Jul 11, 2012
Alan and Leah sit down with Heather to discuss their experiences in Mormonism and the life they found when they decided to take the red pill.
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By Heather C.
This was a delightful couple! Thanks for sharing your story.
I’m really impressed that Alan had such a good reaction to Leah’s letter, even though he “dragged his feet” a little bit afterwards. I’m lucky in that I left with my husband too. So, I sometimes get messages from individuals whose spouses still believe and want my advice for how to nudge their spouse along to seeing their point of view. Do you have any advice to offer from your experience?
And by the way, I agree with articulett. You two are a very cool couple. It’s too bad you left Utah before we could have a chance to get to know you in person!
Alyssa, it’s really hard to compare different people’s experiences. In hindsight, I think the key thing was that I was keenly aware that I was unhappy in the church. But still, I had this twisted view that it was good for me to suffer in this way. If I can stay faithful even when it seems likely that most of this is made up, just think of the rewards in the afterlife!! I remember actually starting to think things like “Hey maybe there’s about a 20% chance the church is true.” Later, “Maybe 5%?”
Leah’s letter was my first empirical evidence that she was more important to me than god. In fact, that she was more important to me than my salvation. The idea of gaining my salvation by leaving my wife, who I loved, and wrecking my family suddenly seemed utterly absurd, which of course it is, since salvation and a personal god do not exist.
I also regret that I haven’t been able to meet and get to know you or other exmo’s due to our location. This is one of those topics on which Leah and I differ. I’m a cultural mormon and my entire identity for my whole life was wrapped up in mormonism and mormon ideas. Because of this, I’ve naturally felt drawn to those who share this background. Leah would prefer to put it behind her, and she understandably sees my online exmo time as evidence that I’m ‘stuck.’
Anyway, to finally answer the question as to how to nudge partners along, I’m sure that the answers are quite individualized. As much as I love my intellectual freedom–no longer having to make up reasons why it’s ok to give women a diminished role, or having to explain why hating gays is really loving them, etc.–giving up that safety net of an afterlife in which god would make everything right, and where I can think of death as a new beginning rather than what it really is, was extremely painful. Realizing how differently I would have lived my life and how much useless shit I spent my time worrying about, and how that time and energy could have been put to better use is still quite haunting. If partners are going to be willing to answer the exmo golden question (lol), i.e. “If the church were not what it claimed to be, would you want to know?” in the affirmative, they have to be willing to let go of these supernatural safety nets. I realize how hard that is, and I truly feel empathy for the position they’re in.
what was the song at the end and who was the singer?
I really enjoyed this interview. You both were very authentic. My daughter is starting college next week at East Carolina. I will be driving out with her from Georgia.
Alan, I am wondering if any of your daughters had difficulty with the change in religion? My daughter has had a long journey.
Really sorry for not responding TNO. I just have been super busy recently. We really didn’t talk much about other people just out of respect and not wanting to create any unneeded drama. Our daughters’ struggles really reflect their ages and degree of commitment (read indoctrination) to the church. Our girls’ ages were 15, 12, 10, and 7 at the time of our shift.
The youngest two had trouble adjusting to the move and leaving some friends, but no problems leaving the church. Our 12 y o has always been very quiet. She ended up losing a very close friend which I know was very painful for her, but at the same time, she may be the one who’s gained the most now in that she is free to be her authentic self. She truly marches to the beat of her own drummer and is in a place where she feels she is not judged.
Our oldest is the one who had the most difficult experience. 14 years and she was finally getting to the point where she felt somewhat accepted by the YW in the Ward. She asked me point-blank when we’d move back to Utah. This past year was her Freshman year in college, and she had a lot of learning to do. It was hard on us as well. She had to make her own decisions based on her own thinking rather than following religious rules. She made some mistakes. She’ll make some more. But this is life.
How old is/was your daughter?
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