Subject: A Melancholy Longing
Date: Jun 17 01:15
Author: SLDrone

A Moment of Regret, A Moment of Doubt, A Melancholy Longing

This afternoon one of my old AP's and his wife dropped by to wish me a happy fathers day. Not just any old missionary, this one is like my son. He's called me about once a month for years now just to tell me he loves me. I tell him I feel the same way, and I do. His parents divorced during his mission and we went through some difficult times together he and I. I'm glad I was there to help him. Now I feel like a fraud. I just can't bring myself to even imply that I've left the fold. He's seen a lot of tough times in his life, I just can't let myself disappoint him. But what of integrity? I don't lie, but I certainly imply my continued activity. No missionary that ever served under my presidency has any idea I've rejected the Church, an illusion I've made a commitment to the Church authorities to maintain. A most uncomfortable feeling, it brings quiet tears to my eyes. Tears for what might have been, and what was.

Sometimes I lie in bed at night and ponder what I have lost, and I weigh that against what I've gained. I'm still not sure it was a good trade. To be sure I've gained insight, perhaps wisdom and certainly I've jettisoned a lot of superstition, but the losses have been heavy as well. I've brought sorrow to many that love me, and sometimes I feel and intense longing for the "brotherhood" that once was much a part of my life. Often anger and frustration boil to the surface. Alas, there is not a choice to be made, for once this door is open, once the truth seems apparent, there is no going back. How could I, and yet often I wish I could? I've often said, "I don't need proof, just plausibility". I was naive, I was faithful, I was happy. Some armour can not be repaired. Sometimes this solitary journey seems lonely indeed.

Subject: I'm too tired to write
Date: Jun 17 01:27
Author: chloejackson
Mail Address:

anything long, but before I go to bed I just wanted you to know I feel the pang in my heart reading the reality of your words, and wanted you to know you're not alone. I hope you feel better tomorrow.

Subject: Hence the saying, "Ignorance is bliss."
Date: Jun 17 01:39
Author: Dagny
Mail Address:

Hi Drone.
I know what you mean, but for me the intellectual honesty is worth the feeling that I am an outcast among church members. Slowly I am discovering people like me out of the church and I realize I am better off socially than I would be in church swallowing pap.

When my Uncle (who was also a mission pres) calls me and tells me I am his favorite niece, I too get the feeling you describe. I want to be honest but simply cannot bring myself to even let them suspect I am not like them. Oh well, I figure there is no need to rain on their parade. I keep my friendship at a distance now and miss the time when I respected their views and we were so close.

Your comments made me especially sad to think that young missionary was out in the field, bonding with YOU instead of his family. How sad he was not at home to deal with the divorce and be a part of his parent's lives at that time. I think it is wrong that the church will keep missionaries out on their missions no matter what. I'm really glad he had someone like you to help him, but I can't help but think how strange it is that he didn't go home to offer support and be a part of his family during a crisis.

The church changes relationships in so many ways. I have to say the sense of loneliness you describe has made me stronger and more independent though. I'd rather find a few really bright people to share my time with than suffer a congregation of fools just for the company they bring.

Subject: Re: A Melancholy Longing
Date: Jun 17 01:40
Author: Ray A

SLDrone wrote:
> No missionary that ever served under my presidency has any idea I've rejected the Church, an illusion I've made a commitment to the Church authorities to maintain. A most uncomfortable feeling, it brings quiet tears to my eyes.

I don't know your full story and am not making any judgments, but why do you feel it necessary to maintain this illusion?

Subject: because I made a promise n/t
Date: Jun 17 01:46
Author: SLDrone


Subject: We all make promises, and we all change.
Date: Jun 17 01:57
Author: Ray A
Mail Address:

The story you tell in your post is saddening. But have you considered that your leaving the church may also be liberating to many of your former missionaries. They go inactive too, you know. But I know how you feel. As a former bishop I know many people looked up to me in the Mormon way, but I don't want them to see me in that way anymore. On the other hand many people feel a sense of liberation knowing that doubt, questioning, and leaving doesn't just happen to the rank and file. Three ex-bishops of the ward I served in have left the church - this is just a fact of life.

Your personal integrity, and your love for this young man cannot be impugned by your subsequent actions. If he thinks any less of you as a person for what you've done in your life can you really say he loves you? Or does he love what you stood for as an active Mormon? That's a big issue I have with so many Mormons - 99% of them love you for what you represented, not for you, as a person. That was something SWK always emphasised - never think, when people praise you, that they are praising you, they are praising your office. But it should not be that way. That is one of the huge problems with the Mormon psyche.

Subject: Simply put Ray - the man has integrity
Date: Jun 17 09:29
Author: alex
Mail Address:

Simply put SLDrone has integrity. He made a promise to keep mum once he saw the man behind the curtain and he's trying to keep it. Frankly I think it was a promise made unwisely and even if he were to break this promise SLDrone would still be far ahead of Joseph Smith (the man whose done more for Salvation except Jesus) in integrity and ethics. As I try to imagine the whole context of when the Commitment Pattern was used on SLDrone to get him to make this commitment I think they did it at a very vulnerable time. Personally I think that SLDrone could call them on the carpet for asking him to make such a selfish and secretive commitment and then get the commitment to be revised to SLDrone being quiet as long as the church is completely honest. If the church was really true it wouldn't matter if half the Apostles were to quit and all the other General Authorities. But such a confrontation with the Brethren by SLDrone could take alot of possibly useless courage and wasted emotions so I wouldn't blame him if he didn't do this. Plus like always he's trying to protect his wife and children from predators in the Morg-infested land they live. SLDrone's #1 priority in life seems to be his wife and kids. Their social prestige has gone down a few notches since daddy lost his testimony.

But one question I have for SLDrone - if you had to do it again SLDrone would you have made the same commitment of silence and secret combination?

What every new exmo can learn from SLDrone's story is that there is an institutional tendency to protect the image and reputation of the church. I don't think we should let them get us to make any commitments unless these commitments are conditional upon their faithfulness in telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Anyone ever received a blessing and promise that was "conditional upon your faithfulness"?

I now leave my blessing on the church that I won't speak ill of them or try to lead anyone away from them conditional upon their faithfulness in telling the whole truth. I say this blessing upon the church in the name of <> - oh man.

Subject: Interesting suggestion, Alex, but...
Date: Jun 17 09:50
Author: dimmesdale
Mail Address:

It can't work, because when people are asked to make promises in the mormon church, they are not given the information ahead of time. We just assume they are telling us the truth, for why wouldn't they be? So we make the promises and then learn the truth. We don't even know enough to ASK for disclosure beforehand.

(Though I DID wonder a bit in the temple when I was asked if I was willing to make all the promises I'd be asked to make in the temple that day. How was I to know. But WE JUST SIT THERE. We can't fathom what is ahead!)

My sister (who went to the temple before me) tried to warn me of the modesty issues. She thought that's what I'd be hung up on, and thought I should be prepared. But NOBODY thought a thing of the promises you are asked to make. So WEIRD.

Subject: You made a specific promise to stay quiet?
Date: Jun 17 11:15
Author: John Corrill
Mail Address:

Was this different than the temple covenant?
Why would you do this?
Were you coerced?
Who are trying to protect?
Would this promise allow for criminal activity by those you made this promise with?
Would this promise allow for the spiritual abuse of others by those you made this promise with?
Would this promise allow for dishonesty by those you made this promise with?
Can you say more about the promise?

Subject: Re: A Melancholy Longing
Date: Jun 17 01:56
Author: No Name
Mail Address:

I don't claim to understand where you're coming from. I think there's a huge difference between BIC's and adult converts (like me) who leave the church. It's hard enough for the adult convert to leave, but it must be unbelievable hard for the BIC.

That said, I can't help but think that unless you're risking something such as divorce, I think it would be easier to completely walk away. Kind of like the difference between taking off a band-aid real slowly and just tearing it off quickly. *OUCH!* (But the pain goes away quicker.)

But maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. I'm sorry for what you're feeling tonight and I wish I was wherever you are to give you a big hug! Hearing words such as yours makes me hate that church so much more. I hope at some point you can take the plunge andcome out...who knows, maybe others you know will suddenly reveal similar doubts. Wouldn't that be neat? Then you could have a real relationship, based on real feelings and not false assumptions.

Best wishes this evening, I mean morning.

Subject: Don't worry Drone - I understand exactly where you're coming from.
Date: Jun 17 04:06
Author: Sam
Mail Address:

Like you, I look back on my missionary companions and friends with great fondness; they were a great bunch. In fact, had I sat down and planned it beforehand, I couldn't have had better companions. You, of course, have the added 'fatherly' bond with so many, and your sentiments are quite understandable.

Subject: I remember when Maria in The Sound of Music said--
Date: Jun 17 02:01
Author: Carolsue

"When one door closes, somewhere a window opens." We have all been through the pain you are experiencing, to a greater or lesser degree. All we can do is live a day at a time, as we try to make peace with the past, and to rebuild our lives into something workable. I, too, made a promise to my aging mother(nonmormon) that I would not disturb my brother's mormon marriage by telling him what I have found. It would, for certain, tear apart his family, and leave my mother devastated at the end of her life. It is so hard for me to hold back at times.

So, we are here for on your down days. That's what friends are for.

Subject: Re: A Melancholy Longing
Date: Jun 17 02:19
Author: Tyler

Drone - Hopefully you understand that your words, longings and conflicts have been shared by many. Who can leave without harming family, loved ones and friends?

Having a position of leadership your actions affect many. How could that not cause sadness and aloneness, as you contemplate the many repercussions and consequences of your departure?

I have no great words, but I do understand!

One night years back, my mind torn by conflicts with my church and promises I made in the temple I asked God for one last request and decided I would no longer pray to a God I wasn't sure existed. I prayed to find the truth about my church and my place in the universe. I made the final request to find out the truth at any consequence!

Within three weeks I lost everything I ever had. I lost my God, my universe, my belief structure, everything that defined me. It hurt so bad I wondered how I could have broken my shell of illusion, and how I could put it back.

With the acute pain came an exhilarating, enlivening feeling. A freedom of mind, soul and conscience. It was more precious to me than all I had left behind.

The subtle nuances of who we are have become sacred to us and are not to be thrown out to whomever for argument and discussion. We care for others and wish them no pain, based on our understanding of their feelings and needs.

My spiritual life is sacred to me and cannot easily be explained by words and explanations. I share them only with those who seek the same.

Your pains reflect the spiritual loving concerns you feel for your brothers.


Subject: Law of Compensation
Date: Jun 17 02:54
Author: Helen
Mail Address:

Emerson's Law of Compensation

"For everything we gain we lose something and for everything we lose we gain something."

Life is a law of compensation. It doesn't always help those "dark nights of the soul" times that jump out at us but like you said, "once the door has opened there is no turning back."

I made a request and a promise when I was very active and my promise was to God and even though I believed he granted my request I broke my promise when I knew I couldn't and wouldn't keep my promise and eventually left the Church.

It was a painful and frightening time but I understood the "no turning back." I came to also know my own sense of integrity was more important than anything else. I don't make promises anymore. I personally have come to believe that for me promises are manipulative and damaging to the maker of the promise and to the one promised to. I do lots of good things, help lots of people but I never promise anything anymore.

Yes, sometimes the journey is lonely. What has amazed me though is that the journey can only be solitary. Only we can do our own journey and yes we can have support and others walk along side us but the journey is each of ours alone. And sometimes that feels real lonely.

Buddhist meditation helps me during the dark nights of the soul. It is quieting and centering and brings perspective. Just my MOO others mileage varies.

may I send you a cyber hug ((((hug))))

Subject: Life is lonely...
Date: Jun 17 09:07
Author: kymba
Mail Address:

that's been my experience, especially since moving to zion.

It's okay, having the greatest amount of friends for the worst of reasons is probably not worth it.

I'm strong into personal integrity, it's probably THE number one force in my life. I sometimes think the universe has played a cruel trick on me by sticking this heavy "integrity" card into my CPU, it has done NOTHING but make my life impossible in some ways.

It's why I'm poor and have a crappy job with no future, and why I will doubtlessly die a loser and failure- by societal standards, not personal ones.
Thank goodness I never had kids- LOL!

It's not something I can turn on and off though, it's inside me, locked into my brain. I've been this way FOREVER, maybe you are similar, and just starting to realize it now that you're out of the momron borg cube.

Maybe not, I just share my nevermo perspective because it's different from many exmo ones.

Subject: Re: Life is lonely... yep, got that right
Date: Jun 17 23:55
Author: val
Mail Address:

Hi Kymba,

I was telling sldrone he should be happy, all he lost was the TBM side of his life- I lost that, and THEN (damn the integrity) realized I'm gay. Geez, now I can lose the rest of my friends and wife......But at LEAST I'll have my sacred integrity. Sheesh, I notice you are complaining a bit too, but really, what choice do we have???????

Actually this integrity thing is what scares my wife the worst, she says as much as she knows I love her, she knows I'm not gonna be able to live in the closet forever.... she's probably right. I JUST CAN"T FAKE IT. I hate this, but I can't lie. Dammit, and no one really cares but me. This sucks.....

Oh sorry to be so depressing, after you usually do such a good job of cheering me up. Thanks again for the nice note when I was so down at Valentines. This is all so wierd- I have someone I love and loves me.......and yet I'm gay, so it's just not enough. I'm just trying to move slow, we'll see what happens. It seems such a shame to wreak it and leave,,,,,but I'm just not seeing a clear pot 'o happiness in either direction. At least I'm telling the truth as far as I know it, however maddening it is.

Subject: Re: A Melancholy Longing
Date: Jun 17 09:27
Author: Lilith
Mail Address:

By your own choice, you are not living a life that is authentic. You have changed deeply, greatly inside, but your life has not yet followed. I can say this to you because I am doing the same thing, though in my marriage and not about the church. Doesn't matter. When we are not living our truths, we suffer. Don't mistake your promises to 'the church' as promises to God. And remember that being true to yourself(your soul) is the 'true' integrity. These words are no lecturing. They are from my heart. I am not saying anything you don't already know. Just a reminder from a fellow traveller.

Subject: Having many acquaintences in far-away places...
Date: Jun 17 09:33
Author: dimmesdale
Mail Address:

I've spent much time cooresponding and keeping in touch in a rather superficial (yet sincere) manner.

I've often wondered (since we ALL change and grow over the years) how many of THEM still have the same belief systems they had when I really knew them. Maybe they are struggling like I am. We get the Christmas card that ends with the LDS quotation, or the joy in the saving grace of the Savior, I guess that gives me some indication. But, they could make the same assumptions about me, considering my husbands position, etc.

It takes a close relationship to give both parties the freedom to reveal personal changes. I think that's a little sad. I sometimes wish we could all wear signs that say, "Right now, I'm a little unsure of my church doctrine." Or, "I'm too tired to talk right now. Don't think I dislike you." Or, "I'm uncomfortable with what our country is doing..."

But, we all know that when people get certain facts, (without the close personal connection--even sometimes WITH the connection) they automatically make judgments. That's what we are afraid of. And it happens everywhere, not just with religion. Even on this board.

SLDrone, I certanily know what you are feeling. As the oldest in a large family, I've had my mother--more than once, remind me that I set the example for the rest--Or thank me for setting a good example. Just that knowledge really stifles me now in my relationships with my family.
Good luck to you, and thanks for posting here once in a while.

Subject: Love
Date: Jun 17 09:59
Author: RPMcMurphy

Sounds to me like your heart is full of love for your friends. What more could a friend ask for?

Why not share this love with them, and bless them and yourself? Love transcends all else.


Subject: I know it well
Date: Jun 17 10:08
Author: LM

SLDrone wrote:
> A Moment of Regret, A Moment of Doubt, A Melancholy Longing

You performed a valuable service with your posting. I experience very many of the very same feelings, and I have been inactive for over ten years. After 35 years I still write to special people in my mission field and they have no clue as to my status. Nearly all the people in my nearby former wards have no clue I am now inactive. I don't hide it, I just don't make an issue of it, and the topic seldom comes up. They just assume everything is still as it always was, unless they ask what calling I have then I tell them none, and then perhaps that we don't attend anymore.

Those members of my family who are aware are at least tolerant, but it's clear they are disappointed. I would say most of the time I'm ok with it, even excellent, but on occasion the feelings you describe hit.

A couple of weeks I ago I attended a nephew's mission farewell. It was odd. In one moment I felt sad for what lies ahead of him, then I felt a little sad for myself that I no longer am part of this bonding feeling with all the family together in a joyous celebration of this young man's mission calling.

I then ask myself could I actually go back and be an active, participating member of all this? The answer for me is self-evident. I miss the feeling of being part of an exclusive group headed for heaven, but I could not go back to believing in mormon dogma any more than I could go back to believing in Santa Claus.

What you and I miss are not the dogmas, the handshakes, the tokens, the cureloms, the meetings, or the tithing. What we miss is the sense of connected community, the loving, genuine friendships and times together that we had as active members. That is not easily duplicated in the outside world.

I am curious about your statement ". . . an illusion I've made a commitment to the Church authorities to maintain."

I take it you made a promise to keep your feelings about the church hidden from other members? You're an integrous man and don't want to break your word. I suppose a reasonable question would be to ask whether extracting such a promise from you was an integrous act on their part?

They in essence pledged you to live a lie, and you feel bound to fulfill the promise of a lie. Is that what you really want to do?

We all made countless promises to the church. Every time we took the sacrament we were renewing our promises/covenants. Every time we went to the temple we made covenants and vowed to consecrate our all to the church.

We have all chosen to walk away from/break those multitudes of promises. We generally feel ok about walking away from those commitments because we realize the other party to those commitments, i.e. the church, was being profoundly dishonest, secretive and manipulative. It was not upholding its implicit side of the agreement.

You have also made an oath to stand by your wife for better or for worse. But if she was to betray her part of the marriage commitment, and ran off with someone else, you are no longer bound to maintain your part of the agreement.

When the church extracted that agreement from you to maintain an illusion about your real status they were being dishonest/unfaithful to you from the very beginning. They committed you to supporting them in a pattern of deliberate deceitfulness and misrepresentation.

I don't know the circumstances of this promise, but it appears to me it was made under some duress, perhaps with guilt on your part for having left the fold. It does not appear to have been an agreement made with clear and honest intent on the part of both parties.

You might want to consider sending a communication to the parties involved and telling them you are withdrawing from that agreement. It was not an upfront, honest agreement; and you do not want to participate with the church in perpetrating a lie.

Best of luck to you, and know that many others are experiencing very similar feelings.

Subject: I'm not going to make any friends by saying this but here I go anyway
Date: Jun 17 10:45
Author: jolimont

The day you made that promise you took the easy way out. Methinks there's a little cult of the personality going on there "Oh, I am so high in their esteem, they would die!" Maybe it's simply that you can't stand to fall off your pedestal. Get over it. You're not that special. You were dupped just like the rest of us. AND you dupped lots of people because of your leadership position. How about a little integrity towards the folks you helped bring into the cult?

I'm not saying you should take a billboard and put your picture on it. I'm not even saying that you should speak up right now or all at once. What I'm saying is that you need to find ways to be truthful while minimizing the impact. What do you think the rest of us are doing? Why should you stay in the shadows and be praised for your integrity?

You made an unconscionable promise. You should have known better.

Subject: I like the billboard idea...
Date: Jun 17 10:50
Author: kymba
Mail Address:

so your opinion isn't going to make ME very angry!

I think I know what you're saying, and this is WHY I have trouble in life. I DON'T hold off, keep my voice down, tow the line.
BECAUSE of that fact, my life IS MUCH HARDER in many ways for me.
I think this is what some people want to avoid and good hell, I don't blame them!

Alas though- if I understand the central thought of your reply, then I agree with it.
(MAybe we'll both lose board friends over it-LOL!)

I'm nevermo though, so my opinion counts for little, and I realize that.

Subject: Hang in there, SLDrone....
Date: Jun 17 10:58
Author: Gary
Mail Address:

Somethings never change. I have realized that I can't make people see things my own way. I know my wife will probably never leave the church. After last night, I think I understand much better why she can't leave.

We visited with her family last night and the culture of Mormonism overwhelmes any doubts or irrational ideas. Mormonism can be the sickest, most twisted religion in the world yet the culture is what holds it together. The arguement regarding "strenght in numbers" is valid within the church. Yet, no matter how many sheep you have at the party, the party is still full of sheep.

Good luck and hold your head up high. You have gone through more than most could ever imagine.


Subject: Your reply has been on my mind all day
Date: Jun 17 19:06
Author: LauraD.

Thank you for a well stated and honest reply.

Subject: my opinion...
Date: Jun 17 11:30
Author: rabbit
Mail Address:

Do what your heart tells you SLCDrone. If you love this friend of yours, do what is best for him right now. There may come a time when you can tell him, but obviously that time is not now. Have patients with him and yourself. This friendship obviously means a great deal to you so don’t rush telling him. You seem like a good and sensitive man. I am sure you will get through this. I admire the fact that you care about your friend’s feelings and the relationship. That says a lot about the kind of heart you have. best wishes to you.

Subject: Wouldn't it be interesting if...
Date: Jun 17 11:33
Author: red pill
Mail Address:

HE is an unbeliever that doesn't want to dissappoint YOU... but chooses to carry on the charade because he remembers how you were there for him.. and that you were a father figure to him... and he just can not let you down that way. And both of you carry on.. fooling the other for the rest of your lives.

Subject: DRONE??? hope you turn up soon (bit of cussing)
Date: Jun 17 11:53
Author: msmom

Like many others in this thread my jaw kinda dropped when I read that you had promised some church leaders to keep your actual beliefs to yourself.

Jesus F. Christ man - those bastards asked you to lie for the lard you don't even believe in any more. You don't have to do this. How utterly ridiculous.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. (Sorry for the cranky outburst, but it was sincere!)

Truly weird!

Subject: Re: A Melancholy Longing
Date: Jun 17 12:07
Author: Annika
Mail Address:

I often find myself asking those questions as well. I feel it has been a no win situation for me. I was lonely with the Chruch, & in some way lonely with out it.

I know I've hurt my Family tremendously, my Mom always reminds me of this, and how much I've isolated myself from everyone who was once so close to me.

I know I could never go back! But sometimes I look at my sisters, or other Family, and I see them going along so busily in their lives, doing their callings, doing what they were taught, being obedient, not questioning anything, and I wonder

Who is really better off here? They seem to be happy & fullfilled, I on the other hand am still bitter, resentful, and very anti social!

So I know how you feel, believe me, I will never go back, but I hope I can become a better more positive person because of my choices.


Subject: You haven't come out yet. . .
Date: Jun 17 12:11
Author: Ether
Mail Address:

This is the part of honesty that's the hardest--Coming out. Until then, you're living a lie, and there is no happiness in deception.

Subject: I don't understand your dedication....
Date: Jun 17 12:14
Author: Ann
Mail Address: a manmade organization who didn't hesitate to lie to you for years... I could, however, understand if it was your personal decision to keep mum -- but not for them

Subject: Thoughts and empathy
Date: Jun 17 13:29
Author: Elwood
Mail Address:

You are in a tough spot. A couple of thoughts for your use or disposal as the case may be. You have conflicting obligations to this former missionary and to a previous commitment made to representatives of an organization. Much has been said about the context of your making that commitment, and I do think that is relevant. The other side of this equation is at least equally relevant. With conflicting obligations, which wins? A commitment to an organization that you have determined is not what it says it is; or, an obligation to someone that you have a father-son relationship with. I'm willing to bet that one of the reasons this former missionary thinks so highly of you is your integrity. That father-son relationship may trump any obligation from the previous commitment.

The other thought that hit me is about the institutional thinking behind your being asked to make such a commitment. The assumption from the organization's standpoint seems to be that your former missionaries will follow you out of the church. To me that shows that the organization has a profoundly low opinion of your former missionaries, and church members in general. Nothing but sheep. For the sake of your former missionaries it would be nice if that opinion was valid. I don't think it is. They have indeed been well trained to be sheep when following the leaders, but they have been equally well trained to see anyone leaving the fold as someone not to be listened to. The institutional insecurity is telling.

As for longing for what was and what might have been, I have only empathy to add. Many, including me, are on similar paths, but for the most part it is, as you say, a solitary journey. Best wishes.

Subject: I'm overwhelmed by your responses
Date: Jun 17 13:30
Author: SLDrone

I just logged in for my daily check of RFM, and I can only say I'm overwhelmed by the demostration of sincere concern and sage advice. I've even received a couple of follow up emails for which I thank the senders. My sincere gratitude to all of you who have responded to my rather self indulgent thread here. I suppose we all have those moments of longing for the faith we once felt, I'm certainly not alone. But it's nice to be reminded from time to time.

As for the PROMISE that some of you seem to be curious about. This thread is nearing it's cut off so I'll open a new thread and try to explain that situation. Look for a thread called "The Promise". And again, thank you all.

Subject: The easy way out.
Date: Jun 17 13:37
Author: Pretend TBM

TBMs sometimes say that leaving the Church is the "easy way out". Not so.

I am currently taking the easy way out. I Pretend. I play along to keep the wife happy. I also end up keeping my friends. I also live a lie. It is this conspiracy of silence that keeps the church strong.

I need to get out, but how to go about it is hard. What should I tell my family? I have TBM parents/in-laws on both sides.

I can feel for your situation. I can only imagine what it is like to be a Bishop, Stake President or a Mission President and then realize the truth of it all.

I have to make that bold first step. I want to speak to my wife first, then my family then friends. At least my wife knows something is up now. :-) And I don't hold any of the "commitments" made with the LDS as valid any more. Shame on whoever tried to twist your arm into silence, SLDrone! I don't know all the details of that situation, but I don't see how it is valid to have to keep a promise about a fraud. You become an accomplice.

My free advice is this. Forget the "promise". Come out as you are able to. It may take years, but the journey seems to be worth it.

Subject: I have to admit I'm disappointed..
Date: Jun 17 16:09
Author: anon this time
Mail Address:

that you would make a commitment to the Church to perpeturate an ilusion (that's a kind word for it). An agreement has two sides. What are you getting in return for the "commitment" ?

Subject: There is no integrity in this promise.
Date: Jun 17 22:59
Author: Mahonri
Mail Address:

I admit, I don't know the full story here, but SLDrone has already said he has rejected the church. Thus, there is no integrity in keeping a promise when there is no consideration(or maybe there is some consideration and we don't know about it), especially to an organization founded on lies.

Subject: The Promise
Date: Jun 17 19:22
Author: SLDrone

The Promise

Once again I want to tell those of you that responded to my melancholy longing post how much I appreciated your kind words of encouragement. There were a few questions raised about my promise to the Church to keep my doubts to myself regarding my former missionaries. So let me explain.

Shortly after our return from the mission, I met with several general authorities regarding my doubts, which doubts had ironically festered and increased during my time as a mission president. I have to say that these men have always treated me with respect, understanding and even tenderness, even to this day. One day after I’d laid out my doubts and reasons to a member of the quorum of the twelve I was surprised to receive a call from GBH. He was cordial but clearly expressed his disappointment. I also openly expressed that this disappointment was a two way street in this instance. Keep in mind though that these men a true TBM’s, and they believe that all they do is in the name of God, so that is their paradigm.

During that conversation with GBH, he told me that I’d come in contact with many missionaries who respected and loved me. He honestly and openly expressed his concern about the influence I might have on them. He expressed his opinion that much of that love and respect was due to my calling, and it was the Church that had given me that calling. His point was that my word may carry weight with these young people, but that credibility had come largely through my church calling which was extended by the Church in good faith and the expectation that I would not use that calling or credibility against the Church. I agreed, and told him that I had also accepted the calling in good faith with no intention to hurt the Church. He then asked if I was willing to keep my doubts to myself. I replied that I was not willing to remain silent among those who were of my acquaintance for reasons other than the mission call, but I agreed not to use what ever influence I had garnered directly as a mission president to the detriment of the Church. In other words, those who knew me and respected me only as a mission president and for no other reason would be part of that promise. (I felt this was a reasonable and understandable request. I did not feel that I was under any particular duress. In retrospect I may wish I had made no promise, but I did and I still believe he had a valid point.) He thanked me a told me I was in his prayers. That was the last time I’ve spoken directly with him.

I believe it was a reasonable request, and further more I don’t have a lot to offer in place of the Church. There are many people who find great happiness in their Church service, I don’t see it as my place to try and take that happiness away. Certainly, if I were asked directly by one of these former missionaries, I would tell them the truth, but I will not seek them out with the intent of disabusing them of their faithful notions.

HOWEVER, There is little doubt in the minds of my other associates and fellow ward members as to where I stand. I have carefully and respectfully informed my extended family members of my change of beliefs. I’ve also asked that they respect my beliefs should they wish me to respect theirs. I have not attended any religious service for more than two years now, I don’t and neither do they expect that to change. When asked directly I have expressed my views. For the most part people have learned not to ask me for an answer they don’t want to hear. Below is a wonderful quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson which I believe expresses my views exactly.

O father, O mother, O wife, O brother, O friend, I have lived with you after appearances hitherto. Henceforward I am the truth's. Be it known unto you that henceforward I obey no law less than the eternal law. I will have no covenants but proximities. I shall endeavor to support my family, to be the chaste husband of one wife, — but these relations I must fill after a new and unprecedented way. I appeal from your customs. I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you. If you can love me for what I am, we shall be the happier. If you cannot, I will still seek to deserve that you should. I will not hide my tastes or aversions…. If you are noble, I will love you; if you are not, I will not hurt you and myself by hypocritical attentions. If you are true, but not in the same truth with me, cleave to your companions; I will seek my own. I do this not selfishly, but humbly and truly. It is alike your interest, and mine, and all men's, however long we have dwelt in lies, to live in truth. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Subject: Emerson quote
Date: Jun 17 19:35
Author: mravel
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That Emerson quote is one of the most powerful and personally touching quotes I have ever read. Thanks for sharing it, Drone.

Subject: Re: The Promise
Date: Jun 17 19:35
Author: Zapotec
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I've carefully read, and re-read your post. It is my humble opinion that the one and only reason that GBH extracted that promise from you was to protect the institution, and NOT the young men who you might influence.
A person like yourself would be VERY influential in helping others whose "faith" is wavering to leave the church. Sometimes people just need to know that they aren't the only ones having doubts. (Hence, the value of this BB.)
I think that it was unfair of GBH to have extracted that promise, and I think it was unwise of you to give it.
But, I am also a person who believes in keeping one's word. You made the promise, and as much as I think it was extracted fraudulently, and given unwisely, you did make it in good faith, and I admire you for keeping your promise. You do realize, I am certain, that those men in the "Great and Spacious Building" would be ruthless in exacting revenge upon you should you violate that promise. I have personal knowledge of such actions (which I cannot share here, because it would do further damage to innocent people), so it is wise of you to keep that promise. But, it seems to me that it is a two-way street. Should any of the general authorities ever do anything to affect your personal well-being, or that of your family, you are under no obligation, in my opinion, to keep that promise.

Subject: thanks!
Date: Jun 17 19:38
Author: msmom

I really appreciate your laying all that out for us. I still think it puts you in a shshssss ergh poopy situation with regard to your former missionaries.

I remember one time a former BYU professor asked what I was doing in the church (which I hadn't attended in a good maybe three years at that point) in the area where I now lived. I said, "Drdad and I are both very busy with cub scouts."

It was a true statement, we were very busy in our community's pack and den activities. I felt really stupid, but I just wasn't ready to say, " we have elected not to attend chruch at all."

Now I am ready to say so to those who ask and even to those who don't ask that I beleive that love is for everyone and is not dependent upon being a mormon. But now it has been 14 years since I last went to church and drdad and I have resigned our membership.

Warmest wishes on your journey.

Subject: Thanks for telling this. Wonder how many other leaders they have "lead" to make such promises. nt
Date: Jun 17 19:45
Author: .
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Subject: Middle ground?
Date: Jun 17 19:49
Author: mravel
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I think I understand your dilemma, sldrone. This may be contrary to the explicit promise you made to GBH, but would it be a workable middle ground for you to tell any former missionary who directly questions what you're doing in the Church that you're no longer active, and that when he asks why, that you tell him you promised GBH you wouldn't discuss the reasons with him? That way you don't have to pretend you are an active, believing Mormon, while at the same time you don't grossly violate your promise to GBH. The mishies might think it's because of "sin", so if they ask further, maybe you could say it was because of issues you had with the doctrine/history without specifying anything. Hell, I don't know. You're in a tough spot. I only have my kids to worry about. I'm glad I never had a position of authority in the church.

Subject: If any of my missionaries asked directly
Date: Jun 17 19:54
Author: SLDrone

I would tell them. If they pressed, I would tell them why, but I would warn them first and only tell them after they understood what the consequences to them might be. To paraphrase Colonel Jessop "some people can't handle the truth". I will not lie for the Church, not ever again.

Subject: So you're robbing Peter to pay Paul
Date: Jun 17 20:00
Author: LauraD.

Of course GBH doesn't want you to say anything because he knows some, who may already be doubting, will leave. He's not stupid and he's playing on your emotions. By sticking to that agreement you're letting him continue to have power over your life. Your calling as Mission President and your responsibility and obligation to the church and those missionaries is over. You're not President Drone anymore. You're just some regular joe who used his grey matter to figure things out and the result was contrary to their expectations. If these former missionaries of yours find out later, from someone else telling them who knows what, that you had misled them for so long how much worse do you think it will make them feel? I'm not trying to make you feel guilty. I'm saying you have an obligation to yourself and those, from the mission field, who may ask.

I can understand your not wanting to hurt your friend. Shouldn't your motivation for not wanting to tell him be more because you love him and not because of some promise you made to an authority you no longer believe in?

Subject: Re: The Promise
Date: Jun 17 20:03
Author: Ray A

Drone, I sympathise with you, and I have come to respect you as a person. However, I completely disagree with your stand re the promise. It is a sham, the way it was extracted under duress, IMO. You may have felt at the time it was reasonable, but to me it's more leeway to a church that is already secretive and repressive and is only concerned with promises made to IT.

Drone, the Three Witnesses turned against the church, and Joseph Smith, but they remained true to what they thought God had revealed to them. What do you think they would have done had Smith extracted a similar promise from them? This is the whole history of the early church. Perhaps you should more carefully study these accounts, partiuclarly William Law's, who was demonised by Smith and the church because he exposed secret polygamy.

I am sorry, my rerspect for you is strong, but I really think you are mistaken in your belief that you must be true to a promise made directly to the President of a church who once said (paraphrasing) "What's six people [the September Six], thousands joined the church in the last few months".

But I also understand how it would feel completely out of joint for you to break that verbal promise, because you have more integrity than the church president, but you need not break it brusquely, all you need do is remain true to what you believe and not be afraid to speak out publicly if you need to or feel the urge to, to not let that promise in any way make you feel gagged.

I consider this no less than an attempt to silence you, and they are using your personal sensitivities to do so. The same thing happened to George P. Lee., ex-mission president, ex-GA. Lee hung on for years and was prohibiited from speaking in conferences, I am sure out of motives very similar to yours. Can you imagine the secret conferences and warnings made to Lee about his pending actions? I hope you have read his account, because it shows one thing - a promise to Mormon GAs is ONE WAY. They already consider you unfortunate fodder, and all the nice treatment, for now, is to gag you for their benefit. They pity you.

Subject: Re: The Promise
Date: Jun 17 20:13
Author: andrewgprv

In my ward I was known as one of the most knowlegable and devoted members. So when I stopped attending people obviously wanted to know why. I did not seek people out and tell them why the church is BullShit but if they asked me I'd say I just don't think it's true and if they preached or continued to pester me I'd go at them with full gusto.

Get this, After telling one lady that after looking at other philosephies and Ideas of life heaven etc.. The Church just didn't seem true, She replied with "Yeah I've always kept myself from doing much research in stuff like that cause I was afarid I might stop believing." SHE JUST ADMITTED SHE KEPT HERSELF IGNORANT!

If I were you Dron I'd keep it to myself unless members pester you, if they do let them have it.

Subject: Lee
Date: Jun 17 23:35
Author: Mahonri
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Wasn't Lee a child abuser? OR....Was it as Zapotec says? Maybe he was set up by the LDS Church for his outward disbelief?


Subject: Re: Lee
Date: Jun 17 23:41
Author: Ray A

Lee was a child abuser, convicted, and the church claimed that's why he was exed ("apostasy and unChristan conduct). But Lee claimed that the church exed him him for his views about the prominence of the American Indians taught in the BOM.

What I theorise happened was that Lee's views came to the attention of the GA's in the mid-80s, and when he was warned and ostracised (he was not given any further assignments or allowed to speak in conferences), he went downhill. His sexual desires may have been latent but came out when he had lost all hope. Just my speculation. He was convicted but got off rather lightly.

Subject: Similar Experience
Date: Jun 17 20:31
Author: Obi Wan Kanobi
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A few months ago I had lunch with a good friend from my mission. Years ago I was his senior companion. He looked up to me and said that I made a big impact on his life. He went on to be a mission president. I chose not to share my current status with him. Somehow, I felt that it would be a betrayal of his confidence in me. In any case, I was sure he would not understand.

I have struggled with the idea of whether or not to tell my mission associates. For now, I plan to be discrete.

All the best to you SLDrone. I too am a big fan of Emmerson. He went through a similar struggle.

Subject: Deep Throat
Date: Jun 17 20:42
Author: Dark Sparks
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Back in 1972 was the beginning of the end for Richard Nixon. One of the insiders that brought President Nixon down was referred to in the newspapers as "deep throat" because he wanted to keep his identity secret while putting damaging information in the newspapers.

Those newspaper reporters who were spoken to by "deep throat" have promised not to reveal who he was until he dies. Perhaps your promise too can be releaved after a few years.

Drone, I have utmost regard for your integrity. I am proud of how you have shown that even "apostates" are people of integrity. I hope to meet with you again for lunch. It was a lunch I will never forget. We felt such a bond that day. We promise to help you honor your committments.

About 20 years after teaching some "golden contacts" the "gospel" they showed up at my house, so I have an idea of the emotions you are dealing with.

P.S. Perhaps we should start calling SLdrone "Pat Buchannan," or perhaps "Linda Lovelace?"

Subject: On the point of being true to one's self.
Date: Jun 17 20:42
Author: Sam
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I watched a documentary on the life of Billy Graham the other night. At one point, they interviewed an elderly friend of Graham who had preached with him in the early days, but had come to question the validity of the Bible and had taken a different road in life. This guy said that while he remained a friend of Graham, and admired him, he felt that Billy had lost the opportunity to be his real self. He told of a commitment made by Graham in a prayer - early in his preaching career - in which he promised never to question the Bible. This guy felt that by making such a commitment, Billy hadn't been true to himself.
I'm not sure whether it's fear, reverence or an intense desire to believe that causes people to choose this path.

Subject: Wow, this tells me a bit about GBH.
Date: Jun 17 21:35
Author: Dagny
Mail Address:

Why would the supposed prophet of God need to tell someone not to speak their version of the truth?

Why doesn't GBH have faith enough to assume (er, ahem, KNOW) that no ex-mission president could damage the true testimonies and people who seek the truth? (YOU are stronger than the Holy Ghost?! Wow!)

Why would GBH in so many words say that testimonies are so flimsy that they are built on the cult of personality of a mission president instead of actual divine revelation?

God (if he/it existed) would need no such protection. The fact GBH thinks God needs protection like this tells me a LOT about what GBH REALLY knows.

Why does he feel the need to silence people who do not agree with what he is selling?

I never thought GBH could be more dishonest but this story proved me wrong. I have ZERO respect for GBH. He had no right to make such a request. If he were honest, all he would ask is for you to be honest also.

If the church were actually what it purports to be, it would have NO reason to make such a request. I feel they have blackmailed you using the church's secrets against your honesty and loyalty.

If you worked at Sprint, and found out they were using fuzzy accounting and lying to the customers, would you cover Sprint's butt at your next job just because they asked you not to clue in the customers? If I were in your situation, I really don't know what I would do.

That said, I certainly respect your integrity. You certainly have more than GBH.

I would be tempted to write GBH a letter explaining that I have considered his request vs. doing the right thing. I would tell him I am unable to further honor his request and promise because higher principals are involved. Complete honesty and peace of mind trump the integrity I would lose by keeping such a commitment. He said you represented the church and all that, but they sinned by omission. How were you to know that at the time that they were not showing you the full deck of cards? Heck, even mythological Adam had to choose which promise to break.

Then of course, I could always say I prayed about it and God told me GBH should never have asked such a thing. It's easy to get any answer you want when you pray ;-). (Besides, it would be funny for the letter to be opened by his handlers and discussed all around the COB.)

Anyway, thanks Drone for this interesting post. I respect your situation and ethics.

Subject: Re: The Promise
Date: Jun 17 21:38
Author: Tyler

Drone - Seems me and you are in exactly the same predicament. Yes, it is true....I too was in position of authority. Some might say a bit higher than your own.

My milk delivery route included 2 general authorites and a GA emeritus. I was charged with delivery of fresh, milk, sour cream and 3 kinds of cheese.

One day after a stray stone thrown from a wooded area knocked me off my little truck / scooter. A GA came by to lift up his brother in the Lord. He had a tough time speaking as the holy ghost spoke through him to me through bouts of laughter, and giggles.

We spoke at length and he was visibly moved by my understanding of the gospel. When I told him of my custom Temple garments fashioned of recycled milk jugs his face shown exceedingly with the spirit. I told him more of the mysteries of the kingdom that I had discovered. I explained that quiet possibly Kolob could be fashioned of a very dense cheese aged to attain that shine explained in vision by Joseph Smith.

After I shared many of the visions of the deeper mysteries, This GA sat me down and made me promise to keep these things sacred within myself, to tell no one as most would be unprepared for the truths that I had diligently sought out and found.

As equals I agreed to his request. I knew it to be true as this servant of the Lord was pained within himself exceedingly on my behalf. A chuckle burst from his lips and he sprang to his house with a "sorry, I think I am going to pee myself"! I knew then that these truths could never be shared.

I picked myself off the dusty lane and finished delivering the three jugs of sour milk I had promised to sister christiansen. Drone - I too made that same promise. A milkman is never free to be himself!

Drone - Not a jab at you, just a little lighthearted fun!

The spiritual journey is personal. You are dealing with many complexities and nuances about your personal situation that only you can interpret and understand the ramifications. I have known a few GA's and understand that from their perspective they are acting to the best of their understanding for the good of others.

perhaps the ultimate goal of humanhood is to lift each other up in love any way we can. Ultimately it may be irrelevant, this belief or that, who felt more right, etc.

I have come to the firm belief that our world already is perfect. perfect in every way. Everything that we judge with our hearts, eyes and ears is but appearances and belies little of the true reality we have created for ourselves.

If the world is perfect you do not have to go out and change anything or anybody. You do not have to convince or proselytize, or tell the world of anything. Go forth like Emerson and be true to yourself!

These things were revealed to me during my milk route days serving the lord's annointed.


Subject: Well, thanks. But it still looks like you're enjoying your pedestal to me...and GBH knew that. nt
Date: Jun 17 21:41
Author: Breeze
Mail Address:


Subject: More explanation. You were a "Good Volunteer Gone Bad"
Date: Jun 17 22:37
Author: Breeze
Mail Address:

and the way we deal with that in the non-profit world is
to "diffuse" the bad volunteer. We're ever-so-nice, but
we find the way to appeal to their ego and their need for
image and we pull the rug out from under them so they
won't pull us down, but they won't go public either. We
always find a way to make it work, but, at the same
time, we admit that our motive is to balance our budget
and keep our musicians on the stage. I doubt that GBH
is THAT honest.

I really respect you for your past posts, but this
"Promise" is a bit much. I ask myself, "Who is it really
for? The Drone's sense of Commitment? or simple for
the Drone?

Subject: you're wrong about my motives Breeze
Date: Jun 17 23:33
Author: SLDrone
Mail Address:

but I can see why you might make that assumption. I considered the possibility myself at length.

Subject: I promised to give everything to the Church at one time...
Date: Jun 17 22:15
Author: Heavenly Fodder
Mail Address:

I will not keep that promise, nor do I feel that I am violating my good conscience and integrity in failing to do so. On the contrary, I believe it takes greater integrity and courage to truly be the person described by Ralph Waldo Emerson in your post. That person does not hide behind appearances, is forthright, and is not bound by covenant, but proximity. With all due respect, the hero you describe would not be bound by the spell of an emotional plea by a false authority. The hero obeys no law, but the eternal law. I think you describe your hero well, SLDrone. I believe you have the capacity to be like the hero you describe.

I encourage you to avoid appearances when future opportunities arise to reveal your true self. It is such a rare opportunity. Let your Sons and Daughters from your mission know your true character. It certainly is nothing to be ashamed of. You may not be immediately esteemed by those whom you dismay with your revelation, but will certainly be revered by those who finally understand. Furthermore, you will be free of the burden of pretense and hypocrisy. Each time you acquisce to the silent orders of the "Promise", the Brethren are ribbing you in the side. It is a cowardly act that only satisfies a fearful God - the type of God that would threaten his children with penalties and scourges for revealing His secrets. I am reminded of a Father who threatens his small children to never reveal to anyone the misuse of their fragile bodies and affections. And the children remain silent and full of anguish and silent devotion throughout their lives. I truly pity these children, but am angry at their silence. My hero would vehemently defy this abusive authority and be vindicated of such humiliating self-abnegation.

An admirer,
Heavenly Fodder

Subject: Problem with civility, being nice and personal boundaries
Date: Jun 17 22:24
Author: cricket

I just completed reading the Melancholy and Promise threads and am very touched by your personaly journey, SLDrone. Having the pleasure of meeting you personally makes this saga even more real and personal.

As time passes from my own resignation from the morg I acquire a keener sense and eye for the facade of "civility and nicety" pervasive in the morg. This "nice" behavior seems to be the backbone to this cult's influence over us (exmos and TBM's alike)

SLDrone, the reality behind the "civil" way in which the GA's and Hinckley treated you originated in the self serving nature of the shared delusion and deception the Brethren create and carry with them constantly.

The implied rule is: "Don't destroy my delusion and I won't destroy yours." From this, stems all of the manipulation, lying for the Lord, personal boundary intrusions, coercion and spiritual duress.

Your taking the personal courage to call the sham a bluff while an acting MP showed more spiritual "balls" than Packer or Hinckley will ever dream of having. Deep down they know this. Intuitively they know this, but they maintain the denial.

The "nice" routine is a control manuver to get you to play this game of life on their terms. Hinckley sitting atop the food chain, is a master at this. He can do it in his sleep. His ploy of using the calling to be MP as coming from the church applealed to your sense of intergrity and innate goodness. On the surface it seemed okay but in reality is a sham.

The Brethren have learned that they can control high level apostacy better with kindness than with threats and anger. Damage control at its best.

GBH called you in the capacity of a man who believes that he has stewardship for the spirituality and welfare of the entire planet and the body of the Morg itself. The delusion this man labors under is profound spiritual illness and he spreads this illness where ever he goes.

If I were in your shoes I probably would have made the same decisions you made at the time. They had you in a vulnerable spot, your personal transition between paradigms. Actually they used the vulnerability of the young missionaries as a guilt ploy against you. Their manipulation of thousands of young men and women is another story. They still held the trump card and played it to perfection (pardon the play on a favorite Mormon word).

I believe that the harsh reality for you and me and other past leaders in the morg is that we colluded in the delusion. This makes it difficult personally to own up to how far out of reality we have been because we played along. IMHO.

The comparison to GESTAPO whistle blowers rings frightenly close to home.

Now, I probably would be able to call the Brethren on their control/delusion/nice game while being crystal clear about my own integrity and personal boundary space. Personally, this s one of my motivations to keep the Lampoon alive - to demonstrate that I am attempting a zero tolerance level of their silly, shallow and unreal dogma, doctrine and policy.

I'll be with you all the way as you continue to process and adapt to your life outside the morg.

Still "washing that morg right out of my hair" and singing the melancholy blues as I watch my two adult children adopt the TBM's way of life.

Subject: Cricket, this was one of your really good posts. Thanks n/.t
Date: Jun 17 23:31
Author: Dark Sparks
Mail Address:


Subject: it really was, thanks n/t
Date: Jun 17 23:36
Author: SLDrone
Mail Address:


Subject: They'll demonize you if you come out
Date: Jun 17 23:14
Author: ruldx2
Mail Address:

Your story is interesting. My first reaction was, what if on the phone to GBH, when he was putting the guilt trip on about the church giving you the mantle of respectability, you had countered with yes, you accepted that in good faith and you also accepted that the church had been honest with you and hadn't kept back important information. What I'm saying is basically what others have said, which is that circumstances change and we all wonder what our promises mean when the conditions under which they were made change. Still you made a respectable decision. My second reaction is that you actually may be in a better position with respect to your former missionaries. The church is so effective at demonizing anyone who rejects its claims. It is true that they have quite a shock to overcome when someone of high ranking authority loses belief. But they have overcome higher ranking authorities than mission presidents. They have successfully demonized GA's who "went bad" all the way back to close associates of Joseph Smith. Keep whatever respect you have with your missionaries. I'm sure you'll be very careful in what you tell them. I'm sure you'll be honest but that you won't tell them more than they can handle. All TBMs are conditioned to be wary of one labeled as a heretic. But when they see one they respect question even in a mild way, and the questioning makes sense, they have a chance of learning how to question themselves. I know it's a painful and seemingly duplicitous position to be in but no more deceitful than the church's position, given that the authorities certainly know they are exercising influence that hides important, faith-"demoting" information from honest people, seeking the truth.