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bsjkki

People leave the church because of a "trust gap"

501 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

The Salt Lake Tribune interviewed Jana Reiss about her research on why Mormon's leave the church. She explains it is because of a "trust gap." She explains people find controversial information about the church from outside sources, find out this information is true and then wonder why they never heard the information at church. According to her research this is the number one reason millennials leave the church. She puts it this way, 

"But the second most common reason overall (and tied for first among Millennials) was “I did not trust the Church leadership to tell the truth about controversial issues." The article http://www.sltrib.com/lifestyle/faith/5196148-155/trust-gap-hounds-the-mormon-church

There has been a push to make the essays more visible but it has been a slow roll-out. From this article in the Deseret News, that seems to be by design. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865669945/Essays-on-Mormon-history-doctrine-find-new-visibility-in-official-app-Sunday-School.html" The soft launch was deliberate. The essays had a practical purpose, leaders said. They intended the essays to help people find official answers to questions they might have when researching a specific topic online. And they were also meant to be widely used over time."

I'm not sure why they thought it was a good idea for parents to find out about the essays from their kids. "Many Mormon parents, in fact, have been introduced to the Gospel Topics essays as their teens and young adults come home or call home to talk about how Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon using not just the more familiar Urim and Thummim instrument, but by also using a seer stone at times to translate the golden plates he was intrusted with."

 

 

 

Edited by bsjkki
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Just now, Teancum said:

This post above.....total poppycock. Even more...total horse pucky.  But I understand why people need to tell themselves such twaddle.  

Got any substance for this discussion?

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I think a lot of church leaders were like Paul Dunn and his exaggerated stories that he used to tell, for faithful purposes. Over the years, building faith turned into stretching the truth or outright "lies for the lord." They may have meant well, but reality isn't that faith promoting at times and so there is a temptation to make the story better. Now, with the internet, it's hard to hide it any more.

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30 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

I agree with you on this--I don't think most church leaders knew/know the complete history. The archives are more accessible and more information is being studied and analysed so I'm sure we will have an even more accurate picture of church history as time goes by. Sometimes, our leaders believed the faith promoting stories that were told and passed down through the years.

I do think it is important they relay stories as accurately as possible even if they are not quite as faith promoting. I've read some critique of stories told at conference that may not have been told 100 percent accurately. On the other hand, were they accurate but not comprehensive?  I haven't researched further but I do think it is important to be very careful when relaying stories. President Hinckley's telling of the Sweet Water Rescue at the 1981 conference wasn't completely historically accurate but I don't think at the time, he knew it wasn't all true. He was directly quoting the account from Solomon Kimball from the 1914 Improvement Era. He didn't know Solomon's account would later be studied and be found historically inaccurate.

You are correct, and it bears repeating that Mormon leaders are not really much different than ordinary members in their knowledge of the Gospel.  The leaders may evince stronger faith generally, but they are not professional historians, and they depend upon experts in various fields to assist them in administering the Church (architects, accountants, lawyers, archivists, historians, etc.).

Some religious groups have especially trained and sophisticated people in holy orders, such as the Jesuits (the current Pope is a Jesuit), and such people run theological seminaries, but most preachers (like Billy Graham) have no such sophistication, and cannot be expected to understand historical controversies about theology or the Bible.  In the face of the widespread secularization of society, they tend to preach the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Mormon leaders take the same tack, and for the same reason.

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42 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

I agree with you on this--I don't think most church leaders knew/know the complete history. The archives are more accessible and more information is being studied and analysed so I'm sure we will have an even more accurate picture of church history as time goes by. Sometimes, our leaders believed the faith promoting stories that were told and passed down through the years.

I do think it is important they relay stories as accurately as possible even if they are not quite as faith promoting. I've read some critique of stories told at conference that may not have been told 100 percent accurately. On the other hand, were they accurate but not comprehensive?  I haven't researched further but I do think it is important to be very careful when relaying stories. President Hinckley's telling of the Sweet Water Rescue at the 1981 conference wasn't completely historically accurate but I don't think at the time, he knew it wasn't all true. He was directly quoting the account from Solomon Kimball from the 1914 Improvement Era. He didn't know Solomon's account would later be studied and be found historically inaccurate.

When we use the term church leaders, I'm not sure how broad a group we are referencing.  However, if we were to limit it to the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles then I would heartily disagree.  If you want to try an experiment give me a list of those you might think were unaware of some particular element of history and I will do some research in their writings or other references and see if this holds true.

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2 hours ago, SamIam said:

Poppycock...People leave the church because they do not have a properly foundated faith based testimony of Jesus Christ.  We talk about in the last days the very elect will be deceived. However, that is a distant scriptural concept that we may not be good at associating the nebulous ideology against the backdrop of the actual events that fulfill the edict. Sometimes, in our lack of grasp, we read they "will be deceived" but we don't think it through to realize that it is no act of simple deception that we should be concerned about.  It will be compelling reasons. The arguments will be persuasive and will tug at the strings of reason and thought. Some will offend our sensibilities and perhaps create such cognitive dissonance that we struggle in the foundational applications of basic principles and it becomes, in simplified terms, a challenge of faith versus proof.  And when the proof is simply, at worst, the iteration that men are not perfect or the efforts of other men that warp the narrative to create compelling deceptions, why is a hundred ways of validating these known telestial sphere realities given such power to sway the hearts of men.  When at best it may be that men have trouble understanding the thoughts that are not our thoughts and the ways of deity that are not our ways we once again encounter the issue that faith is lacking among many and they entertain Satan's dialogue of deception to their destruction.

Of course when you approach those who have left the church for the reasons mentioned in the article you get some common and even standard responses. They always seem so sensible and targeted to the specific and seemingly reasonable issues-how tithing is used, trusting the brethren, acts of overt deception to hide our history, marriage of old men and little girls, and the unchristian attitudes of rejecting a class of people for lifestyle choices seem to be the more common ones I encounter.  However, again in simplified terms, it all comes back to they did not believe Christ when he cautioned that every man who walked in his own way and would reject his servants would be cut off from amongst the people. In the processes that the adversary uses are many contributors and the nature of the tone of the article you reference is only one more text seeking to create the spirit of distrust to further the cause of undermining the weak of faith.

Well this explains everything.  Joseph Smith tells of translating Golden Plates when the majority of the time he is looking at a rock in a hat.  Yeah I can see that years of planning and hiding the truths was just part of a plot designed to fool the very elect and thus fulfil prophecy.  And Joseph makes a claim that mummy paparius was written by the hand of Abraham himself and translated by the power of God to be the Book of Abraham was part of the plot to fool the very elect.  And wiping all DNA evidence from all those the church claimed were Lamanites was part of the cleaver plot by the church to deceive the very elect.  Shall we go on about how cleaver the church leaders were to deceive the very elect in order to fulfill prophscy?

With this kind of thinking, shouldn't the church be celebrating fulfillment of prophecy as so many walk out of the church?  The more that leave the church, the more prophesy is fulfilled.  Certainly the last thing the church should do is to try and stop the fulfillment of prophecy.  

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17 minutes ago, William Jones said:

I think a lot of church leaders were like Paul Dunn and his exaggerated stories that he used to tell, for faithful purposes. Over the years, building faith turned into stretching the truth or outright "lies for the lord." They may have meant well, but reality isn't that faith promoting at times and so there is a temptation to make the story better. Now, with the internet, it's hard to hide it any more.

All just part of the clever plan to deceive the very elect.  Thus prophecy is fulfilled.  The kingdom of God thrives on deception.  Not sure why only a handful like Samlam figured this out.

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10 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

This is not really an adequate response to Samlam's accurate description of what the Gospel entails.  One might as well accuse Peter, James, and John of being self-righteous and narrowly moralistic simply because they preach faith and obedience to the commandments.  Naturally, in an increasingly secularized world people are not going to like anyone bringing up ethical and moral questions of a religious nature -- being told that cigarettes, booze, drugs, cursing, lying & cheating, theft, porn, fornication, adultery, and the like are wrong just doesn't play well in some venues.  People want to be able to own their faults without guilt, to be able to flaunt their degraded nature without ever being called on it.

Someone needs to tell the younger generation that you can't have your cake and eat it too.  One must make real choices.

Do you think Ms. Riese's research is flawed somehow and that the "just want to sin" meme is the real reason millenials want to leave?

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12 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

This is not really an adequate response to Samlam's accurate description of what the Gospel entails.  One might as well accuse Peter, James, and John of being self-righteous and narrowly moralistic simply because they preach faith and obedience to the commandments.  Naturally, in an increasingly secularized world people are not going to like anyone bringing up ethical and moral questions of a religious nature -- being told that cigarettes, booze, drugs, cursing, lying & cheating, theft, porn, fornication, adultery, and the like are wrong just doesn't play well in some venues.  People want to be able to own their faults without guilt, to be able to flaunt their degraded nature without ever being called on it.

Someone needs to tell the younger generation that you can't have your cake and eat it too.  One must make real choices.

So you completely dismiss the idea that people have credibility issues with how the church has portrayed it's history.  It is all about how millennials are lazy and don't want to give up their cigarettes etc.  And then there are also members who have lived those commandments their whole lives and were willing to distance themselves from the ways of the world now find that lifestyle very compelling.  Well I say, good riddance. After careful deception since the very beginning of the church, it is all going according to prophecy.

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Posted (edited)

My neighbor told my husband tonight, that he's sick of going to church and hearing the same thing over and over, all the repetition. And that he's sick of seeing the young children being carried up to bare their testimonies or very young children doing that. He's tired of the judgemental attitude from some in our ward, because he has inactive children. 

My husband was really surprised, it's like this guy had to get it all off his chest. Plus he mentioned Joseph Smith's polygamy he'd learned about. 

I think he's in a faith crisis. I don't believe he wants to sin. Also, he said his wife feels like she went wrong with how they raised their children, and feels like a bad parent because of how their children turned out. Even though I've known them for years and they are very active believing LDS, or were.

I think there is going to be a huge falling away in the church, unless the church does something drastic to curb the huge exodus happening.

Edited by Tacenda
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Posted (edited)

43 minutes ago, William Jones said:

I think a lot of church leaders were like Paul Dunn and his exaggerated stories that he used to tell, for faithful purposes. Over the years, building faith turned into stretching the truth or outright "lies for the lord." They may have meant well, but reality isn't that faith promoting at times and so there is a temptation to make the story better. Now, with the internet, it's hard to hide it any more.

Who would be an other person like Dunn who you think lied? The only one I can really think of  that remotely fits (other than those who were excommunicated) was perhaps Bruce R. McConkie's unfortunate comments on Adam/God. But that was a very long time ago.

3 hours ago, bsjkki said:

"But the second most common reason overall (and tied for first among Millennials) was “I did not trust the Church leadership to tell the truth about controversial issues." The article http://www.sltrib.com/lifestyle/faith/5196148-155/trust-gap-hounds-the-mormon-church

That's pretty vague though. It could mean that they disagreed with leadership on LGBT issues or the common excuse that they thought controversial history should have been taught in Sunday School.  But of course people who leave leave because they think the church is false. So of course they'll say they don't trust leadership. How could they say otherwise? Almost by definition if they leave they think nearly everything the leadership says is wrong. So this isn't that surprising.

The more interesting question (perhaps unanswerable) is why some leave when encountering the same information that others shrug off and stay.

Edited by clarkgoble
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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, california boy said:

Well this explains everything.  Joseph Smith tells of translating Golden Plates when the majority of the time he is looking at a rock in a hat.  Yeah I can see that years of planning and hiding the truths was just part of a plot designed to fool the very elect and thus fulfil prophecy.  And Joseph makes a claim that mummy paparius was written by the hand of Abraham himself and translated by the power of God to be the Book of Abraham was part of the plot to fool the very elect.  And wiping all DNA evidence from all those the church claimed were Lamanites was part of the cleaver plot by the church to deceive the very elect.  Shall we go on about how cleaver the church leaders were to deceive the very elect in order to fulfill prophscy?

With this kind of thinking, shouldn't the church be celebrating fulfillment of prophecy as so many walk out of the church?  The more that leave the church, the more prophesy is fulfilled.  Certainly the last thing the church should do is to try and stop the fulfillment of prophecy.  

I understand the difficulty you might have with giving any of the elements of the Gospel credence coming from your background and perspective on life.  In many ways, it is like I have often thought of Fawn Brodie.  Long before she wrote "No Man Knows My History" she had made very clear decisions concerning the reality of God and Jesus Christ.  For her God was of a doubtful reality or at best certainly disinterested in the affairs of men.  So, who does she try to write about - a Prophet.  A person who claims to discourse with the very being that she has decided is not.  If one did not believe in God, is there any chance that anything that confirmed such a claim as being a prophet could be observed by one of such a disposition.  Can the miraculous claims of angels, buried plates, stones in hats, healings, visions of the adversary...can any of this be taken seriously by one who has chosen a belief structure where acknowledgment of such claims would require a complete trashing of current paradigms for the state of being so horribly wrong, so utterly mistaken, so completely at odds with truth that she would have to become a renewed convert or suffer such dissonance as to be living in utter depression for the degree of the error of her choices.

Like Mrs. Brodie, our various perspectives on life and the choices we make can influence even the very ability to see truth.  The gospel has it's intellectual component where you can gain insight simply on the merits of information that one is pondering.  However, the meaningful, sustaining elements are only bought upon living the life, walking the walk and diligently inquiring for understanding that goes beyond intellectual limitations.  All have a chance to choose such an experiment upon the words of prophets and scripture and those that fail to sincerely try can never view the truths of God. 

Edited by SamIam
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4 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Who would be an other person like Dunn who you think lied? The only one I can really think of  that remotely fits (other than those who were excommunicated) was perhaps Bruce R. McConkie's unfortunate comments on Adam/God. But that was a very long time ago.

That's pretty vague though. It could mean that they disagreed with leadership on LGBT issues or the common excuse that they thought controversial history should have been taught in Sunday School.  But of course people who leave leave because they think the church is false. So of course they'll say they don't trust leadership. How could they say otherwise? Almost by definition if they leave they think nearly everything the leadership says is wrong. So this isn't that surprising.

The more interesting question (perhaps unanswerable) is why some leave when encountering the same information that others shrug off and stay.

You ought to listen to the conference review and the "radio free mormon" programs here http://www.mormondiscussionpodcast.org/. The podcasters make a good case that E. Coleman exaggerated his tsunami miracle story and in an earlier podcast the "radio free mormon" podcaster makes an excellent case that E. Nelson misled in calling the change in policy regarding the children of gay parents "revelation."

There are many other examples as well.

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24 minutes ago, SamIam said:

I understand the difficulty you might have with giving any of the elements of the Gospel credence coming from your background and perspective on life.  In many ways, it is like I have often thought of Fawn Brodie.  Long before she wrote "No Man Knows My History" she had made very clear decisions concerning the reality of God and Jesus Christ.  For her God was of a doubtful reality or at best certainly disinterested in the affairs of men.  So, who does she try to write about - a Prophet.  A person who claims to discourse with the very being that she has decided is not.  If one did not believe in God, is there any chance that anything that confirmed such a claim as being a prophet could be observed by one of such a disposition.  Can the miraculous claims of angels, buried plates, stones in hats, healings, visions of the adversary...can any of this be taken seriously by one who has chosen a belief structure where acknowledgment of such claims would require a complete trashing of current paradigms for the state of being so horribly wrong, so utterly mistaken, so completely at odds with truth that she would have to become a renewed convert or suffer such dissonance as to be living in utter depression for the degree of the error of her choices.

Like Mrs. Brodie, our various perspectives on life and the choices we make can influence even the very ability to see truth.  The gospel has it's intellectual component where you can gain incite simply on the merits of information that one is pondering.  However, the meaningful, sustaining elements are only bought upon living the life, walking the walk and diligently inquiring for understanding that goes beyond intellectual limitations.  All have a chance to choose such an experiment upon the words of prophets and scripture and those that fail to sincerely try can never view the truths of God. 

I must admit, I learned early on to not trust church leaders when they falsely made a promise in the name of God that if I marry a woman, then over time, I would no longer be gay.  Kind of hard to trust church leaders when you make very important life choices as a foundation of your life only to find that the foundation was a complete lie.  I don't know if I am the very elect or not, but I have to admit, I was totally deceived.

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