On September 12, 2018, I was excommunicated from the Mormon Church, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
On September 30th, I decided to attend LDS Sunday services for the first time as an excommunicated apostate.
Many have asked why I would return after being so callously kicked out. The motivation is comprised of 2 elements.
The Church has abandoned me. Fine.
However, I am not going to reciprocate by abandoning children who are at risk. I am not going to respond by abandoning my friends and family who have children in the cross-hairs of a dreadful policy.
Sure, I could go to any other church for my religious purposes. However, these other churches have already stepped up and protected their children from one-on-one interviews and sexually explicit questions. I have decided to go to the ONLY church where this battle is still being waged. It is not my nature to run away from the weak and the vulnerable.
I plan to pursue the cause for our children as an active and believing ex-Mormon.
Mentally processing the excommunication has been an unexpected emotional roller-coaster. Along with other members of my immediate family, I have experienced various stages of mourning. Last week, I felt like completely withdrawing from the community that I have been a part of the past 6 decades. My thoughts were to avoid all contact with Mormons. Loneliness and defeat were becoming my unlikely companions.
Then a phone call from a country half-a-world away. The caller ID displayed the name John Dehlin. He was in Sweden at the time. With my excommunication still fresh out of the envelope, he was checking to see how I was doing. What a nice thing to do! He experienced excommunication a couple of years back and understands first hand the sentiments that I was mired in.
I described my inclination to run from my former friends. In turn, John said something like this, “Brother Sam, don’t do it. Don’t let this determine your course. Take your personality back. Be who you have always been.”
YES!!! That immediately resonated with the truth I was ready to embrace. He wasn’t telling me to go back to church. He was simply suggesting that to withdraw into myself would not be me. Thank you, my good friend.
So, last Sunday, I attended the Mormon Church for 2 reasons, for the Children and for Me.