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Mormon Discussion: 364: The Pain & Struggle of a Mormon Faith Crisis

Bill Reel sits down with Author, Therapist, and friend; Cory Reese, to discuss what people in a Mormon Faith Crisis self report in terms of the struggle they are having and the things they wish their loved one understood. And we try to soften that hurt with some advice and understanding.


On the first day of my 8-Week Faith Transition Group, I asked participants
what issues they are struggling with the most that led to them seeking therapy.
Here were their responses:
 Losing community has been extremely difficult. Some friends, neighbors,
and family members don’t talk to me anymore.
 Debating whether or not to stay in the church to keep family happy.
 Struggling with appearances, pressure to be perfect, and no longer “looking
perfect” to extended family.
 Don’t know how to do simple things that the rest of the world knows how to
do like navigate alcohol use, and ordering coffee.
 How to deal with guilt-tripping and shaming from family.
 Need to learn how to set boundaries, because I’ve never learned how to in
the past.
 How to deal with emotional flooding from extended family.
 Figuring out how to redefine spirituality, and what spiritual experiences
from the past mean.
 Feeling like I will never be enough – recovering from purity culture.
 Struggling with how in the past, I’ve let other people determine my
worthiness, instead of knowing that I have unconditional worth.
 Toxic perfectionism. Both personally, and in my family, we were a mess on
the inside, but needed to look perfect on the outside.
 Dealing with the fact that I’m disappointing others.
 Learning how to be authentic.

On the last day of the Faith Transition Group, I asked participants what they
wish believing members knew about a faith crisis. Here were their responses:
 We absolutely did not leave because we want to sin.
 Leaving the church isn’t taking the easy way out. If you knew what I have
experienced, you’d realize that leaving the church is taking the gut-
wrenching way out.
 You aren’t far from one. (Faithful members may suddenly and unexpectedly
face a faith crisis themselves when they discover troubling aspects of church
 When you leave, it’s not that you’ve lost yourself. You’ve actually found
 I wish they knew how much I want to talk about it. I want them to know
because I wish I knew five years ago.
 My faith crisis is a spiritual experience. It’s not about knowing all the
answers, it’s about being able to ask the questions.
 We are still the same people.
 I think it’s more accurate to say that the church is facing a “truth crisis”
instead of saying I’ve had a “faith crisis.”
 The threats and scare tactics we were told about what happens when you
leave are not accurate.
 I feel very alone and isolated. I’m not able to speak my truth, but I have to
listen to my family members speak their truth. It’s not safe for me to talk
about what my beliefs or what I’ve learned about the church, but it’s okay
for my family to repeatedly bear their testimony to me. We understand both
perspectives because we were once faithful members of the church, but they
can’t fully understand our perspective because they haven’t been there.
 The “angry ex-Mormon” comes from recognizing that we have experienced
 I want to say “If you think it’s been hard for you, imagine how hard it’s been
for me becoming the disappointment of the family.”
 I want to be loved by my family. I don’t want to hear “God still loves you.” I
want to hear “I love you.”


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