Leaving Mormonism

This is what it looks like:

reddit.com/r/exmormon

You’ll find about 95% of the people who post to that subreddit are now atheists. Not Catholics, or Orthodox, or Lutherans, or any other religion.

Very interesting stuff, and pretty heartbreaking to read the cynicism there.

This is a very typical comment:

“It’s a great day when you’ve come to terms we’re just a bunch of monkeys surviving on this floating rock in space, with one objective: survive and reproduce. All of the other things, like purpose and self meaning, while important for the human experience, they’re simply ancillary to the prime objective.”

I don’t think we restore any meaningful credibility for the validity of a religious understanding of humanity in the eyes of today’s youth unless and until we stop painting targets on people of other religions and try to run break their faith.

Matthew,
There are reasons why most former Mormons become agnostics and atheists when they leave Mormonism. It pretty much is built into the fabric of the prism of Mormonism works.

I don’t have the time to delineate here due to work. Perhaps others will.

Mormonism tends to be extremely destructive due do the crisis of faith it causes when those come to the realization that it’s fraudulent in it’s claim and foundation.

I think it depends on where people hang out. The exmormon subreddit, and other online forums that attract exMormons, attract primarily atheist exMormons. Any former or doubting Mormon who expresses a new found faith in an atheist-majority exMormon forums, is thought of as idiotic. A fair amount of atheist proselytizing and witnessing, like what you posted, goes on in exMormon forums. Very little, if any, support for moving to a different faith than Mormonism, exists in exMormon forums. The support in these forums is for leaving Mormonism for atheism.

On the other hand, living here in Utah, at least 50% of our RCIA every year is comprised of former LDS. Some move directly from Mormonism to Catholicism, no stopping in between, and some take a longer route through atheism or agnosticism.

Why are you assuming it is people of other faiths that are trying to get Mormons to leave the LDS church? Mormons are leaving due to the history and changing doctrines of the LDS church itself and not because anyone is “out to destroy it”. Sorry but far more ex-Mormons are made due to President Gordon Hinckley lying and equivocating on national television than Ed Decker and the God makers film. Ultimately, it is the behavior of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young that is causing Mormons to leave the LDS church.

I also agree with Marie and Rebecca. The LDS church teaches that it is The One True Church and that all others are wrong, “corrupt” and an “abomination before the Lord”. The ex-Mormons you are observing on the ex-Mormon boards may no longer believe the LDS church is The One True Church, but they continue to believe all other churches are wrong. That is one Mormon belief they do not give up.

While I still believe in God, I very much understand why so many ex-Mormons become atheist or agnostic. I considered it myself before I showed up here at CAF.

You won’t find many self-identifying theists on ex-Mormon boards because they are simply not welcome. I lurk sometimes just for a good laugh and to keep up with what is going on in Mormonism, but I rarely post. Simply stating that I believe in God and that I am Christian is enough to be called delusional and needing an emotional crutch. Why would I subject myself to that if I don’t have to? The regulars of these boards are very much atheist or agnostic. Many new ex-Mormons come and post for a bit and then move on. We really don’t know how many of them eventually make their way to Christianity or another faith tradition. In the parish I was baptized in, two of the 15 people who were baptized last year are former LDS. This was only last year in Houston of all places. I was the only one to bother resigning. This year another former Mormon from my old stake will be baptized Catholic. She never went to an ex-Mormon board. She just did what the majority of former Mormons did. She quietly moved on.

And Baha’i too…

I came to the Baha’i faith at a difficult time in my life. I had long-since lost my interest in Christianity, in no small part due to the incredible bigotry, hatred, and irrationality of the denominations I had come into contact with. I was philosophically ungrounded, freshly single, and quite lonely. Baha’i’s seemed so spectacular: A unifying theory of religion, big on gender equality, peace, and various other liberal hobby horses I was fond of… I even enjoyed the spiritual discipline of daily prayers, although praying words that someone else wrote, as an ex-Christian, felt weird. But for a long while, about a year, I was all about it.
I even attended Ruhi in the Woods. I’m sure many of you worked through the Ruhi books, and this was a 6-week intensive course through the entire set that took place one summer in Indiana. At first I was having the time of my life. I met some amazing people, was deepening my faith, and fell in love with just about every girl there. Then I realized the point of Ruhi and it really put me off. I felt bamboozled. I had been under the impression that the point of Ruhi and of this intensive course was to further my understanding of the religion so that I could be a great Baha’i. It wasn’t until towards the end that I heard about “entry by troops.”
As you know, “entry by troops” is a rather creepy term that is code for the rather creepy prospect of mass conversions. Having been raised evangelical Christian, which is all about converting non-believers, I was incredibly crestfallen as the Baha’i faith started looking more and more like every other religion.
It was the intense focus on proselytizing that began the process of disenchantment for me, and it was fueled by the compassionless ways I saw Baha’is behaving in the name of “detachment.” Baha’i detachment just seemed like people not caring anymore. I got very sick during Ruhi in the Woods and within a day or two the adults in charge just got tired of dealing with me. They doubted my sickness and wouldn’t give me medicine. I was alone on a couch in the basement fighting a fever for about a week and when I came out of it I was a different person. I didn’t feel connected to the group anymore, and I didn’t feel like a Baha’i.
I persisted in the faith for a while after this, but two other issues finally solidified it for me that it just wasn’t for me. First, their stance on gender equality baffled me. Abdul Baha said that men and women are like the two wings of humanity and that both must be equal for it to soar, or something along those lines. And yet, the Baha’i World Council is a group of 19 men, and only men, whose collective decisions are deemed to be the will of God, a painfully obvious throwback to Islamic courts. Nobody was ever able to give me a good reason why women weren’t allowed on the council, but were supposedly equal.
The other issue that just never sat right with me was their stance on homosexuality, which basically boils down to, “It’s okay if you’re gay, but just, you know, don’t be gay.” It felt disingenuous of them to pretend to be morally superior to other religions in their tolerance for homosexuality, when in reality they were just as damning of it as anyone else.
Eventually I got another girlfriend, an atheist this time, who opened me up to the notion of a godless life, and it wasn’t long before I was mailing in my membership card and kissing The Faith goodbye, never to return. I still talk to and dearly love many of the people I met through the Baha’i faith, but I also have to question their own rationality. I was only a Baha’i for about a year, and I was able to notice some pretty big inconsistencies, enough to make me leave. I still wonder how they can still believe, and I think it really comes down to the fabulously active, loving communities these people have through the faith. I do miss that aspect of it, but to me, it isn’t worth being a member of the faith that is supposed to bring all other faiths together, but is really nothing more than a rehashing of self-serving judeo-christian-islamic puritanism.

reddit.com/r/exbahai/comments/ujlb2/why_i_left_the_faith/

:thumbsup:

Were you an influence for the lady from your old stake?

By influence, I mean, did she see you do it, and it gave her the courage? Did you talk prior to her conversion?

Actually, not at all. She was in a different ward and our social circles didn’t overlap. Although, our opinion of the stake president was pretty much the same. :wink: I only met her because she was starting RCIA shortly before I finished.

There is a woman from my old ward who did leave with her husband and children a few months after I did. I didn’t know her all that well but knew who she was. She had been an off and on active Mormon and she was making her final effort when we were in the same ward. I’m not sure if my leaving gave her the ability to make a final break. Maybe she just needed to know she wasn’t alone. Strangely enough, she has been involved in activities such as Bible study at the Catholic parish off and on. She’s had great experiences with the parish, but she’s just not ready yet. I would not be surprised if she eventually converts.

Techno2000,

I’m not quite sure if you want me to respond to the extensive criticisms of the Baha’i Faith you pasted into this thread, or not?

If so, I’d prefer you start another thread about that, as I really started this thread to discuss how people who have their religious beliefs shattered usually end up choosing not to believe any religion at all, and hoped to open up the discussion of whether we as religious people ought to be attacking others religious beliefs, and expecting a positive outcome from that.

Why are you assuming it is people of other faiths that are trying to get Mormons to leave the LDS church?

Because I observe that behavior here on a very regular basis!

Mormons are leaving due to the history and changing doctrines of the LDS church itself and not because anyone is “out to destroy it”. Sorry but far more ex-Mormons are made due to President Gordon Hinckley lying and equivocating on national television than Ed Decker and the God makers film. Ultimately, it is the behavior of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young that is causing Mormons to leave the LDS church.

I agree that the LDS church has created a lot of its own problems. I also see some signs of positive changes in that church, such as changes in doctrines regarding people of African descent.

I have a lot of lovely Mormon friends, and I would never, ever try to destroy their faith. And I do see a lot of anti-Mormon posts right here in this very forum. I’m just raising the question of whether going after someone else’s religion with the goal of destroying their faith is in fact a good idea. I don’t think it is.

What to do you think of the thousands of Mormon missionaries who are sent out to actively “preach the Gospel”

Do you realize that is what they are attempting to do with others of different faith?
Mormons who come here, know they are coming to a Catholic forum.

But when Mormon missionaries knock on the doors of people, it’s not because those people have asked them to knock on their doors. They have not sought out the Mormon missionaries.

Most of former Mormons here push back at the what what they are saying. Because we know what we are talking about, and we arent afraid to set the record straight.

From my POV, it’s really TexanKnight who has tended to try more vocally to destroy the faith of Mormons. It’s been awhile since he has been here, so that has calmed down a great deal.

To be fair, in my time as a Mormon I found that a lot (not all) non-LDS Chistians I encountered took a great deal of time and effort to try to convert me from my faith. I constantly felt like a target and like people were waiting to pounce on me with the intention of “saving” me from my beliefs.

I can understand why many former LDS walk away from religion altogether. For example, as unfair as it may be, I will never step foot in an charismatic “evengelical” Protestant church because of the way I was treated by them when I was LDS. everything from the accusations of Satan worship to personal attacks on my character were made. Fortunately, I had many positive experiences from catholics, orthodox, Lutherans, and Episcopalians. Which is probably why I didn’t write of Christianity and religion all together. With that said the damage done by others treatment of me and my own disillusionment of the organization and doctrines did a substantial number on me. I spent 7 years away from even the mildest of consideration of finding a new church.

So yes, while I left not because of other faiths/denominations efforts to convert/cause me to leave, but because of my own conflicts in fath vs reason vs doctrine. But that doe not invalidate the reality that there was a great deal of effort put in by others outside of the LDS faith to attempt to do the same thing.

XuDan

Hello and Welcome to CAF!

I took Matthew’s post as pertaining to here, on CAF, and not in a more general sense. But you have a point, in general. There are many people of the more evangelical persuation who try to do that to Mormons, Catholics, etc etc.

They certainly exsist.

Fair enough, perhaps that is what he meant as well. Your point about the LDS missionaries is a fair and valid one in my opinion. Which is why I think it is fair for others to openly challenge LDS doctrines and beliefs, especially to those who choose to proselytize. Which sadly means most LDS subject themselves to it due to the doctrine of “member missionaries.”

That said, it can be done tastefully. I found that I was more l likey to be challenged positively by those I named above as having had good experiences than any others.

Thank you for the welcome. :grin::blush:

The ones I have met have been very considerate, kind, and excellent ambassadors of their Faith.

I don’t mind talking to them one bit.

Do you realize that is what they are attempting to do with others of different faith?

I’ve never had them attack my beliefs in any way. But I’m not sure what they say to Catholics.

Mormons who come here, know they are coming to a Catholic forum.

Yeah, me too. :slight_smile:

But when Mormon missionaries knock on the doors of people, it’s not because those people have asked them to knock on their doors. They have not sought out the Mormon missionaries.

I kind of get the impression that they usually convert people who are not very religious.

Most of former Mormons here push back at the what what they are saying. Because we know what we are talking about, and we arent afraid to set the record straight.

There is a lot about the Mormon Faith I disagree with. And I can certainly understand why some ex-Mormons feel like they were misled and taken advantage of, particularly with the emphasis on tithing and its rather intrusive implementation in CJCLDS.

From my POV, it’s really TexanKnight who has tended to try more vocally to destroy the faith of Mormons. It’s been awhile since he has been here, so that has calmed down a great deal.

I was wondering why things had gotten a lot quieter re: Mormon criticism here!

Anyway, I wasn’t trying to pick on this forum or say that this was about Mormonism in particular. I think – generally speaking – people who have their faith destroyed tend to become very disillusioned about God.

If I knew a Mormon who was struggling with some aspects of their Church, I would acknowledge those concerns, but also share the positive things about their Faith I can fully respect and appreciate - the importance of marriage and family, avoiding drunkenness, faith in the redeeming truth of Christ, and the importance of self-reliance and doing well in your work. I would work very hard, if they lost faith in Joseph Smith as a prophet, to keep alive their faith in Jesus Christ and the meaningfulness and importance of their life and their relationship with God. So often when people lose some of their religious beliefs they lose all of them, and end up feeling abandoned by God, and so abandon God in return.

I actually like CAF very much and consider Catholics to be a second spiritual family for me (a lot of my extended family is Catholic). You are absolutely right, Catholics are (in general) much more open and welcoming towards those of other faiths than most.

I’m on the same page as you when it comes to “evengelical” Protestant churches and have been all of my adult life due to terrible experiences with them in high school.

reddit.com/r/exmormon

You’ll find about 95% of the people who post to that subreddit are now atheists. Not Catholics, or Orthodox, or Lutherans, or any other religion.

Very interesting stuff, and pretty heartbreaking to read the cynicism there.

This is a very typical comment:

“It’s a great day when you’ve come to terms we’re just a bunch of monkeys surviving on this floating rock in space, with one objective: survive and reproduce. All of the other things, like purpose and self meaning, while important for the human experience, they’re simply ancillary to the prime objective.”

I don’t think we restore any meaningful credibility for the validity of a religious understanding of humanity in the eyes of today’s youth unless and until we stop painting targets on people of other religions and try to run break their faith.
I am of course a believing LDS who THINKS he knows a fair bit about the issues I would need to embrace to be a non-LDS Christian of the Catholic or other persuasion (at the encouragement of my now ex-Catholic friend -he gave me a three volume book set on the Bahai faith- I have studied the Bahai faith a fair amount too BTW). **I have observed many times to the great disagreement of many here and other places that the type of thinking that leads to loss of faith in the CoJCoLDS will lead to Agnosticism. **
The problems with the CoJCoLDS are thrust upon LDS frequently and as such most LDS have dealt with them in one form or another. Those who have seriously considered them discover both the truth and the sensationalism in the descriptions of these problems. From a certain place inhabited by many in the CoJCoLDS the TRUTH is sufficient to create a loss of faith. That was not my experience even a little. The TRUTH of the problems is IMO problematic, but the solutions/mitigations of the problems produce less intellectual issues for me than would rejecting the CoJCoLDS AND certainly less intellectual issue for me than would rejecting the CoJCoLDS and embracing the myriad of problem inherent in other theistic traditions.
It does seem to me that the type of questioning spirit LDS are invited to entertain concerning their faith on boards like this or in ExMormon’s for Jesus when turned upon Catholicism or Protestantism or even Baha’ism would result in the jettison of those traditions as well (though I think it might be easier to embrace some of those traditions and not come in contact with problems). But again I doubt any Catholic exMormon on this board and most Catholics on this board of the non-exmormon variety would agree with me.

I will however end by acknowledging that the emphasis LDS place upon KNOWING because God communicates with them, can create a distrust of God when the KNOWING becomes questioning. It is hard to have faith in God if you do not trust God.
Charity, TOm

Our faith is a very powerful thing. When one finds that what they believed is a lie, it makes it difficult to even consider starting again with another faith. I had an old priest who use to say that many times “truth makes a bloody entrance”. In an effort to be empathetic, I tried to imagine what my life would be if I somehow discovered that my Catholic faith was misplaced and that what I believed was untrue. It is beyond what I can imagine. It changed the way I choose to interact with Mormons now.

It’s a fair statement to say that, for the most part, TBMs simply don’t question what they are taught. That, for them, if the LDS church says it’s so, than it’s so.

If anything, at least in the past, the idea of one’s questioning or having doubts about teachings etc, was so very frowned upon, and you were seen somehow as having “less of a testimony”

Doubting was taught to be of Satan. Period. And that if you were doubting, it was Satan that was causing those doubts.
They made having doubts tantimount as being evil.

Having doubts, having questions, having concerns, is not evil. God can handle our doubts.He really can.

That is a powerful statement. Thank you for sharing!

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