This is going to be a fairly short blog post, but its subject has been on my mind for a while and I felt I needed to jot this down (and I apologize in advance for how unpolished this is).
I’ve been thinking a lot about people leaving the Church. I have several friends leave for one reason or another over the years, and I’ve been asked (many times by myself) why I stay. Why I don’t leave because of X, Y, or Z. And this is what I can come up with:
I stay because this is home. Because it is what I know and it is where my family is. I stay because of one single word: hope. Hope for a better world, hope for salvation and exaltation, hope for eternity with my family, hope for resurrection’s miracle, hope to return to a place where I once lived. I stay because it is here where I have learned that life has meaning and purpose and I truly have a place in the universe and what I do extraordinarily matters. I stay because I have experienced things, very personal and very real things that I can never deny that tell me that God has not ceased to speak to mankind, that He hears and answers prayers such as one uttered by a boy in a New York wood, that miracles and prophesies have not ceased, that I am a child of a real and personal God who loves me, that I have a Savior who loved me and saved me long before I ever knew or loved Him. I stay because what I know and believe and understand infinitely outweighs what I don’t. I stay because here I have found the “words of eternal life” and “to whom [else could] I go?”
Now, this is something very personal to me, so I don’t look down on anyone for not feeling the same or for not having experienced the same. And if you are reading this and you have chosen to leave the Church or are about to, I ask only one thing: if at all possible, please don’t leave for the sake of leaving. If you leave, go towards something. Don’t do something to avoid a negative; do something to embrace a positive. I fully believe that it is here where you will get the maximum positive. But if you leave, please be headed somewhere good instead of leaving something you perceive as bad.
And know that no matter what, you are my friend and that will not ever change. You can count on my friendship always and I will never make it contingent on your faith or lack thereof.