Taking the first few steps.

losingitinutah Dec. 2012

So, I am a 37, married father of 4 living in Southern Utah. I am an RM. I was married in the temple. I was born and raised in the church. I have baptized my first child and my second child is turning 8 in three months and I am really starting to have doubts regarding my faith and belief in the church.

In all honesty, I would love to just break my ties and be able to move on. If only it were that simple. Socially, that would be the end of most of my friendships but that isn't my main concern. I am so burdened with the guilt I feel for my kids and spouse. How do I tell my 9 year old that I don't really believe anything that I have been teaching her? How do I tell my soon to be 8 year old I don't think he should be baptized when that is what he has been told he should do since day one?
I have discussed these things with my spouse but she just tells me to do the standard, read your scriptures and say your prayers stuff. Lets not even get into all the guilt associated with extended family. I come from "pioneer stock" you see!

I know that everyone here has been through all these same things and that this isn't anything new but, it is new for me. I have never bought into the church. I have always felt it to be controlling and guilt ridden. "Don't touch yourself or you're going to hell!" I just always thought that if I stuck with it, it would all make sense one day. Now I just feel stuck with no way out. How has other people in my situation gotten through this without hurting everyone that they love? This isn't worth losing my wife and kids over and of that means sticking it out and playing my part, I will; however, there has to be a better way. Right?!

Re: Taking the first few steps.
I've never been and never will be in your situation, but I can see that leaving the church may not be an option for you.

So why not just let the pressure off and enjoy yourself? The church is false. Ok... so what? Take a book to church.

You feel guilty about teaching your kids about the church. So don't. Let your wife do it. Any time your kids ask you questions you can say "mormons believe..." and help them draw their own conclusions.

You don't want callings? Cool. Say no.

My point is, just because you can't leave the church doesn't mean you have to suffer. In fact, you could have a lot of fun as a closet apostate if you really wanted to.

Just my .02

Re: Taking the first few steps.
Speaking from experience here. I had doubts for many many years but just put them on the shelf and went along for the ride. Now, I deeply regret not telling my children when they were young. Now, I have 2 boys who have gone on missions and 1 of them now isn't speeking to me because of my disbelief. For some reason my girls were able to see through it and are out on their own. But, my relationship with the boys is stained to say the least. If I had told them sooner perhaps this could have been avoided. Children are more resiliant than we give them credit for.

Maybe start by asking them questions about what they think of what they are being taught, start conversations and express your views and teach then to use their own brains to analyze what they are being taught. You don't need to come right out and tell them it is fake, just teach them to think.

Re: Taking the first few steps.
Tell them before they are teens at least. It's easier to get over the younger they are. Show them love.
Proving to them that even the authority figures in their life can be misled is not a horrible thing. It can help teach them to think for themselves.
Help them learn to spot manipulators that WILL come into their lives, the world is full of them, and especially the church.
Try to counteract some of the black and white thinking if you can...

Focus on loving your family, it can get tough when the gossips get to work, but if those closest to you are assured of your love, you all can get through it.

Re: Taking the first few steps.
You're in the early stages of a process which is most natural. Trying to let go. Family dynamics certainly will complicate things, make it more difficult, but I went through this as well. At first I was close lipped about it, until the lectures from my mother became such that I was offended by her preaching of stuff I simply didn't believe in. I have a 7 year old son, am married, 3rd gen BIC etc etc.

In all likelihood, you'll never convince anyone about your beliefs (or lack thereof), but you may feel at some point that you need to defend what you now know and understand and why you don't believe in the church. You may need to establish that position so that you're left alone, or at least understood why you're not going, or don't wish to go to church. It's unlikely that it the reasons will ever satisfy them, but at least you can work towards a mutual understanding.

Your progression of detaching yourself from mormonism will likely take a long time. My timeline was: Lost belief in February of this year, told my parents in March, stopped attending in April, had my calling in scouting until June, then asked to be released, then resigned in August (started drinking coffee), got my name removal confirmation in October.

Everyone's different of course, but really, it's a progression. It's by far the most difficult at first, because of the initial shock, having to explain why you're not going to church, why you're not baptising your child etc. It's way easier for me now than it was 6 months ago. Plus RFM has really helped me to accelerate this whole process. All the advice in the world to do with leaving TSCC is here, and you'll find a lot of very helpful people.

Bottom line, time will really help things along. Things will get better, but just know, that dragging it out longer, attending church longer, waiting to declare your position will only make the whole process take longer. But obviously there needs to be a balance as well. Do what makes you the happiest. Remember that you're free to live life the way you want to now. Don't let mormondom dictate your life choices any longer. Separation is critical to recovery. And believe me, you will need a lot of recovery from this church.

Both I and my wife have resigned, along with our son. He was happy, he hated going to church anyway.

I think talking to kiddies is easy.
They are growing and learning every day and understand that a parent is also learning as they live and study and grow.

"Honey, I've been studying and thinking about the church for the last few months and I've figured out that some of the things I used to believe are not true . . . ."

Searching Truth
Re: Taking the first few steps.
We sound pretty similar...I'm 39, have 4 kids, married in the temple, RM, BYU grad, the whole bit.

I came out about 3 years ago to my wife, right after I baptized our 2nd oldest. I knew it would be 4 years until my next turned 8, so I figured that would be enough time to "figure it out."

Well, fast-forward to now, and DW is still hard-core TBM, though becoming more accepting of me, and the 4 kids still go to church. I am so glad I told her when I did though, for 2 big reasons.

First, for my own sanity. I faked it for about 6 months and couldn't stand to do it any longer (I was on the High Council at the time).

Second, IMO, it's ideal when you leave the church to not be married or have kids, but if that's the case, having a younger family is next best. There are too many stories on this board of adult children basically disowning the ex-mo parent when he/she finally comes clean.

At least this way, my 4 kids (except the oldest 2) will basically grow up knowing Dad doesn't believe in the church. That will be their reality, and they won't have to create a new reality of who I am or what I believe when they're adults, which is much harder to do than when you're a child.

All in all, it's still a difficult situation, but know there are many others in your same shoes. Best of luck!

Re: Taking the first few steps.
I have a lot in common with your situation. I have 4 children and told my wife I didn't believe when I was 38 - about 1 1/2 years ago. I have resigned from the church but that may or may not be the right ultimate decision for you.

There are no easy answers. There are also no guarantees how your wife will respond or how it will impact your relationship.

The ideal situation is to get your wife to look at things with you. If she believes she can look at the issues with you and that you will start to believe again that is ideal. The key is for it to be you and her against the issues/problems. You should try to argue for the church as much as possible and at least be neutral and just look at websites or other material together.

Here are some quotes that may be of assistance:
D&C 9
8 But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must cask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.

9 But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong;

--- Explain that you are trying to follow this but right now you are receiving a stupor of thought when you try to believe the church is true and see if she will go through the process with you.

"If a faith will not bear to be investigated; if its preachers and professors are afraid to have it examined, their foundation must be very weak." George A. Smith

Joseph F Smith:
"I advise all to go on to perfection, and search deeper and deeper into the mysteries of Godliness" (Ibid., p. 364). D. & C. 131:6 also declares, "It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance." LDS Apostle John Widtsoe wrote, "From the beginning of its history the Church has opposed unsupported beliefs. It has fought half-truth and untruth" ("Latter-day Saints should not and do not accept Church doctrine blindly"

"I think a full, free talk is frequently of great use; we want nothing secret nor underhanded, and for one I want no association with things that cannot be talked about and will not bear investigation."

--President John Taylor

"Convince us of our errors of doctrine, if we have any, by reason, by logical arguments, or by the word of God, and we will be ever grateful for the information, and you will ever have the pleasing reflection that you have been instruments in the hands of God of redeeming your fellow beings from the darkness which you may see enveloping their minds."

--Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, Page 15

She may say there are half-truths and lies - agree with her and then explain you will need to study it together to sort through that.

That's the ideal solution - your wife may not be willing to look at things with you but honestly I would try pretty hard to get her to do this with you. Don't be so sure with her that she doesn't have hope that you can have your mind changed.


Assuming that isn't an option with where you describe being right now you probably just need to keep going to church. If/when it gets to the point that it's unlivable and it's worth risking your marriage that is when it is time to take the next step.

I will say in retrospect I wish I had quit paying tithing sooner. All of the money I was scammed out of hurt - but it's the money I paid towards the end that chaffs the most.

These were factors that made me decide it was time to be 100% clear I didn't believe and pull away from the church:

1) I felt like the relationship with my wife was false. I felt like I was a hypocrite and thus it wasn't based on a real foundation. I couldn't continue to do that.

2) The church was taking so much from me and giving me callings I didn't want. I wasn't motivated to do these things and it got more and more painful.

3) I was very concerned that at some point in their lives my children would stop believing and have doubts and think that I would judge them and be upset with them for this. I couldn't stand the thought of one of my children not believing and thinking I would be disappointed in them for that.


I don't think your 8 year old baptism is the right catalyst to decide you need to do something. Others will disagree with me but I don't think baptism is that big of deal. It's mostlt a rite of passage ceremony - there is a lot in the Mormon culture that makes a big deal out of this.

I think it would be a really difficult thing for an 8 year old who has been raised Mormon their whole life to be left out of this. I think that would be more upsetting and harmful than getting baptized.


No matter what, you need to find a way to be honest with your children - sooner than later that you don't believe it. Kids are smart - you can explain your reasons for continuing to be involved even if you don't believe.


As you learn more you will find more and more how the church is not a good although false organization - but that it is truly harmful to your children. As you realize how damaging it is your desire to get them out will increase.


I put together a website of the best links I've found online for someone about where you are in the process. My website isn't something a believing Mormon would be comfortable with, but it may be an excellent resource for you to find things to read/study with your wife or alone if she isn't willing. http://www.mormonprobe.com


I live in Northern Utah and am happy to talk with you more if you like (my email is public on here). Additionally, if/when you get to the point where you make a definitely decision that you are going to pull away post again and we can give you more specific advice on how to do so with the least negative impact on your relationship.

Re: Why do you assume U R going to lose Wife & kids?
If I can suggest anything; start acting normal, doing normal things that church members usually refrain.

Re: Taking the first few steps.
You really need to discuss with your wife how you want to go about raising your children. Remember, the kids are just as much hers as yours. A good compromise might be letting her take the family to church every other week (you could even go along too, if everyone wants to do that) and do something together as a family on the other Sundays (make sure to invite your wife, even if she always says no)

I would say, make it clear to your children that you and your wife believe different things, but never argue about which is right. Simply state that some people believe one way and some people believe another way, and thats ok! Don't be afraid to teach your children what you believe. Let them make their own decisions, but be clear about what you think they should do.

Hope that your wife can see through the lies to where you are. Offer to share what you've found, but if she's not willing to listen, there is no point forcing the issue. Arguing about faith will never convince anyone, and will always cause significant damage to your relationship.

Re: Taking the first few steps.
I have another thought in re-reading your post.

You really need to let the guilt of letting everyone else around you down. That is easier said than done.

It's not your fault it isn't true. Yes it is a difficult situation but you shouldn't feel guilty. Easier said than done.

It's the church that is false, not you. It's not fair to yourself to feel guilty for seeing and following the truth. Who knows - maybe you'll even uncover another closet unbeliever in your family.

Did that
I came across all the issues with the history of the church that my testimonkey flew out the window as I realized it was a completely false religion.

With a temple married wife and four kids I felt there was no way out. So I played along to get along but always kept working on my wife. Once I realized the whole thing was pointless it let me be more open and enjoy the little things in life.
One day I was reading a book in Elders and one of the more zealous nut bags says "I go on those 'Anti' sites and refute all of their supposed proofs it's so easy to do." Of course my ears shot up and my blood started to boil then I took a breath and thought this all mean nothing have some fun. My response was swift, "So how do you answer the temple questions about association with those opposed to the church teachings!" His mouth dropped open and nothing more was ever said.... I still lol every time I think about his look at me.....
And the best part I just didn't care.....

Eventually with enough questions about some things my wife was teaching the kids and a huge blow up that resulted in her trying to prove me wrong and she left also.


Re: Taking the first few steps.
As many of us on this board can attest...it is not easy, and no one solution fits every life. That being said, I will share my story for what it is worth.

I am 43, married to a TBM wife, we have 4 kids. Went to BYU, RM and temple marriage. Father was Stake President. I have served as Seminary Instructor, EQP, Gospel Doctrine teacher, bishopric member, etc etc etc...you get the point. After struggling for years with problematic church doctrine and inconsistent history (which only my wife knew about), I decided to resign from the church in April of this year.

For me, having my kids know that I don't believe in the church has been a GREAT thing. To formally separate myself from the church has been even better.I didn't want them to become endoctrinated (as I had been) and me allow that to happen, knowing it was not right, and them suffer the same fate I did over the last few years. The social and familial concerns will fade as you become true to you and what you believe.

My oldest girl will be going to college next fall and our relationship is much better.

Ultimately, you will have to decide what is the right course for you. On this forum, many have tried differing courses, and have done so successfully.

Best of luck to you.

Re: Did that
That's an awesome story :)

Re: Taking the first few steps.
It will get better. FWIW, I have a similar background, RM, leadership callings, etc., but did not attend BYU (my wife did though). It's a major shock for a TBM to hear that their spouse no longer believes and it takes time for people to adjust to major shocks in their lives. The same will apply to your other family members.

Pick a course of action and then explain it to your wife. Remember to be patient and understanding, but firm. Perhaps that course of action is telling her clearly that you don't believe but will attend for the time being to support her and the kids. It may be that the best course of action is to resign suddenly. Only you know what that best course of action is to allow you to act with integrity while preserving your family by allowing time for your spouse and kids to adjust to new realities.

I had a frank discussion about my doubts for the first time early in 2012. I had wanted to do it for years but, going back to 2007, we had a series of personal tragedies and I just couldn't add to the stress load by coming out about my doubts.

That first conversation about my faith issues went poorly with her accusing me of driving the family off a cliff, amongst other things. I understand now that her reaction was pretty standard. I actually expected she might want to divorce me but, after keeping things bottled up for so many years, I figured that if her desire was to be with someone that could provide the traditional Mormon life then she should have the opportunity to pursue that.

We didn't discuss things again until I was called to be HP Group Leader in the late summer. That conversation went better and she agreed that, considering my lack of belief, I should turn down the calling. Keep in mind that I was serving as YM President (still do but am expecting to be released in the next couple of weeks).

The next time we discussed it was in September and she told me she was now having serious reservations of her own about the Church. Up until this time, aside from my views on evolution, I had never discussed the specifics of my issues with her. She wasn't ready to hear any of it. In September when we were discussing things again I told her about my three biggies: 1) Book of Abraham; 2) JS polygamy/polyandry; and 3) No support for BoM, DNA, archaeological, anthropological or otherwise. She agreed they were major problems that seriously undermined the Church's truth claims.

Fast forward today and we've agreed that Sundays are now family days. We're going to be spending that time on family activities and will be telling the kids once they are on Christmas break. We've also agreed that I will tell the kids that I no longer believe in the Church. She is quite comfortable with this.

Perhaps your spouse will remain TBM. I really believe that being patient, loving and supportive while your spouse adjusts to the new realities will help decrease the amount of anxiety she has about your change in beliefs. In time she'll realize that you are the same old you and that nothing about you has changed. In fact, by coming out and relieving the stress you had while being in the closet you may be even more pleasent to be around!

Like that then you'd like
Like that then you would love the one when the stake pres calls me to extend a calling to be in the elders big three.

The look on his face when I said I had to pray about it before I accepted and then two weeks later when he called me to tell me he was setting me apart and I said wait a min I told you I had to pray about it and the lord said NO.....

Oh hell the silence was golden.

He response was, "auh...you didn't tell anyone that I extended you the calling?" I said no so it's safe to call someone else... :-)

I almost peed my pants laughing after I hung up the phone. My still TBM wife was like "so much for inspired".


Re: Taking the first few steps.
+1000 to all and especially the previous post.

Re-read these posts...a lot of great wisdom here. I was in your shoes and eventually, my integrity won out over my marriage. I wasn't changing my mind and neither was she.

But, having said that, if I had a do over, I would double my efforts to preserve my marriage/family. But in a way, as suggested above, that respects both parties.

In my situation, I could no longer agree to the damage inflicted by YW's teachings on my daughter's well-being. Make no mistake: YW and the church in general will destroy fragile self-esteem. They are indoctrinated weekly with the idea that second-class citizenship is the norm. NO, IT IS NOT!

Also, who can live up to those YW Values?? They are a total mindscrew.

All the best to you friend. I know Southern Utah is a closed, tightknit community and letting go of the iron rod in any of those towns will open you and your family up to immense pressure, guilt, ridicule and more. But always remember and have no doubt that what you are doing is the right thing - someone has to lead the way.

Be true to yourself.

"Recovery from Mormonism - www.exmormon.org"