To Those Who Left Comments on My Exit Letter

Dear Friends,

When I first started writing this blog, I felt the need to refrain from posting too often about my experience leaving the church.  When I finally realized how cathartic (and healthy) it could be to write my feelings down, I was so emotionally weighed down by the realization of the lies I was discovering that I doubted I would ever be able to say enough.

My exit letter changed that.

As I mentioned in the post containing my letter, I first went through several boring drafts.  I was less than satisfied with them.  I literally spent hours writing and re-writing a single sentence, trying to make it as powerful and succinct as I could possibly make it while maintaining a kind of cold distance that I thought was necessary for this type of letter.

When I finally wrote the version that I mailed to church headquarters last March, I did it in a single pass. I gave it little more than a brief proofreading (which you can tell if you read it closely enough) before printing out two copies.  I spent so little time on it, in fact, that I mixed up parts of my old and new address on the return and didn't notice until I was at the post office.  I scratched it out and hand-wrote the correct numbers.  It was the easiest letter I have ever written, because I had reached a point where I stopped caring completely about how it would be received.  I said exactly what I wanted to say, how I wanted to say it, and I refused to be apologetic about it.

Writing that letter did more than just close the book on my membership with the LDS church.  It closed the book on my relationship with the church.  Although it didn't mention many of the facts I had discovered or explain the emotions I had felt, it somehow felt complete.  Since writing that letter, I've struggled to think of things to say about mormonism that could be turned into posts on this blog.  But the fact of the matter is, once I wrote that letter I simply stopped caring.  I stopped letting it bother me.  I stopped letting it effect me.  I stopped letting the struggles of my past dictate my attitude in the present and the future.

Earlier tonight, a friend mentioned to me that he still receives emails informing him that there have been follow-up comments on that post (something I had never set up to receive myself).  I hadn't visited this blog in a while and decided to take a look for myself.  I expected two or three comments.  I found over forty.

Dear readers, I am overwhelmed.  I have such deep gratitude and appreciation for all of you who have taken the time to share with me your support, your congratulations, and your proposals of marriage.

I'm particularly thankful for those.

It is such a humbling thing, to discover that a deeply personal manifesto of sorts would ring true with so many people, most of them strangers.  I realize that to many of you, forty comments means very little.  Some of you probably receive that many and more on a weekly or even daily basis.  But I have authored several blogs over the years, and have never had that kind of response.

I was so touched, in fact, that although it's just after 1:00 a.m., and I'm finding it difficult to remember how many beers I had tonight, I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep until I had drafted a thank-you to all those who have read my exit letter, whether they left a comment or not.

To those who said it inspired them to write (or re-write) their own letter of resignation, thank you and best of luck!  To those who said it made them laugh, thank you and you brought a huge smile to my face!  To those who asked me to marry them, thank you and I can easily be wooed with red velvet cupcakes.