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Obsessed with helping women understand what it means to be born again, talk to God, and move past religious baggage so they know their Self-Worth after the church.

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The Biggest Struggle After Leaving the Church- Family and the Courage to Talk.

January 25, 2022

Family Ties…

No matter what, it takes courage. Girl, you are courageous.

Why does it take courage? Because we DO NOT want to hurt the people we love.

And we also don’t know now how to ‘do God’ with our families. That takes courage.

When we grow up in a culture with a belief system that emphasizes family even over God, how do we move forward when our beliefs are no longer shared?

Today we are talking about the biggest struggle we face when we leave the church- family; its place with God, hurting loved ones, and having the courage to talk in the face of worldly shame.

Let me just share this before we go further-

This episode is going to be about validating. I don’t have the answers. I have been so blessed to talk to so many women who have left the church. I listen to their stories and I listen to their struggles. I wish I could say I could fix their number one concern, but I can’t. What I can do and what I plan to do in this podcast today is share some likely scenarios you may face or be facing after leaving religion.

And then I’m going to give you some words from God. He is the peace in the storm.

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It takes guts…

I have been a chicken.

A big, fat, scared chicken.

Have you been there?

God put this podcast on my heart to talk to you, pretty girls, and help you find faith, find Jesus after leaving the church.

But I have been super scared.

And the crazy thing is when I really look at it, what is there for me to be afraid of? Unlike many of you, I have been out of the church for 20 years. My dad, for the most part, is the only person in the church that I see on a regular basis. I have friends, but it’s been so long, I think by this point they know I’m not coming back.

But I guess that just goes to show how much of a hold this has on us. How leaving really is. The family side is hard even 20 years later.

Who wants to be shamed by everyone they know? Even in the name of Jesus, that is no fun!

And the thing is I love my dad. I respect him more than almost anyone on the planet. It breaks my heart to know that he is disappointed in me and has said that I am making a lot of questionable decisions. 💔 It is also so sad to me think that one of the people I love most may never know the peace of Jesus. And does he truly think I am going to outer darkness?

3 Things to Expect in Family When you Leave the Church

1. You are the Black Sheep

If you grew up in a big Mormon family and you have left there is a good chance right now you are the black sheep. Telling everyone you are leaving may have been the hardest day you have ever had.

You may have the family bearing their testimonies to you every chance they get. Maybe it’s through email, messenger, a phone call, or the hardest, in person. They want to tell you that you need more belief. You need to stop questioning and listen to your heavenly father.

You know you are no longer in the club.

Maybe you told them all through a Facebook post. You wouldn’t be alone. sometimes we just have to rip that off that bandaid.

And with that, came some backlash. People are so much more willing to bash and say things through a message than they ever would face-to-face. I say that, but maybe some of you also got the shame full force to your face.

Some of you have been shunned. I didn’t even know that we used that word, but that is what has happened to so many of you. Because of your differences in faith and your outspoken words, your apostasy, some of you have sisters, brothers, dads, moms that won’t talk to you.

This breaks my heart.

I was actually talking to my sister about the church the other day and some of our struggles. I can’t imagine life without her, or my mama for that matter, but I asked my sister if she could wave a magic wand and have all this ‘fixed’ what would she want. She is a total enneagram nine, and if you know nines their ultimate goal in life is peace. She said she would want leaving to be less about guilt. She still has guilt around the fact that she has let my dad down. And she wishes he didn’t have the guilt that he inevitably feels from the church as being a failure to his family for letting us leave. Peace with each other despite the differences.

I don’t know if that is possible, but peace is a pretty dang good thing.

Ep 26
A Peace That Surpasses All Understanding. How to Understand Peace in our Hearts.

Peace I Give You- Oil Painting
The dictionary tells us the definition of peace is freedom from disturbance; tranquility. We usually take that as having no chaos in our lives, being free from any heartache, craziness, or difficulty. But what if I was to tell you that true peace happens in the heart? Yes, True peace is the feeling of calm, the feeling of love even in the eye of the storm. What does this mean and how do we get there, that is what today’s episode is all about.

2. Husband and Wife

I grew up in a mixed-faith household. Not an easy road. My parents have been married for 40 years. My dad is very involved in the church. My mom went through seven sets of missionaries and is not a member of the church. From the women I talk to, this is a bumpy ride, but sometimes a blessed one.

There are really two scenarios here with an infinite amount of nuanced variation.

  1. You both leave. 🥳 Through a party! But maybe not so fast. You two just through out everything you every knew about the chuch, plus all social, behavioral, everything cultural about your lives. Navigating this can get messy. What do you do now? Do you still read the bible? Do you go to church? What if somewhere one person changes thier mind about God all togther. Have grace with eachother. Read the bible togther. That is my two cents. Read the bible together.
  2. The second scenario, only one of you leaves…. this is tricky. To love someone so much and not be able to share the most important thing, God can be very sad. In that I am just going to give you this verse. My husband is not mormon, but we have had our own set of challenges being on the same page with faith. He grew up catholic. One particular moring after we had had a bit of a seruous faith discussion that did not go… well, God showed me this verse in the word.

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

1 peter 3:1-2

Not always easy, but let Jesus shine through you. Do not be embarrassed or hide your love for Him. Trust that He will work through you. His word says so.

3. Your Kids

This one is the hardest. It literally tears me up inside to think about the position many of you find yourself in. My kids are what brought me to Jesus, so I get it. They are our hearts walking around outside of our bodies.

I was also a kid in the middle growing up. We think kids are resilient. We say that, but we know we know their childhood will be with them for the rest of their lives.

I could talk about this for a lot longer. I’ll have to do another episode, but for now, I am going to say this-

Because my mom thought it was best for me to go with my dad to church and was honestly afraid to talk about Jesus with me, but was not on board with me being Mormon either I cried myself to sleep asking God at eight years old to just tell me it was true. Because I wasn’t baptized at eight due to pulling from both sides at eleven when I did finally decide to join the club to make my dad happy I was considered a convert, a weirdo among my peers. God never told me it was true by the way. I didn’t know Jesus.

With my own kids because I didn’t know how to “do God” with them and I didn’t know God myself I just did nothing. I figured I didn’t want to shove anything down their throat like had been done to me. So I did nothing. And because of that, I left it up to the world to teach my babies. I deprived them of knowing God loves them. I don’t know if you have noticed, but this world is pretty absent of God. The world told my baby girl a lot of pretty awful things about herself and she didn’t have Jesus to fall back on.

I wouldn’t want to do it over, but God knew what it would take to bring this mama to Him. The bible says He never tempts us, but He is always waiting when we realize we can’t do it on our own. My kids are what brought me to surrender my life to Jesus.

So those of you questioning should you introduce your babies to the real Jesus. Yes! I know it may be hard. You may be scared that you will push them away or make still church-going family mad. To that I say, trust God. This is truth.

Words of Encouragement

This is hard.

I get it.

Family is going to be the hardest part for so many of you leaving the church.

It is going to be easy to get your feelings hurt and want to through a whole bunch of truth at those still on the other side.

But you trust in Jesus. All you have to worry about pretty girl is that peace He has given you in your heart. That is everything and that peace surpasses all understanding-

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

— John 14:27 NIV

We are not supposed to figure this all out. We are supposed to surrender to Him and trust that His words can speak so much louder than our own. – Love on another. Love God, and love one another. Jesus didn’t say, “love one another and sometimes be really mean to them because they don’t agree with you and they are being mean to you.” No…

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:34-35


When I was having a bit of a harder time working with loved ones that I did not see eye-to-eye with, I wrote this. I have it posted up in my closet, where I see it every morning next to a selection of verses. I hope it helps you.

Proclamation Day

I hereby proclaim, in all truth that my hope comes from the Lord. My joy is in Jesus. The heart is fickle. God’s love is steadfast. Jesus is the truth and the light. I will not be easily offended. no words can change my joy. Peace is in me as Jesus, the holy spirits is in my soul. The Prince of Peace. The Light of the world. God knows my heart. I do need to be right or doubted over or even acknowledged by the ones on this Earth. My job is to love them and be a disciple of Christ- to know Him every day and make Him known. Yes, my hope comes from the Lord, my joy is Jesus in my soul.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds were healed.

Isaiah 53:5

Next Steps…

Find Community…

  1. Join the Christian Women After Religion Community

    Let’s share! Share your creative, God-led story, heal from the old religious junk and make friends while we do it. Support, friendship, and collaboration at the FB group — Here

With love, Shelby Hohsfield

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