I think I know where you went wrong. You never believed, not whole-heartedly anyway.<quoted text>
It wasn't the church that caused me to leave, at least not the congregations. It was the god. It failed to deliver on its promises, which made it clear that it didn't exist.
After several years of a good faith effort, it was eventually no longer possible to suspend disbelief - something I did for the first several years of my Christian experience. I did that to give the god a chance to reveal itself if it existed, and for the apparent contradictions and errors in the scripture to become sensible with the passage of time. That never happened. There was clearly no holy spirit dwelling in people - no gifts of the spirit. And there was no protection from harm for the faithful, no answering of prayer. In short, there was no evidence of a god.
So, with a fond farewell, the church and I parted ways.
It wasn't until decades later that I came to see the problems with the church, first with the rise of the "moral majority," then with the Bush Jr.years, and finally with my Topix experience, which has been the most revealing.
Suspending your disbelief for a few years is vastly different than believing, even for a minute.