Sunday, November 8, 2015

An Open Letter to Those Who Have Left the Church

First, I love you.  Family, friend, or complete stranger, I think it’s important to know that I love you as a child of God and I recognize your infinite worth, regardless of your affiliation (or lack thereof) with any particular religion.  I see that you are still a good person even though we know longer hold the same beliefs close to our hearts.  Beliefs are not an indicator of the quality of an individual – actions are.  I’m sorry for the pain you must have gone through on your journey to find truth and peace and comfort.  Leaving a community and religion that was likely a huge part of your life and family can’t have been easy.  It breaks my heart to think that you might have felt alone and worried about the reaction from your loved ones.  I’m sorry for my reaction to your news.  Even if it’s hard to understand, any sadness or heartbreak I experienced came from a place of love for you.  Please know that I see the good that you continue to do.  I see the love that you have for those around you.  I appreciate the service you give and the positive impact you have in my life.

Second, please don’t hate the Church.  Hatred will only cause pain and heartache.  Please recognize that, even if it is something that you don’t want to be a part of, the Church does a lot of good around the world.  It does a lot of good in my life and in the lives of my family.  It is precious and dear to me and many of our loved ones.  I’m sorry if you feel personally wronged by the religion that you used to belong to.  I’m sorry you had such a negative experience with something that has brought me so much happiness and comfort through life’s difficult times. But regardless of your feelings on the Church, I ask that you find it in your heart to be happy for me and the happiness that I’ve found.

I am pleading with you to think before you speak (or post) something negative about the Church.  Because it is such an integral part of who I am, it hurts me personally when I see you attack my beliefs.  I really am okay with having differences.  We don’t need to believe the same things or live our lives the same way.  Differences help us to learn and understand others’ perspectives, an understanding that I think the whole world could use more of.  I won’t post negative, hurtful things about your beliefs/thoughts and I expect the same level of respect from you.  Let’s share the things that uplift us and let’s do it without mockery and insensitivity. 

Finally, I hope that you have found what you’re looking for.  I hope you feel happiness in all areas of your life.  If you are looking for spiritual light, emotional peace, increased intellect, or physical well-being – I want that for you.  Whatever uplifts you individually is good in my book.  The restored Gospel is what uplifts me.  Please don’t assume that because I still believe the principles my parents taught me as a young child that I haven’t thought for myself and questioned the doctrines.  My parents taught me to gain my own testimony and understanding, not to follow blindly.  I’ve done that and I hope to continue to do that throughout my life. 

Thank you for hearing out my sincere thoughts.  I hope you can see that I’m coming from a place of love.  Now let’s spread positivity and leave the arguments behind!

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