SLC Group Helps Former Mormons Transition Out of the Church

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(Photo by Preston Zubal)

(Photo by Preston Zubal)
(Photo by Preston Zubal)

 
Gale Thorne III knew he was ready to leave the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“I realized one day that I was so bored with being Mormon, that I had lost any faith I had,” he said. “For me, the church was no longer true. I needed to find out who I was away from being Mormon. I needed to find my own faith and be the person I wanted to be.”
Postmos, a support group in Salt Lake City, helped with Thorne’s transition out of the Church. The group hosts Sunday socials at Kafeneio Coffeehouse, as well as a number of other events, directed to those leaving the LDS faith. Meetings are intended to be an open space in which former members can discuss the LDS Church and other topics, as well as to have a support network of individuals in a similar situation.
“I wanted to be able to share a similar experience with a group that understood the background I was leaving,” Thorne said. “We have talked about everything from God, to government, to drinking. And there is no topic we can’t discuss.”
The LDS Church frowns upon consumption of drugs and alcohol. For Thorne, moving on from this view has been one of the biggest transitions for him since leaving the Mormon religion.
Natalie Smith, a freshman in psychology, was similarly shocked at the culture in Utah. Having come from another state, she said the difference is like “walking on eggshells,” especially when it comes to alcohol.
“In one of my classes, I was talking about how excited I was to turn 21 and go to a bar for the first time,” Smith said. “Several people in the class, who I later learned were Mormon, gave me the worst looks. I felt like I was such a bad person for wanting to go out and drink.”
Kalem Brayley moved from the California bay area to Utah while transitioning out of the Mormon Church. Brayley didn’t use a support group like Thorne did with Postmos.
“I left the church because there were too many things that required my questioning,” he said. “There were too many loose ends that I could not find straight answers to.”
Brayley now identifies his past self as a “Peter Priesthood.” His family remains involved in the LDS Church, and he said he was expected to follow suit.
“In a way it was an expectation for me to serve a mission, marry in the temple, have children and grow up to be just like my dad,” Brayley said. “Unfortunately, following this path makes it harder to leave the church.”
Brayley and his wife left the LDS Church at the same time. He said this makes him lucky.
“Our marriage may not have survived if she had thought differently,” he said. “Most marriages are not strong enough to endure such a huge change like that.”
Thorne’s marriage, however, ended because of his dissolution with the LDS Church.
“It puts a lot of strain on a relationship when you end the ‘eternal’ part of a marriage,” Thorne said.
Kevin Whited, who lives outside of Salt Lake, travels to the Postmos meetings to discuss his feelings of the transition in his faith.
“I feel like I was suffering from ‘True Believer Syndrome’ and that whatever the Mormon faith told me was true, I believed,” he said. “Doubt and questioning is so important to finding who you are.”
Thorne’s experience in Postmos, like Whited, ultimately helped him find a new sense of self.
“When I left, I had to reevaluate my life away from the church,” Thorne said, “and come to a position that was purely my own.”
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