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"Why some people leave the Church"

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17 minutes ago, ALarson said:

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.

Considering bullying, that makes sense.

Do they allow measures to be taken that are applied to the whole class or rather grade.  This was how it was done when my daughter attended school.

edit...sorry, this is off topic, no need for more detail.

Edited by Calm

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52 minutes ago, Calm said:

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.

I agree. I just use social club because that's what Oaks used to say what the Church is not. Also, it seems to correlate well with D&C 130:2. Regardless of whether we use family, social club, or whatever, I prefer an emphasis of the church as a means for community building rather than the current emphasis of the Church primarily a system of distributing sacraments.

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5 hours ago, the narrator said:

"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.

I think you are right. I have a BA in literary studies, a dual MA in language/literature and in history and a PhD in history. Sometimes I feel like it's a miracle that I survived that entire ordeal! It certainly impacted how I view issues of faith.

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5 hours 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.

This matches my observations in my ward. In the case of the family I mentioned above, the wife actually only started bringing up 'historical issues' more than a year after formally leaving the Church. Now she's joined the 'Joseph was a paedophile conman' chorus, but she never once raised these issues when she was still a member, and in fact did well, in my opinion, in trying to appropriately contextualise such issues when she was teaching seminary.

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24 minutes ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

As Robert already noted, this seems to be something of an internet meme. In my ward, we did lose an entire family in the last ten years, and on the surface, they definitely fit your description here. He was in the bishopric when I first moved into the ward. She was a ward missionary. Later, they served together as our ward's seminary teachers for a couple of years. At the same time, almost from the moment I met them, I wondered how long they were going to be able to serve two masters. Their social and political views were always at odds with fundamental Church teachings, and though they seemed to deal with the dissonance quite well in the beginning, it would erupt in really disturbing (to me) ways.

For example, I was in their home once on church business, and their ten-year-old son, who was watching some MA-rated TV program, turned and said to me, 'I wish I were bisexual; then I could have sex with everyone!'

I replied, 'Actually, in the Church, sex is reserved for the one person you're married to'.

Upon hearing this, the mum said with unmasked displeasure, 'We don't make those kinds of judgemental statements in our home'.

Based upon this and other experiences too numerous to relate (I was Young Men president at the time), I was actually nervous having them teach our youth, and as time passed, worries about their future in the Church were openly expressed in bishopric meetings (my next calling) and eventually even in ward council meetings. The parents remained active and attending for quite some time after all three children disassociated themselves from the Church, and I actually hoped that they'd remain in the fold so that their children would have that example of 'faithfulness' in their lives, but literally no one in the ward was taken by surprise when the request for name removal was submitted or when the explanation given was disagreement over the Church's commitment to historical Christian norms regarding sexual behaviour.

I swear Hamba, you always have the most extreme, bizarre stories to tell!!!  LOL

No, I'm referring to many of the formerly active members that I'm acquainted with when using the terms "best and brightest" (and I sincerely mean that).  Some have kids on full ride scholarships and kids who are leaders in their high schools and so on.  They were so involved in our ward and we now really miss them.  But of course they are still incredible families.

Your stories make me feel that I live in a very boring ward though :) 

(And of course there are always the extremes such as your example above regarding those who are leaving....I do get that too....)

Edited by ALarson

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56 minutes ago, Joe said:

Hi guys - I'm mostly a lurker on here, but I feel I need to chime in.

People leave the church for many reasons. My older brother left the church because he didn't like it. He liked to to party and have fun and do whatever he wanted, so he left the church the moment he left the house. I know lots of people in this camp.

I also know lots of people that have left because they didn't fit the mold after trying for many years; either because they were gay or because they had a word of wisdom issue, or just something that made them feel like they didn't feel welcome.

Lately I have seen MANY solid members I know leave the church because they felt they were lied to by the church. They have learned that many of the faith promoting stories they grew up with in sunday school and seminary were embellished or inaccurate.  They have learned that Joseph Smith was not the person they thought he was. They have learned that the official version of the first vision we have in our scriptures is not quite what Joseph said happened in 1832. They learn that Joseph used a seer stone to lead people on bogus treasure hunts for profit, then used that same stone to dictate the Book of Mormon without even looking at the plates. They learn that the Book of Abraham was a fraudulent translation of the Egyptian papyri. They learn Joseph married many young brides; many behind Emma's back.

They once thought this kind of information was anti-mormon lies, but now it's all on lds.org, presented as truth. This info starts them down the rabbit hole, and many good people lose their literal belief in the church. 

What you describe has been my own experience as well.  That's why the leaders are paying attention and attempting to make changes.  I applaud them for doing so too.

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8 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

This is the very antithesis of Jesus' message and gospel.

You are essentially correct. A Church that does not attempt to correct people's perceptions, reorder their priorities, change their desires and alter their behaviours is inherently un-Christian. If Jesus is a Saviour -- and He is! -- this requires that there be wrongs that He needs to save us from.

I taught for two years in an alternative high school for 'troubled' youth. One of the first things I had to fix before I could really teach this wonderful assortment of drug addicts, youth offenders, runaways, and antisocials was their desire not to be challenged by the educational enterprise. As one student put it so clearly once, 'Mr Tuhan, we don't want to have to do anything we can't already do'.

We live in a day where similar attitudes seem to have spread to professed Christian faith communities: 'Lord, don't ask me to believe anything I don't already believe ... or do anything I don't already like doing'.

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7 minutes ago, ALarson said:

I swear Hamba, you always have the most extreme, bizarre stories to tell!!!

I genuinely don't think I shared anything extreme. We have a significant number of posters on this very board who adamantly and repeatedly insist that the Church is dead wrong when it comes to issues of sexuality and yet who claim they are still active and participating in their wards and stakes.

Quote

Some have kids on full ride scholarships and kids who are leaders in their high schools and so on.

In light of how many times the scriptures warn against being wise in our own eyes or too learned to hearken unto the counsel of God, I suspect the Lord is not unfamiliar with losing some of His intellectually talented and socially capable disciples.

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10 minutes ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

In light of how many times the scriptures warn against being wise in our own eyes or too learned to hearken unto the counsel of God, I suspect the Lord is not unfamiliar with losing some of His intellectually talented and socially capable disciples.

You know, I do worry about this younger generation regarding many of the social issues (just being honest).  I know that makes me sound really old (and I am...ha!).  But I do see them leaving more over social issues (now or in their future) rather than any historical issues with the church.  Those (the church history issues) seems to be more affecting my generation and the one right behind me.  The youth are very much into many of the social concerns, which I see as a positive and I applaud them for this.....but it also can clash with some of the current church teachings and policies.

Overall though, I think the youth of the church are incredible kids.  It's just a concern I have....also with the social media involvement as well (and cellphone and video game obsessions and so on...).  Ok, now I sound old again.....

Edited by ALarson

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8 minutes ago, ALarson said:

You know, I do worry about this younger generation regarding many of the social issues (just being honest).

Yes. One of the young men whom I helped return to Church at age 15 was dumbfounded repeatedly as he came to realise that what he'd been taught at school regarding certain social issues was so often in clear conflict with the scriptures and the teachings of Latter-day prophets. It forced him to reassess what was right and wrong -- and why! -- which is a good thing in the end because he's solid now. I got to witness his sealing last month. So sweet! And I doubt his own children will be quite as confused because he has a plan in place to teach them not just the whats but also the whys.

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13 minutes ago, ALarson said:

, I do worry about this younger generation regarding many of the social issu

Every generation has had to figure out its own way.  Given it wasn't until the 1950s and 60s (in the US at least) the "nuclear family" became the most common family unit,  I suspect many adults at that time had to figure out what life meant away from the constant presence of parents and grandparents and other extended family.  And new tech to adapt to was televison.

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6 hours ago, the narrator said:

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:

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.

Amen.

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2 hours ago, Joe said:

Hi guys - I'm mostly a lurker on here, but I feel I need to chime in.

People leave the church for many reasons. My older brother left the church because he didn't like it. He liked to to party and have fun and do whatever he wanted, so he left the church the moment he left the house. I know lots of people in this camp.

I also know lots of people that have left because they didn't fit the mold after trying for many years; either because they were gay or because they had a word of wisdom issue, or just something that made them feel like they didn't feel welcome.

Lately I have seen MANY solid members I know leave the church because they felt they were lied to by the church. They have learned that many of the faith promoting stories they grew up with in sunday school and seminary were embellished or inaccurate.  They have learned that Joseph Smith was not the person they thought he was. They have learned that the official version of the first vision we have in our scriptures is not quite what Joseph said happened in 1832. They learn that Joseph used a seer stone to lead people on bogus treasure hunts for profit, then used that same stone to dictate the Book of Mormon without even looking at the plates. They learn that the Book of Abraham was a fraudulent translation of the Egyptian papyri. They learn Joseph married many young brides; many behind Emma's back.

They once thought this kind of information was anti-mormon lies, but now it's all on lds.org, presented as truth. This info starts them down the rabbit hole, and many good people lose their literal belief in the church.

So you have seen lots of people leave because they did not fit the mold and have seen many solid members leave after they have felt lied to.  After all this, how many do you know are still left?

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6 hours ago, the narrator said:

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.

I take your point, and it may be worthwhile for sociological studies to be done with those differences in mind.  However, there are two distinct types of Mormonism (even though Pres Nelson hates that term):  The first and most common form of Mormonism is of the TBM variety, which tends to glib evangelical-style forms of belief and worship, with an emphasis on Scripture and the words of recent prophets -- who might as easily substitute for Billy Graham.  The second and much less common form of Mormonism is informed by wide-reading of secular history, training in critical thinking, and is founded on a humanistic and naturalistic philosophical base.  It strongly differentiates the LDS faith from the fundamental bases of Protestant thought, i.e., finds a theological coherence not present in other religions, while at the same time providing a healthy and pragmatic sense of community (a way of life).  Sterling McMurrin certainly understood the difference.  The TBMs are generally unaware of the existence of this second mode of belief, nor that it best embodies the teachings of Joseph Smith.

A past generation of LDS professors of religion obtained EdD degrees, which was just fine for CES personnel (I suppose), but gained little respect from Hugh Nibley, Leonard Arrington and their fellow LDS  scholars.  Getting a fine liberal arts education may not pay the bills, but it is certainly worth the risk to one's faith.  Then too, several generations of LDS biologists have accepted the norms of evolutionary biology (including all those teaching at BYU).  That has not led to apostasy, and it demonstrates that the STEM fields, which do pay the bills, are preferred for very practical reasons.

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Edited by Gray

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47 minutes ago, Gray said:

I have plenty of liberal friends, but your story sounds like a campfire tale meant to scare evangelicals away from liberalism :P

Calling someone a liar, even if you tried to do it "nicely" ("But I didn't use those four words!") is very, very poor form.  I often disagree with you.  I think, probably, we're both completely okay with that: "If two people are of precisely the same opinion on absolutely everything, one of them is unnecessary."  I certainly don't think you're unnecessary (however we might (dis)agree).  I do, however, expect better from you than this.  (You'll probably ignore that, and that's probably a wise decision, but ... for the record.)

Edited by Kenngo1969
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35 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Calling someone a liar, even if you tried to do it "nicely" ("But I didn't use those four words!") is very, very poor form.  I often disagree with you.  I think, probably, we're both completely okay with that: "If two people are of precisely the same opinion on absolutely everything, one of them is unnecessary."  I certainly don't think you're unnecessary (however we might (dis)agree).  I do, however, expect better from you than this.  (You'll probably ignore that, and that's probably a wise decision, but ... for the record.)

I wasn't intending to call him a liar. I will admit some of his stories sound unbelievable compared with my life experience, but maybe that's just a culture difference from living in two different countries.

I'll delete the post, I certainly don't want any bad feelings.

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1 hour ago, Gray said:

I have plenty of liberal friends, but your story sounds like a campfire tale meant to scare evangelicals away from liberalism :P

I am not sure what you are saying - is Tuhan a liar or are you saying that only criticisms and attacks on Christ's teachings on morals sound like the truth?  Or is this an attempt at humor and this medium of communication makes it difficult to get?

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15 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I strongly disagree. Do some "marginal" members leave. Yeah. Obviously. That's probably why there's a 50-60% inactivity level. Many were baptized before understanding or committing, many dropped out very young before they could really study and research much etc. But many, especially within the past decade when information has become so accessible, are leaving precisely because they are examining the faith more closely. Upon closer study they find problems with history, doctrine, prophetic fallibility, doctrinal change etc. So many of these people have been faithful members. Full tithe payers. Temple goers, Active participants. Seminary teachers, Bishops, Ward Council members, RS Presidents etc. I don't know how anyone could claim that these people were "marginal". Regardless, I'd recommend getting away from the language of "marginal" altogether. I don't think you mean it this way, but it comes across as very dismissive and condescending.

I haven't read through the studies you posted links for, but I did notice they are 20-30 years old. I think a LOT has changed in the last 20-30 years. I don't know that a study from that long ago, pre-internet, is going to be very applicable to today. When it comes down to it, at the most basic level, people become inactive or leave the church entirely because they don't (or no longer) believe that the church is what it claims to be. They don't believe it's the "one and only" true church, or they don't believe the prophet truly speaks for God, or they don't believe that church policies fairly represent God's desire for His children. They don't believe...so they don't attend. They vote with their feet, and sometimes a resignation letter.

Now, you may be right that a "small minority" of the entire 60% of inactive members closely study the LDS faith, but I think if you were to look more closely at the reasons why "faithful", active, engaged saints leave, will look vastly different from the masses who never really were fully engaged. So you have two different groups that are inactive/leaving. The church has become accustomed to the high inactivity rates and they know that many never become engaged, BUT what has changed is the larger numbers of highly engaged members who are walking away because they no longer believe in the church.

I think the distinction between the two groups is important. I am surprised that technology is not discussed as much. Just look at this discussion forum for example, could you imagine these kind of conversations happening 30 years ago? 

I remember being weary of the second group you mentioned, the group that knew full well the doctrine and demands. The first group just needed fellowship and more teaching. I am sure many of you had/have the same feelings?

Perhaps technology is replacing fellowship as well. I certainly feel that the Church has become more global and needing to conform to meet the demands of a more diverse audience. Gone are the days of activity committees and seeing ward friends two to three times a week. I can now login to a forum and interact with my "kind" of people. Perhaps their kind of people have a near photographic memory of Journals of Discourse and think coffee is okay (or Earl Grey).

Perhaps a holodeck visit will help me. "Computer: select Mormon worship services, 1975, with accompanying potluck and roadshow."

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4 hours ago, carbon dioxide said:

So you have seen lots of people leave because they did not fit the mold and have seen many solid members leave after they have felt lied to.  After all this, how many do you know are still left?

I wonder too. My pews have less indents and a lot more gray hair.

But so did the Presbyterian Church I visited up the street from me...

It isn't a Church thing, it is a church thing.

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14 minutes ago, Jean-Luc Picard said:

Gone are the days of ... seeing ward friends two to three times a week.

Isn't this exactly what we do when we minister to each other? Serious question.

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3 minutes ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

Isn't this exactly what we do when we minister to each other? Serious question.

Not to be glib, but I am assigned families to visit. Most of mine don't have much in common with me, "you ski?" Reply, "no I just watch baking shows."

I mean, where the Church is a hub of activity most nights. A meeting place where people gather for an hour after church, just to talk.

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