No one but you should decide how you interact with your family. That being said, so often it is entirely out of your control. It can be heartbreaking to see your connection or lack thereof dictated by the Church. It is easy to be angry with family still in the community. After all, they made a decision that led to extreme separation, by giving up their freedom of choice through baptism. But then, so did I. I chose to leave, knowing I would likely have little to do with their daily lives in the future. I was fully aware of the way they treat leavers. I decided I would put myself through the pain of separation for the sake of personal agency. Even if I were still within the community, there’s no guarantee I’d be living on the same commune as my mother. It’s always going to be painful, but each individual has to decide if the separation is worth it – if the cost of choosing your own career path, the people you surround yourself with, the way you dress and where you live – if the ability to make these choices for yourself is worth letting go of a relationship that ultimately strangles your sense of self. One can also keep hoping they revamp their policies towards leavers. Perhaps one day people will be able to come and go freely on the communes, promoting the healthy family unit they claim to support. Until that day, there are hundreds of people out here willing to step up and be a family to those like us who have essentially lost ours.