Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Duncan

"Why some people leave the Church"

Recommended Posts

Great posts and responses to Joe, Calm and Stargazer!  You are examples of understanding and compassion, in my opinion 👍

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
4 minutes ago, Stargazer said:

If there were communists under my bed, they'd have to have the relative dimensions of flatworms.  There's very little space down there.

That's precisely what happens when one's diet is dependent upon communism's smashing record of creating prosperity ...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
4 hours ago, JulieM said:

She’s a professional and does her job.  I’ve never seen her preach against immunizations to anyone while working (or even while not at work).  I think many face these kind of dilemmas in their professions.  Look at hotels or restaurants owned by members that serve liquor.  Or any number of other examples.  Just because you remain silent doesn’t mean you’re being dishonest or lying.

But there is a difference between doing such things and teaching beliefs.  (Think making a wedding cake for a gay marriage while believing it is immoral as opposed to teaching gay marriage is acceptable or not acceptable  to God across the pulpit while believing the opposite...one could even avoid the subject of gay marriage altogether in teaching about marriage, but likely one's belief on the validity of it will affect how one phrases other teachings about marriage...maybe one will stop saying "a man and a woman" and instead use "a couple").

I can sell someone a book as a cashier even if I think it is crap without changing their experience of reading that book....and I have many times.  However, if I am teaching that book to a class, my attitude towards it, my belief in its value and accuracy will definitely impact my students' experience, even if I am required to present that book as a masterpiece by the curriculum.

Edited by Calm
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
13 minutes ago, JulieM said:

Great posts and responses to Joe, Calm and Stargazer!  You are examples of understanding and compassion, in my opinion 👍

I appreciate that.  I am sorry if I wasn't clear to begin with what my concerns were with Joe's example.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
13 minutes ago, JulieM said:

I don’t read what was said that way, not at all (no one says we’re surrounded or that they are “all around us”).

No, just that we all know some but just don't know that we do since they're hiding their double lives. If I point out that I literally don't know any, the response (unassailable by design!) is, 'Of course you don't! They're hiding their unbelief from you' -- with an implied, 'But trust me, I know they exist cos I'm one of them OR they trust me enough to tell me, etc.' In reality, the 'data' is probably a whole bunch of online posts from people who've made these claims.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
8 minutes ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

No, just that we all know some but just don't know that we do since they're hiding their double lives.

Well, that part is probably true (or at least they’re hiding their struggles and doubts).

But if anyone isn’t exposed to that, it’s probably you!  You seem to live in the perfect ward :) 

I love reading your experiences and stories!

Share this post


Link to post
8 minutes ago, JulieM said:

But if anyone isn’t exposed to that, it’s probably you!  You seem to live in the perfect ward :) 

I love that you think that! I suspect that means that my genuine fondness for my ward is coming through. It also no doubt means that I'm not doing a very good job of providing the full picture of these crazy people that I love so much.

The reality is that we have people across the entire spectrum of faith and belief -- including, as I noted above, a entire family that left the Church over the issue of same-sex 'marriage' (by their own repeated admission). I love nearly all of them and value their contributions to our shared community. We've even had people who've struggled in their faith and asked to be released from their callings as a consequence. I'm fine with that and love still seeing them as part of the community.

We have two former branch presidents (from before our ward was formed) who attend many Sundays. One was excommunicated. About two years ago, I asked him if he missed home teaching visits -- I felt impressed to do this -- and he said yes, so I assigned myself to be his home teacher (now ministering brother) and notified the bishop. I was ward mission leader then and so started taking the Elders with me each month, and I've mostly kept doing that, though sometimes I take my young ministering companion. We've certainly seen more of him since I started doing this, and now he's pretty much at church each Sunday unless he's away, and he's even started staying for Sunday school and priesthood meeting, which I'd never seen before. I have no clue if he'll ever make the choice to be rebaptised, but he's a part of our very imperfect ward, in my opinion, despite the fact that he's not actually a member anymore.

The other one, whom I've mentioned in a few other threads, is a complete apostate who attends to support his wife. He also serves well in informal capacities, helping with a couple of widows in the ward, showing up for service projects, etc. He's as much a part of our ward to me as anyone else. But he's open with his total lack of belief and would never consider accepting a calling for that reason.

I honestly don't think I know anything that creates a greater intimacy amongst men than serving together in the Church. I know my ward brothers. I've been in my ward for nearly 16 years now, and I've served in the bishopric three times. I've served alongside these men in various capacities. I've counselled with them, sought revelation alongside them, prayed with and beside them, etc. I know their fears, their doubts, and their struggles. I've seen them progress in their faith, and I've seen them regress. I've been around long enough to see some of them go from backsliding to strength, and I've seen a bit of the opposite movement too. I'm not naive or stupid. And the one thing I know is that we don't have people in our ward who are leading duplicitous lives when it comes to issues of faith. Our current primary president, for example, hasn't had a temple recommend for years, and when I interviewed her about this some years ago, expressed that she currently has zero desire to be in the temple. But we know this, and I see no evidence that it's diminished her capacity to serve as primary president.

So perfect? Nope. Honest and decent and wonderful and easy to love (most of the time!)? Yep!

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

I love that you think that! I suspect that means that my genuine fondness for my ward is coming through. It also no doubt means that I'm not doing a very good job of providing the full picture of these crazy people that I love so much.

The reality is that we have people across the entire spectrum of faith and belief -- including, as I noted above, a entire family that left the Church over the issue of same-sex 'marriage' (by their own repeated admission). I love nearly all of them and value their contributions to our shared community. We've even had people who've struggled in their faith and asked to be released from their callings as a consequence. I'm fine with that and love still seeing them as part of the community.

We have two former branch presidents (from before our ward was formed) who attend many Sundays. One was excommunicated. About two years ago, I asked him if he missed home teaching visits -- I felt impressed to do this -- and he said yes, so I assigned myself to be his home teacher (now ministering brother) and notified the bishop. I was ward mission leader then and so started taking the Elders with me each month, and I've mostly kept doing that, though sometimes I take my young ministering companion. We've certainly seen more of him since I started doing this, and now he's pretty much at church each Sunday unless he's away, and he's even started staying for Sunday school and priesthood meeting, which I'd never seen before. I have no clue if he'll ever make the choice to be rebaptised, but he's a part of our very imperfect ward, in my opinion, despite the fact that he's not actually a member anymore.

The other one, whom I've mentioned in a few other threads, is a complete apostate who attends to support his wife. He also serves well in informal capacities, helping with a couple of widows in the ward, showing up for service projects, etc. He's as much a part of our ward to me as anyone else. But he's open with his total lack of belief and would never consider accepting a calling for that reason.

I honestly don't think I know anything that creates a greater intimacy amongst men than serving together in the Church. I know my ward brothers. I've been in my ward for nearly 16 years now, and I've served in the bishopric three times. I've served alongside these men in various capacities. I've counselled with them, sought revelation alongside them, prayed with and beside them, etc. I know their fears, their doubts, and their struggles. I've seen them progress in their faith, and I've seen them regress. I've been around long enough to see some of them go from backsliding to strength, and I've seen a bit of the opposite movement too. I'm not naive or stupid. And the one thing I know is that we don't have people in our ward who are leading duplicitous lives when it comes to issues of faith. Our current primary president, for example, hasn't had a temple recommend for years, and when I interviewed her about this some years ago, expressed that she currently has zero desire to be in the temple. But we know this, and I see no evidence that it's diminished her capacity to serve as primary president.

So perfect? Nope. Honest and decent and wonderful and easy to love (most of the time!)? Yep!

Sounds like it'd be a lot easier to have a faith crisis in your ward. Because people really are afraid these days to be honest about their unbelief. It could mean a loss of marriage, a job, friends and neighbors, I kid you not. You probably don't want to attend a ward in Utah.

Edited by Tacenda

Share this post


Link to post
On 2/7/2019 at 9:22 AM, jpv said:

Cite Prince if you're gonna quote him.

Not quoting him, just simpatico apparently.

Share this post


Link to post
On 2/7/2019 at 4:52 PM, Stargazer said:

If you later turned the corner and found your way back into faith, you would find yourself not alone.  If you dig into Social Hall you can find an old thread about a member who lost his faith, became an actual anti-Mormon for a time, but later found his way back.  His story in its early stages resembles yours, actually.  Except that he had his name removed (excommunicated by request, since name-removal didn't exist back in 1989).  Perhaps you might like to watch the video.  It's here -- it's rather entertaining, believe it or not.  Saints Unscripted: An Ex-ex-Mormon's Story.  He actually mentions this board (not by name) and even one of the frequent posters here (@Garden Girl ).  There's also the story of Don Bradley (an occasional poster here): see the SLC Tribune's story about him: The Rest is History: How a Mormon scholar turned doubter, then believer.

 

 

Ah yes, he is Country Boy! I remember him fondly from when he was a contributor to this board.

He wasn't treated too well by some contributors here, I'm afraid, but I always enjoyed his posts.

Share this post


Link to post
On 2/7/2019 at 3:52 PM, Stargazer said:

I'd guess stake sunday school presidency, then, or stake young men's presidency, or similar.  No need to confirm this.  My earlier concern was indeed something like stake high council or stake presidency, and the way you put it I assumed a long-standing status.  Your newly-minted unbelief puts a completely different face on it.  Thanks for clearing this up.  

I shan't attempt to argue over "peace" in regards to this.  A long time ago I had a difficult question to answer, and I wondered if I should go ahead with an action despite how messed up the situation was, and the Lord gave me peace over it.  In fact, I would have described the experience exactly as you have, as "instantly felt peace wash over me".  It turned out that this was the path the Lord wanted me to go, but in the short term it resulted in very negative consequences -- four years of a lot of heartache, in fact, and a residual heartache that went on for years.  My own actions had precipitated the situation -- and the Lord apparently wanted me to learn a lesson.  I'm not saying that is what is going on with you.  Our circumstances are quite different, aside from the matter of "peace".  Which I agree is a very pleasant feeling.

If you later turned the corner and found your way back into faith, you would find yourself not alone.  If you dig into Social Hall you can find an old thread about a member who lost his faith, became an actual anti-Mormon for a time, but later found his way back.  His story in its early stages resembles yours, actually.  Except that he had his name removed (excommunicated by request, since name-removal didn't exist back in 1989).  Perhaps you might like to watch the video.  It's here -- it's rather entertaining, believe it or not.  Saints Unscripted: An Ex-ex-Mormon's Story.  He actually mentions this board (not by name) and even one of the frequent posters here (@Garden Girl ).  There's also the story of Don Bradley (an occasional poster here): see the SLC Tribune's story about him: The Rest is History: How a Mormon scholar turned doubter, then believer.

Perhaps these stories will do nothing for you.  But I just wanted to make sure you saw them.

I may have used the "f" word, but upon fuller information I take it back, and I wasn't calling you a fraud in any case (I hope), just that holding a high position under the situation as it appeared seemed fraudulent.  You're not a fraud.  You simply find yourself in an unfortunate situation that is not fully of your own making.  I can most definitely sympathize with you.  I'd be very distressed, too!

I was imagining the case of you being in a stake presidency or something -- crikey! 

It's a sick situation, bro.  My stepson is a returned missionary who has lost his faith to a degree, but when he consulted with our bishop over it, the bishop was very understanding and loving towards him, and nothing like you describe has happened to him.  What happened to your brother-in-law isn't necessarily (or even likely) to happen to you -- unless you share the same bishop!  I would hope not, anyway.  You know your bishop and your stake president, presumably. Do they seem like this is how they would react?  

That actually sucks, your brother-in-law's experience.  What part of the meaning of "confidentiality" doesn't his bishop understand?  Makes me grind my teeth.

I wonder if you should do like the prophet Nathan did when confronting King David about the Uriah/Bathsheba situation?  He presented a hypothetical situation to the King that was similar to David's action, and the king got real upset and came down on the matter like a ton of bricks.  Then Nathan told him: Gotcha!  Peradventure you could come up with a hypothetical situation that resembled your own, and ask your stake president what he would do in such a case?  But frame it as if it were something someone had told you about.  See what he says, and if it looks dire, just back off. Maybe write a letter to Elder Uchtdorf.  No, I'm not joking -- you never know, you might get an answer!  I once wrote a letter to Elder Oaks and got a response -- in my case I was being recalcitrant about something and he called me to repentance in his letter!  I repented really quickly, I must say.  

Well, I like it, too.  I occasionally hear testimonies from members who testify to some pretty odd things in testimony meeting.  It's hard to hear these sometimes, but it's not that hard to just let them roll off my back.  

I really do sympathize with you, Joe.  I do believe that I've heard or read all the things that have caused you to lose faith in the Church (Joseph's polygamy, etc).  But all I've ever had from it was momentary puzzlement.  I shall not attempt to dissuade you from what you've come to believe, or not believe -- that's a problem that you'll have to deal with yourself.  But at the risk of seeming to be speaking from a position of wealth to one in poverty (as in "let them eat cake"), I think the problem is superficial to a certain degree.  I found that despite it all, the reality of the Restoration and the genuineness of Joseph's prophetic call shone forth to me through manifestations of the Spirit that I cannot deny.  It isn't my place to be presenting those experiences to you, because they won't help you.  You have to seek your own -- and perhaps you need a cooling-off period in order to approach things from a different avenue.  

If you want my advice, which you might not, here it is.  For the time being, I would just let things be.  Perhaps consider floating a trial balloon to your leaders, testing the waters a bit, but in any case continue fulfilling your calling as you have been, and let things settle out in your mind.  Does your wife know about the matter?  I am very hesitant in advising you about telling her if she isn't.  I know that my wife is having a degree of distress dealing with her son's disenchantment with the Church.  But avoiding the issue over the long term isn't a good idea.  You know, you can still pray about how to approach this.  If you've gotten peace over the matter as you describe it, perhaps you'll get some over the rest of it. 

 

I have a sock puppet, by the way!  It's @Telescope .  I created it to test a problem I was having with the board software.  Turned out the board software didn't just hate me, it also hated my sock puppet.

Thanks for posting the link to that video. It was awesome!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

One of the problems with the recent reasons given by people who leave the church is that the reasons are usually debatable.  The very intelligent defenders of the church on this site have provided valuable context and clarification for many of the arguments against Joseph Smith.  They also provide important speculative arguments to defend the church against the speculative arguments against the church.  There are many examples of members who have been wronged or hurt by church leaders that remain in the church (I have an uncle who suffered a horrible tragedy in his family, but is stronger now than before).  I'm not putting down anyone's experiences, just pointing out how fuzzy it gets when trying to understand why people with the same experiences choose such different paths.  One reason that isn't debatable is if you say God told you it isn't true.  Who can argue that?  I don't see that reason given often except by those who break off to start their own sect.  I doubt there would be many believers left in the church if they hadn't received their own spiritual confirmations from God that this is Christ's church, JS was prophet, the BOM is holy scripture, etc.

Those who leave and claim they never had any spiritual confirmations or witnesses during the time they attended are easier to understand.  It's those that claim they were TBM, served missions, and list their resume of leadership callings that are more difficult to understand for the still-believers.  I don't think it's fair when members try to assign sinful motives to those leaving, but I do think there is a desire to understand why someone would give up the promises of the restored gospel which most believers regard as worthy of any required sacrifice or trial of faith.  It's hard to accept that everyone that still believes in the church is  either gaslighting  or suffering from cognitive dissonance or tribalism, etc.   So maybe it's not possible to come to any real understanding.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
4 hours ago, gopher said:

I do think there is a desire to understand why someone would give up the promises of the restored gospel which most believers regard as worthy of any required sacrifice or trial of faith.

And not just the 'promises', which reside in the future. It's the day-to-day lived reality of the Restored Gospel that I can't imagine giving up for any reason. I have to assume, therefore, that people who walk away weren't sharing in those experiences for some reason. Or maybe just didn't enjoy them? :unknw:

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
On 2/7/2019 at 5:36 PM, Hamba Tuhan said:

No, just that we all know some but just don't know that we do since they're hiding their double lives. If I point out that I literally don't know any, the response (unassailable by design!) is, 'Of course you don't! They're hiding their unbelief from you' -- with an implied, 'But trust me, I know they exist cos I'm one of them OR they trust me enough to tell me, etc.' In reality, the 'data' is probably a whole bunch of online posts from people who've made these claims.

Reminds me of a B-grade science fiction movie: "The aliens are living among you, undetected and unsuspected." (Cue eerie-sounding theremin music.)

Share this post


Link to post
11 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Reminds me of a B-grade science fiction movie: "The aliens are living among you, undetected and unsuspected." (Cue eerie-sounding theremin music.)

Ha. That’s funny!

But in reality, there are most likely members in every ward now who are struggling or have stopped believing but still feel they need to pretend to be a full believer (for a variety of reasons).  It’s sad.  And they’re in pain and trying to figure out if they can make things work and stay or if they will leave.  I believe it’s not a condition many can maintain for a long period though.  At least and keep it completely hidden indefinitely.

Edited by JulieM

Share this post


Link to post
6 minutes ago, JulieM said:

Ha. That’s funny!

But in reality, there are most likely members in every ward now who are struggling or have stopped believing but still feel they need to pretend to be a full believer (for a variety of reasons).  It’s sad.  And they’re in pain and trying to figure out if they can make things work and stay or if they will leave.  I believe it’s not a condition many can maintain for a long period though.  At least and keep it completely hidden indefinitely.

Julie, do you think they try to maintain the perception that they are a "full believer" or rather they find the church to work in some degree, be it a social organization or something else - they have stopped trying to really grow in the gospel of Christ, but find coasting along to be enough?  

Share this post


Link to post
21 minutes ago, Storm Rider said:

Julie, do you think they try to maintain the perception that they are a "full believer" or rather they find the church to work in some degree, be it a social organization or something else - they have stopped trying to really grow in the gospel of Christ, but find coasting along to be enough?  

I think there are different reasons they try to stay and make it work, but for many it’s for family reasons (from what I’ve seen).  In my experience, none of them  “stopped trying to really grow in the gospel of Christ” or just wanted to start coasting along.  

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, JulieM said:

I think there are different reasons they try to stay and make it work, but for many it’s for family reasons (from what I’ve seen).  In my experience, none of them  “stopped trying to really grow in the gospel of Christ” or just wanted to start coasting along.  

My experience is that this is a very complex topic - attempting to define why an individual will leave the Church of Jesus Christ - however, what I have seen most often is that those who choose to leave the faith, but don't leave going to church. They have stopped believing in either God or the claims of the Restoration, but are not willing to forfeit their relationships and social circle. They love their friends and love their extended family and are happy to continue going to Church. 

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Reminds me of a B-grade science fiction movie: "The aliens are living among you, undetected and unsuspected." (Cue eerie-sounding theremin music.)

Ah yes!  "They Live".  Cult classic.

Share this post


Link to post

So there is a good possibility that the person interviewing me for my temple recommend and denying  me one, doesn't even believe the Temple is the House of God. Wonderful, and that's not hypocritical ? say it ain't so.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, rodheadlee said:

So there is a good possibility that the person interviewing me for my temple recommend and denying  me one, doesn't even believe the Temple is the House of God. Wonderful, and that's not hypocritical ? say it ain't so.

 

You don't need a temple recommend to be with God one day, you're a good man without it, and God sees it.

Share this post


Link to post
6 hours ago, Tacenda said:

You don't need a temple recommend to be with God one day, you're a good man without it, and God sees it.

But by having a temple recommend, I got to be with God yesterday, and when I left, I was a better man for it.

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

But by having a temple recommend, I got to be with God yesterday, and when I left, I was a better man for it.

And I was with God yesterday while spending time with my family up in the beautiful mountains near my home.  I was a better man for it too.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
20 minutes ago, ALarson said:

And I was with God yesterday while spending time with my family up in the beautiful mountains near my home.  I was a better man for it too.

This sounds more defensive than anything else. Attending the temple can be a very edifying experience, that is not done daily, for some individuals. I strongly doubt that your wonderful time spent with your family was spiritually edifying; though you may have magnified your position as father and mate. 

The two experiences are not in the same realms of experience and their resulting benefits are just as different. And before we get in an argument about how I might know the difference; I have done both before.  More importantly, I am pretty sure you know the difference also.

Edited by Storm Rider

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...