Dear lost sheep,
Hey! How's it going? I hope you are living a happy life and that all is well in the 'lost sheep group.' I'm afraid I didn't realise how painful it is to be a part of the herd until I myself joined it recently. Ignorance is definitely bliss and it's something being re-confirmed to me again and again. So I wanted to take a minute to apologise for a few things.
To begin with, I'm sorry that this herd exists in the first place and that your decision to leave the LDS Church meant that you automatically found yourself here. I hope you were able to find like-minded friends and not feel too alone.
I'm sorry for the way you were judged for the choices you made. I'm sorry that people looked at you with eyes full of pity believing so strongly that you had been led astray by Satan himself. I'm sorry that they despaired for your salvation and believed that your place in eternity was now lost.
I'm sorry that people (including myself) assumed that you just weren't faithful enough, that you didn't read your scriptures enough or pray or invite the Holy Spirit to be with you always. I'm sorry that without even realising it we were conditioned to put those of us that were 'in' on a pedestal above those that were 'out.'
I'm sorry for the way people talked about your children and how sorry they felt for them. They thought you were letting them down and that your actions were unfair on them, as if what you were doing was motivated by anything but pure love for your children & the inherent need to protect them. And as if your children couldn't possibly grow up to be good people with a life full of happiness unless they were raised in the church.
I'm sorry that you may have lost friends. I'm sorry that the church preaches about being inclusive and loving all but if you're not part of the club then you do get treated differently. I hope there were some who truly exemplified Jesus Christ and everything he stood for and stayed your true friends no matter what.
I'm sorry that if you ever chose to share feelings, beliefs or other pieces of information online that you believed in, that there were those that took grave offence, judged you, mocked you or talked about you. I'm sorry that some people felt because you were 'out' that you had no right to share how you felt, that it automatically meant you were being disrespectful even though they felt entitled to share their beliefs and would often do so.
I'm sorry that what was already a difficult time full of torment and heartbreak as the religion you had built your life around crumbled to pieces, was made worse by the fact that you knew that the people you had built relationships with for years were both silently & blatantly judging you.
I hope that you don't hold any grudges and can heal from the difficult experiences that have left you wounded and forever changed. I hope that you can forgive and understand that although they were getting it all wrong, most of the time the way people treated you was usually motivated by a genuine love and concern.
I hope you remember what it felt like to walk in their shoes, to have had faith in something and sorrowed for loved ones who didn't. I hope you remember that everyone's journey is different and often people are just trying to do what they think is right. Your feelings of hurt and patronisation are valid and hopefully some of these cultural ways of thinking will change with time. Hopefully one day they will learn that Mormons aren't the be all and end all of happiness and they will be happy for those that choose differently.
Until then, I hope you'll welcome me with open arms into the herd as I lick my wounds and buckle down for whatever else comes my way.
A lost Sheep.