Wednesday, July 10, 2019

To my friends, family, and anyone reading this...

I do not take this announcement or post lightly. After three years I've finally hit the "publish" button and i'm ready to move onto the next stage of my life.

I have decided to step away from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as I no longer believe it's truth claims.

For anyone who is not a member of the LDS/Mormon church you may not understand why this is a big deal, but I will explain more below. Before I share my feelings and my truth, I just want to make it very clear that I am not here to hate against the LDS church or to convince anyone of anything. At all. I respect EVERYONE'S choice in religion and spirituality and I hope I can get that same respect back. I know this is going to be hard for some of my friends and family to accept and understand and I know this could change relationships. I hope you know I am the same person as I was when you thought I was Mormon as I am today, if not stronger. But now knowing what I know, and knowing my truth, I can't be a part of the LDS church.

My whole entire life I have never fit into the LDS church. Was some of that on me? Sure. I never felt "at home". To me, religion/spirituality should be a place of happiness, comfort, joy... and the church has never felt like that to me. I have definitely had moments where I felt happiness and felt God in my life, and I will never deny that! The Church has taught me so many wonderful things that I will take with me including the importance of family, service,  some of my core values, that there IS a God, and much more. Here is a very very summed up version of my story:

I grew up in the church attending everything from primary to girls camp to going to EFY. I listened to General Conference, I read my scriptures, I had young women's callings, loved going to church growing up, attended Seminary, got baptized, married in the temple, I've paid tithing, and followed the church guidelines pretty faithfully most of my life. I remember from early on feeling out of place. Feeling like something was off, but continuing to go on with the motions because that is what I was taught was right. After having a STRONG nagging feeling for the last 3 years I decided it was time to strengthen my testimony. Like, really dive in, pray and get that confirmation that I was in the right place. As I began to read, study, pray.... rinse and repeat... my eyes were opened. I felt awful. The more I read and studied the more I had this feeling that I was not in the right place. I kept telling myself that this was Satan and he was trying to pull me away. So I prayed more. I read more. And thats where it started.

I cried for 2 days straight. I sat in my car in a parking lot and prayed, pleaded, and sobbed. I felt like my whole life had just crumbled right below my feet. That everything I had known and had been taught was just taken away from me. I have never felt this feeling in my life. I went through every emotion from anger, to the deepest sadness I have ever felt, to wanting to take my own life. I don't say this lightly. This religion isn't just some occasional Sunday thing, it was my whole world. Every aspect of my life revolved around this church since the day I was born. 80% of the people in my life are LDS. My only internal battle with leaving is that those people that might not accept me anymore. And i've had to come to the realization that if someone can't love me for me, they shouldn't and don't deserve to be in my life. Period.

I share all of this to give you a small glimpse into how hard this journey has been for me. I've gone through a lot of grieving as I have tried to figure out where to go from here. The only way I can explain this grief is to compare it to the loss of a spouse or child. Someone that you can't imagine life without. Gut-wrenching loss. As I mentioned before this was something my whole life was centered around. Regardless of me feeling fully connected, it's been embedded into my brain, life and my family my whole entire life.

It took me three years to talk to Saunder (my husband). I was so scared of what he might say or think. I was terrified that he would leave me. I can tell you right now, I would not be here without him. From the first time I talked to him until now, he has been so supportive of my journey. He has been willing to listen to my concerns, he has supported me in figuring out what spirituality means to me (which is going to be a long journey) and he has been so patient and loving. I literally do not deserve this man, but I am so grateful he is in my life.

It took me a good 30 years to get to this place and I don't know where I will end up from here or how long it will take. All I know is that I DO believe in God with all my heart. I will continue to pray and seek guidance so I know what my next steps may be. I do know with every part of me that i'm heading in the right direction. I don't know what our future looks like having a mixed faith marriage, but I know we will figure it out. I know it will be hard, but I also know we can both do hard things! ;) I will respect his religious beliefs and he will respect mine! We will raise our children loving God, having great values, and we will figure out the rest as we go!

I never in my life thought I would be here. I have never pictured my life without the LDS religion in it, but I can't ignore this feeling. I don't know what's in store for me and to be quite honest, it's scary. But also very exciting that I finally have the confidence to follow what I feel is right. I know through prayer and the support of my husband that I will find my spiritual "home" with time.

Among all of this grief and pain I've discovered something beautiful in myself. Since deciding to leave the church I have seen a huge increase in my ability to feel joy, to live authentically, and I've even seen a huge change with my relationships and my confidence. I'm gaining a sense of spirituality that works for me and feels right and will continue to seek my truths. I feel true peace and wholeness for the first time in my entire life.

I wanted to write this out so that my friends and family can really see my heart. As I said before this is the single most terrifying thing i've ever done. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders and i'm so grateful to those of you that have respected and loved me through this process. I am an open book and share it all as you know. Of course, I don't need to be sharing such an intimate part of my life. But I choose to. Maybe someone out there is struggling with a faith transition like I am or maybe struggling with a spouse leaving. Just know whatever your struggles are in life, you are NEVER alone and you WILL get through it.

Living in such a strong Mormon community I know that it's going to be a challenge. I know I will get told I need to pray more, that Satan has gotten to me, that I have lost my way and people will feel sorry for me (but don't feel sorry, i'm so happy and truly feel i'm heading in the right direction for myself - be HAPPY for me), and I know I will be judged. And that's okay. If I ever want to have a relationship with God and to figure out what spirituality means to me, I had to step away from the church. I couldn't ignore my feelings and beliefs anymore. As soon as I really started praying for guidance and opening myself up i've had some pretty awesome experiences over the last few months which really tells me that God has ALL our best interests at heart. No matter what religion we claim.

To my LDS friends/family. I love you, I respect you and if you are truly happy where you are, that is what is important to me. Ultimately in life I believe having some sort of spirituality and being a good person is what matters. There is so much evil in this world we need more GOOD. And that is my hope. To continue to be a good light in this world. Regardless of my religion.

I'll leave it at that. Please have respect towards me and my family and come to me if you have questions. I'm an open book and happy to answer any questions you may have! I have nothing to hide and i'm excited and hopeful for the future!!

Thanks for being here and supporting me and my journey, it means the world!

AND... more recently I have started a support group/girl tribe on FB for women going through a faith transition!! You can never have enough support! Join us here: WTF: What the Faith

I've also found this book to be very helpful in learning to think for myself again and to step outside of the fear and guilt i've experienced from being a part of the church: Recovering Agency by Luna Lindsey 

Saunder and I have found this podcast to be SO HELPFUL and SO AMAZING in figuring out how to move forward in a mixed faith marriage. Our marriage is better than ever and I'm excited for our future! Mormon Stories Podcast: Episode 1140-1142 Thriving as a Mormon Mixed-Faith Couple

If you have questions or would like to contact me, feel free here:

theredclosetdiary@gmail.com or DM on Instagram: @jalynnschroeder


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  1. Hi Jalynn! I know it would have taken a lot of courage to post this and I respect that. We each have our agency and Heavenly Father has given us this gift for a reason. I hope you find your spiritual truth and good luck on your journey. ❤️

  2. I can only imagine how hard this would be. Sometimes I forget that faith is between me and God. And I have to remember that ultimately it's my relationship with him that matters. I hope through your journey it does bring you closer to God. Love you girl
    -- Nikki Callahan/stevens


  4. Thank you for having the courage to share your journey with the world. My shelf began to break in my early 20s and it took several years as well to research, accept, and move on Spiritually without the church. I am so happy that you have such an understanding husband to support you along your way and accept your new beliefs. I’m so proud of you for doing the hard thing and following your heart, mind and your truths. Stay strong and know that there is a very large community who has gone through and currently going through your same steps. You are not alone. I hope that your friends and family will trust you and love you enough to respect your decisions. You are still the same amazing lady, and this new journey in your life doesn’t diminish you in any way! Don’t let anyone let you think otherwise. Follow your heart and relationship with God as you were led in this direction by Him for a reason. You’ve got this!! <3

    Jasmine Vasion

  5. Wow JaLynn my heart goes out to you! It's hard enough to have a crisis of faith - we've ALL had them in our walk... but to come to this decision must have been gut-wrenching. However, we all have to work out our own salvation with "fear and trembling" and it sounds like that's what you did. As far as changing one's religion... think about the Apostle Paul. He literally had to be blinded by Jesus so he could get the picture! LOL. After that, he turned that zeal that had formerly led him to abuse Christians into Christianity - which at the time was a "new religion". I imagine it was as difficult as what you've experiencing. I pray that God comfort you on this new path.

  6. Thank you for your honesty. I left my church(Catholic) about 27 years ago. Both my husband and myself were of the same faith, and it was the right decision for both of us. I took a lot of flack for it, mostly from from my own family. I would rather be alone in my truth Than living a lie surrounded by what was familiar to me. I have an even deeper faith now and Iam a more empathetic compassionate person. Stand in your truth and don’t look back❤️

  7. Thank you for sharing this. I know it took a lot for you to make your decision.

  8. I am really enjoying reading your well written articles. It looks like you spend a lot of effort and time on your blog. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work.

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  9. Thank you so much for sharing this. I was raised evangelical Christian and have struggled with a lot of what you mention here. I left the church I was raised in about 10 years ago, spent a few years looking for another church, spent the last 5-6 years avoiding faith at all costs, and am now feeling healed enough that I’m questioning things and looking to be involved in some type of faith again. It’s weird and it’s hard. I’ve been suicidal. I’ve cried so hard I thought I would never stop. I’ve had my family disagree with me and make comments. I’ve struggled with my beliefs. I’ve hurt and I’ve struggled and I’ve healed. Thank you so much for being so open and honest. I appreciate it deeply.

  10. You are moving in the right direction! I am praying for you to continue to seek Jesus, and that God will continue to make Himself known in your life.

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  13. Thank you for your insight and Sharing your story. It is so important for someone like me, who has started the process of weinnig off the LDS. You have encouraged me and I feel braver.
    Wish me luck ☺️

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