Written by McCall Glover
The words ‘faith transition’ have echoed through my life over the last few years, and most recently the use has become synonymous with ‘leaving my organized religion.’
It’s left me to question… where does that leave me? Each time someone steps away from the institutionalized part of their faith, I am forced to ask myself again, “Why do I stay?”
Because the reality is, I’ve had a faith transition, too. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—a religion I love, cherish, and actively participate in. Yet, the church has an ugly underbelly that is impossible for me to ignore—wrongs in church history that can’t be justified; complex social and doctrinal stances that have hurt so many and I struggle to find alignment with; statements from church leaders that I can’t take back; others’ personal experiences with local leaders and members that are utterly heartbreaking.
When others choose to stop participating, I feel a lonely pang, because in too many ways, I understand. I respect the decision of my friends who have stepped away. Sometimes, I sit in church and feel completely disconnected, and I think… I truly don’t think like any of these people! Do I even belong here!? So why do I stay? How can I stay?
It is because of my faith transition.
My faith is more nuanced, more eager, more intimately depending on God than it once was. And while I sometimes long for the simplicity of belief that I had before, I am closer to my Heavenly Father because of it. I’ve had to engage in a wrestle that continues to force me to grow, and most importantly rely on God. Faith is so intimate and personal—it comes down to me, Jesus Christ, and a loving Heavenly Father.
I stay for tangible ways to access the Atonement of Jesus Christ; for very tangible ways to commune with God. I stay for a weekly sacrament. I stay for the clarity on accessing the atonement—for the opportunities I have had to meet with Bishops over the years and work through the repentance process. I stay for temple worship—something that has previously overwhelmed me, but has ultimately brought me to some of my most sacred moments and truths.
I stay for a covenant path, with a bigger picture than I can comprehend. I stay for modern-day prophets, seers, and revelators—though imperfect—who ultimately guide me to stay on this covenant path.
I stay for the thousands of ways participating in the gospel continues to sustain my marriage, my family, and myself. I stay because even though keeping the commandments and honoring my covenants requires sacrifice, they have shaped every good thing in my life. I stay for the knowledge of a Plan of Salvation, a Plan of Happiness.
I stay because in a world where everyone is trying to be right, I know I will be wrong. I need Him.
We can have different reasons to stay. Something that means everything to my brother is a pain spot for me. Something that bolsters my mother is something I mostly dismiss. Our reasons may change again and again. But the beautiful thing is that we can stay for whatever reason we need—that is enough for God.
Some days I’m lucky enough to know things. Other days I believe. And sometimes I just hope I can believe. But I will stay, and I will continue to transition my faith because all of these things are enough for God. If your faith is transitioning, I see you, I feel you, and I send you all of my love. Transition takes the greatest courage I have ever known, but we do not need to transition from HIM.
I do belong here. Because I belong with Him.
McCall lives in Marietta, Georgia, with her husband and baby boy. Together they love to DIY, eat all the good food, and enjoy the great outdoors.