LDS Faith Transitions
The tension between wanting to transition out of LDS church membership and/or identity—or just movement away from orthodox beliefs—and remaining securely connected with loved ones and traditions is one of the many concerns of those undergoing faith transitions.
Some couples fear their marriage will not survive a faith transition. Some well-intended transitioning spouses bombard their believing spouse with “reverse proselytizing” in an attempt to connect, and help their spouse understand them. Some withdraw and seek connection elsewhere, often because they do not want to shake their spouse’s faith, nor risk harming their marital connection. Some couples are transitioning together and want help interacting with families.
Some people are struggling with the trauma of ecclesiastical abuse.
Some families struggle to retain the sense of eternity in their bonds with one another; some feel they do not have the right to do so. Many transitioning people need to grieve the loss of their membership or identity, but feel they must maintain a cheerful façade lest believing loved ones attribute their sorrow to divine punishment or reversal of blessings. This can result in alienation, resentment, and a more complicated transition. Many report feeling betrayed and angry at the Church. Many who remain, likewise, struggle with difficult feelings, such as anger, betrayal, and grief over the loss of important expectations and ideals. Many families find they are unable even to begin to talk with each other about the faith transition, leaving a painful and persistent "elephant in the room."
Another common concern among transitioning individuals is reclaiming traditions, values, and beliefs for their post-Mormon identity. For example, some people ask:
How do I make sense of the fact that I still value spiritual feelings and experiences?
Why do I want to be buried in my temple clothes, and is it ok to want that?
How do I navigate the fact that it is important to my fiancé to be married in the temple, but I might have to be inauthentic in order to receive a temple recommend?
I believe in much of the gospel, but I cannot participate in the Church because of conflicts in values and practices. Is it ok for me to practice my religion regardless?
I do not want a “post-Mormon” identity. How can I end up in a place where I feel the Church does not influence me at all?
To schedule an appointment with me, or simply to ask questions about psychotherapy for faith transitions, contact me by phone, email, or via the form below.
Selected related works:
Fisher, A. & Fisher, M. (2013). Sharing vulnerability after a change in beliefs. Sunstone,
March, 170, 14-17.
Fisher, A. & Fisher, M. (2012, July). When One Spouse Experiences a Change in Beliefs:
Strengthening Your Marriage through Shared Vulnerability. Presented at the
Sunstone Symposium, Salt Lake City, Utah
Because psychotherapy can uncover potentially very difficult material, I require the majority of our work to occur in my office, unless there are very compelling circumstances justifying tele-therapy. On a case-by-case basis I will sometimes agree to conduct tele-therapy with people located in Utah who are unable to travel to my office. Despite my wish to help those who reach out to me from other states, it is illegal for therapists to conduct therapy in states where they are not licensed, even remotely via video-chat platforms.
Interstate tele-therapy poses a controversial question that some therapists have chosen to answer by advertising their services as "coaching", even though they are not trained as coaches. While culturally sensitive, expert coaches can be very helpful for people who are already doing quite well, coaching is not appropriate for navigating complicated marital or family dynamics, stuck patterns that have not responded to self-help or coaching, healing from trauma, and addressing mental health concerns. Should you elect to engage a coach, or a psychologist, social worker, therapist, or counselor who is marketing their services as coaching, you might consider asking the following questions:
By what criteria do you determine if coaching or psychotherapy is more appropriate for my situation?
What is your training in coaching?
Are you able to refer me to licensed clinicians in my area for psychotherapy should I require psychotherapy during the course of coaching with you?