I Left The Mormon Church And It Was The Best Decision I Ever Made

I’ve never felt so free.

Mormon LDS Salt Lake City Temple Silhouette against Blue Cloudy Sky Lane V. Erickson / Shutterstock

Note from Dr. Psych Mom: This is a glimpse behind the scenes at LDS Mormon life, and why a woman decided to leave at age 16. This guest post is from many years ago. Since then I have worked with many ex-Mormon clients, especially doing sex/couples therapy, because being taught negative things about sex doesn’t work well for later intimate relationships.

I completely changed my life by leaving the Mormon church.


When I say Mormons I don’t mean those who are polygamists. I’m talking about your neighbors who attend the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or the LDS church.

I made this decision the day I left my parent’s home. I had never really fit in with the church. This wasn’t your normal teenage rebellion. I knew I was done with the religion and wanted other things in my life.

RELATED: How I Radically Reclaimed My Body From The Religion That "Owned" It

If you know anyone who is Mormon, you know it’s not just going to church on Sunday. It’s a lifestyle.


You don’t drink coffee, alcohol or tea. You spend at least three hours at church on Sunday and a few more throughout the week. You are expected to share your religion with others, along with ten percent of your income.

This is non-negotiable if you want to go to the temple and you must go to the temple if you want to make it to the celestial kingdom of heaven. If you’re a woman you’re expected to stay home with your children and put your church services before your family.

Growing up our lives revolved around the church.

As I mentioned not only did we go for three hours on Sundays, but we also had young women’s and seminary (church classes attended every morning).


In addition, our parents expected us to read our scriptures every night, and have family prayer and Mondays were family home evenings — A time when you sat and discussed church and read the bible and Book of Mormon. I can say I have read the entire bible due to this!

All of our friends were Mormons as well. We did everything with them, hanging out with non-Mormons, although never actually stated, was definitely frowned upon.

You never, ever cursed and movies beyond PG-13 were not allowed under any circumstances.

I remember many occasions of waiting for my father to get home when he was the bishop, so we could open our birthday presents. You also had church callings, my mom did relief society things and when my dad was the bishop he was very busy all the time.


RELATED: I Was A Devout Mormon, But Abandoned My Religion For My Wife

Mormons don’t believe in one priest or training — all members do something and are expected to fulfill these duties.

I know my mother would have liked to work, but it was frowned upon.

When I was 8 years old I was baptized. Of course, I wanted to please my parents, but at this age, I had no real understanding of what I was doing.

I really can’t think of many activities that we did that were outside the realm of the church.

You did not live for yourself, you lived to absolutely and completely serve God.

Besides our sports and even those were fraught with other church members. We took vacations, but they often had to do with church history.


My pivotal moment came when I was 16 years old, I was a straight-A honor roll student and I didn’t sneak out. Okay, I did have some beers, but I never did drugs and definitely didn’t have sex.

Mormons firmly believe sex is for after marriage only. You cannot even start to date until age 16 and even then group dates are recommended.

My previous Mormon best friend started to date another Mormon boy and she stopped hanging out with me, so I found friends in others, Non-members. It was then I realized there was a life outside of religion and it was nice!

It seemed no matter what I did with my parents, it just wasn’t enough. I should have attended more church lessons, gone to the temple more, or planned to go on a mission. I’m not really sure what, but I never could reach what they were aspiring to.


At 16 I knew that when I was able to leave home, I would also leave the church.

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I knew this was not the lifestyle for me. I wouldn’t want my future children to be raised this way and I wanted to live my life. Not just watch others living theirs.

Fast forward ten years and I am still certain this is the best decision I have made in my life!

I don’t spend all my time and energy on something I never actually had a belief in. I have free time to do the things I actually want to do.

I do not spend three hours at church, I am friends with whomever I would like, and have had sexual relationships previous to my marriage, along with many other things, I never ever would have dreamed of doing — Including holding onto my own money and not worrying about making it to the temple or the Celestial Kingdom.


Has it been easy? No.

My parents still have hope I will return to the church. Even though they know my feelings, they make their comments. I know they are constantly judged for my life decisions. I have five siblings, most of whom are still in the church and they definitely receive special treatment.

I have been luckier than others, though. Some people completely lose their families when they make a decision like mine. Family reunions are often awkward and extended family members deleted me on Facebook because I do not comply with their standard of living, but I really don’t care.

I didn’t make this decision for them. I made it for me.

I have an amazing husband, who loves me more than anyone else in the world, except maybe our two boys. Occasionally, I have a glass of wine, always have my morning coffee and just generally live without the fear of always worrying that I am doing wrong. Basically, I get to do whatever I want!


It’s a very freeing lifestyle. And I am so happy it is mine.

RELATED: I'm A Sexually Repressed Ex-Mormon Who Found Vibrators And Whoa

Dr. Samantha Rodman Whiten, aka Dr. Psych Mom, is a clinical psychologist in private practice and the founder of DrPsychMom. She works with adults and couples in her group practice Best Life Behavioral Health.