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Posted by: toby1978 ( )
Date: January 22, 2018 12:38PM

My wife and I are leaving the church after being active all our lives. We have 4 teenage children and talked with them about our decision. We told them we will support whatever they choose to do, whether it is to continue going to the LDS church, or to come with us to a new church.

Three children seem okay with our choice, but want to continue going to the LDS church. But the youngest (age 13) is feeling like we're abandoning him. He doesn't want to go to a new church, and says we already know where the true church is so we shouldn't be going anywhere else. Then he gets put in the position of being at church and feeling awkward when people ask where his parents are.

If you've gone through something like this, any tips?

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Posted by: Cheryl ( )
Date: January 22, 2018 12:51PM

Perhaps his friends and support system are centered around the mormon church. Could you sit with him and find out if he has other interests? Could could adjust to going to a self defense class or non-mormon scout group or whatever clubs his school offers? Check out community resources and see if he's interested in whatever they have to offer. I know of one guy who took up hiking and his group did all day trips about three Sundays a month which kept his min occupied during the church time and they gave out awards for the number of miles hiked which is nice.

Perhaps the family could go on outings that interest everyone several times a month? Do they like museums? Parks? Sports events? I know one family who loves to go to minor league baseball games which are very inexpensive and exciting.

Good luck. I hope this works out well for your son and the whole family.

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Posted by: rubi123 ( )
Date: January 22, 2018 12:54PM

Congrats on the decision to leave the LDS Church. It sounds like your 13-year-old was indoctrinated really well. It will be awkward for him to go to the LDS Church alone, but you can't be compelled to keep attending for that reason. It's just the consequence of his choice.

I would think that after awhile he will be glad to be free of the LDS Church. He'll have more free time, greater freedom without all the rules, and a brighter future without the pressure of going on a mission or marrying in the temple.

I hope he comes around quickly! I'll bet you get some specific and really good advice from some other posters.

Best of luck to your entire family!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/22/2018 12:54PM by rubi123.

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Posted by: Elyse ( )
Date: January 22, 2018 12:56PM

Start doing fun things on Sundays instead of going to church.

You need to actively interrupt the Mormon programming and brainwashing.

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Posted by: paisley70 ( )
Date: January 22, 2018 02:31PM

I endorse this comment.

The first time that my children saw the view from on top of a mountain on Sunday morning, well, let's just say they saw the light!

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Posted by: subeamnotlogedin ( )
Date: January 22, 2018 03:03PM


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Posted by: danr ( )
Date: January 23, 2018 10:10AM

I agree, don't do a new church yet, let the children get used to being out of Mormonism for a while.

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Posted by: mightybuffalo ( )
Date: January 22, 2018 01:13PM


No children, but my wife described to me yesterday how she's really not looking forward to telling her friends at church where I am and why I'm anywhere but church. I am sure it is different for you, but I commend you for doing what you feel is correct.

I sat down with my wife and we essentially role-played how she can tell people what they want to know without having to dive into the 'awkward' details. Maybe let him know you support his decision and that you would love to help him know what to say when confronted--it is inevitable, after all.

There are plenty with MUCH MORE wisdom on this site than me, but best of luck, and welcome =)

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Posted by: Hedning ( )
Date: January 22, 2018 03:50PM

Mormons are so nosy and controlling. She does not have to tell them anything about why you are not at Church, it's not their issue, it does not reflect on her. She should just tell them you are not attending. They can make up all the salacious fantasies about why you are sinning, were offended, weak, etc. But it just does not matter and should show your wife what a bunch of self righteous jackasses they are.

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Posted by: moremany ( )
Date: January 22, 2018 01:53PM

They don't have a choice.

You're going to let your child drag you around like an old toy?

WE ARE LEAVING the OFC (one false church).

WE got you here and WE are getting you out!

Happiness will surely follow.


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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: January 22, 2018 02:00PM

The hardest part of me leaving the church at 21 (after my mission) was the loss of most of my friends.
Having grown up in the church, I had few (really only 1) non-member friends, all of my "lifetime friends" to that point were mormons that I grew up with, went to MIA with, went to Scouts with, went to Stake Dances with, dated, etc.

I genuinely loved those people. I didn't love the church that had brought us together. I was afraid most of them would disown me when I left. It was very scary.

The thing is...I was only partially justified in my fears. There were indeed some who "disowned" me. Wanted nothing more to do with me. But there were plenty that didn't. Ones that told me straight-out that they would be my friends whether I came to church or not. And that didn't take every opportunity to bear me their testimony and try to 'reactivate' me.

Even now, more than 35 years later, I'm still friends with several of them. Our lives went down very different paths, but we've stayed in touch (even before Facebook!), we get together now and then, and we don't talk church.

To your youngest, this probably seems like a situation where he's going to lose all of his friends. He probably won't, but he WILL lose some of them. Reassure him that those who would ditch him over not going to church are people he wouldn't want as friends anyway -- 'cause they're just fair-weather friends, not real friends. Those who really care about him will still want to care about him.

Good luck.

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Posted by: saucie ( )
Date: January 22, 2018 02:34PM

its never a good choice to allow a thirteen year to have control

over a family. They frequently get upset.

Put your heads together with him and find a way to work it out

without compromising your authority. Can't he find other things

to do with his friends besides being at church together?

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Posted by: Pooped ( )
Date: January 22, 2018 02:47PM

Thirteen is a very difficult age to be "different" from your peers. I think he is far more concerned with being different, less than, or odd than being right or wrong. I agree with the poster who said that with new friends outside Mormonism will come a realization that he doesn't have to be just like everyone else at church.

Remind your teen that you are respecting his right to make his own decisions about religion. Remind him that with all rights come responsibility. He will now have to take the responsibility of standing on his own regarding his faith and beliefs. That day has just come a little sooner than he, or you, expected. But that day would have come eventually, someday.

If it will make it any easier for him, tell him that when he is asked by others why his parents are not at church he is within his rights to tell them that they should call, text, or email you so you can explain in your own words and so that he doesn't have to explain your decision. It might make it easier if you posted something on social media that he could refer people to so he doesn't have to repeatedly answer that question.

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Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: January 22, 2018 03:00PM

My daughter went back to church when she was about 12 or so and the ward members would ask where her mother and brother were all the time. She said it really irritated her that they never were just glad she was there. We were always the focus. She then started going only to YW with friends.

At about age 20, after being anti, she went back and she is over the top TBM.

It did occur to me as I was typing that that it can go either way. I thought at first I'd say go with him. BUT he might quit going if the people put too much focus on the fact you aren't there. At 13, I don't think a kid knows if it is the only true church or not. I certainly thought I did. Otherwise, i would have gotten out a lot sooner than I did. I don't think there is any easy way to handle this situation. Do you live in Utah? I assume. That makes it more difficult.

My daughter did have all mormon friends all through middle school and high school and even though she usually didn't attend much, they were still friends with her.

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Posted by: Anonymous Today ( )
Date: January 22, 2018 03:11PM

You need to talk to this young man and explain to him exactly why you are leaving, and why the Mormon Church is NOT true, as you had previously thought. He is old enough for the details.

Please stop trying to protect him from the facts, and allowing him to think that what Church he (or you) goes to really doesn't matter. He has a right to know what led you to your decision, and why you think it is morally required that the family leave Mormonism.

Moreover, he is under age, and as parents you need to kindly and gently protect him from further indoctrination; whatever that takes. Otherwise, trust me, you will be the bad guys and things will just get worse as he grows up. He will find some surrogate parents in the Ward (no doubt a friend's parents) who will double down on his indoctrination. Soon, you will assume the role of apostates, and parents in name only.

Been there.

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Posted by: C2NR ( )
Date: January 22, 2018 03:41PM


Explain to him why you are leaving in a way that will hopefully make him proud of the moral strength of your characters. You are leaving because it is a matter of conscience,not because you are weak. It probably isn't easy for you leave, but your integrity led you to this choice, even though you like the people. We know that he will hear things at church that imply his parents are less than, weak, in need of help, etc., and you need to show what a heroic and honorable thing you are doing. If he really understood he should be proud of the strength of his parents, so don't be shy in showing him that the path you are taking is actually morally superior to the staying in a church you don't believe in. You will have to decided whether it is a good idea to share with him some of the sordid details of the things you find most bothersome and offensive with the church that caused you to leave.

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Posted by: nevermojohn ( )
Date: January 22, 2018 03:29PM

If he is worried about how he is going to be treated going to church without his parents, he should probably ask himself if he really wants to be around people who cannot be nice and welcoming.

I thought being around nice , welcoming, community minded people was a prime reason many people attend a church.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: January 22, 2018 03:39PM

As a 13-year-old, your son is just entering not only physical adolescence, but social adolescence...when he learns (and creates) his "right" place among social peers. Up to now, he has learned that he is a Mormon, and that Mormon social culture is his "proper" place to be in life.

From this perspective, he is FINALLY at the very beginning stages of where he has "always" known he BELONGED...

...and now "everything" he KNEW (so far as his own social and cultural reality) is vanishing.

Just when he thought he had a kind of tentative handle on what "is"---it IS no longer, and he is feeling profoundly unstable in his very existence.

At this point, he needs to learn that other, personal/individual, social, and cultural realities exist...and these realities not only exist in some general, theoretical sense, but exist for HIM...the individual person that he is.

He now needs to learn that he can reinvent himself. (This is actually a tough lesson, since life itself---for EVERYONE at age 13 in our larger American society---is about "inventing" one's soon-to-be adult self).

In this case, and unlike most new exmormons, the timing necessitates a kind of simultaneous "double invention" over what most American kids are expected to accomplish at this stage of their lives.

You know your son, and you know what he is interested in, and what strengths he has. Play to his interests and strengths. Do some creative thinking about where, outside of Mormonism, he can find age and development peers who are turned on by the same things, whether this might be an academic interest, or a hobby, or some kind of social service work geared to his particular age group (preferably, if possible, where most or all of the kids involved are NOT Mormon).

Is there any volunteer work available in your community for young adolescents? Are there any special interest groups (could be academic...could be ANYTHING) which might be of interest to him?

(Along the way, as he experiments with new things, your 13-year-old will be making new friends, as well as new adult social connections, which may, in retrospect, prove pivotal to the adult he will become in ten or twenty years.)

This is going to be a PROCESS, and it IS going to include some "hiccups" along the way. Try one thing, and if it turns out to be not something YOUR son is turned on by (which is probable), then by that point, both of you will likely have become aware of something ELSE which might fit the bill. Depending on where you live, you may have to think "outside the envelope" for non-Mormon activities your 13-year-old can become a part of, but if there are non-Mormons in your area, then you can take advantage of whatever your area DOES offer.

Try again after "false" starts (although "false" starts can be immensely valuable as self-learning opportunities)...and even if takes a dozen or more tries, your son will, with every new "start," be learning a WHOLE lot about himself that will serve him for the rest of his life. (We often learn the most about ourselves from the things we try and do NOT like, or do NOT succeed in!)

Someday...someday a couple of decades from now...your "now" 13-year-old may look back and realize that he was so fortunate to have the parents he had, as well as this particular (in retrospect, AMAZING) opportunity to try out a whole host of new, and previously unanticipated, things, as he proceeds on the way to discovering his own, true, authentic, fully-adult self.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/22/2018 05:39PM by Tevai.

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

I presently have a 13yr old son, and this is spot on. With so many changes going on he wants some consistency. He probably will be starting high school in the fall and that can be a source of anxiety.

I would not be surprised if another TBM family takes your kids under their wings on Sunday. I think it is great that you are able to leave. At least your kids will have a choice in their religious beliefs, which is a good thing.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: January 22, 2018 05:52PM

Nevermo here, but I like the following ideas:

a.) Educating all of your children about the reasons why you left. Link those reasons to your moral sense of what is right and what is wrong. IMO that is something that will resonate with teens. Give them sources that they can explore on their own, such as Mormon Think and the CES Letter.

b.) I like the idea of planning fun family activities on Sunday.

c.) I like the idea of involving your youngest son in whatever clubs and community activities he might be interested in, whether it's sports, martial arts, a non-Mormon Boy Scout or Explorer troop, etc.

d.) I would insist that your kids who want to stay in the Mormon church be exposed to other options. You can have a "one (or two) Sundays a month we will go to another church." Good options on the liberal end of the Christian spectrum include the ELCA Lutherans, the Episcopalians, the UMC Methodists, and the Presbyterians (PCUSA.) Find some congregations with especially strong and active youth programs. If you talk to the church minister, I have no doubt that he or she would be more than okay with part time exploration and attendance. BTW, my mind was BLOWN the first time I saw a female priest (in an Episcopal cathedral.) New experiences are broadening!

It is not unusual for teenage Christian kids to go on short, REAL missions involving building homes or giving immunizations to the poor in Central and South America. Give your kids a taste of real service and they may never look back. Ditto for fun church activities -- most Christian churches keep the majority of their donations in-house. Unlike Mormonism, their programs do not suffer from under-funding.

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Posted by: paintingnotloggedin ( )
Date: January 22, 2018 06:04PM

re 13 year old.

He may be in a stance where he is valued. He is at least equal to his peers, maybe elevated status *deacon, may experience self as valuable *serve sacrament.

well were he to go to another church today, just walk in to youth group, he doesn't even know the vocabulary. Part of them speak with derision or condemnation of Mormons (one adult minister stated in a ministry group he didn't think Mormons had prayers answered, until they were left- and invalidated any memory or experience of being cared for by god or any inspiration.) How would that sit for a teen ager, to go from the top of a group, or middle norm of a group, to the
bottom of a group.

I wouldn't walk in with him to sit in sunday school with baby christened to preschool vacation bible study life long little Southern Baptist or Apostolic set of 13 year olds for Sunday School. Why? well they'd know all the words, all the songs, have all their memorized response and he'd have to just be quiet, when during questions he didn't know he'd have to be wrong, the 13 year old would have to be the example of someone who doesn't know everything during ministry classes. His words and input wouldn't be valued except to first devalue untilhe knew and admitted he was wrong, what he came from was wrong, his thoughts and ideas were wrong, and his input wasn't accepted. Until and only when he copied them, mimicked them, and answered as instructed- would he then be valued.
It might be pretty quick.
But why would he want it. he's 13 years old why

so the question isn't why would a 13 year old care about doctrine,

the question is why , what made, this 13 year old, need to be the bottom, devalued, among a group with another belief system where he didn't fit in except as a neophyte beneath them in a new sunday school. because he didn't have their beliefs- and in order to get it he has to denigrate everything he believed in or acted as, including his baby little deacon gig.

He would go conceivably from the top or mid range norm of valued in community, entering a protestant sunday school, having to kiss up kill his deacon eque skill set publically admit deacons don't do *** and either seriously or humorously deride his own past--- I don't see 13 year olds who want to do that.

13 year old want and need to be sincerely valued by their peers, having taught at a homeless shelter for run away 12-16 year olds, a huge group of 12-13 year old males filled the shelter beds. They voted with their feet before computer cell phone tablets, maybe they just stay in bed and vote with putting their mind online now a days.

if the lived and socialized with non lds peers, 13 year old lived where he was excluded from life by being lds because there were so few lds then getting more opportunities his real peers valued would make not attending the lds church a sure thing. His value would go up, by not contributing or participating with lds.

the 13 year old and all the teens need to be valued. They need to experience themselves as valued among peers. How could you make that transition? a transition where they are not devalued first, and not required nor asked to first devalue themselves, nor to be devalued by peers. How can you increase their value in their own eyes through increase or maintain their valuation by their peers- you cannot logically enact something that subtracts from a 13-18 year olds social value or self valuation without results/consequences.

in these views, Here I supposed you meet my professional persona (retired teen homeless shelter instructor, community center instructor, continuation high school instructor, juvenile hall counselor)

as adults, structure your teen's lives so they experience themselves as being valued by others. I believe Having a teen alive & well matters much more than being right.

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Posted by: Free Man ( )
Date: January 22, 2018 11:26PM

Yeah, you jerked the rug out from under him.

I assume you explain the church is BS, and is a fraud. Then you offer to take him to another church which is BS, and is a fraud. What have you gained?

My boy was 12 when we quit church, and I thought we should go to some kind of church. Went for a couple weeks and it felt weird, and I said forget it.

Now a small farm and the woods are my church, and spending time with kids and grandkids. As others suggested, do something fun with them. Though as teens they care more about their peers. Help them join groups they like - sports, hobbies, whatever.

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Posted by: Birdman ( )
Date: January 23, 2018 01:08AM

Boy do I ever agree with you "Free Man"!

Toby1978 I think your son has a valid issue. A short time ago you and your wife were active members. Possibly teaching him that this was the only true church, etc. Now, suddenly you’re off joining a new church and declaring their validity or arguing for their point of view. I think there is a credibility issue. You might want to take a long pause and ask yourself having been fooled once, can you be fooled again? Rather than asking this Recovery Board for assistance, ask yourself why your arguments don’t seem persuasive to your son.

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Posted by: Badassadam1 ( )
Date: January 23, 2018 01:54AM

Show him what goes on in the temple, that might have done it for me at 13.

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Posted by: Julie Byam ( )
Date: January 23, 2018 02:00AM

I admire you so much for seeing through the SSC , but at the same time not pulling the rug out from underneath your children and deciding to search more in line with what you have found to be much closer to what you have come to really believe. I strongly do not support just taking a child from the LDS and taking him camping or hiking on Sundays when he has been brought up going to Services on Sunday. There are so many wonderful places that your child will feel very comfortable in and frankly I doubt if he will notice that much difference.Until you decide to check another place and you are not made to feel the least bit uncomfortable while you search for a Church your boy likes best. I would suggest trying out the places that welcome you without that smothering feeling. I have always liked The Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopal's , but you might like the Evangelical Free Church and the Free Methodist as they are a bit more strict. For the time being your boy might find what is known as the Holy Rollers a bit odd. I really think going from LDS to Hiking on Sunday is a bad idea. Sorry, but I do. Bless you for finding your way out of the SCC You will never regret it . I just strongly think that having any of the kids think you have lost your faith is a bad idea.

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Posted by: readwrite ( )
Date: January 23, 2018 02:46AM

Most teenagers would be thrilled to listen to their parents and follow them out of TMC and into truth, freedom, happiness...

What aren't you telling them?

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Posted by: Badassadam1 ( )
Date: January 23, 2018 10:18AM

readwrite Wrote:
> Most teenagers would be thrilled to listen to
> their parents and follow them out of TMC and into
> truth, freedom, happiness...
> What aren't you telling them?

I would have been so thrilled if my parents left when i was a teenager. But my my mom is a push over when it comes to the religion and my father is the biggest fanatic you will ever find. His hobby is searching for dead people and doing temple work for the dead people. Definitely loves the religion more than anything else. But i would have had a MUCH better life if my parents left the church or cult when i was young.

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Posted by: Mother Who Knows ( )
Date: January 23, 2018 03:04AM

It's late, so I skipped ahead, and didn't read all the replies.

My answer to you is: It is the cult's fault if your teens are made to feel awkward, and marginalized, after you leave. Other churches don't do this. Members are free to come and go, and switch back and forth between churches, as is their right.

The Mormons are to blame for their strong-arm tactics in keeping children in tow. Mormonism is a cult of hate and fear, and these negative manipulation techniques are proven to be more powerful than love and rewards. The Mormon cult deliberately abuses its members. Your teen-agers will have to withstand gossip, being targeted, threatened, having to clean bathrooms, paying tithing, being coerced into pioneer treks and stupid "activities" on school nights, forced into early dating, and--worst of all--indoctrination and brainwashing to go on missions!

My husband gently led me out of the cult, by NOT stepping in and making church life easier for me. Some of you go to church with your spouse, to protect him or her from all the Mormons nastiness. You are enabling your spouse to live a lie.

Yes--you ARE throwing your children under the bus, by not having them resigning with you. But, it is the Bus that is running them over, not you parents. Sometimes, kids need to learn the hard way, as most of us ex-mormons have.

Stay strong, and don't let the Mormon cult turn your children against you, because that is what they will try to do, in order to being you back to paying tithing again. The Mormons use children as tools.

Know that the Mormon church is NOT a good place to raise children!

Congratulations on discovering the Truth, but your battle is just beginning.

Oh yeah, I agree with the posters who recommend you have some good family fun, and put off choosing another church right away. Go on Easter, if you need to, but take a break, until your family gets its bearings. Have fun.

Above all, give each other unconditional love! The Mormons don't preach, teach, or practice love--and your children are probably starved for it!

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Posted by: Badassadam1 ( )
Date: January 23, 2018 10:31AM

I loved this post. I was raised in the mormon church so it really hits home when you said that it is a terrible place to raise children. My father still claims i had a great upbringing but i know that that is a lie. He had a great life while i was getting abused in every which way so of course he thought it was great. He got to do exactly what he wanted to do while i was forced to go along with it. Everyone uses the god card to excuse their behavior. But if there is a god then he is very neglectful of the abused. Anyways i am still trying to convince myself that none of it was my fault. I did what i had to do to survive at the time as a kid and even as an adult. But thanks for your post 'mother who knows'. It's powerful when an adult says that it is terrible to raise your kids in the mormon church, very powerful. It covers a lot of ground in my life that i was so confused when i was actually in it and experiencing it. The church has always been a millstone around my neck that i can never completely get rid of. Wish i had been born without religion.

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Posted by: shock ( )
Date: January 23, 2018 09:25AM

I agree with Mother Who Knows, except that I don't think that you have anything to do with the bus, likely being BIC. The only bus analogy I think fits is that you're getting off of a bus to nowhere, but the kids still think it's headed somewhere *really special,* as it goes 'round in the same, meaningless circle.

I'd let them get used to the idea that you're not going to allow them to stay on it forever, and set up individual and family counseling with non-LDS professionals.

LDS is not just another church; it is a family-destroying shun institution. Acknowledge your 13-year old's feelings, as you honor your own as well. You are the adult, and your superior, developed brain can see the bus path you were on, while he can see only the inside of what he still believes to be a glory bus. Your goal is to help him see the beauty outside, to look through the windows, beyond his own reflection.

I'm not completely convinced that the older kids "are okay" with your decision, rather, they may only better understand exactly whom feathers their nest. The reason I think counseling is important for all of you, is so you receive the ongoing tools and support to help you extricate your entire family. It's not just "allowing religious freedom" where your children are concerned, but guiding them out of cult-like beliefs that will leave you standing outside of temple weddings, having to pay for BYU, not being trusted to be left alone with your own grandchildren, TBM in-laws who are.

FHE can take on a whole new meaning, one that leads to health. Tell your story, explain indoctrination, blindly following authority, critical thinking. Educate them not by condemning current beliefs, but by revealing the alternatives, the glimpses through the windows. Make it safe, warm and welcoming to exit the bus, show that the bus door is made entirely of fear, wrongly implanted within them.

It is not your fault that you were also put on that bus, but it is your responsibility to help them get off of it. Be patient, be kind, let them vent without fear, but tolerate no disrepect of each other. Teach them your new language, that the outside world is not entirely evil, but full of the good and bad, and all between, that humans experience. Real choices.

Please don't allow a cultish church to finish rearing your children. You have options.

My best to you.

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Posted by: Cheryl ( )
Date: January 23, 2018 09:43AM

I understand that mormons think eight year olds are mature enough to make a life decision about church membership and kids would be shocked if they were forced to leave their mormon friends and church activities. Still, in this situation, I'd likely sit everyone down and explain what new facts are clear and why the whole family needs to resign. I'd let them know they could ask questions and talk about it as often and as long as necessary.

It's okay that parents adjust their plans when they learn new facts. Some of them choose to move from a place they thought would be great forever and change the family menu when they gain new understandings about nutrition. Church is also something they can change.

I wouldn't want a child of mine to go where they're indoctrinated to mistrust me and where they're taught it's their job to convince me to do something I abhor.

I'd tell a child, "I didn't know the facts when I was taking you to church. Now I do and we're going to make new plans for the family. Sadly, there might be some adjustment time but we'll get through it. In the meantime, let's have fun on Sundays. What would you like to do this week?"

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Posted by: 6 iron ( )
Date: January 23, 2018 06:01PM

All 6 of my kids, the 4 married spouces, my daughter is on a mission, and my ultra TBM ex is the custodial parent of my youngest, 16 yr old daughter.

I also have 4.5 grandkids that nursed koolaid.

3 siblings drink the non wine sacrament. I have one sibling who left, but is a Trump lover (we're Canadian) and Orange is my least favorite colour. I can't even eat punk'n pie.

So.... You're 10 steps ahead of me

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