TWELVE STEP PROGRAM FOR RECOVERY FROM MORMONISM
Thousands of people suffering from the devastation of alcoholism have been helped by following the "Twelve Steps" developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. Many other programs dealing with recovery from drug addiction, over-eating, and other addictive behaviors have adapted AA's Twelve Steps. Those leaving Mormonism usually are dealing with similar problems of recovery, and the following is an adaptation of the Twelve Steps for help in recovering from Mormonism.
- I admit that I am powerless to change the fact that I have been Mormon for a good part of my life, whether because I was born to Mormon parents, or because I voluntarily converted.
- I realize that I have within me the power to free myself from the harmful part of my Mormon past (with the help of a higher power if I believe in one), and that I am no longer bound by promises or covenants which I was induced to make based on the false promises of Mormonism.
- I make to myself a firm promise to listen in the future only to reason, rationality, and factual evidence in making decisions about how I should live my life, rejecting all emotional appeals, guilt-inducing threats, myths, pretty stories, promises of castles in the air, and superstition.
- I make a searching and fearless moral and intellectual inventory of myself with the purpose of recognizing in myself those weaknesses which induced me to remain Mormon for so long.
- I itemize (preferably in writing) to myself and to a trusted loved one (and to a higher power if I believe in one) the specific reasons why I can no longer be Mormon.
- I make the decision to do what is right, and to accept whatever the
consequences may be for acknowledging the truth and living accordingly.
- I begin working through each of my Mormonism-related problems
of mind, body, relationships, and (if I believe in such a thing) spirit.
- I make a list of those for whom it would be important to know of my
decision and the changes I am making in my life, and prepare myself emotionally to discuss my decision with them all, realizing that many may react with hurt, anger, emotional outbursts, or other unpleasantness.
- I discuss my decision with them (except in those cases where I think it
would cause greater harm to do so than not) in a calm, friendly and loving way, without argument.
- I continue to take personal inventory, and where I find artifacts
of Mormonism, I carefully consider whether they should
continue to be a part of my life, or whether I should discard them.
- I seek out truth wherever I can find it, whether religious or secular.
- Having had an awakening and renewal as the result of these steps, I try to
be helpful to other recovering or doubting Mormons, and to practice these
principles in all of my affairs.
- By Matthew P. Barnson and Richard Packham
For more suggestions on emotional recovery from Mormonism see the article "Leaving the Mormon Church".
Comments? (Please, no preaching, testimonies, or hate mail!) Write:
© 2005 Richard Packham and Matthew P. Barnson.
Permission granted to reproduce for non-commercial purposes, provided text is not changed and this copyright notice is included
TO RICHARD PACKHAM'S HOME PAGE
The Serenity Prayer
Give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
courage to change the things which should be changed,
and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
- Adapted from the original of Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
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