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Posted by: startinganew123 ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 07:25PM

I don't know how to make this brief but I really want help so I want this to be readable. Basically, I grew up in Utah County and all of my family and friends are Mormon. Married at BYU to my truly wonderful husband. Got a Masters degree, worked until I started having kids which sent me into a total mental breakdown. Had Kid #3 a little over a year ago, 2nd total mental breakdown that left me no longer believing in God. But because I had lost my mind in other ways, my husband and mom just dismissed it as another symptom of my craziness (they were the only ones who knew I was struggling on the religion front--lots of people knew I was struggling on the mental front). Anyway, my awesome TBM mom had to full on move out to CA with us for 2 months (where we live, we live in my husband's hometown) because I was struggling so much. Because no one was going to believe I was sane until I went back completely "back to normal," (which I admittedly wasn't until we got to meds right), I went back to teaching YWs, etc. until my mom thought I was okay and then she left. It was fine for a while, but now that I've had my mind back for a while and I still don't believe in God, I just feel like I'm some sort of no-man's land. My life here in CA has mostly revolved around me being a Mormon SAHM. All my friends are Mormon SAHMs (and my kids’ friends are their kids). My husband is still a TBM. I can talk to him about everything, but no one else knows anything, they just think I struggled with Post partum depression for a while and that I'm fine now. I just don't know what to do. I feel like if I left the church, I would either have no friends, or possibly worse, I'd be this pity constant "project" and constantly be looked down on. But I need people. And I still don't want to drink which is, I feel, like how non-Mormon SAHMs socialize. Basically, I don't see a happy future for me as an ex-Mormon, emotionally distanced from every family member and friend that I currently know. I am literally in tears thinking about it, but I don't know what to do. Edit: Besides the whole "wah-wah, I need friends" thing, I think this would break my family member's hearts, especially my Dad who is 70 and not in great health, who I think it would literally kill.

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Posted by: auntsukey ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 07:38PM

You need friends; you need a community.

Look through this site. There are groups for every stage of mormonism from totally out to still believing to on the fence, etc.

Find a group close to you.

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Posted by: nonmo_1 ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 08:22PM

There's an RfM exmo group in North Orange County...don't know if that is close enough for the OP

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 07:53PM

auntsukey is right.

If you can say what part of CA you're in without giving away identifying info, we can help you find an understanding community. There's a great ex-mo group that meets in Orange County once a month, there are folks in San Diego county where I live, and in other parts of the state.

Lots of us have been exactly where you're at. We get it. We are understanding and supportive. We won't think you're crazy. See if you can find a group.

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Posted by: praydude ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 07:54PM

Being a mormon for a long time can make anyone socially awkward because much of your personality has been imprinted on you by the cult. I use the word "cult" here because you need to understand that is what you are dealing with. Leaving a cult is not easy. Not by a longshot. If you have doubts about the church being a cult then please watch the "Leaving Scientology" tv series. You will be surprised how many similarities we have with that cult.

It takes time and lots of work and experience to rebuild your own identity away from the one given to you by the cult. You may go from being depressed and angry to thinking the cult was not that bad and then cycle through many more emotions again. Just go with it. Do the work to free your identity from the cult. Ask yourself how do you really feel about gays? How do you feel about staying a virgin until marriage? How do you feel about swearing? Decide for yourself how you want to be and don't go with the life the cult handed you.

Mormons don't really handle themselves well in non-mormon groups because they seem to have little substantive things to talk about. Plus mormons have TONS of judgement. Try to allow yourself to be more open to other people's worldviews.

Also listen to others. A lot. Take the time to remember people's names and their significant other relationships.

So, in a nutshell:

1: Don't judge others (or recoil when they decide to order a whiskey.)

2: Be open and be honest - be your best, kindest self.

3: Remember people's names and say them back. so they know you are paying attention to them.

4: Actually pay attention to others and listen.

You will find friends outside of the cult. Hopefully soon.

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Posted by: Ohdeargoodness nli ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 08:05PM

If you want to grab coffee, I live in between LA & SD. Happy to meet up if you'd like.

Not a SAHM, but I've definitely been through some similar situations, either first hand or with family members.

Sometimes just having someone to talk in makes all the difference.

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Posted by: Elyse ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 08:20PM

You have three kids and a demanding church on your back.

Stop having more kids and learn to say NO firmly and without guilt.
You don't owe Mormonism indentured servitude.

Next, do the things you really enjoy.

Our dentist's wife did that after having only one child.
Sure, some members denigrated her but she shrugged her shoulders and lived her life.

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Posted by: Pista ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 08:31PM

First, not all non-Mormons socialize by drinking. There are many, many opportunities to meet people where drinking is either incidental or a non-issue.

I would suggest taking some time to go into yourself and get to know who you are without social pressures. That's really hard when you're lonely. That's what makes it so important. Once you are able to ground yourself -- to find peace with who you are -- independent of the church, or your roles as wife, mother, daughter, etc., you will be able to make emotional connections that are truly meaningful, rather than those built on a common ruse.

I remember when I left the church, the thing I missed the most was the automatic, built-in social network. Over time, I realized that the "knowing" look I had shared with ward members was artificial, and a little creepy.

Pursue some interests. Take a class. Find a meetup group. Perhaps you need to get a part-time job, even if everything you earn goes directly back to child care. It's okay if you need to be something other than a mommy for a few hours a week.

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Posted by: nevermojohn ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 08:37PM

You live in California, so I would guess that Mormons are a minority in your community. Most of your community is probably non Mormon.

If you are looking for ways to socialize with others that doesn't involve alcohol, look to activities.

Perhaps there was a sport that you did in the past. Take up tennis or volleyball or basketball, etc. Workout classes, yoga, dance groups, musical groups, etc. could be great outlets and allow you to make more friends.

Maybe you like to quilt or do art projects, there are groups for that too. Craftwork is really big and you could find groups that meet in public buildings to quilt, embroider, carve wood, paint, etc.

Volunteering can get you out of the house and doing something with others that may be socially and personally satisfying.

Also, the SAHM thing may not really be right for you. You might be happier becoming a working mother.

Whatever you decide to do, try to make it something that you enjoy and makes you happy. You need to take care of yourself every bit as much as you feel you need to take care of others.

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Posted by: BYU Boner ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 08:38PM

I recommend that you put any church callings on hold. Just talk to your bishop and asked to be released as you’re working on balancing time and projects between your family members. (He doesn’t need to know anything more.) Dont talk with him about disbelief.

If you’re in California, it’s going to be easier to find a counselor who isn’t LDS. Major hospitals often have mental health clinics so you can find someone be who follows standard protocols and protects your rights to privacy. Your counselor should be professional and open to your issues without judgment. If not, find someone else.

Let your husband know that you’re seeking therapy because life isn’t making sense and that you’d like to invit him at a future time to join you.

Then, open up to the counselor. Follow his/her lead into when to invite your husband into the sessions. Your counselor can suggest ways of making new non-Mormon friends.

Leaving a highly demanding and controlling organization like Mormonism can be daunting. But, you don’t need to go through it alone. Very best wishes!

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Posted by: pollythinks ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 09:19PM

Try taking night-classes at a local school, while your husband tends the children.

Also, in my local area, their are a lot of adult classes to take. Sewing, upolistry, 'mommy and me' classes, learn a language (Spanish is big in So. Calif, as their are a lot of people who speak that language).

Meet other adults similar to you, with similar interests. Volunteer on community committees, such as in your local library, and in the political arena (Rep., Dem. meetings, etc.). Choose what you like to do, and follow that lead.

From getting a part-time job, to volunteering in an arena that interest you, can lead you to a more satisfying social life outside the church.

Best Wishes.

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Posted by: Free Man ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 10:59PM

"Basically, I don't see a happy future for me as an ex-Mormon, emotionally distanced from every family member and friend that I currently know. I am literally in tears thinking about it, but I don't know what to do. Edit: Besides the whole "wah-wah, I need friends" thing, I think this would break my family member's hearts, especially my Dad who is 70 and not in great health, who I think it would literally kill."

So let me get this straight. It would break your family's hearts and kill your dad to see you doing things that would make you more happy.

So they want you to be miserable why? To protect their image and status within the church? Or because they are dependent on the church for survival and your disbelief would threaten their belief?

Anyway, it's about time your family grew up. They should be happy when you're happy, not throw fits like 2 year olds.

And how about all that free agency thing? Do they not believe in that?

Tell them the CK will make you miserable, and wish them well doing eternal home teaching, visit teaching, church attendance, temple work and polygamy.

Hopefully you haven't determined your kids' future religion, spouse, career and interests in life. Hopefully you will be happy when they do what best fits them.

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Posted by: startinganew123 ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 11:59PM

I want to thank everyone for their helpful responses. I really am feeling better at my prospects already. Love the advice about re-discovering myself. And I’ve already found a meetup group in my area (South Bay Area) that looks to be just the thing I was hoping for. Love the advice about how to talk to my bishop and family. I’m brand new to this board but I am feeling the love.

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Posted by: praydude ( )
Date: January 13, 2018 02:45AM

There is an exmo meetup every fast sunday at the ferry building in SF. I have been and it is great to meet other post-mos and just talk about stuff.

I just looked it up on facebook and i'm not sure there is going to be a meetup this next month at the ferry building. But there are other events happening.

Please look up and join the San Francisco Bay Area Post-mormons group on facebook. They are a wonder group of people that would love to hang out with you. Seriously, as I was leaving the cult I had no one to talk to (wife is a nevmo) and this group was a real lifesaver.

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Posted by: afraid of mormons ( )
Date: January 11, 2018 04:30AM

Welcome, Startinganew! The New Year is a great time to start over. I think 2018 will be a great year for you, because it seems like you are taking charge of your own life!

SAHM mothers--Mormon or not-mormon--complain about loneliness and isolation. The good news is that this is temporary. Try to enjoy having babies to cuddle and love, and nurture and teach. Cherish the special moments.

IMO, the best solution for you is volunteer work. You will meet the nicest people in the world. Volunteer jobs can be more interesting and challenging than paid jobs. When you volunteer (outside of cults), you still keep your freedom to say "No" when your kids are sick or you are burnt out. Usually, your schedule is your own.

Trust me, you don't want to have a calling in the Mormon church. There is too much competition, power struggles, gossip. Mormons build themselves up by putting others down--and they are the very nastiest to each other. (They try to keep on the good side of the targets they are trying to convert.) I didn't quit church right away, because I didn't realize how depressing it really was. I just told them I was leaving my callings (I had 3) for a while, to volunteer in the school across the street, for a while, instead. No other explanations or excuses.

I volunteered in the local schools, beginning when my kids were in pre-school and kindergarten. It was nothing like church, at all. The kids were happy, the teachers were good people, in California the people were genuine. I was still TBM, but wanted to help people who really needed me. At the same time, I wanted to be appreciated, not just used. I started at the bottom, which was being a playground supervisor every day at lunchtime. My shift began at 11:30, and I had to drag myself out of bed to get there--that's how depressed I was. My husband was being a jerk, and my in-laws blamed me for his acting-out. (Later, he left me for other women.) I needed a break from that dysfunctional TBM drama, and volunteering was my escape!

Soon, I started making friends, and the school asked me to help in the classroom. I was the only one around who could speak Spanish, and they needed someone to help some kids who spoke no English at all. I was not qualified, but after a few months, I became good at it. The next year, I substitute taught. Unlike the Mormon church, the school was open to new ideas, and my new friends and I were full of them! The school needed improvements. We started to have more fund-raisers, which became popular in the community. We got the local pro football and basketball teams to donate sports equipment for auctions, and team members would give motivational talks to the kids, etc. Our little beach town had a "street fair." The community, and the local Christian churches provided more support and neighborliness than the Mormons ever pretended to give. We adopted a "sister-school" in the inner city, and were able to make improvements to it, along with our own school improvements. I was voted onto the Board of Education, and was speaking to large audiences. Only a few years before, I couldn't get out of bed, and I felt like I was a "failure" in the Mormon world. I had to leave that stultifying, hopeless TBM world, in order to grow and find happiness. My children thrived, because I was so actively involved in their life.

Sorry to ramble--but our life really changed!

If you decide to stay Mormon, you need to take a class in assertiveness training. Read "When I Say No I Feel Guilty." Set your own boundaries of how much Mormonism you can tolerate, and say "No" to the rest. You can't allow them to intimidate you, and use up your valuable time. You want time to find REAL friends, and to do something REAL. The Mormon stuff is draining, and you need to balance all that with something fulfilling.

I also began to exercise, working from quitting before the aerobics class was over and being too sore to go back for a week--up to doing two classes back-to-back, 3 times a week. I could never find that sense of improvement, in anything Mormon.

I was also team mother for my children's sports teams, taking turns. I played the piano for school musicals, and for the Junior League women's singing group, which were more fun than playing funeral-dirge Mormon hymns.

On Sundays, we would go to the beach! That cheered me up!

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: January 11, 2018 05:43AM

Hello, Startinganew, and welcome to the board!

I am one of the board's longtime resident nevermos (never a Mormon.) I am here to tell you that you do not need to drink to be accepted by a nevermo friend. What you *do* need to be is tolerant of people who may not always live your lifestyle. So you have to be able to accept that if you go out to brunch with a friend, she may order a Bloody Mary or a Mimosa while you have your OJ. Deal?

I absolutely think that you should broaden your friendships beyond Mormon women. For one thing, a nevermo friend will not normally leave you over a faith transition. Having such friends in your circle will give you the mental space in order to make up your own mind about things. Along with this, don't be afraid to say, "no" to time-consuming callings that would prevent you from having a rich personal life.

Beyond exmo meetup groups, look into other clubs and volunteer activities in your area. A few thoughts in addition to those mentioned above are the AAUW (American Association of University Women,) and Beta Sigma Phi which is a community sorority. There are others as well, google "community sorority" plus the area where you live. Book clubs are another option.

Check club listings in your local paper or possibly for other groups. Or ask the person at the help desk at your local library how you can find notices for community clubs. Keep trying until you find one or more groups with which you click.

Have you ever had a yen to learn self-defense skills? Aikido is very female friendly (no kicks or punches,) and you would meet some very interesting people taking Aikido classes. Plus, you would get a great workout!

I second the idea by "afraid of Mormons" above to make sure that you are getting your exercise. A health club membership, if you don't already have one, would be a very good thing for you.

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Posted by: Cheryl ( )
Date: January 11, 2018 09:00AM

You might feel that you're alone and friendless. Why? Because mormons tend to demean and shun anyone who isn't gung ho in their cult.

Leaving all of that behind takes courage and a willingness to feel isolated and at a loss until there is significant time and effort to assimilate into the real world.

I think a person needs to be ready to throw out what doesn't work for regardless of the consequences. That happened to me. I realized I'd rather be a hermit in a cave than to try to meld into the mormon culture and mindset.

Throwing all things mormon on the trash heap made a place in my life to grow and meet the demands of real non-mormon life. It was scary but worth it. I married a nevermo, got a good job and learned to navigate without any mormon support. It was worth it.

If you want it badly enough, you'll do it when you're ready.

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Posted by: desertman ( )
Date: January 11, 2018 11:26AM

I sympathize with you Been there Done that. It is ALL ABOUT MIND CONTROL. If you quit letting them control your mind you can be free of their intimidation.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/11/2018 11:26AM by desertman.

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Posted by: Dorothy ( )
Date: January 11, 2018 12:06PM

Hi! I'm sure you'll get more advice than you really wanted. :)

First, my brother. He's suffered with treatment resistant bipolar ll for his entire adult life.

At one point he told me he didn't think he believed in God, but his ward was his entire social support outside his believing spouse.

I told him he should do whatever he thinks would make him happy. He can believe or not. Attend or not. Pick and choose callings. He needs to do whatever gives him the best shot of being happy.

You might choose to march out the front door and deal with the fall out. You might quit paying tithing and have only a calling that you like.

Lots of people won't agree with me, but you don't HAVE to make a clean break. Not every exit has a rosy happy ending.

For me, church attendance was torcher. My husband never believed and had been inactive for years. My daughters refused to attend.

I blamed myself for everything, including how much I hated it. I'd moved to a new state from the ward I loved in Milpitas. We didn't fit in. The leaders were unkind to my daughters. I was stuck endlessly doubting my doubts. Leaving was a joy, but my situation was completely different from yours.

The best of luck to you.

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Posted by: Badassadam1 ( )
Date: January 11, 2018 04:47PM

I felt in no man's land for at least six months to a year which i was told would happen. Only sir david the bard videos kept me sane and not feeling totally alone. Talking to people on here helps as well, like BYU boner is a good dude that has helped me a lot since i first started on here. It will probably take at least two years to feel like your true authentic self so i am told. It has been about a year and four months for me with weekly counseling and venting on here to feel kind of normal. I joined a card playing group which has helped me as well that i play cards with every week. I highly suggest joining a non mormon group full of authentic people to get you grounded back to reality and regain real social skills. And i suggest weekly counseling from a non-religious counselor that is down to earth and a real person. Best of luck, the badass.

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Posted by: saucie ( )
Date: January 11, 2018 08:02PM

You need to be you. you can't contort who you really are to keep

from breaking your families hearts. If they really love you,

it will be ok. If they don't really love you, then you've lost


You can't feel guilty because you are you and not someone that

you think your family would more readily accept. They're grown

up's , they can deal with it.

Think of it as being a good example to your children of being

true to yourself.

Be brave. you can do it.

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Posted by: chipace ( )
Date: January 13, 2018 02:09AM

A mental breakdown sounds horrible, but realizing that the church and it's lifestyle are not making you happy is a true blessing. I hope your husband can wake up too. I hate to use the word miracle, as I am non-religious, but this is the closest thing to it.

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Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: January 13, 2018 10:05AM

and was living in a basement apartment. The twins were also born in November in Utah and so I felt very isolated. I had severe postpartum depression and I did go to a therapist for a few visits. The thing that helped the most is I got a part-time job in the evenings. My husband would take care of the kids the evenings I worked. I also worked every other weekend. I worked at a hospital, so Sundays were required.

It changed my whole perspective. The days I knew I was going to work, I'd be so productive and happy all day. My kids started having a better relationship with their dad. My daughter was a very sensitive baby and she didn't like him much up to the point I started working. Believe it or not, they are now at Harry Potter World together as I'm typing this.

Not all of us were meant to be SAHM. I always wanted to be a wife and mother. I wanted 8 kids. I only have the twins (for many reasons). My ex (he is gay) used to tell me he made all my dreams come true. I told him I had been dreaming the wrong dreams.

My kids are my life so I'm glad I am a mother, BUT being a SAHM is much harder than people realize.

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Posted by: Felix ( )
Date: January 13, 2018 11:41AM

The way I see it, you/anyone is only bound by truth. The Mormon Church turned out to be false. You are no longer bound to it and free to move on. Where do you go from here? It is your call but being a good mother and wife is the most important thing as you only get to raise your children once and have one shot at getting it right. It sounds like your husband is kind and understanding which can make a great difference.

The church is full of good people and they do have some good values. The only problem is the price of admission is conformity to "Group Think" which requires that you profess to believe things you honestly don't. I don’t think I had any real Mormon friends. All my good friends now (I can count them on two hands) are non-Mormon and are genuinely good friends and inquisitive people like me. Finding new causes and interests was how met them.

I found the world to be full of new things to do and learn after Mormonism. There is much to learn, much truth (real truth) to be discovered outside of Mormonism and a world full of people who need a little help and support. Welcome to our discussions.

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