“Why are People Leaving the Mormon Church?”

“Why are People Leaving the Mormon Church?” March 9, 2017


RLDS Temple in Independence, Missouri
Although I’ve experienced nothing but friendly kindness from members of the Community of Christ, theirs is not the path that I wish for my own church.  (Wikimedia Commons public domain image)


This item will provoke some discussion, I expect:




Here are four quick reactions of my own:




I’m not eager to toss people from the Church for regarding the Book of Mormon as ahistorical.  I don’t seek to drive them out.  But I also strongly disagree with that view of the Book of Mormon, and, because I believe it to be false (and somewhat incoherent), I don’t believe that the Church should ever welcome it as a viewpoint on a par with belief in Lehite historicity.  Moreover, it doesn’t seem remotely likely to me that acceptance of a fictional-but-inspired Book of Mormon is a path toward the flourishing of the Church, the strengthening of the commitment of the Saints, or the success of our missionary mandate.  As Exhibit A in support of my skepticism, I submit the example of the Community of Christ (formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints).




I strongly believe in being kind and charitable to members of the Church (and others) who experience same-sex attraction.  (I hope and am confident that those with whom I’ve interacted who are so inclined can attest that I’ve been respectful and sympathetic to them.)  I do not believe, however, that the Church can relax or change its standards regarding sexual behavior without direct and powerful divine revelation.  And, frankly, I don’t expect such revelation — if what is expected is, say, authorization for sexual relations outside of heterosexual marriage.




I don’t believe that we can back away from our exclusive claims without effectively transmuting Mormonism into another faith and casting aside the claims of the Restoration.  Personally, if I ever became convinced that the Restoration isn’t what it has always announced itself to be, I would stay home on Sundays.  I would see very little point in a continuing (and often sacrificial) commitment to Mormonism.  Which, I think, is what often happens in liberal churches.  And, once again, I offer the Community of Christ as Exhibit A in support of my thinking on this.  I know and like a number of adherents of the “Reorganization,” including some of their leaders, but I don’t see their path as one that leads to growth or, overall, to vigorous member commitment.




I cannot, frankly, regard Gina Colvin as a reliable guide to the Church’s optimal future.



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