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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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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, cinepro said:

What did you find "misinforming" in the article. 

Dr Zuckerman began right off the bat with the following prejudicial statements (maybe you missed them):

Quote

.....the great American Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. found inspiration in the book View of the Hebrews, published by Ethan Smith (no relation) in 1823, and after he claimed to use magical seer-stones in order to translate “Reformed Egyptian” writings found on golden plates that have since gone to heaven,............
....based on the beliefs....that Native Americans are actually the descendants of Middle-Eastern Jews..........

That is not the sort of even-handed and scholarly statement I expect from a professor at the Claremont Colleges (where he could very easily have consulted the resident LDS expert).

Quote

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?

I recently attended a lecture by Jana at a Women's Conference at UVU, and found her presentation balanced and delightful -- based on the same book of research.  He was instead very selective and deeply prejudiced, based apparently on his hard-line secularist POV.  One of Jana's presentations is online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ul2Nd-cNij8 , but I can't find her other presentations there;  However, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9ZBNHa9pr4 .

And here is an earlier presentation by her on the same subject at UVU in 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfBHaZx17c4 .

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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7 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

I actually read this article from USA Today the day it was published because it was in my news feed. My first thought was, "I bet this is the token Christian on the USA Today editorial board - someone who is very secular on their views. That is typical of most major media."

My second thought was that this pastor really has a cafeteria vision of God and his commandments that allows him to pick and choose which sins in the scriptures to believe and which are inconvenient. It definitely is a secular Christian view. Last week I actually Google searched to see if I could find whether or not he even believes in the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ or if it's just 'feel-good-ism' for him.

I think secularization does not work-out well for those in the Church of Jesus Christ. At the end of the day, you either believe that Christ literally died for our sins and was resurrected or you do not. And if you do believe that, you either believe that the current prophet is God's oracle on the earth today or you do not. And if they are God's oracles and God still believes in Sin, then there is not much room for difference of opinion in our church. Plus, with the leadership structure being 15 leaders who lead until death, there is not a lot of chance for rapid changes or shifts in the teachings.

I personally believe the affirmative that this is Christ's church and he set it up in such a rigid manner on purpose - to keep the church from going into mass apostasy. I do not think that the 15 Brethren (or Christ) will start winking at the current trendy sins.

Those who want an 'easy-going church that is soft on sexual sin and that preaches that loving your neighbors means accepting that all of their sins openly' will stay and remain happy in the Church of Jesus Christ. Believing in Christ, the atonement, sin, and repentance is not popular and is only getting more unpopular.

I think we'll continue to see more people leave the church in North America / Europe and the growth of the church happening in more humble (i.e., poor) countries. It won't surprise me if membership in the West becomes flat or even drops off.

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24 minutes ago, member10_1 said:

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)?

Way.  

My family's activity rate remains unchanged (most of my extended family has always been inactive.  Everyone in my immediate family has always been active).  I'm only in touch with one of my investigators (I served a mission before social media and keeping track of them was not pushed) and he's still active.  One of the people that I served with has left the church (I have no idea if she had her name removed or not, we've never discussed it).  The other person that I know of was a friend from college.  I also don't know if she has ever had her name removed.  

Oh wait, I just remembered one more person that has basically left (again, don't know if she's ever had her name removed but I know she attends a different church now).  It's another friend from college.  So make that three.  Maybe i'll remember some more..

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8/9 of my immediate family (including me) are active members still. The other one had his name removed, but from what I understand will still occasionally go to church things if invited.

On my mom's side of the family, my grandparents are very active, and I think that something like 3/4 of my aunts and uncles on that side are active members. The majority of my cousins are active as well as far as I know, though its probably more like 2/3 of them. My mom's family has been in the church for many generations, some of the lines going back to the 1830s. Generally speaking, this side of the family is either very conservative or wants nothing to do with Utah or the church.

On my dad's side, my grandparents are active, as well as all of their kids as far as I'm aware. I think almost all of my cousins are active. There's only one of them that I know is inactive, maybe two others as well, so like 95% active (I have a lot of cousins). My grandparents are converts. I've noticed that generally on my dad's side people don't care as much about cultural traditions and aren't as dogmatic in their views, which might explain why more of them are still active members. Back in the 70s several of my great-uncles joined a polygamist group and tried to get my grandpa and my dad to join them by showing them various statements by Brigham Young about polygamy. I think they had to figure out what they believed about the church and came out on the side of sticking with it, but a little more nuanced.

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Not a great survey, need an option for "I don't know" for two and three.

For me, there's no Mormons remaining in my family outside of three.  Everyone is leaving.  The access to information destroyed the testimonies of my family and my wife's family.  My wife's family and my family don't interact and live 1,000s of miles apart.  My wife's family is pioneer stock.  In my family, my parents converted.  

My wife's family all left over the past 8 years.  She has one sibling that remains and she appears to be on her way out with her little family.  This marks the end of approximately 180 years of Mormonism for her family.

I am shocked at how many are leaving the Church.  I never thought I would see such a flood.

I have one sibling that remains and he has zero idea that JS married the wives of faithful members or any other difficult issue.  If he did, he would probably leave the Church, but he refuses to read any non-approved sources or even the Church authored essays.

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Out of my Two siblings and my two parents - I am the only member left.  Same story as I have heard here.  Pioneer stock on one side, Dad an RM who met my mom on his mission to France - Sealed in the temple.  So that's what 80%?

Out of my six kids (3 bio and 3 step) 3 are out of the church, Two are semi-active, and one is active.  Both my ex and my spouses ex (the kids other bio parents) are both out of the church.

I often feel overwhelmed by how few of us are active - or even seem to have the desire to be active.

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5 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.

Alan Watts is pretty opposite of JS.  He would consider Mormonism repulsive for it's pressures and rules amongst other phenomenon.  Alan would dwell exclusively in the present moment and not give much to dwelling on the next life.  

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1 hour ago, bluebell said:

Way.  

My family's activity rate remains unchanged (most of my extended family has always been inactive.  Everyone in my immediate family has always been active).  I'm only in touch with one of my investigators (I served a mission before social media and keeping track of them was not pushed) and he's still active.  One of the people that I served with has left the church (I have no idea if she had her name removed or not, we've never discussed it).  The other person that I know of was a friend from college.  I also don't know if she has ever had her name removed.  

Oh wait, I just remembered one more person that has basically left (again, don't know if she's ever had her name removed but I know she attends a different church now).  It's another friend from college.  So make that three.  Maybe i'll remember some more..

That’s pretty amazing. You must be a good influence on others 😊

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3 hours ago, bluebell said:

Way.

My experience roughly mirrors yours. I have a couple of friends from my past who've left the Church, and I know of a handful of others. Of the people from my mission whom I've been able to stay in contact with, only one is currently not active, but she's still a member. (She stopped attending after a rough divorce. I pray she'll eventually come back.) One of the women I taught found me on Facebook about 18 months ago. I was excited to see the friend request. Her first message: 'Elder Tuhan, is that you?' When I wrote that it was, she replied: 'I'm so happy to have found you. Meeting you was the beginning of everything good in my life.' :D

A family in our ward have just announced their intention to resign. I didn't know this family very well. He didn't attend much (ostensibly because of work), and she always seemed completely bored at church and vacated quickly. I hate losing them no matter what, but it's the first time something like this has happened in our ward in about 6 or 7 years, when a family left over same-sex 'marriage'.

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9 hours ago, CV75 said:

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

Good question.... perhaps it is just how someone self-identifies. 

8 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

I suspect most orthodox members would be uncomfortable with a non-believer teaching their kids primary. For perhaps obvious reasons. However I also think there are obvious benefits to belonging and contributing to a ward particularly in Mormon dense areas like Utah. Wards simply provide a sense of community and service that has largely been lost in the move to secularization. For instance I was on vacation when a sprinkler broke flooding my basement. Within an hour a dozen members were in my basement removing carpet and draining the water without me involved at all. While wards are far from perfect and, like any community have their negatives, they do provide obvious benefits independent of religious questions.

 

It would be really hard to live in Utah if not a member - Utah is ??% Mormon now?

7 hours 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. 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?

 

I think baptism is how God has children - Baptism is a birth - that does not involve sex, just covenants :)

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3 hours ago, member10_1 said:

That’s pretty amazing. You must be a good influence on others 😊

That’s very nice of you to say but I doubt it. Maybe it’s because I grew up and have mostly lived out of Utah, and I know very few people with pioneer heritage.  Reading the other posts on here, that seems to be the kiss of death.

I grew up with a strong church ward, but being a definite minority having to defend your beliefs.  

And I probably know a couple more people who have left but I just haven’t thought of them yet.

 

 

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13 minutes ago, changed said:

It would be really hard to live in Utah if not a member - Utah is ??% Mormon now?

SLC is less than half Mormon and much of those are inactive. I think it'd be easier than you think. In the state 60.7% are Mormon but only 41.6% are active.

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7 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

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

Was Governor Brigham Young a secularist?

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3 minutes ago, MiserereNobis said:

Was Governor Brigham Young a secularist?

Brother Brigham firmly believed that the spiritual and temporal were not actually separate categories, and he ran the Utah Territory as a kind of Mormon Kingdom.  He was not what anyone would call a "secularist."

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All my brothers and sisters are active in the Church.  All of their kids with the exception of one are pretty strong.  I guess we have be lucky.

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8 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Ever been to Houston?  ;)

 

Yes, actually I have. ;) Once I was scheduled for a connecting flight through Houston, but the flight was delayed due to severe thunder storms, and I ended up missing my connection. What a mess. There were no rooms available. I ended up calling my bro out in the boonies. Even though he was almost an hour north of Houston, all the ditches around his place had lots of water. It was like his lot was an island...  I can only imagine what SW Houston was like... Another of those hurricanes on its heels to cause rain for 40 days would have been quite the flood....

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2 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

Was Governor Brigham Young a secularist?

Depends on how you look at it. I think he he was just a tad opposed to the US army interfering with LDS religious beliefs. 

Of course as Bob suggests, our goal is a true theocracy called "Zion", where the church and state combine.

But Zion will never be established by coercion.

But I still don't see how it's relevant.

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1 hour ago, RevTestament said:

Yes, actually I have. ;) Once I was scheduled for a connecting flight through Houston, but the flight was delayed due to severe thunder storms, and I ended up missing my connection. What a mess. There were no rooms available. I ended up calling my bro out in the boonies. Even though he was almost an hour north of Houston, all the ditches around his place had lots of water. It was like his lot was an island...  I can only imagine what SW Houston was like... Another of those hurricanes on its heels to cause rain for 40 days would have been quite the flood....

This last week,  4 inches an hour in several areas.

First thing you do if you're buying property in Houston is go to an insurance agent not a realtor, find out where it does NOT flood and then go to the realtor.

But in the next year or two it will pass Chicago as the third largest city in the country.

Seriously. Oil money, but now they are diversifying. 

The temple there is just in a fabulous location, but the lowest spot in the neighborhood.

I think they forgot to go to the insurance agent first. ;)

 

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15 hours ago, Anonymous Mormon said:

My second thought was that this pastor really has a cafeteria vision of God and his commandments that allows him to pick and choose which sins in the scriptures to believe and which are inconvenient.

 

I'm not aware of any religious cohort that this statement does not describe.

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, RevTestament said:

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.

That’s precisely it. Arius taught there was a time when Christ was  not, making Christ a creature (he was created), the same as us. For Athanasius’s orthodox catholic party, that doctrine destroys the divinity of Christ, since divinity is one, eternal and indivisible. That was the crux of that and subsequent controversies, up to and including the Council of Chalcedon: how is Christ both God and man? how is that union to be understood without diminishing the fullness of either?  

The orthodox party believed that Arius and the subsequent heretical  groups (Nestorians, miaphysites, monothelites, etc) leaned too far either way, diminishing Christ’s divinity or his humanity, making our salvation impossible. Our salvation requires that the fully divine assumes full humanity. “What has not been assumed has not been healed” (St Gregory Nazianzus). If Christ was more God than man (not fully human) or more man than God (not fully God), then our humanity could not be healed and divinized. Only the fully divine fully divinizes; only the fully human is fully healed. If Christ was only part human (half God, half man), only part of our humanity is healed: the part divinity unites with.

Arius’s teaching that there was a time when Christ was not meant, to the orthodox party, that Christ is therefore not divine, that Christ’s incarnation did not join divinity to our humanity, meaning we were not and cannot be saved. Remember, all of them, including Arius, believed in ex nihilo. For the orthodox party, divinity is uncreated. For Arius, Christ is a created God. That’s two gods, an impossibility. There can only be one God, not two. Therefore, Jesus was not divine. Hence, the controversy. 

 

Edited by Spammer
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The only family that has left the church are two sisters after moving to Utah.  Holy heck, what the fetch is going on in that flipping' state that kills testimonies and destroys faith?

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11 hours ago, changed said:

I think baptism is how God has children - Baptism is a birth - that does not involve sex, just covenants :)

Well, you do have a point. However, there can be different covenants. I believe baptism is an introductory covenant, which is symbolic of our resurrection in Christ. Christ had a covenant to fulfill which is evident in His comments like "Can you be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?"

Nevetheless, if we live our baptismal covenants we do have the opportunity to become children of God. I believe our spirits are eternal. There is no "coming into being" by birth. Our spirits are "blown" into our created bodies like Adam and Eve. Spiritual birth is about conversion... being born of the water and the spirit as Yeshua said. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Spammer said:

That’s precisely it. Arius taught there was a time when Christ was  not, making Christ a creature (he was created), the same as us. For Athanasius’s orthodox catholic party, that doctrine destroys the divinity of Christ, since divinity is one, eternal and indivisible. That was the crux of that and subsequent controversies, up to and including the Council of Chalcedon: how is Christ both God and man? how is that union to be understood without diminishing the fullness of either?  

The orthodox party believed that Arius and the subsequent heretical  groups (Nestorians, miaphysites, monothelites, etc) leaned too far either way, diminishing Christ’s divinity or his humanity, making our salvation impossible. Our salvation requires that the fully divine assumes full humanity. “What has not been assumed has not been healed” (St Gregory Nazianzus). If Christ was more God than man (not fully human) or more man than God (not fully God), then our humanity could not be healed and divinized. Only the fully divine fully divinizes; only the fully human is fully healed. If Christ was only part human (half God, half man), only part of our humanity is healed: the part divinity unites with.

Arius’s teaching that there was a time when Christ was not meant, to the orthodox party, that Christ is therefore not divine, that Christ’s incarnation did not join divinity to our humanity, meaning we were not and cannot be saved. Remember, all of them, including Arius, believed in ex nihilo. For the orthodox party, divinity is uncreated. For Arius, Christ is a created God. That’s two gods, an impossibility. There can only be one God, not two. Therefore, Jesus was not divine. Hence, the controversy. 

 

I deeply respect that position. It worked to keep Christianity on earth in some form for 2,000 years.

But frankly as I read through your very accurate and terse summary, all I see is linguistic confusion. I see categories being created that are simply words and words that cannot be defined.

It's all about definitions of man-made words and man-made categories.

Of course anything in language is.

The simplest solution is pretty clear to me that being human has the potential of also being divine, in one nature. "Divinity" is just a word, one might say that it is a cause for spiritual experience. It is what we experience when we experience the spirit.

Being human is just a word for the way we are when we are not having a spiritual experience. 

These are just ways we experience the world, not two "natures". They are both parts of human nature, and cannot really be divided. It's like trying to decide if butterfly nature is actually two natures or one, the nature of being a butterfly, a caterpillar that can become a butterfly.

As we grow in the gospel we have the potential to become more and more divine, meaning being more spiritual and closer to God

Simple and clear.

It's all about becoming the best we can be, "best" being defined as more like our conception of God. The English word God even comes from the word good, giving us the idea of goodness, or getting to the root of it, goodness IS "Godness." One letter, one squiggle on a page in English creates two words instead of one and suddenly two natures instead of one,  -  that one squiggle suddenly creates all these distinctions that caused all this confusion. Goodness is Goodness. Seeing it that way,  "being good" means we are being more like God at that moment.

Anyone can understand those words.

Frankly it's hard for me to hear all that and not believe that there was an apostasy. 

Every distinction there can easily be deconstructed and disappear.

Edited by mfbukowski

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