Ex-Mormons - Any weird hangups now that you're Catholic?

I’ve recently switched to an amazing FSSP parish, and had a very interesting experience in the confessional with one of the priests. After some talking, he suggested that there might be some baggage left over from my Mormon upbringing that was affecting my current spirituality. This came about when I admitted to him that he terrified me. He’s one of the kindest priests I’ve ever met, but something about him absolutely terrifies me to the core. We’re talking walking out of Mass and sitting outside with the crying babies because of panic attacks, and literally turning and walking the other way when I see him after Mass.

I realized why after talking to to my husband a while. For some reason, he reminds me of a missionary. Growing up, missionaries were “hands off” in every conceivable way - they were the ideal of the LDS world, but they were not for members, they were for potential converts. I had huge struggles in my 20’s in family wards where the only single people in their 20’s were missionaries, and male ones at that. On the one hand, I wanted their friendship because I was lonely and they were desperate for just a taste of “normal” activity, but on the other I faced serious issues with the church leadership when their time was taken up by me.

I also had a horrible experience with a Bishop right before I officially became inactive from the LDS church. My testimony was hanging on by a string at that point anyway, but I went to the Bishop for spiritual guidance, and instead got berated for not going to church. Um, I had a horrible bout with agoraphobia and didn’t do anything but work for three months (didn’t even go grocery shopping - ate McD’s every night).

So it’s a guilt thing. And a male leadership of the church thing. I just can’t talk to this man, except in the confessional, and even that is a tear-inducing terror experience. He’s offered to help with spiritual guidance and counseling, but I can’t even bring myself to say Hi to this sweet Father.

Do any of you find that you have hangups from your Mormon upbringing? Did any of you seek spiritual counseling from your priest about it? How did that turn out for you?

**Even non moromon converts have some difficulty with confession…but the males in leadership positions in your former church bring about the fear you have. Questions asked from men who aren’t trained…well it’s very frightening…In time you will feel better about the kind priest.

I’m so happy you are Catholic now…welcome home.


Stavros –

God bless you and guide you in this struggle. Yes, I had the same struggle. When I began going to Mass, after many years of no religious activity at all, the Priests caused an anxiety sort of response from me, for some of the same reasons you describe in your experience.

It is through experiences, over time, that I came to recognize a piece of the puzzle that I had been missing, in regards to my own life and experiences previous to being received into the Church. I lost that anxiety, and can’t imagine any longer where it came from.

The difference between the Mormon priesthood and Catholic Priesthood is a gulf as wide as you can imagine. You’ll see it. Until then, trust that God knows this struggle, and that it is a distrust born of inexperience with Truth, Who is Jesus Christ.


I went through panic attacks and agoraphobia also. I could not go into Walmart for over a year until I got treatment. I hope that you are being treated for your attacks, because this is a physical condition at base, like migraine headaches or high blood pressure.

On a spiritual level, at a time of my life when I rejected God, I was on a tour and went to a Rosary Mass in Venice, Italy at Saint Mark’s. It was profoundly disturbing to me and I was left shaken by it. I now realize that what had me shook was the presence of the Holy Spirit.

After you get the physical matters dealt with, then it will be time to address your spiritual situation. The other thing is to tap into the strength within your congregation. Since you identify some of your issue being with males, find some well-grounded women to speak to about this. I am certainly not suggesting that this be substituted for Confession, but reaching out to your sisters for strength. That’s why Jesus left us the imperial order to love one another until His return.

Yes Stavros,

Male hierarchy was a hang up. It still is in many ways. I am cynical in many ways.

The silver lining in all of it though is that I tend to focus more on discipleship and less on the institution.

Stavros – along these same lines, and conversations here reminding of other conversation with a Catholic friend who is also a convert from Mormonism.

God The Father: What are you thoughts about Him? How do you feel? Do you pray to Him?

I ask because both this friend and I expressed the same feelings of avoidance. Praying only to Jesus. Trusting the Son of God and the Holy Spirit but avoiding the Father. Not knowing how to trust Him.

Any of the same thing going on with you?

For me, the break through was one day while praying in our Blessed Sacrament Chapel. An experience I will never forget, of the Father, together with the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Since in Mormonism we were taught that Mormon men have the same power as God, to use in judgement of us, and believing they can read our hearts…from this comes guessing and abuses of the soul, which can be transferred to our view of how God the Father is interacting with us.

These things have to be let go, and it is only possible by praying that God will help you. He will.


I do pray to God the Father most of the time. I love the Liturgy of the Hours because it is simple praise and adoration. I do pray to Christ, but it’s mostly in gratitude for the sacrifice of his precious blood and the pain he went through with the Passion. But with God, I just talk to him, tell him about my day, the good and the bad.

I do spend a lot of time in front of the tabernacle, just talking, or sometimes even just keeping Him company. Because my moment of grace of conversion happened during the eucharistic portion of a mass, I’ve always had a very strong devotion to the Eucharist.

Since in Mormonism we were taught that Mormon men have the same power as God, to use in judgement of us, and believing they can read our hearts…from this comes guessing and abuses of the soul, which can be transferred to our view of how God the Father is interacting with us.

I never really thought about it that way. I will admit to having a problem with wrapping my mind around the traditional Trinitarian God the Father. For my whole life, I had the image of Christ and his father, standing there in the Sacred Grove above Joseph Smith. To realize that He is much more vast and amazing hurts my brain to even think about. I have full confidence in the belief that much of my fear of priests has to do with being judged by untrained (and unholy) LDS priesthood holders most of my life. I have to keep telling myself, “These guys are professionals, these are not the Mormons that have been cruel to you in the past.”

Stavros – you have a healthy response, cranked up to a high volume. Just turn it down.

Priests are more than professionals, they are given additional graces, which I never experienced in Mormonism. You don’t need to jump in all buddy-buddy with a Priest, but keep open to experiences that will only enhance your faith, and trust will come over time.


All I can say is wow! God bless all of you who have had the courage to seek truth. I will be praying for all of you tonight.

Stavros, I have only three words for you. “BE NOT AFRAID!”

God will bless you for carrying this cross. This is truly an eye opener for me. I never realized how much pain and suffering some endure for their faith. You are all heroes to me.

A bit OT to the concept of the thread, but in a most profound way, when that image of Son and the Father being separate as in the “sacred grove” example, the idea of He being so much more vast beyond “As we are God once was; as God is we may become” I felt a sense of relief

A sense of relief that the LDS priesthoood was fraudulent and has zero authority and power was also a healing moment.

“In Persona Christi” makes far more sense to me with full humanity still remaining in any man called to the vocation of priesthood. With greater understand and appreciation of these, I found myself all the more open to deeper and more profound discipleship with Our Lord.

I felt that indeed, the truth had set me free. I felt healed.

Steve, leaving the Mormon church is profoundly painful for a variety of reasons. The false myth put out by many Mormons that people who leave the church are just wanting to live sinful lives are profoundly naive or that we were “offended” by someone is completely stupid. PROFOUNDLY.

Many of us who have left do so with great pain. Our sense of being betrayed, of the lies and deceptions run deep and effects our ability to trust. Esp trust anyone in ecclesial authority.

It was only the Spirit that I was healed of my deep wounds. Only a miracle of profound soul healing would ever get me to seek and come into full communion with most especially the Catholic Church.

After living with the lies and deceit of the LDS Church, the idea of turning to the Catholic Church seemed completely impossible to me

Until last week, I never even realized how deep the wounds I had really were. And how much damage they were doing with my relationship with God. My obstacles with God don’t lean towards purity issues or vice or neglect. My obstacles with God are trust, faith, hope.

One of the Fathers last week told me that when you spend your whole life basing your beliefs on how you “feel” (burning of the bosom), it can make for some serious adjustments when that constant reinforcement goes away. I was also asked if Confession was hard for me, and I answered that it was. But honestly, I very much love confession, even though it’s hard. Because at least I am told I am forgiven, even if sometimes I don’t believe it.

When I was Mormon, I was always afraid that I was going to go to the Terrestrial kingdom because I forgot to repent for a glass of tea, or because I didn’t do food storage, or because I forgot to do Visiting Teaching and a soul was lost because of me. (Way too many “Saturday’s Warrior” style roadshows as a kid.) And so much of my identity was wrapped up in my Mormon identity, like being able to catch a “Saturday’s Warriors” reference, or wearing my CTR ring, or laughing about being a “10-Cow Woman”.

But other than knowing a few saints, and a few prayers, I don’t “feel” Catholic most of the time, if that makes sense. It often feels like what I do, not what I am. I left the Mormon religion partially because I couldn’t take the constant scrupulosity of feeling I wasn’t a good enough Mormon - I didn’t pray enough, I didn’t read the scriptures enough, I stayed home and read instead of driving to the Temple to do ordinances tonight, I didn’t do food storage, I haven’t journaled, I haven’t fulfilled my calling, I talk to the missionaries and take time away from their missionary work to ease my spiritual and emotional lonliness. And worst of all, I felt unholy and ugly and worried constantly about my salvation because I could not find a Mormon man who would take me to the temple.

Unfortunately, I still have that constant worry - Well, I’m wearing my brown scapular and my St. Benedict medal and my Miraculous medal, but should I be wearing something different? Or am I wearing too much? Do I use too many sacramentals? Do the people at church think I’m weird because I go to Daily Mass? Do I go to confession too much and take time away from the priests when they should be ministering to people whose salvation is at stake? Do I try too hard? Do I lack humility, is that why I seem to be doing this all on my own, because no one can stand to be near me because of my pride? Did I forget to confess a mortal sin, and am I now taking the sacrament unworthy? Maybe if I don’t receive the Eucharist today it will make me appreciate taking it more tomorrow, but if I don’t take it will the priest think I am in mortal sin and judge me if I don’t go to confession? Am I being prideful by thinking the priest would even notice? Maybe I should just go to Sunday mass, do what I need to do, and not take up the priest’s time by going to daily mass. When I try to talk to the priest and he doesn’t talk back to me, maybe he is one of those priests like Padre Pio who can see my soul, and sees that I am a danger to his salvation, and flees from me for his own salvation. Why can I not just accept these crosses I’ve been given to bear and appreciate the blessings I have with my parish and these amazing priests instead of wanting more, wanting guidance, wanting healing, wanting relief from this amazing cross of loneliness?

It’s like I have two radios going in my head simultaneously. The first radio is prayers, both Hail Marys and personal pleas to God. The other radio is the negativity, the questions, the doubts. Constantly. I confessed to the sin of loquaciousness last night due to the fact that the more I talk about these things, the more I feel I need to talk about these things, and the Father said, you need to find why the cause and try to heal that wound. But I feel so damaged, so broken, that while I feel I can be forgiven, I have no idea where to start to be healed.

It also doesn’t help that in confession with the other Father, he pointed out to me my need for healing, and said to email him and we could talk outside of Mass. So I did. And it’s been four days and he hasn’t emailed back. The feelings of abandonment make the radios grow louder, and all I want is peace. The Bad Radio keeps saying, go back to your other parish, where it’s huge, where no one knows you, you can pray all you want, and just go on Sundays, and no one will hurt you, no one will make promises they can’t keep. You will go to confession and the priest will simply say You are absolved, and not give guidance that seems incomplete and not make promises that wound you when they are not kept.

But I know that I not only need Christ, I need the Christians in my church for support, or I will continue to be isolated and alone. So I start my day again carrying this cross.

Of course you hear the bad radio. Do you think Satan gives up easily? If you were heading yourself straight to Hell, he wouldn’t have to lift a finger. Remember that in Ephesians, when Saint Paul tells us to put on the whole armor of God, he is not call us to fight but to prepare ourselves for defense. Satan is about pride and one thing you can do defensively is to wound that aspect of him. It is as simple as a laugh. I can tell you from my experience in a mental hospital that you do not hear a good hearty laugh from the patients. You hear bitter, sardonic, mocking laughter, but no triumphant sound comes from their lips. The next time you hear that radio, tell yourself or someone else a joke. It can be good, bad, witty, stupid, but laugh yourself and maybe make someone else laugh. It is only with hope that we can laugh and mean it. And that hope is Jesus Christ and His promises to us. Satan can do his worst, but as long as we have Christ before us, he is lost.

How may psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?
Only one, but the bulb really has to want to change.;):D:p

A wise man [Stephen Colbert] once said that you can’t be afraid when you’re laughing. I watch a lot of Stephen Colbert. He makes me laugh. I’ll try to think of him next time.


Your post and that of others showed me the injury that can happen to our entire being when we are injured by religious institutions…it doesn’t matter which denomination or church.

There have been Catholics injured by gossiping tongues…priests have been slandered and calumniated and had to leave a parish to go elsewhere because of it. Nobody is immune. Even it says in the Bible the devil enters religious people through misunderstanding, then jealousy and malice. It is all part of life for those who believe in God.

There is a prayer written by Sr Faustina to Mary, and part of it says how much value Godly suffering has, we won’t know about its value until we are in the next life, and that she asked Blessed Mother to protect her from those who hide their malice with the veil of religion.

Malice and jealousy exists in convents, in missions, in parishes, just about everywhere. And we are living in a time where truth, even truth about each other in the Lord, is being submerged by this ‘river’ spewed out by the devil, where our love then grows cold towards one another.

Spending time before the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration brings about healing – in conjunction with just one or two friends of faith who are nurturing and kind.

The most sensitive and delicate and most influential part of us is our soul, and when our souls are wounded and separated from God and His love, it is the worst pain. The other pain is caused by we ourselves closing ourselves up into ourselves for fear of getting more hurt. To be healed, we need to come out of ourselves and stand in Christ’s light…

But you have to recognize your own limitations, one step at a time…you sound like you need to step back a bit, get to your own center, and know more of God’s love for you.

Grow in God’s love. God loves you just the same when you were in the Mormon church. He loves you the most ever – all the time, irregardless what you do or don’t do. You can do nothing, nothing of yourself to cause God to love you a little more, because He is already there. He is already loving you, and waiting for you.

Spend time alone with the Lord. Don’t push it.

The other is this: My friend wakes up every morning and the first thing she does is proclaim, ‘Today is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad!!!’

The congregation of the Franciscans make it their practice to claim joy, to embrace it irregardless of the extenuating circumstances.

I had a college friend…our little group…we shared our love of the Lord with each other. He said, ‘Oh the other morning the first thing I did when I woke up, was to ask the Lord how He was today. Then I caught myself and thought how silly of me…Every day the Lord is fine!’

So claim that well being with the Lord, it is yours! Rejoice and be glad!

Stavros, I know completely of what you are talking about in the entire post, part of which I just quoted. The part I quoted above is the root of the wounds and why they are so spiritually debilitating. It’s was the trust, the ability to trust for me, with God.

For me it took time to unwind my mind of the distortions of Mormonism. One thing that helped with that was that when I found those mind thoughts showing their ugly head, I would stop, mentally identify it as the messed up thinking that came with Mormonism and I would tell God that I see it happening. I would ask God to help me to unwind and toss these bad thoughts from me, to help me heal.

Also what helped me was praying the chaplet of Divine Mercy and asking God to help me feel how profound His Love and Mercy truly was. Eurcharistic Adoration is also profoundly healing for me. Focusing on discipleship, authentic discipleship

Remember things like wearing metals or scapular are to remind us of God’s love. They aren’t there to make us feel guilty. They are to encourage us to draw closer to God. THey are not ment to make us feel worthless.

God Bless, my friend, I know how deep the wounds go, how it takes time. And God knows too.

Dear Stavros, my heart hurts for you as I read your post. Before responding, please read some of the prayers to St.Rita of Cascia , one of my favorite Saints. For those who feel as if there is no hope, she is your answer.

Please understand that I am a man and a sinner. My intent is to help you heal, but I may fail miserably. Understand that I am trying my best and will surely fall far short of the mark.

It may be helpful for you to review why we choose to be obedient to God. We do not do it for the accolades and acknowledgments of others. Our motivation should be focused upon our love for God and doing his will. We should not follow out of fear, but out of a desire to become more Christ-like. Abandon your desire to please others or worrying about what others will think of you. You are not attending Mass to please them, you are there to come to know God more fully.

This problem is not because of being a Mormon or a Catholic, but it is something more fundamental than that. Its genesis is found in pride (which worries about how others perceive us) and lack of faith (God already knows us completely; we do not surprise him or by our actions cause him to leave us). Faith is that knowledge that we stand on a sure foundation of God’s love for us. He will never abandon us, he seeks to always forgive us if we choose to be penitent.

Something you may think about is a pilgrimage. I am devoted to the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. This pilgrimage can take as short as a few days to as long as a month or even several months. It has been going on for over 1,000 years; if you go will be be walking in the footsteps of many Saints and millions of past pilgrims. It will offer you a wonderful time to think, to realign your heart with God’s, and to enjoy the numerous Cathedrals of Spain. There are so many along the Way. There is a movie coming out in the USA later this year called The Way - the movie. It has Emilio Estevez and his father (can’t remember his name at the moment), but it is about the Camino and would be worth seeing. Also, there are a great number of websites about the Camino. The one I like best is found here: caminodesantiago.me/board/?sid=8a84d191a14a56eb2911039a5aaf24b1. It is the Forum where you can find out everything you might want to know and leads to several other sites.

Focus only on the Lord and his love for you. Forfeit your thoughts regarding others and you will be lead by the Holy Spirit to a very deep relationship with Jesus. May His Peace be with you always.

One of the reasons I switched parishes is because even though I had been going to my home parish for years, and went through RCIA there, I had yet to make one friend. There was just no community. I’ve talked to a couple of wonderful ladies, and even if I just get to know the both of them, I think I’ll be in a good place.

Yes on both counts. The worst pain is feeling separated from God due to my own wounds and pride. And I know I’ve got an amazingly high wall that needs to come down before I can truly bask in God’s love. I’ve got the mortification and penance and suffering part down, but I haven’t even begun accepting God’s love for me. I’m not afraid of Hell, I’m afraid of not being with God.

I spend as much time as I can simply praying in front of the Tabernacle. It’s one of the few times where I really feel like I can simply talk. I also try to just sit, and keep Him company, and try to quiet the radios so I can hear if He tries to talk back.

I’ve started going to early morning mass, which starts at 6:30a. I don’t have to be at work until 9a. After mass and the Rosary, the whole place empties out, including the priest, around 7:30a. So every workday morning, I have the chapel and the tabernacle all to myself for about 45 minutes, and I just get giddy as a schoolgirl who gets to sneak a glance at her crush. I go up to the very first pew and say, “Hi there! I’ve got you all to myself, let’s enjoy our time together!” I’ve been working on how to do mental prayer, but sometimes I just read, or pray, or sit there. It is SO AWESOME! It’s just so different for me praying in the presence of the Eucharist vs praying away from church. I’m really getting spoiled!

It’s truly my favorite part of being Catholic - getting to keep God company as he sits in repose in the Eucharist. I think it’s because I can give him adoration and thanks and I feel like I’m actually doing something.

I start my day with three Hail Marys asking for her protection, and a Morning Offering. I need to slap a simple “Thank you Lord, for this day!” And not “Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for this nice day …” (that for all my ex-Mo peeps)

JeanMichael, having lived, breathed Mormonism, I’m going to fundamentally disagree with the above comment. Too simplistic of a reason. My wasn’t found in pride. It was found in the pain that comes with deep betrayal. Even that is too quick of a reason.

The Mormon mind-think/prism really is more distorted than people who haven’t lived it heart, mind, soul, body, than those who have never given their whole being to it.

No personal offense. Just wanted to throw in my .02 of how wounding (at least) Mormonism is…It’s very painful when one realizes one has been duped, deceived by false prophets. It’s even more than painful. It makes you doubt God. It makes you doubt yourself.

That is agonizing when that happens. At least it was for me. It took a divine miracle of spiritual healing. Only that could heal my wounds

Most people who leave the Mormon church end up agnostics at best and raging athiests at worst. It’s so easy to see that if Joseph Smith lied, how do I know that other religious leaders aren’t lying as well? One of the doubts I fight with constantly is “Who’s to say that the Catholic founders weren’t as big of liars as Joseph Smith?” Or “Who’s to say that these priests are any less corrupt than the Mormon leaders that hurt you so much?”

You are absolutely right, Marie, the pain of being lied to for my entire life was and still is devistating. Well, I was lied to, and then I felt like a fool, so that pride thing fights with me in thinking, “No one is ever going to sucker me like that again.” But then I fear, is all this praying, is all this mass attendance, one big lie too? I so don’t want it to be, but those doubts have yet to go fully away.

I used to say “I know that this church is true, I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, I know that Spencer W. Kimball/Ezra Taft Benson/Gordon B. Hinkley is a true prophet of God.” And I meant it. And when I went into the temple, I knew that my salvation was finally secure. But with Catholicism, even now, even with daily mass and years of prayer and daily conversion, I say, “I believe the Catholic church is where I need to be. I know I am doing the right thing by being here.” That absolute certainty in God, and the church, simply isn’t there. But I have hope, and I have faith. And that’s the best I can do, and God understands this.

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