Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dear Utahn: Love, Your Inactive Neighbor

This is a guest post written by a wonderful woman who just so happens to be inactive LDS living in Utah. Her experience is raw and true to the experience of many inactive and non-LDS people living in Utah. Please give love, support, and great thought to her powerful letter.  

Dear LDS Neighbor,

I am inactive LDS. This does not mean that I am lost. I did not fall away from the church. I left it. I am not wandering, I am simply on a different path than you. I'm not saying which path is better because I believe that nearly any path in this life can lead to extreme happiness. Being inactive does not mean that I am an alcoholic, covered in tattoos, a drug addict, or bad person. Stop treating me like one. You have damaged me for long enough, and it needs to stop. I simply don't go to church on Sunday.

I have no intention of convincing you or your children to stop going to church. I'm not going to offer you alcohol, or try and tell your kids things contrary to what you have taught them. That would be rude and inconsiderate, and I am neither of those things. Please let my children be friends with yours. There is no need for children of any age or religion to believe that other children are inferior. Please stop interfering with friendships between kids who are innocent and loving.

Please, don't try to convince me to go to church. If I want to go back to church, I will go. I know where it is. I would love to be included in neighborhood events, and even invited to ward activities. I'm not going to cause a scene or be inappropriate, I just want to be included. Quite frankly, being inactive can be lonely when no one will talk to you simply because you spend all day on Sunday with your family instead of going to church.

Don't spread rumors about me. If you haven't heard it from me, and you're telling someone else, then you're gossiping. If you want to know why I don't go to church, become my friend, and ask me. I'm not going to gossip about you.

Ultimately, I don't need you to save me. I just need you to be a good neighbor and friend. The only difference between us is three hours on Sunday.

With Love and Respect,

Your Inactive Neighbor


  1. Thanks for putting this out there. It needs to be said AND it reminds all of us to love each other unconditionally - whether we belong to the same church or not or no church affiliation at all, active or inactive in our chosen church, etc.

  2. Elder Ballard talked about this in a recent regional conference for Utah Valley. We need to remember to treat nonmembers like real people and not projects. And if they aren't interested in the church then forget about it and just treat them like regular human beings. Some of my best friends aren't members and they are great people.

  3. One of the challenges of living in Utah (or anywhere in the Mormon corridor) is that every member in your ward has a ward list with your name on it, and these people are also all your close neighbors. That means that they know that you are an inactive member, not just a random person, and may be tempted to judge. Out here in the hinterlands, this does not happen--there are far more non-LDS than LDS obviously--my nearest LDS neighbor lives a half mile away. My actual neighbors aren't LDS and it wouldn't occur to me to judge them for not behaving like one (they're great people). We also do not have the issue of people showing up at Church more because of peer pressure (that ward list!) than because of testimony--really just doesn't happen. We probably have higher percentages of inactives than my MIL's ward in Orem, but no one would feel that if they didn't come to church, their neighbors would talk! My neighbors think it's weird I go to church at all, much less judging me for which one I chose to go to. Yes, we active LDS need to be more sensitive to those around us, and be more loving and accepting of everyone, and it may need to be more intentional if you live in the Mormon corridor. We are all children of God after all, right?