MR says: If you have had a loved one leave the Church, here are five important things to remember that can help you find hope and comfort.
I have dear friends who have stepped away from the Church. We are still friends now, some closer than others, but it hit me hard when they told me they were no longer a part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This article highlights some things that have helped me still stay close to them while staying true to what I know. Do you know someone who has chosen to step away from the Church? It can be heartbreaking and confusing, especially if you are very close to them and you are an active LDS member. All hope is not lost. Far from it. Here are five things to never forget if your loved one leaves the Church.
1. Respect their journey. It’s not that simple.
Sometimes when someone we love goes away, we automatically assume that they are leaving because of sin or laziness or because they have been offended. I would be very careful about slapping on a blanket explanation for why someone has chosen to leave. Give them the benefit of the doubt. I honestly like to believe that every single person is honestly doing the very best that they can with what they know. Truly. Maybe sometimes it is because of the above reasons, but for many it is not. Don’t oversimplify their reason for leaving, especially if you are talking to them about it.
Albert Einstein’s journey was different from Michael Jordan’s journey. But if we judge Einstein’s life by his ability to play basketball or Michael Jordan’s life by his ability to do quantum physics, we will see both of them as failures.
image by myopicbloom via drawception.com
Respect their journey because it is as hard for them as your journey is for you. We are all on a very unique journey in this life. Don’t oversimplify the journey of another. Consider these words from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf:
The search for truth has led millions of people to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, there are some who leave the Church they once loved. One might ask, ‘If the gospel is so wonderful, why would anyone leave?‘ Sometimes we assume it is because they have been offended or lazy or sinful. Actually, it is not that simple. In fact, there is not just one reason that applies to the variety of situations. Some of our dear members struggle for years with the question whether they should separate themselves from the Church. In this Church that honors personal agency so strongly, that was restored by a young man who asked questions and sought answers, we respect those who honestly search for truth. It may break our hearts when their journey takes them away from the Church we love and the truth we have found, but we honor their right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience, just as we claim that privilege for ourselves.