Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Duncan

"Why some people leave the Church"

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, ALarson said:

Are you including yourself in this statement?  

I am addressing those that abandon God and rely solely on the idea that God is irrelevant to their lives. No, I am not including myself in that subset. I fully recognize myself as deficient in knowledge and understanding; that God is my needed foundation and that it is through his grace that I am able to accomplish anything. I strive to submit to his will and exert effort to emulate him. 

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I'm confused.

Individuals who claim to know and import God's values are fooling themselves? Are you speaking about the church here? I'm guessing not.

Everyone has values and expectations. I would be impossible not to. Some of them are learned culturally/socially and others may be learned by the spirit. If someone has been led to his values and expectations by the spirit, yet the church does not meet those values or expectations, should the individual follow the church, or the spirit?

I thought your intention was to describe those that arrive at values, morals, etc., outside of God's influence and teachings. It appears I misunderstand your statement. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
6 minutes ago, Storm Rider said:

I am addressing those that abandon God and rely solely on the idea that God is irrelevant to their lives. 

Those who I know that have left the church have most definitely not abandoned God.  They still have extremely high values, standards and live lives of integrity.

What exactly do you even mean by "those that abandon God"?  Can you be more specific?

God does not only exist in the lives of Mormons attending church.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
10 hours ago, Thinking said:

"Processes of disaffiliation from Mormonism are explored in this analysis of in-depth interviews with 30 former Mormons identified in statewide mail surveys of Utah."

A sample size of 30 and only from Utah.

"This book focuses primarily on writers who lose faith in Christianity."

True enough, but that is why I cited other sources.  Moreover, previous polls had already reached the same conclusions.  I've been monitoring this stuff since the 1970s.  Dr Lavina Fielding Anderson even wrote a piece on that in a Church magazine -- Anderson, "What Are Nonmembers Interested In?" Ensign, 7/10 (Oct 1977):72-76, based on research on July 1975 LDS converts by Gordon C. Whiting and M. Richard Maxfield.  Formal doctrinal matters are of little concern in either entering or leaving the LDS faith.

Frank Newport, "The Religious Switcher in the United States," American Sociological Review, 44 (1979):528-552; cf. J. T. Richardson, ed., special issue on "Conversion and Commitment in Contemporary Religion," American Behavioral Scientist, 20/6 (July-Aug 1977); “Why People Leave the LDS Church,” Sunstone Review, 4/3 (Mar 1984):10.  Sociologist Gary Tobin now says that 2 of every 5 “Americans switch religion at least once” (Moment, 27/4  [Aug 2002]:58).

Edited by Robert F. Smith
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
29 minutes ago, ALarson said:

Those who I know that have left the church have most definitely not abandoned God.  They still have extremely high values, standards and live lives of integrity.

What exactly do you even mean by "those that abandon God"?  Can you be more specific?

God does not only exist in the lives of Mormons attending church.

It's a mixed bag. I've seen many who leave the church move on to other churches or some other form of individual worship.

BUT I've also seen many become atheist. They abandon God in addition to leaving the church. IMO this is caused by conflating God and the church so much that it becomes hard for a person to separate between the Church and God. If the church does something they view as bad, then God is bad. It's a pretty natural reaction after being taught, and believing, that God directly leads and is at the head of this church. It's a problem, and an unnecessary one, but one that's actually created by the church. I've spoken recently to a couple of very TBM members who told me that if they didn't go to LDS church they wouldn't be able to attend anywhere. They would simply drop ALL church because if the ONE TRUE church doesn't cut it, how could they expect any other church to be beneficial. It's a variation of abandoning God, but I see this mindset a lot. It's the church, or it's nothing.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

That has been my experience as well, Loyd, but probably because we so frequently rub shoulders with fellow members of the Mormon intellectual elite at symposia, on campus, in the blogosphere, and in special bookstores.  The ordinary Mormon, including the ordinary marginal Mormon is not to be found in any of those venues.

However, it does bear mention that, unlike the response within other religions, as Mormons become better educated they also become more faithful (https://www.reddit.com/r/latterdaysaints/comments/4bnont/as_mormons_become_more_educated_they_become_more/ ).  This was also the conclusion of a Pew survey in 2012:

Your first line points to a significant fallacy when the claim in the second line is appealed to. "More educated" is too often thrown around as if all types of higher education are essentially the same, when instead liberal arts education likely has significantly different effects on a persons religious perspective than higher education in business, science, medicine, and law. Given the emphasis on critical thinking and liberalism in the former and conservativism, conformity, utility, and assimilation in the latter, I think it's pretty safe to say persons getting a liberal arts education--especially at a graduate level--are far more likely to have their faith affected (and disaffected) than those getting a professional education. Conversely, from my own experience, friends who are in a more ideologically liberal or inclusive faith traditions tend to maintain their religious identification with a liberal arts education.

Edited by the narrator
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
20 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

It's a mixed bag. I've seen many who leave the church move on to other churches or some other form of individual worship.

BUT I've also seen many become atheist. They abandon God in addition to leaving the church. IMO this is caused by conflating God and the church so much that it becomes hard for a person to separate between the Church and God. If the church does something they view as bad, then God is bad. It's a pretty natural reaction after being taught, and believing, that God directly leads and is at the head of this church. It's a problem, and an unnecessary one, but one that's actually created by the church. I've spoken recently to a couple of very TBM members who told me that if they didn't go to LDS church they wouldn't be able to attend anywhere. They would simply drop ALL church because if the ONE TRUE church doesn't cut it, how could they expect any other church to be beneficial. It's a variation of abandoning God, but I see this mindset a lot. It's the church, or it's nothing.

I do not see a problem here.

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

I think there's merit here.  In the less scholarly world of those who haven't published, presented, taught or deeply studied this is also true--they are leaving for the social issues moreso than others.  I'd guess there is still the "I didn't know this crap when I was a member for all these decades then suddenly I started to learn things the church never told me" but that's going away more and more in favor of those who are more concerned with the social.  

I think--and the New Mormons Survey largely backs this up--that the historical issues give people freedom to leave but aren't the reasons for leaving. For example, I have known plenty who struggled with social issues and the Church but stayed active because of their belief in certain historical claims, and then left after coming to believe that those claims were wrong. And conversely, I've known plenty who long did not believe in the historical claims but remained active for community reasons but then became disaffected after the social issues significantly diminished the communal value they saw (or once benefitted from) in the Church.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
25 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

It's a mixed bag. I've seen many who leave the church move on to other churches or some other form of individual worship.

BUT I've also seen many become atheist. They abandon God in addition to leaving the church. IMO this is caused by conflating God and the church so much that it becomes hard for a person to separate between the Church and God. If the church does something they view as bad, then God is bad. It's a pretty natural reaction after being taught, and believing, that God directly leads and is at the head of this church. It's a problem, and an unnecessary one, but one that's actually created by the church. I've spoken recently to a couple of very TBM members who told me that if they didn't go to LDS church they wouldn't be able to attend anywhere. They would simply drop ALL church because if the ONE TRUE church doesn't cut it, how could they expect any other church to be beneficial. It's a variation of abandoning God, but I see this mindset a lot. It's the church, or it's nothing.

The binary ways of thinking that are so prevalent in our culture, not just in Mormonism, are contributing factors to this phenomenon.  I personally don't really believe in God anymore, at least not in a traditional sense, but I don't self identify as atheist either.  I really have a hard time labeling myself.  I still have a spiritual side that I personally describe as emotional connection, awe, elevation, love, etc. I don't think any of that is supernaturally driven.  I do think there are many things we can't fully explain that happen through natural means, but I'm not a believer in a conscious deity that interacts with us as humans.  

All that said, I'm participating and enjoying my church experience looking at all the religious language as metaphor and symbol, and trying to connect with ideas that are shared by even the most orthodox and literal believers.  And I've been having some success on this path as of late.  I know I don't fit the typical mold, but there are some people out there like me and each person is uniquely different.  

 

Edited by hope_for_things
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
54 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Formal doctrinal matters are of little concern in either entering or leaving the LDS faith.

This point became utterly clear to me on my mission, where I saw the primary reason for persons joining the Church was their yearning for a community to support them in the new direction their lives were going. Rarely did a newly baptized convert show some excitement of a primary narrative of their sins having been washed away. Instead the glow and happiness they had was in looking out in attendance and knowing there were people there to help them live better lives.

My favorite recent lines from a book (and what I think are some of the most important lines I've read in a while about the Church) are from "Dee" and "Opal" two elderly black converts in Baltmore:

Quote

And I got news for you—I’m so happy to be baptized! I don’t know what to do I’m so happy. The Church is like family, yes indeed! This last time I been sick and the sisters would cook food and bring it! I couldn’t use my hands because I had surgery and they fed me! Oh my goodness, I sucked it up too. I was enjoying it. It’s just so nice to be loved.

Quote

I love this church and knowing I am loved, if you happen to be upset about something going on, the Relief Society women will come to you and give you a hug and say what’s wrong and try to figure out why youse upset and everything. They try to make you feel much better. Yeah, and they so lovely. And I never had no brothers and now I have a whole chapel full of brothers and that’s making me happy.

IMO, the Church would be better served if they focused less on authority and truth claims (especially when the latter is primarily done for the former) and more on God's social club where people feel welcome and fed.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
13 minutes ago, the narrator said:

I think--and the New Mormons Survey largely backs this up--that the historical issues give people freedom to leave but aren't the reasons for leaving. For example, I have known plenty who struggled with social issues and the Church but stayed active because of their belief in certain historical claims, and then left after coming to believe that those claims were wrong. And conversely, I've known plenty who long did not believe in the historical claims but remained active for community reasons but then became disaffected after the social issues significantly diminished the communal value they saw (or once benefitted from) in the Church.

I think there's truth to this. Belief makes a difference in a person's participation, yet it is not the only factor. So a person may face historical truth claims that cause their beliefs to change, either gradually or suddenly. But if that person still finds greater value (perhaps social) in attending despite their lack of religious belief, then they continue to attend. But what happens when they no longer believe AND the value they find diminishes, whether it be for social reasons or in reaction to social issues? That person is more likely to step away. Not because the social issue caused them to leave, but because the social benefits could no longer outweigh the non-belief. The balance between the value the person felt from attending and the value a person felt from not attending shifts. In many cases people make the conscious decision that the church is no longer best for them. It's not simply a laziness or desire to sin. They want something different and they find greater value in other places.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

I'm guessing this is the same Dennis Horne that was involved in the recent dust up over at the Interpreter over the Maxwell Institute and the boundary maintenance police.  If so, I think it might provide some additional context around why he is writing this blog post.  I recall reading at least some of the comments he made on the Interpreter and he was very pointed in criticism of the MI and certain people in the Mormon apologists crowd that he doesn't believe are good soldiers in the apologetic fight.  Feel free to check out his comments and judge for yourself.  

https://www.mormoninterpreter.com/the-interpreter-foundation-and-an-apostolic-charge/

His comments and his tone on the blog come across very poorly in my opinion.  He certainly might see himself as a Javert type character, fighting for truth, but in my opinion he definitely doesn't represent a Christlike loving approach.  Ultimately, I think you can boil down all his reasoning to one question, an appeal to authority, and he only interprets his version of loyalty to the church as the correct one, so therefore everyone else is the enemy.  An immature and harsh approach.  

One other note, I just recently finished listening to the Unobscured podcast hosted by Aaron Mahnke.  It was a really well done and interesting trip through the Salem witch trials and the history around that whole event.  One observation from that time period is that the people were going through a lot of challenges socially and economically and how those contributing factors influenced their views about evil spirits influencing people.  This fanaticism I can see reflected in the writings of Dennis Horne in his blog.  Perhaps he's suffering through some really difficult personal challenges that is causing him to see Satan's influence so prevalent all around him.  I think its important to try and be charitable towards even the most strident fanatics, even while at the same time we are cautious about how their influence can impact others around them.  

I would agree with you there!!!! 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
30 minutes ago, the narrator said:

I think--and the New Mormons Survey largely backs this up--that the historical issues give people freedom to leave but aren't the reasons for leaving. 

Yes for sure.  Members wonder why is the Church being so difficult to LGBTQ, for instance?  As that problem sits they learn also the history is far more messy than they thought and it helps them feel like the Church is not all that they thought it was.  Enter a panoply of voices starting with differing 1st Vision accounts, BoM Translation issues, BoA and all that it is, polygamy and how that went down....at this point most start to wonder how anyone ever really stays in the Church, and the issues and voices just keep coming.  

Share this post


Link to post
4 hours ago, ALarson said:

This may have had some truth to it years and years ago, but it is definitely not true about members who are leaving today.  The great majority that I've known who left were life time members and were extremely active with strong testimonies prior to learning more details regarding some of the more difficult areas of church history (mainly polygamy but others too).  Most struggle for years to stay active and some are successful at remaining with a different view of the church.

Today the church is losing some of its best and brightest....many who were stake and ward leaders.  They are loosing entire families who were very active and strong members.  That's why the leaders are paying attention, making changes, and being more open about church history and other past doctrines (ie. publishing the essays).  It's also why so many leaders are speaking out about it and traveling to areas to hold meetings specific to combating this problem.  

Isn't there a prophecy about the last days and how even the elect will be deceived?  (Sincere question. I can't remember but it sounds familiar).

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

This is the very antithesis of Jesus' message and gospel. He and the apostles taught that we must die to ourselves, take on his name, and become a new person.

Is that why you've chosen not to regularly attend the Catholic church? Is it because you reject Jesus' message and gospel?

 

 

Quote

Those individuals who think they know what are values of eternal import, who know what is right and wrong, who know what is best outside of God are fooling themselves. Their experiences outside of God are their only teacher. 

If that's true, we're all hopelessly lost. We have no hope of ever finding God if we can't "know what are values of eternal import, [or] know what is right and wrong".

Edited by Gray
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
13 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Isn't there a prophecy about the last days and how even the elect will be deceived?  (Sincere question. I can't remember but it sounds familiar).

Yes (I'd need to look up the exact quote though).

But then the question is, who are the deceived?  The ones who believe they've discovered the truth and leave or the ones who believe they have the truth and stay?  

I know that opinions vary greatly regarding the answers to those questions.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

I am addressing those that abandon God and rely solely on the idea that God is irrelevant to their lives.

Perhaps it's the Mormon concept of God that is being abandoned.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
15 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

I think we are reading way to much into why people leave the church.

My experience is that the main reason most people leave the church is because the meeting is over.

 

😄

 

 

Edited by the narrator
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
16 minutes ago, ALarson said:

Yes (I'd need to look up the exact quote though).

But then the question is, who are the deceived?  The ones who believe they've discovered the truth and leave or the ones who believe they have the truth and stay?  

I know that opinions vary greatly regarding the answers to those questions.

Well, if the church of Jesus Christ is God's church, then it would be the one's who leave I guess.  I think we'd need to find the actual prophecy to discuss it further though.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

Parents cannot be advised if a student in the classroom has lice nor can the child be quarantined.

If a parent, I would threatened lawsuit as this is a health issue.

Share this post


Link to post
4 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Well, if the church of Jesus Christ is God's church, then it would be the one's who leave I guess.  I think we'd need to find the actual prophecy to discuss it further though.  

Yup.  "If" being the operative word :) 

I was just going to look for the quote.....I'll post it if I can find it!!

ETA

Here's this from the Bible, but I'll look further:

Quote

 

Matthew 24:24 King James Version

24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

 

 

Edited by ALarson
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Just now, Calm said:

If a parent, I would threatened lawsuit as this is a health issue.

I know for our school district, the parents are notified that there's been a case found.  But, they cannot identify the child who has the lice or single them out in any way.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, the narrator said:

more on God's social club

I dislike the "social club" label, it doesn't convey the accurate sense from my experience of social clubs ( admittedly low and mostly observing).  "God's family" accurately portrays what should be aspired to and what in my experience is being sought.  There is a higher sense of commitment when a group is thought of as family.

The quotes provided used the sense of family rather than club, for example.

Edited by Calm
  • Like 1

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...