Recovery from Religion

Resources and Support for Women Questioning Their Religion

Welcome, Phoenix!

You found yourself here because you’ve left, or are questioning, your fundamentalist religion. This is not an easy choice, even when the choice means putting your own mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being first. But it is an incredibly brave choice and a profound act of self-love. Let me be the first to tell you how proud I am of you, and how happy I am for you.   

In addition to your friends and family discouraging you with threats of outer darkness/hell, you may feel forced to endure meetings with your Bishop to discuss this choice (which you do NOT need to do, fyi). They will put the pressure on, just like getting out of your gym membership. They are losing LOTS of money when you leave, so they will say anything to keep you. 

Resources for Leaving Mormonism

Questioning Mormonism (or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)? Fantastic! If you are hoping for some solid evidence, I suggest you start with the CES letter (below).  

CES Letter: A sincere list of questions by a Mormon member submitted to the Church Education System. His request for answers never received an answer. He was excommunicated instead. This is the document that got me out of Mormonism and the place to start if you’re questioning. You may read it online, or download either PDF or Epub.

Ready to leave the LDS church?

Many will tell you that in order to have your name removed from the Mormon church, you must meet with your Bishop. This is to give them an opportunity to pressure you and belittle your worth with the hopes of discouraging this decision. You do NOT need to go through this. 

A former member, and attorney, created this site free of charge to help members have their names removed from the Mormon church. To avoid unwanted contact from church leaders or having to submit your request multiple times, start here. This is what I did, and it was so easy! It’s not hard to leave the church anymore. You can do this!

Coming from another religion?

Other fundamentalist religions may not have a line-by-line stack of evidence against them, compiled as the CES letter- but that does NOT mean there isn’t ample evidence against the Bible – the foundation for all Abrahamic religions. You may read books on the subject, some have been very well comprised. Otherwise, the biggest support I can offer are sister circles (support groups), courses, and retreats to join with sisters who’ve been there.


Religious Trauma Syndrome

(The following information is taken from Journey Free website)


If you’ve been raised (indoctrinated) into an oppressive religion, such as the Abrahamic fundamentalist religions, you likely have Religious Trauma Syndrome. This is likened to symptoms of PTSD – yes- it IS trauma.

This is something that we must address as we leave organized religion if we hope to be truly free women in this world. We must first recognize the limitations that our religions gave us so we can begin the healing process.

Symptoms of Religious Trauma Syndrome


  • Confusion
  • Poor critical thinking ability
  • Negative beliefs about self-ability & self-worth
  • Black & white thinking
  • Perfectionism
  • Difficulty with decision-making


  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Grief
  • Loneliness
  • Difficulty with pleasure
  • Loss of meaning


  • Loss of social network
  • Family rupture
  • Social awkwardness
  • Sexual difficulty
  • Behind schedule on developmental tasks


  • Unfamiliarity with secular world; “fish out of water” feelings
  • Difficulty belonging
  • Information gaps (e.g. evolution, modern art, music)

Causes of Religious Trauma Syndrome:

Authoritarianism coupled with toxic theology which is received and reinforced at church, school, and home results in:

Suppression of Normal Child Development

  • Cognitive, social, emotional, moral stages are arrested.  

Damage to normal thinking and feeling abilities -information is limited and controlled 

  • Disfunctional beliefs are taught
  • Independent thinking condemned
  • Feeling condemned

External locus of control-knowledge is revealed, not discovered 

  • Hierarchy of authority enforced; self not reliable or good source

Patriarchal power – sexual or physical abuse

  • Unhealthy sexual views
  • Punishment used for discipline


Are there other books that can help me explore the truthfulness of my Abrahamic religion?

Why yes! I haven’t had the chance to read them all yet, but here is a list of books you may consider in your search for truth. 

  • End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason by Sam Harris
  • The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
  • Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris
  • God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens
  • The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ? Challenging the Existence of an Historical Jesus by Earl Doherty
  • God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist by Victor J. Stenger
  • Why Evolution is True by Jerry A. Coyne

There are MANY more – if you read one you love, please suggest it to other Phoenixes 🙂 Many of Sam Harris’s, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens work centers around this point, so any works from them will strengthen this argument against religion.



Are there resources for dealing with Religious Trauma Syndrome?

Yes! In addition to seeking out therapists who are familiar with the term, there are some websites with additional information and resources. I would begin Journey Free (a site created by RTS term coiner Marlene Wells). 

  • Leaving the Fold by Marlene Wells (A great book to introduce Religious Trauma Syndrome for Fundamentalist religions)


How do I know if my religion is actually a cult?

The differences can be very hard to spot. I’ve written a post on this to help you know for sure. 

How can I get my family out of a harmful religion?

I wish I had the answers, truly I do. Unfortunately, I have been unsuccessful in that reguard myself. I’ve come to believe that it’s a personal decision, no matter what you as the wife/daughter/sister /aunt, may say. I can only recommend being honest about your findings, your experiences, and your feelings. Share what you learn, and after that, it’s in their hands. Some are lucky and can get their family out by simply sharing the emotional turmoil or trauma they’ve experienced. Some leave when their religion clashes with their true moral code, such as many Mormons leaving when children of LGBTQ+ parents weren’t allowed to be baptised. Some are fortunate to have family members who put science, logic, evidence, and compassion over their indoctrinated belief in God. Yet others will continue to let fear control them: fear of the unknown, fear of ‘what if I’m wrong?’, and fear of losing community, routine, and structure. Some fear without religion they’ll have nothing, no direction, and no purpose. No amount of truth and science will change that. So I can only advise you to focus on your life and your healing. We can do best by leading by example, by proving that all who leave their religion or cult aren’t miserable/lonely/ purposeless/etc. 

What do I do after leaving religion? I'm lost!

First, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I know you feel lost and alone. I know you feel a sense of regret, but also a sense of freedom. I know a part of you wishes you hadn’t learned the truth, and the other part can’t believe it took you so long. I know you’re worried about family, you’re worried about the future, you feel like your entire world has been turned upside down. It’s A LOT. The important thing to do now, is to listen to yourself and tune in to what you need.

  1. Be gentle with yourself: this is a life-altering change you’ve gone through. You need to recover. You need to simply be for awhile. Rest, recover, heal. You’ve been through the wringer.
  2. Find community: religion is usually the only community people have, so it’s important that you find a new community to fill the hole. This is where Reclaim Sister Circles come in! These women have been where you’ve been and would love to hold you in your pain and help you heal.
  3. Focus on your needs: Now is the time to ask yourself what you want. What do you believe? What do you want in life? What are your values, and why? Who do you want to be in this world? What self-limiting beliefs do you want to drop? What healthy beliefs do you want to plant? Do you want to speak to a therapist? Do you want to travel, try alcohol, get a tattoo, completely overhaul your wardrobe? Do it! Focus on how you can nurture your mind, body, and spirit. You don’t need to find a new religion or philosophy – take it easy for a while. Don’t seek “truth” for a bit, even though you’ll want to do this. By tending to spirit, this could be reconnecting with nature, practicing loving-kindness meditation or mindfulness, or creating little rituals that center you.


Why did you start Rise and Reclaim?

Because after leaving Mormonism, I floundered for a bit. After several years, I realized what I needed most was community. I needed sisterhood. I needed to be around women who understood where I’ve been and could support me in this life transition. I also knew other women had to be out there like me. I didn’t see anything like this available, so thought, why not? I’ll do it!

I also believe that we are our own healers and know what we need to heal. I therefore offer additional ways of connecting with our inner wisdom, expressing ourselves playfully, and connecting our minds and bodies. 

My goal is to bring women together to heal by sharing their stories, processing their trauma, and feeling supported and understood by like-minded women. Women who’ve been there. Women who truly understand each other. And I hope you’re one of them!

Do you offer 1-on-1 space holding?

Absolutely! The reason why most therapy works, regardless of the method, is because of the healing relationship between client and therapist. While I’m not a therapist, I offer this safe container for you to process, heal, and develop into your authentic and sovereign self. I will validate your experience, offer helpful perspective shifts, help you understand your programming as a way of survival, and provide the guidance and compassion to help you thrive after religion. If you need a space, you’ve got it! Send me a message to find a good time or to learn more about individual space holding.