Its interesting that all the things mentioned in this article that make someone leave the church, place all the responsibility on the members. Nothing is mentioned about what church leaders shpuld do to help the situation or how church leaders can be the cause for people to leave the church in the first place. This is the reason this article is just one sided, not completely accurate, biased and specially, protective of church leadership.
It's not Christlike or compassionate to place all the responsibility on the members only. The mormon leadership are supposed to lead and ypu do this by doing something more than just giving orders and expecting people to obey. Church leaders ar always quick to remind all of us that they are not perfect when they make mistakes. The fair thing to do is not top expect perfection of members either, since leaders and members are not perfect. However, members and leaders have responsibilities to each other if they want to remain in the church.
Also, praying, attending temple, reading the Book of Mormon etc, are not guarantee that someone will remain in the church. This should be mentioned in the article. I know many people that were doing all these things and still left the church.
One of Satan's best tools is getting people to deny personal responsibility in favor of "social justice"; it's easy, it's simple, it's extremely tempting; but it is a lie, nonetheless. Take it from someone else who's been there and back: it's all boils down to three things: pride, an attitude of denial, and a lack of humility before God.
I don't worry about how the people at church feel about me; I know how HE feels about me. I don't worry about whether or not the members accept me socially; HE is always there to help when I need Him. I don't worry about whether or not other members are judging me, because HE is my judge. When you stand before Him, do you honestly believe any of the hundreds of excuses you could give will have any weight?
This is as honest as it gets: NO ONE is responsible for our relationship with Christ but ourselves.
I like the rewritten article better than the original.
Thank you. I see a lot of truth in this, but where is Jesus Christ and His Gospel in this article? And why isn't He number one? Isn't a person's relationship with Him the most fundamental and so when someone leaves the church it's because that relationship has suffered in some way? I'm surprised this wasn't mentioned.
I think each of us reacts to this article with our own baggage. we each view this article and life in general through the lens we have. If we have questions and have felt stigmatized then we see this article one way. If we have questions and have been supported ( it does happen in LDS culture) then we see it a different way. Each of us needs to take a look at this from different perspectives and realize that there is no attack on a certain group and there this may make people feel attacked. And talk to those people who we know and are friends with respectfully.
I was feeling so disheartened after reading this article and then I read the comments. (And thank you John) Faith and testimony is not gained by a checklist. It's not automatically given to those who "just have faith." Oh how I wish it was as simple as this article states. I have no doubt in my mind that this article was written with nothing but a strong love for fellow members and a desire to help those who are struggling or have left this church. But I just don't think they understand that articles like these that are so full of opinions don't help. It's sad but true. Ask my husband who was EQP at the time of his faith crisis. The only thing left for him within the church is his membership, and that would be gone too if it wasn't for me. :( Living with disaffection has been thee greatest trial so far in my life. I'd give anything to have this all big one big nightmare. I sure hope that the authors and readers of this article rethink their ideas and approaches towards former members and ask themselves What Would Jesus Do.
The one problem I had with this article is that it should have been made clear at the beginning of the article that this was the writers opinions and should not be taken as Church teachings, policy or Doctrine. Meridian is not a Church authorized site and should say that all articles are the writer's opinion and not Church doctrine.
What I don't like about this article, besides not being completely accurate like others said, is that induces guilt and fear. It also puts a lot of pressure to be the perfect member which it's not realistic at all.
This article does not fully square with Pres. Uchtdorf''s 2013 address "Come Join With Us" nor with the lived experience of many members.
Here is just one quote but I would recommend those who read this article also re-read Pres. Uchtdorf''s talk:
"One might ask, “If the gospel is so wonderful, why would anyone leave?”
"Sometimes we assume it is because they have been offended or lazy or sinful. Actually, it is not that simple. In fact, there is not just one reason that applies to the variety of situations."
The Lundberg's 8 reasons may be accurate for some but they are certainly not accurate for all. Forcing everyone who has left the church into these 8 issues could be very damaging to our loved ones and relationships. I urge caution and consideration.
Whatever other reasons people may have to leave the Church, the "8 Things" suggested in this article will make a great positive difference for those who integrate them into their lives and that of their families. As for my part, I received enough spiritual witnesses throughout my life, not to be disturbed by ambiguities that may come up about our Church History. such as the fact that the Book of Mormon was translated through a seer stone rather than rhe Urimm and Thummim. Those who doubt that would do well to read Brother Clayton Christensen's testimony of the Sacred Book. For memory, Clayton Christensen, a Professor at the Harvard Business School, abd brillant Scholar known as the foremost Expert on "Disruptive Innovation". received a personal testimony of the Book of Mirmon while a young "Rhodes Scholar" in Oxford, England. His account can be easily found through a simple Google search. Such is the path expected from all Latter-Day Saints: get to the source of all truth itself through heartfelt prayer, study, and meditation until a personal witness from the Lord Himself - not anyone else - is received.
Thank you for this thoughtful article. I've read much of the Lundberg's work over the years and always found it to be insightful.
A few years back the Church commissioned a study on why people were leaving the Church. According to the results of that study (which was, according to the author, read by every level of leadership in the Church), the vast majority of those who leave do so because they encountered information about the Church that they were unable to reconcile with current Church teachings and practices. Incidentally, my understanding is that this study was the (a?) primary reason behind why the Church commissioned the creation of the lds.org essays.
The survey also suggests that the kinds of reasons the Lundbergs list here have little, if any, to do with people leaving. The Lundbergs may have observed these behaviors in those who leave, but these kinds of behavior, from what I have observed, typically *follow after* a person's faith crisis and do not necessarily *precede* it (although it may vary some in each person's case).
A good article..I fully agree with the Book of Mormon being #1..How strong your faith remeains depneds on where you have placed the foundation of that faith.. Mine is in the book of Mormon..My belief in the Book of Mormon being the word of God is based on reading it for myself and letting the spirit testify to me of it's truthfulness..Nothing in the history of the church, the action of its members or actions of the church itself can pull me from that foundation..Yes I need to read it everyday to remind myself ..thankyou for the reminder
It should be noted that you can read your scriptures, pray, attend church, watch general conference and listen to the prophets to the point you break yourself. In fact, there is an actual psychological term for behavior where you obsessively perform religious tasks out of feelings of inadequacy, guilty, doubt or shame: Scrupulosity.
These very things you are promoting, if they approach scrupulosity levels, can not only lead you away from the church, but can psychologically damage you as well. To avoid both of these, everyone should work on building their personal relationship with God first and let everything else lie where it may and come after without obsessing over the details and emphasis on specific tasks, ideas and rites.
Moderation is the key in all things.
It has always been a source of amazement to me how people discard true principles of joy and happiness to live a life which ultimately does not bring peace and joy to their lives. Blaming others does not make a person happy. The gospel is a set of true principles which the Saviour perfectly lived, and if lived by people bring the ultimate joy.
Dario's comment is a witness to what we were saying. Do not get involve with those who would try to pull you away. Satan has power in sharing lies about our beloved prophet. Do not let him into your thinking for even a minute. You know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. Hold on to that because it is true. I know it through the power of the Holy Ghost and my testimony of him is undeniable. Please listen to Elder Craig Christensen's powerful talk on this subject, given at the October 2016 Gen. Conf. Here's the link. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2016/10/a-choice-seer-will-i-raise-up?lang=eng
We pray for all who have been deceived to find their way back. We pray for all members to keep the faith and enjoy the glorious blessings of the gospel.
Dario, As a member for 20 years, I have read the articles at lds.org on Gospel Topics. I find them interesting, but my overwhelming response is this: Mormons are people too. They have made mistakes in the past and will continue to make them in the future. However, that has absolutely no bearing on MY testimony borne to ME by the power of the Spirit. In the end, all things shall pass away EXCEPT my own, living testimony. And if I have built my testimony on the past actions of Church leaders, more's the pity. I have not understood that this is truly the Church of Jesus Christ and not of men.
I have several friends who have left the church because of "things in the history" that they didn't know before. I, too have read the gospel essays. Yes, there are items in there I hadn't heard. Also items I hadn't considered before. I hope you can answer the question none of my friends have been able to.... how does learning a new historical fact change the doctrine? How does it make the BOM untrue? How are you able to throw out all of the good, and all of the truth, because something ugly/hard/ uncomfortable (whatever word you want to use) came to light?
This is what I don't understand, and I'm hoping that maybe you can enlighten me how something newly uncovered in the history can change every single good thing.
As a recently released YSA Bishop, I agree 100% with your list and encourage all to do these things. However, in working with several dealing with faith issues or a full-blown faith crisis, many are completely following your list ... sometimes better than those without faith issues. I've come to believe, that for some, a faith crisis may be part of Heavenly Father's plan for them ... something that will help them grow ... something that shouldn't be looked at as "bad" or something they have caused to come upon themselves. A faith crisis needs to be normalized ... something that can and will happen to some of our most faithful members. These good people don't need to be judged, but need love and support from their families and congregations as they wrestle with their sincere faith issues (I made a FB post about this here ... https://tinyurl.com/zhz6ggx).
Your comments about people leaving the church are right on as far as they go, but I've seen quite a number leave because of several other reasons. Someone 'offended' them; someone was called to be bishop, stake president, regional or general authority that they didn't like, and on and on.
To those like Dario, who have 'studied' themselves out of the church, I say 'study' yourselves back in. Satan has drawn you slowly and carefully from the main focus; that of Jesus Christ being the author and finisher of our salvation. With that in mind, you should study the Book of Mormon most carefully. It either is what it says it is (another testament of Jesus Christ) or not. If not, then nothing else matters. It if is, then nothing else will do.
This article seems to blame the victim rather than address real issues. I was a seminary teacher studying the scriptures for hours a day when I started losing my testimony. I was hyper-vigilant about fasting and praying and attending the temple. I was released and called as a Relief Society President.
I feel that most people leave the church simply because they no longer believe. Perhaps they encounter unsavory aspects of church history as I did. Some lose their testimonies simply by reading the gospel topics essay on LDS.org. Some find they no longer agree with the LDS church's position on social issues.
As a recently released YSA Bishop working with many having a faith crisis, often these good people are doing everything listed in your article but still have faith issues. These are all good suggestions and I 100% support them, but something a faith crisis still happens. I believe a faith crisis needs to be normalized as something that can and will happen to some of our most faithful members. They need support and love ... not people thinking they have done something 'wrong' to cause this. They need the church family to love and accept them without judgement.
I greatly respect the authors of this article and believe that what they have written is motivated by compassion and love. That being said, I think that what they have provided here is a list of symptoms that can only cause. The cause of the crisis are much, much deeper and significant. Many current faithful members understand that a Mormon crisis of faith is driven primarily by inconsistencies between the truth and what is presented by church authorities as the truth (and these inconsistencies are multiple and major). Anyone who looks with eyes fully open will likely experience at least a mild challenge to their faith, even if they are following the advice given above. Now, many will avoid looking. Many who look will be able to reconcile the inconsistencies (our minds excel at this). But many more will find it intellectually/emotionally/spiritually impossible to reconcile the inconsistencies and the symptoms listed in this article will manifest. Those people who leave are just as wonderful and important and valuable as former Mormons as they were as Mormons. Let's see more advice about how to love and respect those who leave. That would be so valuable to so many.
Is there someone who can intelligently answer Dario's comments? I am sure that there are a lot of past and current members who need this answer.
So true. I confirm: If you do those 8 things consistently, you will never doubt the church and the restored gospel. Period. You will always fee the Holy Spirit, and what better confirmation of truth can you get?
Here's how I square the narrative that we grew up hearing with the historical facts: I remind myself that it's the principles of the gospel that are true, not the people who are called to do the Lord's work. They're human. They make mistakes. But God and His Son are perfect. The Holy Spirit bears witness to me of that. They're who I worship. Not prophets and apostles, living or dead.
This to me has been an example of one of my stripling warriors has become the teacher, as I've become the student. While reading this article I immediately reaconized that I had been missing a step or two, and it has pulled me back on to the path by giving me a way to get back on course, Thank You for sharing
This comment is to help address Dario's concerns:
I am a faithful LDS member who has also investigated most or all of the various controversies that have come up over the years with regards to church history, as well as many other concerns that have been brought up with regards to the veracity of the LDS faith. I am also one who really wants to have everything explained and to know the answers to all questions. In my own research, I have also found that while there are many things from LDS church history, from the Book of Mormon, from the Bible, and from other monotheistic and from other religions as well, which cannot currently be explained or meshed easily with current scientific & ancient history knowledge. However, based on my life experiences, personal testimony, and the study of events from both LDS church history and traditional Christian history, there are also many things that ring true, that cannot be "explained away" as coincidence or chance. These evidences, for me, are much more "weighty" and thus carry much more significance and value to me and in my life than the ones I cannot explain. I have come to the conclusion that there is no way that anyone can explain all questions that come up in our mortal lives, and that we have to exercise a certain amount of faith in what we know to be true, with the additional faith that all unanswered questions will be answered on the other side of the veil. With some questions, we can get partial or full answers in mortal life, through our own personal revelation and personal study. I have found the www.fairmormon.org website very helpful, particularly when specific church history questions have come up, such as Joseph Smith's multiple wives, Book of Mormon questions, etc. You may not find "complete" answers to everything, but for me at least, I am able to get enough information to provide me with enough of an answer that I can at least have some backbone of an explanation, though maybe not a complete "cut and dried" answer. For me, for some of those types of questions, it gives me enough that I can envision a "benefit of the doubt" scenario, given all of the other pro-faith evidence collectively. Basically I am saying that yes, there are many unanswered questions, but there are also very many answered questions and personal experiences of many LDS members which also need to be factored in. It is also good to get the advice of members who have investigated these questions which cast doubt on the veracity of the church and yet have remained faithful, believing members. I would be happy to help if I can, and I'm sure there are many others more than willing to do the same. I agree that folks need to be very careful to be understanding and not condescending and not to make knee-jerk judgements and assumptions.
Please continue to love those who leave. If we have the truth, it can't be harmed by following the example of Christ and loving the marginalized.
The article really points out that the true reason for leaving has to do with either changing focus, or never really focusing, on the the the right things. That is true gospel of Jesus Christ that has been revealed, is now being revealed, and will be revealed. Thank you father for a strong testimony of the restored gospel no matter how jou choose to reveal it.
I would submit that you reconsider point 3. In most cases, this would seem to encourage shunning of family members and loved ones. If you really have the truth, then nothing you read or hear should be able to dissuade you. If the devil is convincing, shouldn't Heavenly Father be more so?
Hi, I read your article because a Facebook friend of mine sent it to me, and though I love my friend for trying to help me get back to the "rod", this article and others like it are very hurtful and dismissive of why people leave the church. My story is like that of thousands of others that have left. It didn't start because of "not reading, praying, forgetting or ignoring covenants, listening to conference" or any other reason that you list. My journey started because I was trying to help a fellow member of the church to stay despite the many,, many things that he had uncovered from our church history that he had never heard before. As I tried to prove his thoughts false, I went to good sources, and in every case, the only good source is the church. LDS..org was that source, and as I struggled with my own doubts about these claims that he had made of the church's narrative, and Joseph's actions in the early church, it was the gospel topics essays that caused me to leave the church. Not only did they confirm those things that were discovered, but they also clearly attempted to justify and sweep my concerns under the rug by being dismissive of the facts. My bishop and stake president and temple president also told me to just "have faith", but it was not possible when the information was so overwhelming. Though your article makes sense for those that are already faltering in their faith and activity in the church, it doesn't come close to the reasons why most people pull away from the church. I would love to hear a story about how faithful LDS members who aren't apologists square with the narrative that we grew up with and what actually happened in our church history. Thanks
They also leave the church because there is just some people who enjoy nothing more than to pester good members. There are some men that misuse their priesthood as well towards single women in the church. It just isn't not reading the BOMB or not watching General Conference. People stop going for other reasons.
Great article. Very helpful for staying strong!!!
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