This section is based entirely on anecdotal evidence, but I decided to include it anyway because I believe you might relate.

The church fosters communities based on shallow relationships in which there is a sense of obligation to one another but no real sense of community.

Poor Boundaries

Growing up in the church, I was expected to agree to everything. I remember being chastised by my parents and church leaders when I skipped a young men’s meeting because I didn’t feel well. I was never supposed to turn down a calling, since it was a divinely inspired “opportunity to serve”.

When someone, especially a generally-respected community member in a position of power, asked me for something, I was to say yes. While I imagine I would have been happy to help given the option, I never had a choice. In my opinion, it cheapened the experience of service by removing any voluntary aspect.

On my mission, I was to agree with my companion. This put me in dangerous situations and caused me to endure abuse and assault.

I was taught to never set boundaries. To this day, if I talk about boundaries with parents or church leaders, they often seem surprised or disappointed. Ward leaders made it clear they did not appreciate it when we resigned from teaching primary, even after we explained how painful it was given we recently learned we couldn’t have kids.

Soon after we stopped attending church meetings, I received the following email:

Hello Brother Taylor,

This is Brother ***.

I would like to set up a meeting for you and your wife with Bishop ***.

When would you be available?

thanks Sent from my iPad

I would like to point out that when I was a member of the church, it was natural to send and receive messages that assumed I was willing to meet with the bishop and simply asked when, not if I was available. I would also like to point out that my wife did not have a say; this email was sent to me, and my wife was simply expected to attend with me.

I responded with the following:

Thanks for reaching out. We’re not interested in meeting with the bishop.


Landon Taylor

I could not believe how good it felt to set a boundary. It was a small one; I had simply said no to a meeting. But as I thought back, I could not believe I had never felt like I could do that before.

As I have participated in the exmormon Reddit community, the thing I read most about is boundaries. The church clearly encourages poor boundaries, and leaving the church finally enables so many people to set and hold firm boundaries to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Marketing Opportunities

I have never encountered so much guerilla advertising outside the church as I did within the church. Ward members would regularly talk to my wife about essential oils, Amway businesses, and other multi-level marketing schemes. Neighbors would use their status in the church to commit affinity fraud.

In my experience, when people are expected to act as a community but lack the connection that many communities foster (as is the case in every ward I’ve lived in), people start to find ways to exploit their community members for their own gain.

Transactional Relationships

Before we left, we thought we had several great friends in the ward. But since leaving, everything has been about the church. In response to the above message, the ward secretary (who I thought we were relatively good friends with) let us know they would miss us. Since then, the only communication we have received from him has consisted of invitations to church events.

The church fosters relationships based solely around the church. If a friend “falls away”, relationships dissolve and a person is effectively shunned, since the church teaches people to focus on converting people and bringing them back to the fold.


Since leaving the church, we have found that relationships with close friends (many of whom are nuanced members or ex-mormons) have significantly improved. There is no hidden agenda to convert someone, and we genuinely care about each other. We are so grateful for the supportive relationships we’ve had with close friends as we have left the church, and their unconditional love and support have made a world of difference for us. I don’t think I ever had a relationship like that within the church.