I wrote for Huffington Post from July 2015-January 2018, just after The Bishop’s Wife came out and as I was trying hard to stay connected to Mormonism while still honoring my own spiritual journey and my sense of self. This was sometimes excruciating and sometimes rewarding. I have much respect for those who have been in the “in between space” of Mormonism for much longer than I was able to stay. Ultimately, it was too painful to force myself to continue to go.
In January of 2019, I formally stopped attending Mormon church services, though I had been in the process of disaffiliating for some time before (I had stopped paying tithing and had begun wearing black to indicate my mourning for my church in 2015). Medium became a new space for me to talk about the journey of leaving Mormonism. At first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to go back, but it has become more clear to me in the months since then that I had already lost everything that I was going to lose and that there was nothing to gain in going back. I still believe in a god of love, though not the god of Mormonism.
Jana Riess joined Mormonism in 1990, just before my husband and I left Princeton. I spoke at her baptism and my husband was the ward missionary leader at the time. We lost touch for many years, but reconnected in 2014, before The Bishop’s Wife came out. Jana asked me to write about Mormonism directly, in non-fiction essays. It was the first time I’d really tried to do this, and she later asked me to be a regular guest columnist for RNS.