If You've Switched Religions How Hard Was It for You?

Updated on June 28, 2013
B.S. asks from Lansing, MI
21 answers

I was born and raised Lutheran. I even attended a Lutheran school from preschool - 8th grade. So to say the Lutheran doctrines have been ingrained into me is a given.

Last year while I searched for a new Lutheran church I came across a non-denominational church that I've since been attending. I love the services, I love what they have to offer my children and in the big picture of things their belief in God is the same. They have not pushed me to join, in fact quite the opposite there is no rush to join. Their motto is welcome all enjoy everything our church has to offer. They are also considerable larger than the church I am from so have lots more to offer. Oh and one of the other big factors is my husband was brought up Catholic although never attends church and since going to this new church he willingly goes with me and also said if I decided to join would join with me. This makes the decision even more appealing to me as I enjoy going to church as a family vs just me and my girls.

However, if I were to join I'd be abandoning my church I grew up in. And perhaps some beliefs like the importance of confirmation and baptism. For the most part my dad is ok with it but I get the feeling my mom is not too happy about it. Although, she would accept it. However, I also know part of my husbands family will outright not be happy if he switches and could possibly blame me. I keep thinking this is a big step as this is not just my future ahead but a future I am laying down for my kids. So my question for those who have switched religions/churches how hard was it for you to do so? And in the end did it work out like you wanted?

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So What Happened?

I did not mention when writing the question, but I have already decided a few days ago that I was going to forge ahead with becoming a member. Which starts with a membership information class and then more classes from there. I just wanted some outside opinions/feelings on the subject. While there is absolutely no pressure to join, I do want to join so that I personally can feel like I belong. They have done nothing to make me feel like I don't, but its just something that will make me, personally, feel better about going to church there.

Its funny when I started this mission it was because I felt like my kids were not getting anything out of my church. I started visiting other Lutheran churches in my area, which were nice but did not have me feeling any different. From the moment I got my kids involved involved with the kid center program at the church I attend now I have nothing but good feelings and things to say about it.

For me it really is just getting over the feelings that I'm abandoning my old church/religion. Like you have reminded me its not about abandoning a church/religion but my relationship with God that matters. I know my family will accept my change. My husbands well he WILL just have to deal with them. :)

Thanks again!

More Answers



answers from Columbus on

I grew up Lutheran. I realized long ago, when human beings kept telling me what I was supposed to believe and do and it didn't match what was in my heart, that my relationship is with GOD - not with a building, an organization, a group of people, a book, or anything else. GOD directly. I have switched to a different denomination that fits my beliefs and my soul. Anything less than that, anything that I have to force, isn't meant for me. If you are happier in that church, don't you think that is the church that is right for you? After all, is your relationship with God not YOURS? Others may have opinions, but no one knows your heart better than you and God. If you've found this church and it speaks to you, then it is right for you.

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answers from Washington DC on

I was raised UCC, went to Catholic elementary school, went to a Presbyterian college, was married in the UCC church of my childhood, my husband was raised Catholic, we went to a Methodist Church where we baptized our children, moved here and are now Episcopalian. Our children were confirmed in the Episcopal church. My son worships at a Methodist church at college. My daughter will worship at the Presbyterian church at college because they have a bell choir.
In my world, God is God. It matters not where you worship. As long as you are happy with your church, your church activities, and the church family, that is where you should be.
Please remember, all churches are like families. Crazy aunties, outspoken grandmothers, silly brothers, hardworking dads, lazy uncles, and more are prevalent. No matter what church you choose, someone will annoy you and someone will end up a friend for life. Churches are full of sinners.
Go where you are comfortable and don't worry about the doctrine.

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answers from Washington DC on

I was raised Protestant. In middle school my parents let me try new things...I went to several Jehovah's Witness meetings (my paternal grandmother and stepgrandfather are/were Witnesses), I went to several Mormon temples, I dated a Jewish boy in High School for a short time - I went to Temple with him....it gave me a greater understanding of what other people practice...

as I grew up - I became more conservative...I tried Catholicism but didn't like some of the hypocrisy I saw (I know...many religions have it). My sister married a Greek Orthodox man. I was in middle school when she did...I felt welcomed and like it was a fit for me and my values...however, i didn't start going to Orthodoxy until I was back in the United States - while overseas - I attended the base chapel. I am more Russian/Eastern Orthodox in practice than Greek - not much difference - just the words spoken are Russian and not Greek! :) My husband is Episcopalian - that is close to the Orthodox if they practice conservatively.

You are NOT abandoning ANYTHING. Your belief in God is still there and if someone berates you for your change? They are NOT Christians. As they would realize you are STILL following God's word.

I have learned a lot over the years. I would not change my footsteps. You need to say your prayers, talk to God and let HIM lead you to where HE needs you to be!!

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answers from Baton Rouge on

Wasn't hard for me at all. I was raised Baptist, but by the time I reached high school, didn't believe most of what Christianity taught. The "Love thy neighbor" bit, I could totally get behind, but the fall, the flood, heaven and hell, the resurrection - all that I found to be beyond believability.
I started reading about other paths, and found that there were none that I could completely buy into, but that all of them had little nuggets of useful ideas. So I took what I could use to make myself a better person, wherever I found it, and left behind what I considered useless dreck.
It has worked well for me.
Is my Christian family happy about it? Not particularly. And it doens't matter if they are or not. It isn't their life I'm living, it's mine.

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answers from Dallas on

What would you want your child to do? If her H would go with her as a family, I think you would want her to change.
To find something bigger than yourselves, is a great way to strengthen your marriage bond. To find a way to worship God in Spirit and in truth, is the way He wants for you. Yes, it might be another nail in the coffin of your H's dependence on his family's approval. They may not like it but they don't live your life. I bet you don't approve of all their choices, either.

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answers from Dover on

I have not switched religions but I will offer this bit of advice...do what you believe to be best for you and your family....not what others have chosen and felt is best for them. This is true for everything, not just religion.

As for your parents...I don't understand what either of them would have a problem with as you are still a Christian and raising your family in the church. It's not about religion, it's about God...and that is where I feel a "non-denominational" church can often be better than a set religion. That said, I am Methodist and do regularly attend the church where I am a member (also Methodist). If my children decide to change religions (provided they are still Christians) I would fully support and encourage that decision. If they were to choose something other than a Christian religion, I would be disappointed but would accept that it was their decision.

If your hubby's family "blame" you, he should be willing to say "I am a grown man and have chosen to join a non-denominational church...it just so happens that it is the same one that my wife chose to join but it's not her "fault". We are doing what we believe to be best for us and our family".

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answers from Dallas on

You should not worry about what anyone else thinks if this is where you feel you should be. You said that they don't do confirmation and baptism. Are you sure about that? I go to one and they do baby dedications and they do baptisms when someone has accepted Christ. I was raised Baptist and now go to a non denominational church. My dad was not thrilled when my mom and I started attending there when I was 19, 2 years later he decided to check it out and loved it. So he joined. Yes some people that we used to go to church with judged us and felt that we where not doing what was "right" (in their eyes). But it's not about anyone else. My husband was Assembly of God and felf in love with my church the first time he came. So when we got married had no problems going .

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answers from Houston on

Interesting question!

I was raised Methodist. My husband was raised Lutheran. We were married in the Methodist church and our children were christened in the Methodist church. However, some of the doctrine the Methodists were using I did not agree with and did not like. We went to the local Lutheran church in our town and I loved it. I had been to my husband's church prior to our marriage and did not like it at all. It reminded me of being in a Catholic church. But this one, was not like his and I felt a peace come over me that I had never had.

I went through adult confirmation class and joined the Lutheran church. I love it. Our kids both went through confirmation and are Lutheran as well.

My parents were okay because my mother was raised Church of Christ and right after they married she joined the Methodist church which was what my Dad was raised. So, I think they were just happy that we were going to church!

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answers from Columbus on

I left the Catholic church several years ago. I was raised Catholic and was a devout believer in Christianity and specifically Catholicism as a child, but began questioning the beliefs and doctrines in high school. As a adult, although I married in the Catholic church, I continued to struggle with the doctrines, and eventually, several years after marrying in the church, left.

I now consider myself to be a Unitarian Universalist. I do not believe that there is "only one" path to being a good person and doing what is right. The UU teachings, called the Seven Principles, resonated with me:
The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

As to how hard it is, yes, it was and is hard. My parents continue to be very devout and very active in their church. My parents know that I no longer attend Catholic services, but that I am attending a church. It was very hard for me to tell them, because I know it means a tremendous amount to them; they sacrificed a great deal to send me and my siblings to Catholic schools (and I did get a great education there, as did my sibs). But it is a lot easier because I do not live near them, and so was able to do my exploring without disapproval (or having to worry about it anyway). And I feel a very strong need to be true to what I believe, which was not in line with the Catholic church, or really any Christian faith.

I am very glad that I switched, and have found a place where I am accepted, and in fact ALL are accepted and welcome (and I really mean ALL, regardless of creed, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.).

I do still struggle at times, but I feel as though I have found a good place to be... if you'd like to PM me, you are welcome to.

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answers from San Francisco on

I would feel the spirit of our Lord and Savior more if my husband and I were worshipping together on the same page..at home...on a bench at church...and in our hearts.

Go with your heart...go with what is best for YOUR own little family. The scriptures tell us when we marry we are to cleave to our spouse...not to our parents. We are to show honor and respect to our parents...but that doesn't mean doing everything they did while raising us.

I know it will be hard when it comes to parents...you will feel their sadness at a loss of you finding your own path. But it is a path that is leading you and your husband to Christ...and to His teachings. What parent could be upset with that???

Good luck and best wishes. This is a wonderful venture your husband is willing to take with you. It will bring lots of joy to your own little family.

I know many women who yearn to have their husband by their side at church. My husband and I have been active members of our church long before we even met..and are raising our children in that same church. It is such a bonding component to our marriage...and our little family.

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answers from Detroit on

I was raised Baptist and my hubby was raised Catholic. We found a nondenominational church that we love. We love that they preach about God's word and not about rituals and things that seemed to be the focus in our former churches. Our son loves it and loves to go. I remember as a child especially a young teen NOT wanting to go and being forced. This is so different. Our son loves it and is getting a great exposure to the Bible and to God. Neither of us has regretted leaving our religious roots. We decided not to hang on to our past but to embrace a new normal moving forward. We love it.

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answers from Phoenix on

My husband and I are the same religion,but why would i wanna change?I mean i would go with him to church sometimes but not change my background like mommyof1 said

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answers from Chicago on

I love this question! I was raised in the Lutheran Church. I went to Lutheran grade school through 8th grade as well. We were told by our pastor in confirmation class that Catholics go to hell. We were fed all sorts of untruths about Catholicism. Years later I started dating my now husband who was raised Catholic. He wasn't practicing at the time. We got married in my Church and I assumed he would just start attending with me, especially once we had kids. Wrong! When our daughter was about 2, I told him I wanted to get serious about going to Church. He told me he wanted it to be a Catholic Church. Since I was kind of in a place where I wasn't really feeling it at my Church, I agreed to attend Mass a few times at a Catholic Church in our area. After going a handful of Sundays, I found that I really loved it. I felt God's presence in that Church like I hadn't ever felt before. I was stunned to be feeling that way. I spent 2 years attending before I decided to go through the classes to convert (RCIA). This is an intensive 8-9 month long program. I learned so much, and it totally changed my beliefs about the Catholic faith. The biggest lesson I learned is that you should go to the Church that feels like home. If you feel like you belong, and you feel God's presence, and you feel the Holy Spirit moving you there, then that's where you belong.

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answers from Houston on

Well, I abandoned my faith, (Mormon)... and it is not a forgiving religion. I was disowned and shunned by many family and friends. It has taken time to get healing and we have a great support group for that. Right now I don't even want to find a new church but am doing just fine on my own. We made this move based upon the lies and treatment we received and the brainwashing my children were being exposed to. So, even though it was a very tough move, we handled it as delicately as we could and made sure our family and friends knew that our decision was one we made after much study and prayer, and that is was not personal to them. Hopefully, you will be able to make the transition in a good way. Always do what is best for your family and good luck! People may be mad at you for a while, but they will eventually get over it. If they can't love you because you choose a different religious path, than they aren't worth your time. :)

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answers from New York on

Do you have to "join?" Can't you just become someone who goes there and participates without having to abandon your background?

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answers from Jacksonville on

We went the other way: from Baptist to Presbyterian to Lutheran.

I would simply say to you to read what you wrote:
" I'd be abandoning my church I grew up in. And perhaps some beliefs like the importance of confirmation and baptism. "

I would clarify what exactly that means. The importance of baptism, in particular. Why do they think it is less important that you? Or do you no longer believe that baptism is important?

Often, the reason different denominations have different views about the importance of something, is because they have completely different (and opposing) views about what something is, or means.
For a Lutheran, as Paul says, baptism now saves you. It is the method by which faith is given. For many other denominations, it is completely the opposite: it is of no importance, because God is not the actor, you are. YOU (the person being baptised) is the one doing something, not God.

For me and my family, I don't exactly find much comfort in what "I" do. I know that I am broken and and a sinner, and everything I do (even the good I want to do, again, as Paul says) is as filthy rags. So the baptism that a person does is as filthy rags. How does that feel? I'd rather trust that God's Word is Truth and He does what He says. Baptism is God's action on us.

Believing and having faith in my own belief, is scary. I believe in Christ, through faith, not my own emotions or actions or decisions.

When you discern what you believe about baptism, and examine what this new church actually holds to be truth regarding it, then I think you will find your answer. I'd also be quite surprised if they confess that communion is with the true body and blood of our Lord.

Blessings to you and your family.
Wanted to add regarding what church is. If you do your due diligence, you will find that church isn't just a group of people. It is where people are gathered together in the name of Christ, and the sacraments are rightly administered. That is what gathering together in His name meant in the early church--the administration of the Sacrament. They closed the doors to outsiders b/c it was viewed as cannibalism.

Does the new place actually have church? I'd submit for your consideration that without the administering of the Sacrament and the preached Word then it isn't church. The apostles were given what was to be handed on: Word and Sacrament. Quite literally.

---Sorry to add again:
As to whether it was hard... When we switched from Baptist to Presbyterian it was not. In fact, my dad did a lot of reading and was on the verge of switching as well, I think. We had a lot of great theological discussions. But when we switched to Lutheranism, it did not go over well. Everyone in my side of the family is Baptist--half don't even bother to go to church though, they just say they are Baptist because they went there at one time. I have a SIL who is Roman Catholic, and my parents would almost rather they didn't go to church at all than her to go to mass. :/

My husband's family is about the same, except that some claim to be RCatholic (even though they never went through the classes to formally join the church). And don't go at all. They are pretty much all over the map and have no issues with what we do or believe. My own family, it was a point of contention for a while with my parents. They have come to accept it, though. And it is what it is. No rift in our relationship over it. Just a little awkward when we go to visit them and it happens to be over a weekend. They would prefer we go to church with them (so they can show off their grandkids to their friends there)... we'd prefer to go to an LCMS church there (where we actually know the Pastor who is one of the ones that take our kids to youth camp every summer) where we receive Word and Sacrament--the reason we GO to church.
There might be a remark or two, mostly in dry jest, these days. That's about it. We agree to disagree.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I grew up going to the Southern Baptist church at the end of the street. I grew up going to children's choir, Falls Creek, playing softball, basketball, and volleyball with these girls. My closest friends.

When I was in high school my friend asked me if I'd like to come play softball for her church team. It was a different religion and therefore a different church league. I said yes. It was required that I attend one or two services per month at her church to be eligible to play so I went.

I was astonished at the people raising their hands and praying out loud, they ran around and got all "spirit filled". I was in total shock! I found that I loved her Pentecostal Holiness church. We played our clarinets in teen talent shows, went to camp grounds, we even did all the youth trips together and did everything together. I had found something that had been missing in the stoic quiet baptist church I had grown up in.

I couldn't explain it out loud, it didn't make sense to me either.

I eventually joined her church for a while. As an adult I moved on to the Assembly of God church. I went to one then we built Crossroads Cathedral. It held up to 8000. It's huge! I moved to a different town and befriended someone from the LDS church and a few years later joined that church.

I don't attend church anywhere anymore. I have learned so much from the different churches I have gone to and I truly believe there is one out there for each of us that will teach along the same thoughts as we feel in our spirit as to what is right and if something is totally wrong.

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answers from Chicago on

I was raised Catholic, and walked away from the Catholic church years ago due to the polarizing nature of it.

The question is - how do you view religion?
Do you believe that all religious people (ignoring the crazies) want to believe in the good of people, and to lead moral lives?
If so, then what difference does it make which path you choose to get there?

We tend to see religion as so black and white. And just because one organization says that you have to be confirmed and baptized to be accepted into, doesn't mean that another agrees with that.
In other words, there is no one set of rules to get you there.

So I don't mean to trivialize, but this is not at all a big decision. It's big in your head becuase you're feeling pressure from your parents and family. (which is absurd...as someone who's been there)

If you like the new church, embrace it's process, and take the time to learn about it's tenets. You may find similarities, and you may not. And if you don't like what you find...keep searching until you do.
There is no one right way to do it.

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answers from Kalamazoo on

It sounds like you have found a good fit for not only you, but your family. Enough said. Join your church and if conflict arises with extended family, use it as a teaching moment for your girls about tolerance and acceptance.

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answers from Portland on

I've switched, or rather broadened my sense of how religion serves me and makes my life better. This took me from the extremely conservative churches of my childhood (we moved often) to a faith that is much broader and more inclusive.

My mother (who lives next door) was not happy and made frequent disapproving noises, even telling me a number of times that I'd go to hell. Sometimes I felt sad or angry about that, but it gave me some real spiritual work to do, understanding why and how this change brings out the best in me. I found it worthwhile, and since my mother has been able to see positive changes, she no longer tells me I'll go to hell. It was a 30-year journey to get here, though.

I'm not denigrating conservative churches. It's a matter of fit, and they serve many people well. There are many paths to the top of the mountain.

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answers from Raleigh on

I grew up Southern Baptist and am now a "none". Not exactly the same thing you are going through, but moving away from a religion can be stressful. And in my case, I moved away from the church altogether. The stigmatism for me had much greater implications, as all of my family is religious. While it bothers them that I don't attend church and don't participate in any organized religion, we just don't talk about it. And honestly, it's not really anyone else's business but mine.

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