After leaving the church, I felt several things. I felt free. I felt suddenly flush with cash. I suddenly had lots of free time, time to actually see my kids. I felt more in line with my true self and my deepest beliefs. And I felt very surprised to find myself somewhere that I never, ever planned or expected.
What replacement exists for churches (or religion) in our society? Churches bring people together like a family, without being family. I have still been looking for any kind of social equivalent to a church, without success. That place should meet regularly, build long-term relationships, direct people towards doing good for society, and to meet and interact with other types of people than they normally would. The closest thing I can come up with is the workplace. Maybe I should go get to know my neighbors?
The trauma of leaving the church has put a stress on my marriage and family that will take time to heal.
I've lost some long-term friendships.
I could have bought a house for cash with all of the money I sunk into the church, money which is now just gone, wasted forever financing a group that tried to destroy my family.
I've wasted 15 years, prime years, of my life.