Those of you who have read my personal writings on this blog have seen just a fraction of the enormous emotions I’ve felt through this process, both good and bad, elated and angry, frustrated and peaceful. Deciding to publicly share my journey was a difficult decision because of the inevitable criticism I knew that I would receive. I knew, though, from the courageous and eloquent words of someone who also left the church and publicly expressed her thoughts, that it was the right thing for me to do. Her words and encouragement both directly and indirectly brought me peace and hope during a very trying time. Through our shared experiences, I found a true friend. 

Involving myself in the Ex-Mormon community, my emotions have been intensified by the stories of so many who found themselves on the other side of a faith they once trusted. Through what I’ve read, the people I’ve spoken to, and the stories that have been shared with me, I’ve gained so much strength and courage. You may be reading this and not even be aware that your words have touched me in a way that I will never forget. 

Piercing words from those who felt that my decision was unfounded, irrational, or rebellious have forced me to attempt to find a way to better communicate with those I love dearly. My husband was the sole recipient of most of the tears that I have shed over my loss of faith, and the resulting complications in my relationships with my family. I feel incredibly lucky to have such trust, communication, respect, and love between us that has only grown through this process. He is my everything.

My children have been so patient and loving. We’ve had some of the best conversations we’ve ever had since leaving the church. We’ve laughed together, cried together, and discovered the world all over again together. They fill my life with purpose and hope. 

I’m letting go a part of me that I integrated so tightly in my life that many voids were left, some of them wounded and bleeding. But I am slowly filling those voids and healing those wounds with love that so many of you have shared with me, with the goodness of humanity, with the hope and wonder of science, and with the new-found strength I never knew I had. 

Thank you for sharing this transformation with me, for crying with me, for wondering with me, and for fighting with me. 

Rachel of Ex-Mormons Unite