Is better to leave Mormonism cold turkey or gradually?

MntZerin Aug 2012

I’m currently a recommend holding active member of the church. I was born and raised in the church and did all the things I was suppose to do. I've been blessed with a lovely wife and a young family. All my extended family, in-laws, and friends are recommend holding members.

I do not live in Utah or near extended family, but there is a strong LDS community which has become my support group. Unfortunately for me I’ve finally come to accept that the Mormon Church is based on lies and not what it claims to be. I can no longer maintain the suspension of disbelief. My wife saw it coming and when I told her she took it pretty well (She hasn’t taken the kids and run off to Utah yet). I think that as long as I continue to court and support her and don’t engage in self destructive behaviors we will be okay as a couple. My question for the exmormon community is: Is it better to leave the church cold turkey or gradually? I am inclined to drag it out over months (First don't renew the recommend, then stop paying tithing, then quit my calling....) so it is not such a shock to those I love and to give me time to develop a new support group. Can those who have already gone down this road give me some advice?

Re: Is better to leave Mormonism cold turkey or gradually?
Perhaps a hybrid of the two paths?

Maybe you can emotionally, financially and physically withdraw immediately without a formal resignation and break your disbelief to family and friends in gradual stages.

You are SO dang lucky that your wife is taking it well . . .
I think the idea of backing away slowly is perfect. You never know if one of those things you plan to stop doing will trigger a negative response from your wife, so be careful. My guess is that she'll be uncomfortable with the tithing thing, because that could affect HER temple recommend status.
Re: Is better to leave Mormonism cold turkey or gradually?
I favor the gradual approach.

You discovered the truth gradually and you have had time to adjust. It's such a shock--it's only compassionate to allow your loved ones to gradually notice that you've lost interest, reduced attendance, allowed your recommend to lapse. If you are lucky, they will ask you why and you can tell them you are researching and ask them if they want to hear what you discovered.

Some people don't want to know and it's only right to show some respect and honor their wishes.

Best of luck to you and we're here for you!


Re: Is better to leave Mormonism cold turkey or gradually?
Gradual approach. Start with keeping your own money. If you're not going to renew your recommend anyway, stop giving them the money that they require for it.

Re: Is better to leave Mormonism cold turkey or gradually?
Cold turkey for us, but our story is unique. My DH [husband] came out to me 2 months ago, I followed him 3 weeks later. We've been on vacation all summer anyway, so we just plan to never go back.

Re: Is better to leave Mormonism cold turkey or gradually?
My husband led me and our children safely out of the cult. He was upfront and honest with me, and let me know what he was finding out about the Mormon church. He shared his outrage with me--all the emotions. He said he could not support a cult, but that he respected my rights to worship how I pleased. He said that he would not stop me and the children from going to church--but he would not support us in any way. He stopped paying tithing, but I could pay on my own income. He didn't attend the Scout activities, or any of our talks or performances, or the Christmas party.

I like how you mention "courtship," because that's what my husband did. He courted the children, too, and took for take-out breakfast on the beach every Sunday. You can imagine how reluctant the kids were to leave the beach, and Daddy and our family fun, to get dressed up and sit 3 hours in church! Daddy would be waiting for us when we got home, with a barbecue, or a trip to the parks, or back to the beach.

My husband left suddenly, and I was left to take the brunt of it. His TBM parents acted like it was the end of the world--and they blamed ME. I continued to go to church alone with the kids, so we were marginalized. Our couples group didn't invite us anymore, the Elders pestered my husband with phone calls and drop-in visits to our house. We were gossiped about. Anyway, I thought the ward members and our TBM "friends" were extremely rude, and that made me rethink the social value of belonging to their cult. (Do you REALLY have a support system?)

I was out within a year, and our children were, too. They didn't like church. They wanted to go to the church that their school friends attended. I had raised the kids on the Bible, so they felt more comfortable at Christian church. You could join another church right away, or investigate which church to join, and gradually get your children interested in those youth programs. Encourage non-Mormon friendships. Let your wife leave however she wants.

I was upset at my husband at first, but I always respected the way he stood up for what he believed, and that he was too genuine to be able to "fake it" with others. He was true to himself, and told me and the children the truth, and I will always admire him for that. If you leave in genuine disgust for the Mormon lies, your leaving will have more impact on your children and wife. Yes, this is a big deal. I think you will suffer the consequences even more, if you leave slowly. There will be love-bombing at first--added callings, closer supervision, more bishop's interviews, more arguing with your wife and your home teachers and your Mormon friends. That can't be good. I believe in the band-aid theory.

The sooner you get on with your new life, the better. You will be so much happier from now on! No matter what mean things the Mormons might do to you--it won't hurt you as much as being in a cult has hurt you. I hope that the cult doesn't tear your family apart. IMO, the longer you are in the Mormon cult, the greater the chances of them destroying your family. I got all my children out, but too late for my oldest child, who got married in the temple, even though she is an atheist at heart. The Mormon cult still plagues our family, as we anticipate a huge war over the baptism of my grandchild.

Get your family out now, while you can.

Re: Is better to leave Mormonism cold turkey or gradually?
I must also mention that my DH actually left gradually, but I didn't know it. He handles our finances, and didn't pay tithing for all of 2011. He had a pretty significant and visible stake calling when he told me he was leaving in June. Once he told me he talked to the Bishop and SP, and that was that.

I admire you for being so great with your wife. I'd continue to do all you can to be the best husband ever. Just love her, and continue to be unselfish, putting your family first. Had my hubby been forceful, stubborn, pushy, or angry, we may not have survived, and I may not have ever left. I'm grateful for the way he did things, and for the advice he got here, on RfM.

Re: Is better to leave Mormonism cold turkey or gradually?
I don't think that the way you leave the church will have a great effect on the result: Leaving slower will not make it more acceptable to your mormon friends and family. Actually resigning your membership will cause a breach and result in the permanent loss of a lot of your mormon connections, even if you've gone "less active" or "inactive" before you actually do it.

So how you leave is pretty much a question of how you choose to do it and how confident you are in your decision to leave. No need to do anything you're not comfortable with.

Good luck!

Re: Is better to leave Mormonism cold turkey or gradually?
You will know when the right time comes to resign. It becomes a heavy burden to carry and when it becomes too heavy you unload it. These items include depression, worry you will lose everyone and everything you love, worry over what to believe now, feeling disconnected because you can't relate to the beliefs, a keener awareness of deception that surrounds you, etc. pretty soon you have to be you. And others have to accept that for you to really feel love and acceptance the way you are.
Take a vacation
When I left, I just took a vacation from church. I stayed away for a month to see how it felt. Just don't go for the entire month of September and see if you miss it in your life. If you are dying to listen to conference in October, then you have your answer.

My "vacation" felt so good that I never went back.

You seem very wise. I suggest you trust your instincts.
There's no one best way to leave the mormon church. Every one of us had choices. That was a new experience and we did our best.

Considering your inclinations and family situation, I think you're wise to take it slowly.

Re: Is better to leave Mormonism cold turkey or gradually?
Once I had accepted that the Mormon cult was all lies I made sure that I carried on living all the teachings (including paying tithing which I now regret) until I had made friends and built up a support network of non Mormons. I didn't know any exmos at that time. If I hadn't done that I would have felt completely alone. It was a very lonely journey anyway as no-one could understand what I was experiencing until I was completely out and found RFM and the Tanners.

Re: Is better to leave Mormonism cold turkey or gradually?
The hardest part is the spouse.

You are likely to have a strong emotional response off and on for a while, and it is difficult to live with someone who can't share it. The same can happen to her.

Go slow, try to share as much as possible both emotionally and the facts you learn, and keep a close eye on her responses.

The exmo formerly known as Br. Vreeland
I had a slow road....
The more I doubted, the less I wanted to participate. Of course I was a minor and was forced to participate. I think slow is best. The church was my entire life until I was a teenager and to break with it suddenly would have been a very difficult thing to do emotionally.

Your situation is obviously more complicated. I think that would be even more reason to take it slow. You need the time but they will too.

Re: Is better to leave Mormonism cold turkey or gradually?
A few thoughts:

1) Make sure you negotiate this carefully with your wife. Don't pull back faster that she is ready to deal with.

2) Quit paying tithing ASAP. My experience is I regret the 3 or so months I continued to pay tithing as I was pulling back.

3) It doesn't really matter - do what works for you and your wife. Your real friends who are Mormon will stay your friends and the rest will meet you with judgement.

Re: Is better to leave Mormonism cold turkey or gradually?
It depends on your situation, who you are, your family circumstances, and your character.

It depends on whether you would classify resigning as a "self-destructive behavior."

It is difficult to give blanket advice--one size fits all--like the Mormon church dies. I guess my advice would be to follow your heart, and do what you think is right for you.

I left suddenly, the instant I found out the truth. I found out suddenly, and kept finding out more and more, over a period of about 4 sleepless nights. What a shock! I did not have a spouse to deal with, and my TBM family lived far away.

I told the children, as soon as I realized that the Mormon church is a cult. As another poster always writes, "It is our duty as parents to tell our children the truth." I could not, in good conscience, encourage my children to be Mormons. When I told them the facts, the older ones admitted to me that they had never seriously believed the versions of the Joseph Smith story, no matter how many times it had been taught to them, over and over. My youngest said that she didn't believe that her own father, her dear aunt and uncle, and her beloved school teacher were not worthy to go to the Celestial Kingdom. Out of the mouths of babes!

During that one honest family discussion, my children stopped being afraid of the leaders, and they told me about instances of physical abuse. The priesthood leaders in our ward believed in spanking, kicking, threats, public humiliation, and whatever means they deemed necessary to keep the children from ditching out of meetings. Yes, that was all the kids did wrong! They were all good kids (I had taught them in Primary and SS, they were our neighbors, they played at our house with my kids) and all they did was express boredom, hunger (they cut SS class to go to McDonald's a few times) and sleepiness on Sunday mornings. They were treated like criminals.

I told my children that children have rights, and that they never had to go to church ever again, unless they wanted to. We resigned together, and my children loved me for it. BTW, years later, they are Lutheran, except for one who married a Mormon in the temple. They have always been good citizens, in and out of the cult, and loving children. Contrary to the Mormon threats, they have all succeeded in life, and they all live close by. I think if I had lied to my children, or faked it, or left them behind to deal with the cult alone, they would have resented me.

As for me, I take pride in my integrity and authenticity. As a Mormon, this tagged me as an "individual" who was nice, but asked too many questions. I was/am verbal, and there was no way I could have kept my mouth shut and left gradually. When I quit cold turkey, I trained two organists, in a class once a week, for a month. I regret spending that additional time and effort at church, during such a traumatic time in my life. Why was I teaching others to play those soporific songs with lyrics of lies? The joke was on me--the Mormons don't allow you to leave cold-turkey. They will string you along with bishop's interviews, your home teacher and stake leaders promising to answer your questions for you and ending up:

1) Bearing their same canned testimonies to you in a one-sided conversations.

2) Threatening you that you and your family will fail in life, if you leave.

3) Accusing you of being influenced by Satan, of wanting to sin.

4) Accusing you of being ignorant, telling you to read the BOM yet again, telling you to take their lame, repetitious "gospel essentials" class on Sundays. It is YOUR FAULT, not the fact that the church is a hoax.

Why waste more time, and open yourself up for more harassment.

Whatever you do, listen to your children! They might be afraid to speak out at first. Adults can learn a lot from children. Children seem unable to "fake it."

Re: it took me...
five years. Got out with my family intact. No one knows your circumstance as well as you.

Fascinated in the Midwest
how soon do you want your 10% pay raise?

Re: Take a vacation
This is how I did it too. I didn't send in the resignation request for another 14 years or so, but I walked out one Sunday and felt so much better not having the usual combination of rage and boredom I experienced in church that I never went back.

Re: Is better to leave Mormonism cold turkey or gradually?
Leave while ou can. I did and it was the best decision. People no longer hate me or visit me. Even though they try sometimes it just amuses me. Be truthful to yourself and your family. Love will prevail mate.

Re: Is better to leave Mormonism cold turkey or gradually?
We started having questions about the church about 4 years ago, but we just put the questions up on "the shelf" and never really delved into them. A few months ago however, my husband decided to really try and figure out what he believed, and he found out that Mormonism wasn't it. He hadn't read a single anti book, article, or manuscript, he didn't read a single pro book, article, or manuscript, he just went with his gut. When he told me his feelings, I knew I HAD to study. I did delve into the anti stuff, and the pro stuff at the same time. But, none of that really had anything to do with my decision. My decision came based on my belief that God does not have a hierarchy in Heaven, and there isn't a special section of bleachers full of mormon's who are sitting there looking down on everyone else. Once we truly discovered and dealt with our belief that the church wasn't true, we had to quit cold turkey. My husband was the gospel essentials teacher and I taught Primary, and the idea of teaching these young kids and these new members gospel principles that we did not believe in was too much for us to bear. We would NOT be hypocrites! We have not sent papers in yet because both of our families are VERY active and it would kill them if we did. That will come some day, when our families realize we are happy and we are still succeeding in life, we are still moral and we still have values and are still teaching our kids to be GOOD, HONEST people! My 8 year old loved scouts, so he still goes to scouts with his friends at the LDS church, but, we went to the Bishop and told him our feelings, had our recommends taken away (and no we had not done any type of sinning) and that was the end of that!! Good luck! You will do what is right for your family. Each situation is unique and you will find the path that is right for you.
The rest of it doesn't really matter. It's made up mumbo jumbo dogma. But money is real! If you plan on stopping at some point in the future, just save yourself some cash and quit paying now!

Re: Is better to leave Mormonism cold turkey or gradually?
Thanks for all the heartfelt advice. If it was just me I'd be already out, but considering my family I'll take it slow. I appreciate the recommendation to not pull back any faster then my wife can deal with, and to be compassionate enough not to throw everything I gradually discovered about Mormonism at my TBM loved ones in one grand justification statement.

"Recovery from Mormonism -"