How do I deal with the shame of leaving a religion that my parents are very active in? -LDS Church
Last Updated: 02/15/2021 at 5:20pm
Tara Davis, Doctorate in Counselling Psychology
I have worked successfully with a wide range of difficulties. Nothing is more important than developing a warm, compassionate relationship with someone you can trust
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I don't know what your reasons are for leaving, but I believe that you will have reasons and that they are important to you. I'm not sure what the LDS community is like, so I'm also not sure what kind of effect it will have on you or your parents. And I'm wondering if it's your parents shame you are talking about or your own. But I will tell you what I do know. I've also grown up in a very religious community and family. My dad was a minister most of my life (Dutch Reformed Church in case that matters). As a preacher's kid in a small community I was in everyone's eye. It felt like everyone knew when I did something that wasn't very religious. But I wasn't a born rebel. Most of my life I walked the walk. But then my beliefs began to change gradually and I could not continue to practice the faith of my parents. Practically that meant I stopped going to church and small groups and any other religious activity. I also stopped talking about God or conversations where other people talked about God. Not because I don't believe, but I believe in a way that is not compatible with what the people around me believe. I think the most important way in which you can combat the shame (and maybe loneliness?) is to come back again and again to your own truth. Come back to what you believe and your reasons for believing that specifically. Strengthen the connection with what you hold as true inside yourself. Think about it, journal about it, ask questions about it, read about it until you have a rich inner system of truth and belief (in whatever) to balance the outer shame. We cannot live according to what other people believe. We have to live according to the answers we find for ourselves, the answers that feel right and true to us. You have to find your own truth, develop it and come back to it again and again. And somewhere on this earth there will be people who believe similar things to what you believe. Find those people. Find the people whose truth is similar to yours. They will be your new community. They will welcome and understand you and your truth. Build those connections. Shame is painful. Shame makes us want to hide. And maybe your parents don't need to know every little thing you believe if it will only hurt them. But you be true to it. Balance the shame with these positive things: Hold on to your truth and find the people who think and believe like you do. I wish you many blessings on your journey. Don't be afraid to ask questions. They lead to wonderful places (eventually).
I’m LDS too and lately I myself have been having questions about the church. Although I haven’t “left” I’m just not active in scriptures and have a hard time participating in family home evening. So I can kind of relate on a similar level, feeling shameful for not having as much faith in the church. But on thing I always try to remember is God have us agency, so we can make our own decisions. You leaving the church wasn’t your parents choice, or Heavenly Father’s, but yours. And the most important thing is God still loves you very much. No matter who you are, what you go through, or decisions you’ve made, He still loves you and will be there for you. I hope you find a path that you think is the best for you in life and I hope this answer was able to help you. ❤️
Hello, I am so sorry you feel shame. I was raised a certain religion and I am the only one in my entire extended family that is not a part of that religion and I am also agnostic. My mother said she does not care that I left the religion because I am a good person. Regardless of what my mother thinks, i knew in my heart I did not believe in the teachings of that religion but I knew the religion did not make me kind or caring or generous - It had to come from within me. I openly tell people I support all different religions and beliefs and Faith’s and I love to learn from all of them. What initiated this change in me was when I was 12 years old I met a boy who was atheist, and I told him why… You’re going to go to hell. He said he was atheist because his parents were atheist and it was in that moment I realized I was raised in a certain religion but I could choose a different path. Then when I was in Japan I learned that the Japanese would get shot if they did not step on the face of Jesus Christ and so many people in Japan are Buddhist. In summary I don’t judge people for the religion they are in because it may have just been how they were raise or what was enforced by the government at the time. And who am I to judge anyway? I hope that your parents see through to your characterAnd understand that you are making your own choices in life … That is how we learn and we grow and we become adults.
We often feel shame when we are going against the social rules set in stone for us by others. However, it appears as though you are setting healthy boundaries for yourself where you want yourself to begin, and others to end and owning your experience on this Earth. If this is the case, shame does not belong to you. You have decided to disagree with how others feel you should act and believe, and this is your own personal choice to make. More than like you will feel the pushback from your family and friends for this decision. It would be wise for your to find likeminded people who have left the LDS Church before so that when you feel isolated or alone, you have others who have walked this path before. There are many online. Cheers and hugs to you on your journey!
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