Dear Mom and Dad,
I’d like to think I’m a good communicator but dang it, it is really hard to have a conversation about this. So we’ll start here. I absolutely want to talk about this in person but I feel it might be best to get all my thoughts out right away and give you a little time to process before we talk.
I will no longer be going to Sunday morning meetings, gospel meetings, or conventions. I can’t imagine that you haven’t already picked up on this considering I stopped coming to meeting at the end of last year and stopped giving testimonies a while before that. I had partially explained what had led up to that decision to mom one night in January when I was feeling particularly hopeless but I haven’t gotten to address where I am now with both of you. And I can’t let it go unaddressed any longer.
I have kept parts of myself hidden through a lot of my life to protect myself from conflict and judgement. But I cannot hide any longer. I don’t identify as a part of the 2x2s (as it’s known to “outsiders”) anymore for many reasons that I don’t want to get into at the moment. I am not writing this to justify myself. I am writing this in hopes that we can have some open communication that I have not been able to engage in up until this point.
I am still exploring my faith and what it means to me but the way this church conducts itself has not been helpful in encouraging my spirit and has been downright harmful to my self confidence and self trust. I still love all the people in it and I feel the need to be clear that no one has offended me in any way. It is the nature of the church as a whole that I take issue with and I cannot blame that on any one person or people. I also feel the need to add that I don’t blame either of you for any of this either. You raised me with what you believed to be right and good. That is all you have been asked to do and you did it to the best of your ability. You, along with everyone else, are just trying your best to make sense of life and the meaning of it all. I hold no judgment for that and I can’t imagine God does either.
As I have sought to find the same meaning you do, I have found much more spiritual encouragement outside of the church than within and I want to give myself space to explore that. I don’t believe this specific non-denominational sect is the only way to salvation and unfortunately it seems to be a pretty prevalent belief among the friends. I can’t agree with that and it is one of the many reasons I am not interested in continuing to participate in its activities and traditions.
It has taken me a long time to tell you any of this. It’s been almost a year and a half now that I’ve spent sorting all of this out in my mind. I have not done it completely alone but I have not included you in the process. I wish this had not been the case and I can only imagine the hurt it may cause but I ask that you understand where I am coming from.
As my withdrawing from the church became more apparent, you have never acted in a way that implied you wouldn’t love me if I left. But I have seen people leave the church, both people I know and don’t know. And I have seen it go very poorly for many. Everything from passive aggressive treatment, to verbal and emotional abuse, to being completely disowned, cut off, and kicked out.
Because of this, and my brain’s natural instinct to protect me from potential pain, I have dealt with and processed almost everything on my own, sharing a select few things only with people I trusted wouldn’t abandon me for it. Again, I do not believe you will abandon me for this decision. But when faced with the possibility of my parents not loving me or downright disowning me, it’s not something you’re immediately willing to take a chance on. I still love you both very much and I hope that you will still love me and support me even if we may not see eye to eye on some things. I trust that I will find the right path for me as I continue to explore my faith and I want you to trust me in that too.
What you do at this point is up to you. I take no issue with you continuing to have meeting in our home. The workers are still more than welcome to stay over as long as they can be respectful of my choices. I am happy to spend time with any of the friends if they want to have lunch or a potluck or game night or any other sort of social gathering. All I ask is respect and kindness. I am not telling you this because I expect you to communicate this to them. That is my responsibility and that burden should not fall to you. I just want you to be aware of where I stand. If they ask you, you are more than welcome to explain to them what I have stated here. But again, it is not expected.
Hopefully I haven’t disrupted your morning too much. I know a letter from your child on the counter is probably a terrifying experience (trust me, I am just as terrified) but I needed to get this out into the open and start the conversation. We can definitely talk about it tonight.
April 25, 2023