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Uptick in GenZ / Millennial apostasy?


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I met my wife at the Sears call center in Provo, Utah (East Bay, actually). We fielded calls about problems with Sears appliances, and scheduled repair work. While one could get the impression from our job that Kenmore products were terrible (every time a call came through, it involved problems), we realized that 100% of the calls we took were problems. People didn't call to tell us that they were having no problems, that everything was working well, etc. 

Aware of this (that anecdotal evidence and experience does not represent the reality of the overall picture), my wife and I have noticed an increasing and intensifying increase in apostasy among young adults in their 20s and 30s. This general trend has long been discussed and worried about among youth (e.g., anecdotal experience in our stakes, mission age change to "stop the bleeding," keep 'em active programs post mission and in institutes, Church magazine focus and articles, etc.), but what we're seeing is rapid, "bombshell," seemingly out of nowhere announcements from young married couples with children that they are leaving the Church or that they want to (this doesn't come "out of nowhere," but it's the first anyone knows about it). We've been called and asked advice from friends about their children (sometimes in other states), and in many cases, these apostasies are among "the cream of the crop" (youth we knew well). By the time of the "bombshell" announcements, they neither want nor are open to help, discussion, question-answering, etc. 

Is anyone else noticing this? 

I know that in certain quarters, the response to this is, "Well, no duh. The Church is false, you could drive a truck through the holes in the truth claims, they're just seeing the light about how false everything is and becoming enlightened, etc." Obviously, I disagree with this, but I do agree that the way the Church has handled some things over decades is a contributing factor. 

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1 hour ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

No. It's simply not happening here from what I can see.

My guess therefore is that you're observing a cultural phenomenon spread via social contagion?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but you aren’t in the US are you?

 

2 hours ago, rongo said:

Is anyone else noticing this? 

Yes. . With the invention of the internet, the anti-Mormons were quicker to the draw with revealing their interpretations of lesser known Church history than the church. I also think that because the internet wasn’t around, there were not as many easily accessible voices attacking the church. Lastly, I could be wrong, but I feel the atmosphere of the US up until like 2005 was vastly Christianized. Today, we have so many social movements that are inherently anti-Christian. And these movements are built on the idea of love and anyone who goes against it is full of hate.

As for why individuals leave There are many many causes to this, there isn’t just one. Some feel they were lied to, some were not taught correct principle growing up and so they misunderstand doctrine and why the church does things, some just want to leave

Edited by Fether
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I tend to see drift-aways rather than up-and-leaves in the 20s-30s age group here. Life gets busy and they prefer to have some free time. Or work/sport.  Or 2 weeks of holiday, then 1 week of illness, then maybe a family function, and suddenly they're not going anymore. I have seen a few up-and-leaves, but mostly in the older age groups. 

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It's the confusion of history with philosophy

I have no clue what ideas a person inspired by God produces has to do with history as we see it today.  Why the Book of Mormon has to be "historical" is beyond me.

We worship God as WE experience Him, not how someone else accounts for history.

We all seek answers about HOW the universe works and its meaning, and never give even a wisp of a thought about WHY it exists at all; without evidence we assume it HAS NO PURPOSE.

Now THAT is a religious position I cannot IMAGINE having enough faith to accept.

How does one worship a negative proposition?

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3 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

No. It's simply not happening here from what I can see.

My guess therefore is that you're observing a cultural phenomenon spread via social contagion?

You live in paradise apparently.  :)

It seems nothing bad ever happens there!  Good for you!

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Quote

Uptick in GenZ / Millennial apostasy?

Fixed it for you. ;)

OK, in all seriousness, I know your hypothesis is that the phenomenon is especially pronounced among the young.  That may be: I don't know.  :unknw:  "The Internet made (is making) them do it"?  Again, I don't know.  If you ask me, the technosavviness gap between young and older has existed for enough time that I'm not sure that "they suddenly discovered the truth on the Internet" is a viable explanation.  I don't know how much comfort this is to the parent of a wayward child, but the scripture does say, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it"

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1 hour ago, Kenngo1969 said:

I'm not sure that "they suddenly discovered the truth on the Internet" is a viable explanation.  I don't know how much comfort this is to the parent of a wayward child, but the scripture does say, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it"

I think this has a huge factor in it all. It isn’t the cause, and I think you make a great point about training up your child. But today we have instant access to all the arguments against the church. Dozens of Podcasts release anti and unorthodox info about the church every week. PDFs full of critical info on the church being shared in mass. Faulty whistleblowers and legal disputes being paraded around. Was this normal in the past? I have no idea.

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48 minutes ago, Fether said:

Was this normal in the past? I have no idea.

I expect it probably happened, but it took more effort to get the initial information.

These days court case information is open and on the internet, books can be scanned to PDF and have searchable text automatically embedded quicker than it would take to run off a series of photocopies, etc. Searchable indexes of book contents from hundreds of years ago can be browsed with only a few clicks.

Let's face it, if the first vision happened today, Joseph Smith and his extended family would be doxxed, comments his dad put on facebook 10 years ago would be used to deplatform him, and his parents would be abused for using their child to push religion.

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2 hours ago, Fether said:

Correct me if I’m wrong, but you aren’t in the US are you?

That's right. I'm not.

Quote

As for why individuals leave There are many many causes to this, there isn’t just one.

Agreed. Based on the the people I know who have left, my general sense is that people decide the Church no longer 'fits'. 

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2 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

You live in paradise apparently.  :)

It seems nothing bad ever happens there!  Good for you!

:rolleyes:

I've posted before about apostasies in my ward. We had several a few years ago, including a family that had been in many leadership callings. It was all over same-sex 'marriage'. I haven't really seen what the OP describes.

Our young people are in pretty good shape. Over the past two years, we've had a record number of them serving missions. Our Institute/YSA programs are booming. We've had two convert baptisms in our ward over the past two months, both of them YSA-age females. One spoke in stake conference shortly after her baptism, and the other one shared her testimony in our online sacrament meeting a couple of Sundays ago.

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1 hour ago, Fether said:

But today we have instant access to all the arguments against the church. Dozens of Podcasts release anti and unorthodox info about the church every week. PDFs full of critical info on the church being shared in mass. Faulty whistleblowers and legal disputes being paraded around.

If I am currently experiencing the living reality of the Restored Gospel, all of the above will ring hollow to me. That's the key, in my opinion. People listen to things that feel familiar.

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US Millennials grew up in the era of columbine and 9/11.  I do not judge them. I cannot relate to their view of the world. I grew up in the 70s and 80s with Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers when Sesame Street was good. I played outside alone in the dark because we had no sense of danger. I walked to school a half mile away alone as a kindergartener. My parents didn’t hover. 
 

In a world that seems to be absolute chaos, where anxiety abounds amongst an entire generation, If people expect a God to intervene and protect, why in the world would people believe in a God? If I expected God to intervene, I would either feel that I was not worthy or I would question God‘s existence. I do not believe that God hands me specific challenges. I believe that God cares about everything that I experience. He is who I turn to when I am lostand afraid and when I need something so that I can clear my own mind and put my priorities in order. But I do not believe that he intervenes in positive or negative ways. He loves me and knows me. This I believe strongly. I grew up in that awareness and safety. But I feel for the next generation who never knew that kind of safety and who often repeats “why would God allow such terrible things to happen?” 
 

In answer to the question of the OP, yes I have noticed the same. The above is my opinion why.

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

If I am currently experiencing the living reality of the Restored Gospel, all of the above will ring hollow to me

I agree, but so many aren’t taught to be familiar with the spirit. Others aren’t convinced their understanding of the spirit is correct so when someone challenges it, they don’t have a leg to stand on. Others are taught that the gospel is just here for social belonging… but I also feel it is more complicated than this… not sure what else to add though

 

Edited by Fether
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1 minute ago, Fether said:

Others are taught that the gospel is just here for social belonging.

I got the impression when I lived in America that, for many members, the Church functions as a social community and a culture. But there has to be something beneath that, in my opinion. Otherwise, what happens when one finds that s/he is feeling uncomfortable or even at odds with the community/cultural values and practices?

Miraculously -- to me -- the Restored Gospel lives up to its promises: revelations, visions, miracles, clear and verifiable answers to prayers, priesthood power, angelic ministrations, the gift of tongues, divine interventions both big and small, the sweet relief of justification coupled with the near impossibility of sanctification, and so forth. 

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10 hours ago, Fether said:

Correct me if I’m wrong, but you aren’t in the US are you?

 

Yes. . With the invention of the internet, the anti-Mormons were quicker to the draw with revealing their interpretations of lesser known Church history than the church. I also think that because the internet wasn’t around, there were not as many easily accessible voices attacking the church. Lastly, I could be wrong, but I feel the atmosphere of the US up until like 2005 was vastly Christianized. Today, we have so many social movements that are inherently anti-Christian. And these movements are built on the idea of love and anyone who goes against it is full of hate.

As for why individuals leave There are many many causes to this, there isn’t just one. Some feel they were lied to, some were not taught correct principle growing up and so they misunderstand doctrine and why the church does things, some just want to leave

I doubt the USA was as Christian as people think, more like depending on where you lived it made financial/career sense to say you are Christian.  Look at Kanye, I don't believe for a second that man is Christian, then again he does have issues.... I still like him lol

Anyway, think you guys are finally seeing what the rest of American Christiandom has for a while.  Take a look at evangelicals, big reason for popularity?  Easy entry and exit.  Now that the politics are ugly?  People are bailing, fast.  I sure hope you guys don't pool the foolish Political moves other Christians have.  People mock the likes if me for being out bred, what they fail to realise, we tend to vote with the more liberal, non Christian groups who are out breeding all of you, Islam included.   I love the African proverb, the teenager who isnt initiated into the village will as an adult warm himself as the village burns.

I said this would happen here years ago, no one listened.  I told you.....

Teehee

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6 hours ago, Fether said:

I think this has a huge factor in it all. It isn’t the cause, and I think you make a great point about training up your child. But today we have instant access to all the arguments against the church. Dozens of Podcasts release anti and unorthodox info about the church every week. PDFs full of critical info on the church being shared in mass. Faulty whistleblowers and legal disputes being paraded around. Was this normal in the past? I have no idea.

No, you're right, there does seem to be more "noise" being made among disaffected Latter-day Saints now than at many times in the past, although if our detractors had had their way, they would have been able to "nip" the ascension of the nascent Church of Jesus Christ "in the bud," as it were.  Had they been successful, of course, we would not be having this conversation. 

As bothersome as any opposition we might face now is, however, given a choice between "podcast and exposé," on the one hand, and "powder and ball," on the other, as much as I'd like to have to not deal with either, I much prefer the former. Perhaps at least some of today's podcasters would do well to ponder at least somewhat more deeply why it was that their ancestors (whether those ancestors are literal "blood" ancestors or metaphorical spiritual ancestors) were willing to face even death without renouncing their testimonies of the Restored Gospel.

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12 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

My guess therefore is that you're observing a cultural phenomenon spread via social contagion?

It is absolutely a social contagion phenomenon. They aren't happening in a vacuum. 

11 hours ago, Fether said:

As for why individuals leave There are many many causes to this, there isn’t just one. Some feel they were lied to, some were not taught correct principle growing up and so they misunderstand doctrine and why the church does things, some just want to leave

While there are of course different reasons, I am seeing some patterns (they don't hold true for everyone). One of them is wives who have been shouldering all of the burden (deadbeat lump of a husband, breadwinning [must provide], full burden of spiritual leadership in the home, stress with kids, etc.) which makes them vulnerable to the garden variety reasons for leaving. There concerns are real, but it's almost like it's easier for the Church to be a fraud and the truth claims not true, because then the spiritual load they are carrying is lessened. Some have told their parents, when they finally tell them, that their lives haven't turned out how they thought or wanted them too.

10 hours ago, JustAnAustralian said:

I tend to see drift-aways rather than up-and-leaves in the 20s-30s age group here. Life gets busy and they prefer to have some free time. Or work/sport.  Or 2 weeks of holiday, then 1 week of illness, then maybe a family function, and suddenly they're not going anymore. I have seen a few up-and-leaves, but mostly in the older age groups. 

There is plenty of the drifting away among the young (it's epidemic), but that isn't what I'm seeing. That's been with us for a while. This is solid young families who abruptly, seemingly out of the blue, announce they are gone and don't want any attempts to convince them otherwise. 

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1 hour ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Perhaps at least some of today's podcasters would do well to ponder at least somewhat more deeply why it was that their ancestors (whether those ancestors are literal "blood" ancestors or metaphorical spiritual ancestors) were willing to face even death without renouncing their testimonies of the Restored Gospel.

Good point… I wouldn’t even think of giving my life for the church. I would definitely give my life for one of my brother and sister police officers or my country but def not the church. The church as an institution marginalizes people like me who have done nothing wrong. I also disagree that the prophet is anyone special.
 

Problem is I am born into a church mafia power family so I am just PIMO so I can keep family. They know I’m not buying the program but choose to ignore it for appearances sake. the church is the most important thing in my family… more important than family as well. Funny thing I seriously doubt many of my family would give their lives for the church if push came to shove. Many of them are way too comfortable. These are some of the people who many look up to because of their position and example. 

Edited by secondclasscitizen
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2 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

US Millennials grew up in the era of columbine and 9/11.  I do not judge them. I cannot relate to their view of the world. I grew up in the 70s and 80s with Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers when Sesame Street was good. I played outside alone in the dark because we had no sense of danger. I walked to school a half mile away alone as a kindergartener. My parents didn’t hover. 
 

In a world that seems to be absolute chaos, where anxiety abounds amongst an entire generation, If people expect a God to intervene and protect, why in the world would people believe in a God? If I expected God to intervene, I would either feel that I was not worthy or I would question God‘s existence. I do not believe that God hands me specific challenges. I believe that God cares about everything that I experience. He is who I turn to when I am lost and afraid and when I need something so that I can clear my own mind and put my priorities in order. But I do not believe that he intervenes in positive or negative ways. He loves me and knows me. This I believe strongly. I grew up in that awareness and safety. But I feel for the next generation who never knew that kind of safety and who often repeats “why would God allow such terrible things to happen?” 

All really good points about factors affecting the young adult generations. 

The highlighted portion saddens me. Our family has definitely seen the hand of God intervening. Thinking about the other thread, I think that believing in a deist God would tend to not be a bottomless well of commitment, enthusiasm, etc. for the gospel and the Church. 

I'm also seeing mixed marriages (not being equally yoked) as being a big risk factor. It is incredibly hard to shoulder all of the spiritual burden with no help, and eventually, things give. 

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17 minutes ago, rongo said:

There is plenty of the drifting away among the young (it's epidemic), but that isn't what I'm seeing. That's been with us for a while. This is solid young families who abruptly, seemingly out of the blue, announce they are gone and don't want any attempts to convince them otherwise. 

I have seen several of these cases locally. A good friend of ours who’s kid got married in the temple formally left the church about a month after being sealed. They got sealed to save face for the parents. Met in singles ward and both secretly out. 
 

two families in my former ward formally and publicly walked away. One family in my current ward as well. Up until the past few years I had not even met anyone who had formally walked from the program and resigned. 
 

most all the kids I grew up with are all out. My ward had about 40 ish youth between age 12-18 and pretty much all are divorced and out. This is the older of the genx crowd. Source I’m fb friends with most of them or my siblings are. 

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I am 52 and it’s hard to find peers that don’t have inactive children. I have many friends who have divorced recently and it seems inevitable that at least one of the spouses falls away. I have noticed at least two very active families from past wards who very publicly left the church. 
 

In my ward, we have many that went inactive during covid. The primary shrunk from 80 kids to 50. 

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27 minutes ago, secondclasscitizen said:

Good point… I wouldn’t even think of giving my life for the church. I would definitely give my life for one of my brother and sister police officers or my country but def not the church.

Well, at least you feel strongly enough about something that you're willing to give your life for it.  Many people cannot even say that much.  I laud you for that commitment, as well as, also, your commitment to country and to community.  We have something in common: I come from a law enforcement family, and would have followed in the footsteps of my father and of my older brother if other considerations had not intruded to preclude that possibility.  On both counts, thank you for your service.

27 minutes ago, secondclasscitizen said:

The church as an institution marginalizes people like me who have done nothing wrong.

It's easier and more productive to talk about people than about institutions, since the latter would not exist without the former.  And to the extent that anyone in the Church of Jesus Christ marginalizes you, that is inconsistent with the teachings of the Church.

27 minutes ago, secondclasscitizen said:

I also disagree that the prophet is anyone special.

Well, as Joseph Smith told his associates, and as each of his successors very likely would admit, as well, "I never told you I was perfect."

 

27 minutes ago, secondclasscitizen said:

Problem is I am born into a church mafia power family so I am just PIMO so I can keep family. They know I’m not buying the program but choose to ignore it for appearances sake. the church is the most important thing in my family… more important than family as well. Funny thing I seriously doubt many of my family would give their lives for the church if push came to shove. Many of them are way too comfortable. These are some of the people who many look up to because of their position and example. 

I hope you'll forgive me if I'm not willing to accept, uncritically, your judgment of your family members, since they're not here to provide a different perspective or to defend themselves.  Also, with due respect, you seem to sacrifice consistency for the sake of seizing the opportunity to pass judgment: On the one hand, you say that the Church of Jesus Christ is the most important thing in the lives of your family members, yet, on the other hand, you say that you believe they would be unwilling to die for it.  If one lacks a cause for which one would be willing to die, then perhaps it is worth asking for what one is living.

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14 hours ago, rongo said:

Aware of this (that anecdotal evidence and experience does not represent the reality of the overall picture), my wife and I have noticed an increasing and intensifying increase in apostasy among young adults in their 20s and 30s.

I have a couple of questions about the meaning and use of the word "apostasy" for my LDS friends:


1. What does the term mean for you? When is someone an apostate? Are there eternal consequences?
2. If someone converts from a Baptist church to the LDS church, are they an apostate?
3. If someone converts from the LDS church to a Baptist church, are they an apostate?

4. If someone converts from a Baptist church to a Methodist church, are they an apostate?

4. If someone loses all faith in religion and espouses no religion at all after leaving the LDS church, are they then an apostate?

5. Are there certain cases where all Christians would agree that this or that person is an apostate from the Christian faith? Is there such a thing as this concept in the LDS mindset?

Thanks, I am simply trying to figure out the LDS thinking behind the use of such an inflammatory (maybe not the best word) adjective or noun.

 

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