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"Why some people leave the Church"

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On 2/15/2019 at 7:40 AM, Hamba Tuhan said:

I have literally no sense of personal space, so I'm not sure I can even imagine a chapel being claustrophobic. When I was teaching in America, students from another class asked me to come in to be 'interviewed'. In reality, it was a social experiment into violating a person's space. The student interviewing kept moving closer and closer, and apparently I was supposed to move away instinctively, but I actually never moved, even when she got right up in my face. I sort of ruined the lesson, but then there was a good discussion about how psycho-social constructs are often culturally bound, and just because many Americans have a sense of personal space, clearly not everyone does. 

This is interesting.  I think that the level of comfort one feels in a church community may influence the degree of effort one makes in devising whether to leave or stay when faced with conflicting beliefs. 

I'm just the opposite of how you described yourself,  in that I'm really uncomfortable with having my personal space violated.  I share this trait with my mother and one of my siblings. At the time that I left the church,  we lived in a small rural town in Utah, where many or most of the people were like you.... having no sense of personal space.  I imagine that the shared faith community and extensive familial ties in the town contributed to this.  There was a social aspect to the community that was foreign to me.  When my religious/ethical beliefs became increasingly different than my faith community,  it wasn't a difficult decision for me to move on.....I didn't share the same type of social relationships that most had. 

Did you happen to grow up in a rural Utah town where there were a lot of shared religious and familial connections?  

-cacheman

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On 2/15/2019 at 6:40 AM, Hamba Tuhan said:

I have literally no sense of personal space, so I'm not sure I can even imagine a chapel being claustrophobic. When I was teaching in America, students from another class asked me to come in to be 'interviewed'. In reality, it was a social experiment into violating a person's space. The student interviewing kept moving closer and closer, and apparently I was supposed to move away instinctively, but I actually never moved, even when she got right up in my face. I sort of ruined the lesson, but then there was a good discussion about how psycho-social constructs are often culturally bound, and just because many Americans have a sense of personal space, clearly not everyone does. (I also love squeezing through very tight caves, but that's a different kind of claustrophobia, I would assume.)

 

Ha! I love this! It reminds me of my mission in Korea where there were always thousands of people around you everywhere...always.. The crammed full buses and the trains made me a little bit crazy. I looked forward to the nearly empty chapel on Sundays!

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8 hours ago, cacheman said:

Did you happen to grow up in a rural Utah town where there were a lot of shared religious and familial connections?  

I grew up with seven other people in a very small, multi-generational home that had only two bedrooms. My parents slept in a double bed in one room. My grandmother and both sisters slept in another double bed in the other bedroom. We three boys (of whom I am the youngest) slept wherever suited us, but always in a pile/tangle. We had one bathroom. The door was sometimes closed but never locked. I bathed (and showered once we got a shower) with both my parents and all my siblings. One of our favourite things to do on a Saturday morning that didn't require us to be working in the gardens was to all wake up slowly and end up in Mum and Dad's bed. We could get all seven of us in there!

I lived in a town/village of about 900 people. We referred to all of the adults with familial titles. At school, the toilet cubicles had walls but no doors. The dominant culture was that people who needed space/privacy were trying to hide something. I still harbour that suspicion ...

7 hours ago, katherine the great said:

Ha! I love this! It reminds me of my mission in Korea where there were always thousands of people around you everywhere...always.. The crammed full buses and the trains made me a little bit crazy. I looked forward to the nearly empty chapel on Sundays!

This sounds like Indonesia. One is almost never not in physical contact with another person ... often many people. Handshakes often turn into just holding hands. Complete strangers fall asleep on each other's shoulders on public transport. I've been on trains so crowded that I was lifted off the floor by the press of people. If the bus is full, people ride on the outside, but the conductors (who are all acrobats, it seems!) will still come outside to collect payment, climbing across the backs of passengers with one hand, making change with the other. 

Unlike you, however, I don't crave empty spaces at all. I still prefer sleeping with someone, but I struggle to fall asleep if I can't at least hear another person near me. I'm grateful that one of my housemates is a snorer! :P

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12 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

I grew up with seven other people in a very small, multi-generational home that had only two bedrooms. My parents slept in a double bed in one room. My grandmother and both sisters slept in another double bed in the other bedroom. We three boys (of whom I am the youngest) slept wherever suited us, but always in a pile/tangle. We had one bathroom. The door was sometimes closed but never locked. I bathed (and showered once we got a shower) with both my parents and all my siblings. One of our favourite things to do on a Saturday morning that didn't require us to be working in the gardens was to all wake up slowly and end up in Mum and Dad's bed. We could get all seven of us in there!

I lived in a town/village of about 900 people. We referred to all of the adults with familial titles. At school, the toilet cubicles had walls but no doors. The dominant culture was that people who needed space/privacy were trying to hide something. I still harbour that suspicion ...

That sounds like an interesting childhood.  It would be difficult for an introvert like myself to grow up in that culture... constantly under suspicion.  But,  maybe the long-term familiarity would have modified my introverted nature.  In many ways I feel fortunate to have lived in a number of different cultures growing up.... in and outside of the U.S..  However,  moving around every few years, and rarely seeing any extended family probably contributed to my introversion and lack of closeness with most people. 

I'm perfectly comfortable being a face in the crowd in a large unfamiliar crowded city,  but I am uncomfortable around groups where we know each other (ie. Church, school, etc.).  The irony is that I've followed a very public career path which puts me in those situations daily.... often where I'm the center of afternoon.   So in my private life,  I need seclusion to recover from the day's over-socialization. I don't share where or how I live with any of my colleagues,  and only a very few close friends.  When I go home at the end of the day,  it's like going to another world where I can recharge.  

I think it would be very interesting to see someone study potential links between personality,  upbringing,  and culture as they relate to religious disaffection.... particularly in close knit religious communities like are found in Mormonism.  I suspect wee would see some interesting trends.  Recognizing these potential links could help increase understanding and empathy between current and former members of religious groups. 

 

 

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14 hours ago, cacheman said:

It would be difficult for an introvert like myself to grow up in that culture... But,  maybe the long-term familiarity would have modified my introverted nature.

I think that's the whole point of culture. You probably wouldn't have grown up as a strong introvert in a culture that didn't even recognise that as a state of being. It's like people who have worried aloud to me that they would have struggled growing up left-handed in Indonesia. I point out to them that left-handedness doesn't even exist in Indonesia, but people don't seem to grasp that possibility. We reify so many culturally bound states of being and social constructs and then universalise them. The Western (largely American) psychological literature is rife with this.

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On 2/17/2019 at 3:58 AM, Calm said:

CfrCFR please

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The worldwide activity rate for the LDS Church at present is estimated at 30% whereas the activity rate outside of the United States and Canada is estimated at 22.5%.

http://ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.com/2011/07/countries-of-world-by-estimated-member.html

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LDS activity rates

U.S. • 40 percent

Mexico • 20 to 25 percent

Brazil • 25 percent

Chile • 12 percent

New Zealand • 40 to 45 percent

Tonga • 30 to 35 percent

Germany • 25 percent

Ireland • 35 percent

Japan • 15 to 20 percent

Nigeria • 50 to 55 percent

Source: "Reaching the Nations: International Church Growth Almanac 2014"

Source quoted from:  http://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=57369318&itype=CMSID

 

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Maxfield had spoken at a University of Utah conference called LDSTech and shared some interesting statistical information: that 5% of Latter-day Saints are illiterate, for instance, that 21% live in environments of extreme poverty, and only about 36% attend weekly sacrament meetings.

https://archive.is/20150420215900/http://signaturebooks.com/2014/10/mormon-news-october-13-17/#selection-53.107-53.391

 

 

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Worldwide, only 25 percent of young single Mormons are active in the LDS Church

https://religionnews.com/2016/10/05/leaked-worldwide-only-25-of-young-single-mormons-are-active-in-the-lds-church/

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Mormon growth continues to slow, especially in the US
(activity rates broken down by country
https://religionnews.com/2018/04/13/mormon-growth-continues-to-slow-especially-in-the-u-s/

 

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