On Leaving

I tipped my chin towards the sunshine. My breathing came quickly. The ground moved beneath my feet. I felt every inch of my body relax and I crumbled.

I stopped. Mid-run. I cried. I laughed. And I cried some more. And I knew. I knew it was the right thing to do.

Walking away from my life-long belief system was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It was easily as hard as knowing divorce was the right thing to do. Anyone who thinks the leavers of religion are taking the easy way out don’t understand leaving.

It redefined me in ways I couldn’t possibly understand at the time.

It also made me better.

I know that seems wrong to those who believe. And please know that I have nothing but love and respect for you.

But for me, leaving made me better. I had to make choices about my life in new ways. I had to learn to be myself all over again. I learned what unconditional love meant. I learned how to heal.

I learned to live for right now. For today.

That is probably the most important thing I learned…

To live in the moment and stop wishing parts of my life away.

I was stuck in the hope that someday or in a next unknown life, everything would be better. When I let go of that and I took control, amazing things happened.

I love my children better.

I found a career. I appreciate nature. I travel.

I achieve goals and meet new people.

I FEEL the sunshine and hear the birds chirp. Colors are brighter.

And I get to teach my children to love in a way I never could before. I get to teach them how beautiful every human is no matter what they believe or who they love.

I rarely talk about this whole leaving religion thing because it’s difficult to talk about. It hurts for people who don’t understand and I have many wonderful family and friends who are believers.

But I think it’s important. We can’t possibly understand each other if we avoid difficult subjects.

I watched as my younger children ran off to school this morning. Eyes shining. Blonde heads bobbing. Smiles. Waves.

My heart full, I blew kisses to exuberant, happy children as I pulled away from the curb.

And I know I did the right thing for all of us.


  • Cara

    This. This is beautiful. I know how hard this was for you to write. I know how difficult keeping that fine balance between what may or may not hurt someone else’s feelings. I am so proud of you. This is you, expressing how you feel. Its beautiful and I love and appreciate every word. You are an amazing human being, you have created an amazing family. You deserve to be yourself. 💛

  • Joni

    Beautifully written and expressed! I feel the same way! It is sometimes hard because so many Mormon family members and friends think I have lost my faith, but I haven’t. I still love God and Jesus as I always have. I just have learned too much church history to continue to believe it anymore. It’s devastating to realize I had been deceived all my life! Still, I loved being a faithful Mormon, and I love that I have a husband and children who continue to love and serve God, whether they hold to Mormon faith or not. I am happy! So glad you are too! I would be interested to know what was your turning point?

    • Stacey Bishop

      Thank you so much. There were several things, but much of it had to do with church history and that horrible feeling of being deceived. I also always struggled with the church’s stance on how they treat the lovely people in the LGBTQ community. I want so much for my children to always know they are loved and I will love them no matter who they love. Hugs to you and your family!

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