Leaving the church was the best decision I’ve ever made.

Falling Away

The church does everything it can to control the narrative surrounding why people leave. Perhaps you’ve heard or even believed one of the following rationales:

  • They are a “lazy learner” and didn’t put in the work to stay
  • They left because they wanted to sin
  • They “fell away” because they were distracted by the world
  • They gave in to Satan’s influence
  • They got caught up in anti-mormon nonsense
  • They were offended at people in the ward

It is interesting, then, to see self-reported statistics on why people leave. Data at Exmormon Stats (retrieved on 30 December 2023) indicates the following are the real reasons people leave. Out of 1026 respondents:

  • 409 left due to “Historical Reasons”, “Experience-Based Reasons”, or “Science”
  • 288 left due to “Ethical/Moral Reasons”, “Policy Reasons”, “Cultural Reasons”, or “Socially Progressive Reasons”
  • 257 left due to “Doctrinal Reasons”, “Theological Reasons”, “Foundational Scriptures”, “Spiritual Reasons”, or “Epistemological Reasons”
  • 72 left due to “Family/Social Reasons”, “Leadership”, “Were Never Converted”, or “Other Reasons”

I propose, then, that most people who leave the church likely miss the community. They likely wanted to believe with all their hearts, but the facts meant their belief system didn’t work.

This same survey is encouraging in another way: of 106 people who answered the question, only 4 are less happy after leaving the church; 102 people are at least as happy as they used to be, while 85 of those people are happier than when they were members.


Church members are not officially taught to shun those who leave. But within families and local communities, there is a significant stigma associated with leaving the church. Language like “falling away” leads people to view people who leave as less-than, as if they were weak and were deceived by Satan.

While communities within the church dissolved when we left, we have been able to make new friends and significantly improve many of our existing relationships. So if you are considering leaving but are worried about the social life, there are so many good people outside the church. You will find a loving, welcoming community among ex-mormons or any other (wholesome) group you decide to associate with.


Anyone who has served on a ward council or participated in missionary work understands how hard the church works to get people back. People will say they missed you at church functions despite not giving you the time of day while you were attending. Missionaries regularly make efforts to contact “inactives” to bring them and their heathen friends back to the church.

After leaving, I am much better able to see just how manipulative the church trains its members to be. In our resignation letters, my wife and I both decided to mention that we want no contact from the church, as we have already experienced manipulative efforts to get us back.

If you have lived in the church and are feeling conflicted, know this: they do not care about you and they will not miss you. You are a drop in their pond, and if you return, their only joy is an improved reactivation statistic. Just like it did when I left, and just like it has done when millions of others have left, the church will hardly notice your absence.

In contrast, I would like to remark about a new experience I have had. It is incredible, fulfilling, and joyous to have friends who truly care. Friends who really worry about you, friends who love you because of who you are, not in spite of who you are. Friends who don’t have any kind of hidden judgmental or missionary agenda.

I See the Light

You know that scene in Tangled when Rapunzel finally feels free from Mother Gothel? When she sings “at last I see the light”? That’s how I’ve felt since my resignation. I feel like my eyes have been opened and I finally understand how horrible the church was to me. I can see so much more of the beauty and wonder life has to offer. I have been able to recover from much of my trauma. It truly is like the fog has lifted, and it’s warm and real and bright.

Like I have said a number of times, my life is so much better now that I have left. I have never felt this happy and joyful. I have never felt so much peace. My relationships (especially between my wife and me) are more meaningful than ever. I finally feel like I can be a kind, generous, gracious, honest, good person.

So take a deep breath. You’ve read a lot. Over 50,000 words by my last count. I know a lot of it has been negative. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Make your own decision. Be your own person. Use the agency you’ve been taught God blessed you with to decide for yourself what you believe.

My Advice

If you’re a lifelong member of the church, I understand you’ve been taught not to accept counsel from non-believers. But if you’re feeling betrayed, manipulated, or confused, know that these are normal feelings. You may be experiencing what people have long called “the dark night of the soul”. Know that you are completely in control here. You are not alone; many have gone before you and many will follow.

To you, I pass on the advice that saved my life: get the hell out and don’t look back.