BrownR, I was just getting ready to log off when I saw this. To save a little time, I went to a previous thread here called “any former mormons out there” where I posted the following:
I am a former Mormon. I converted to RCC this past Easter.
The reason I had for leaving the LDS church and ultimately embracing the Catholic faith was that I didn’t feel like I was really worshipping Christ in the LDS church. I felt like everthing was about me, or the person sitting next to me, or some other person. My blessings for doing this, my blessings for doing that. Listening to all the blessings everyone would receive through paying their tithing, magnifying their callings, going to the temple, being obedient, on and on and on. I’d sit there in church and crave a real worship experience.
Finally I realized I was so empty spiritually that I knew I had to find a way to worship Christ or eventually lose what little faith I had left. I began looking around where I live for another church to visit. I looked on the internet for churches in my area. Catholicism what not even on my radar. I was driving in my car one evening, and the thought came into my mind “try going to a Catholic church”.
I believe God actually took my hand and lead me home. It’s true, the friendshipping and socializing experience isn’t even close to what the Mormon church has. But I sense more the importance of reaching out to the poor, feeding the hungry and supporting the financial needs to keep the church running. Not for any return benefit to myself.
Most importantly I get to really worship along side others, singing praises to the Lord. The entire mass is about Him and nothing else. This is what my spirit was longing for all those many years.
Most of the people I know who are active LDS, really believe in its claims - or at least they don’t pay much attention to what is being said to challenge it. Many have been brought up LDS their entire lives, others converted as adults. None of my close friends or relatives, that I am aware of, spend much time at all looking at materials that are not church approved. Their belief that the church is true is central to their entire existance.
As far as the church moving forward, gaining new converts, etc. I think the church has an appeal because of the good values it promotes. I think alot of people are searching for meaning in life, and when the missionaries knock at their door, they feel like there is still something good in the world. In most LDS wards, people are very welcoming to new members, so they also feel a real sense of community and belonging - for some this is the first time in their life to experience this.
Many members never go beyond what is taught to them in the missionary discussions. Most know nothing about some of the teachings of former leaders. (Or if they do, they seem to not wish to focus on those, but instead try to avoid them - I know that was how it was for me for a good long while).
I assume some people actually receive a BITB testimony of the Book of Mormon, but that never happened for me. Actually, when I asked several people directly about why that might have been, every one of them said they never really had anything special happen to them along those lines, either. Instead, they simply chose to believe because they felt it was true, and said that membership in the church brought true joy to their lives. Somehow, when they get up to bare their testimony in church, they can say they “know” it is true. I could never do that. But I was told by one of my LDS bishop’s, that if I were to get up and say it, I would probably then be able to walk away and say to myself, “yes I really do believe what I just said”. How crazy is that?
To contrast, the seven months spent in RCIA brought such a wonderful sense of “reason” to the table for me. They encouraged study from all angles…not just off of a list of approved sources. There is a continuity to the Catholic faith that is so refreshing. And as far as the less appealing and sometimes even horrific times in Church history, they covered those also, quite extensively without whitewashing - and encouraged further private study for that as well. My little world in a box opened up alot during those seven months. Its been an amazing journey.