Panelists discuss leaving and returning to the LDS Church at FAIR conference

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  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    Aug. 15, 2013 8:07 p.m.

    The Church is true. I'm sorry when some in it leave and glad when they return.

    What more can be said?

    Those that constantly criticize the LDS church are not "fair", or "balanced" in their approach. They see no good within Mormonism because they want to see no good in Mormonism. They scream "objectivity" when they close their eyes to most of what they see.

    I have a dear friend who has left the Church and I am very, very grateful that he speaks of the Church's encouragement of strong family ties and emphasis on work and personal responsibility. As long as he refrains from offering 100% criticism and condemnation of Latter-day Saints, there is hope....

  • let's roll LEHI, UT
    Aug. 13, 2013 2:44 p.m.

    Like Sister Eyring, I've found some deluded, simple minded and self-righteous folks inside the Church, just as I've found folks like that outside the Church.

    Membership in the Church doesn't exempt you from those characteristics, nor does being an "active" member. Applying Gospel principles will help.

    That said, I note that you can be an honest, moral person of integrity without having the Gospel and many people are. If you consider the Gospel in its fullness, you'll realize it is likely that the majority of God's children who will dwell in the Celestial Kingdom, will not have been Mormons.

    My attempt to achieve honesty, morality and integrity has been facilitated by the Gospel, with the additional benefit of feeling of the unconditional love of my Heavenly Father and the grace resulting from the atoning sacrifice of his Son.

    My experience is that we are often far too quick to characterize people--for good or ill. For example, I've never found the characterization of someone as an "active" member (i.e. comes to Church regularly) to be very helpful in understanding the state of their spiritual health

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    Aug. 13, 2013 1:20 p.m.

    Like I said, I may be wrong. Perhaps I generalized when I shouldn't have. Now I think on it, maybe the distinguishing characteristic between ex's whose presence here is legit vs those with ulterior motives is the absence of insults in one group, and an abundance in the other.

    You should indeed be proud of your heritage, whatever you believe or don't. Good on you. I taught my kids that they didn't have to believe what I believe, but they did have to give a cogent reason for whatever they believe. Two of the three do not believe. But they are still mine and I could not love them less, and I'll have words with any critic who comes their way.

    Its the insults flying in comment sections that bother me. From both sides, believers and non. Vicious at times, tho not so much on DN. Check out the Christian Post, though. And at times I've found myself trading insult for insult.

    No more. If I can't reflect the love of Christ hereabouts, I just need to shut up.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Aug. 13, 2013 12:18 p.m.


    I wasn't pulling the rights card, per se. I was only saying that I and others comment on a number of different articles on different subjects. I am frequently commenting on other religious articles as well, not just mormon. You may be right... maybe some do come here to make themselves feel better. I doubt that is the norm though. Maybe they want to identify with others who don't believe anymore. I guess because I was mormon for over 25 years and have a pioneer heritage and am a direct descendant to the 3rd prophet (John Taylor) I will always be linked to mormonism. My heritage is mormon so that will never change. So while I don't believe the doctrinal aspect of the church, I am still very involved in the culture because of where I live and my family ties. Plus, it is nice to read others who have had similiar experiences as I have with leaving the church etc. Also, wouldn't you get extremely bored if it was only believers commenting on these stories? That would get boring... (sarcastic)

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    Aug. 13, 2013 10:13 a.m.

    Sharonna ... you can't make one being from two without teaching as doctrine the commandments of men. It cannot be done. Sorry, but Christ is sitting by his Father today.

    Brahmabull ... let's not pull the 'rights' card here, please. Of course you can, and I've enjoyed many of your comments, honestly. The question was why. I think those who say they've left the Church yet still come here haven't gone as far as they think. These folk don't invite themselves other places with which they've nothing in common. Why here? I think its an attempt to reassure oneself that things really are different now, I've really left the Church. That, and a need for many critics and skeptics and ex's to just throw insults to make oneself feel justified in their ex status.

    I might be wrong, yes. I admit it. But I don't think so.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Aug. 13, 2013 9:00 a.m.


    I can answer that. I read the newspaper, online. When I see an article I want to read, I read it. And if I want to comment then I do. You will see my comments on other articles too. I don't play for the jazz, I don't live in Salt Lake county but I can still comment and give my opinion just as you can. Is that easy enough?

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 13, 2013 8:37 a.m.

    @ “John 1:2 That is two beings”. True, and the Holy Spirit; these three are one=(heis, 1 God ) these three agree as one( in unity=*en,preposition). (1John 5:7,8 KJV translation & JST). 3 persons one God. "one in substance”. Express image of his person(substance, 5287).Hebrews 1:3

    God *created everything through him, and *nothing was created except through him. John 1:2-4) The Word(Jesus) gave life to everything that was created. A clear statement of creation ex nihlio.
    “came into existence (*ginomai, Grk).” Or ; “nothing came into existence(*ginomai, Grk)
    RE: Moontan, “God is omniscient. Christ was not omniscient.”

    Hypostatic Union, two natures (Divine and human) Jesus is God in flesh (John 1:1,14; 10:30-33; 20:28; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 1:8). He is fully God and fully man (Col. 2:9); he has two natures: God and man. He is 100% God and 100% man. He never lost his divinity. He continued to exist as God when he became a man and added human nature to Himself (Phil. 2:5-11) see, Kenosis doctrine.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Aug. 13, 2013 6:05 a.m.

    I've been "lost" for going on 15+ years now.
    I'm a very nice man and am no way looking to be "found".
    The missionaries came by my place of employment looking to "find" me recently. Having spent 55 years in the Church, numerous positions held from a mission in Scotland to the High Council, I had plenty of life experience to share with these two young men and we laughed for a good 2 hours. When they left they understood two thing. I am not lost and I love life.
    My experiences with others over the years have defined "lost" differently. Many of those that leave (going to Church on a weekly basis) come back because they miss the culture. It's the culture that binds the Church together not the doctrine. It's always been that way.

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    Aug. 12, 2013 8:39 p.m.

    Sharrona ... God is omniscient. Christ was not omniscient ('only my Father in Heaven knows' when the end would come). Christ was not God Himself. He is presently at the right hand of the Father. Not at the right hand of himself, but of His Father.

    When people quote John 1:1, there ought to be a law that says they are required to add the very next sentence, which would be John 1:2. "He was with God in the beginning."

    That is two beings.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 12, 2013 7:44 p.m.

    RE:Craig Clark, Jesus himself must be God,is a very big leap.

    By accepting worship, Jesus shows Himself to be the Lord God Almighty:
    Mt 2:11: … and they fell down and worshiped him. Mt 4:33: And those in the boat worshiped him… Luke 24:52 .. And they worshiped him….

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word(Jesus) was God, The Word became flesh..(John 1:1,14).

    No one has ever seen God. The only one(monogenes), himself God, who is in closest fellowship with the Father, has made God known(John 1:18 NET)

    God said unto Moses,” I am HE *WHO IS=“(the BEING): and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, HE *WHO IS hath sent me unto you. (LXX Ex 3:14)
    Jesus,*WHO IS=(The one Being)occurs in Rev 1:4, 8; 4:8, 11:17; and 16:5.

    Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.(1John 3:16 KJV)God on the Cross.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 12, 2013 5:19 p.m.


    "....Paul’s frequent use of the same title for Christ, it indicates that he had a high Christology...."

    That's putting it conservatively. Paul was the primary inventor of Christology.


    "....Paul viewed Jesus as God Himself...."

    And I still don't know where he got that notion. The closest Jesus himself comes to suggesting anything that grand is in his claim to know the “Father” like no one else does with a special relationship to him. From that point to reaching the conclusion that Jesus himself must be God is a very big leap.

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    Aug. 12, 2013 2:21 p.m.

    I wish I understood why people who leave the church continue to visit here and offer their contrary opinions. I am not being disrespectful. Not at all. I truly wonder why or how someone could leave an organization, yet not really leave one of its gathering places. A very real mystery to me, that is.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Aug. 12, 2013 1:08 p.m.

    I recently left the church, less than a year ago. I can tell you that I have never felt better about where I am and who I am. I would much rather be honest with myself and my family that I don't believe it then pretend that I believe just to please everybody. I honestly don't believe and it would be dishonest of me to say otherwise. I think many others are in a difficult position like I was because the tradition in Utah families is to be mormon and stay mormon. It is hard for people to break the news to families for fear of backlash and personal rebuke. It is well worth it to live your own life with your own beliefs. It isn't fun to live in somebody else's beliefs if you don't believe them.

  • Bill Reel Sandusky, OH
    Aug. 12, 2013 9:01 a.m.

    I am Bill Reel, the same mentioned in the article. Two thoughts. One - I never left the Church. While the other three left I handled my faith crisis while active in the faith.
    2nd My podcast is designed to specifically help people in a faith crisis "lead with faith" but also validating their journey. We so often are in such a rush to defend the church and give answers that we often do so at the risk of adding hurt and anguish to the person with doubts. There is a better way. For those here who want to check out the podcast, it is found at mormondiscussion dot podbean dot com. I interview average everyday people who want to share their faith journey, experts on an issue, and thoughts on gospel principles

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 12, 2013 8:27 a.m.

    RE: Mountanman. “one Lord.” The title Lord is the translation of the Greek term kurios, is one of Paul’s favorite names for Jesus. Since the Septuagint, which the apostle often quotes, renders the covenant name of God Yahweh as kurios, Paul’s frequent use of the same title for Christ, it indicates that he had a high Christology, a doctrine of Christ that equates Him with the one true God and covenant Lord of Israel. Paul viewed Jesus as God Himself. As there is only one Lord, salvation rests in Him alone (John 14:6), and people experience true unity one with another only upon this ultimate foundation.

    Resting on Christ alone, we also share one baptism (Eph. 4:5) — the one baptism of the Spirit by which we are ingrafted into Christ Jesus when we first believe. This invisible baptism is related to water baptism, yet it is not identical to it. Still, just as we are baptized by the Spirit into Christ only one time, so too should we have only one experience of the sacrament that signifies this ingrafting — water baptism into the name of the triune God.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    Aug. 12, 2013 8:20 a.m.

    The Scientist:

    Here are some basic scriptures why church members use the word “lost” when someone leaves the church:

    1 Nephi 8:23 – "And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost."

    (Lehi’s dream has a few references to how people get lost and how it relates to the gospel)

    Luke 15:4,6 – "What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?" … "And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost."

    (Christ sometimes referred to people as sheep, and the importance of all of them hearing His voice and having one fold and one shepherd)

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Aug. 11, 2013 9:58 p.m.

    @ J.D. To answer your questions;
    #1: I don't read the Watchtower because it is not scripture to me.
    #2: For me, yes I do need my religion to follow Christ because He is my religion. Otherwise, where would I go? "one faith, one Lord, one baptism".

  • J.D. Aurora, CO
    Aug. 11, 2013 8:35 p.m.


    That is a very interesting quote from scripture. The Jehovah's Witnesses also like to use that verse to try to retain their membership. "If you leave the Watchtower" they claim "you will be just like Peter and asking yourself where shall we go". That verse in context is speaking specifically about following Christ and not an organized religion. Do you really think you need the LDS Church or the Watchtower to have Christ?

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Aug. 11, 2013 5:36 p.m.

    Great article! I think nearly everyone has their faith challenged sometimes in their lives. For me, an expression Peter offered has helped me on a few occasion. That powerful, thoughtful expression happened when the Lord gave a difficult to understand teaching to his followers, the scripture records, "many walked no more with Jesus saying it was a hard saying (Jesus) gave them". Jesus turned to his apostles and asked, "will ye also go away"? To which Peter replied, "Where shall we go, Lord, thou has the words of eternal life". Some people may leave the LDS church for a variety of reasons but where will they go?

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    Aug. 11, 2013 8:45 a.m.

    "Leaving the church in droves"? Please send me a quotation, in context please. Scientist, you are constantly on these boards with a contrary opinion of everything LDS. Makes me wonder what your motivation is. You say you know lots of people who have left the church and made their way into "daylight" and "sanity". Do you not comprehend how patronizing your comments are? The very thing you and your fellow non-believers claim holds us apart you are guilty of also.

  • Piret Clifton, NJ
    Aug. 10, 2013 10:54 p.m.

    To Sid 6.7: the speaker was NOT saying the negative things she experienced after leaving the Church were a "punishment from God" - if you are active LDS I am astonished you write of this idea. I am quite sure that her negative experiences were as a result of the choices she made after leaving the Church -natural effects from wrong choices. If you choose the believe that a red light does not apply to you as a driver, the natural consequence can be death, injury or a police citation - not God's punishment. The same with other choices in our lives.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    Aug. 10, 2013 3:59 p.m.

    @ Sharrona: I was "born again" 37 years ago and came into the Church.

    @ "The Scientist": You criticize Mormons for saying that those who leave the Church are "lost" and those who come back are "found." Then you criticize me for suggesting that Mormons are free to use whatever idiomatic expressions they want. In the process, you criticize me for being "dismissive" of people who have a different view from me, and suggest that because I am "typical" of Mormons, I am driving people away from the Church. I have more power than I thought.

    @ sid 6.7: I did not suggest you were not a Mormon. I only said that your suggestion that God punishes people for leaving the Church comes from a faith system (read that "belief" also) outside orthodox Mormonism. It is not a teaching or tenet of the Church that God automatically or immediately punishes people for anything. If anything, the Church teaches that we are often punished by our sins themselves, and that whatever punishment we may deserve is often reserved for the next life; and though we are subject to natural consequences on earth, we may repent and have our sins forgiven.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 10:33 a.m.

    Jeff wrote:

    "@ 'The Scientist': You use your idiomatic expressions, we'll use ours."

    Typical of LDS to dismiss and minimize those who see things differently than them, and especially those who are denigrated by their thoughtless "idiomatic expressions".

    Is it any wonder more are leaving ("in droves", according to former Elder Jensen) than are returning?

  • MarkMAN West Columbia, TX
    Aug. 10, 2013 7:00 a.m.

    For me anyway,the most interesting statement was her comment about her uncle thinking he could not he is just... My experience and observations remind me how we seem to think less of ourselves than we really are. To understand he was seeming so ordinary helps us understand how elevated we really all are.


  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 9, 2013 9:04 p.m.

    Which ever way the tables turn, there is much more leaving than there is returning. The concern should be: is there a good reason for it, and is there something positive that can be done about it.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 7:27 p.m.

    Jeff: I left the church 26 years ago, I became born again(anōthen,from above).

    One reason I left,The BoM has a "Familiar Spirit",2Nephi 26:16:

    Compare poor KJV translation to( Latin vulgate,Isaiah 29:4), and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust. and thy voice shall be from the earth like that of the “*pythonis=(familiar spirit)”, and out of the earth thy speech shall mutter.

    (Latin Vulgate 1 Sam 28:7) And Saul said to his servants: Seek me a woman that hath a divining spirit=( *pythonem/familiar spirit), and I will go to her, and enquire by her. And his servants said to him: There is a woman that hath a divining spirit=(*pythonem)[witch]at Endor.

    From, Acts 16:16 And it came to pass , as we went to prayer a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination= (*python/Grk,=4436) met us which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying.
    In Greek mythology, Pythian a serpent dwelt in the region of Pytho at Parnassus in Phocis, said to have guarded the oracle at Delphi and been slain by Apollo. 2. a spirit of divination.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Aug. 9, 2013 7:24 p.m.

    sid 6.7,

    I think the comments regarding lost opportunities for service or children are likely related to choices made that turned her away from those avenues. Certainly folks in many circumstances serve or have children. The LDS have no corner on that market.

    In many instances, God has no need (or desire) to punish us. But our choices come attendant with consequences. At the time we make them, the results of our choices may seem fine or limited. Later, perhaps less so.

    In my experience we (younger folks especially) seldom give full consideration to the results of our actions. We follow a path toward a mission and college and later reap benefits we did not fully understand would be ours. Or, we follow a path away from college, or toward drugs, or into promiscuity. These choices may seem benign at the time but later prove to be less so.

    My mother (not LDS) smoked for decades. She died of cancer fairly young - denying her opportunities with her grandchildren. I doubt at 19 she thought that was the choice she was making.

    These are just my thoughts. The full answer would have to be from her.


  • gcrobmd GADSDEN, AL
    Aug. 9, 2013 5:14 p.m.

    “Lost opportunities for service.” Well said. Anyone wanting to be involved in rendering service to his or her neighbor could not find a better place than in Relief Society or LDS Priesthood quorums every Sunday. Non-members are as welcome as members. Non-members do not even have to come. Just let the leaders know you are willing to help. The calls will come. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

    When people do not live the commandments, they bring upon themselves the consequences of misery and missed opportunity. God weeps for the misery people bring on themselves by not following His counsel.

  • sid 6.7 Holladay, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 5:06 p.m.


    I am not trying to find any thing other than a educated answer. Unfortunately, you weren't able to give me one.

    To the other person who thought I was not Mormon you are incorrect. Non Practicing but I am still LDS.

    I guess I should have known better than to ask people who are supposedly upstanding Mormons, in an LDS Newspaper Forum, a question about Mormonism. I think I would have to go to a convert for that. They actually know what they believe. Yet another missionary opportunity missed by Utah Mormons.

    Oh yea, Ute Alumni, you really should refrain from trying to represent the LDS Church. I think they can do without your brand of help. People like you in the Church are a big part of what drives people like me away. You sir, and your Ilk, are the reason outside of Utah and Idaho the LDS church for the most part has a negative image.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    Aug. 9, 2013 3:24 p.m.

    I was born into an anti-Mormon family, joined the Church at a very early age, left the Church not long after, then came back in time to serve a mission.

    I relate to what Sister Eyring said about what happens in sacrament meeting after one has been away.

    @ "The Scientist": You use your idiomatic expressions, we'll use ours.

    @ sid 6.7: Yours is an interesting question, but it clearly comes from the point of view of a faith tradition outside Mormonism.

    A natural consequence for doing or not doing something is what you are considering punishment. She is saying that her life choices (including leaving the Church apparently) put her in the position of not being able to have children.

    It is common in the Church to recognize that one may forfeit blessings (including the blessing of guidance by the Holy Ghost), one may have bad things happen (even for reasons other than one's personal choices--for reasons that have nothing to do with righteousness or unrighteousness), and one need not assume that God is inflicting any particular direct punishment.

  • Sports Are Great Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 3:17 p.m.

    sid 6.7, she just says she lost the chance and that there were sins of omission. Nowhere does she say God didn't allow her to have kids. She just made choices that weren't the choices needed to establish a family. Those choices could be as simple as deciding not to form a relationship with a single person which could then be followed by marriage and kids. There is no insinuation that God had anything to do with that. I don't see the issue with her statement. I think you're trying to find something that just isn't there, at all.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Aug. 9, 2013 2:54 p.m.

    I am puzzled by people who ask the kinds of questions here that are most easily addressed 1:1 with someone, not on a blog e.g. Chris B. and Sid 6.7. If I were Chris' neighbor, I would love to talk to him about his questions and I get the feeling (by the repeated questions) that he never gets a satisfying answer through this channel.

    Find a Mormon friend and ask them...

  • grandmagreat Lake Havasu City, AZ
    Aug. 9, 2013 2:42 p.m.

    to this young Sister, I say Welcome Back. I have always been an actve member, and are grateful for a wonderful mothrr who taught me the importance of the Gospel, even we often lived where there were no members, or vrry few members. I have served many callings in the church and am grateful for each one. However, one that has brought me great Joy was at the age of 72 I was able to Serve a Stake Mission, and in that calling i worked with the young Elders when they visited a home where there was no man present. After my release, I had the greatest experience I could have had, went to Church, and one of the Sisters Came up to me,and wanted a hug, and thanked me for helping them find their way back. Needless to say this was one of the Greatest moments of my life. They were later married in the Temple, had thier family sealed to them forever, and shortly after he suddencly died with an unexpected heart Attack. Is the Gospel of Jesus Christ? that is taught at at the LDS Church True yes I can testify to that.

  • sid 6.7 Holladay, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 1:35 p.m.

    I am curious about this comment:

    “I missed opportunities for service," she said. "I lost the chance to have children. There were many sins of omission.”

    Is she saying God punished her for leaving the church by not allowing her to have children?

    I don't know if she is aware but many people outside the LDS Church have children and serve their fellow man.

    Can someone help me understand?

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 9, 2013 1:27 p.m.

    The Mormon temple ceremony had a mystique because it was not to be spoken of outside the temple. I can’t think of surer way to arouse public curiosity about a ceremony that once you’ve experienced it you see for yourself that there's nothing about it that's in any way sensational or controversial. Perplexing to some but that's all.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 1:19 p.m.

    The panel included currently active members "who previously left the faith for various reasons but eventually found their way back."

    You have to love that: Those who are not in the Church, or who left the Church, are "lost", and those who are in the Church again "found their way back".

    Consider this alternative perspective: I know many former Mormons who were lost IN the Mormon Church and found their way OUT into the daylight, sanity, reason, and joy! Some abandoned belief altogether. Others "found their way" into another Christian religion.

  • Daniel Leifker San Francisco, CA
    Aug. 9, 2013 12:56 p.m.

    One of the panelists, Don Bradley, has a podcast named "Seeing with an Eye of Faith." It's fairly long but immensely interesting, even if you are not LDS. I've listened to the whole thing twice and found it fascinating.