Seven Years Away from Mormonism and Why I’m Returning

Note: I originally shared this as a PDF document on April 6, 2019.

To Whom It May Concern

My name is Joe Tippetts. Seven years ago, I left the Mormon Church. For two years, I was “inactive”. In January of 2014, I formally resigned. On April 13, 2019, I will be baptized again. This is the story of why I left and why I’m returning.

Trigger Warning

I remember hating the perception that important people in my life would never think I was good unless/until I returned to the church. I never expected to return to the church.

God Spoke to Me

I’m returning to the Mormon Church because I believe God spoke to me and told me to.

When God Didn’t Speak to Me

When I say I felt God and understood the experience as God, that wasn’t normal for me. I wasn’t seeking him. I didn’t believe in him.

That Night

On the evening after this experience with God, I was in shock.

The Next Day

I got up the next morning and it wasn’t as intense, but it felt like a warm blanket was wrapped around me as if to say, “Joe, I’m gonna walk with you for a little while until you feel sure this isn’t just some kind of mind game. I’m still here. I’m real. I love you. Now do what you need to do.” (This sensation stayed with me for about two weeks.)

Day Two

When I said there were clear words pressing themselves in my mind, they were more like ideas from which the words formed. But the ideas were bigger than just the words.

The First Meeting with My Bishop

The first time I met with Bishop Smith, about 10 days after the experience, I felt calm and excited. I’ve lived in my neighborhood for 14 years and we are old friends. But something unexpected happened.

Subsequent Meetings with My Bishop

The second meeting felt similar to the first. I was rather verbose as I tried to translate my feelings into words. I had prayed about the questions but didn’t feel any kind of certainty.

Ex-Mormon Me Chimes In

I think it’s appropriate to allow my ex-Mormon self to express a few thoughts. It’s been at the steering wheel for the past seven years. It’s interpreting my experiences from a much different perspective because my words fall short.

General Conference, Then and Now

General Conference used to be a wonderful time. I looked forward to it, legal pad and pen ready to learn from the speakers and from the Spirit.

Do I Know the Church is True?

Yes and No. If you would have asked me 15 years ago what a Mormon should “know” is true, to be worthy, I would have been tricked by the question. I would immediately run off a list like:

  • Jesus and His Atonement help us overcome sin and death to return to God and become like him
  • Joseph Smith restored the true gospel of Jesus Christ
  • The Book of Mormon is true
  • President Nelson is God’s prophet on the earth today
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is “the only true and living church on the face of the earth.” Or stated more succinctly, I know the church is true.

Will God Speak to You Too?

Here, I’ve said God has spoken to me in a way I could understand. Will he do the same for you?

God is Love

First, I will tell them that I believe God is Love. I believe wherever Love is, God is. Love others and you’re putting yourself in a position to be the best you. If the word “God” bothers or hurts you, call it Love and try to let it govern your life.

Only You Can Know

I feel confident that the God of love is pointing me in a specific direction. It feels good to honor it.

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