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Duncan

"Why some people leave the Church"

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1 minute ago, Jean-Luc Picard said:

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'm assigned some too. I don't think we have much in common at all, either, but over the years, we've become friends. I've been visiting a certain part-member family for eight years now. For the first two years, the less-active  husband just abused me at the door. Then he let me in. A few months ago, I took the Elders with me to a visit. Afterwards, one of them said, 'Wow, I'm glad he has you to talk to. I bet he doesn't share any of that with  anyone else'. And I don't think he does.

But I also visit heaps of people who aren't assigned to me. I had a strong impression Monday last week to check on a close brother in the ward. He's been having family trouble. We ended up driving down to the river at 9pm, stripping out of our clothes, swimming down to the weir, and then sitting on the edge of it and watching the full moon rise over the hills as the warm waters flowed past us. For a while, we talked about things that interest us, and then he talked about his family situation. We didn't get home till after midnight.

I'd class both of these 'ministering'.

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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.

Probably half of our ward gather for close to an hour after church each week, just to talk. I've noted that people stay longer now that church is shorter. And our chapel is in use pretty much every weeknight but Monday. Tuesday is Mutual and Faith in God. Wednesday is Institute. Thursday we have self-reliance courses. And every Friday that doesn't have something else planned is a sports night.

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5 minutes ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

I'm assigned some too. I don't think we have much in common at all, either, but over the years, we've become friends. I've been visiting a certain part-member family for eight years now. For the first two years, the less-active  husband just abused me at the door. Then he let me in. A few months ago, I took the Elders with me to a visit. Afterwards, one of them said, 'Wow, I'm glad he has you to talk to. I bet he doesn't share any of that with  anyone else'. And I don't think he does.

But I also visit heaps of people who aren't assigned to me. I had a strong impression Monday last week to check on a close brother in the ward. He's been having family trouble. We ended up driving down to the river at 9pm, stripping out of our clothes, swimming down to the weir, and then sitting on the edge of it and watching the full moon rise over the hills as the warm waters flowed past us. For a while, we talked about things that interest us, and then he talked about his family situation. We didn't get home till after midnight.

I'd class both of these 'ministering'.

Probably half of our ward gather for close to an hour after church each week, just to talk. I've noted that people stay longer now that church is shorter. And our chapel is in use pretty much every weeknight but Monday. Tuesday is Mutual and Faith in God. Wednesday is Institute. Thursday we have self-reliance courses. And every Friday that doesn't have something else planned is a sports night.

This all seems surreal to me (what you describe).  Stripping off your clothes and swimming and sitting out until midnight?  Wow...unreal.  All the rest too!  You have a unique ward for sure.  Where do you live, can I ask? (I know it’s not in the U.S., right?).

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37 minutes ago, JulieM said:

This all seems surreal to me (what you describe).

And it genuinely seems 'surreal' to me when people imply that caring for each other and really spending time together is somehow unusual where they live. I hope they're wrong! It's what I've experienced in multiple nations in the Church. When I was working on a Caribbean island, I used to go midnight swimming with a counsellor in our branch presidency and his sons every full moon. (It was a family tradition that they invited me into -- part of absorbing me into their family.) Talking about the gospel and sharing testimonies afterwards as we air-dried in the warm sea breeze is a cherished memory.

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Where do you live, can I ask? (I know it’s not in the U.S., right?).

No, I'm not currently in the US, but I have lived there, and I feel like it wasn't abnormal to spend time together there either. I remember one Saturday night when I was doing my master's degree that I dropped a returning member home after an Institute activity, and we ended up sitting in my car outside his house and talking about his life and the gospel till the sun came up. Then we realised that we'd better get ready for church!

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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14 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The coming "Night of the Long Knives" cannot be far behind.

Are you serious or are you dismissing my comments?

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12 hours ago, the narrator said:

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.

The big box churches have that sewed up already

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12 hours 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).

There is Elder Maxwell’s prophecy....

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Make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters, in the months and years ahead, events are likely to require each member to decide whether or not he will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions....

This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions. Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened.

 https://www.lds.org/ensign/1979/02/a-more-determined-discipleship?lang=eng&_r=1

 

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12 hours ago, Calm said:

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

I agree. It is state law and not unique to Washington. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/should-kids-with-head-lice-be-allowed-at-school/

Edited by Bernard Gui

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8 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

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.

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

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2 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

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

Indeed. Life is full of irony. And people certainly evolve, both outside and inside the Church. It's all quite fascinating to watch in others, difficult to watch in myself.

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16 minutes ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

Indeed. Life is full of irony. And people certainly evolve, both outside and inside the Church. It's all quite fascinating to watch in others, difficult to watch in myself.

The mote and the beam.

My favorite Brigham Young quote...”To mind your own business incorporates the whole duty of man.”

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” 
― Theodore Roosevelt

And from the 12-step program, “We are there to sweep off our side of the street, realizing that nothing worth while can be accomplished until we do so, never trying to tell him what he should do. His faults are not discussed. We stick to our own.”

Edited by Bernard Gui
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1 hour ago, Bernard Gui said:

Are you serious or are you dismissing my comments?

Your list of horribles inspired me.

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10 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

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.

 

It would be nice if Nelson embraced evolution... 

I guess I am an example of someone who was a temple-going, 100% all-in, calling fulfilling educated TBM (PhD in STEM field).  I didnot leave the church from reading internet sites - theory vs. applied... you can force everything to be good in theory.... it was the applied experience - experience of a pedophile church leader, experience of adulterous HP - then realizing this is who JS was... in theory you can make anything work.  "Trials" - and going through trials with no support, no direction from leadership - fear of leadership - watching leadership protect abusers and turn their backs on victims - that is a different thing than just thinking through the theory...

 

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In my experience whenever a member explains why another leaves that explanation is 100% wrong nearly 100% of the time, according to the person who leaves.  My wife absolutely stopped going in 2017, hasn't gone back.  A person or two has tried to reach out a time or two since, but no one has asked her a question about what's going on--other than a RS Pres asking her via text if she was offended.  But I know everyone is floating different theories and rumors...and for that which I've gotten wind of, none of them have anything to do with what my wife is.  I'm out, pretty much.  I show up every once in a while because I have my reasons, but I'm out.  Everyone in the ward knows I'm out even if I show up, it seems to me.  I'm sure there's plenty of assumptions and gossipy stories about me.  That's just how it goes. 

The problem is people, as individuals are complex mechanisms of competing and varied motivations and intentions.  Whatever we do we, we do because of many things.  The Church tends to want to generalize, pigeon hole people and categorize people for ease and what turns out to be control--whether the Church intends that or not.  The exclusivity attitude of church is it's biggest downfall if you ask me--it has sucked in nearly every member in some way.    

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13 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?

Those that have stayed, but don't fit the mold, live double lives. 

In my current calling I have had very intimate conversations with members about their struggles with not living up to the standards. A lot of men view pornography frequently. One guy was viewing the most vile stuff the internet has to offer at night, and working as an ordinance worker in the temple during the day. Many guys I've talked to have crossed the boundary between fantasy and reality, but you'd never know it on Sunday. A lot of these guys are highly respected and looked up to.

 

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3 hours ago, changed said:

........................

I guess I am an example of someone who was a temple-going, 100% all-in, calling fulfilling educated TBM (PhD in STEM field).  I didnot leave the church from reading internet sites - theory vs. applied... you can force everything to be good in theory.... it was the applied experience - experience of a pedophile church leader, experience of adulterous HP - then realizing this is who JS was... in theory you can make anything work.  "Trials" - and going through trials with no support, no direction from leadership - fear of leadership - watching leadership protect abusers and turn their backs on victims - that is a different thing than just thinking through the theory...

One might favor a corrupt system for a time, but it will fail in the long run, just as the Soviet system finally collapsed, just as Nazism ran its course.  The failures are guaranteed by the corruption and contradictions internal to the system.  Any system which is built on an unstable foundation, and which has no self-correcting mechanism(s) will eventually fail, and it may cause horrific damage in the process.  Jordan Peterson sees this as especially true of the totalitarian systems of the 20th century (Marxism and Fascism):  The evidence of failure is there in the body count, over a hundred million dead just because someone was committed to a failed utopian ideology.

However, to expect a coherent system to be perfect is to court the opposite danger.  One has to ask why the Jews have been so successful in surviving for thousands of years (Lawrence of Arabia referred to them as "the eternal miracle").  Yet they have within their ranks pedophiles, liars, cheats, and thieves aplenty.  They also have a coherent system of religious belief and practice, a powerful sense of community.  They take care of each other.  And they stand for the highest ethical and moral standards known to humankind.  The professionals among them are among the best people to be found anywhere on the planet, and their scientists continually find creative ways to help their fellow humans -- defeat disease, for example.

It is no accident that the Mormons are also very successful, provide more humanitarian aid per capita than other religions, have a much higher level of educations than most other groups, and provide a much deeper sense of community/ethnicity than most other religions.  That, together with a solid theological base, makes for strong, long-term survival qualities.  One seldom sees that elsewhere, except among the Jews.  The notion of infallibility is a red herring in that context.  For there will be trials, and things will certainly go wrong.  They always do.  But it is a matter of dealing with such challenges effectively that should consume us, rather than jettisoning a good system.

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11 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

And it genuinely seems 'surreal' to me when people imply that caring for each other and really spending time together is somehow unusual where they live. I hope they're wrong! It's what I've experienced in multiple nations in the Church. When I was working on a Caribbean island, I used to go midnight swimming with a counsellor in our branch presidency and his sons every full moon. (It was a family tradition that they invited me into -- part of absorbing me into their family.) Talking about the gospel and sharing testimonies afterwards as we air-dried in the warm sea breeze is a cherished memory.

No, I'm not currently in the US, but I have lived there, and I feel like it wasn't abnormal to spend time together there either. I remember one Saturday night when I was doing my master's degree that I dropped a returning member home after an Institute activity, and we ended up sitting in my car outside his house and talking about his life and the gospel till the sun came up. Then we realised that we'd better get ready for church!

You must have a gift of sorts that let people open up to you.  I envy that...!

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1 hour ago, katherine the great said:

This man embodies almost everything I dislike about church culture. If he were to say "this is my opinion on why some people leave the church", I would be all ears. But he speaks authoritatively as if he has some special knowledge and even his website name: "truthwillprevail..." Barf.

This is my favorite "We see the works of false Christs when women and homosexuals are ordained to the priesthood, as it is supposed. . . ."                                           As if women and homosexuals should aspire to serve God according to their own understanding--Oh the horror! You don't believe in the legitimacy of their priesthood anyway so why do you even care? It isn't enough to preach to members of the church, he needs to slam other religions as well.

I wholeheartedly agree, he's fanatical about it and it is so off putting. He writes books and they get sold at various church stores and stuff. I yuck yuck yuck when he presumes to speak for others and he knows all the secrets, and he knows what all these leaders are thinking and in one post he said  "I feel safe in suggesting that neither of these apostles (Elders Holland and Nelson) were there to learn new doctrine or to obtain an improved interpretation of any scriptural text from this fine Jewish scholar, who did not believe that Jesus was/is the Christ. Neither of them could be taught doctrine about God and the plan of salvation by Tov" and he knows this how?!

Edited by Duncan
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I have read over and over of people saying they never studied Mormonism more than they did when they started questioning and it became an addiction, spending thousands of hours studying websites, books, listening to podcasts etc. I would say the majority of TBM members are like the top half, and maybe the ex'd or dissaffected, or scholarly types would be the second half. Why even the top leaders were unaware of certain situations in our history I've read.

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52 minutes ago, carbon dioxide said:

I believe that is a gross characterization of both sides.  There are members that study the doctrine, history, ect in great detail and look at all the issues and know just as much as the smartest ex-mormon, and there are ex-mormons that leave accepting arguments and things in s that are pretty shallow and superficial like some members do.  People believe and not believe for many different reasons. 

I don't think it's a bad thing for members to not go deep into doctrine/history, they're too busy living their religion in other ways, probably better than most.

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My brother left because he was offended. It happened when he was 14. He still holds the grudge. He was told that he was helping a kid that he didn't want to help. He refused and was told that he had too. He is 48 and still holds the grudge. It's sad to me. 

I never stuggled with the gospel. I struggled with the people.  We struggled to have baby #3. People were mean about us only having two kids. It hurt so badly. We were left out of many things in the wards because we weren't good enough because we only had two kids. I was told this. I wasn't one to broadcast my infertility around. It was none of their business.  I heard horrible things when my daughter was stillborn. I had to stop myself from slapping some of them.   

My dad has always said the Gospel is true but the people are may not be. We moved away from that ward. I couldn't stand how they changed when my next baby was born alive and I had three kids and could be included in the good mormon club there. I won't say my new ward is great.  They shoved me straight into nursery.  It's been two years and I have never been to relief society here. No One knows me and it's lonely at church. But then again, I don't go to church for the people.  I can see why people leave over others behavior and why others stick around.

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On 1/29/2019 at 12:43 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

I do not see people leaving the LDS faith as a problem, but rather an artifact of free agency -- which should be welcomed.  I don't think that we should become upset over disaffiliation the way the Jewish community does when their people assimilate and disappear from the community.  That is merely part of a necessary winnowing process.

It is very hard for me to worship a Heavenly Father who by ‘necessity’ employed a ‘winnowing’ process.  Why is my capacity to love my children greater than God’s?

Also, if winnowing is part of the plan - why reach out at all to those who leave the fold?  Is the ministering program antithetical to your understanding of God’s winnowing plan?

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4 hours ago, Jeanne said:

You must have a gift of sorts that let people open up to you.  I envy that...!

That's a very sweet way of putting it. Thank you!

I suspect what's closer to the truth is that I'm a really simple man who just likes people and assumes everyone will like me, but I'm also a really stubborn man who keeps pushing my way into people's lives until they realise just how much I like them. :P

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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9 hours ago, changed said:

... it was the applied experience - experience of a pedophile church leader, experience of adulterous HP - then realizing this is who JS was ...

Fellow PhD here, though in history. I'm interested how you came to realise through applied experience who Joseph Smith was. To me, that sounds like you've extrapolated and are therefore back in the realm of theory. Thanks! :good:

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