I’ve noticed this weird phenomenon among some ex-Mormons, and that is an insistence that there is a “right” way for ex-Mormons to think and behave. Since we were all raised to believe that Mormons were supposed to be and act a certain way, it’s natural that we would think that ex-Mormons also should be the same. So, we see a lot of people insisting on conformity.
Part of healing is getting to the point where you’re comfortable in your own skin, where you are happy being the person you want to be. Oddly enough, most people post on places like Recovery from Mormonism or Post-Mormon for a short time, get the anger and hurt out, and then live happy and productive lives. (And let’s face it, there is a lot of anger among the newly apostate, which shouldn’t surprise anyone.) The need for conformity is just one small step in the process for some.
It’s been almost 6 years for me, and I occasionally post on the ex-Mormon message boards when I think I have something that might help people who are where I was about 5 years ago. These days, I’m living an authentic life, and I’m more or less happy–definitely happier than I was as a Mormon. People who expect me to live a certain way have no effect on me.
Of course, getting to the point at which I could feel I was “myself” took a long time, with a lot of soul-searching, prayer, therapy, and medication (and 3 days in a psych hospital).
For me, the hardest thing about leaving the LDS church was figuring out who I really was inside. For 40 years I had been living my life according to a script someone else had written. I was living a good Mormon life, and I was so good at it I really didn’t know what I wanted, what I thought, what I felt anymore. What parts of my life would I have chosen had I not been a Mormon? Should I reject everything because it came from Mormonism?
In the end, I figured out that it didn’t matter what I had done in the past or why. What I needed to figure out was the kind of life I wanted to have from here out. Yes, I’ve had to compromise and work around people and situations, but that’s part of life anyway.
A wise man once said, You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find you get what you need. I have what I need, and it’s good.