When Friends Leave the Church

When your friends leave the Church, you don’t have to leave them. Read these five tips for maintaining great relationships with friends who are no longer Latter-day Saints.

Photo by Jake Blucker

Several of my friends have recently left the Church. Even though I love and care about them, I have really struggled to maintain relationships with them, perhaps because our friendships were built on sharing a similar culture and similar values. Now that foundation has broken.

However, I can build a new foundation based on love and understanding. In the article “When Your Child Chooses a Different Path,” Robin Zenger Baker gives great advice for maintaining relationships with those who have left the Church. Here are five of her tips:

  1. Stay curious. Seek out your friends’ points of view, because great relationships are based on honest attempts at understanding.
  2. Cherish the relationship. Baker says, “Focus on other aspects of the relationship that [you] can enjoy, outside of their choices about church.”
  3. Know you’re not alone. Pray to Heavenly Father about maintaining the friendship. Often the answers to such prayers will be conversations with people in similar situations.
  4. Change your focus. You can’t change your friends, but you can change yourself. Concentrate on becoming more loving and more attuned to your friends’ struggles.
  5. Remember that life is a journey. Everyone’s journey is different, and we shouldn’t judge that journey. Baker reminds us that “keeping a healthy perspective means remembering that sometimes our assumptions aren’t always true.”

Of course, if your friends are attacking you and your beliefs, it might be best to dissolve the friendship. However, if your friends still want strong relationships with you, then strive to remain their friend, no matter their decisions regarding the Church.

For more advice about maintaining relationships with those who leave the Church, read Robin Zenger Baker’s article “When Your Child Chooses a Different Path.”

Source: LDS.org Blog

Katie Stanley, Mormon Insights

feature image by adam wyman

Find more insights

Watch “Living without Guilt When Your Child Chooses a Different Path” for more tips from Robin Zenger Baker on preserving relationships.

Not sure if you should maintain your friendship with someone who has left the Church? Read “When Good Friends Falter,” by David A. Edwards.

To learn how to be a good friend, read “What Is a True Friend?” by Sister Elaine S. Dalton.

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