What I Learned When I Came Back

There’s a lot being shared in the public forum lately about why individuals are leaving their faith or church organizations. That’s NOT what this particular article is about. Nor is this article about WHY I came back.

No, this time I want to focus on WHAT I LEARNED when I came back. 

That being said, I do want to caveat- I personally believe that the agency to pursue our own lives and happiness is paramount and that individuals are inclined to find the journey that they feel is best for them. In most instances if that means someone’s journey diverges from my own then it’s not really my place to have an opinion on their personal pursuit of happiness as they define it.

You see, when I renounced my affiliation and membership to my church it was uneventful. A phone call to my Bishop that he’d need to find a new Sunday School teacher and a simple request to leave me alone from then on.   There was no Facebook, Reddit, Podcasts or blogs. There was no means to publically explain my “why,” other than yelling it literally in the square and frankly, no one would have cared my reasons why.

The only people who had an opinion were those whose lives were personally impacted by my decision and they voiced them with love and concern, but by the time my decision was made nothing they could have said would have changed my mind or new belief system.

Today our “why’s” can easily be made public and shared and it seems that we hear a lot of them. Honestly had my crisis of faith happened more recently, I’d have enjoyed finding others who were going through what I was going through and may have even shared my reasons publicly. Please, don’t take out of context, I am a BELIEVER, today I stand with those that have found their faith, in particular with those that have come back.

Leaving my religion and culture was one of the scarier choices I had ever made…. It was not a choice of convenience. Years later when faith miraculously found me and I couldn’t deny the existence of Christ or that he wanted me to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the notion of returning was utterly terrifying.

The thought of coming back was even scarier than the thought of leaving.

I faced those fears head on and what I learned then changed me, my perceptions of the world and my religion.

red as scarlet lord-i-believe

I learned my testimony in Jesus Christ and His atonement were now stronger than I could have ever imagined before and my confidence in Him made full.

I learned that people in my ward were loving and didn’t care that I had left or why or what I had done while I was away.

I learned that those who loved me during my crisis of faith also loved me upon my return and didn’t say “I told you so” or point out the difficulties I now had to overcome. They were supportive.

I learned that when I focused on what I DID believe (my kernels of faith) that I was okay shelving what I didn’t know for the time.

I learned that there is a distinct difference between the culture and doctrine of a religion and set out to understand for myself what those distinctions are.

I learned that the gospel is the same everywhere but that the culture is not.

I learned that my favorite doctrine of the gospel is that of further light and knowledge, that truth is learned precept upon precept and that the glory of God is intelligence.

I learned that I couldn’t come back again as if I had never left because the experiences I gained as a prodigal daughter were too wondrous to negate.

I learned to trust myself and my own faculties more.

I learned more empathy, understanding and compassion.

I learned more of the love that Heavenly Father, Mother and Christ have for me and for all of us.

I learned to appreciate the necessity of lay leaders and their personal journeys of development by accepting my own nothingness and simultaneous potential.

I learned that there is NOT a point of no return and there is always a way back.

I learned that there is room enough in my religion and its doctrine to love and accept people in ALL walks of life and in varying degrees of their testimonies and that my initial idea that faith has to be “all or nothing” was flawed.

I learned that my fears in returning were unfounded.

I learned that my crisis of faith was unnecessary to gain these understandings and yet I also recognize that I am stronger now for overcoming my own doubts and that I cannot and do not regret my personal journey of faith and therefore find it hard to judge others for theirs.

I admittedly used to toil at times with my own personal journey and why I had felt to take the route I did; the Mormon Message from Elder Holland “Wrong Roads” I think best depicts the conclusions that I finally came to for myself. I am not suggesting that every person who experiences doubts or a crisis of faith will come back nor that you need to experience dead ends to better trust the path you are on; however it is another perspective, one that I can now appreciate. For me personally following a dead end for a short while and turning back has allowed me to feel more confident in my own journey home.

Holland-Imperfect-People1-e1365703006852 Wrong-Roads-YouTube 

About the Author-  Sariah Simmons is Founder of MidSingles Today and the We Are the Rescue initiative.  She was a Captain in the United States Army when her divorce forced her to join the LDS dating scene for the very first time.  She then used her leadership and enthusiasm in retail management; juggling career, motherhood and singledom.  Today she focuses her enthusiasm and experiences to lift and connect members of the Midsingles demographic.   She is a graduate of the University of Arizona with a degree in Psychology and Philosophy.  Sariah is a mom, a mormon and a midsingle.

Sariah also wrote the popular article I Am Only 1% of Midsingles

sarsar head shot Sar head shot



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