How do I deal with the shame of leaving a religion that my parents are very active in? -LDS Church

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Last Updated: 03/15/2019 at 1:37pm
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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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March 15th, 2019 1:37pm
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).