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People leave the church because of a "trust gap"

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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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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.

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4 minutes 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.

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

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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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1 hour ago, bsjkki said:

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.

I'll admit that I've felt this way when I've learned something I was never taught growing up in the church.

But I truly believe that many of the leaders didn't even know much of the truth or details from church history.  So I don't know if it's fair to say they weren't telling us the truth as much as that they were just repeating the same version they'd been taught and believed. 

I wonder how many of them knew about the rock in the hat translation for most of the Book of Mormon or the details of how Joseph lived polygamy.  Did they know about his polyandry?

I don't know the answers.  But I'm not so quick to blame the church leadership as some may be.  However,  I guess either way, we feel betrayed when we learn new truths.  I wonder if they've felt the same way at times though?

Edited by JulieM

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48 minutes ago, SamIam said:

Poppycock...People leave the church because they do not have a properly foundated faith based testimony of Jesus Christ.

This is the type of judgemental response that causes more harm and only makes you look like someone who is anything but Christlike.

You do know that many have a sincere testimony of Jesus Christ who are not active Mormons or are even members of the church, don't you?

Edited by JulieM

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Just now, JulieM said:

This is the type of judgemental response that causes more harm only makes look like someone who is anything but Christlike.

You do know that many have a sincere testimony of Juesus Christ who are not active Mormons or even members, don't you?

Degree is always a difficult thing to measure.  However the specifics of the OP deal with those that are falling away from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints so nonmembers are not the point of focus. The inactives however, may well be within point of focus. I do not make my observations without experience.  Over the years when I see someone in the Ward who has left or is in the process, I seek them out. I hope to provide for them a supportive testimony to offset the constant barrage of negativity that surrounds the church.  In many cases, when they left the church they left Jesus Christ as well - pretty clear indicator. What success I have had has only come with the renewal and focus of their thoughts on the Savior and diluting the anti message that can be too persuasive for some to negotiate.  While it is your perception that my perspective may be offensive, I find that it is in the very capacity to be offended concerning the church when no offense is intended that marks those of potentially inadequate testimony.  I do believe that ultimately sincerity of testimony will be determined by some pretty clear scriptural criteria:  Sustaining the prophet(s) without judgementalism, being obedient to the message of the gospel, and willingness to keep covenants and receive ordinances in the temple.  Failure to accomplish these things regardless of how earnest one claims fealty, when all is said and done, is simply inadequate sustainment of Jesus Christ.

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39 minutes ago, JulieM said:

I'll admit that I've felt this way when I've learned something I was never taught growing up in the church.

But I truly believe that many of the leaders didn't even know much of the truth or details from church history.  So I don't know if it's fair to say they weren't telling us the truth as much as that they were just repeating the same version they'd been taught and believed. 

I wonder how many of them knew about the rock in the hat translation for most of the Book of Mormon or the details of how Joseph lived polygamy.  Did they know about his polyandry?

I don't know the answers.  But I'm not so quick to blame the church leadership as some may be.  However,  I guess either way, we feel betrayed when we learn new truths.  I wonder if they've felt the same way at times though?

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.

Edited by bsjkki

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1 hour 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.

 

49 minutes ago, SamIam said:

Degree is always a difficult thing to measure.  However the specifics of the OP deal with those that are falling away from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints so nonmembers are not the point of focus. The inactives however, may well be within point of focus. I do not make my observations without experience.  Over the years when I see someone in the Ward who has left or is in the process, I seek them out. I hope to provide for them a supportive testimony to offset the constant barrage of negativity that surrounds the church.  In many cases, when they left the church they left Jesus Christ as well - pretty clear indicator. What success I have had has only come with the renewal and focus of their thoughts on the Savior and diluting the anti message that can be too persuasive for some to negotiate.  While it is your perception that my perspective may be offensive, I find that it is in the very capacity to be offended concerning the church when no offense is intended that marks those of potentially inadequate testimony.  I do believe that ultimately sincerity of testimony will be determined by some pretty clear scriptural criteria:  Sustaining the prophet(s) without judgementalism, being obedient to the message of the gospel, and willingness to keep covenants and receive ordinances in the temple.  Failure to accomplish these things regardless of how earnest one claims fealty, when all is said and done, is simply inadequate sustainment of Jesus Christ.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/self-righteous

 

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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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3 minutes ago, ttribe 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.

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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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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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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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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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People walk away from the Church for all kinds of reasons. It could be a bad taste they find after learning about some of these things that have been previously mentioned. Or they could just be in terrible emotional and spiritual turmoil over things that life has handed them, or choices they've made, that they find it supremely difficult to choose to go back. Or some Bishop behaved very poorly and gave a good family the wrong message at the worst possible time, and that was that. It does come down to trust, and without it there is no progress in the path the Church and Gospel put forth as part of the Plan.

In the most direct manner I do believe that the substance of Samlam's post to be accurate. Of course there are some caveats because what happens to people, and how those things influence their choices, fills a significant role in how life plays out. Trust in God matters, and sometimes that journey to find the truth will take people away from the Church and Gospel as formally organized..but they can find their way, hopefully sooner, but definitely sometimes later. In my experience and observation a lot, perhaps even a majority, of issues may very well stem from an issue of culture rather than the teachings of the Savior and His Gospel itself as taught by the Church.

The elect can indeed be deceived by so many things, distracted, but no departure from the Church should be cause for celebration (from the perspective of those within) because of what that may mean for the person leaving. Maybe to the person leaving they felt like they made the best choice they could in their situation, and that's between them and their Maker...we can only do our best to not treat them as any less of a good and valued soul that is still the same wonderful person they were before as a member. Compassion, respect for boundaries, and friendship without ulterior motives are important principles for living and loving whether or not someone chooses to stay or go.

I have quite a number of co-workers that seem to find themselves outside the Church in some form by their own decision. They know me well enough and what I believe and that I'm within it, and we have mutual respect and an open dialogue. I present nothing of judgment on them for their choices and they extend the same to me as I remain a member. I've tried to simply be good to them without any kind of Church motive and we are friends. My one greatest hope is to be an example that Mormon culture is not the same as Mormon belief or the most complete teachings of Christ. I don't pretend to have answers to difficult questions, only offer my compassion and ear when it's appropriate.

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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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2 hours ago, JulieM said:

I'll admit that I've felt this way when I've learned something I was never taught growing up in the church.

But I truly believe that many of the leaders didn't even know much of the truth or details from church history.  So I don't know if it's fair to say they weren't telling us the truth as much as that they were just repeating the same version they'd been taught and believed. 

I wonder how many of them knew about the rock in the hat translation for most of the Book of Mormon or the details of how Joseph lived polygamy.  Did they know about his polyandry?

I don't know the answers.  But I'm not so quick to blame the church leadership as some may be.  However,  I guess either way, we feel betrayed when we learn new truths.  I wonder if they've felt the same way at times though?

I think everyone feels betrayed at sometime in our lives when suddenly we discover that our place in the world and why people were pushing us towards it isn't what we thought it was and sometimes is drastically different.  Roles we thought we were secure in may even disappear if we turnover the roles of people around us...our parents stop being guides with great insight into the world when we see a major mistake in their choices that was for self protection more than protecting the family perhaps or we figure out it wasn't discipline because they loved us but abuse and we lose our role as protected child, but take on the role of intelligently protecting ourselves hopefully, our leaders at school, church, home, whatever stop being infallible and we lose our role as safe follower and have to think and examine the roads ahead before making choices now and we start to figure out what we really want to accomplish and become in our lives, our government shafts us or someone else and we feel exposed to danger instead of living in a secure community and we become not so loyal citizen, but maybe someone who works hard to give security to others.

Having the ground shift beneath our feet doesn't always have to be a tragedy, it can be instead the beginning of new growth.

The question for me is if we use that wake up call to become more adult and more about making our own decisions about the roles we play in this world or if we use it to make excuses for ourselves (we all do the latter, but hopefully less and less as time goes on) making as bad or worse mistakes than those we label as betrayers.

We also need to work hard to not change from simplistic believer to simplistic cynic, but informed seeker imo.  There is no progression if we simply reverse our attitudes from white to black or black to white instead of attempting to at least begin to use colour.

Edited by Calm

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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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