In 2015 Pew released a poll, which shows that in the seven years leading up to 2015 there was a 7% increase in the number of Americans that do not claim religious affiliation. For the purpose of polling, these individuals are labeled "none." Although 23% may not seem like much to some, at the time of writing, the percentage for religious nones accounts for approximately 73.35 million people. When compared to some of the largest religions, we find that in America there are approximately 148.6 million Protestants, 66.3 million Catholics, 6.1 million Jews, and 2.9 million Muslims.
While not everyone who claims "none" is experiencing or has experienced difficulty in their decision, there are many who have. Thus, I realized that by sharing my story I could help people on their journey to becoming a none and finding happiness.
At 17, I realized that I wanted change, I wanted to experience the world. However, I grew up in a religious household, in an even more religious community. At the time I didn't necessarily know what I wanted, but I knew that it would be a divergence from the way I had been raised. I felt strongly that the Mormon Church was not for me, and that in order to truly be happy, I needed to leave.
With this in mind I began a journey that, while fruitful in the end, was wrought with hardships and difficulty. On my way to happiness I experienced negative social peer-pressure, loss of friends, fights with my family, and a sense of confusion that took years to solve.
While my previous religion may differ from yours, I believe that most journeys away from what one knows and is comfortable with, in this case religion, share many of the same difficulties and hardships. That is why, when I read the 2015 poll, I knew I had to help.
I decided that the best way to do this would be to write an unabridged, no-holds barred view into what I experienced throughout my journey. At times it was amazing, at other times I believed that people were right - I was a moral-less heathen. While one's journey towards happiness never truly ends, an understanding of his/her situation and guided self-reflection can help to bring peace in decisions that take us away from what always knew.
I hope to do just that, I hope that by reading my experiences, and then the lessons I took from each, that those journeying away from the fold will be able find comfort in knowing that they are not alone. When you find yourself in need of support, angry, confused, or simply looking to learn more about what other's experiences, I challenge you to open my book and follow my guidance. I know that by doing so, you will move further along in your journey to peace.
This book is for anyone that has made a life-altering decision (religious, agnostic, atheist, or otherwise). While I write about the decision to leave one's religion, there are many decisions we make, which lead us to branch out from that which we have always known. This book is for anyone who is branching out, and who wants help in doing so. Those who read this book will be able to find peace and happiness with their decision; they will know that they are not alone.