Last Updated on October 6, 2022 by Jason Harris
Hi! I’m Jason Harris. I lived as an orthodox Mormon for forty years. This site is primarily about my experiences leaving the Mormon Church, reconstructing a new world-view and my healing. I believe all religions and scripture are man-made, potentially helpful and harmful. I believe there is Divinity in all of them and everywhere.
Shandra and I married in the DC temple in 1998 and have five beautiful children, two of whom are just about to finish their undergraduate degrees. We checked all of the boxes good Mormon families should check: Temple marriage, fulfilling callings, regular prayer and scripture study, Family Home Evening, regular temple attendance, staying “temple worthy,” etc. Our ancestors go back to literally the very beginning of the Mormon Church. I’m a descendant of Martin Harris. Joseph F. Smith is one of Shandra’s ancestors.
I officially resigned from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in March of 2019.
Why I Resigned
I resigned for several reasons.
First and foremost, diligently following the Mormon commandments ended up being very harmful in some ways to our family. I know this isn’t everyone’s experience, but it was ours.
I also became more aware of past (and ongoing) harm to so many others along racial, gender and sexual orientation lines and could no longer agree to my name being on the membership records of the Mormon Church.
In addition, after studying the truth claims of the LDS Church in depth, I came to the conclusion it most definitely is NOT what it claims to be. It was even more painful to realize the Mormon Church has been actively suppressing and discouraging LDS members from learning factual information that strongly contradicts unique LDS truth claims for many years now.
The experience of a faith transition was an incredibly emotionally eviscerating process. Something my family and I are still recovering from.
The Good in the Mormon Church
This isn’t to say there aren’t good aspects of the Mormon Church. There are. Like other high-demand religions, the strong sense of community and being our “brother’s and sister’s keepers” is prevalent throughout Mormonism. This can help bring emotional stability and comfort.
Many of the stories of Mormonism that are often viewed through literal lenses can in fact also/instead be viewed through metaphorical lenses, which can add even more significance and beauty to the one embracing the stories.
Many of the values Mormonism teaches or tried to teach: Kindness, Integrity, Seeking Truth, Loyalty, Courage, Reverence, etc… Many of these values are beautiful to manifest from one’s character regardless of what stage of life one is in.
In the Mormon Church, the formula for happiness is simple. Read scriptures, pray, attend and serve in the Church, pay tithing and follow other Mormon commandments, have Family Home Evening, attend the temple, and all will ultimately be well. Everything will work out in familial relationships and life in general for the best if everyone just adheres to Mormon commandments.
Mental Health After Transitioning Out of the Mormon Church
Emerging from this faith transition I’m more emotionally healthy, content and at peace than I felt inside the Mormon Church.
I’ve experienced many benefits from learning about and consistently practicing mindfulness. I’ve learned to relate to my emotions in a much healthier way. In Mormonism, I learned to ignore and cut off huge portions of my inner emotional world… which then ironically cut off my ability to fully emotionally relate to others (empathy). Because I couldn’t fully relate to myself. Since learning to more fully embrace all of myself, I’ve become a more loving person. I’ve also learned how to tune into my body. Not just sensations that I was taught in Mormonism “come from the Spirit” but ALL of my bodily sensations. What are they trying to tell me? etc. This has been a very healing, healthy and grounding process.
I’ve also learned to greatly reduce many cognitive distortions that are an intrinsic part of Mormon teachings and Mormon culture. And as I’ve done so, my happiness has increased. Examples of such cognitive distortions include: Mind reading (Mormons are taught the Spirit can help discern other’s intents), Prophesying (Mormons are taught this is a gift of the Spirit), Black and White thinking and absolutist thinking (Mormons are taught to shun ALL evil. There is a right and a wrong to every question.), Emotional Reasoning (Mormons are taught that “The Spirit” will guide to all truth), Mental Filtering (Mormons are taught to ignore evidence that contradicts a Mormon world-view), Catastrophizing (The entire Mormon world-view is based on beliefs in a coming apocalyptic world-cataclysm… any day now), Labeling (Us vs. them… Member vs. non-member, etc.), “Should” thinking (There are MANY things Mormons know SHOULD be done)… and MANY more.
I’ve also learned how to say no, and how to set boundaries in a healthier fashion. Mormons are strongly discouraged from saying no to calls to serve, etc. I’ve learned and am learning the importance of proper boundaries… ownership… owning what is mine to own (thoughts, feelings, responsibilities, etc. ) and NOT owning that which is NOT in fact mine to own. Practicing this in my life is helping reduce harm in my own life as well as in the lives of those I love.
How Others in Our Family are Also Benefitting
Others in our family are also benefiting from our faith transition.
Shandra now works as a counselor and is in a PhD program as well. She is (finally) pursuing her dreams! Something that the Mormon teachings discouraged because I already made “sufficient” income for our family.
Our daughters are both pursuing their career dreams and ambitions as well… knowing that nursing their intellect is as important as nursing whatever religious views they may (or may not) have. They are free.
Structure and Navigation of this Site
I started this website for my own mental health. Writing and sharing my perspectives the past few years has been very therapeutic. I hope that others may also find some of this helpful. I share experiences with the 1. construction, 2. deconstruction and subsequent 3. reconstruction of my world paradigms and approaches to life, many of which have been very healing for me.
For ease of navigation, all posts on this site are visible under BLOG in the top menu bar. Posts are also visible as links in the right column (desktop devices) or at the bottom of each page (mobile devices). Links to RESOURCES are in the top menu bar as well (articles, books, support groups, websites, etc.).
There IS Light on the Other Side!
It is often emotionally traumatic to leave any tight-knit, high-demand religious organization. There is beauty, light and hope on the other side! I would choose this path again and hope sharing portions of my voyage will be beneficial to you, the reader. Regardless of where you are in your Hero/Heroine’s Journey.