My name is Jim. I left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1993, and all of my family came out with me (wife, three older kids around 15-20).
I was an active member for 13 years, and inactive for another 10. It took me 10 years to figure it out. Actually, it was partially due to a broadcast I heard of "The Bible Answer Man" from the Christian Research Institute (http://www.equip.org).
I didn't know any ex-LDS members. I had never heard any serious anti-Mormon criticism until that radio broadcast. I was impressed. Over the years, I listened to it as it tore the LDS church doctrine apart. I supplemented the information with reading and rereading "LDS Standard Works". I used some critical thinking and analysis, instead of reading uncritically, and began to turn up some wonderful mistakes made by Joseph Smith, Jr...mistakes that would justify my leaving the church because it lied to me.
Fortunately, I was inactive because I had begun a full-time business that took 7 days/week of effort to launch. By not being routinely exposed to the LDS doctrine and practices, I gradually forgot the rituals and reasons to believe. I then was open to reasons to not believe.
After my family accepted that the LDS church was wrong, we sent a letter to our church hierarchy requesting our membership records be removed from the church. We all signed the letter. After a one year delay and several attempts to get the matter closed, we received our release and left the church and never looked back. Our release stated we were making a grave choice, and that we had 90 days to reconsider before our records would be removed from the church.
We were in no mood then or now to reconsider rejoining with a lie. Ironically, four years later some Home Teachers came to our door (last week) to visit with one of my kids. I again explained to them that we had all left the church. They were surprised, and they thought it was a computer glitch. I took the opportunity to introduce them to the Truth.
I love the Lord. After we left the church, I was reading one evening very late in Psalms 22 about how the Lord said about himself while he was on the cross "I am a worm." That verse hit me hard, real hard. I realized that, if the God who created all things and created me called himself a worm, what did that make me? I suddenly felt compelled to humble myself more than at any time in my life. After several hours of heartfelt humility and self-effacement, I was, like John in Revelations, taken away in the spirit somehow. I could still feel my body on the floor, however. My presence was at the Cross. Jesus was hanging there in the dim light. His head was hanging down and his hair was matted with blood. His body was bloody everywhere. I felt so unworthy to be there. He looked at me, and I felt like I was made of tar, of thick black darkness. He looked at me with his eyes of love, a powerful love, and it seemed as though that love pushed right through my darkness and made me a pane of glass. My life changed that night. My bad habits were gone, my fear of death was gone, and I will never forget the things he communicated to me without a word: (1) He died on that cross only for me, individually and (2) How incredibly much he loves me, more than my thoughts could have ever imagined. It seemed afterwards that the material things of life became transparent, as though meaningless, and the transparent things of existence became solid and meaningful. A joy entered my life, and since that night has never left. It gives me peace everywhere and all the time.
I am so glad to have gotten out of the LDS church, but I think Jesus sent me down that path so I could help bring others out. I thank Him that he went after a lost sheep like he said he would, and by so doing has brought many, many to Himself through that sheep.
A word of caution to LDS who are thinking about getting out: don't be deceived by a lot of these crazy "Broadway" production so-called Christian ministers you see on TV who are in it for the money. A lot of them are liars, deceivers, wolves in sheep's clothing. I suggest you listen to the Christian Research Institute on your local radio station.
Call them, too, if you want to. Or email me.
Ex-Mormon and glad of it.