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Leslie Vot wrote:

Hi, guys —

My cousin has left the Catholic Church for an Assembly of God-Pentecostal church and I am worried about her soul.

  • Should I be?

Please understand that I am not judging her soul but I do know that she has left the fullness of the Christian faith.


  { Should I be worried about my cousin's souls since she has left for another Protestant denomination? }

Eric replied:

Dear Leslie,

In general, as you point out, nobody's soul should be judged, one way or another. Objectively, though, what your cousin has done is putting her outside of the bounds of the realm where we have access to the helps we know aid us toward salvation. In a sense she is in the great unknown.

That being said, sometimes God works in mysterious ways. They say he writes straight with crooked lines, which is a somewhat odd way of saying that God employs imperfections to achieve our perfection. I myself had to go through an Evangelical Protestant phase in order to fully embrace the truth. It may be this is something that will benefit your cousin, much like a terrible disease drives people into God's arms. That said, you can't assume this, and we can't just say well it will all work out and do nothing. There are possibly real risks to her soul involved here.

I recommend the following:

  1. Love her at least as much you always did, maybe more. Not sure what kind of relationship you have with her but keep the lines of communication clear.

  2. Establish a rapport with her. I don't know where you are in your faith, but this is a good opportunity to dive deeply into your own faith and renew it. I recommend Rediscover Catholicism by Matthew Kelly (free copy at this link). Then perhaps you'll have some common ground to communicate with her. I mean, it is good that she is seeking God. You can rejoice in that, I hope. (If not, it's time for deep diving!) Affirm this in her. Praise what is worth praising, while gently raising questions about what isn't. A good book to read is Search and Rescue by Patrick Madrid which tells you how to approach family members about the faith.

  3. Study your own faith — previously I spoke of diving deeply into your own faith in a spiritual sense. Here I speak in an academic and knowledge sense. You have already started to do this. I recommend books sold by Catholic Answers, One in particular is Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating. (This book is chiefly for you — it's not written to give to the wayward.) There is another book called Why Be Catholic by Patrick Madrid. I haven't read it but anything by Madrid is excellent. Scripture says Always be prepared to give an answer for the hope which lies within you, with gentleness and reverence. (1 Peter 3:15). Be ready to answer her objections to the faith, calmly and meekly. If you can't answer her questions, bring them here to us.

  4. Books are a non-threatening way to communicate the truth. Consider giving her a book of conversion (or reversion, those who leave the faith and return) stories. I recommend:

There are many more. They will edify you as well so I recommend reading a few and choosing one you think will especially speak to her. Another good book is Catholic and Christian: An Explanation of Commonly Misunderstood Catholic Beliefs by Alan Schreck. It's written for non-Catholics in a gentle and winsome style, carefully unwinding popular misconceptions. This is the book that really got me headed back in the right direction. There is also a young adult version of this book. If you (or she) prefer audio, go to: or

  1. Pray for her.

I hope this is a good start for you. The goal is to gently shepherd her back into the fold with love, not by arguing or saying:

  • my religion is better than your religion, or
  • you're going to Hell if you don't return to Catholicism.

It may take years. You may not even see the results of your work but you will be rewarded in Heaven for planting seeds.

Hope this helps,

[Related Resource: Good Apologetic and Catechesis Sources]

Leslie replied:


Thank you so much for your thorough and timely answer. It is very helpful and much appreciated.

May God bless all of you and the work that you do.

Again, thank you,

Leslie Vot

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