It’s hard to know what to say when starting an apology. But I’m feeling a kind of tugging sorrow in my heart for the pain I’ve caused my LDS family and friends, and likely many others I’ve never met. If you feel you’ve been affected negatively by something I’ve written, said, or done over the years, then please accept my sincere apology. This post is for you.
When I chose to leave the church, I felt scared and alone and confused. I so deeply wanted to feel understood and accepted in this pain. I also felt peaceful and excited and free. And I wanted to be seen in that also. I published a letter entitled Why I Left the Mormon Church, which increased understanding in many ways. But it also caused some hurt. I have updated and softened it over the years, and have strengthened the introductory disclaimer so readers are aware of where it’s headed. It’s taken time to process these emotions and experiences. I’ve written several posts on my blog detailing my spiritual journey and its relation to Mormonism, and have shared Mormon-related articles on my Facebook wall, some which have been triggering. Sometimes what I’ve shared has resulted in positive discussions and increased understanding; but other times it’s resulted in loved ones feeling uncomfortable and distancing themselves from me. And understandably so.
I realized to a degree that some of the things I was posting might cause you pain, but I saw this pain as justified for the sake of truth as I understood it. I think this was a mistake. I now see that your story of truth is as valid for you as mine is for me, and your feelings as valid as my feelings. I have opinions, but I see that sharing them isn’t always helpful, nor kind. My pain does not belong on your shoulders unless you offer to take it. And your pain is not mine to carry, unless we are both ready.
Since leaving the church, I have felt ostracized and shunned, to a degree, by some of my LDS family and friends. But I can also see how you would feel ostracized and shunned by me. I may have caused you to distance yourself from me by the ways I’ve expressed my story. I thought I was right, and you were wrong. I thought you needed help, and that I had a solution. And that intention came through, even when I didn’t say it. I thought I valued being kind and compassionate over being right, but my actions weren’t always in line with these values. I’ve seen that when I try to help people who don’t want help, it can end up feeling more pushy and disrespectful, than helpful to the other person. And it closes hearts. I no longer expect you to understand or accept me. It is enough for me to understand and accept myself, and to live my life with as much love and kindness as I can. This kindness involves seeking to understand you and support you in your own life journey in ways that feel appropriate to both of us. I can appreciate you – the beautiful person you naturally are – regardless of the beliefs you hold.
I may not live by your church’s story of reality. But I respect the spiritual depth of your faith, and the sense of purpose this brings to your life. To those whom I have offended, I offer my apology, and an invitation to return as a welcomed and respected guest on my life journey, if this feels good to you. If it doesn’t, I fully support you in that choice, too. Priorities and boundaries are necessary for individual well-being, and we all choose how we want to spend our time.
Regardless of our theological differences or life choices, I hope that by offering this apology, it will open space for healing some of the pain that I have caused you. May we both increase in peace and joy, in whatever path we find it.
Also, if there is someone you know who’s been hurt by my approach, and who may not get this message on their own, I invite you to share this post with them, so that we can both heal from the past.