Dear 100 Hour Board,
I’m leaving the church. I decided to send a text to my immediate family, letting them know, and let it be. My Mom and Dad asked my why I felt the need to tell them, and that they don’t understand why people would post that they’re leaving the church on Facebook.
I haven’t been able to answer their question, but since telling my parents, I’ve felt a desire to “come out” on Facebook. My question is, why should or shouldn’t someone post that they are leaving the church on Facebook? I want to, for some reason, but just won’t feel right about doing it until I can answer my parent’s question.
Thank for your help!
-Currently wearing a tank top for the first time
"Because I want to and I think it will be best for me" is a perfectly acceptable answer to this question. Making a decision about your religious affiliation is a major life moment, and your Facebook page is your own space. If you feel the desire to share your major life moment on your own online space, you absolutely have that right and you absolutely do not need to justify it to anybody.
Dear Currently ~
My brother-in-law left the church a few years ago. It was hard. Family and close friends knew, but that was it. His wife is still very active, and with a new baby, it was a really hard period in their lives, as they tried to figure it out. About a year ago they "came out" on Instagram. I listened to a podcast the other day in which my sis-in-law was a guest and talked about that time from her perspective. She said that talking to other people who have gone through similar things, who had opened themselves to be vulnerable in public, helped her navigate her new world so much that they decided that they wanted to be there as a resource and support to others. So they became public about their experiences. They have since been featured by some of LDS.org's social media and have become a tremendous support system to so many people.
I would say it's all about your intentions. Why are you posting it? To rile people up? Because you're bitter? Or are you posting because you don't want to live with that important part of your life in secret? Or to help people understand? Why do *you* want to post about it? We can't answer that for you. You're going to have to dig into your own intentions.
~ Dragon Lady
Dear Tank Top,
If you want people to know, you can share. That's a good enough reason, and the same reason anybody posts anything on social media.
When I left the church, one of my mom's biggest concerns was how people whose opinions she values would see me and what they'd think of me. I never posted a long thing explaining that I had left and my reasons for it, but after a few months it became clear to anybody who followed me that I was no longer living an LDS lifestyle. She'd expressed a ton of concern (to put it lightly) when I posted about going to the beach or doing non-church things on Sundays. She told me many times she wished I would stop flaunting my inactivity.
What I realized is that I didn't want to have individual conversations about leaving the church. If all I had to do was show that I was out enjoying a glass of wine, and people would know that I don't go to church anymore, I'd do it. If I refused to show anything non-Mormon, people would still assume I was Mormon, and I wanted people to know I am not Mormon.
There have also been a few times since I left the church that I've gone in for job interviews. Sometimes people coyly ask about my BYU experience. But a few months ago, I was in my fifth round of interviews for a job I wanted so badly it hurt. The man who would have been my boss is gay, and while he never mentioned religion, kept asking questions which made it clear he was trying to suss out if my BYU experience made it uncomfortable to work for a gay man. I pulled my usual interview answer where I say that I'm grateful for my educational experience at BYU, but don't agree with the institution as a whole. He kind of nodded and said "okay." (Legally I'm sure he can't say much more than that, but I didn't get the sense he trusted me.)
I didn't get the job, and I was heartbroken. I mentioned that the BYU line on my resume could have had a major effect on my job prospects, my roommate said something like, "Well you just tweeted about Mormonism a week ago in a way that sounds like you're all in." She was very right; my joke about DI vs. Salvation Army sounded very Mormon. And while I have absolutely no idea if that had anything to do with the decision not to offer me the job, I spent a lot of time wishing I'd tweeted something like "AS A FORMER MORMON..." instead.
I know these are incredibly specific examples that fit me. But I just want to get across the point that there are a ton of reasons why you may want to make it public that you're not affiliated with the Church. Just because you can't name them all doesn't mean they're not valid. And it's social media. The point is to keep people updated with what's going on in your life, whether it's having a baby, getting a job, or leaving the Church. So share what you want to share.
An extravagantly priced life coach (a career path I highly recommend to all and sundry) told me that there is no "Bubble," I was constructing an imaginary bubble built from others' expectations.
I'm a 30-year-old woman who had her first drink at the legal age to do so but didn't feel able to order a drink with dinner in front of my very liberal, non-religious, regular-drinking grandparents until this statement. It was freeing.
I'm baffled by your parents' emotional distance — my father wanted long, earnest conversations about secular humanism and my late mother wanted to have screaming matches until we called a truce — and I think that's something worth exploring with a therapist. I would say the same for any Facebook-level "coming out" post.