Coming Out to Loved Ones

We are the hosts of a podcast about growing up Seventh-day Adventist, leaving that cult, and becoming atheists. It's turned into something of a support group for former Adventists.

One of the most common questions we get from listeners is, "How do I deal with family members who are still Adventist?" or “How did you tell your family you’re not an Adventist anymore?” This issue isn't unique to former Adventists. “Coming out” to faithful family members is a scary prospect for many who have de-converted, and it can be painful.

While you don’t have to come out to everyone, hiding your lack of faith will make your relationships more superficial. If you want deep, complex relationships with your family, you have to be honest with them about your worldview. You can do this in several ways.

If you are a non-confrontational person, coming out in a letter or email is a good approach. You may find it useful to emphasize that you are following the dictates of our own conscience. Don’t attack their beliefs. Just state yours. If your family needs to tell themselves a story about how you are coming to heaven via some unusual route, let them. This is not the time to insist that they see the world exactly as you do.

You will probably have to come out again and again. We have had to reestablish boundaries every few years with our parents. Try to view this as an opportunity to clarify your. That’s easier than getting angry each time the issue reappears.

You don’t have to come out to everyone. Some relationships function just fine on a superficial level. You are not obligated to disclose your worldview to everyone. You don’t have to de-convert everyone. But you can be an example of a healthy, happy, patient atheist. —Seventh Day Atheist