Breaking up with Organised Religion 

Weekly church, regular confession, fasting at lent, praying for forgiveness and generally trying to be a good person dominated my religious life from when I was old enough to understand it until organised religion and I broke up when I was 35. The break-up wasn’t long and drawn out; in fact it was short, fast and relatively painless for me.

If you had asked me when I was in the thick of my regular organised religious practices if I would let it go, I wouldn’t have believed you, as I have always known there was God and I was taught throughout my childhood that God equated to religion and church. 


It just seemed normal to me that, if I understood there was a God, this automatically meant I needed to belong to a religion as it gave me a sense of a belonging to something where everyone was on the same page; and without attending church, I could not consider myself religious. Interestingly during this period, I often felt not good enough, seeking God’s forgiveness or praying to him to make life better. My sense of God and religion was always approached as something outside of myself that I needed to have in order to be considered a good person, and to confirm to others that I cared about people and life, so although I didn’t agree with every aspect of it, religion was something I felt I needed.

As it turned out, it was my care for people that was at the root of my sudden and unexpected break-up with religion as I’d known it to be. In the early nineties, the media was reporting on the religious clergy who had been involved with the church’s long history of paedophilia and how chosen and trusted religious leaders had covered it up. This shocked me to the core but at the same time, I was willing to be open to hearing what the head of my church had to say about it, hoping they would admit their error or show that the media was engaging in the usual sensationalism.

The final straw came while attending my usual weekly church service. I heard a sermon from my clergy, who was also a solicitor, stating the importance of people who may have experienced paedophilia, to not go to the police, but to keep it in the confines of the church for the church to manage. This was the very position that the media were reporting had resulted in such wide scale, epidemic abuse of children across generations and classes.

From that moment, I knew I could no longer be part of something that was willing to be so dishonest as to continue to hide the truth of the systematic abuse of children, fostered through a stance of silent neglect that left many, many lives broken. So after 35 years I left the church with no regret. It did take me some time to recover from all the teachings I had so blindly aligned to, so much so I used to say I was recovering from organised religion, but I am delighted to report I have recovered and I have actually found my true religion.

From my deep, inner knowing that there was God and from what I was reminded of via the Ageless Wisdom presented by Universal Medicine, I discovered that the love of God was already within me and all I needed to do to live my true religion was to:

  • Know this deep, inner knowing as truth
  • Choose to re-connect to this truth
  • Live in a way that confirmed it – by making self-loving choices
  • Share the love I now felt from within, with everyone I connected to – not by preaching or knocking on doors, but by being myself.


Living in this way – that is, re-connected to the love within me – has completely changed my life.  And like many break-ups that happen in life, my break-up with organised religion had the best silver lining in that it allowed me space to find True Religion, – The Way of The Livingness, – that mirrors how I feel inside, with no promises or dodgy aspects, but an invitation to unfold myself from within via ritual, rhythm and people, without a church, clergy or rule book in sight.

By Sharon Gavioli, Brisbane, Registered Nurse, Adult Educator, Counsellor, Age 56

Further Reading:
What hurts – Religion Itself, or the Bastardisation of Religion? 
What is true religion?
Organised Religion versus True Religion

523 thoughts on “Breaking up with Organised Religion 

  1. It is US that IS at the heart of true religion, therefore even so much as one step away from ourselves towards religious doctrine, religious rituals, religious paraphernalia of any kind is a step away from God. We have to inch closer and closer to ourselves, going ever deeper and thereby getting up close and personal to God until we get to the point that we fully merge and are completely reintegrated again with the only thing that has ever and will ever exist, God. The One body of God is all there is.

  2. How freeing it is to come across a religion, The Way of The Livingness, that not only has no “church, clergy or rule book in sight.” but it also has no history of violence against others who do not adhere to its way. I never for a moment ever thought that I would be saying that I was religious and that I have a religion but coming to understand what The Way of The Livingness is presenting to humanity soon turned that around. Living ‘The Way’ is so simple, so honest and so true that it takes no effort and no trying but simply the commitment to live everything that I am in full, not just for me but for all of humanity.

  3. True religion in a nut-shell Sharon, no set of doctrines or rules, simply just being you … “Share the love I now felt from within, with everyone I connected to – not by preaching or knocking on doors, but by being myself…”

  4. Thinking about religion and trying to work it out made me confused when I was young…i wondered, if so many believed in God, why then did we need to choose our different religions. God is God, God is everywhere, he cannot be confined by organised religion.

      1. hi Steve, I like the fable although I have never heard it before, it makes complete sense!

  5. I agree, Brendan, not only proposed, but great harm and abuse has been carried out by members of the Catholic church. The insidiousness is intensified by the fact that the Vatican is a law unto itself, hence the consequences of the crimes committed are dealt with differently to how they would be if a member of the public had committed them.

  6. I love the fact that I have found my truth explained and expanded on in The Way of The Livingness. To know and feel how I am a part of the whole, along with everyone else brings a powerful sense of purpose to my life. We are all connected, like lights on a Christmas tree, the more we shine, the more we inspire others to re-ignite, as we do we intensify the enormous love flowing between, and all around, us.

  7. We as a society so need to develop our inner connection with God, and to bring the harmony, love, stillness, joy and truth of that connection to the world – now.

  8. It is a very clever trick we as a humanity have been living under… to indoctrinate everyone with ideals and beliefs that God is outside of us, so then we never look inwards to our own innate connection with God and the power and glory that can offer the world.

    1. Yes, if we are God’s children – does that mean we are Divine or does God have children that are forever less?

  9. I was brought up in the catholic religion and I remember well the day that I left it when at the age of 14 I went to the confessional and told the priest that I did not have any sins and he yelled abuse at me that this was not possible. He hated the fact that I was claiming myself as a Son of God who knew God within me and that there was more to us than just sins. I have often heard people describe themselves as “recovering Catholics” and I understand why they say that because it does take some time to recover from the indoctrination of the teachings that are imposed on us from very young. From my experience it takes a lot of commitment to see through the lies that were told to us, to accept the fact that we accepted the lies and then to move on from it. Since then I have come to realise that I am naturally a religious person, that we all are in fact, and that I absolutely love religion when it is true. True Religion is simply about re-connecting with our true essence and then living from that place. It does not require any buildings to do this, just you re-connecting to the spark of God that is naturally within you and then living from a knowingness of what you are connecting with. In this way, it is very simple.

  10. Having gone to a catholic school in my younger years I had always sensed something was amiss, did not add up, and left me with many unanswered questions. Underneath the façade was a sense of un-realness where I felt the truth was greatly missing. I have since realised is that this is the true evil of organised religions, the deliberateness of teaching us to disregard the truth we innately feel within so that we dismiss our inner knowing, our connection to our truth, our inescapable connection to God through which we otherwise then would know and be guided to live as the Sons of God that we all already are. The Way of The Livingness, a true religion is that exactly, a way that one and all can live in connection to the essence of who we are within, as such is always in a direct relationship with God and with all, wherever we are and with whatever we do.

  11. If we would share the one true religion that binds us all, the love within all of our hearts, we would caringly and lovingly go through life, not taking things personally, but forever understanding that we’re all on our way back to the union with our Soul. How different would life be? How different would society look like? How much support would we naturally give to ourselves and each other? It might seem to be farfetched, but it’s not AND it’s worth to go there!

  12. and what is amazing is that no one talks about it, its like hush hush, lets not put this all on the table for everyone to see.

  13. I wonder, how many, like you had a similar experience with church but didn’t break up with it because they didn’t want to shock or upset their friends who are so devoted to it you could say.

  14. It is The Way of The Livingness that has rewritten, giving credence to those who spoke the truth through the ages, the religious doctrines that have been used to keep us from our true connection to God, to ourselves.

  15. I have found with many things in life, often when there is a middle person, things can sometimes be misinterpreted or distorted. I realise there is no coincidence that organised religion base their religion and teachings on using a ‘middle man’ like a priest or clergy etc. because it allows them to gain control, manipulate and disempower people.

  16. We have been sold such a lie that to know God is only through Church or organised religion. So it is easy see how so many people have become so disillusioned around knowing God, because they can feel that organized religion is not the answer but what is the alternative? Enter Serge Benhayon, and the Ageless Wisdom, bringing back to humanity this round that we are actually all Sons of God, equally ,and that we know that when we connect to our inner-heart. We can feel it when we connect to the smile of a stranger or a glorious sunset. Thank God for Serge Benhayon I say, showing us that there is a way to have a connection with God, outside organized religion.

  17. I was having a conversation with someone the other day about growing up and having many years of Sunday mornings ruined – being dropped off at the church for Sunday School! We spent years getting ready for our Confirmation or Communion ceremony that was like being sent to the principal’s office and asked questions about God and religious stuff we should have learned. All so we could sit in the big church and be bored to tears and have the opportunity to have a sip of wine that everyone had to drink out of the same cup to wash down a wafer thin biscuit! It was alright because, after the ceremony, the only events we all had to attend was Christmas and Easter. When I had left the nest I left behind all of the trappings of religion like a cat out an open door! It has taken a long time to return to something that was always in me, God and self-love. But still feel Sunday school really was just a short vacation for the parents away from us kids!

  18. ‘It did take me some time to recover from all the teachings I had so blindly aligned to, so much so I used to say I was recovering from organised religion, but I am delighted to report I have recovered and I have actually found my true religion.’ – Sharon, this statement gave me goosebumps and I can really feel the enormity of what you are saying here.

  19. I love that your true religion includes “Share the love I now felt from within, with everyone I connected to – not by preaching or knocking on doors, but by being myself.” How simple and how beautiful is that.

  20. A splendid sharing Sharon – God is indeed known by us all but we all recoil or at least many of us because we’ve been sold a version of God that doesn’t resonate with the God we feel in our hearts.

  21. When I reconnected back to God and was actively looking for somewhere to turn, I tried the Church again but soon realised it was not for me. Other organised religions, whilst interesting didn’t appeal either, nor did the spiritual practices that seemed at times downright bizarre. Then I walked into my first presentation of The Way of The Livingness, everything fell into place. Everything I felt inwardly about God and life was confirmed.
    ‘With no promises or dodgy aspects, but an invitation to unfold myself from within via ritual, rhythm and people, without a church, clergy or rule book in sight.’

  22. It is very ingrained in our consciousness that God is connected to organised religion, so much so that to connect with God from within is considered blasphemous – how much have we strayed from the truth that we lost our innate wisdom and connection wth our divine father.

  23. It is a very beautiful quality you have that you were able to let go of your fiend religion without beating yourself up or dragging it out. To be willing to admit you were wrong is something that is very valuable.

  24. When an organisation discovers that paedophilia is wide spread amongst its most active members, those that are responsible for the transmission of its teachings, it needs to truly consider whether its teachings truly serve humanity.

  25. This reminds me Sharon of how we will take on or pass on information which protects our existing interests and seek to have those recognised in groups which is the basis of many religions – in essence we will readily defend what we don’t want to perhaps see is not true.

  26. I am inspired by your exposure of organised religion. It feels quite evil how organised religion presents a false message for people, and how much it deludes many of humanity to keep us away for the true religion of feeling God inside ourselves. Every time we speaking out, we claim the truth Sharon.

    1. Absolutely Fumiyo. It is hard to comprehend that this kind of thing still goes on in our society today and that so many people are still willing to turn a blind eye to it. What Universal Medicine and The Way of The Livingness are showing us is that when life is lived from a place of truth, there is literally no room for anything else and anything that is not true will eventually be exposed. ‘Religion’ as we have known it is one of those things.

    2. Good question and I wondered the same. Did the clergy find he had no congregation or did ordinary families with children listen and accept what was being said? I can’t believe that for one moment.

    3. Not that I was aware Fumiyo. And no-one in the community who I still had contact with at my children’s school asked why I stopped going to church every week.

  27. ‘Share the love I now felt from within, with everyone I connected to – not by preaching or knocking on doors, but by being myself.’ Our actions, body language, the way we hold ourselves and move speak volumes.

  28. Mmmmmm…. I had never considered this “trying to be a good person dominated’ my life – honestly until reading these words I would have never ever ever thought this belief, ideal was in me – but it is – something that will come out in it’s own time I am sure. I have just realised I have chosen good instead of truth to present to people a lot of the time. Maybe to not make other people feel uncomfortable or for them to like me. I am not sure but I have definitely tried to be a good person – which doesn’t feel great. As it overrides everything we feel in our own body. Well it does for me.

    1. I feel I have done this, too, Gyl. There is a tension with ‘trying to be a good person’ as to be so, in my experience, it’s about giving the person what they are asking for, what they want, however, this is often not what feels true. I know there are many times when I’ve been a reluctant ‘good person’ as I’ve not wanted to do what was being asked of me, but I have gone along with it, to be perceived as ‘good’. I now know, if it’s not true, it’s not ‘good’ for anyone.

  29. “True Religion, – The Way of The Livingness, – that mirrors how I feel inside, with no promises or dodgy aspects, but an invitation to unfold myself from within via ritual, rhythm and people, without a church, clergy or rule book in sight.” I can completely relate to this now, I use to be caught in temples, guru’s and all, but the truth is God is within us all and true religion is connecting back to that God within us.

  30. There are over 7 billion people within the world and many of them are religious of many different types of religions but how often do we confirm the innate love we know that is true within through how we live? As you say ‘live in a way that confirmed it – by making self-loving choices’. In other words do we really walk the talk? The only few people I know that truly do this are the Benhayon family and practitioners of Universal Medicine. I am understanding and feeling more and more it is not about the knowledge we have gained, what we have lived or what we believe it is about how we choose to live now in each and every moment and what is this contributing towards as everything affects the all.

  31. Well done Sharon. How many people have had the inner strength to walk away from a religion many of whose priests rape children? You would imagine that it would be almost 100% but in fact the numbers must be very small indeed. What we need to call out is that to not walk away from a religion that condones such acts is in fact to support them and one is effectively an accomplice in the abuse.

  32. Thanks, Sharon. It is so interesting to read about how you thought you had belong to an organised religion as the only way to connect to God. This in itself exposes the lack of truth in what was being presented to you.

  33. How refreshing to read about someone who has ‘broken up’ with organised religion as organised religion has broken up people, families, communities and countries since time immemorial.

  34. My own break up from Catholicism happened one midnight mass at Christmas as a teenager. I had gone with my family to a church in London where the mass was said in Latin. Looking at the sheer theatricality of it but not feeling any substance I told myself that I couldn’t do this anymore and chose not to go to communion. I remember feeling very sad about it because I didn’t know how to access God without it! Honestly – I look at that now and almost laugh – how insane to think that you can’t access God without a priest and a cold, damp building!

  35. I love the break up – it’s so liberating. To see the lies the church has as it’s foundation – exposed in one instant. Awesome truth exposed for all who would see that the abuse of anyone is unacceptable, let alone the deeply shocking institutionalised abuse of children by the church.

  36. “I discovered that the love of God was already within me” this is what is missing from all the organised religions that I ever learnt about. To re-connect to this fact as presented by the Way of the Livingness has changed my life as I have a level of settlement in my body that was missing for many years.

  37. Sharon this morning i read about a Nigerian Governor who has recently made a statement about the severe outbreak of meningitis north of the country, saying ” the problem was that people had been sinning against God and that it was important for people to know that their relationship with God is not smooth, they need to repent and everything will be all right.” The Government have taken no responsibility to the outbreak.
    Another shocking example of how organised religion is being wielded to abuse power and as a tool to suppress and retard those living under its dark control.

  38. I am reminded by this piece that disillusionment is a very welcome and needed process when we return to truth.

  39. Without a connection to ourselves and thus our innermost we cannot have true religion as it will only be an outer ‘thing’ but not a connection and relationship from within. This is reflected by understanding the notion of God within and God outside of us.

  40. I remember being disillusioned with Christianity at 13, when I could not understand why the church was so fractured. For many years thereafter I even questioned the existence of God, and found myself being agnostic until probably around the age of 26, when I decided that this life could not be all that there is.

    1. Very similar for me to. A committed agnostic through reaction to what was on offer, but then very confused by such a reductive view on life as I knew there must be more. Then I discovered the Way of The Livingness and every single detail of life immediately started to make sense.

  41. It feels to me that organised religions steers’ people away from true religion, by imposing on their followers that an intermediator is necessary in order for one to commune with God. Whereas with us all being God’s children, when we choose to connect with our inner heart, we have God on speed dial.

    1. “when we choose to connect with our inner heart, we have God on speed dial.” Is this possibly behind us agreeing to go along with something ‘organised’ as if we live with this connection to God we could only see ourselves and everyone as equal then there is no room for separation and the daily abuse we accept throughout society, only space for Responsibility.

  42. ‘Living in this way – that is, re-connected to the love within me ‘ this is exactly what organised religion does not present and seeks to hide from humanity – that the love we are from within is a connection to God and the Divine and that with this all of the aspects of man made religion they have created are totally unnecessary and the way they have been made truly harmful.

  43. When we have experienced the turmoil of a mind filled with uncertainty, then faith appears to be a wonderful solution. But there is no true Livingness in faith. It may create a sense of calm, peace and certainty – but it is not alive with the love of God. The Way of The Livingness is not about faith but is a living way as the name suggests, a way of innate connection to Love and to God. When this truth is lived, faith is not necessary.

  44. So many have lost trust in True Religion and in Humanity by those movements that profess to be Religion yet do not live nor honour the age-old True Religion that is a living way and never a set of rules or dogma.

    1. Is it possible that many people follow organised religion because we are drawn to being with people, essentially looking for brotherhood and to belong to something. But I think what has happened is that many people have not stopped to energetically discern if what is present is true or not. The words and outer appearances may look and sound the part, so it is easy to fall for a false version of truth and God, especially if we choose not to be aware energetically of what is truly being presented.

  45. As I re-read this profound and deeply moving blog, the simplicity of being in connection with God touches me to the core. Thank you Sharon for sharing your choices and changes so clearly. A deep healing for all.

  46. My complete break up with organised religion came late in life. True, I had rejected the hypocrisy, corruption, lies, abuse and violence carried out in the name of a distant god, but I still on occasions visited sacred sites, temples and churches. Not until Universal Medicine did I understand the full extent of the bastardisation of religion and ended all attachment to conventional religion. In its place came an intimate relationship with an inner divinity that has no bounds and life is simpler and more harmonious because of it..

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