The terms Post Mormon and Ex-Mormon encompass a wide variety of people within the Mormon Spectrum.
Typically they refer to someone that has been baptized but no longer believes in the truth claims and theology of the church.
Some that identify as Post Mormon or Ex-Mormon may still feel an attachment to their Mormon identity, heritage or culture and others may not. Some may continue to participate, at various times, in church activity depending on their personal circumstances. Others may not. There may be family or other relationship ties to the church that continue to keep someone interested and involved in the church at various levels.
For others this may not be a factor and they move entirely away from interest in Mormon related things. Whether a person continues to be on the official church records or not varies. Some will have removed their names - either voluntarily or involuntarily - and others will not feel a need to do that at all, although they are not involved or believing, and will not go through the process of resigning.
There is a wide range of emotions within this group regarding Mormonism and the church, depending on personal circumstances and experiences. Once someone identifies as a Post Mormon or Ex-Mormon they may move on to self-identify in a variety of ways: agnostic, secular, spiritual, humanist, atheist, Christian or other religious affiliation. They may not identify with any sort of label at all and prefer to avoid them altogether. Personal life choices vary greatly for people within this group.
The faith transition experiences of those that identify with this group are quite varied. Some may transition gradually. For others it can be very rapid. Emotional trauma, relationship damage and physical and mental health issues may be experienced by some as they move away from the church. Many find themselves confronted with decisions that they aren’t sure how to navigate and this can cause anxiety. The church has not provided healthy material to help people or their loved ones navigate a faith transition.
Often families are not prepared for this situation and relationships suffer. As a result there can be a lot of heartache, isolation and pain experienced by many. This can be particularly difficult when one parent transitions away from the church and the other doesn’t or when some of the children remain engaged in the church and others transition out. Significant stress may be felt by children raised in a mixed faith household, and by parents as they work out their new parenting styles and belief systems.
The messaging from the church for those that have left or no longer believe is often unhelpful and portrays Post Mormons and Ex-Mormons in negative ways. This can add pressure to mixed-faith situations and relationships. Whether someone is open to family, friends, and loved ones identifying as a Post Mormon or Ex-Mormon varies greatly as personal circumstances affect this decision. Some may feel the potential damage from disclosing this is too great and may keep it private. Not being able to discuss or disclose may bring added emotional strain to relationships.
Our goal at Mormon Spectrum is to help Post Mormons and Ex-Mormons with these situations, to provide resources and information that can help people navigate these potential challenges and connect them to each other.