This of course isn’t unique to Mormonism. Insert the name of any other religion, and you will have people saying the same things as you did above. There are many ex-Catholics that claim a list of “problems” with the Church, and many believing Catholics that are well aware of the “problems” and are still Catholic. Why is that? Because people have different ways of rationalizing things, some valid, some invalid. It’s really that simple, at least to me.
For me, I don’t see the LDS Church as being what it claims. First and foremost, I find no scriptural basis for a total apostasy of Christ’s Church, the Kingdom of God. Absolutely nowhere do I find such a thing. The verses that are usually referenced either point to something during OT times, apostasies of people, etc, but nothing claiming that there will be a day when the Kingdom of God will not be found (that it was lost), that the priesthood is gone, etc. Once I realized this, I knew I couldn’t be LDS, despite how much I loved being so, and whether or not other things make more sense to me there than elsewhere (for example, I still find the LDS view of only the “true church” being able to perform valid ordinances, including baptism, to be more compelling to me than the view that other churches not in full communion with the true church, such as the Orthodox, being able to perform valid sacraments).
The LDS prophets, seers, and revelators simply don’t seem to function as Biblical prophets, let alone as Joseph Smith did. They seem no different than non-prophet leaders of other faiths. I have seen many LDS attempt to rationalize this, but none of that made sense to me, nor did it fit with what one expects with having a “living prophet” to guide the world.
I loved the temple. I loved being able to go to a place where only other believers of the faith could go (compared to all the tourists milling around St. Patrick’s Cathedral :D), and I sort of felt a connection to ancient Judaism, what with washing and anointing, clothing, etc. I enjoyed the connection to the New Testament with baptism for the dead. But then, I realized the clear Masonic origins of the Endowment (check out the new Joseph’s Temples: The Dynamic Relationship between Freemasonry and Mormonism), and to me, none of this was really a restoration of what the ancient/primitive Christian Church was doing. Now, some LDS apologists will refer to writings by Margaret Barker and such, but reading those things convinced me of the truth of Catholic liturgical rites, and that Catholicism really is in continuity with ancient Judaism and the Temple, and not Mormonism and its Endowment, which finds more in common with Freemasonry. Again, many believing LDS will come up with ways to rationalize the presence of direct borrowing from Freemasonry.
So, what we see here is that people have different ways of rationalizing things. For a time, I put things on the “mental shelf”. The priesthood/temple ban of blacks in the LDS church was one such thing. Many LDS are of the view that “well, I don’t understand why, but I’m sure there’s a good reason, and hopefully one day we’ll know it”. I guess that works for them.
I really did like what I call the “missionary version” of Mormonism: apostles, prophets, temples, priesthood restored, continuing revelation, etc. But once I started getting under that surface and what all of that really meant, I came to the conclusion that it was just a facade, and true Christianity was never lost, and has always been here, in the Catholic Church, and that many of the things I loved about Mormonism, especially the temple, are found right in Catholicism, and I didn’t even really realize it, even if I subconsciously knew it.