Let’s begin by saying that leaving the LDS Church can mean a number of things to many different people.
Whether you are a convert or born and brainwashed in the Church from childhood will dictate how you view your loss of commitment to the fold and how you will handle the issues that WILL arise from the many relationships in your life.
My situation was such: I was the only convert in my family and my wife was baptized many years after I was. Our religious views have almost always been different in the past, so not much has changed for us as far as respecting each other’s choices.
However, when it comes to our children, things get a little tougher.
Recent apostates might still find the many teachings of the Church very beneficial and complimentary to the upbringing of their little ones, while others, like myself, will find that morals should be taught outside of dogmatic commitments and children can definitely do without the psychological damage associated with unrealistic “moral” expectations.
Either way, however you decide to handle your children’s involvement in the Church, one must first and foremost respect his/her spouse’s different views and try to reach a reasonable compromise. A friend once told me that criticizing one’s religion is the equivalent of telling them their kids are ugly, so patience and respect towards your spouse is key here.
When I decided to see the Church for what it really is (a fraud), I felt cheated and frustrated that my wife couldn’t see all the issues that surround the LDS faith. While I no longer could handle the cognitive dissonance associated with trying to consolidate my questions with the lack of good answers from Church scholars and apologists, my wife sat comfortably during Sacrament meeting and looked forward to teaching her Young Women about whatever it is they learn in the girls’ classes.
My initial reaction to my new views led me to adamantly prevent my children from attending (any) church until they were reasonably capable to rationalize those things that would be hammered into their heads Sunday in, Sunday out for 3 hours at a time.
Of course, my wife was concerned that if the kids didn’t go to church now, they would probably never want to go later (I couldn’t agree and hope for more).
It is hard to deny that atheism (lack of belief) is the position one must take in order to have a neutral, unbiased view towards religion, but it is nearly impossible to convince the faithful of that simple fact. I didn’t want my children to not attend church because I didn’t want them to believe, but because I wanted THEM to make the decision to believe or not believe at a time in their life in which they will be personally responsible for that decision.
You know you have reached a compromise when both parties are equally unhappy, so we’re still working on it, but the kids are currently going to church every other weekend. We have also agreed that the children are not to be labeled (they know they’re not “Mormons” or anything else until they decide to call themselves that) by us or anyone.
I attend various Church activities when possible (outside of the Sunday torture) and mom occasionally skips a Sunday to spend the day with us.
I am lucky to have a very rational, reasonable, and liberal wife who doesn’t automatically buys into the blanket views imposed by her religion on society, so I can say we, most importantly, agree on how to raise the children independently of our religious views.
Morality independent of religion ensures our children will make good choices in all stages of their lives, regardless of which building they are heading into on Weekends to pray.