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Fair Panel On Family Members Who Leave


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I received the latest FAIR newsletter in my email and noticed that they'll be having a "panel discussion on family members who have left the Church."

 

Who will be on the panel? I'm assuming the panel will consist of active, believing LDS, some of whom have had family members leave the church. Will there be anyone on the panel who has left the church? I was thinking that I can't imagine FAIR giving an ex-Mormon a seat at the table, but then, knowing some of the folks at FAIR, I could see just that happening.

 

Just curious.
 

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I received the latest FAIR newsletter in my email and noticed that they'll be having a "panel discussion on family members who have left the Church."

 

Who will be on the panel? I'm assuming the panel will consist of active, believing LDS, some of whom have had family members leave the church. Will there be anyone on the panel who has left the church? I was thinking that I can't imagine FAIR giving an ex-Mormon a seat at the table, but then, knowing some of the folks at FAIR, I could see just that happening.

 

Just curious.

 

I'm just curious as to why one would think an organization dedicated to defense of the Mormon faith should have on its speakers lineup one who had rejected the Mormon faith.

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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I'm just curious as to why one would think an organization dedicated to defense of the Mormon faith should have on its speakers lineup one who had rejected the Mormon faith.

 

I suppose it depends on the purpose of the panel. I assumed that the panel would discuss positive ways to help people cope with family members leaving the church. If so, I know a lot of ex-Mormons who would be happy to talk about how people on both sides of the divide could make such situations better.

 

If the panel is intended for something else, then obviously it wouldn't help at all to have an unbeliever on the panel.

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I suppose it depends on the purpose of the panel. I assumed that the panel would discuss positive ways to help people cope with family members leaving the church. If so, I know a lot of ex-Mormons who would be happy to talk about how people on both sides of the divide could make such situations better.

I've seen a lot of verbiage from ex-Mormons who have a lot to say about that subject but seem not to be able to make their points without getting in a fair amount of digs and attacks against the Church.

 

As an attendee at a conference on Mormon apologetics, I would be disinclined to trust or give much credence to such a speaker.

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I don't see any reason to get any "digs" against the church in a discussion dedicated to helping families navigate what is pretty much always a painful and difficult situation. In fact, I think attacking the church would be highly inappropriate and counterproductive in such an environment.

 

Believe it or not, many of us who have left the church understand that we made things worse than they needed to be, and we wish we could go back and do things better. I've written many times about what I did wrong and what I would do differently if I were in the same situation today, and I think it's helped some people.

 

If I were part of such a panel, I would say what I always say to ex-Mormons: Don't make the church the focus of everything, but put your relationships first. A marriage or any relationship founded on love and trust can deal with differences of belief. When the differences are the focus of your lives, you're pretty much doomed. I think that applies to people on both sides.

Is this a campaign speech?

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Is this a campaign speech?

 

Not at all. I have no interest in anything like that. I was just wondering if the panel was going to include people on the other side of the equation, which IMO would be helpful. As Scott notes, it would have to be the right kind of person.

 

I was on a panel at Sunstone a couple of years ago with some other ex-Mormons, and I was surprised and dismayed at some of the hostility from both sides. I guess I always separated what I see online from the way people treat each other in person. It was a revelation to me, and also one of the reasons why I'm not interested in panel discussions anymore.

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Not at all. I have no interest in anything like that. I was just wondering if the panel was going to include people on the other side of the equation, which IMO would be helpful. As Scott notes, it would have to be the right kind of person.

 

I was on a panel at Sunstone a couple of years ago with some other ex-Mormons, and I was surprised and dismayed at some of the hostility from both sides. I guess I always separated what I see online from the way people treat each other in person. It was a revelation to me, and also one of the reasons why I'm not interested in panel discussions anymore.

Perhaps this is why they are not including "the other side"?

 

John you are being ambiguous again.

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Perhaps this is why they are not including "the other side"?

 

John you are being ambiguous again.

 

I'm not trying to be ambiguous. The panel discussion we had was fine. During the Q&A afterward, one LDS guy got up and with a red face attacked everyone on the panel and said some rather unpleasant things about us. I was really taken aback because what he said was completely unrelated to anything that anyone had said in the discussion, so I was left to believe he'd come to the session looking for a chance to go after apostates, and he took it.

 

If it were done right and with a willing apostate, it could go really well. But, sure, someone always shows up to ruin everything. I just think it's less effective to talk about how to respond to apostate family members when the only people you're asking are not the apostates. My wife could tell you what worked for her and why, but without me there to talk about what worked for me and why, you're not getting the whole story.

 

Maybe I'm just being unrealistic. There's obviously a lot of emotion involved in a family member leaving the church, and it's probably too much to ask for both sides to sit down and discuss how to make things better.

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Maybe I'm just being unrealistic. There's obviously a lot of emotion involved in a family member leaving the church, and it's probably too much to ask for both sides to sit down and discuss how to make things better.

Maybe not too much to ask if it were in another setting.

 

But an apologetics conference? I can't realistically see such a thing happening without the ex-Mormon or ex-Mormons on the panel holding forth with all manner of justifications, excuses, rationalizations, attacks against the Church, lists of ways in which he had been wronged, etc. Maybe a long history of reading discussion boards about Mormonism has conditioned me to be cynical in that respect.

 

But I have never seen the FairMormon Conference as an appropriate platform -- even a neutral one -- for folks to air their complaints about Mormonism. In my perception, people don't pay the rather substantial conference admission price to have that sort of thing served up to them. By and large, they come to be instructed about arguments and attacks against the faith and how such arguments are effectively countered. If it ever changes greatly in character from that, well, I think it will appeal to a far different audience than it does now.

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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Maybe not too much to ask if it were in another setting.

 

But an apologetics conference? I can't realistically see such a thing happening without the ex-Mormon or ex-Mormons on the panel holding forth with all manner of justifications, excuses, rationalizations, attacks against the Church, lists of ways in which he had been wronged, etc. Maybe a long history of reading discussion boards about Mormonism has conditioned me to be cynical in that respect.

 

But I have never seen the FairMormon Conference as an appropriate platform -- even a neutral one -- for folks to air their complaints about Mormonism. In my perception, people don't pay the rather substantial conference admission price to have that sort of thing served up to them. By and large, they come to be instructed about arguments and attacks against the faith and how such arguments are effectively countered. If it ever changes greatly in character from that, well, I think it will appeal to a far different audience than it does now.

 

I think that's a shame. I don't see anything positive coming out of a panel discussion on how to defend the church from their loved ones. When you see your own family members as enemies requiring defense, you've already lost.

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I think that's a shame. I don't see anything positive coming out of a panel discussion on how to defend the church from their loved ones. When you see your own family members as enemies requiring defense, you've already lost.

I think this is a mischaracterization of what FairMormon is trying to do with this panel discussion.*

 

It is definitely a misreading and a mischaracterization of what I've said.

 

*(And, for the record, I know next to nothing about what the panel discussion will entail. I don't speak for FairMormon. For all I know, they may actually be planning to have an ex-Mormon on the panel. I'm only saying I wouldn't expect such a thing to work very well.)

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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But an apologetics conference? I can't realistically see such a thing happening without the ex-Mormon or ex-Mormons on the panel holding forth with all manner of justifications, excuses, rationalizations, attacks against the Church, lists of ways in which he had been wronged, etc. Maybe a long history of reading discussion boards about Mormonism has conditioned me to be cynical in that respect.

 

So instead of having an ex-mormon represent a viewpoint on a topic of ex-mormon family members, the apologists will kid themselves with "all manner of justifications, excuses, rationalizations, attacks" against the "apostate", including "lists of ways in which" the apostate had wrongly gone about seeking the truthfulness of the LDS faith, how the apostate didn't have the strength to live up to the church's high standards, how the apostate left the church because he/she just wanted to sin, etc., etc.

 

Maybe a long history of reading discussion boards about Mormonism has conditioned me to be cynical in that respect.

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So instead of having an ex-mormon represent a viewpoint on a topic of ex-mormon family members, the apologists will kid themselves with "all manner of justifications, excuses, rationalizations, attacks" against the "apostate", including "lists of ways in which" the apostate had wrongly gone about seeking the truthfulness of the LDS faith, how the apostate didn't have the strength to live up to the church's high standards, how the apostate left the church because he/she just wanted to sin, etc., etc.

I don't know that that's what will go on; neither do you.

 

Maybe a long history of reading discussion boards about Mormonism has conditioned me to be cynical in that respect.

 

Well, I'll just say that, when it comes to productive and civil discourse, I find faithful Latter-day Saints as a group to be far more trustworthy than I do vitriolic ex-Mormons. (Your own post here is a telling illustration.)

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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Walden's post was intentionally a mirror image of your post. Pot meet Kettle.

I don't concede that it is a fair reflection of what I wrote, but alas, it is the sort of thing I would expect from an ex-Mormon being placed on a panel at the FairMormon Conference. And why I wouldn't expect that sort of thing to work out very well.

 

John Williams's posts here, by contrast and to his credit, have been mostly restrained and positive. I fear that John is very much the exception.

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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I'm just curious as to why one would think an organization dedicated to defense of the Mormon faith should have on its speakers lineup one who had rejected the Mormon faith.

 

I suspect that "apologetics" in general (and FAIR specifically) is most effective with people who are still members of the Church but having doubts.  With all due respect, once someone has made the break (either voluntarily or involuntarily), I can't imagine that them finding anything published by FAIR to be the least bit convincing.

 

So if I'm right, it would be a waste of time to have ex-Mormons at a FAIR conference.  But I can't imagine what good it will do to have a panel with "family members of those who have left the Church".  Are these people supposed to represent those who have left, or does being the "family member" of such a person endow them with knowledge and wisdom that isn't available to regular people?

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Maybe someone from FAIR could provide more information as to the focus of the roundtable discussion. Given the brief description we have, most of what has been discussed is mere speculation.

I also find it hard to believe that a civil apostate family member or members could not be found if one were desired.

Wouldn't the most interesting part of such a discussion be if there were actual family members on the roundtable from both sides?

I also think it is a little condescending to assume that the attendees at the conference want to be spoon fed. I would expect most attendees have close friends or even family who have left the church and such a discussion would almost certainly be helpful for them when they engage in like conversations.

 

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I suspect that "apologetics" in general (and FAIR specifically) is most effective with people who are still members of the Church but having doubts.  With all due respect, once someone has made the break (either voluntarily or involuntarily), I can't imagine that them finding anything published by FAIR to be the least bit convincing.

 

To the extent that's true, I would suggest it's not because the FairMormon content inherently lacks persuasiveness but rather, the person who has made the break is not of a disposition to be convinced.

 

So if I'm right, it would be a waste of time to have ex-Mormons at a FAIR conference.  But I can't imagine what good it will do to have a panel with "family members of those who have left the Church".  Are these people supposed to represent those who have left, or does being the "family member" of such a person endow them with knowledge and wisdom that isn't available to regular people?

 

 

You'll have to ask someone from FairMormon about that.

 

But there's something to be said for the voice of experience.

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I suspect that "apologetics" in general (and FAIR specifically) is most effective with people who are still members of the Church but having doubts.  With all due respect, once someone has made the break (either voluntarily or involuntarily), I can't imagine that them finding anything published by FAIR to be the least bit convincing.

 

So if I'm right, it would be a waste of time to have ex-Mormons at a FAIR conference.  But I can't imagine what good it will do to have a panel with "family members of those who have left the Church".  Are these people supposed to represent those who have left, or does being the "family member" of such a person endow them with knowledge and wisdom that isn't available to regular people?

Because families may have people who had left, those who have doubts and those who have remained. This kind of discussion could be very helpful in guiding a faithful member who has to navigate similar conversations with multiple levels of belief within his/her own family.

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Maybe someone from FAIR could provide more information as to the focus of the roundtable discussion. Given the brief description we have, most of what has been discussed is mere speculation.

True.

 

 

I also find it hard to believe that a civil apostate family member or members could not be found if one were desired.

 

It would probably be someone who up to now has been rather quiet about his/her apostasy. I very rarely see such a one among the vocal apostates who hold forth on Internet boards and websites.

 

 

Wouldn't the most interesting part of such a discussion be if there were actual family members on the roundtable from both sides?

 

I have a hard time conceiving of such a thing not becoming confrontational, and I'm not sure that's what FairMormon is aiming at with this. But again, someone will have to address that who has some inside knowledge; I certainly don't.

 

 

I also think it is a little condescending to assume that the attendees at the conference want to be spoon fed.

 

 

Don't know whether you're referring to me with this, but I've not made such an assumption.

 

I would expect most attendees have close friends or even family who have left the church and such a discussion would almost certainly be helpful for them when they engage in like conversations.

 

Undoubtedly some have; I'm not so certain about it being most.

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Well, I'll just say that, when it comes to productive and civil discourse, I find faithful Latter-day Saints as a group to be far more trustworthy than I do vitriolic ex-Mormons. (Your own post here is a telling illustration.)

 

You do realize that all I did was copy your post and exchange your exaggerations and projections regarding the ex-mormon mindset with my own exaggerations and projections regarding the TBM mindset.

 

If my post is a "telling illustration" of "vitriolic ex-Mormons," it is only because it is a mirror image of the post of a "vitriolic TBM."

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To the extent that's true, I would suggest it's not because the FairMormon content inherently lacks persuasiveness but rather, the person who has made the break is not of a disposition to be convinced.

Love it. Elder Uchtdorf said

Some of our dear members struggle for years with the question whether they should separate themselves from the Church.

In this Church that honors personal agency so strongly, that was restored by a young man who asked questions and sought answers, we respect those who honestly search for truth. It may break our hearts when their journey takes them away from the Church we love and the truth we have found, but we honor their right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience, just as we claim that privilege for ourselves.5

If only he know that these folks just didn't want to be convinced.

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You do realize that all I did was copy your post and exchange your exaggerations and projections regarding the ex-mormon mindset with my own exaggerations and projections regarding the TBM mindset.

 

If my post is a "telling illustration" of "vitriolic ex-Mormons," it is only because it is a mirror image of the post of a "vitriolic TBM."

Yeah, I recognize it for the mockery that it was. So what?

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I will ask for clarification when I get time but likely will be tomorrow. Given how a great deal of what FairMormon does is to provide support for family members who trying to help or just relate in positive ways without conflict with family members and friends who are going through a faith crisis or who have lost their faith completely and may even be trying to deconvert other family members, I would assume that the panel addresses the question we get of "what is the best way to react or reach out to my loved one that won't cause more pain and confusion for both of us?" or another version "how can I show that I love them while still standing strong in my own faith, especially when they are attacking that faith?"

It is likely to focus less on defending the faith itself (in most cases I would say we suggest not getting into a debate and in cases where conflict inevitably arises when belief is discussed to avoid that topic as nonproductive) but how to positively interact to maintain or foster a loving relationship while still remaining true to one's own beliefs.

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