“I’m trying to find the best way out that causes the least amount of harm,” he told me by phone.

Adam is a pseudonym. I was put in touch with him through the Clergy Project, a national effort begun in 2011 to assist active clergy members who are closeted atheists. He spoke with the State Journal on condition that his name not be used because of the risk to his livelihood.

Adam recently was awarded the Clergy Project’s first “Employee Transition Assistance Grant.” The $2,500, paid directly to an employment services agency, is helping Adam write a professional resume, practice interviewing skills, determine his transferable skills and network with prospective employers.

“He’s the whole reason we exist,” said Dan Barker of Madison, a co-founder of the Clergy Project and himself an evangelist-turned-atheist. Barker is co-president of the Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Unlike the foundation, the Clergy Project is not a proselytizing organization — it’s not out to create atheists, Barker said.

“We’re a support group for those who’ve made the decision on their own,” he said. “We’re a landing place for those who’ve changed their views and need help in their transition.”