Close this search box.
Love. Serve. Empower.

71. How to Speak with Love When Referring to Those Who Have Left the Church with Jennifer Barnhart

Niche: Women who have had a loved one leave The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Find out more about Jennifer HERE!

Find this Interview on YouTube, HERE.



*As members of the Church we have to be really careful of the language we use when we refer to those who have left the Church. Does our language convey that we still love them?

*When we study stories in the scriptures that talk of the lost sheep or the prodigal son, we need to be sure to apply those to ourselves and see where we fit into that role as opposed to always thinking about how those who have left the Church may fit into them.

*A lot of times our language and how we treat those who have left the Church is centered around fear. 

*Members of the Church have their perspective of those who have left but those who have left also have a perspective. Some leave and never look back, others leave and feel like they need to save those who stay, and others weaponize the words often used in the Church against those who still reside in the Church. 

*Those who leave the Church are wounded and that needs to be taken into the way we view and treat them. 

*President Nelson has asked us to use our agency to end the conflict that resides in our hearts as members of the Church. This is great advice to incorporate when it comes to how we treat and see those who have left the Church.

*We get to choose how we treat and react to others. Being a peacemaker doesn’t mean that you just have to let people walk all over you and hurt you unjustly.

*When we think that all is lost with those who have left the Church, we have to remember that God does not give us the spirit of fear. We have to know who the source is that gives us that fear.

*Many may think that if they accept a loved one who has left the Church and what they are doing, then they are condoning their behavior and not holding true to the teachings of the Church. It’s important to remember the stage of life your child is in. If they are in your home then what you allow will be different than if they were adults. Just because they are your children and may not be living the way you raised them to live, you need to treat them with respect and love just like you would someone else living a certain way that is not part of your family. 


Discussion Questions:

  1. What are your biggest fears when it comes to family members having left the Church or thinking about leaving the Church?
  2. How does focusing on the language you use in reference to those who have left the Church help you see them perhaps in a better way that is more understanding and loving?
  3. How have you found it possible to love those who have left but not necessarily condone the choices they are making?



Jennifer’s First Podcast Episode

“Bridges” by David B. Ostler