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Why People Leave the Church:The VIDEO
 
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Recently I came upon this video by a self-described "faithful Mormon". It is a well-done laundry list and discussion of the problems with the Church from a "faithful member".

 

After a half hour of describing the major problems with the Church, the author states that there is really no problem. He then goes on to mention and discuss even more problems and possible solutions.

 

This is well-done. I can't decide if this guy is a "Church mole" or not. Nonetheless, it is definitely worth a look and a listen. I plan to ask my TBM wife to view this video.

 

If this has been posted here before, I apologize. Even if it has, it is probably worth another view.

 

Very well done. Very fair.  In fact, this is sort of refreshing.

 

Best Line: "Forget TRUE, Consider GOOD."

 

I am adding this one to my video collection. Again:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZQJc5SxnVs&NR=1

 
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DrW:

Recently I came upon this video by a self-described "faithful Mormon". It is a well-done laundry list and discussion of the problems with the Church from a "faithful member".

 

...

 

John Dehlin actually posts on here from time to time. He is former editor of Sunstone and created the "Mormon Stories" podcasts, which he took down but then put back up some in an archive. His new project is on how to "Stay LDS."

 

 

 
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Thanks DrW for the post.

 

I viewed this video quite some time ago, and can say it may be one of the most productive online pieces I have watched.

 

The value of this presentation may be in its ability to bridge the gap as an explanatory device. This video can help family, or other inquisitve members, better understand the depth and validity of your church related questions.

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I've had a number of dealings with John, and I think his heart may be in the right place, but to me the problem is essentially this:

 

The Church teaches that FUNDAMENTAL, KEY ELEMENTS of the church are:

 

Joseph Smith had the First Vision.

Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon is the Most Correct Book on the Earth

 

Essentially, the KEY teaching of the church (more important than Jesus Christ) is that THIS CHURCH IS TRUE.

 

If this is the church's own fundamental teaching, that is repeated thousands and thousands of times every Sunday and probably millions of times on Fast Sunday, etc.  AND we know it isn't true, what's left?  

 

If you are bald and I made the argument that if you buy my product you will grow a beautiful full crop of hair on your head, but that hair never grows no matter how many years of faithful applications, and you finally decide to quit using my product, I'll immediately defend my product as a hair grower, but if I KNOW I can't reach you on hair growth, I'll mention that at least my hair grower doubles as a sunscreen, and will prevent sunburn, so you should continue to buy my product.

 

Essentially, I think John is selling hair growing potion as sunscreen.  

 

Personally, I think the argument can then go further, because as sunscreens go, my hair potion isn't a particularly good one.  Similarly, as churches or societies go, the LDS church/society isn't a particularly healthy one for most of the people involved, and that is in large measure because it is based on lies, which encourages lying among the members, etc.

 

I like John personally, but as I've been thinking about his position in the last several months, I just can't make any sense of it.

 

If the Prophet of the church repeatedly tells us that the Church is TRUE and the TRUTH of the CHURCH is the most important thing, what role is John really playing?  If the Church has a TRUE prophet, then they wouldn't need John to sell his sunscreen.  John is further evidence that the church isn't true.  He KNOWS it isn't true, that's why he doesn't want to talk about TRUTH any longer.

 

These thoughts, of course, are my own opinions and others may see things differently.

 

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Gilgal Garden:
DrW:

Recently I came upon this video by a self-described "faithful Mormon". It is a well-done laundry list and discussion of the problems with the Church from a "faithful member".

 

...

 

John Dehlin actually posts on here from time to time. He is former editor of Sunstone and created the "Mormon Stories" podcasts, which he took down but then put back up some in an archive. His new project is on how to "Stay LDS."

 

 

 

Gilgal Garden;

 

Thanks for the information on John Dehlin. I just don't have a good handle on a lot of these folks.

 

Must say that I am sort of pumped about this video. My wife has agreed to watch it because it was made from a pro-Mormon perspective (57 minutes of video in exchance for 87 minutes in Sacrement Meeting, but I figure it is a good exchange).

 

It helps a lot to have a little background and context on the author.

 

Will check out the other links you provided.

 

Thanks again and have a great day.

 
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Flat Lander and Maxrep:

 

Thanks for the additional information. Glad to see Maxrep's suggestion that this piece can be useful in relating to active members about leaving the Church. As mentioned above, that is exactly how I hope to use it.

 

Flat Lander, I liked your analogy a lot and imagine that I will spend some time thinking about the pros and cons of John's position as well. While I appreciate the work he put into it ,and the result he achieved, the fact that he can simultaneously espouse diametrically opposed positions sort of makes him a magical thinker. And I tend to tread carefully around magical thinkers.

 

I would agree that there is more than a little slight of hand in his presentation. But if slight of hand is what it takes to get the message to those who need it, then I guess that's fine.

 

Nonetheless, I must say that the video had an impact on me and I am glad I found it, even if it was months after everyone else.

 

Thanks for the thoughts and comments.

 

You can bet that I will return and report on the viewing of this video by TBM DW.

 
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John Dehlin was also active with Mormons for Marriage (an anti-Prop 8 website) last year, and also put up a website entitled "Understanding LDS Homosexuality" in which he posted interviews with gay LDS folks.  The second site was at http://www.ldshomosexuality.com but I believe he took it down not long after the election.  I noticed he had put it back up recently at about the same time he put Mormon Stories Archive back up, but now the link to Understanding LDS Homosexuality is down again.

 

In a post dated April 14 of this year on the Mormon Stories website John describes himself as an "Open Mormon" which he says means he doesn't compare the LDS Church to others.  Which, again, considering the actual teachings of the LDS Church seems to mean he doesn't follow the teachings of the LDS Church.  He does claim to hold a temple recommend, but that seems odd to me as well if TRUTH doesn't matter.  I guess that means he can lie during temple recommend interviews and feel justified, because it is "good" to go to the temple.

 

So, Dr. W. I wonder if John isn't doing more harm than good, but how does one calculate such a thing?

 

John seems terribly confused and full of Cognitive Dissonance to me.  I think his arguments are a convincing argument for GIVING UP on the church, because the only way to STAY LDS is to pretend to believe something you don't believe.

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Flat Lander:

John Dehlin was also active with Mormons for Marriage (an anti-Prop 8 website) last year, and also put up a website entitled "Understanding LDS Homosexuality" in which he posted interviews with gay LDS folks.  The second site was at http://www.ldshomosexuality.com but I believe he took it down not long after the election.  I noticed he had put it back up recently at about the same time he put Mormon Stories Archive back up, but now the link to Understanding LDS Homosexuality is down again.

 

In a post dated April 14 of this year on the Mormon Stories website John describes himself as an "Open Mormon" which he says means he doesn't compare the LDS Church to others.  Which, again, considering the actual teachings of the LDS Church seems to mean he doesn't follow the teachings of the LDS Church.  He does claim to hold a temple recommend, but that seems odd to me as well if TRUTH doesn't matter.  I guess that means he can lie during temple recommend interviews and feel justified, because it is "good" to go to the temple.

 

So, Dr. W. I wonder if John isn't doing more harm than good, but how does one calculate such a thing?

 

John seems terribly confused and full of Cognitive Dissonance to me.  I think his arguments are a convincing argument for GIVING UP on the church, because the only way to STAY LDS is to pretend to believe something you don't believe.

Flat Lander:

 

Absolutely agree.  And I definitely do not view his approach as any kind of a "final answer" or even a "stable state' viewpoint.

 

What I do see (I hope) is a disruptive piece of work from a credible source that might be useful in rattling a TBM cage or two among my close family members (creating a new "metastable state" viewpoint if you will).  At least it will give them information that they do not have (and that I can't credibly give them), as well as something to really think about.

 

Anyway, glad I found it, and thanks for the additional info and links.

 
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Flatlander,

 

I too feel that John wrestles with some inner conflict. On the whole, I think his presence online is helpful, not in an apologetic fashion, but that his stance may well serve as a temporary "no mans land" for questioning members.

 

These individuals who decide to look for the "good" in church, have likely conceded that they will not find the "truth". The timescale likely differs from person to person, but I have to believe that the conflicted middleground can only satisfy for so long before one finds the exit.

 

It is a step towards leaving that some TBM's can take.....

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They really remind me of pigs in the sense that the slightest offense or hint of “spiritual danger” causes them to start squealing loudly in an attempt to scare off whatever is “threatening” them at the time.  -  NotGaryStu

 
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Maxrep:

Flatlander,

 

I too feel that John wrestles with some inner conflict. On the whole, I think his presence online is helpful, not in an apologetic fashion, but that his stance may well serve as a temporary "no mans land" for questioning members.

 

These individuals who decide to look for the "good" in church, have likely conceded that they will not find the "truth". The timescale likely differs from person to person, but I have to believe that the conflicted middleground can only satisfy for so long before one finds the exit.

 

It is a step towards leaving that some TBM's can take.....

 

Max,

I agree with you.  And I think as a temporary stop John's concept of being an  "Open Mormon" (or the more well known New Order Mormons) can lead somewhere positive.  My point is just that it is essentially being "marketed" as a destination.  These are messages for Mormons, after all, and TRUTH is the concept upon which Mormons hang their had.  Even the New Order Mormons and John Dehlin's of the world claim that they "know the TRUTH" but that their definition of TRUTH is a different definition than you would find in a dictionary.  They present New Order Mormonism as the TRUE method of how to deal with the falsehoods, etc. of the church.  In that case it is no different from any other "Lying for the Lord" example, be it by Dallin H. Oaks, Gordon B. Hinckley, Boyd K. Packer, or John Dehlin.

 

And, again I want to emphasize the points that both you and Dr. W made in that these things can be USEFUL, because at different times I hung out at NOM and with John Dehlin for a while, until they helped me figure out what I believed.  (Not that I have an absolute knowledge of my own beliefs even yet.)

 

Thanks for your comments.

 

Best wishes.

 

 

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DrW:

Best Line: "Forget TRUE, Consider GOOD."

 

I am adding this one to my video collection. Again:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZQJc5SxnVs&NR=1

 

I understand what John's saying with the statement, however, I'm wondering, if something isn't true (which implies is a lie), how can it be construded as good?

 

It reminds me of a line from a song I once heard. I think it was by the Rolling Stones.

 

"It's a lie, but oh what a beautiful lie!"

 

As far as I'm concerned, if something is a lie, I don't care how good it seems, I want nothing to do with it, because living a lie, or following a lie, catches up with you eventually.

 

 

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DrW:

Recently I came upon this video by a self-described "faithful Mormon". It is a well-done laundry list and discussion of the problems with the Church from a "faithful member".

 

After a half hour of describing the major problems with the Church, the author states that there is really no problem. He then goes on to mention and discuss even more problems and possible solutions.

 

This is well-done. I can't decide if this guy is a "Church mole" or not. Nonetheless, it is definitely worth a look and a listen. I plan to ask my TBM wife to view this video.

 

If this has been posted here before, I apologize. Even if it has, it is probably worth another view.

 

Very well done. Very fair.  In fact, this is sort of refreshing.

 

Best Line: "Forget TRUE, Consider GOOD."

 

I am adding this one to my video collection. Again:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZQJc5SxnVs&NR=1

 

 This video is why, in my more lucid moments, I distinguish between the crazy sub-culture devotees and the rational, non-facist Mormons like this individual.

 
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Jeff Ricks:
DrW:

Best Line: "Forget TRUE, Consider GOOD."

 

I am adding this one to my video collection. Again:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZQJc5SxnVs&NR=1

 

I understand what John's saying with the statement, however, I'm wondering, if something isn't true (which implies is a lie), how can it be construded as good?

 

It reminds me of a line from a song I once heard. I think it was by the Rolling Stones.

 

"It's a lie, but oh what a beautiful lie!"

 

As far as I'm concerned, if something is a lie, I don't care how good it seems, I want nothing to do with it, because living a lie, or following a lie, catches up with you eventually.

 

 

 

 My time as a Mormon was painful.  I only stuck with it because I was convinced it was true.  It was very easy for me to drop the whole thing once I knew it was a lie.  The lie wasn't so beautiful to me.  

 

 

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OldSoul:
Jeff Ricks:
DrW:

Best Line: "Forget TRUE, Consider GOOD."

 

I am adding this one to my video collection. Again:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZQJc5SxnVs&NR=1

 

I understand what John's saying with the statement, however, I'm wondering, if something isn't true (which implies is a lie), how can it be construded as good?

 

It reminds me of a line from a song I once heard. I think it was by the Rolling Stones.

 

"It's a lie, but oh what a beautiful lie!"

 

As far as I'm concerned, if something is a lie, I don't care how good it seems, I want nothing to do with it, because living a lie, or following a lie, catches up with you eventually.

 

 

 

 My time as a Mormon was painful.  I only stuck with it because I was convinced it was true.  It was very easy for me to drop the whole thing once I knew it was a lie.  The lie wasn't so beautiful to me.  

 

 

 

I agree.  It's not so beautiful to me either. Here's another way to look at John's statement. Picture someone holding a glass of poison and saying, "I don't care what it is, as long as it tastes good! Cheers!"

 

Edit: Another thought. I suppose if someone is addicted to the 'good stuff', gradually cutting back on how much you drink might be better for some than quiting cold turkey.

 

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Jeff Ricks:
OldSoul:
Jeff Ricks:
DrW:

Best Line: "Forget TRUE, Consider GOOD."

 

I am adding this one to my video collection. Again:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZQJc5SxnVs&NR=1

 

I understand what John's saying with the statement, however, I'm wondering, if something isn't true (which implies is a lie), how can it be construded as good?

 

It reminds me of a line from a song I once heard. I think it was by the Rolling Stones.

 

"It's a lie, but oh what a beautiful lie!"

 

As far as I'm concerned, if something is a lie, I don't care how good it seems, I want nothing to do with it, because living a lie, or following a lie, catches up with you eventually.

 

 

 

 My time as a Mormon was painful.  I only stuck with it because I was convinced it was true.  It was very easy for me to drop the whole thing once I knew it was a lie.  The lie wasn't so beautiful to me.  

 

 

 

I agree.  It's not so beautiful to me either. Here's another way to look at John's statement. Picture someone holding a glass of poison and saying, "I don't care what it is, as long as it tastes good! Cheers!"

 

Edit: Another thought. I suppose if someone is addicted to the 'good stuff', gradually cutting back on how much you drink might be better for some than quiting cold turkey.

 

Thanks everyone. I can only hope that some of these thoughts will run through DW's mind while she watches this video.

 

Thanks for the "supplementary material". I will certainly use as much as I can when the time comes.

 

 
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I wonder if my wife would watch this.  Maybe we could substantially reduce our core conflict.

 

Thanks for posting this.

 

--Garyatrics

 

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Garyatrics:

I wonder if my wife would watch this.  Maybe we could substantially reduce our core conflict.

 

Thanks for posting this.

 

--Garyatrics

 

Garyatrics,

 

I explained to DW that it was important to me personally that she watch this video.

 

I told her that it would help her to understand my motivations and feelings on the matter. Then I offered to trade her time-for-time if she would do so.

 

She likes for me to come to Sacrement Meeting with her, although she knows that it makes me very uncomfortable nowadays. But I figured it was more than worth it in tihs case, so I agreed.

 

Good luck with convincing your wife to watch it.

 
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Garyatrics:

I wonder if my wife would watch this.  Maybe we could substantially reduce our core conflict.

 

Thanks for posting this.

 

--Garyatrics

 

 

My wife watched it and I think it really helped bridge the gap. From the TBM standpoint you have been misled by lies, basically. This video shows that there are real problems there, and from a TBM viewpoint. Now that my wife acknowledges at least some of the issues it has helped her understand me much better.

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Once you convince yourself The universe falls into place. You’ve got your ideas And your posse of friends. You all make up rules
And the fun never ends. But still there’s a problem that leaves you gasping for air. You look for some meaning, blank smiles are all that’s there. And still water stales a soft summer breeze. You cling to your hopes while your drop to your knees.

There’s no substance.

-Bad Religion, No Substance

Formerly “Doubting Thomas”

 
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Doubting Thomas:
Garyatrics:

I wonder if my wife would watch this.  Maybe we could substantially reduce our core conflict.

 

Thanks for posting this.

 

--Garyatrics

 

 

My wife watched it and I think it really helped bridge the gap. From the TBM standpoint you have been misled by lies, basically. This video shows that there are real problems there, and from a TBM viewpoint. Now that my wife acknowledges at least some of the issues it has helped her understand me much better.

 

DT,

 

Great to hear you had some success with this video.

 

I sincerely hope to have a similar outcome.

 
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Right or wrong, flawed or "true", this Church has had an influence on all of us. Negative or positive. I've often thought about whether sometime in the near future another "church" would come along and make this one look obsolete.
 
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FlatLander, Jeff Ricks, et. al.:

 

I respect the position you articulate, and also respect that your difference with John Dehlin comes from a position of integrity: to you, if the church is not what it claims, then to remain a member while in possession of that knowledge is evidence of a lack of integrity. Suspicions of cognitive dissonance, etc. on the part of those who remain, naturally follow.

 

But many people don't engage with the church on its terms; that is, they don't value their membership on the basis of the church's truth or falsehood, as you do. I keep quoting Jonathan Haidt here:

 

The rationalist mindset that is pervasive among New Atheist writers makes them prone to thinking that religions are sets of beliefs, most of which are demonstrably wrong (and therefore worthy of ridicule). Instead, I’ll offer a characterization of religions as sets of practices that bind people together into cooperative communities that are generally good for their members, and that can be beneficial to societies (because they civilize and socialize their members) or harmful (when attacked, or when hijacked by demagogues).

 

So I disagree that John must necessarily be full of cognitive dissonance, and I also disagree that it will necessarily bite him on the butt later in life. I think he simply appreciates what the practice of Mormonism has brought into his life, and is content to set aside the dogma. That may not seem possible or desirable to you, but it seems to be working for him.

 
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Recon:

FlatLander, Jeff Ricks, et. al.:

 

I respect the position you articulate, and also respect that your difference with John Dehlin comes from a position of integrity: to you, if the church is not what it claims, then to remain a member while in possession of that knowledge is evidence of a lack of integrity. Suspicions of cognitive dissonance, etc. on the part of those who remain, naturally follow.

 

But many people don't engage with the church on its terms; that is, they don't value their membership on the basis of the church's truth or falsehood, as you do. I keep quoting Jonathan Haidt here:

 

The rationalist mindset that is pervasive among New Atheist writers makes them prone to thinking that religions are sets of beliefs, most of which are demonstrably wrong (and therefore worthy of ridicule). Instead, I’ll offer a characterization of religions as sets of practices that bind people together into cooperative communities that are generally good for their members, and that can be beneficial to societies (because they civilize and socialize their members) or harmful (when attacked, or when hijacked by demagogues).

 

So I disagree that John must necessarily be full of cognitive dissonance, and I also disagree that it will necessarily bite him on the butt later in life. I think he simply appreciates what the practice of Mormonism has brought into his life, and is content to set aside the dogma. That may not seem possible or desirable to you, but it seems to be working for him.

 

I agree it works for him now, and I agree it works for him now because he WANTS it to work for him, but I still maintain that John is engaging in mental gymnastics   I have a number of other thoughts on this matter as well, but am on a deadline to get some work done.

 

Briefly, I see the problem as this.  John claims to not accept the church on the terms it offers, but does all of the things that the church ACTUALLY cares about.  He pays tithing, accepts callings, etc.  The church doesn't care what its members believe, they simply want obedience from them.  If they believe also, that's an "extra" for them, allowing them even greater control, but as long as they get obedience, they don't care.  John knows this, agrees to be obedient, and encourages others to be obedient.  His encouraging of others to be obedient is just a variant of GBH telling folks to "have faith" and "pray for your leaders".  I suspect John is acting EXACTLY as the leadership of the church wants, i.e. helping the church find a way to get NONBELIEVERS to be obedient.

 

I don't object to the "Practices" argument  you (and Haidt) made, but honesty on the part of the church that some of us are only in it for the "practices" and not the doctrine would be helpful.  I think John is on board with that, unfortunately, part of the "practices" is to get up in Fast & Testimony meeting and "bear your testimony of the truthfulness of the church, even if you don't know it now, you will after you bear testimony of it."  So, I come down clearly on the side that the "practices" themselves of this church are harmful.  I think preaching obedience to known falsehoods, especially in the guise of "raising a righteous family" is mind-numbingly harmful.  

 

And, I don't know if I offered this opinion before, but I do have a feeling that John will come "to the dark side" eventually.  Perhaps when he sees a child of his get hurt by some church practice that the child willingly engages in. 

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Jeff Ricks:
DrW:

Best Line: "Forget TRUE, Consider GOOD."

 

I am adding this one to my video collection. Again:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZQJc5SxnVs&NR=1

 

I understand what John's saying with the statement, however, I'm wondering, if something isn't true (which implies is a lie), how can it be construded as good?

 

It reminds me of a line from a song I once heard. I think it was by the Rolling Stones.

 

"It's a lie, but oh what a beautiful lie!"

 

As far as I'm concerned, if something is a lie, I don't care how good it seems, I want nothing to do with it, because living a lie, or following a lie, catches up with you eventually.

 

 

 

In Tom Sawyer, Tom's aunt polly was mad at Tom for not letting her know that he was alive.  Tom told her that he wanted to tell her, and that he'd snuck back to town to leave her a note saying that he was okay, but that when he saw her sleeping so peacefully he chickened out (or something to that effect) and so kept the note in his pocket.  Aunt Polly was emotionally moved by this story, even though she believed that it was a lie.

 

She told herself that it was a kind lie; a lie designed to make her feel good, so she was glad for it and didn't want to know the truth.

 

But then, even though she told herself that she didn't want to know if it wasn't true, she couldn't help but dig through Tom's pocket to see if the note was actually there (which it was).

 

This is what I love about Mark Twain.  He makes the argument from the side that there can be good in a lie; a lie calculated to ease suffering, etc.  But at the same time, he points out that people, ultimately, can not ignore reality.  Even though she liked thinking that it was true, and even though she suspected that it wasn't, she just couldn't help herself; she had to KNOW whether it was true.

 

Like Tom's aunt, I can't forget what's true in leu of what is "good."  Not even if I really want to (which I no longer do).

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I'm with Flatlander on this.  John may have good intentions by trying to build a bridge, but for me this fantasy of ignore and pretend is simply untennable.  There were some positives about the Soviet Regime, the Nazi Regime, and even Mussolini made the trains run on time; however in the end the Mormon Church is not benign, it does real harm, causes real pain and creates a mental state in its followers which is not a positive for our species.

 

Truth really matters. This is something which I think we as Mormons never really understood as adehering to the cult and the cult-ure was more important than reality, and in John's case it still seems to be that compliance with absurdities is the best policy.  I really can't back down from this position as it has been something which has led me to greater freedom and understanding, not just about the absurdities of Mormonsim but in so many other aspects of life as well. 

 

In the end, I think that is what really matters, truth and nothing but the truth. 

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Chad (Swedeboy) Spjut:

...in the end the Mormon Church is not benign, it does real harm, causes real pain and creates a mental state in its followers which is not a positive for our species.

 

 

Chad, that kind of blanket assertion is just as absurd as the equivalent TBM assertion that all apostates must be deceiving themselves when they say they're happier outside the church. That the church is harmful at some times, in some circumstances, for some people is (to me anyway) indisputable. But there are others, at other times, in other circumstances, for whom it works remarkably well.

 

The irony is that this is essentially the Mormon worldview in reverse. When I was a TBM, I couldn't understand inactives: if you believe it's true, shape up and get with the program. If not, why are you still a member?

 

But reading Haidt and others has convinced me that there's a huge chunk of humanity for whom true-or-false matters far less than "how will this affect my relationships?" Arguing that this approach is, ipso facto, bad for humanity requires explaining why this seems to be (given its prevalence) an evolutionarily adaptive trait.

 

I'm not arguing that you should believe differently than you do, or value truth less strongly. I *am* arguing that you should be less certain about the validity of your beliefs or predictions, as applied to John Dehlin, than you seem to be.


 

 

 
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Recon:
Chad (Swedeboy) Spjut:

...in the end the Mormon Church is not benign, it does real harm, causes real pain and creates a mental state in its followers which is not a positive for our species.

 

 

Chad, that kind of blanket assertion is just as absurd as the equivalent TBM assertion that all apostates must be deceiving themselves when they say they're happier outside the church. That the church is harmful at some times, in some circumstances, for some people is (to me anyway) indisputable. But there are others, at other times, in other circumstances, for whom it works remarkably well.

 

The irony is that this is essentially the Mormon worldview in reverse. When I was a TBM, I couldn't understand inactives: if you believe it's true, shape up and get with the program. If not, why are you still a member?

 

But reading Haidt and others has convinced me that there's a huge chunk of humanity for whom true-or-false matters far less than "how will this affect my relationships?" Arguing that this approach is, ipso facto, bad for humanity requires explaining why this seems to be (given its prevalence) an evolutionarily adaptive trait.

 

I'm not arguing that you should believe differently than you do, or value truth less strongly. I *am* arguing that you should be less certain about the validity of your beliefs or predictions, as applied to John Dehlin, than you seem to be.


 

 

 

This makes me wonder is there anything that the church does that people could not do as well or better without it?

 

 

I posted the video to my facebook.  Thanks for the link DrW.

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Recon, You sooo get me.

 

I have almost no cognitive dissonance now (though I used to...before I worked through it all and came back to full activity). And I totally do NOT engage with the church under (and actually reject) the "true/false" paradigm...even though I know it is alive and well in some parts of the church.

 

Instead, I have decided to get comfortable in a multi-colored world...with greys and every other color of the rainbow.

 

My engagement with the church is partly spiritual (but in a very universalistic way), partly social, partly pragmatic, partly familial. But it works for me. And I don't feel that I'm being dishonest....and I don't feel like I'm lying to anyone. On the contrary...I feel like I've been one of the most public, open, honest, exposed people on the Internet to date. Everyone knows where I stand....and I don't feel like I'm lying or misleading anyone. I'm certainly not encouraging people to believe lies or falsehoods. I certainly don't feel like I believe any lies or falsehoods. And the last thing I feel is deluded (though I realize that deluded people never realize it).

 

To conclude, what always interests/amuses me is what Recon alluded to in his final comments. It seems like some of you guys just can't let go of the true/false...black/white paradigm...even though you despise it so badly within the church. It almost seems as though some of you have become as dogmatic in your anti-religious views as dogmatic church members are in their faithful views.

 

I don't mean to cause a fight...or to get ya'll mad at me. But why can't ya'll just accept that some people are truly happier, and/or better off w/ the church in their lives...and that the most important thing is that there are lots of spaces for people...wherever they feel most comfortable (including Post-Mormon...which I remain a fan of)?

 

Anyway, I still think the world of you all. I just wish that post-Mo's and ex-Mo's were a little more tolerant, and a little less quick to judge and condemn others sometimes.

 

That said...I have a long history of judging and misunderstanding folks...so I'm as guilty of this as anyone. I just wish that together, we could all eventually rise to a more enlightened level. I'll keep trying on my end...and I hope that all of you will too.

 

Much love.... John Dehlin

 
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My wife agreed to watch the video!  Maybe we can at least have less tension.

 

To me the question of "truth" extends beyond the historical claims or emphases about the roots of Mormonism and includes more empirical matters, like rates of addiction, teenage pregnancy, suicide, marital longevity, and tolerance.  At least when I was in graduate school (and knew some of the social research), the LDS church--like other churches and organizations--had a mixed bag of results.

 

--Garyatrics

 

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AZ_RM:

 

Recon:
Chad (Swedeboy) Spjut:

...in the end the Mormon Church is not benign, it does real harm, causes real pain and creates a mental state in its followers which is not a positive for our species.

 

 

Chad, that kind of blanket assertion is just as absurd as the equivalent TBM assertion that all apostates must be deceiving themselves when they say they're happier outside the church. That the church is harmful at some times, in some circumstances, for some people is (to me anyway) indisputable. But there are others, at other times, in other circumstances, for whom it works remarkably well.

 

The irony is that this is essentially the Mormon worldview in reverse. When I was a TBM, I couldn't understand inactives: if you believe it's true, shape up and get with the program. If not, why are you still a member?

 

But reading Haidt and others has convinced me that there's a huge chunk of humanity for whom true-or-false matters far less than "how will this affect my relationships?" Arguing that this approach is, ipso facto, bad for humanity requires explaining why this seems to be (given its prevalence) an evolutionarily adaptive trait.

 

I'm not arguing that you should believe differently than you do, or value truth less strongly. I *am* arguing that you should be less certain about the validity of your beliefs or predictions, as applied to John Dehlin, than you seem to be.


 

 

 

This makes me wonder is there anything that the church does that people could not do as well or better without it?

 

 

I posted the video to my facebook.  Thanks for the link DrW.

 The question in green is the million dollar question.  I think it is an individual question.  Some people, like John Dehlin feel there is something worthwhile in the church that you can't get elsewhere.  That makes sense to me even though I don't know what that is.  

 

The church has created a chasm in my family big enough to drive a truck through. First, I ask myself "is it true."  Nope.  Second, I ask myself "is it good me and my family" Before I can answer that question I need facts.  Is the church elitist, sexist, homophobic and so on and so on....

 

 

The church sends out an army of missionaries that preach that they are the one true church on the earth, they actively persecute homosexuals, and women don't hold the priesthood.  From my point of view the answer is yes, yes, yes and so on and so on.  These are not arcane facts from 150 years ago.  The church is bigoted right now.

 

I know lots of people that are happy in the church.  I can't say if they are happy because of the church or they are happy because their internal chemicals are firing right.  Much of happiness is hormonal.. I can say these folks have not had the experience with the church that I have and they are more able to swallow elitism, sexism and homophobia than me.  Can a person be happy and tolerate bigotry?  I suppose yes.  I am not saying all Mormons are elitist, sexist, or homophobic but I am saying if you are going to sit in church for very long, you have to tolerate bigotry.  It is omnipresent.

 

EDIT TO ADD: I just read John's post.   I think your video is good and I wish you the best.  I wrote the post above because I don't think everybody is caught up in "is it true" paradigm.  For many people the fact that it isn't true means that it isn't good either.  That is a subjective call of course.  However, the church itself absolutely requires that we at least pay lips service to the church being true.  You don't get a temple recommend by saying that you think the church leaders are not inspired but they are a decent bunch of fellas.  You must bear testimony that the church is true and better than other churches. 


 

 

 

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mormonstories:

<snipped>

Much love.... John Dehlin

 

John,

Thanks for engaging.  I know you are all about trying to help, and I DO appreciate that.  You have been helpful to me, and I appreciate that as well.

 

Some people will never give up on love, I understand that.  I think that is where you are.  In the case of personal relationships, many of us know of someone who just never would give up on someone they loved, even after it was clear to everyone that the second party was incapable of reciprocating love to the first, but rather continually brought pain and suffering to the first person's life.  I'm not suggesting that the church has hurt YOU, by this analogy, merely that some people will NEVER give up on their love for someone.  Sometimes never giving up on loving someone is delusional, dangerous, and ultimately disastrous.  Other times never giving up on love is beautiful and has that miracle ending from the old movies.  And, of course there are infinite positions in between.

 

I think you can't give up your love for the church, and I get that.  As you point out, no delusional person recognizes his or her own delusion.

 

I worry that some day you will wake up and realize that a great majority of your work in life has been one of apologetics (which I believe you don't currently recognize) and that your work has CAUSED INJURY.  I think that will be a sad day for you.  

 

Even if YOU don't buy in to the church's either/or form of thinking, your payments of tithes and offerings that promote teaching President Hinckley's (and others) message of "It's all true, or it's all false" may fund the missionary that baptizes the family with the little boy who grows up to find out he's gay and that the Mormon God has no place for him, so he takes his own life.  Maybe one of your children will have a spouse with absolutely rigid beliefs, and in the interest of family harmony (like Dad always said was more important than truth) your child allows the spouse to mentally and physically abuse your grandchildren "in the name of God."

 

I hope the day never comes for you, John, but it might.  I think you are enabling far more evil in the world by supporting the church than you are enabling love.  I don't really think that is your intention,  but I think it is the reality.

 

I wish you well, and again, thank you for engaging.

 

(I recognize also, that I may be delusional as well.  In fact, I try to set aside an hour a day just for delusional thoughts.)  

 

Returning your wishes of much love

Andrew 

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mormonstories:

To conclude, what always interests/amuses me is what Recon alluded to in his final comments. It seems like some of you guys just can't let go of the true/false...black/white paradigm...even though you despise it so badly within the church. It almost seems as though some of you have become as dogmatic in your anti-religious views as dogmatic church members are in their faithful views.

 

 Hi John. I'm glad you posted here. Please understand that, for the most part, when the church is working for someone we don't encourage them to leave. There are times when we've had a TBM stumble onto our site, hang around for a few weeks of viewing the conversations, then finally post that they're now thinking of leaving the church. We (the management of PostMo at least) encourage them to stay, if it's working for them. But if the cat's too far out of the bag for them, so there's no turning back, we encourage them to go very, very slowly and carefully, realizing that leaving will affect their relationships. So, you see, our views are not as dogmatic and anti-religious as you might think.


Below is an excerpt from our homepage, which was drafted by Bob McCue and myself in 2004 as a kind of official declaration of what PostMo is about.

 

"Some of us choose to continue their spiritual journey through traditional religious means and others of us identify ourselves as atheistic or agnostic. We respect these choices as we do those of the well-informed among our family and friends who choose to remain traditional Mormons. We feel sad for those who choose ignorance of any kind and strongly disagree with the few within Mormonism who encourage ignorance and spread misinformation."

 

I could be wrong but I think you might have another misunderstanding that's reflected in your black/white true/false statement. It's not black and white thinking in the church that I despise, it's the dishonesty and lies I despise. Sure there's plenty of gray area in between the two black-white extremes but there are also blatant lies that can't possibly be construed as true or even good.

 

In summary, PostMo encourages people to stay in the church if it's working for them; we're not out to destroy it, but we also take a strong stand against anyone and anything that encourages ignorance and spreads misinformation . I don't think that's black and white thinking at all, it's simply taking a stand where integrity requires it. I think too often the "black white thinking" label is used to justify not taking a stand.

 

But, to each his own, I suppose!

 

 

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Listening to Mormon Stories helped me to understand what I was missing as far as our controversial Mormon past goes. When I first listened to Todd Compton's presentation, that was the first I had heard about Joseph Smith's polygamy practices and the lying. I am deeply grateful for the Mormon Stories podcasts. I felt like I would still be in the church and feeling bad about it if I hadn't discovered Mormon Stories.
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mormonstories:

 

...I don't mean to cause a fight...or to get ya'll mad at me. But why can't ya'll just accept that some people are truly happier, and/or better off w/ the church in their lives...and that the most important thing is that there are lots of spaces for people...wherever they feel most comfortable (including Post-Mormon...which I remain a fan of)?...

 

Much love.... John Dehlin

 

Thanks, John.  I personally accept that some people are happier in the church.  I usually go to sacrament meeting, mostly in an attempt to express support for my wife.  One of my favorite parts of the meeting is the sacrament, watching the deacons learning to behave with dignity and reverence, hearing the babies call out, and just the idea of a whole congregation of people coming together and engaging in a not-too-strict moment of silence.  During the sacrament I often think of the elderly sisters in our wards and how profoundly the ceremony affects them.  One woman, in particular, seems to feel the lifting of her chronic loneliness, that sense that Jesus redeemed her not only from personal error but also from being painfully alone.  It's beautiful to me thinking of the comfort and meaning that people can experience during the sacrament.

 

However, my more preferred sacrament is the gathering.  I like to go early to sacrament meeting, sit in our usual pew, take turns greeting people, shaking hands, engaging in warm and often humorous banter, and listening to the sounds of people coming together.  I love that.

 

I have met many postMormons in person.  I believe that most of them do accept that many people are happier as Mormons.  Like other humans, we act as if our views and beliefs are probably better than the alternatives.  We humans do tend to just do our best, after all.

 

By the way, thank you for the video.  I felt understood but not vilified by your comments.  It is so refreshing to be validated rather than marginalized by an active Mormon.  Your video would have been less meaningful to me if you were not an active, practicing Mormon.  I don't know how your presentation will affect my wife and our deteriorated relationship, but it has potential to at least reduce friction.  Anyway, thanks.

 

--Garyatrics

 

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I think Jeff's comment about dishonesty is key.  The lying is what bothers me.

 

The argument that "I don't want to think in terms of 'it's true or it's a lie' I want to think about all the GOOD that the church does."  seems to me to be just a way of excusing the lying.

 

How would we feel about the woman who said of her husband, "I don't want to think of him in terms of his sexually molesting my daughter, I think he's still a good father, look at all the good he does when he serves meals at the homeless shelter." ?

 

What about, "Yeah, I know he performs needless surgeries on elderly unsuspecting patients just to get the insurance money, but I like to think of all the good he does by driving a hybrid and helping to save the environment."

 

Or - "Yeah, I know he's a corrupt cop and he beat my wife to death just for the money in her purse, but he sang at her funeral, and he has such a nice voice, that's what I like to focus on."

 

The Mormon Church set its own standard "Truth."  That is the standard they have been living (and dying) by for the entire history of the church.  Anyone in a position of trust who DELIBERATELY violates the specific trust they have been given, should be removed from that position of trust.  What should be done for a church that DELIBERATELY violates the specific trust they have asked for and been given?

 

The Mormon Church set "Truth" as the one, rock-solid thing, that it would generate, protect, defend, and encourage, and that we could base our relationship of trust with the Mormon Church on that Truth.  To now say "Oh, yeah, the church lies, but let's not worry about that,  because it also organizes Christmas caroling for shut-ins," is to give the Mormon Church a free pass that we are not willing to give the father, the doctor, or the policeman above.

 

Why should the church be allowed to violate the specific trust that it asked for without consequences?  

 

And, a second point - by being a New Order Mormon or what John called an "Open Mormon" (even if you occasionally speak out on the Internet) you are giving support to an organization that preaches hatred.  That's why my wife (TBM until recently) wrote in her resignation letter:

 

 

I have read many heart-rending stories written by gay/lesbian members of the church and their families and can only conclude that these children of God were created the way they are by Him and are as deserving of His love and blessing as any of His other children. I will no longer condone prejudicial treatment of gays and lesbians by my silence.

 

 

 

 

 

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I've been thinking about this thread, and especially your response here John, and finally watched the video.  

 

You have my respect, but I do want to know specifically how you do it.   You said that everyone knows where you stand, so are you spared being asked to do most leadership callings?  Do you speak up at church when you hear one of the things said that you know is not true?  Do you bring your children to Primary?   Can you teach Primary?  Are your teens in Young Women's classes?   Look online at this month's lessons for the 4-8 year olds, a recent one was how the Book of Mormon is the Word of God, and how Nephi obeyed Heavenly Father and killed Laban -- this was for 4 year olds -- or any lesson for the Young Women.   I know I've read somewhere how you can answer in the temple recommend interviews and still get a recommend.  I have gotten two of them in the past years that afterwards made me feel sick on the way home, during one (which was more than 2 years ago, so you can see I'm not ready to go through it again quite yet) I was asked to bear my testimony about the first vision.  Somehow he still signed on the line, the only cost was my own integrity. 

 

You say you have very little cognitive dissonance.  I like the idea that you can do what you do and that it works.   But I'm not sure I believe it completely, and maybe that's because I feel so stuck personally.  If you don't mind, and perhaps you've posted this elsewhere, or someone else here can maybe point me in the right direction, could someone share with me how all the people that have faced the problems you discuss at the beginning of the video manage to still function effectively in the church?  I have no problem going to church every week,  and being part of the community if that's what you mean at the end of your video about serving.  But at least in my experience, it's not that easy to not have to be pulled in further than that, not that easy to not be in situations where you are expected to speak and teach about things you are not comfortable with, and watch your children be pulled in further than that, and not somehow wish you could gather in what remains of your own sense of honesty and be that island you talk about, at least for awhile.  

 
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mormonstories:

Recon, You sooo get me.

 

I have almost no cognitive dissonance now (though I used to...before I worked through it all and came back to full activity). And I totally do NOT engage with the church under (and actually reject) the "true/false" paradigm...even though I know it is alive and well in some parts of the church.

 

Instead, I have decided to get comfortable in a multi-colored world...with greys and every other color of the rainbow.

 

My engagement with the church is partly spiritual (but in a very universalistic way), partly social, partly pragmatic, partly familial. But it works for me. And I don't feel that I'm being dishonest....and I don't feel like I'm lying to anyone. On the contrary...I feel like I've been one of the most public, open, honest, exposed people on the Internet to date. Everyone knows where I stand....and I don't feel like I'm lying or misleading anyone. I'm certainly not encouraging people to believe lies or falsehoods. I certainly don't feel like I believe any lies or falsehoods. And the last thing I feel is deluded (though I realize that deluded people never realize it).

 

To conclude, what always interests/amuses me is what Recon alluded to in his final comments. It seems like some of you guys just can't let go of the true/false...black/white paradigm...even though you despise it so badly within the church. It almost seems as though some of you have become as dogmatic in your anti-religious views as dogmatic church members are in their faithful views.

 

I don't mean to cause a fight...or to get ya'll mad at me. But why can't ya'll just accept that some people are truly happier, and/or better off w/ the church in their lives...and that the most important thing is that there are lots of spaces for people...wherever they feel most comfortable (including Post-Mormon...which I remain a fan of)?

 

Anyway, I still think the world of you all. I just wish that post-Mo's and ex-Mo's were a little more tolerant, and a little less quick to judge and condemn others sometimes.

 

That said...I have a long history of judging and misunderstanding folks...so I'm as guilty of this as anyone. I just wish that together, we could all eventually rise to a more enlightened level. I'll keep trying on my end...and I hope that all of you will too.

 

Much love.... John Dehlin

 

 What did you mean in your first paragraph about how you reject the true/false paradigm even though you know it's alive and well in some parts of the church?  The true/false concept is still taught every single week in lessons and it is still taught from the podium at general conference.  If you reject that, I don't see how you survive happilyand without cognitive dissonance in the church other than just being part of it for its social aspect, which someone can just as easily do not being a member at all, just attending the services.  

 

When you say that it interests/amuses you that some people don't seem to be able to let go of the true/false...black/white paradigm, like you apparently have been able to do, it seems like you are implying that the church itself is shedding that but I would argue that the church as an institution seems to be moving towards a sort of black/white thinking more than ever, and my argument would mostly consist of listing out every talk, lesson and theme of obedience and what the church specifically teaches about apostasy, which does not leave room for the sort of nuanced belief I think you are talking about.  If anything, I think members have been carefully taught black/white thinking and are still taught to mistrust anything else.  It is not surprising that people who find themselves in a forum like this express a sort of intolerance about what you are saying, since it is quite a mental leap of faith to break out of a mindset like that, like a smoker who gives up smoking and becomes the most offended by others who smoke, as a sort of defensive mechanism to not fall back into the habit.    

 

Do you believe you can help the church change from within?  Is that what you are trying to do?  

 
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Recon:
Chad (Swedeboy) Spjut:

...in the end the Mormon Church is not benign, it does real harm, causes real pain and creates a mental state in its followers which is not a positive for our species.

 

 

Chad, that kind of blanket assertion is just as absurd as the equivalent TBM assertion that all apostates must be deceiving themselves when they say they're happier outside the church. That the church is harmful at some times, in some circumstances, for some people is (to me anyway) indisputable. But there are others, at other times, in other circumstances, for whom it works remarkably well.

 

The irony is that this is essentially the Mormon worldview in reverse. When I was a TBM, I couldn't understand inactives: if you believe it's true, shape up and get with the program. If not, why are you still a member?

 

But reading Haidt and others has convinced me that there's a huge chunk of humanity for whom true-or-false matters far less than "how will this affect my relationships?" Arguing that this approach is, ipso facto, bad for humanity requires explaining why this seems to be (given its prevalence) an evolutionarily adaptive trait.

 

I'm not arguing that you should believe differently than you do, or value truth less strongly. I *am* arguing that you should be less certain about the validity of your beliefs or predictions, as applied to John Dehlin, than you seem to be.


 

 

Well if this makes you comforted then go with it. For me, I would have this attitude about any organization or movement which fosters, supports and encourages deception. Call me crazy or some nutty black and white thinker, but I guess I'm a little odd. 

 

For me it is not just a Mormon thing, it is a truth thing, and when someone even through silent participation is involved in such an organization then they are by default in a support position of what is taught, practiced and promoted. This is how the fraud continues, by good, sincere, ethical folks remaining in scared silence of the ramifications of their actions should they escape.  I understand that many, many people are forced into this situation, which to me shows all the more importance and emphasis for those of us who can, in standing and trying to extracate onself from the fraud which then shows others that such can be done, and done successfully.  I also understand that some believe that Mormonism shoud be transformed from within and then become the organization that they always hoped it would be. I believe such to be a fools errand to be sure, but this is due to my opinon that Mormonism does not deserve to be changed from within, to what end would this serve?  The turd is still a turd despite the polish. 

 

It is a tangled mess in regards to escaping Mormonism, but then ethic and truth are never an easy thing to employ. Mormonism and other groups like it should not be supported, encouraged or helped in any way. It does far more damage to our species in retarding and arresting our development than it ever did in directing us in a positive direction and growth. Perhaps we should reform the Jehovah's Witnesses or the Moonies or even the FLDS? We should do all we can to encourage cutists from those cults to remain within their respective deceptions as well eh? 

 

Truth matters, but then there's that "certainy" side of me making its appearance again. 

 

 

 

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Überzeugungen sind oft die gefährlichsten Feinde der Wahrheit.
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[Certainty (that one is correct) is often the most dangerous enemy of the truth.]

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limes:

If you don't mind, and perhaps you've posted this elsewhere, or someone else here can maybe point me in the right direction, could someone share with me how all the people that have faced the problems you discuss at the beginning of the video manage to still function effectively in the church?  I have no problem going to church every week,  and being part of the community if that's what you mean at the end of your video about serving.  But at least in my experience, it's not that easy to not have to be pulled in further than that, not that easy to not be in situations where you are expected to speak and teach about things you are not comfortable with, and watch your children be pulled in further than that, and not somehow wish you could gather in what remains of your own sense of honesty and be that island you talk about, at least for awhile.  

 

Limes,

 

I write about my approach here:

 

http://staylds.com/docs/HowToStay.html

 

It's not an approach for everyone, but it's worked (so far) for me, and for many friends of mine.  And you're right...it's not an easy approach...but it's the best for me and my family....and again...for many of my close friends.

 

Thanks for the questions!!!

 

 

 
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Do you believe you can help the church change from within?  Is that what you are trying to do?  

 

Definitely not.  I gave up on this goal a few years back.

 

I believe that setting out to change people and/or organizations is a tricky business.....which rarely works.

 
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mormonstories:
limes:

If you don't mind, and perhaps you've posted this elsewhere, or someone else here can maybe point me in the right direction, could someone share with me how all the people that have faced the problems you discuss at the beginning of the video manage to still function effectively in the church?  I have no problem going to church every week,  and being part of the community if that's what you mean at the end of your video about serving.  But at least in my experience, it's not that easy to not have to be pulled in further than that, not that easy to not be in situations where you are expected to speak and teach about things you are not comfortable with, and watch your children be pulled in further than that, and not somehow wish you could gather in what remains of your own sense of honesty and be that island you talk about, at least for awhile.  

 

Limes,

 

I write about my approach here:

 

http://staylds.com/docs/HowToStay.html

 

It's not an approach for everyone, but it's worked (so far) for me, and for many friends of mine.  And you're right...it's not an easy approach...but it's the best for me and my family....and again...for many of my close friends.

 

Thanks for the questions!!!

 

 

 

Yes, as you point out John, I left because I cared too much, not because I cared to little.   

 

I thank you for pointing out the primary reason leaving so hard. In your essay you say the following:

 

Why Stay?

When someone becomes disaffected from the LDS Church, it is quite common for them to be accused by family, friends, and fellow ward members of lacking faith and commitment. It is also common for them to be accused of grave sin or disobedience to church teachings. While we're sure that this is true of some people, as we've communicated with literally hundreds of disaffected Mormons over the past several years, it has been our experience that most disaffected LDS Church members were "guilty," if anything, of caring too much about the church, not caring too little.

 

So, the primary problem with leaving the Church isn't with those who leave, its with those who stay! If Mormons would simply live their religion ("judge not that you be not judged..." "let them worship how, where, or what they may..." etc.), then leaving the Church wouldn't be so painful. It's primarily Mormons who need to clean up their act and be more Christian, not those who leave the Church.

 

I think those who leave tend toi feel like those in Lehi's dream where the people in the Large and Spacious Building are pointing fingers and looking down their noses at them, when all we want to do is live a life of integrity and honesty, in our dealings with others, and with ourelves.

 

 

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John, I don't mean to pick on you, but I have to point out a few other things about your essay that bother me.

 

One of your headings is titled, "Accepting Imperfection." I accept imperfection. I've accepted it all my life. I accept it even more, now that I've left the Church. I accept the imperfection in the Church, but I will not accept the dishonesty. What do you do with the dishonesty, John? In all your comments on the subject over the years, I don't think I've ever seen you address the dishonesty that exists in the Church...and I mean the dishonesty that exists now, today, among the Brethren. What do you do with that, John? Can you look the other way? I can't. I won't. I especially won't pretend like I support them in their dishonesty by outwardly going through all the motions as if I do, or I become an accomplice in their deceit, and therefore guilty along with them.

 

Another heading: "Who publicizes their biggest mistakes? Do you live up to the standard you are expecting?" Does the Church live up to the standard it expects of its members, John? No! It doesn't! Mormonism expects its members to confess their sins, make restitution where possible, and ask for forgiveness from those wronged, not simply ignore the sins and hope no one cares. Mormonism also expects its members, who have confessed their sins, made restitution, and asked for forgiveness, to promise never to commit the sin again, then keep that promise. Why should the Church not be held to the same standard? The problem isn't only past sins, its ongoing sins of deception. When the Church's latest ad campaign is "Truth Restored," I don't think it's expecting too much from them to actually mean it.

 

John, your bottom line seems to be, ignore the deception, ignore the lies and while you're at it, ignore the bigotry and hypocrisy. Pretend that it doesn't exist. And pretend that something that has a far lower standard of integrity and honesty and morality than I do, has something of benefit to offer me. That I just cannot do John. I'd rather live with the pain that comes from being misunderstood, falsely judged, and falsely accused by my Mormon family and friends, than live with the guilt that comes from lying to myself and others, and aiding and abetting an organization that does the same.

 

[Edit: I understand that there are those who no longer believe but have to still go through the motions like they do, because they're not yet in a position to follow their heart and leave. But I have a real hard time with those who try to justify staying by promoting the view that the problems (the dishonesty, bigotry, irresponsibility) should be excused.]

 

 

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Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.
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