I want to be completely transparent. I have nothing material to gain from this project. This document took four months to write and even longer to edit and publish, but I wrote this section two weeks after finalizing my decision to leave the church.

Why Trust Me?

Know that I trust you to make your own informed decision. It’s possible you feel afraid to read this, as church members have recently been instructed, “Never take counsel from those who do not believe”1.

Please understand that nothing on this website should be considered counsel. Religion, after all, is a complicated, messy matter. I don’t know what course you should take. It will probably differ from mine in at least a few ways.

I also sincerely hope you do not feel I am attacking you or your beliefs. They were my beliefs for decades. I spent months trying to decide how to tell my family I’d stepped out. I deeply respect the many honorable people in the church. I also understand feeling confused, conflicted, angry, afraid, hurt, and the whole slew of emotions that can come with a faith crisis.

In short, don’t take counsel from me. Heck, don’t even trust me. That’s completely fine. But I still hope you are willing to hear my story and give my thoughts some reflection. Investigate the claims I’ve made. Please email me if I made a mistake.

Church Perceptions of My Intentions

You have probably heard the story of Lehi’s dream at the start of the Book of Mormon. You’re almost certainly familiar with this verse:

And great was the multitude that did enter into that strange building. And after they did enter into that building they did point the finger of scorn at me and those that were partaking of the fruit also; but we heeded them not. These are the words of my father: For as many as heeded them, had fallen away.2

I fear that because I have left the church, my thoughts will be disregarded as a “finger of scorn.” I must state as explicitly as possible that I intend no mockery of latter-day saints. I also want to remind and empower anyone who fears reading this may cause you to fall away: you are smarter than you give yourself credit for. You know how to identify and dismiss lies. Understanding others’ perspectives does not constitute giving them heed.

I Want to Empower You

I am reminded of a recent quote from Dieter Uchtdorf:

In other words, if you want to recognize spiritual truth, you have to use the right instruments. You can’t come to an understanding of spiritual truth with instruments that are unable to detect it.3

Thankfully, you have a number of gifts that allow you to discern truth:

  • You can research and find evidence to support or refute a claim.
  • You can use logical reasoning to determine what argument is most convincing.
  • You can analyze your feelings and pray to know the truth.

The church teaches of a God who gave you stewardship over the earth, complete with intuition and the ability to know and understand. Listen to your thoughts and feelings.

Interests of Involved Parties

While they should not be the basis for your decision, it is important to keep in mind any potential conflicts of interest as you read documents like this, especially when one party makes significant claims against the other.

Please consider that I do not advertise on this website. I do not accept donations for this project. I do not want respect or fame (in fact, I understand this website is more likely to hurt my professional prospects than it is to help them). I’m sharing what I have found for two main reasons:

  • My decision to leave the church has greatly improved my life in nearly every aspect, and I feel I owe my thoughts to a community I spent so much of my life with.
  • Writing this document has greatly helped me process trauma I experienced throughout my experience in the church, and I hope it helps people who have had similar experiences to understand they are not alone.

In contrast, the church has a number of incentives to retain members, including by abusive or manipulative means:

  • The church receives large volumes of tithing money from its members.
  • Church leaders have a great deal of power over their members and can use that power to influence government policies and obtain other gains.
  • The church, as an institution, protects powerful and privileged people, especially wealthy white men. It is understandable they may be afraid to lose this protection.

At this point, it is illogical to assume the church is dishonest or harmful simply because it is motivated to be, but it is important to consider these motives.

  1. Nelson, R. M. (2023, October). Think Celestial! General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City, UT. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/eng/general-conference/2023/10/51nelson ↩︎

  2. Smith, J. (2013). 1 Nephi 8. In The Book of Mormon (2013 Edition). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/bofm/1-ne/8?lang=eng ↩︎

  3. Uchtdorf, D. F. (2014, October). Receiving a Testimony of Light and Truth. General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City, UT. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/eng/general-conference/2014/10/receiving-a-testimony-of-light-and-truth ↩︎