Perhaps the hardest transition for post-Mormons to make is in granting themselves permission to be their own “prophet,” their own “seer,” and their own “revelator.” Their own “bishop.” Their own “President.” Their own “apostle.” Their own “patriarch.” Their own “holy ghost.”

After decades of relying on an external source of authority, it’s surprisingly difficult for so many post-Mormons to feel comfortable placing trust and confidence in themselves — in their own conscience, their own instincts, their own intellect, their own decision-making capabilities, and in their own “inner-guide.”

So many of us feel most comfortable relying on someone or something external. And we come by it honestly. Most of us have been conditioned to act this way since birth. And it wasn’t really even insidious. Our parents and leaders were honestly trying to help us – in the best way they knew how.

This is not just a Mormon phenomenon. This is a human phenomenon.

But make no mistake. This is the greatest gift of a religious faith transition….if you can gain the confidence to claim it.

Even Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is within.” I like to think that this is what he meant.

Finally, once you’ve taken your authority back from a high-demand religion, or from any relationship for that matter, PLEASE DO NOT give it away to another person or organization.

If you do, then you may as well go back to church.

You were the “Holy Ghost” all along.

“There is a voice inside of you that whispers all day long, ‘I feel that this is right for me, I know that this is wrong.’ No teacher, preacher, parent, friend or wise man can decide what’s right for you – just listen to the voice that speaks inside.”

– Shel Silverstein


  1. D. Michael Martindale June 29, 2020 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    Hey, that’s what I just said in my comment to another of your posts.

  2. Gaylon Vorwaller June 30, 2020 at 1:23 am - Reply

    Agree 100%.

  3. Manuel June 30, 2020 at 11:31 am - Reply

    This was a really compassionately delivered concept that many people need to hear. Taking one’s independence of thought is a courageous step when for so long one has simply chosen to default to the opinion of authorities.

    Ironically Mormon cosmology also suggests that this is an incredibly important part of one’s personal development. After all, Eve of the Latter-Day Saint interpretation of Genesis did not follow obediently or do what she was told. She went against orders when she partook of the fruit. She made a conscious decision to be herself and to listen to her inner voice when presented with two choices. One of the really beautiful parts of the LDS tradition is that rather than demonizing Eve for her independence, she is celebrated for it. Without her choice to break the rules the divine plan would have failed and free agency would have been illusory rather than real. Adam also made the same choice but only after Eve had carved the path.

    Listening to ones intuition is important. Often our best judgements are made with more of our brain than just our frontal lobe. LDS covenants are often good guideposts (if interpreted liberally)one can use to guide one’s decisions in life. However, it’s also important to think for ones self and to not simply give into authority.

    Thank you for reaffirming the idea that people both inside and outside of the Church have a right to their own opinions, their own decisions, and their own thought process. People often don’t realize the power that they hold to carve their own destinies. It’s good to occasionally receive a positive reminder.

  4. cl_rand June 30, 2020 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    So true! When I initially had to admit to myself that I didn’t believe in what the church had taught me all those years there was a tremendous sense of loss. Realizing there is no good reason to believe that you are going to progress forever and eventually become a god of your own planet is a lot to let go of for sure. Realizing that everything we know about what lies beyond the grave would not fill a thimble was also a stark comeuppance. My sense of loss, however, began to fade when I realized that I hadn’t actually lost anything of value but gained something of immeasurable value. That being, the here and now, and my own authority over how to proceed in life. I wouldn’t trade that power for a hundred good fairy tales but it wasn’t something I came by without an emotional struggle.

  5. Ken Card June 30, 2020 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    My experience was after reading Lectures of Faith several times and the King Follett discourse many times from its original sources, I realized the word “Holy” is really an adjective describing the noun “Ghost” or Spirit. When put into context of Lectures of Faith and the King Follett discourse, our “Spirit” or “Ghost” must “put on” or immerse itself into the “attributes of godliness” and that is how we are made “Holy…” purified and sacrificed and made “one” with Father and Christ! Everyone has this “authority” and that is how the promises of God are made available to all the seed of mankind. It is not about what religion we do or don’t belong to but what we choose to “become” in character that really matters. The ultimate sacrifice (symbolic of Christs atonement) is letting go of our fallen (false beliefs)and carnal nature!

  6. Sam September 10, 2020 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    John, your first paragraph really resonated with me.

    My faith transition took a very surprising upswing when my wife (we both went through this at the same time) commented to me that our “leaders” have no authority over us. Wow! Having grown up in the church, this was an incredibly new concept. It took a little while to process. As lifelong members, we so often deferred to the authority, leadership, and knowledge of those who were “called” to govern us. Many people going through a transition fear bucking the leadership, as if there is something they (bishops, stake presidents, etc.) can do to you. I realized that as a member, I had viewed my leaders in much the same light as I viewed government leaders (judges, governors, presidents, etc.). When I was able to realize that their priesthood is not real and they have no authority more than what I concede to them, I was able to take back their “authority” and remove their influences from my life. I was able to really move on in my faith transition. That was freeing!

  7. Jay Montgomery October 17, 2020 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    Oddly enough, the temple endowment weirdly demonstrates that we are the Holy Ghost.

    Elohim commands: “Jehovah, Michael, go down and organize….” Subsequently, Michael was placed in a deep sleep and when he awakened he could remember nothing. Later, those in the endowment are told: “EACH OF YOU are to think of yourselves as if you are, respectively, Adam and Eve.” (or words to that effect.)

    In the beginning there was Elohim, Jehovah, and Michael (the Godhead). Michael becomes Adam and/or Eve–whom we are “each to to think of ourselves” as. In other words, in the beginning was Elohim, Jehovah and Michael (the Holy Ghost–or an expression [Michael or the Holy Ghost] for each of us).

    Very oddly, this answers two of the burning issues of our day:

    1) Who the Holy Ghost is: which is really only a generic term for our own personal identity. Can there be any other reason for failing to receive “forgiveness in this life or the next” than to LIE TO OURSELVES. Only as we repent of our lies to ourselves can we continue progression.
    2) This perfectly answers the issue of the LGBTQ community. If we are born as an “Adam” but chose to be an “Eve,” or if we are born an “Eve” and chose to be an “Adam,” or if we are some combination of the two or neither, we have gender identity confusion or, we clearly have desires of a sexual identity other than that we were born into.

    I am surprised that the General Authorities and this group have failed to see the answers to these critical questions in the endowment.

    The answer to the other biggee–who is the Devil–is found in the Book of Mormon. “But the natural man is an enemy of God.” It is so easy–WE ARE. When we act on our basest passions we don’t need any outside help; the devil is already at work in our very nature.

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