Why I left the church, Why I came back, and Why I’m staying

Many of us have strayed from the strait and narrow at one point or another. Tyler Glenn, of the band Neon Trees, recently came out with a solo music video called “Trash,” openly mocking The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, defaming religious photos and mocking sacred symbols.

I also went through a period of my life where I denied my beliefs and disavowed myself from the Church. I was 12 years old.

While the levels of accountability vary greatly between me and Glenn, as Glenn is an endowed return missionary, and I was a 12-year-old, the principle is the same.

Satan will turn us against the light if we let him. It doesn’t matter who we are, our experiences or even what covenants we have made. Satan is no respecter of persons.

I was born and raised in Utah, right across the street from a stake center. Our home was literally in the center of our ward. There was no escaping the Mormons. While both sides of my family are LDS, my family had mostly been inactive. I had been baptized at eight to meet an expectation.

As I got older, I became bitter. I was bullied at school by Mormons. I asked myself who could live supposedly high standards and be like that? I had a friend whose dad did not want me hanging out with her because I was inactive. Over time, I began to feel like members of the Church were conceited hypocrites.

I hated God. I had always believed in God, but I believed he was a vengeful being who existed to help some people prosper and to torture others.

This is how Satan works. Satan wants everyone as miserable as he is. For me, the number one way he has done that is by devaluing my body and eliminating my sense of divine nature. Eventually, I wanted to give up on life because Satan convinced me to. Because he was jealous of me. Satan is the father of lies. He knows the Church is true and that through Christ, we can be exalted. This is precisely why he will do whatever it takes to rip us apart from it. If he can get us to do small things that will diminish our ability to have the Holy Ghost with us, he can eventually push the door open before we even realize it.

Satan will tempt us to make justifications through sin. 2 Nephi 28:21 illustrates this principle perfectly. “Thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell” (emphasis added). During that dark time in my life, I had never felt so alone. So I began to pray. Eventually, I discovered God isn’t this big, scary, vengeful being, but a loving, merciful father.

It felt nearly impossible, but through the mercy of God, I was able to come back. And so I’ve stayed. Has it been easy? Absolutely not. Almost every day is a struggle.

Why do I stay? Because I understand that while this church is not full of perfect people (though some might like to think they are), this is a church for the poor in spirit. This is the church of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

In this church, we have the priesthood of God, something that blesses me daily.

I don’t know Tyler Glenn personally. I don’t know what he has gone through. But I know that to go from a faithful member having made sacred covenants to this, Satan pushed the door open for him. And it all starts with just a crack.

'Why I left the church, Why I came back, and Why I’m staying' have 6 comments

  1. May 18, 2016 @ 7:07 am Kelly Smith

    Thank you for your frank and open story about your struggles. Mostly I want to thank you for finding the truth and recognizing Satan’s tactics. I am certain that there will be people who left the church that will claim that your struggle isn’t real or that you weren’t being sincere. I am forwarding your story to a few people I know who need to learn these lessons. Expecting perfection from others is a sure way to get distracted from the path that leads to the tree. We just need to worry about ourselves.


  2. May 20, 2016 @ 12:02 pm Joseph Smyth

    What a fluff post. “Satan know the church is true”- sure, repeat the same rhetoric you’ve always heard. Next time post an article with substantial talking points. Tyler didn’t leave the church because of Satan. He left because of the Book of Abraham, Masonic ritual in the temple, the November policy, Joseph’s polyandry, and countless other inconsistencies in church doctrine.


  3. May 20, 2016 @ 5:18 pm Richard Hendrix

    Eliminate Satan’s power over you by learning to ask the RIGHT questions about church history at CESletter.com


  4. May 22, 2016 @ 8:43 pm Samantha

    I wish you could understand how incredibly culty this sounds. I left the church because when you strip away your bias after years of brainwashing, you can examine the evidence properly and quickly realize what a terrible person Joseph Smith was. It is incredibly patronizing to compare your 12 year old experience to the thousands of hours of research ex-Mormons like me did before determining that the church can’t possibly be true and that we are leaving. I recommend you read CESletter.com, or the Journal of Discourses, or anything other than Scientology-like conference talks telling you that any information critical of your beliefs is “from Satan”.
    PS. I do know Tyler personally and he’s incredibly kind and humble and awesome.


  5. May 23, 2016 @ 8:58 pm Jon

    I had a lot of questions about issues in church history and don’t know where to find answers. Someone shared a letter to the CES director which helped answer a lot of my questions about church history. Now it’s published at http://www.cesletter.com
    I highly recommend it!


  6. May 24, 2016 @ 9:59 am Jeff Chapman

    In response to Jon, Samantha, Richard, Joseph,
    Another perspective on how we approach challenging questions to our faith is Sheri Dew’s devotional address (http://www.byui.edu/devotionals/sheri-dew) about the wrestle we are invited to engage in for our testimony and witness of the restoration. The restoration was and is a marvelous struggle involving real men and women who had real questions. No claim has ever been made that this restoration was handed over to Joseph Smith prepackaged with a bright bow and answers to all questions. “Will you engage in the wrestle?”


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