Life after leaving the Mormon Church

Rachel Velamur

Rachel Velamur
February 15
Born and raised in a strict Mormon family. I write about what life was like as a Mormon and what my life is like after leaving.


NOVEMBER 13, 2012 10:59PM

Meeting An Old Friend

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         I met an old friend this weekend.  This girl is my Mormon counterpart, the “what-if” version of a life spent inside Mormonism, rather than outside.  Our parents are long-time friends; we grew up in the same ward and attended the same school.  We were the minority Mormons in school, a fact that threw us together on a regular basis.  We were both blonde, straight-A students who went on to study biology in college.  Between early-morning seminary, our shared honors classes, and youth activities, she was the person that saw me the most.  And so, when my belief in Mormonism began to fall apart, she was the first person to pick up on the tension. 

         I wish that I had a story of friendship that transcended religious differences – but I don’t.  The fall-out was messy, involving a seminary schism and the involvement of her uncle the bishop.  I guess we both had our anxieties surrounding the Mormon faith - we were just on different sides of the spectrum.  I was angry with her for a long time; now I find my anger is slipping away.  And so, when I made the arrangements to visit my parents, I contacted her to see if she wanted to get together.  She said yes and we agreed to meet at a bakery downtown.

         We are now a little older, a little fatter, and more aware of life’s realities.  Neither of us have the life we dreamed of in high school.  I am OK with that; I like my life, even if it is not the life I expected.  We have both had our struggles; a traumatic accident for me, an autistic child for her.  She joked about her son, saying that he was the clone of Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory.  I joked about my accident, saying that my thick skull came in handy.  I have learned that life cannot be controlled; I suspect she has learned that too.


          I have been running from my past for my entire adult life.  I have avoided my high school classmates and most of my college-friends; they are a reminder of an angry, painful period in my life.  I have kept quiet with my family, afraid to spark controversy or tackle the harder issues.  I am not good at confrontation; I do not know the art of constructive argument.  Avoidance is easy - but does not solve the issue.

          I needed the space to sort out my thoughts, to figure out who I was and what I believed, to arrive at acceptance.  Now that I have grown into my identity as a post-mormon agnostic girl, the time has come for reunions, for confronting the past, and for moving on to a future that includes all the facets of who I am. 

         Past, present, and future.  


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ex-mormon, mormon, life, friendship

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Can't deny the past, but that's no reason to let it screw up the present. You're doing the right thing, but if you bump into the fears and prejudice of other people, don't succumb to the temptation to take it personally... they are who and what they are and if they can't find a way to make room for you in their lives, that is their loss. R&R ;-)
... a story with a bittersweet ending. It sounds like the two have you have begun the process of transcending your religious differences by finding each other's common humanity. A happier ending than I expected.
Hi jmac: I have no intention of changing to fit what others expect me to be - which can be a real issue with some of my old acquaintances. A lot of this was about over-coming my fears about the past and about learning to be proud about who I am today.

Daniel: Thanks - it's a work in process. :)