I have been trying to be so brave. But I am terrified.

ambivalent exmo Oct. 2012

I cannot reconcile the paradox. How do I go on? Oh god, I feel so alone. My mother in laws comments sent me spinning. Who am I now?
I was lying when I said I was OK. What in hell do I do with this new knowledge? I am so lost.

Carol Y.
You are going through the normal up and down cycle when going through a major change.
Your MIL triggered your downward trend. Try to catch up on your rest, and do something nice for yourself. Also, it goes without saying, to limit contact with her. She's savvy, and knows just where to attack you emotionally. She sounds very cruel. No contact would be better, which is probably not possible. Don't put any blame on yourself. She is the one with the problem.
Re: I have been trying to be so brave. But I am terrified. And I am so tired.
It is hard to give advice to someone I don't really know well, and that is why I tell people my own experiences, and hope it will help.

I remember the rug-pulled-out-from-under-you feeling, when you first find out the Truth. It is very traumatic. Sometimes it seemed like what had been right was wrong and what had been wrong was right. Down the road, I learned that "right" is what my heart tells me is right. What is right for me, might be wrong for someone else...and then there are all those grey areas. Don't try to define things too soon. Keep your mind open.

To keep from feeling totally "lost," I made a conscious decision to keep my belief in God and Christ. I continued to pray. During the process of leaving, I have come to know a different God. Joseph Smith's Morgod is someone he made up--a God who was once a man, a God who ordered JS into polygamy, a God who appeared to JS with His separate Son and revealed the Mormon cult as "God's only true church," a God that doesn't like other churches. Yikes! That god and his celestial kingdom with its rules that actually separate families and forbid them to see each other, and its heavenly polygamy--all that used to scare me. It still scares me more than "not knowing" scares me. I am not as afraid to die.

Keep your faith in God and Christ for a while. You have enough to deal with already. What you are facing takes great courage, and I admire you! You will discover that your battles are not with God, but with cult members, such as your MIL, who want to manipulate and intimidate you. You will learn to love yourself. You can trust yourself to take care of you. You will have the strength to lead your husband out of the cult, too. Patience, love, and honesty are the answers.

You might want to make a simple list of who you are, which includes your likes and dislikes, your self-image, what you do with your time. List the few principles that are important to YOU. (Probably tattoos and underwear won't be on that list.) Write about what makes you one of a kind. No one will ever be born that is anything like YOU. What do you wish for? What do you admire in other people?

Please be aware that a lot of your fear comes from Mormonism itself. It is a fear-based cult. The cult leaders use fear and threats to keep its members paying money into the cult. Pay, or you will be separated from your family for all eternity. Pay, or Satan will tempt you into outer darkness. Pay, or your marriage will dissolve, you will lose your children, you will fail in life, God will withdraw his blessings, you will be punished, you will fall ill--whatever. My bishop, stake president, home teacher, some neighbors, my parents, all threatened me with this VooDoo garbage. The reality is that THEY, THE MORMONS will be the ones to try to carry out the theats. Not God. God is not in the Mormon church. God does not take orders from prophets or priesthood holders. I believe that God loves you unconditionally. God wants you to be happy. You are on the right track. God does not want you to be in a cult. Yes--it is a cult.

Re: I have been trying to be so brave. But I am terrified. And I am so tired.
It can be scary navigating your own life having to be responsible for our own actions and thoughts instead of relying on Mormonism's pre-packaged thoughts and responses to situations.

It helped me to realize the big difference is that Mormonism has to be right....but I don't have to be right. It's ok for me now to find out that I was wrong about something, it most always leads to a better place for me once I make it through the drama of change.

Don't let someone who has to be right, believes in superstitious stuff, and resists considering that they might be wrong spin you out so badly. It's all part of the process and you're constantly moving to better places while she gets left behind. Soon the things that she does that outrage you now will probably make you smile and roll your eyes.

Re: I have been trying to be so brave. But I am terrified. And I am so tired.
I agree smithscars, and would only add, IMO each of us must eventually accept that the inner journey is very personal, and not necessarily a team sport. We can share with others, and sharing can be fun and useful. But the genuine decisions we make about life, the universe and everything are of our own make and choosing.

And this is...ok.

I think when we accept this, and allow others the same freedom of choice and process, we lose the hunger and need for validation from others for our ideas and beliefs about "the big questions". Hopefully, then, any potential conflict with others will be defused.

Re: I have been trying to be so brave. But I am terrified. And I am so tired.
hello: That was a great point to add! Its also part of what changed my current approach to mormons/mormonism.

Once I started not worrying about it being a team sport I didn't feel the need to pull people all the way over to my way of thinking.

As far as my mormon friends and family, all I like to think I do is try to pull them up out of mormonism by carefully bringing up issues & encouraging them studying it out on their own & come to their own conclusions and then checking back in on them to further discuss.

So much better. The biggest trick is to be able to talk tough subjects and keep a cool so that I don't ignite the situation and burn our relationship.

I have to admit, it's fun for me to do. Its tricky to be able to do it but after a while it becomes like a game or a sport.

For me, its not about getting them out of mormonism. The score comes when you can bring up some kind of tough issue and talk about it peacefully. Another score is the next conversation when they come back with their reasons and objections. I have an easier time with this now BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE TO BE RIGHT. IM NOT TRYING TO WIN.

I just want to keep the discussion going.

If we're talking about stuff like JS Polygamy, they don't have to take my point of view for me to feel like it was a success, I feel just as happy hearing their point of view (excuses) because they make us all smile...lol

See, so much more fun :)

It's okay to be scared
Often mormons were raised and trained not to feel their feelings ( anger, fear, sadness). Since mormons had the truth,there was no reason for those feelings.

But feelings have a purpose, and they are there, even if you stuff them for a long time. Evolutionarily, fear helped us survive from predators. So IMO what's important is recognizing fear and whether or not it's true or not. Am I afraid the world will end in Dec? How likely is that to happen? What about losing my job? That's more likely.

I highly recommend cognitive behavioral therapy with a non LDS therapist, to talk about your feelings and setting boundaries in relationships. For some of us, we need external reinforcement that what we are doing is the right thing. Particularly as many people in our lives that we may have trusted are saying the opposite.

Re: I have been trying to be so brave. But I am terrified.
Are you terrified that you have made the wrong decision? That yo are now deluded? Are you just terrified about the implications of it all? What ever it is, what helped me a lot was taking very deep breaths in order to calm down. After sithlord broke the news to me, it was hard to sleep. I would wake in the night with my mind racing. I had to remind myself to take deep breaths, and this one simple thing helped a lot. I hadn't even realized that I had been holding my breath.

When I realized for the first time that the church might not be true, I was terrified. When I first admitted the temple was creepy and stopped wearing garments, I was terrified. When I found sure proof that the church is false, I was terrified. Even now, I have moments of panic. I find that I just keep reading and studying the truth, partly to know more, and partly to assure myself that I have made the right decision.

Take a vacation from thinking about it
I know that sounds almost impossible, but it works. I had to do it. The day I found out my boyfriend was gay--that was probably the one most defining moment of my life and it led to a journey of YEARS and the day I realized the lds church was not true was the day I finally found peace. It took around 20 years.

I went inactive when I found out he was cheating--he was ex. sec. I didn't want him to be called to bishop (which the bishop had told me was going to happen)--and my life was such a huge mess from there on out for SO LONG--him leaving, being a single mother--I had VERY LITTLE time to think about mormonism and one day it just all fell apart.

Take a vacation from thinking. Take care of YOURSELF. Go for walks--walking is what has healed me more than anything. I'd go out to the middle school track and rant and rave at God and tell him "how could he want THIS for my life." I got a lot of answers there. Being alone in the fresh air, exercising, it helps you listen to your own inner voice.

Re: You are now where many of us have been...
As said before, it is hard to give advice to someone I don't know. I will tell you that 7 years ago, I thought my marriage was going to be over, that my job was going to be gone, that my kids will hate me, that my immediate family members will not speak to me. The reality is that I beat myself up over discovering that I no longer believed in the LD$ church. I admit it was stressful, painful and I was angry often. Hang in there. It WILL get better. Give it time.


No need to be brave unless it helps you in some way.
Time is your best friend. It will heal and strengthen you.

Take a breath and put it out of your mind when you can.

We've all been through this and we're no stronger or better at it than you are. Point being if all of us could do it, you can too, I promise.

Sending you good thoughts and peaceful healing dreams of a happier future.

I think
you are showing signs of depression. Your explanation reminds me of what I went through when I found out my ex was gay. Racing thoughts? One of the worst parts of depression.

Have you looked into at least a short course of antidepressants? (The doctor back then--1983--said I didn't act depressed and wouldn't give me any.)

Can you go to therapy? Don't always settle for the first therapist you go to. Shop around until you find someone you click with.

Re: I have been trying to be so brave. But I am terrified.
Your MIL will do it again. Mormons know their weaponry.

You got caught off guard. You tried to take it as ridiculous and you gave us all a good laugh when you recounted her behavior.

BUT, her dig worked. Of course it did. The reason it did is because you are open and honest now more than you have ever been in your life. You are not lost, but you are raw. Do not confuse the two. Anyone open to truth and fact is not lost even if they haven't been able to digest it all yet. It may feel like a maze sometimes but you are not truly lost unless you sit down and quit walking.

I would sit for an hour and think about what you will do next time. There's always a next time.

When Jerry Falwell called Ellen Degeneres 'Ellen Degenerate' in the national media, I saw her interviewed about it later and her response was, "How do you respond to that? It's like grade school." or something like that.

If your MIL goes that route again or anything like it, I would just say 'Name calling is SO third grade". Then leave. Leave.

Well that's what I would do or something similar. Also, practice your most evil glare in the mirror. Those are better than words sometimes.

You my dear Ambivalentexmo are not third grade. You MUST know it. You are talented and beautiful and you are not afraid of the truth.

Just browsing
So brave. But I am terrified. --REMEMBER AND LEARN !!!!
REMEMBER --throughout their lives as TBMs, they are consistantly being trained as PROFESSIONAL SABATEURS !!! They are taught if someone leaves the Church,to shun and tear down their reasonning for doing so, and also to cast doubts on their actions at the time they are the most vunerable..

This is first taught in Young Men and Young Women and is continued through Relief Society and Priesthood and it is continued at General Conference..

Their mentality is --"IF YOU ARE NOT WITH US --THEN YOU ARE AGAINST US " No matter how much proof you offer or references you can quote them .. You have become an apostate and apostates must be shunned ,belittled and EVENTUALLY DECLARED WAR AGAINST..

Cheer up it happens to the best of us on this forum !!


Re: I have been trying to be so brave. But I am terrified.
The first year for me was a nightmare of hourly panic not daring to tell anyone. After I told my wife about the church it was like a floodgate at first, poor gal, but things got a lot easier to bear. After that we stopped attending regularly and that was the even harder part because ward members, friends and family went on the offensive.

Ambivalent, you should recognize that what you are going through is a typical shaming tactic designed to break you and reel you back in, but a tactic that has been used on literally hundreds of posters on this board in the few years that I've been reading it. The object is to make you feel that the only way you can be loved is to go back.

The good news is that you are not alone. The second good news is that facts are provable and it does not matter how hard they try to break you, they are the ones who are wrong.

It is very hard not to tell people the grand secret that we've uncovered, but to be truly effective and to preserve our sanity is to be the same friendly person we were before we left. Avoid conflict. Avoid discussion if possible. And dump out your feelings in safe places, like here or a trusted nonmormon friend.

The other good news, at least in my ward, is that mormons will hound you as directed but get tired of not seeing results and will stop before long. As for family, sometimes it's best just to avoid them until they get themselves together.

In the end though, the simple fact that no matter how you slice it, the church is NOT what it claims to be and no amount of external or internal pressure can change that. Because this is true, you do not need to worry about your soul or eternal punishment. If God is a god of truth, then he must stand by you as you seek the truth and to free yourself from errors that pull you away from Him.

I wish you the best, and remember that the journey seems insurmountable sometimes but as many here on this board have discovered, myself included, that the journey is not impossible and it does get easier as time goes by. Some people get out quickly and painlessly, and some of us don't, but we eventually find peace and you will too.

Do not be afraid.

Re: I have been trying to be so brave. But I am terrified.
And another thing..... I have just re-read this thread and it is amazing. Great counsel from big hearts that are just as funny as they are wise. Look at the company you keep now, here and then at the company--people like MIL==that you used to keep.

You are found.

Re: I have been trying to be so brave. But I am terrified.
I know exactly what you are going through.

It's been around 6 months for me (since going down the rabbit-hole), it does get better.

Hang in there, you'll find much love and support here (and the rest of the world).
The Mormonism programing runs deep. Fear is one of the greatest tools in the Morg. Another tool is peer-pressure, the TSCC is very good at tying everyone together through family, friends and communities. They try to destroy the individual. Don't let them.

If God exists, He would be merciful. If He isn't merciful, then who cares anyway? If He is real, then He gave you a brain to use, and He can't fault or condemn you for using it. And, anyone who really looks at the TSCC critically, or objectively can't be blammed in anyway for not believing it. There is way too much evidence. The chances of the TSCC actually being what it claims to be, are so small that no one can be held accountable for not buying into it. A merciful God would not comdemn you.

Isn't it a MONUMENTAL endeavor to have a belief in God? But, to believe in the MORG you have to accept:
Adam-God doctrine (Oh they changed it)
Polygamy (Oh wait they changed it, well all will be restored)
JS a prophet (though he lies, cheats, adultery, outlaw, delusional, egomaniac, etc, etc.)
Christ restored gospel (was brought to the earth and taken, then put back again.)
Restored Truth is a Multi-Billion dollar corporation, building malls, shopping centers, Hotels, private schools, hunting preserves, etc, etc.

I could go on all day. Is this really the one true church? Would God really hold accountable for all that BS?

Re: I have been trying to be so brave. But I am terrified.
We have all grown up in a sick society where we must pretend that nothing is wrong. Everyone else, those on the outside, must be the sick ones.

There is no middle ground in Mormonism. If they don't attack you for being different, then they must face themselves.

Their comfort requires your discomfort. This is sick. The best you can do is be your true self and feel sorry for them. You were once there yourself.

When they see that you are happy and decent, and an honest person, it might help some of them make the same transition that you have made.

Re: I have been trying to be so brave. But I am terrified.
Your life was stolen by the fraudulent Mormon Cult. Their goal was to take your money and enslave you. The Cult has perfected their methods and they are very good at doing their evil deeds.

Fortunately you had the intelligence to figure out that they are a scam. Now that you no longer believe the lies of the Cult you are in control of your own life and destiny. This is a completely new feeling, something you have not previously experienced. So initially it is very scary.

Take control of your thought process and stop thinking about the Mormon Cult. That is behind you. Look forward to a wonderful future that you will plan for yourself. Live in the here and now. Spend your time doing enjoyable things that you didn't have time for when your mind was dominated by the Cult.

Cease all interaction with Mormons. They are only looking out for their own interests and they have no concern about your happiness.

Spend time here on RFM. You are among friends.

Utah County Mom
Re: I have been trying to be so brave. But I am terrified.
Ambivalent Exmo--Hang in there. You WILL get through this. Take no hurry to replace Mormonism with a new belief system. Whether you become Christian, Buddhist, Wiccan or atheist, I think you will find a new peace and freedom. If you need counseling or even temporary medicinal support to get you through your depression, do it. Find an ex-mo support group if you can--I found in freinds who'd wised up to the church years before I did.

There is life outside Mormonism. I know this because I grew up non-Mormon and then left the church in my mid-40s. You'll get there.

Re: I have been trying to be so brave. But I am terrified.
Your mil is one screwed up chick. In her hippy days she tried to live in a socialistic setup. Obviously it wasn't all that, or she would have still been there.

So, what does she do? Signs on with a group of people whose eternal plan is to be the ultimate socialistic group.

Why would she do that? Then turn around and in a condescending snarky tone accuse you of being a socialist?

She has no idea who she is, what she's saying, where she's been, where she's at, or where she's going.

I wouldn't spend much time thinking about anything she says. She certainly hasn't.

You are much further advanced than her. You are not afraid to look for truth. Wherever it may be. You aren't afraid to say what it is when you find it. Once you find it, taking a different road can be a little dis orienting. If you've been a mormon, there will be people who will try to pull you back. They will throw anything they can think of at you. They shun you while simultaneously trying to reel you back in. Sometimes the only way to stop the insanity is to cut the line.

That's when you will get rid of distractions that have prevented you from seeing all of the wonderful new scenery on the this road you've never traveled. New friends, new food, new experiences, new ways of thinking. Even the air is different. Like mountain air, it's refreshing and it soothes your spirit.

Don't let the fear and control of others stop you from having the life that you want. You won't get their permission, but the good news is, you don't need it.

Like all roads, there may be bumps and potholes. No road is perfect. BUT, you got to choose these bumps and potholes. It wasn't done for you or in spite of you. You are off the tether of mormonism. They never had your best interest at heart. They didn't care.

It was all about them. It was about their image. They have created a huge idol that they worship. It consists of millions of people worshiping their shiny new temples. They put their time, energy, and resources into it. If you don't do the same, they will torment you. Everything they do is directed at maintaining their idols of worship. When you're mormon, it's the ultimate prize to get to walk through those doors. Don't tell me that Mormons aren't into idol worship. That's all it. Don't be afraid to give it up and choose your own new way.

ambivalent exmo
Re: I have been trying to be so brave. But I am terrified.
Good advice, all. My reaction took me by surprise, I thought it would just roll off my back. A bit of a delayed reaction. Anyway, thank you for all of your lovely words. This recovery board is probably the one place where I can be honest about how I feel & the reality of the journey out of churchco.

Leaving is so very complicated. I am just stumbling through as best as I can. Rough night. Today is better.

Re: I have been trying to be so brave. But I am terrified. And I am so tired.
Forestpal is wise, listen to her. She has had quite a life and not only survived but thrived. There are other women here also who will tell you the pain of giving birth to the real you is nothing compared to the peace and joy which follows.

Give yourself time by acknowledging that you are in a high transition stage right now. If you look at the bible or great literature, the person seeking truth always goes off by themselves. Moses to the mountain, Jesus to the desert, etc.

Mormons don't want you having a moment to yourself to receive the truth and inspiration that you can call forth from within you. It's one of the reason they love bomb you-- solitude is dangerous for the tribe BECAUSE PEOPLE WILL LEAVE IT IF THEY ARE LEFT ALONE.

You have separated yourself from your tribe just by recognizing truth AND VALUING IT. Look how many people find the truth here but just cannot "hurt" those around them by pulling them out of the matrix. You are telling your truth, hopefully with love, and it does hurt your relatives not to share and reinforce the Great Delusion with you.

But it's the same kind of hurt you saw Neo experience as he awoke gasping from the Matrix. Unless you are talking about an aging grandmother, I view it as the most important legacy you can leave behind-- T R U T H with love, T R U T H with integrity.

Our own shuddering emotional awakening is usually still raw when we tell our relatives. Their initial rejection is pain on an injury. First we realize the church we loved and respected is dishonest, deliberately lying. Then we get the huge blow of finding out our family does not love us unconditionally, like we thought. They are agents of a corporation and are trained to deliberately hurt us if we don't continue paying.

See, Mormons don't care if you believe or not, as long as you pay. Otherwise, they would be quizzing all those NOMs and lining them up for Courts of Love. No, you can think whatever you want, just sign the check.

(Any of you reading this who have not left, you can test this yourself. Tell them you don't believe in JS, JC, or the prophets. Then ask how much your back tithing would be for the last three years. I guarantee they will give you a figure and wait for you to write out a check.)

Your family doesn't really know you, ambi. The "you" that is coming out now is someone you didn't even know yourself. And its only just begun. You have no idea what's inside you that has been suppressed and will now bloom like a plant that seems dead out in the desert and then bursts into life when the rain comes.

You received the rain of truth from someone and you are passing it on, with love, to the people you care about most. That's your message and your mission. Your message is just one word or phrase of a book that is on their shelf. There will be more books added before the whole artificial universe of god/Kolob/polygamy crumbles and they have their money and their life back.

And if it never does, honey, you have done all you can. ALL YOU CAN DO is find out who you are and be the best person you can be, the most authentic, the most loving. THAT'S IT.

Even if you lose everything and every one who is in your life now, you will gain more than you lose by finding and being your real self. There is no real peace, no lasting joy in living being someone that someone else needed you to be.

It's essential that you take this job of self-discovery seriously. You can't expect to sit on the sofa watching Judge Judy and think that you're not going to feel empty. You have extracted a false self and there is a hole.

Start doing something different in every area of your life. You are providing input for new choices--choices you have been denied your whole life. You are your own mother now and you have to raise yourself now with love and tenderness.

Physical: Start an exercise program. If you drink too much, stop. If you have been doing drugs, stop. If you have been smoking too much, stop. Start eating a vegetable-based diet, go on a liver cleanse fast, start juicing.

Mental: Write on your bathroom mirror: Be kind. Everyone you meet is involved in a great struggle. Start studying a subject you've always been interested in but were to busy on the Mormon hamster wheel. By that I mean Take A Class so you can be around other adults who are also interested. Like a night class at a community college.

Spiritual: Start visiting the local churches until you have been to every single one. This is not so you can shop for a new religion, it is so you can rub the bruise of intolerance that appears when a religion has hurt us. It's a lump that is best absorbed by exposing yourself to many people who are in non-cult churches actually doing good work in the community. If you find one that is doing something you really like, volunteer to work by their side.

Volunteer: Start your own program if you don't find something in the community that you can support. You have amazing talents, you could teach single mothers how to sew. With your mutliple talents, you could be an art therapist as a profession. You could learn ASL and teach deaf children and their parents how to sign.

Suzy is interested in doing that instead of being an accountant. She was out in the community with her brother going into rehab and she started meeting people who left corporate jobs to volunteer or to work menial jobs helping people with psych problems or getting off jobs. Every one said they wanted to follow their heart and do something they loved. She asked herself why she thinks she has to do the work that pays the most. She suddenly realizes that's crazy and WAKES UP from a delusion she has had her whole life. That she is the value that her job brings in. Delusion gone, whole new life awaits her.

Ambi, I have been telling her this since last November. Did I fail that it took her talking to these other people to realize that she should have fulfilling work? No, of course not. My input is just one piece of the stained glass window that is her new paradigm, her new world view. One year.

So relax and just start moving forward with your own adventure. Your mother-in-law's opinion of you means exactly nothing. Zero. She cannot understand you because she is still mummified as far as personal growth goes --and she may never wake up. But you have awakened and must wish her the best and walk into your own exciting future.

Love you


Re: I have been trying to be so brave. But I am terrified.
My advice: take a few deep breaths.

Then: let it go.

Give yourself TIME and go SLOW in making changes in your thinking processes.

It's not the end of the world, you will survive changing your World View --- little by little.

Know and understand that this state is temporary and all will work out fine.

And finally: never mind what others think. Never take any of it personally. That is about them, not you anyhow.

And read:
The Four Agreements by Don Miquel Ruiz
You might find this helpful! I did!


Hang in there. Keep putting one foot in front of the other.
This too shall pass!

Re: I have been trying to be so brave. But I am terrified.
Honestly, you should limit contact with people who aren't willing to listen to your side of the story, if at all possible. And I would recommend just spending some time on you and what makes you happen. Leaving is a grueling process and can wreak havoc on your life, at least in the beginning. But over time, it does get better - you get to know who you are and what makes you happy.

Best of luck and just know that we are here for you and we all understand the challenges of leaving.

"Recovery from Mormonism - www.exmormon.org"