find a way to tackle this problem; recognize that it's been instilled in you as a youth. You've been brainwashed, essentially, to feel guilty, and you don't need to feel this way. You can be happy, healthy, and PROUD of your decision to find your way out of the lies Mormonism propagates.

Allowing yourself to feel guilt only gives them more power. Going back to the church will only serve to increase your guilt.

They will make you pay for your "disobedience." Wake up, and find another outlet. Don't return to the church of falsehood.

Re: Tempted to go back... Just like any addict.
And can someone be addicted to an idea, a way of life? A cult? YOU BET!!!!!

Stick around here, it's a self-help group for others in your position! The rest of us who come here...

NeverMo in CA
Re: Tempted to go back...
Amen to everything others have said here, but you also mentioned guilt about your grandma. I can understand that because I was very close to my Catholic grandmother who was sad that most of her grandchildren are not practicing Catholics (although she ever tried to guilt-trip anyone about it). My question is, why does your grandmother even need to know if you are no longer a Mormon--given that you are living thousands of miles away? You don't need to bring up religion with her in phone calls or written communication, and if she should bring it up, surely you can say something vague like "Grandma, you know I care about how important the church is to you", etc., then change the subject. Even let her think that you are attending Mormon services in China if it will comfort an old lady. It doesn't hurt anyone (in my opinion). I don't think your love for your grandmother needs to be an impediment to you living the life you want and deserve.

Re: Tempted to go back...
Here's a couple of things to consider.

First, if i was EVER to consider being involved in mormonism at all it would be in China. Mormonism is illegal in China and the branches there are all only allowed as a service to the expat community and to tourists. Chinese citizens are not allowed to be proselytized or solicited. Every Sunday you can see the Chinese security guys watching the buildings.

Hence, the local congregations are much less cultish practically speaking than they would otherwise be. There are no missionary pushes or things of that nature and people are left alone far more.

I would say that if you want to go there and check it out go ahead. It will not be nearly as onerous. The local "authorities" are more figurehead than real. I have seen, more often than not, the attempts to assert authority be slapped down. The Chinese rightly regard mormonism as a dangerous cult and most locals have no interest in proving them right by being heavy-handed.

I would say that your employment situation is likely to not be nearly as tenuous with a mormon boss in China. If you were targeted due to your opposition you would have the Chinese Ministry of Religious Affairs to talk with, who would not look at all favorably on the matter.

The Chinese government is (in my mind rightly) very anti-cult.

Here is a policy statement on another cult: Falun Gong.


If you read this, you will see that the elements that are objected to are basically identical to the cult elements in mormonism.

More generally, I agree that your basic problem is that you are isolated in China and that if you can become better connected in other ways, your interest in mormons would disappear.

Never understood the social reason of wanting to return to Church...
...simply because I've found the majority of members to be boorish, intrusive, petty, phony, judgmental, nosey, arrogant, self-righteous, you get the idea. Most are so UN-self-aware it's ridiculous all the while thinking they are just so darn wonderful. Surely, there are better places to find authentic relatonships - I don't think I EVER had one in the church.

Re: Tempted to go back...
Greyfort is *so* right. I very recently took my son to the MTC, and 2 weeks before was his farewell and an open house. I felt completely out of place in my own home. Also, I've been
to wedding receptions and other social events and I couldn't get out fast enough. There is only one thing they want to talk about.

I just think that once you're out, you're out. You will not enjoy the conversations, and pretending is just too darn hard.

Re: Tempted to go back...
I know plenty of people in church who only attend for the social life, business connections and networking, power and status etc and almost certainly don't truly believe it.

Personally, I would rather keep my integrity.

Re: Tempted to go back...
I live oversea in an asian country, so I understand the desire to be around your own culture. But I don't think it will be worth it at all. I go to a Xtian church here, even though I think it's also all crap. I sit and think Bullshit all through the sermon, but I ocassionally go just to talk to other English speakers.

Perhaps going to someone elses bullshit will work better than the Mormons.

As to the guilt, read No Man Knows My History by Fawn Brodie. Once you read that I'm confident that you'll be saying something along the lines of, "I can't believe we were so hoodwinked, it's all bullshit and he made it up!" That relieves all the guilt.

Posted by: momme25 ( )
Date: January 15, 2012 12:44AM
Re: Tempted to go back...

Wow! I cannot thank everyone enough for your insights and help on this matter that I have been obsessing with for so long. Some comments that especially resonated with me were:
“you will not find the sense of connection that you are seeking because you will also feel the deep emptiness of knowing that you don't share the beliefs that their whole world is built on” (pista). You are right. I could try “faking it” for a while, but I think I’d end up feeling more empty and alone.

“Do you want to expose her to something toxic, that you'll have to lie to her about every day? No? I didn't think so.”(flare) While I know she’d enjoy meeting English-speaking friends and singing songs and playing in nursery, she is a very bright little girl and after we move or eventually quit going, she will wonder why. Worse, if we continue to go throughout her childhood- I risk her being brainwashed, as I was at such an early age. Not to mention going back to church would teach her to judge all of the other children that don’t go to the same church as her (a terrible but true fact that I witnessed all too many times growing up mormon).

“you might have to come to grips with the fact that, at this season in your life, you have a full life with full-time work on top of being a wife and mother”. (flare). This thought is always in the back of my mind when it comes to meeting new friends and getting out there. I realize the extreme loneliness has only been recently since my husband started working nights and weekends, and there isn’t much adult interaction in my day at all (considering my job is kid-focused as well). Perhaps I would have looked into more ways to get out there if I did actually have TIME. I guess that is why the church is such an easy fallback for me, because I haven’t had the chance (or haven’t taken the chance) to look into other groups.

“The level of guilt you experience is just conditioning. You are now responsible for removing that conditioning. And I don't mean going back to church. That is an "avoidant defense" and is NOT the way to a healthier lifestyle.”(greekgod) YES!!!! I know I have been conditioned to feel guilt my entire life, especially for “falling away”. I do think it is time that I tackle my guilt and I have begun to research the history of the church and have already read much on mormonthink as well as this page. I think my guilt will continue to subside as I read more on the lies I had been taught to believe. Does anyone else have any good websites they recommend?

As for my grandmother- I am not sure how to tackle this. As I don’t think I could just tell her I am attending church (which I have thought about), mostly because she might come visit me in China and then the cat would be out of the bag! LOL. I think I will continue to respect her beliefs (in front of her) and let her know in some kind of gentle way, that I’m not interested in raising my little one in the church. That sounds bad. I think I’ll keep avoiding it with her for a while.

As for my future boss- I guess the biggest benefit I imagined (which I forgot to share earlier) was that he’d be willing to create a part-time job for me with comparable benefits, and being LDS, I figured he would be more understanding towards this. But I think going back would completely backfire, because I don’t think there is any way I could keep up the rouse. I think he will find out I’m an ex-mo, but as a few people said, that shouldn’t legally have any hold towards how he treats me. I will just continue to do my best at my job without any ulterior motive.

Since posting this three days ago, thanks to your tremendous responses and some soul-searching myself, I have made inquiries to a Gymboree near my area, a play group, a local women’s club, and have signed my hubby up for the monthly cheese and wine club in our city (which will help him network too, as he’s in the hospitality industry). I think I am also going to try out some local non-denom churches. I figure if I want a change-I AM GOING TO HAVE TO PUT THE EFFORT INTO MAKING A CHANGE. Not the easy mind-numbing fallback that has been so convenient in my past. I think leaving the church is like giving birth in a way- you forget about the hell you’ve endured until you go through it again.

I could continue all day to note the helpful comments everyone has made. I greatly appreciate the advice and time everyone put forth to help me out in this situation. I feel like I’ve already made a huge step in the right direction. By freeing myself from the clutches of the church, I know my family will be able to have the true cultural experience in China we have always dreamed of. Thank you.

"Recovery from Mormonism - www.exmormon.org"