The Hairpin and The Toast recently featured posts about Mormonism, the latter written by yours truly. I thought I would say a few words here about why I chose that particular frame for my piece, the twelve steps. Initially, as I was scratching down my memories, I thought it might be amusing to see if some of the major ones matched any of the steps, and lo, they managed to be hammered out that way. But as I refined the piece, I realized that the core of my leaving was really coming into view--that at that time, I would have benefited from any kind of framework to show me the way out. I was flailing, with no one to talk to, no one I knew who had done this and made it and was ok. Not to say that religious belief is an addiction; however I think when it has been part of your life forever, when it has shaped and molded and convinced and guided as firmly as the LDS church had for me, when that changes it is almost on a chemical level. What do you do? With what do you replace the words of the prophet?
That's the whole point, of course, that suddenly there are more options and you're making decisions for yourself. Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom and all that. But navigating them was difficult for me, without some sort of map. A more sincere, more structured Twelve Steps to Leaving the Church would probably include things like "Make a list of people you can talk to about your doubts and decisions" rather than "Make a list of people to avoid." That would be the healthy way. These days, there are plenty of resources online for people having doubts about the church, or starting to make their exit outwards, and I hope that their journeys are smoother, but no less interesting and soul-shaking, than mine has been.