CNN would no doubt love to portray all religion in America as being on the way
out, but in order to do so it has to ignore the comparatively high retention
rate—and actual growth—of the LDS Church here and around the world.
I would add to the author's points that the LDS Church
doesn't try to buy your allegiance with gimmicks or watered-down doctrine
that changes along with the whims of society, as most other churches do. It just
tells it as it is, without moral ambiguity, which is refreshing for many in a
generation that is used to being told that right and wrong are relative.
Elarue posted:=We're taught to see God as our Father, but
we're not acknowledging that being=our Father means next to nothing
anymore - how many people are estranged from=their parents?I
think being estranged from one's parents, even in today's society,
depends on the quality of the relationship with one's parents. My oldest
daughter couldn't wait until she graduated from high school, and then was
out of the house as soon as she could. But when her boyfriend abandoned her and
his baby son, she swallowed her pride and moved back in with us. She just got
admitted to our local university, and is planning on a career in the medical
field; my wife says she'll babysit our grandson while she goes to her
classes. So despite my daughter's desire to be free, there was no
I don't have the statistical data to back this up, but I would suspect
there's another reason why people are leaving organized religion -
rejection of authority. People would rather live moral lives because it makes
sense for them to do so, not because God told them to. We're taught to see
God as our Father, but we're not acknowledging that being our Father means
next to nothing anymore - how many people are estranged from their parents?
Seeing fellow church members as brothers and sisters? Same difference. People
would rather leave their blood relatives and go seek out people they feel
comfortable with.I would think that for a culture that claims such a
strong libertarian streak, this would make sense, and something would have been
done about the rhetoric. But nope, just hearing more "God said so," and
Church member posted:=I left the church a few years ago with my wife
and young kids and I have never=been more content and at peace as I am
now. Life is much better and more=fulfilling for me away from the church.
I know this doesn't work for everyone=but it works wonderfully for
some people.God for me is simply that being that preserves forever
some good things. I feel like I owe it to future generations of humanity to
partner with this God, and that's why I'm a devout Latter-day Saint.
Church member, what is your conscientious obligation to future generations of
the human race?
What specifically defines a person as a ....." Millennial " ?
@ Open MindHave you heard of a thing called "General
Conference"? In the October 1985 general conference, President Gordon B.
Hinckley acknowledged that living allowances are given to the General
Authorities. He said the amounts are modest in comparison with executive
compensation which is saying nothing since executive compensation can be several
hundred times what the common man earns. I'm pretty surprised that many
members seem to be unaware of this fact.
atl134 posted:=But oftentimes the only acceptable answer to say...
Moroni's Promise, is if God=gives the answer the
"organization" thinks is correct.Acceptable to who?
Acceptable to the person who's telling you to apply Moroni's Promise?
Who cares what that person thinks? The only person you should care about is
God, and what God has to tell you. If God tells you that the LDS Church is
false, or that the Book of Mormon is a fraud, then I say you should believe that
the LDS Church is false, or that the Book of Mormon is a fraud.=Otherwise, someone getting a different answer often faces accusations that
they=weren't sincere when asking God. So I'm not sure
that's really an improvement.Once again, who cares about the
accusers? You alone know whether you were sincere when you asked God your
question. I can understand why they might feel motivated to call you insincere,
but your accuser is really in no position to declare whether you are sincere or
not; that is between you and God.
Saying that you stick with religion because you hold yourself to a higher
standard is an easy and self involved way of answering a difficult question. The
focus is all on self and your own superiority to others. Folks, I work
with young people. Why do they turn away from religion?Well it isn't
because they dislike the idea of God, our savior, or the message of our savior.
What they can't handle are self involved people who think they are better
than others. As much as I love reading the Gospel of Jesus Christ--I
sometimes wish he would have even spent more time talking about how to deal with
the people who hear his message and become smug, know it all, and self
@WI_Member, I have never heard of general authorities getting any
compensation. Only paying for flights, meals, etc when traveling and serving.
Would you have any evidence to support that?@iheartcupcakeslc,While I understand you taking offense to what Brave Sir Robin said, I
believe what he's trying to say is that for many millenials who leave their
faith, laziness is a big factor. That doesn't mean every person fits under
that umbrella.I also find it insulting to call my belief in the
afterlife imaginary when you cannot prove your beliefs any more than I can mine.
wilson756I disagree that the LDS church teaches its members to not
ask questions. One of the most basic teachings of the church is that each person
must gain their own testimony or belief in the existence of God, sacrifice of
Christ, restoration of the church, etc. This begins with a question. But the teachings of the church do encourage members to turn to God for the
answers to these questions. If there is a God, and he does communicate with his
children (both basic beliefs of the LDS faith) then this only makes sense. I
find nothing inconsistent or secretive in the church's position on this
point. I have read the anti mormon sites, heard the arguments. When
it comes down to it, I feel that God has spoken to me. I trust that what He says
I feel bad there are a few posters who feel they weren't encouraged to ask
questions n the LDS church.My experience has been exactly the
opposite. It is when I went to other religions that I felt pressured to accept
everything on faith. There is a series of books by Hugh nibley that
I like to read and cause the reader to question more things. I
wonder if posters here are confusing preaching against the church with asking
questions about doctrine. If you've already come to a conclusion about the
church's doctrine, then you aren't questioning it, you are trying to
invalidate it. That is a closed mind approach and of course you would be
offended if someone told you to accept something you don't believe.
Going to church isn't so much holding oneself to a higher standard. Lots of
people go to church. It is more trying to continue the quest for a strong
purpose in life beyond owning the latest android or other electronic toy,
searching for something that can't be measured in currency. I don't
think the post should offend anyone with paid clergy, but if it does, then it
does. When religion has a price set on it, we have expectations of customer
satisfaction. Heard of "shopping for a church"? I have. And if this is the nature of one's reason for going, then the clergy, as
good as its intentions may be, still is at the mercy of the paymasters for
his/her position and will try not to ofrend with hard words, even delivered
kindly. Question? Yes. Confirm? Yes. Personal revelation is all
about personal responsibility. Among millennials, accepting personal
responsibility is a hard choices. Maybe this has more to do with why so many
are leaving churches behind.
@ThebigsamoanRichmond, VAYou claim that General Authorities
receive a "cost of living assistance" but to call that a salary is
ludicrous. You seem to be an expert on this, so please help us out
with some actual facts to support what you say. How much do they make? I make a "cost of living assistance" at my job too. It's
called my salary. Income is income is income no matter what you call it, and
calling it some ridiculous name other than income sounds like another attempt at
deception.I'll wait eagerly for the numbers to see how they
compare to some other peoples' salaries.
@ Silverprospector: "You can however now eat meat, even though advised
against in the word of wisdom."No, we could always eat meat.
The WoW calls for using meat "sparingly". So 3 oz portions are
reasonable. Unfortunately most of us eat 16 oz portions.
Opps, I forgot to finish my thought on the gate: the "check-list" is the
gate just to get onto the mountain, at the base of the mountain. We all
struggle with different challenges some may even be on the check-list, but we
strive for something much much greater that can't even be achieved in this
life, to have Christ like attributes in all things.
To "Thinkman", what church are you talking about? Obviously it is not
the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints. We are taught that we are
suppose to not follow blindly. There may be those that do, but we are suppose
to get our own revelation on truth, etc.As to the "check-List";
that is a minimum requirement. I am striving to be like Jesus. Compare it to
climbing a mountain. Obtaining the summit is to be Christ like, the
"check-list" is just the Gate: "Matthew 7:14 Because strait is the
gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find
it." I hope you find the gate someday and don't look back.
@ENDavis,It's true that the General Authorities of the LDS
church receives a cost of living assistance to help pay for their expenses while
dedicating their lives to the Lord, but to call that a salary is ludicrous to
say the least. If you compare that to the clergies of other faiths where most
get free housing, free medical and life insurance policies, free cars, etc, on
top of their fat salaries, then what the GA's get are peanuts in comparison
considering many of them are highly trained professionals in their respective
fields, eg, doctors, lawyers, college presidents, college professors, business
men, etc, but gave that all up to serve. Curiously though, how many of those
paid clergy do you think will remain behind the pulpit if they are given only a
cost of living expense with no salary? That I'd like to know. My family
are converts to the Mormon faith and that's just one aspect of Mormonism
that attracted us.I thought the article was well written and well
Nevertheless, there are those souls whose shadows have never, or rarely, fallen
upon a door of a religious establishment, who do not quote scripture, yet whose
lives are testaments to the teachings of the Savior every day. They simply
cannot help themselves--anyone in need, whether of food, clothing, or
fellowship, seems to draw their attention, and it matters not to them that their
ownly reward is a deeply felt thanks. For them, even that is embarrassing, for
they do these things as they breathe--almost without realizing it, it is second
nature to them. I have known such people; they are examples I wish to follow,
living followers of the Savior, whether they realize it or not. They may not go
to any church. Don't discount them.
I think we underestimate the good that geographical wards give us. This is why I
think it is good they did away in many places with the dual system of Singles
wards and single student wards. I can see pluses to singles wards. I was in one
for many years, and aging out of the singles wards and being a single in a
family ward was not easy. However I love teaching in the primary and know I am
in the right place.
Sarah Shumway, good for you! I applaud the loyalty and confidence that you
express. I think perhaps you follow Elder Holland's admonition to be true
to the faith that we *do* have. In a world where sceptics and doubters seem so
commonplace, it is quite refreshing to hear from someone with the courage of
their convictions, who professes strong feelings of faith. I join with you in
"Why I am Staying", because we know we are all children of our Heavenly
Father, striving to follow the example of Jesus Christ.
ENDavisThey could have been all correct in sequential steps. An angel
appears and ministers to Joseph then the angel introduces Christ and Christ
introduces the father. It if the person had not kept a detailed journal details
and the sequence that they happened may have been forgotten or not clearly
recalled. As far as I can recall Joseph never said anything about it with the
exception that he was talking to a minister and he related his experience and
the minister rebuffed him. Since none of us were eyewitness as to what
happened., only Joseph knew for sure. There are also passages in the scriptures
that mention people seeing and hearing unspeakable things which were not lawful
for them to utter3Ne 26:18, 3Ne 28:13, 2 Cor 12:4 It also
could be that people were not yet spiritually able to handle the truth hence
the different accounts. In the book of Mark Christ tells his apostles that he
taught the multitudes using parables but in his inner circle he was more clear.
Well, I believe for years that I was mislead about the history, and no longer
think it is true. So, I am likely not going to stay. It is hard to stay once you
learn the facts.
The entire temple recommend interview that determines your "worthiness"
to attend the temple is a checklist of things you must do and not do in order to
be worthy to attend the temple. In order to attain the highest
level in the Celestial Kingdom, you have to follow a checklist of dos and do
nots. For instance, you must be baptized and confirmed a member of the LDS
church, you must get your temple ordinances, including marriage in the temple
and you must refrain from doing certain things and be sure you do other things
including, paying tithing on your income.Yes, there most certainly
is a checklist with the LDS church.
maclouie,We were taught not to question beliefs or question the
doctrines nor question the leaders - most especially the current prophet. The
LDS church doesn't encourage critical thinking skills and instead tells its
members that they are on the road to apostasy if any question the doctrines or
principles of the church, even if they doctrines have changed over the years.
milojthatchBTW Not being religious doesn't always mean being
atheist. It just means not being religious. You can still believe in god, or be
spiritual in another way, you just don't have to go sit in a chapel every
week.Charles.ReeseWhich of the multiple different first
vision accounts would you like us to read?teeohYou
don't want to ask too many questions or you may face church discipline.
Yeah sure you can ask the simple questions, but the ones that really threaten
the churchs credibility, even if they are true, are not permitted. Just be very
careful who and what you ask. Other then that, yeah you are ok to ask
questions...The #5 on the article is untrue. The mormon church is
based on rules you have to follow in order to get to heaven. You can't
drink, smoke, drink coffee or tea. You can however now eat meat, even though
advised against in the word of wisdom. And you have to pay tithing, go to
church, etc. If not you can't go to the temple.
pennypinstripe - We aren't talking about minute details here.
Would you forget that god and jesus visited you and just call them an angel?
Would you forget such details that would be burned into your memory.
Furthermore, if it really happened back when it supposedly did, wouldn't he
have written it down at the time? Such a world altering event and he
doesn't even write it down? Come on.
at: pennypinstipeIs it possible that no evidence will ever alter
your testimony?Is that a good thing?
CNN on religion?BAhahah..(silence)..Bahaha
@ENDavis This argument is common against the Church and Joseph Smith. However, I
know personally that after telling a story several times, I have changed details
in the story not on purpose, but because I don't remember it perfectly each
time. People will point out things that have changed or even dates, and the same
could be said for anyone that is relaying an experience in their life. The same
could be said for Joseph Smith. This argument does nothing to alter my testimony
of the amazing experience he had.
@Charles Reese: "I would encourage everyone to read Joseph Smith's
First Vision account. Especially those who are struggling with who they are and
what is true."Which version would you like me to read? The one
he wrote in 1830, 1832, 1835, 1838, or 1842? They're all different. In some
he says he's 14 years old, in others he's 15 or 16. Some of his
stories featured only angels visiting him, others had only Jesus Christ, and
others both Jesus and HF. In some stories, he had already decided that all the
churches were not true, and wanted to know what to do next, in others he went
with the question which of the churches were true. In some stories he is said to
receive a forgiveness of his sins, in others there is no mention of sins. In
some stories there is darkness and Satan fighting against him, in other stories
it didn't happen. So which version of the vision would you like
me read? And if the first vision actually happened, why is it that no one seems
to know what date it happened?
@banderson"Without Christ at the center of your life, one is left with
'Social Justice', a poor substitute for genuine Christian living.
"Guess you're a Glenn Beck fan. Condemning people as not
being genuine Christians because they support universal healthcare (or any other
social justice idea) fits 2-3 of the categories CNNs survey found people are
choosing as their reasons to leave churches. @maclouie"However, the "organization", or leaders of our Church, always
encourage us members not to take the word of the messenger but to ask God if
these things are true."But oftentimes the only acceptable answer
to say... Moroni's Promise, is if God gives the answer the
"organization" thinks is correct. Otherwise, someone getting a different
answer often faces accusations that they weren't sincere when asking God.
So I'm not sure that's really an improvement.
JSB posted:=Wilson 756: I am over 70 years old, raised in the LDS
church and have asked=questions all my life. I have disagreed with some
LDS about evolution, blacks=and the priesthood, questioned some mission
practices, and many, many other=issues. I have never been discouraged from
asking questions. I have been in=many classes where hard questions were
asked and answered--and, sometimes not=answered.I think I
agree that whether or not you get your questions seriously dealt with probably
depends on where you are and what kinds of members you're around.
I've been in wards where the leaders discouraged asking questions, and
I've been in wards where anybody could ask any questions they wanted.
Currently I'm in the latter type of ward. It probably just depends on the
maturity of the leaders.
iheartcupcakeslc I guess neither you nor anyone important to you
works in a mall.
atl134Nothing new in what you said, could have been said for
centuries now. Many people like to think they live in some different, special,
exclusive time of human history. We don't. Every atitude common to the
people of today, have been around since Adam and Eve. Or in your belief system,
since monkeys become human.
@ bribri86: Nice taking my words out of context. The statement I referred to -
and quoted in my original comment - claims that religious people live to a
"higher standard" - with the subtext being that those without religion
have lower standards in how they interact with the world.If those
statements had any foundation in reality, than the actions I mentioned would not
be committed by religious people but only by non-religious people. The fact
that religious people - including you by taking my words out of context - engage
in less than stellar behaviors proves my point - being religious does not
automatically elevate you to a higher standard and being non-religious does not
automatically make all your actions suspect.Some posters have
defended their "higher standard" comments by making them individualized
- they live to a higher standard in their lives because of their religion.I have no problem with statements like those as they allow all of us to
be the best we can be regardless of why.But I strongly object to the
idea that only those with God are good - especially when so many of those with
To glennsmith:I am pleased to hear that you are happier being a part
of the LDS church. I believe you when you say you are.Every person
in this world is different. What works for one person does not work for another.
I left the church a few years ago with my wife and young kids and I have never
been more content and at peace as I am now. Life is much better and more
fulfilling for me away from the church. I know this doesn't work for
everyone but it works wonderfully for some people. In the last 10 years the
people in this country who don't belong to religion went from 15% to 20% of
the population. I have a feeling this trend is only speeding up. We need to
continue to show people who believe differently than us respect, just as you
have done on this forum and our country will be fine.
Re: "I see stinkeyes far more often than I have seen genuine interest . . .
."Again, it'd be interesting if we knew the specifics --
the whos, whats, and wheres, etc. I've been in the Church all my [long,
long] life, lived in several states and foreign countries, had many, many
questions, and have never, ever, not once, been offered, as an answer, to just
not to question, or to just have more faith.It'd be interesting
to explore what factors might explain the disconnect between my experience --
which I can only assume from my experience is pretty common -- and the one you
"Higher standard" refers not to a standard that is better than everyone
else, but to a standard that is higher / better than I would live without Church
influence in my life. I am a better husband, father, employer, friend, neighbor
because of the standards I live, or aspire to live. Can I be the kind of person
I am without LDS membership? YES. Would I be ? Not likely. Again, the
"higher standard" ideal is an internal thing.As for asking
questions, I have done so all my life, even sending a letter to Pres. McKay when
I was 18 asking about blacks and priesthood. Yes, I did receive a reply. Yes, I
cheered when the authorization came via Pres. Kimball.And I still
ask questions. Did God play patty-cake when He made Adam & Eve? I don't
believe so. Did HE set off a giant firecracker (aka big bang) to set creation in
motion. Maybe, Fun to think about. Some answers haven't been revealed yet
Or man hasn't learned enough science yet to understand them.
Re: iheartcupcakeslc ”People who aren't assigned by someone else to
be my friend, but people who actually choose to associate with me.”Certainly, much satisfaction can be gained from friends who choose
association. There's no disagreement there. My view goes back to Will
Rogers' "I never met a man I didn't like"--though, in my case,
some occasionally haven't been reciprocal.I have never
regretted an "assignment" to befriend someone. In actuality, LDS who
understand even our most basic doctrines understand we are to accept everyone as
children of God. Yes, we are human, and all will struggle with that at one time
or another. But most of us try.Visiting members in their home
"by assignment" has given the opportunity to become acquainted with
people I otherwise would never now well. Even after assignments change,
I've remained friends with them. Encounters in the neighborhood, at church,
and in the community allow renewed opportunities to bond with them. It is NEVER
boring or unpleasant.
As a factual matter, the LDS Church is doing a better job of keeping the loyalty
of its teens and young adults than most other denominations. That was determined
in a nationwide study done a few years ago, a study that was the basis for a
book by one of the researchers, Kenda Creasy Dean, titled Almost Christian. One
chapter is titled Mormon Envy, and explains that Mormon youth have the highest
level of affirming the faith of their parents and being able to articulate their
own reasons for that choice. To respond to the author of the CNN article, Rachel
Held Evans, to a greater extent than many of their peers raised in other faith
traditions, Mormon millennials are finding Jesus in their own church. A remarkable evidence for this is the surge of young LDS missionaries that
will reach over 80,000 soon. Other churches' youth ministries look at it
with great envy, and in a recent panel on Christianity Today, they expressed no
hope that their own denominations could duplicate thast level of commitment.
milojthatchI don't think being religious is holding yourself to
a higher standard. Religious only means you go to church and say you believe
what a specific church teaches. Being religious and being moral have never been
We may be taught to ask questions to ourselves, but certainly not to church
leaders. I had personal experience with this during the Prop 8 campaign in
California. A sheet of paper containing a demonstrable falsehood was being
circulated and taught in church meetings. I questioned the falsehood and
provided proof that it was not true. My Bishop and Stake President ignored me
and did not correct the record. Obviously there were most important
considerations than the truth during that campaign season.
Re: milojthatchIf only it were that simple. But too many religious
people hold all of society to their standards resulting in oppression of
personal freedom and beliefs.
ENDavis, we don't know the financial condition of specific general
authorities, how much they contribute out of previously earned and saved monies,
how much uncompensated time they spend on business aspects of the church,
whether or not they earn any kind of profit (not to be confused with prophet, as
some antagonists do) for their service. I hope the fact that expenses are
reimbursed is not a bitter pill for you and others to swallow. I myself
occasionally need reimbursement at the local level for out-of-pocket expenses:
scouting, purchases of supplies for ward parties, etc. But the reimbursements
NEVER match the sum of the funds donated. It just isn't necessary!
@George. It's unfortunate when the LDS culture imbues a sense of
superiority. If anything, it's because we believe that Heavenly
Father's way is superior. The whole idea of an omnipotent, caring god
requires that. But if you look at our very personal teachings or discuss this
with most members individually, you'll find that we are very aware of our
imperfections and struggle along with everyone else.A sense of
grandiose superiority is usually accompanied by exclusivity. We share our
message and invite others to join us the world over. The church's
missionary efforts are no secret. We don't believe that we are better,
rather want to share something valuable with everyone else.As for
the church managing our behaviors? The church presents us with a view of the
world, principles by which we can be happy, and then we are left to choose.
Church teachings inspire individual agency, the ability to choose for oneself.
Any oppressive attitude that some might experience, even if it comes from other
church members, is certainly not inspired by the church or its teachings. On
the contrary, we are reminded often that leaders are never to dominate others.
Since religion is only what you do religiously. The need for a compass that
points to the moral true north is needed. I like philosophy. The difference
between mortals and immortals, is reason. The reason is, is because you matter.
you matter? That's the Spirit of things. The name of the Spirit is Jesus,
who was a gift from God because He so loved the world. Love gives you wings
because you'll never know where your heart will take ya. It's more
than an emotion, it's the ability to get into the Spirit of things. So up
till now the past is determined, the future is uncertain, the present is what
you've got. Good people give good gifts. To be free you have to help
others to be free.
@procuradorfiscalWhat counts as a "frivolous, un-serious
question"? I see stinkeyes far more often than I have seen genuine interest
into why someone is asking a difficult question. Especially if they continue to
express their doubts and concerns. Often difficult questions don't have
easy answers, and when someone fails to come up with an adequate answer the
default is to say: "just have faith" or "just keeping praying and
one day you'll get an answer", etc. Which in the end just leads to
more frustration. Just because the church encourages people to ask questions
doesn't mean they build an environment for people to feel comfortable
asking those questions. Just like there is a sign on every chapel saying
"Visitors Welcome" doesn't mean everyone who is visiting will feel
welcome. You have to do more than encourage, there has to be a safe environment
in which everyone can feel comfortable asking any question. Without any
stinkeyes. It is much more than just saying something, the church has to do more
and follow through with their words.
I would encourage everyone to read Joseph Smith's First Vision account.
Especially those who are struggling with who they are and what is true.
This author is spot on to say that that “the heart of Mormonism is asking
questions.” The Church’s very foundation is based on asking
questions (First Vision). Our testimonies and knowledge are the results of
asking questions (Moroni 10:4). One of my favorite things about the gospel is
that we are all on a journey of discovering and learning truth, which comes
about though questioning and studying.To the naysayers of this
concept, don’t confuse the (sometimes) inability to get the answers you
seek with a culture of “no questioning.”I agree with
procuradorfiscal. I’ve never, ever heard that we should not ask
questions. However, I have heard that sometimes we don’t have answers and
we press forward with faith. Those are 2 VERY different things.
@iheartcupcakeslc“People who aren't assigned by someone
else to be my friend, but people who actually choose to associate with me.
It's incredibly refreshing.”What I find refreshing is a
system where people through assignments and responsibilities find and create
friendships that might otherwise not have happened. I hate to think about all
of the friends and connections I might not have had if not for the home teaching
program. HT and Visiting Teaching are inspired programs that build a greater
sense of community and selflessness. Sure, some take on these
responsibilities more with a sense of duty than desire, but that is their
challenge…to learn to adopt a Christ-like love. And so many do learn that
as they fulfill their assignments. I think it’s great
that you hold yourself to a high standard without the help of a guiding
institution. I think you are the exception and not the rule. Human nature shows
that most people would indeed be lazy if left to their own impulses. I love the
inspired programs of the Church that act as an impetus for me and others to step
up to the plate.
As a believer, I have the distinct advantage of knowing that everything has
profound, eternal meaning. Everything I experience in my life, everything I
learn, everything I love belongs to me forever. Thus my life and everything in
it has profound meaning. If there is no God and thus when we die everything we
experienced, everything we learned and everything we loved, dies with us then by
definition nothing had any meaning or purpose. As I consider the magnificent
order of the universe and creations beauties, I can not believe it was all the
result of an accidental explosion in space and thereafter only evolution and has
no purpose or meaning. Therefore faith is my very necessary way of living in my
world and loving my life and those in it!
What "higher standard" tells so many of you to show such complete
distain and contempt for your fellow man?
I appreciate this individuals list, but I believe there are somethings that are
missing. 1) Hypocrisy - I know this was alluded to, however lets
call it what it is. Everyone of us as children of God have this problem since we
are not perfect. We know that Jesus the Son of God was the only perfect
individual to ever walk this earth. And part of the reason young and old
individuals leave a church or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is
because of hypocrisy. We can't expect our young to follow us if we are not
doing what is right or striving to do so.2) Lies - How often or how
many times have you told or been lied to? Satan is so good at convincing others
and our young that there is no God and that the easy way is better. What he
doesn't tell you that it brings suffering and great pain. 3)
Identity - In my youth it took me a long time to find myself and who I was. I
was raised in the church, but I had no testimony of the truth or God. How many
of our youth struggle with this?
Hey KalindraYou said..."How many religious people on
these comment boards show by their words and actions that they are following
Jesus' admonition to love one another? How many show they judge not?How many individuals in prisons claim to be religious versus claim to be
atheist?How many religious leaders or fellow church members have
been found guilty of committing fraud or sexually molesting children in their
care?"Let me ask you a few questions...So, how many
religious people don't come on these comment boards who do show their words
and actions in real life? How many individuals are not or never have
been in prison who are religious? Should we judge people who are in prison who
are religious, because don't good people make mistakes? Shouldn't we
forgive them?How many religious leaders or fellow church members
have NOT been found guilty of committing fraud or sexually molesting children in
their care? You speak as someone who might have had bad experiences
and have focused on them. Your same arguments are similar to people who want to
restrict firearms from everyone because one or two people use them incorrectly.
Is that fair?
The church has been my rock in a sea of violent waves. It is the calm in the
storm, the anchor that keeps me in place. I am a convert of almost 25 years,
and while I've had my ups and downs, I feel that life is good here.I was raised in a home where it was ok to be racist, it was ok to sleep
around, it was ok to make fun of gay people, it was ok to not help others, put
yourself first. All of that changed: I changed my racist views, I am married
and devoted to my husband and will remain true to him and him alone, I love gay
people (LOVE!) and while it's really hard for me, I try to help others.
Re: "I was told many times to not question and to just have more
faith."Hmmmmm. It'd be interesting to know who told you
that, what their connection to the Church was, and under what circumstances the
advice was rendered.I have never, ever in my long, long [yeah, OK,
some would suggest there need to more "longs" in there] association with
the Church been told "not to question and to just have more faith."Rather, every time I've raised a serious question [admittedly, some
questions were not serious], Church leaders, interested relatives, fellow
members, etc., have tried to get me an answer. Sure, frivolous, un-serious
questions are often ignored or met with an unspoken "stinkeye" response,
but I've never had a serious, sincere question blown off.I
didn't always like, believe, or adopt the answer, but I've NEVER been
told not to ask the question.
Item #4 is so true contrary to another post. While one definition of
"church" are the people and not the organization, one could say the
"church" does not make for a place to ask questions because so many
members don't have the answers and the only fall back is to increase
one's faith. However, the "organization", or leaders of our Church,
always encourage us members not to take the word of the messenger but to ask God
if these things are true. Just read the 13th Article of Faith. We need to be
seeking all the time which means asking questions and moving forward.This article is written by someone mature in the Gospel and understands true
Just for the record, in case anyone is keeping score...The local
leadership of the church (i.e. Ward Bishoprics, Priesthood Quorum leaders,
Relief Society leaders, Sunday School teachers, etc.) are a lay clergy, and do
not receive any financial benefit from service in the church.Upper
levels of church leadership (i.e. General Authorities, Area Authorities, Mission
Presidents, etc.) each receive a monthly reimbursement of all living expenses,
including but not limited to: housing, groceries, vehicles, utilities, and
education (including college) for dependent children.
@Kalindra - I said "Truly being". I will fully agree that many people
alive now and historically have used religion for devious purposes, and those
people possibly need religion the most. The point however is that if you are
truly religious (and actually "get" the point of your religion), you
admit that you are not perfect and that you need help from a higher power to
better yourself.My argument with most of the World, (not just
atheist) is this trends we find where we are told that there is no need to
better yourself because you're perfect just the way you are right now. No
sense of a need to become something more or turn to a higher power for help, and
I find that view flawed. It's like a baby sitting in their dirty diaper
and not wanting it to be changed, or a student being ok with not learning the
lesson the teacher is teaching and being satisfied with their limited knowledge.
The fact is, REAL religion means work, and that is something many people today
don't want to do.
@milo and robin"Higher standards?" The standard that
reinforces a false sense of supuriotry for a group of people that must turn to a
outside source to manage their behaviors for them?
I think that we run into difficulties when we start to claim to have
"factually" proved the validity or falseness of a religion. The whole
point of religion is that it is higher than we are. I think that people tend to
get what they seek. If you seek for nothing higher than yourself, you end up
obtaining exactly that. If you seek for something higher, you tend to get it.
How much power does mankind have over death or sorrow? That should tell you how
much power man has in the realm of asserting the factuality of religion.
JSB Thanks for articulating what I was thinking.Very sincereWilson756 The Do's and Don'ts are mere recommendations to protect
us from things that will hurt our body and spirit.
Wilson 756: I am over 70 years old, raised in the LDS church and have asked
questions all my life. I have disagreed with some LDS about evolution, blacks
and the priesthood, questioned some mission practices, and many, many other
issues. I have never been discouraged from asking questions. I have been in many
classes where hard questions were asked and answered--and, sometimes not
answered. What I have been told is to strive to live a worthy life, honor the
priesthood, serve your fellow man and someday these issues will be sorted out.
To me, the association with the saints, in spite of our imperfections and
differences of opinion, make the LDS church the most wonderful organization in
the world. I love it.
Atl134: Without Christ at the center of your life, one is left with
'Social Justice', a poor substitute for genuine Christian living.
Social Justice is a code word for delegating Christian living to government, a
pathetic hypocritical and cynical view of humanity. Sorry, I'll take
neighborly 'social justice' over a liberal's government
delegatory 'social justice' anytime.
@ milo and Robin: You have both stated that religious people hold themselves to
a higher standard.If that is true, there are not very many religious
people - whether they attend church or not.Either that, or, on a
comparative basis, they have really low standards to begin with.How
many religious people on these comment boards show by their words and actions
that they are following Jesus' admonition to love one another? How many
show they judge not?How many individuals in prisons claim to be
religious versus claim to be atheist?How many religious leaders or
fellow church members have been found guilty of committing fraud or sexually
molesting children in their care?
I'm not LDS but I think the lay clergy of the Mormons has a lot of
benefits. I also find that churches that give a lot of people an opportunity to
have a "ministry" (Mormons use the phrase "calling") also makes
going to Church more meaningful. I think a lot of people believe
"not going to Church" is the same as not having a religious faith. Those
who seem to hold onto their membership do a good job of encouraging involvement,
not just showing up.
Within your reasons I find #4 and #5 to be completely false.#4 states that
mormon's are taught to ask questions. Which is completely false to anything
I was told or taught in my 20 years of activeness and pure dedication to the
church. I was always told to rely on faith, and to never question any of the
doctrine. I always thought of myself as a sinner because I questioned things
too much. It wasn't until I decided to find the answers to my many
questions that I found factual evidence that the foundational beliefs of the
church are false.#5 I also find to be completely false. When simply
explaining the churches beliefs, you cant help but find yourself listing off the
hundreds of things you can and cant do. Yes, you can define the beliefs by
telling someone to be more "christ like", but that still doesn't
mean there Isn't an enormous list of do and do not.
Local clergy are unpaid. General Authorities of the LDS church receive stipends
(compensation, salaries.) Please do not use that point to elevate the LDS church
over other denominations. Many other churches rely heavily on volunteers as
@Brave Sir Robin-the idea that I don't hold myself to a high standard, just
because I don't believe in an organized religion is insulting. I am very
active in my community, donate money to charities that need it for things other
than building shopping malls. I volunteer and donate because I WANT to, not
because I believe I will be rewarded for it in an imaginary afterlife. I get the sense of community that religion provides. It can be difficult to
find people who have similar beliefs. I am so happy I've been able to find
a wonderful support system of people with similar beliefs as my own. People who
aren't assigned by someone else to be my friend, but people who actually
choose to associate with me. It's incredibly refreshing.
I read the CNN article a couple of days ago and I agree with many of this
article's points in response - at least in principle. In
practice, where the rubber meets the road in the everyday experience of Mormons,
I'm less confident. I know too many people who didn't feel like
"brothers" or "sisters" because of unrighteous assumptions and
judging by ward members. I know some who felt that their sincere questions made
others suspicious of their motives. There are others who did feel a stringent
list of do's and don't's, and who felt condemned for not living
up to the ideals imposed on them. Most of all, I feel we're
complacent about the challenges to faith in today's world, especially for
"Millenials" - our lessons and classes aren't geared to meet some
of today's spiritual needs.We often fall short of the ideals
espoused by the article. My confidence in Mormonism is heavily driven by its
optimism for who we are, and what we are capable of achieving. I believe that
Mormonism contains a framework for meeting the challenges to belief - but only
if we rise to embrace its potential.
I really enjoyed reading this article. I do have to disagree with point #4 in
the article though. When I was questioning the church I would often ask hard and
difficult questions, both in church and to my family members. I was told many
times to not question and to just have more faith. I don't think the church
creates a good environment to ask difficult questions. But that might just be my
experience. Good article though.
I fully agree with Brave Sir Robin. Truly being religious means holding
yourself to a higher standard, and that is something society is not ok with.
@Brave Sir RobinThe CNN post actually gave the answer to that based on
survey results. The issues they found included...1. too political2.
too exclusive3. old-fashioned4. unconcerned with social justice5. hostile towards the LGBT communityOr you know, we could just
call them lazy and dismiss their concerns. Either/or.
I can answer CNN's question in three sentences.Going to church
means holding one's self to a higher standard, taking on more voluntary
responsibility, and giving one's self more work do to while getting nothing
in return (in the worldly sense). Going to church is harder than not going to
church. And speaking in general, millennials (of which I am one) are lazy and
tend to look for the easiest path through life.
"5. Our doctrine is not a laundry list of what we can and cannot do."Then why do I always see posts from members saying that people who leave
the church generally just couldn't/wouldn't deal with following the
commandments that comes with being part of a church with higher standards for
living than other churches?I'd accept the argument that the
doctrine is about much more than that but then that would apply to just about
every other church as well.