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Secularization Hits the Mormons

At least 40% of those in my own family and other active families I know who were raised in the LDS faith have left the church.  

89 members have voted

  1. 1. At least 40% of those in my own family and other active families I know who were raised in the LDS faith have left the church.

    • True
      28
    • False
      61
  2. 2. I believe God is a real “exalted person of bone and flesh"

    • True
      65
    • False
      24
  3. 3. I believe that Jesus was literally resurrected.

    • True
      71
    • False
      18


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18 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

The notion of a glorified human as God is the most humanistic elevation of mankind that can exist.

Why Mormons don't see that I don't know.

If we realize that when God is a human Humanism becomes theology then the secularists will have nothing on us.

I joined the church BECAUSE I was and am a secularist.

I was listening to Allen Watts recently, and sometimes I wonder if that guy ever read Joseph Smith...I keep finding myself nodding my head in agreement with a lot of the stuff he says.

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1 hour ago, Gray said:

About 60% of my siblings have left the church, although most of them seem to have retained some kind of notion about spirituality or God.

Does "left the church" mean formal resignation, excommunication, or becoming less-active or inactive?

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1 minute ago, CV75 said:

Does "left the church" mean formal resignation, excommunication, or becoming less-active or inactive?

Only one formally resigned - for a while she was a member of another church. The rest never attend.

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I grew up in a very mormon household.  

Out of six siblings (including myself) only two are still in and I suspect that one of those has one foot out the door.

 

My parents are still TBM.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

The notion of a glorified human as God is the most humanistic elevation of mankind that can exist.

Why Mormons don't see that I don't know.

If we realize that when God is a human Humanism becomes theology then the secularists will have nothing on us.

I joined the church BECAUSE I was and am a theistic humanistic secularist.

 

Maybe you won’t agree, but I think yours is a distinction without much of a practical difference. I think we look forward to (more or less) the same outcome.

Those of us of the Catholic/Orthodox persuasion also believe in the notion of glorified humans - us!  Or, we will be after our divinization - all because “the son of God became (hu)man so that we might become God.” So said St. Athanasius, the super Catholic. He even has a cape.

The underpinning theology differs in a profound way, but the practical outcome down the road for the faithful is similar: deified human beings. From our point of view,  we just won’t be creating planets and populating them with spirit children.  Beyond that, the results are kind of the same. 

Edited by Spammer
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Six kids in my family.

One is totally out.

Two are almost totally out (from what I can tell).

Two are attending, but I wouldn't say "die-hard-TBM" (from what I can tell, greater appreciation for the social and community aspects).

One is super-TBM (interstingly, with a super-TBM spouse and apparently super-TBM children, but their oldest son, an RM and brilliant Monson-Scholarship recipient at BYU, has recently lost belief in the Church).

 

 

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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

The notion of a glorified human as God is the most humanistic elevation of mankind that can exist.

Why Mormons don't see that I don't know.

If we realize that when God is a human Humanism becomes theology then the secularists will have nothing on us.

I joined the church BECAUSE I was and am a theistic humanistic secularist.

Interesting choice of words. As an adjective secular means non-religious, temporal or worldly. As a noun secularist means an advocate of the separation of Church and state. I've never really noticed that before. That would definitely make me a secularist, as I believe that is where the early Church went wrong - when it became an institution of the state. However, I am definitely not secular. Rather, I am an advocate for Christianity.

Humanism is defined as an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems. I don't fully embrace those outlooks, but I can see your point that the Latter Day Saint outlook can take humanism to a new level - a new humanism where man becomes one with God even as Yeshua prayed. So, I googled theistic humanism and came up with something first written by Hartshorne in 1950: https://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/theology-philosophy/theistic-humanism/   I suppose you would define it as a system of belief where the divine or supernatural and the "human" combine into something as one rather than existing in separate spheres. I would say that might be a good definition for the soul...

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2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Dr. Zuckerman's article is filled with deep anti-Mormon prejudice and misinformation, and he can't even spell Jana Riess' name correctly.  If such an article were written about Jews, it would immediately be condemned as "antisemitic" by the ADL.  However, Mormons are an easy target, so such concerns do not apply.

What did you find "misinforming" in the article.  He's obviously basing all of his statements on Jana Riess's research, and cites many of her numbers, so did you find anything that he said that wasn't supported by her data?

 

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I know far more inctive members than active, our former Patriarch is inactive and so they got the current one. Everyone in my family that has been baptized is active, my son and Aunt haven't been baptized. My Aunt is NUTS and she told us not to baptize her for the dead but we are anyways just to cheese her off for eternity.

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51 minutes ago, Spammer said:

Maybe you won’t agree, but I think yours is a distinction without much of a practical difference. I think we look forward to (more or less) the same outcome.

Those of us of the Catholic/Orthodox persuasion also believe in the notion of glorified humans - us!  Or, we will be after our divinization - all because “the son of God became (hu)man so that we might become God.” So said St. Athanasius, the super Catholic. He even has a cape.

Why then Athanasius so persecuted "Arianism" is almost a mystery to me. I see that as the point of Arianism - that we can become like Christ, whereas I suppose, in Athanasius' view Christ doesn't change. i suppose it was a battle to define how Christ was God.

51 minutes ago, Spammer said:

The underpinning theology differs in a profound way, but the practical outcome down the road for the faithful is similar: deified human beings. From our point of view,  we just won’t be creating planets and populating them with spirit children.  Beyond that, the results are kind of the same. 

For what it's worth I don't picture myself going off and having eternal sex to create spirit children for another world, I suppose that might be a nice thought, but not terribly realistic. I really don't know how much of the Church believes that. I also think that theology is fundamentally flawed or inconsistent with our theology that some prove themselves valiant in the pre-existence. I don't see how that is possible without a prior world. All our scriptures teach this world is the time to prove ourselves faithful. One cannot prove themselves faithful in heaven. I would pose the mystery of the gospel is the world(s) to come. Since we know God created this world through Christ, why would God create a new heaven and a new earth? Will there be a Christ He does that with?

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1 hour ago, cinepro said:

Six kids in my family.

One is totally out.

Two are almost totally out (from what I can tell).

Two are attending, but I wouldn't say "die-hard-TBM" (from what I can tell, greater appreciation for the social and community aspects).

One is super-TBM (interstingly, with a super-TBM spouse and apparently super-TBM children, but their oldest son, an RM and brilliant Monson-Scholarship recipient at BYU, has recently lost belief in the Church).

 

 

I'm trying to decide which one is you here...

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18 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

I'm trying to decide which one is you here...

I am going to guess he is the super-TBM one and he is playing a role here. ;) 

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5 hours ago, changed said:

Just wondering what people think of the numbers quoted in this article:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/the-secular-life/201905/secularization-hits-the-mormons?fbclid=IwAR1uMhhS5pT5J_P9P70mDSLxZR_0pN2ChamyyA2lpXCVUsG16sNd_mnAl1w

Also, is there room for secular agnostic participants within Mormonism, and if so, to what degree would such members be allowed to contribute?  (What church callings, etc. would they be allowed to hold)

Non-literal secular participants - this is what it is turning into for a lot of people:  American churches must reject literalism and admit we got it wrong on gay people

What do people here take literally, and what not?  The flood?  the creation?  How many here believe J.S. was a prophet vs. not?  

*  Mormon retention rates are dropping: In 2007, 70% of those raised in the LDS church were still in it as adults, but in 2014, only 64% were -- and among Millennials, it was down to 62%. According to Riess, such apostasy rates are gaining momentum, so that soon “as many as half of Millennials who were raised Mormon may be leaving the faith.”

* Mormon faith is weakening: 86% of older Mormons know that “God is real,” but only 68% of Millennial Mormons share such a conviction; 83% of older Mormons confidently know that Jesus was literally resurrected, but only 57% of Millennial Mormons hold this belief; 61% of older Mormons firmly believe that God created Adam and Eve sometime in the last 10,000 years, but only 47% of Millennial Mormons share this belief.

* Belief in specific Mormon teachings is in decline: 67% of older Mormons believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, but only 51% of Millennial Mormons believe so; 68% of older Mormons believe that God is an “exalted person of bone and flesh,” but only 55% of Millennial Mormons hold that belief; 62% of older Mormons believe that the Book of Mormon is a literal, historical account, but only 50% of Millennial Mormons do.

Confidence in religion is down: Whereas 92% of older Mormons think religious organizations are a force for good, 62% of younger Mormons think so.

Thank you for posting this survey and these questions.

I believe the flood, the Creation, JS et seq. are parts of cycles.

Like software dev lifecycle, everything else has a cycle, calli t the pride cycle if you like.

Beginning - middle - end 

matter formed - matter in operation - matter in dissolution - reassembly (repeat cycle as necessary) :)

Intelligence - "birth" into a spirit body - birth into mortality

Mortal Birth - mortal life - death

Resurrection - eternal progression - eternal progeny

-

Being an alum of the social "sciences," I'm also cautious of limited surveys from periodicals of a certain political leaning (be it right or left), who sample the current "generation" and due to the abundance of electronics, assume they are smarter, more experienced, have read more, lived more, etc. than the prior generations.  

“Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times." -Michael Hopf

WWI, WWII - BABYBOOM - 1970S - PRESENT - NEAR - FUTURE CONFLICT (this future conflict/ rapid decline has been discussed by Chris Hedges, Doug Casey, and JS et seq.)

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, changed said:

I don't consider them terribly accurate due to the nature of the method of data collection, but in reality they aren't far off. The Church claims about 16 million members, but we all know that perhaps only a third of those are active, tithe paying members. My own family provides a microcosm. Out of the five siblings and my parents who all got baptized, only myself and a brother are active. My guess is the number of converts who join experience similar numbers. I am not sure what the number was, but my guess is at least a quarter of the Church did not follow the main Church out west. A significant number of early converts left the Church - even amongst the original eight witnesses. So, it seems the attrition rate has always been high. I don't think those numbers show that "secularization" has recently hit the Church.

5 hours ago, changed said:

Also, is there room for secular agnostic participants within Mormonism, and if so, to what degree would such members be allowed to contribute?  (What church callings, etc. would they be allowed to hold)

Well, if they are self-proclaimed agnostics, there is room for them to attend, but no, I don't think they will be called to serve in most callings.

 

5 hours ago, changed said:

Non-literal secular participants - this is what it is turning into for a lot of people:  American churches must reject literalism and admit we got it wrong on gay people

What do people here take literally, and what not?  The flood?  the creation?  How many here believe J.S. was a prophet vs. not?  

Is secularism up in general? Yes, no doubt. I think that is an issue in all modern Churches. 

What do I take literally, and what not? That is far too complicated a question for this thread. But, I do believe that a literal reading of Genesis has become an issue for Christianity. Do I believe God created the world? Sure, I do. I believe the seven "days" are seven generations summarized as days for the purpose of foreshadowing a weekly calendar and the seven seals, but no, the earth was not created in seven of our modern earth days. Do I believe there was a great flood? Sure. There were many.  The phrase "all the earth" is one of hyperbole which is used elsewhere to mean all the visible or known surroundings. Why then did God command Noah to build an ark? Why did He command Moses to build a tabernacle, and David a temple?

Was Joseph Smith a prophet. Yes, he was.. and imperfect he was. Yet, he did see the oracles clearly, and pointed the Church in the right direction.

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35 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

 

For what it's worth I don't picture myself going off and having eternal sex to create spirit children for another world, I suppose that might be a nice thought, but not terribly realistic.

There has always been a pull between heaven being a physical fulfillment or a more spiritual one. I remember an old short story about a barbarian King approached by both Islamic and Christian missionaries vying for his conversion. After describing their spiritual bliss of praising God forever the Christians try to mock the Islamic afterlife with its promise of sex and carnal pleasure. One of the Islamic missionaries moves to counter but his more experienced colleague makes him stop. The barbarian King is enthralled with the caricature of the Muslim afterlife and chooses to convert to it.

My thoughts on heaven and the dichotomy between spiritual fulfillment and the raptures of physical pleasure in all forms is:

0fc.gif

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3 hours ago, SteveO said:

I was listening to Allen Watts recently, and sometimes I wonder if that guy ever read Joseph Smith...I keep finding myself nodding my head in agreement with a lot of the stuff he says.

So yes- I read all that stuff before I joined the church- and lots more.

So now maybe you understand my position better.  Here it all was- in ONE church!

And then God zapped me but that is another story....  ;)

 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Spammer said:

Maybe you won’t agree, but I think yours is a distinction without much of a practical difference. I think we look forward to (more or less) the same outcome.

Those of us of the Catholic/Orthodox persuasion also believe in the notion of glorified humans - us!  Or, we will be after our divinization - all because “the son of God became (hu)man so that we might become God.” So said St. Athanasius, the super Catholic. He even has a cape.

The underpinning theology differs in a profound way, but the practical outcome down the road for the faithful is similar: deified human beings. From our point of view,  we just won’t be creating planets and populating them with spirit children.  Beyond that, the results are kind of the same. 

No I do agree!

But it is all that underpinning theology that is not going to attract secularists.  Three persons in one undefined immaterial substance?

Secularists GET being unified in purpose- heck you do that at work every day- to get the product out.

Your family does it too, and you and your spouse are unified as one (theoretically) in "raising the kids" which is exactly what Father and Mother do as well.

Plus we are materialists- spirit is matter but- using 19th century terms- "more refined" just as one might argue today that matter and energy are one.

Edited by mfbukowski
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1 hour ago, RevTestament said:

Interesting choice of words. As an adjective secular means non-religious, temporal or worldly. As a noun secularist means an advocate of the separation of Church and state. I've never really noticed that before. That would definitely make me a secularist, as I believe that is where the early Church went wrong - when it became an institution of the state. However, I am definitely not secular. Rather, I am an advocate for Christianity.

Humanism is defined as an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems. I don't fully embrace those outlooks, but I can see your point that the Latter Day Saint outlook can take humanism to a new level - a new humanism where man becomes one with God even as Yeshua prayed. So, I googled theistic humanism and came up with something first written by Hartshorne in 1950: https://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/theology-philosophy/theistic-humanism/   I suppose you would define it as a system of belief where the divine or supernatural and the "human" combine into something as one rather than existing in separate spheres. I would say that might be a good definition for the soul...

Yes exactly

Again I read all that before I joined the church.

People do not know that "secular" actually means essentially "separation of church and state" and not "atheist"

And in communication with others- words are all we've got.  ;)

 

Edited by mfbukowski

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3 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

The notion of a glorified human as God is the most humanistic elevation of mankind that can exist.

Why Mormons don't see that I don't know.

If we realize that when God is a human Humanism becomes theology then the secularists will have nothing on us.

I joined the church BECAUSE I was and am a theistic humanistic secularist.

 

Oh and I left out "materialist".

And technically since "Dialectical" means what Joseph would call "proving contraries" because of opposition in all things- that would make us "dialectical materialists".  ;)  ;)

Hey I didn't study with Angela Davis for nuthin'.  ;)

Philosophically that is what "dialectical materialism " means

But dear Angela and Communism has gone astray https://www.heritage.org/civil-society/commentary/angela-davis-and-the-distortion-diversity

Note this dictionary definition- I have made bold MY interpretation 

 
Quote

 

di·a·lec·ti·cal ma·te·ri·al·ism
/ˌdīəˈlektəkəl məˈtirēəˌlizəm/
noun
 
  1. the Marxist theory (adopted as the official philosophy of the Soviet communists) that political and historical events result from the conflict of social forces and are interpretable as a series of contradictions and their solutions. The conflict is believed to be caused by material needs.


 

The "material needs" part is applying the LOGIC of dialectics differently- one could also see "dialectical materialism" as the clash of natural materialist forces in organizing matter unorganized for example.

Bringing order to matter in chaos can be seen as "dialectical materialism".

Now THAT is the kind of dialectical materialism I am talking about !!  ;)

 

 

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49 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

I don't consider them terribly accurate due to the nature of the method of data collection, but in reality they aren't far off. The Church claims about 16 million members, but we all know that perhaps only a third of those are active, tithe paying members. My own family provides a microcosm. Out of the five siblings and my parents who all got baptized, only myself and a brother are active. My guess is the number of converts who join experience similar numbers. I am not sure what the number was, but my guess is at least a quarter of the Church did not follow the main Church out west. A significant number of early converts left the Church - even amongst the original eight witnesses. So, it seems the attrition rate has always been high. I don't think those numbers show that "secularization" has recently hit the Church.

Well, if they are self-proclaimed agnostics, there is room for them to attend, but no, I don't think they will be called to serve in most callings.

 

Is secularism up in general? Yes, no doubt. I think that is an issue in all modern Churches. 

What do I take literally, and what not? That is far too complicated a question for this thread. But, I do believe that a literal reading of Genesis has become an issue for Christianity. Do I believe God created the world? Sure, I do. I believe the seven "days" are seven generations summarized as days for the purpose of foreshadowing a weekly calendar and the seven seals, but no, the earth was not created in seven of our modern earth days. Do I believe there was a great flood? Sure. There were many.  The phrase "all the earth" is one of hyperbole which is used elsewhere to mean all the visible or known surroundings. Why then did God command Noah to build an ark? Why did He command Moses to build a tabernacle, and David a temple?

Was Joseph Smith a prophet. Yes, he was.. and imperfect he was. Yet, he did see the oracles clearly, and pointed the Church in the right direction.

Secularism is actually a political position and not a religious one.   There are a host of books on this subject- this is one

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1634311264/?coliid=IO71NR76FKY0N&colid=3DENV5AC8WEYS&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

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51 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

Do I believe there was a great flood? Sure. There were many.

Ever been to Houston?  ;)

 

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6 hours ago, changed said:

Yes - it would be interesting if previous studies had been done to see if the beliefs of that age group are consistent with time.

I would be interested in seeing a longitudinal study along those lines. My personal observation has been that, as people age, their commitment to the church (and its teachings) either solidifies or they simply end up leaving the church.

 

Quote

What age group are you in? 

According to my now teenage daughter: old. As in, all I have to look forward to in life is becoming a grandpa and then dying.

Guess who now doesn’t get to date until she’s 30… <_<

 

Quote

and did you not believe God was real when you were younger?

I have always considered myself a bit of an outlier here. When I was about sixteen I had some very profound, personal religious experiences which convinced me of the truthfulness of the church. Based on those (and many other) experiences, I can say with perfect confidence that I will remain an active, believing member of the church for the rest of my life.

  

Quote

It is not about "hanging out" - it is about being a good family member.  walk a mile in another's shoes - let's say your family happens to be ____(fill in the blank - Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, atheist, etc.)____ something that you are not.  In order to be a part of your parents/spouse's/children's lives, would you be willing to attend services and activities with them to support them?  Haven't you ever attended the religious or otherwise service/activities of different faiths to support friends?  (or are all your friends Mormon?)

I grew up in a small town in Texas, and I don’t need more than one hand to count the number of friends I had growing up who were Mormon. I’ve been to plenty of other churches over the years. In fact, I just recently attended a weeknight service to support one of my coworkers – she and her husband were giving a sermon on marriage; it was quite nice (except for the music of course – I can’t stand all that wannabe folk/rock nonsense that passes for praise music in most churches these days).

And if my wife were to join another religion – say, Catholicism – then I would happily attend church with her and support her in her faith.

But even if I were to go with her every week, I wouldn’t consider myself to be a ‘secular Catholic.’ I would still be an observant Latter-day Saint – just one who happens to sit with his wife during mass.

 

Quote

What other religious services have you participated in, how welcomed did you feel?  What did you learn?  

I have attended a wide variety of religious services. I have been to Midnight Mass with my Catholic friends; attended more mainstream Protestant churches than I care to recount. I have drunk Kool Aid with Satanists. And I have even tasted maha prashadam – the special, sanctified food of the gods – during the Feast of Juggernaut.

In all my experiences with other faiths, I have always tried to look for whatever truth and light they have to offer – admittedly, a bit trixy when it comes to the Satanists.

At the end of the day though, despite the good that they may have, I find all of them lacking what can only be found in the Church of Jesus Christ: the fullness of the everlasting gospel.

 

Edited by Amulek
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And for what its worth, in the off chance anyone cares, I voted YES on all three questions above.

Sorry but there is no conflict between answering that way and being "secular"

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6 hours ago, bluebell said:

I've lived in 5 different states, been a member of branches and wards in all of them, and I only know two people who have left the church.  Some might have left without me knowing of course, but out of the few hundred that I'm friends with or am in a position to know whether or not they are participating in church, it's just two.

 

No way. Out of all your family, friends/ward members growing up, investigators and mission companions (if you served), only two? Or are you only counting those who formally left (resignation)?

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