What’s the most effective way to leave the Mormon church without an empty feeling/void in your life?

What’s the most effective way to leave the Mormon church without an empty feeling/void in your life?
To those Latter-Day Saints who see this: yes I know the church’s name is not “the Mormon Church” and I won’t use that term in my description. I had to use a short name because questions on here are limited to a certain amount of characters.

Now then, to the details: I have a friend who was raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and finds herself completely lost in it. She never had God near witness to her of its truth, and so has confirmed that it is not true. She has been a member for two decades and still hasn’t felt this witness from God.

She also doesn’t fit in with the other Latter-Day Saints because she says most of them like to talk about “worldly things” and have “small talk” as opposed to deep and meaningful conversations which is what she enjoys and is all she is good with. She can’t do small talk and so appears very anti-social to the other LDS and they tend to ignore her. This ignoring causes her to have very low self-esteem even when I try my best to comfort her. I feel so bad for her because I know it must be tough.

So since she is being both ignored by God and by the people in the church she feels that she needs to leave it since it only drags her down. The problem is though she feels empty when she does leave. She feels like she needs to be involved in something church-like. She feels as empty without the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as she does with it. So even though I told her she needed to leave it, she still says she feels empty. I’ve suggested to her to try other churches that she feels good in but she is just too depressed now to do it.

So my question is, what do you think I ought to do for her at this point? I still try to be as good of a friend as I can be for her but it only helps a little for her for some reason.

Note: I promise that I’m not trying to trash the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I highly respect it because it does a lot of good in the world with Mormon Helping Hands and other humanitarian efforts made by members themselves. All I suggest is that it may not be for everyone, and it’s definitely not for my friend. She did love giving service, but she hated that she never had a witness from God and was treated as an alien from the other members because she doesn’t talk like they do. I do apologize to any LDS in advance if anything here does offend you. The last thing I want to do is offend anyone.
Where it says “she never had god near witness to her” near should be bare. There might be a few other typos since I’m typing this from a mobile device with auto correct and I type fairly fast. It only sometimes autocorrects it to the correct word too.
@old timer too
I must have forgot to mention that she has prayed, though I’m unsure if she has done so directly after finishing the Book of Mormon. If I recall correctly, your church says that you need to read the scriptures or perform some action before receiving a witness? I will ask her if she has done that. Even though I don’t believe in God, I don’t see any reason not to encourage someone to do so if it makes them happy. I would rather see her happy than for her to have my same view on god, so I’ll challenge her to do what you said. I think it’s more likely she will be happy if she gets a feeling of witness and believe her current church is true than have her try to find a new one. Thank you for the reccomendation.
There is a lot of good advice from all of you. Thanks for all the good answers. Since I decided I’m taking advice from several of the answerers(I think that doing several of the things suggested would be best for her) I can’t simply choose one best answer so I’m going to put up for voting.

My final decision is that I will encourage her to stay in the church, since it would be too hard on her to leave, but also encourage her to try to do things that are supposed to evoke the spiritual feeling. She’s planning on moving soon so perhaps the people in the new ward will be different. I’ve also considered going to church with her, however I could never bring myself to believe in these things. I just care about her enough that if no one else in her ward is going to talk to her, she needs someone, so I feel she needs that support. I just can’t stand seeing her so depressed… So I’ll tell her to do those things and that I’ll start going with her to church, at l
east until she makes a new friend. I may also suggest she think about doing that bible study group one of the Bible Student answerers suggested.

Again, thanks to all! You all helped a lot

Best answer:

Answer by 2FollowHim
The problem is, she’s not asking. She has a problem, tells you about this,
but isn’t ready to do anything about it at all. And it will get her down, but
it will also frustrate you, too, won’t it?

You are a friend, and a friend can’t do a think unless the person is ready to
do something. If you believe in God, you can pray for and with her.
If she believes in God, she MUST pray about this.

If she does not believe in God at all, then she needs to tell the Mormons,
that she doesn’t have any faith that there is a God, and must discontinue.

If she feels she WOULD believe in God, but not with the Mormons, then
I would find out interesting churches in that area that have good things
going on (check online) and invite her, drive her over and back, go for
coffee, have a time out that way.

She’s not changing churches that way.

These churches LDS, JW are easy to get in, hard to get out.
That to me makes them not OK at all.

This is part of what she is feeling, so this is a spiritual attack on her.
I understand entirely about hating ‘small talk’ and wanting good
conversation. It’s hard to find.

Leave your answer below.

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10 Responses to “What’s the most effective way to leave the Mormon church without an empty feeling/void in your life?”

  • WitnessofJesus says:

    yes typos happen. !

    there is so much to say. my life from day one, seems to have been filled with marvelous spiritual things.
    prayer and scripture reading is a priority. maybe her prayers are not sincere, mabye she is praying for the wrong things. its always possible there is unrepentant sin. or this could a false testimony.

    is she on any prescription drugs. ? ive heard testimony that even prescription drugs can keep the spirit away.

    you did say she’s been a member for 20 years. that has to count for something.

  • Old Timer Too says:

    Maybe she should put the Moroni challenge to the test. People who have not had God bare witness to them have likely failed to realize that a number of conditions must be met, one of which is absolute sincerity in wanting to know.

    Moroni 10: 3-4

    3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

    4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

    The challenge:
    1 – “receive these things” (the Book of Mormon)
    2 – “ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ”
    3 – ask “if these things are not true”
    4 – “ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ”

    You can’t do this part way; all the elements have to be involved.

    After I was baptized, it took me six months and some serious asking before I finally got my response, so it may not come easily or quickly.

  • Horsense says:

    “…She also doesn’t fit in … because she says most of them like to talk about ‘worldly things’ and have ‘small talk’ as opposed to deep and meaningful conversations which is what she enjoys and is all she is good with…”

    If she likes talking about serious things, and spiritual things, I truly think that she would enjoy a free Bible study with Jehovah’s Witnesses. We teach what the Bible itself teaches on its various topics, including the benefits of being serious minded, and the responsibility that God has for his followers at this time, of teaching others Bible truth. From your description, it sounds like she might really enjoy that! Plus, she wouldn’t have to leave the LDS in order to study with us:

    “Does God Really Care About Us?”
    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1101992012

    The Bible Changes Lives
    – “They Wanted Me to Prove the Truth to Myself”
    – – Raised Mormon
    – – – How The Bible Changed My Life
    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2013083?q=mormon&p=par

    “Benefit From the Best Education Available!”
    – True Christianity—An Education
    – Motivated to Change
    – You Can Find the Best Education
    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2005761

  • rrosskopf says:

    I know members who are in much the same situation that you describe. I myself questioned my membership at one point. The culture revolves around the church. If someone does not have a testimony from God, they will find membership to be a challenge. Half of our adult membership are converts. This typically means that they have received a spiritual confirmation that the church is true, and that they are doing what God wants them to do. There are adult children of converts who stray, and also people who join the church because a spouse, parent, boyfriend or neighbor joined the church, and who don’t have a full testimony of the gospel. My parents were both converts, and even though they both had testimonies, it was still hard for them to make the adjustment to Mormon culture. I had to eventually get my own testimony of the church. Faith in ones parents can only take a person so far.

    It is obvious in my mind that your friend has not successfully acquired the Gift of the Holy Ghost. After we are baptised, Elders place their hands on our heads, and command us to receive the Holy Ghost. This is called the confirmation. Although we are given the gift, many do not receive it. I had to live righteously, study the scriptures, and wrestle with God in prayer before I received it. When I did receive it, my life changed dramatically. The Holy Ghost leads us in our spiritual development. It is our constant companion, and it reveals the scriptures to us as we read them. It shows us opportunities to bless the lives of others, and comforts us when we lose a loved one. It testifies to us that God loves us, and it testifies of truth. Without the Holy Ghost, the LDS church can be a very lonely place. It is much like telepathy. Imagine living in a community of telepaths, without being able to communicate in that fashion yourself. You would feel like the odd man out, and that is much how members feel when they have not yet received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the one thing that binds us all together. There is no substitute for it.

    I recently went to a baptism, where a former Muslim became a member of the church. He has been attending for quite some time. The difference in his appearance from just before his baptism to just after was remarkable. A subtle, and sometimes not-so-subtle change takes place when people are baptised. They really do become a new person. Baptism isn’t the end, but the beginning of the road that leads to exaltation. The next step is to receive the Holy Ghost. There is a very real danger that if a new member isn’t diligent, that they could get stuck in their spiritual progression. Your friend sounds like she is hasn’t completely received the Holy Ghost, and is now stuck in her spiritual progression. Ask her if she has taken the Book of Mormon challenge. The challenge is to read the Book of Mormon completely through, and then to pray and ask God sincerely, if it is true. This is how I received my testimony. If she has gained a testimony, but hasn’t received the Holy Ghost, then the next step for her is to put her life in order, starting with daily scripture study and daily prayer. If she pours out her heart in prayer, God will not ignore her. She just has to make this leap of faith.

  • Yeshua Hamashiach says:

    When I was first converted to Christ, I was naive in the best sense of that word. I was trusting. I believed that everyone who said they were a Christian understood that Christ is the center of Christian; that Christian is about what God has done for us, not what we do for Him; that Christian is being loved as I am, not as I ought to be; that Christian is something that God did inside of me, not just something I worked up through religious observance and compliance.

    I soon learned, like many of you, that not everyone who calls themselves Christian, is. As a matter of fact, a lot of people who call themselves Christian are just mean, mad, and messed-up people with a little religious flavor thrown in for good measure. So the question is, “Why are there so many mean people who call themselves Christians?” I don’t know all the answers, but I am sure of this: that until you feel loved, accepted, and worthy, you will never, ever live in a way that you give any of that to anyone else.

    Bottom line, if your religion is about working hard and being good, it’s going to make you a weirder version of yourself. But if your faith is in Jesus Christ, the One who loves you, cares for you, accepts you, includes you, adopts you, and will never let you go, then you will, at the core of your life, live as though you were already loved, already accepted, and already promised the guarantee of eternal life. We give what we have and until we have more, we can’t give more. Because I’ve been loved, because I’ve been given grace and mercy, it’s a lot easier for me to live out of the overflow of that reality.

    If your faith is dry, dead, and dusty, maybe you need Jesus as a living reality at the core of who you are and why you’re here.

    http://www.davidfoster.tv/why-there-are-so-many-mean-christians/

  • Elsie says:

    It seems to me that there a two separate issues here that you are putting down to one factor. One is that she doesn’t feel she has a testimony of the gospel. The other, the inability to engage in small talk, is completely unrelated to the first. She could change churches a hundred times and still feel out of place because of her inability to make small talk. People feel uncomfortable or intimidated by people who won’t participate in small talk. For many people small talk is a necessary evil. We find friends such as yourself to get together with for real conversation.

    Until she overcomes her socialization problem, she will continue to feel out of place within groups of people as small talk is an important part of socializing. Women in the LDS Church are just as capable of having deep conversations as they are of engaging in small talk, but there is a time and place for that, just as there is a time and place for small talk. A worship service or other group activity is not usually conducive to deep conversations.

    Additional: Concerning the spiritual part of your friend’s problem. I’m a life-long member of the LDS Church and I always felt the Church was the true church but I was in my early twenties when I finally got the type of witness I was looking for. It happened while I was reading the Book of Mormon for probably the second time. Since then I have felt the same witness on many other occasions, but it never happens when I am making a slap-dash effort to be in tune with the Spirit in all aspects of my life. I know that if I don’t pray regularly and commit myself fully to living the gospel of Jesus Christ, I probably can’t expect to receive any kind of witness from the Holy Ghost. I also know that just reading the Book of Mormon and then praying isn’t going to do much. That’s not how it worked for me.

  • joshsy says:

    People in the church are imperfect – so I’m not surprised to hear that your friend sees them as worldly and inconsiderate – however I see that a lot less in the church than outside of it, the difference might be that in the church you associate on a deeper level, she’s seeing people with their faults rather than their false pretenses that others generally put up in public. Welcome to earth, you’ll find that everywhere – however my experience has been that pound for pound LDS members aren’t generally like that.

    Most people don’t recognize their witness. Sometimes we wait for a huge flash of knowledge, or angels to come and talk to us, that is extremely rare.

    Our church leaders have said that for the few who this happen to, thousands and thousands know without a specific moment. The problem is knowing that you already know.

    Your friend did service, she felt something, something motivated her to do this – she likely knows without that rare moment.

    Personally I had a moment of revelation, but I guess I sort of always knew as well. My wife always knew, most people I met always knew.

    Often that knowledge comes after they leave. The void you discuss, it’s real, it’s real because they knew but didn’t know that they knew until it was too late.

    I’d support her, tell her to stick with it.

    Elder Ted Callister gave a great talk on the topic a few years back, it would be an excellent one to read with her.

    Thanks for being a good friend to her.

  • The Questioner says:

    Never transpose God and a church. Any church. How do you walk away from a church? With a smile, an inward sigh of relief, with a heart that is a bit more enlightened than before that doorknob left your hand. Doesn’t matter which church. If you sense you shouldn’t be there, don’t be. It’s not like God has ceased to exist simply because one set of cheeks is not warming a particular chair or bench in a certain building of a Sunday (or Saturday) morning. No one has that kind of power.

  • Peter says:

    Having been a protestant before becoming Mormon, I can tell you that if she does not feel depth in the Mormon church, she definitely will not feel depth in another church.

    I suspect that she is somehow not looking at this the right way. I wonder what she is expecting for a witness.

    When a person studies the book of Mormon in sincerity and believes that God will manifest the truth of it, they cannot help but see the good in it. If you read someones journal, in time you feel like you come to know that person. When you read the writings of the the prophets in the Book of Mormon, you come to realize that these people had pure, good and honest intentions. Your conscience tells you that the depth of what these people are saying is good and right and true. You then realize that no con man could have written such a great work because it would not have been in him to think this way. The things in the Book of Mormon could only have come from a person who was pure in heart.

    When a person finally comes to this conclusion, it is like the eyes of their understanding were opened and they can see.

    If a person has no intention of knowing that it is true and is striving to prove it false, he will receive no witness. You gotta want it and search to know it.

  • Nappa says:

    Ah. The old receiving the witness issue. This is quite a common one that has perplexed many mormons. Mormons anticipate feeling something, they’ve been taught from youth that they will receive a witness from the Spirit, they grow up listening to testimony after testimony. And in the end, you find out that if you want something so badly, you will end up creating that feeling yourself. There is no witness. There is an emotional reaction to a desire that one wants to feel…stimulated by ourselves or our peers. Take the Quran, if one wishes so badly to find absolute truth and happiness and peace from it, they will find it. If one studies the Quran intensively, actively seeking confirmation from Allah that it is true, are sincere in their prayers, then they will receive Allah’s wisdom from the scriptures and his blessings.

    Take a few mormon missionaries. Almost everyone wants peace, happiness, truth. “This Book of Mormon we have in our hands, this is the key to that. Do you feel it when we read to you that Jesus Christ is Lord and he is our Savior and he wants us to be happy from this book? Do you FEEL it? Because WE feel it. And if you believe in Jesus, he will give you that witness when you read his word. It is serenity, and it is peace, and it is the truth.”

    Don’t normal people want this? They want truth, they want pure happiness, and they want to feel accepted…and they will receive confirmation just as the muslims who so deeply want to feel a peace from their god. Our emotions are easily manipulated by others, and by ourselves. Your friend is perhaps being honest. No one has been able to really connect with her on a personal level, of being able to explain a witness that was so powerful to them. Her antisocial behavior may have kept her from really engaging with others that would be able to move her emotionally. So there is no “witness”, the seed hasn’t been planted in her like it has been in so many other people. Why? Because a such a large aspect of religion relies on the social characteristics of it. Faith is reaffirmed through a connection with others. People grow in their faith by witnessing to others, by connecting with others, by being social and engaging with others. “Let me show you how God influenced my life this past week.” If one is not social, they will miss out on that powerful faith-promoting practice. Notice I did not say truth-promoting.

    Here’s the reality of the situation. She’s been in that church for 20 years. There will always be a void if one leaves any religious institution that they’ve managed to stick with for 20 years…especially if one has not yet switched to a new faith in something else. She needs to understand that a void feeling is completely normal. If she allows others to connect individually with her on a personal level, she will perhaps allow herself to feel something. But she will not be able to react emotionally to their ploy that the Book of Mormon is fully true unless she is desperately willing to believe that it is truth. But that ploy is the same one promoted by most religions. If you are desperately willing to believe that Allah sent Muhammad to be the final prophet, and are willing to allow yourself to be moved emotionally by the testimony of muslims of the peace and happiness they received from reading the scriptures of the Quran, then you will receive that powerful feeling.

    Depending on your motivation of it, you may find happiness, peace, and righteousness in any religion you wish to belong to. But you will not find truth. If she wishes to be rid of her depression, she must first understand why the void exists, that it is in fact normal. She must attempt to find a belief system that will bring her peace. I just happened to find that in the truth, and reality.

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