Monday, January 30, 2017

Why Mormons Leave the Church

                                                       (Salt lake Temple.  Photo by Entheta via Wikipedia)

I’ve heard just about every reason why I decided to leave the Mormon church.  I found out early on that it really didn’t matter to others what I say to them when explaining why I’ve left.  They’ve already assumed on their own, and nothing I could say would change their minds.  This is because the Mormon church teaches their members why others leave the church.  They are taught during sacrament meetings, Sunday school and priesthood classes.  They learn during semi annual general conference why members leave the church.  These people seem to know the hearts and minds of ex-mormons better than the ex-mormons themselves.

Men begin to apostatize by taking to themselves strength, by hearkening to the whisperings of the enemy who leads them astray little by little, until they gather to themselves that which they call the wisdom of man; then they begin to depart from God, and their minds become confused”. (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, (1997), 78–84)

You have known men who, while in the Church, were active, quick and full of intelligence; but after they have left the Church, they have become contracted in their understandings, they have become darkened in their minds and everything has become a mystery to them, and in regard to the things of God, they have become like the rest of the world, who think, hope and pray that such and such things may be so, but they do not know the least about it. This is precisely the position of those who leave this Church; they go into the dark, they are not able to judge, conceive or comprehend things as they are. They are like the drunken man—he thinks that everybody is the worse for liquor but himself, and he is the only sober man in the neighborhood. The apostates think that everybody is wrong but themselves”. (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, (1997), 78–84)

The above are straight out of the lesson plan the church publishes.  This is something the church harps on all the time.  Telling it’s members the church is true, and people leave because they’ve sinned or are angry.  Here below is taken from the teachers manual for the Doctrine and Covenants, notice what the teacher should expect from his/her class:

Ask questions such as the following: What conditions might lead members of the Church to lose their testimony and apostatize? (Answers might include failing to keep the commandments; finding fault with or not following the leaders of the Church; failing to pray, study the scriptures, and attend church.) In your judgment, why would great men like the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon and some members of the Quorum of the Twelve leave the Church?” (Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Video Guide, (2001), 30–32)

Notice the pattern here?  I’ve been in these classes.  I’ve heard the reasons for people leaving the church.  The answers were always the same.  It would be said people leave because they’ve sinned, or because they were offended by someone.  Mormons are really good to coming up with reasons for people leaving, but not good at actually understanding someone’s disbelief.  They are always right, and the person that leaves is always wrong.

Recently I discussed this with my sister and her response was right on par with what Mormons “want” to believe.  She said,

“I think, and again, 100% honesty here, that people who benefit from leaving, benefit from not feeling guilt about things they want to do, but feel restrained from doing, that go against church principles. Drinking, smoking, sex, etc. Socially, these are fine. And no, it doesn't make them terrible people. But, if the church is true, then indeed those things are sins. I don't care if you do them because it is YOUR life, not mine.  I would love to go out shopping on Sundays. I don't, out of respect for the Lord. I wouldn't feel guilty about it if I left the church.”

My sister seems to believe I’ve left the church because it’s just more convenient for me to not believe.  This is so unbelievably ludicrous.  To say I simply choose to not believe because it’s easier, is very offensive to me.  I’ve spent countless hours scrutinizing over foundational details of the Mormon church that have led to my disbelief.  It’s not something I sought, but rather it was something I was led to.  Before I left the church I was trying to get back into it full force, but I had questions.  I was trying to get past these concerns, but only found myself more concerned with the more I learned.  

By telling me I just waived off the church out of simplicity sake is to discredit my long, arduous and honest study of the matter.  Leaving the church wasn’t something I took lightly, and it certainly wasn’t something I did on a whim.  I actually find the matter of the utmost importance.  I feel that everyone should look into the existence of a God honestly.  To believe or not believe just because you can’t be bothered to look into it is a disservice to yourself.  

I know that others won’t care about the real reasons I left.  They will continue to believe what the church tells them to.  There seems to be nothing I can say and do to sway their minds.  A Mormon will never concede that another Mormon could leave the church without it being caused by anything other than the fault of the church.  It’s always the fault of the member who leaves.

No, I wasn’t deviant, offended, lazy or possessed by the devil.  I didn’t decide I was going to rebel against God one day.  I don’t hate God (I can’t hate something I don’t believe exists).  It wasn’t because I stopped praying, attending church or studying the materials the church tells me to study.  I didn’t leave because I wanted to have sex, drink coffee, tea and alcohol.  I didn’t leave because I wanted to sleep in on Sundays or because I don’t wan’t to give the church money.  I simply left the church because it isn’t true.

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