Mormons with doubts shouldn't give up faith without 'intellectual and spiritual kicking and screaming'

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  • Gruncle Ralph Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 9, 2016 1:05 a.m.

    @Hutterite—

    re: "If your questions lead you to give up your religion, however, that's OK. You need to seek your truth, and be true to yourself.
    And you needn't ever give up faith just because you moved outside one or another religion. They're not the same thing."

    ----------------

    Seeking one's own truth and being true to oneself, what does that accomplish? Isn't that what amoeba do?

    Finding your own truth vs seeking Eternal Truth, they're not the same thing either.

  • Gruncle Ralph Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 9, 2016 12:51 a.m.

    I enjoyed the position this article took on a very difficult subject. We frequently look for something or someone to blame when life disappoints and we forget a simple truth that we are imperfect and as long as the Lord allows us to take part in His work, we will turn out imperfect work, it's our nature, and it's His nature to allow us to make mistakes, learn and grow.

    We sometimes build things or people up and hold grand ideas in our minds. E.g., we all see Moses like the magnificent prophet portrayed by Charlton Heston in "The Ten Commandments" when in reality he was quite different. In Exodus Ch 3 & 4 you read where the Lord calls him to be a prophet and do great things yet 4 or 5 times he made weak excuses why he couldn't do it, yet the Lord didn't quit on Moses and gave him opportunity to grow, learn and progress.

    Throughout history people have always found fault with God's chosen, many times it's by those that are closest to them. That's why the Savior said, "A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house." (Mark 6:4)

  • BradB Bend, OR
    Dec. 6, 2016 11:51 a.m.

    If 'level 3' is the level Elder Hafen wants the body of the church to arrive at, what type of testimony does that include? Does it allow for differences in opinion about church policies and history? For example, if someone values their membership in the church and derives a net good from it, can they be open about their disapproval of the doctrine of polygamy and still be considered members in good standing? Can they believe that it was a mistake from well-intentioned church leaders, and not an eternal doctrine? Can they believe that the Book of Mormon is not historical? Can they be honest about the racist doctrines and policies of the church before 1978? Are these types of people welcomed as 'open-minded believers'? Because there is certainly a growing percentage of active members who know that it isn't all 'clear-cut and tidy', yet want to remain active.

    Will they be welcome in today's church?

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 5, 2016 1:44 p.m.

    @soutahnative
    "They, Even to the extent believe that God must be dead or at least think to limit the power of God to the extent that he can not speak to us anymore."

    Technically, isn't that what the LDS church believes was more or less the case between about 700AD (or whenever the BoM ends) and just before Joseph Smith?

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 5, 2016 1:11 p.m.

    @Major Bidaman
    "The only long term hope for the church is for it to become like the Lutheran church"

    I tend to prefer churches that are more like the Lutheran church but those are the ones losing members the fastest. Why? Well perhaps when you don't stress the "one true church" thing anymore and have a pretty open way of viewing things... then it's not so important to be there and it's probably easier to drift into inactivity.

    @joe5
    "There may be a specific congregation in Alabama that does things as you describe but it is not representative of all Lutherans."

    There are various branches of Lutherans after a few splits in the church over the centuries. Perhaps the one you're familiar with is more of an evangelical variety whereas other ones march in pride parades as allies. The more liberal branches of Lutheranism tend to match the comments notion that they aren't particularly invested in "one true faith" narratives even while they are still a devout people.

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    Dec. 5, 2016 12:27 p.m.

    I could find some excuse to justify leaving the Church because I'm tired of living up to a higher standard than the rest of the world, but I could never truly think, intellectually and scientifically, that it isn't everything it claims to be. There are too many questions in life, from physics to philosophy, that speak to it.

    Testimonies are founded on faith. We are far-and-away not sophisticated or intellectual enough as mortal human beings to devise an argument that can actually make someone who otherwise has a strong testimony stop and think "Hmm, this doesn't make sense." I promise that there is an answer, you just don't have it yet. If you did, life's capacity to be a trial is threatened.

  • strom thurmond taylorsville, UT
    Dec. 5, 2016 11:54 a.m.

    "He blamed the church, but another presenter, Richard Williams, said people who make such claims often have an incomplete or simplified image of the church."

    This is absurd, and why people become disenfranchised.

    If you deny that the church has presented an inaccurate historical narrative and punished those who reveal the truth, I suggest you talk to Richard Bushman D. Michael Quin.

    This attitude is nauseating.

  • Shelama SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Dec. 4, 2016 3:40 p.m.

    Honesty should require that we acknowledge that good Mormons of high character can and do, seriously and thoughtfully rather than lightly or lazily, discern good reasons for going way beyond doubt to completely giving up the faith -- quietly and with complete justification -- without kicking or screaming.

    The issue is not that some members can find an apologetic to satisfy their belief and their staying. The issue is -- disregarding entirely the notion of cartoons and bubbles -- that there are good, solid reasons to reject and leave the faith.

    Attempts to deny, or to intellectually or spiritually shame, bully, diminish, disparage or intimidate a person into not leaving -- or impugn their character or the depth of their study and grasp of the evidence -- seems mostly like a desperate denial (or admission) that there is a problem.

  • let's roll LEHI, UT
    Dec. 4, 2016 12:27 p.m.

    May I humbly suggest that the necessary goal of any spiritual quest is reconciliation with God and that by that standard each of us should evaluate our quest, rather than by how many, or few, are ready to validate our quest.

    If one's spiritual quest leads the searcher to be reconciled with God, that quest needs no validation from anyone else.

    If the quest doesn't lead to that reconciliation, it's fallen short, regardless of how many others validate it.

    I'd also humbly suggest that God asks that we love each other, seekers and non-seekers alike. Ours is to love, not to validate or condemn.

    Love you all.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 4, 2016 11:08 a.m.

    @UtahBlueDevil - Lehi Ut & Durham, NC,

    One's perception, may be one's felt reality. But it is not necessarily the truth. The true reality may be very different from what one feels. That is one of the reasons there are so many different believe systems in the world; and why one is encourage to learn to reason and question. If ten million believe a fallacy a reality, it is still a fallacy.

  • UtahBlueDevil Lehi Ut & Durham, NC
    Dec. 4, 2016 5:57 a.m.

    @Dave.... you stated " Well, I may be 6'3", and you may be 4'10". But those are more like personal facts. If you are claiming that either what you perceive or believe is a personal truth, then its more a matter of those things being personal perceptions"

    Let me give you an example. Here in America, you could say the a 6'3" person is tall, and a 4'10" person is extremely short. But in the Netherlands, 6"3" is nearly average, and in Peru 4'10" really isn't that short at all.

    One's own life experiences and the context of their lives shapes what people believe to be "truth". Driving 80 mph on the freeway in Utah is considered "fast". Driving 80 mph on the Autobahn in Germany is considered ordinary. Both are true. Ones faith and beliefs are deeply personal. How much faith it takes to go to your local ward around the corner in Utah is completely different that the amount of faith required to ride a bus for two hours to get to a small branch in the Ukraine takes another level of faith.

  • Shelama SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Dec. 3, 2016 10:34 p.m.

    Were I still a Mormon in a crisis of faith, the first place I'd begin -- not lightly or lazily -- would be a hard, serious study of the Bible, to see why, and on what evidence, one would conclude that it's reliable history and the word of a god.

    I would study why and on what evidence that anybody in the first place would believe in "God the Eternal Father and in His son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost."

    And whether Yahweh Elohim really expected or demanded a perfect human blood sacrifice as a sin atonement for Gentiles.

    I would study Judaism, including with the rabbis, to explore what now, finally, seems plain and obvious -- that Judaism has been right all along about Jesus and Paul and the NT and Christianity.

    With deep, hard, serious study -- and without ever getting to uniquely Mormon issues and problems -- one can wholly justify leaving the Mormon faith... with no doubts.

    Turning then to Mormonism -- again with hard and serious study -- one can justifiably conclude that neither Joseph Smith nor Mormonism change, or even touch, those negative conclusions about issues foundational to both Christianity & Mormonism.

  • CMTM Lake Forest, CA
    Dec. 3, 2016 11:01 a.m.

    RE: boyd Ricks .The clearest sensation that a human being has when he experiences the holy is an overpowering and overwhelming sense of creature ness. Is 6:5 Woe is me! ..for I am a man of unclean lips(sinner). A higher devotion for Jesus and a thirst for the Bible. I was blind but now I see!"(John 9:25) .,Amazing Grace

    “The Holy Spirit Bears witness of Jesus and that Jesus sends the Holy Spirit (John 15:26). The Jesus of the Bible will send the Holy Spirit. If you don't have the right Jesus they can't have the true Holy Spirit, and your testimony is invalid. E.g John 1:1,14 God becomes man not man becomes God. That is, when we are in the presence of God, we are humbled and become most aware of ourselves as creatures. This is the opposite of Satan's original temptation, "You shall be as gods.

    "It is true that many of the Christian churches worship a different Jesus Christ than is worshipped by the Mormons or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" (LDS Seventy Bernard P. Brockbank, Ensign, May 1977, p.26 ).

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Dec. 3, 2016 9:10 a.m.

    A personal observation. I have never seen an active engaged member of the LDS church leave without a "kicking and screaming" loss of faith. Whether that loss of faith led to atheism or just a non belief in Mormonism.

    This has been said here eloquently but just as a matter of record, it's insulting and disingenuous to state that a thorough and complete soul searching only leads to one conclusion. To believe that shows you don't know what a complete soul searching is.

  • Cadddis Tucson, AZ
    Dec. 2, 2016 3:52 p.m.

    I was excited to see the article title because I was hopeful I’d find some useful advice. My initial impression upon reading the article was disappointment.

    There seems to be a trend to characterize honest doubt as a moral failing. At the Face to Face event with Elder and Sister Bednar he defined doubt as “to mistrust, to be suspicious, to be cynical and to disbelieve.” Doubt can also be defined less negatively as uncertainty.

    I fear church culture and some leaders will continue demonizing doubt. Will use of the word be ostracized at church like the words pride and proud were after Pres. Benson delivered his address “Beware of Pride” in 1989?

    I worry that the brethren feel that release of the gospel topic essays has sufficiently addressed peoples concerns regarding controversial topics. There is more work to be done to help doubtful members that are having a hard time letting go of resentment and anger towards things that don’t make sense.

  • boyd Ricks sandy/salt lake, UT
    Dec. 2, 2016 3:46 p.m.

    "Thucydides" comment puts it well. The "doubt your doubts" platitude should be laid to rest. Another platitude that should be laid to rest is "they can leave the church, but they can't leave it alone." If you think the Church is true, you should defend it. It you think it is one of the biggest deceptions in history, you should say so, and not just ignore it.

  • 2close2call Los Angeles, CA
    Dec. 2, 2016 3:40 p.m.

    @eastcoastdoug "In the end, we choose what we want to believe. "

    I have read this statement several times and disagree completely. I can no longer believe or have faith in Santa Claus no matter how much I choose to believe because of what I have learned. I also can no longer have faith in religion because of what I have learned. Even if I tried.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    Dec. 2, 2016 1:11 p.m.

    More people claiming there are 'personal truths'. Well, I may be 6'3", and you may be 4'10". But those are more like personal facts. If you are claiming that either what you perceive or believe is a personal truth, then its more a matter of those things being personal perceptions, beliefs, feelings, preferences, etc.

    Btw, @ Ranch, I hold the scriptures are mostly truth (there is only error in them if the writing of them was in error; or if we misunderstand or misinterpret what they originally meant). Hence, my appeal to scripture is not circular reasoning. You may not accept it is as truth. But truth doesn't care what our opinion of it is—much like an avalanche or volcano.

    Of course, there are important truths, and trivial ones. The important ones are those that affect us the most in areas that are important to us, or to others. Salvation is, I hold, an important truth. And salvation has everything to do with how God judges us. He is, I believe, a perfectly just and merciful arbitor of our standing before him. I would rather be judged of God, than by my fellow man. But, we are informed, we (still) will also be judged of our fellow beings.

  • MaxPower Eagle Mountain, UT
    Dec. 2, 2016 11:32 a.m.

    As has been posted here several times in a few different ways, I want to add mine

    The way the Church has set itself up: We are the correct Church because we have the Authority. The correct Doctrine follows. So to doubt anything in that chain is to doubt them all. One cannot approve of the doctrine and disapprove the leadership (the source of the doctrine) and one cannot approve the leadership and disapprove of the doctrine (their product).

    The items in its history happened or didn't. Either the First Vision happened or did not, either angels appeared a restored Priesthood keys or they did not. If they did it's very easy to conclude the leadership and doctrine are correct. If they did not, there is no case to be made in favor of the Church.

    So if anything, the Church should have an absolute pristine account of their history (including the things it may not be proud of) because much of the items can be verified without needing any faith. So if I cannot trust their account on these items, how can I trust them in issues that require complete faith?

  • Wastintime Los Angeles, CA
    Dec. 2, 2016 11:09 a.m.

    I think having "doubt" regarding doctrine/faith and lacking confidence in a church's leadership can be entirely different things that frequently get conflated.

    They can be related for sure; members who are disappointed by current leadership can start to doubt whether the doctrine is true, but the fact that 50 (or so) distinct sects believe in and follow the teachings of the Book of Mormon proves that issues with the leadership of a particular sect and faith itself can be distinct. People in the church frequently preach the false narrative that disagreeing with leadership leads to lack of faith (or to flip it, that true faith requires totally sustaining leadership), but this is simply not true.

    LDS leadership (in my opinion) have dragged their feet in being transparent regarding doctrine and finances and have dragged their feet on social issues like racial equality and womens' rights, so I take that into account when deciding whether to follow their counsel or give them money, but I still believe in Jesus and most of the doctrine.

  • Lew Elton Jeppson Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 2, 2016 10:59 a.m.

    "Level three is the goal, he said, a space where people live not only with eyes wide open but hearts wide open."

    Even though I think the classification of people in the article is absurd (people are just too complicated), I nevertheless agree with this statement. A dear aunt and uncle come to mind. They were intellectually sharp, to the very ends of their lives. They were eager seekers of information. They also stayed close to the Church as a matter of faith, and that devotion in part made them great. I'm not saying their experience is universal, but it does illustrate the point the presenters were trying to make.

  • Lew Elton Jeppson Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 2, 2016 10:23 a.m.

    The classifcation of people into only three groups is absurd on its face.

  • TheAztecTomb Aurora, CO
    Dec. 2, 2016 10:02 a.m.

    I found this article to be insulting of Elder Hans Mattson, the General Authority alluded to in the article. Why did this story not link to the New York Times story where he explained things in his words? This is an in-group message to discourage further questioning.

    It's also ridiculous to say people are leaving a cartoon version of the Church when the Church, through its marketing department and general authorities, wrote, directed, filmed, edited, and marketed this cartoon.

    I know the Church is trying to change the black and white mentality, but it has to acknowledge that it created the monster it is trying to slay. In the process, many people, myself included, will probably leave the church, kicking and screaming, because we just couldn't make it work, despite all our efforts.

  • daveferr Columbus, OH
    Dec. 2, 2016 9:23 a.m.

    I've always taught that you don't leave because you don't understand, you keep asking questions until you're asked to leave. My questions did get me excommunicated in January of this year, but because I kept seeking truth I am able to find truth and still have a strong relationship with the Lord. I fear that those throwing their hands in the air and walking away might lose more than a church, they may lose God and/or themselves. The great difference between Mormon denominations, and our Protestant and Catholic counterparts, to me, is that we dare to know the "unknowable" God. If we stop asking questions we may as well give up on Mormonism, and I've yet to find an unanswerable question in Mormonism. So to give up on this religion, regardless of denomination, would be like giving up on God if one is looking for answers in Christianity.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 2, 2016 9:21 a.m.

    Much of organized religion is politics, and much of what the different churches hold as truth are relative to the church outdated man designed doctrines and mandates that induce followers into experiencing what they are taught to believe, group and self suggestion is very powerful and can seem very real. But it is not necessarily true. But, it is customary requirement to believe it to belong to the group. IE, most of the educated world knows that there never was a great Hebrew nation in the Americas less than two thousand years ago, but it is promoted as a true believe, and one learns to believe. Today's churches need to focus more on facts, realities, honesty and truth or risk losing future generations of better educated and more aware members.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 2, 2016 9:21 a.m.

    Much of organized religion is politics, and much of what the different churches hold as truth are relative to the church outdated man designed doctrines and mandates that induce followers into experiencing what they are taught to believe, group and self suggestion is very powerful and can seem very real. But it is not necessarily true. But, it is customary requirement to believe it to belong to the group. IE, most of the educated world knows that there never was a great Hebrew nation in the Americas less than two thousand years ago, but it is promoted as a true believe, and one learns to believe. Today's churches need to focus more on facts, realities, honesty and truth or risk losing future generations of better educated and more aware members.

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    Dec. 2, 2016 9:07 a.m.

    Just because you see that the LDS Church's claims turn out to be false and you decide to either leave or no longer be active doesn't mean you don't have good character.

    Quite the contrary, following the truth and embracing, however hard and contradictory it may be to your previously held beliefs is the ultimate height of good character.

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    Dec. 2, 2016 9:07 a.m.

    Just because you see that the LDS Church's claims turn out to be false and you decide to either leave or no longer be active doesn't mean you don't have good character.

    Quite the contrary, following the truth and embracing, however hard and contradictory it may be to your previously held beliefs is the ultimate height of good character.

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    Dec. 2, 2016 9:07 a.m.

    Just because you see that the LDS Church's claims turn out to be false and you decide to either leave or no longer be active doesn't mean you don't have good character.

    Quite the contrary, following the truth and embracing, however hard and contradictory it may be to your previously held beliefs is the ultimate height of good character.

  • Thinkforyourself St George, UT
    Dec. 2, 2016 8:59 a.m.

    ''Mormons who experience doubts should fight for their faith rather than surrender it lightly or lazily''
    Really?...really. Deeply believing mormons will never understand those who have left the LDS religion. Never. As one who has left, it was absolutely not done ''lightly or lazily.'' It was done with heartache and much prayer and pondering. When you realize that all you've been taught is not truth, it's pure betrayal. Something not taken lightly at all.

    ''Assume that most of your cultural understandings are wrong or at least distorted.''
    Don't assume. Better yet just trust yourself if you come to the realization that all the cultural understandings are wrong and that you will be okay when you walk away.
    Bottom line is people are going to believe what they want to believe. Accept and respect each others beliefs and decisions.

  • dmb Lehi, UT
    Dec. 2, 2016 8:40 a.m.

    Another good resource, Search Google for "LDS Living and Why You Should Talk to Your Children About Controversial Church Topics"

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Dec. 2, 2016 7:41 a.m.

    Cougarstrong,

    I believe Calicougar is correct. None of us are perfect here. Zero. We obtain the kingdom as "just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant". We do our level best. All of us will require the atonement to do the rest. If you have a chance, look up a talk in the last GC by Elder J. Devn Cornish titled "Am I Good Enough? Will I Make It?". Good stuff.

  • Jay Claihn Cumberland , MD
    Dec. 2, 2016 7:28 a.m.

    So, when someone grows up in the church, is relatively in-the-dark about what goes on in the outside world, is presented only with LDS-approved content during their entire childhood and adolescence, attends three hours of Church lessons each Sunday, attends four years of seminary training, attends Stake activities like overnight Youth Conferences, studies in the MTC for 9 weeks, serves a two-year mission in which he continues his training and study every morning and can't even pick up a newspaper or a magazine to read - that person's cultural understandings are wrong or distorted? Seriously!? His entire life's religious training from his cradle to his RM homecoming has been directed almost exclusively by the Church and its leaders, and yet it is still his cultural understanding that is distorted? Really? The Church didn't do anything to create this cartoon, it is all HIS cultural understanding that is distorted or wrong?

  • CaliCougar American Fork, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 9:26 p.m.

    Cougarstrong,

    The church absolutely has a place for you. If anyone in the church has ever given you this impression, either directly or indirectly, they were very wrong.

    I agree with you that it is difficult to live the covenants, commitments and commandments all the time, in fact it is impossible in this life to do so. I think it is healthy for us to admit as such because, in doing so, we can recognize why we need Jesus Christ and His atonement in our lives. His atonement bridges the gap between our imperfections and His perfection. This is why He is our Savior.

    I don't see this life as about reaching the "top". I see it as continuing a journey that we began in what we refer to as a pre-mortal existence. It is a journey of growth and development that involves peaks and valleys. I see these peaks and valleys as necessary components in this process. I don't like to use the terms "success" and "failure" in this context. Each can lead to a false impression of self and of God. If one feels like he or she can't do everything that they believe God asks of them at a given time in their lives, they can still do what they can, and that is enough.

  • soutahnative Cedar City, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 6:21 p.m.

    BTBT... There are numerous flaws in that text. Is it the best ANCIENT writings we have? Yes it is, but have you ever discovered for yourself the origin of the KJ Bible for example? Dozens of exchanges of interpretation; Parts left out; Parts added; Writings kep[t by famlies - scraps etc; Conscripted "interpreted" passages and their meanings by King James - just to settle arguments. This is precisely why the BOM came into being; As a companion to the Bible to restore some of the plain and simple text. Passages such in Psalms describing the body of a young girl; Also talk of where "he spilled it onto the ground" have no place in the holy bible, yet there they are and people will say that every word is from God. People that attempt to limit the power of God will say that God cannot/will not talk to people are bordering on blasphemy. "For no man taketh this honor unto himself"; "Surely the Lord God will do nothing save he reveals it unto his servants the Prophets" (sic). This is what Joseph Smith suffered and died for. No man has ever been more persecuted, even unto death, save the Savior himself, for telling the truth.

  • NTBT Idaho Falls, ID
    Dec. 1, 2016 3:56 p.m.

    I believe that there is objective truth in the world, and we are able to know that truth. I also believe that God, in his grace, has left abundant evidence to lead us to the truth that He, objectively exists (Romans 1). The one true church would be the one that teaches objective truth. The Holy Bible is the one religious text that shines in the face of the most intense scrutiny.

    The history of the LDS church is disturbing, but more important are its truth claims. Are the truth claims of the LDS church coherent, and do they correspond with reality? The LDS church teaches a different god than the Bible (Deuteronomy 13). The LDS church teaches a different Jesus than the Bible (John 3:18). The LDS church proclaims a different plan of salvation, or gospel, than the Bible (Galatians 1:8-9).

    Go ahead and have doubts. I have doubts. But let your doubts lead to an investigation that seeks objective truth. Ask yourself why you believe what you believe. Do your beliefs correspond to reality? Are they coherent? Is there any evidence to support your beliefs? Religious experiences and good feelings are a poor substitute for any of these things (Jeremiah 17:9). God bless.

  • NeifyT Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 3:29 p.m.

    @COUGARSTRONG

    I have but one post left; and so many people I wish I could respond to. I pick yours because it echos my own feelings and yet only a barest echo.

    When I read: "The more I learn and understand what it takes to reach the top, the more clear it is to me that I wont make it," I cry and cry.

    I to have often wondered if Godhood is right for me; am I selling myself short if I don't live up to all the commandments and covenants of the temple. For me a temple marriage is impossible at least in this life.

    But, I firmly believe; because all the doctrine of the Mormon church points to this eternal truth, that God will give to each according to his measure. That means, what it takes to "make it" or to "reach the top" is not the same for everyone in this life. God does not judge us by the works of others but by our own in measure to our own individual abilities.

    To put it quite bluntly; even if you do not live up to every commandment or covenant; you can still make it to the top. Perhaps even if you become excommunicated from the LDS church. Perhaps, like everyone else, you just need Christ's Atonement.

  • Kevinf Bozeman, MT
    Dec. 1, 2016 3:06 p.m.

    Certain aspects of this article I loved. Especially to "have a kind word for those with faithful questions." I have been one of those who did not practice this. However this article also seems to condemn those of very high "character" who have stayed up late at night "kicking and screaming" with the decision before them. In their minds they come to the conclusion the church is not what it claims to be. Not because of a lack of faith, but because of tangible evidence. Most have demonstrated more faith than me and many active members by trying to make it work. But their good conscious takes them away. I praise these folks for making an informed hard decision, even though it is different than mine. As a missionary, if I found an individual who doubted their faith and joined ours after long deliberation, we would have praised them. In short good, honest, great, righteous people leave the church for reasonable reasons. I hope we don't believe in a God who will condemn these people for eternity for following their heart and mind. For me Believing in that condemning God would be the "true" tragedy in this life.

  • opieanthony Springville, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 3:05 p.m.

    Here's why so many members are struggling:

    The fundamental concept of the LDS church that members are taught from the very beginning is that the LDS church is the "only true church" on the planet. This is based on the very specific claim that through Joseph Smith, God restored the priesthood authority and saving ordinances that to this day are only available to members of the LDS church.

    If ANY of these bold claims of total authority were embellished or were in any way not directly revealed by God, the LDS church is not what it claims to be. When members contemplate this possibility it can cause major spiritual trauma because Mormonism doesn't make sense if it's only "partially" true.

  • lanac Sammamish, WA
    Dec. 1, 2016 2:48 p.m.

    Isn't it rich? In an article admonishing against intellectual laziness, the very premise, "doubters are intellectually and spiritually lazy, otherwise they wouldn't be doubters" is wholly unexamined and unsupported with evidence.

    I encourage all Level 3 Mormons to look at the actual stories of people who left the faith and decide in your heads and your hearts if we doubters are deficient morally, intellectually or spiritually.

  • MrMark Orem, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 2:43 p.m.

    Barbara Morgan Gardner said, "What I have been able to understand is why people stay," she said. She boiled it down to character.

    She is saying if you don't stay in the Mormon church then you have poor character. This is a reason many don't ever want to go back to the Mormon church. What an unkind thing to say.

    Let's turn it around. She isn't Lutheran because of her character. She isn't Buddhist because of her character. What an ugly, ridiculing, mean thing to say.

    The article just gets it wrong. People leave religion because they are looking for truth and consistency. Leaving doesn't take faith and is not a sign of poor character.

  • MrMark Orem, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 2:42 p.m.

    Millet wrote, "Just as for me it takes too much faith to be an atheist..."
    It takes no faith to be an atheist. Being an atheist simply means not believing in something without evidence. Does Mr. Millet believe in Islam or Hinduism or Buddhism or the tooth fairy? Would not believing in the tooth fairy take too much faith? I think his reasoning is faulty.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 2:39 p.m.

    NeifyT: "Finally which religion or none is a personal truth; not an eternal one..."

    As you stated yourself: "What I call "eternal truths" are ones that are true regardless of one's belief in them."

    I guess I'm confused how you can say with utter assurance that your choice of religion is a personal truth instead of an eternal truth as you've defined it. Hypothesize with me for a minute that God actually does care what religion you belong to. Then that would make it an eternal truth, wouldn't it? Belonging to the RIGHT religion would be true regardless what anybody thinks.

    If God cares, then wouldn't he try to convey that information to those who are interested in finding the truth rather than make it up on their own? How might he do that? Through scriptures, prophets, prayer, spiritual manifestations, etc? And wouldn't those speak to whether it is an eternal truth rather than a random commenter on a DesNews message board?

    Since you seem so adamant, I feel that I should ask by what authority you make such a claim that our choice of religion is a personal choice rather than an eternal one. Why should I take your word for it?

  • Todd_i Midway, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 2:38 p.m.

    For me, an active LDS, I can appreciate the situation of many who grew up in the 70s and 80s and then falling away as they learned 'alternative' histories of the church. During that period teaching was very standardized and one size fits all. But, the alternates histories my friends have learned late are different than mine because I learned them early.

    I learned the gospel in three forums: @ church on Sunday, @ home taught by educated parents, and by my own efforts in study (including seminary and individual reading). All of these environments were of equal importance, but all three were needed for balance. @ church I got the broad overview which by nature is the least deep or personalized. @ home I had mentors that could teach and explain on a personal level with experimentation. On my own I could dive deep at my pace and follow my own interests. The balance was key. For many without this balance, especially if they had only the Sunday teaching, I can see how they had surprises later.

  • soutahnative Cedar City, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 2:37 p.m.

    Interesting how some of the great religious teachers and their followers feel that the Bible is the ONLY word of God. Many will never accept the Joseph Smith story as too ridiculous to accept, but will believe without a doubt that an old man stretched forth his hand and parted the red sea - and even more, or that the lowly son of a carpenter was born the king and savior of this world - two facts that I also believe. They, Even to the extent believe that God must be dead or at least think to limit the power of God to the extent that he can not speak to us anymore.

  • Jay Claihn Cumberland , MD
    Dec. 1, 2016 2:16 p.m.

    Would this article also apply to a Catholic or an Anglican or a Lutheran who is having a faith crisis? Should they also cling to their faith in their church without surrendering? Is that what a Mormon missionary would encourage them to do? Would Elder Doe say, "Doubt your doubts about the Pope before you doubt your faith in the Pope?"

    See...these kinds of articles always start with the assumption that the church is true and at the end of a faith crisis, you'll have figured that out. But you can't find truth if you've already decided what truth is going to be. And these articles also start with the assumption that God and the Church are basically the same, and losing faith in the church is the equivalent of losing faith in God.

    If tomorrow the General Authorities announced that the church was not "true," I suspect the vast majority of Mormons would no longer have a relationship with Jesus Christ, because all their lives they've been subtly convinced that faith in Jesus is only and always expressed through faith in the Church.

    This is the very definition of an idol.

  • NeifyT Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 2:05 p.m.

    A possible continuation to my two previous posts; and yet speaking to the article more directly.

    "Those who stayed active in the church exhibited patience, faith and trust in Jesus Christ, hope, knowledge and wisdom, obedience, diligence and persistence, humility, repentance and forgiveness, charity and virtue."

    I have always wondered just where I would fit in with such studies. As a Mormon with (in their vernacular) a very strong testimony and yet who is very inactive; I don't really fit the mold at all.

    I consider myself very patient; I have faith and trust in Jesus Christ; yet I always feel without hope. I study to increase my knowledge and practice that to increase wisdom. I am not very obedient when it comes to Mormon expectations and covenants; but I am diligent and persistent in one major area of my life; and that is based on personal revelation to me that my life's focus should be on what the Bible terms as "charity" or as I term in today's vernacular "empathic love for all."

    Might it not be my personal truth that activity in the Mormon church is not what I need; but a testimony of its doctrines is?

  • lanac Sammamish, WA
    Dec. 1, 2016 2:04 p.m.

    What the author does not seem to recognize, or acknowledge, are that the social costs of leaving the LDS church are so high, that one does not simply abandon the faith on a whim.

    To leave the church, for most, is to leave your place of belonging. Your tribe, your spiritual home. To leave the church is to face parents who are devastated, wracked by the pain that they might have failed you, or perhaps will accuse you of being too weak to withstand the temptations of Satan. It is to face attitudes from both friends and strangers that your apostasy is chalked up to character faults and intellectual and spiritual laziness. These are huge costs, these social costs. Many people with doubts and outright unbelief stay in the church, closeted, in order not to pay them. These people have chosen to forego their own spiritual truth to hold onto their community, to maintain marital harmony, to spare their spouses the shame, to avoid becoming seen as "less-than" in their LDS community. I am sorry to say this article does nothing to decrease that from happening.

  • NeifyT Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 1:55 p.m.

    I want to continue my comment; hoping it gets posted.

    If Mormonism is true (as it claims); then any Mormon should realize that God is true, and God has said he is no respecter of persons. I won't dig into deep Mormon doctrine here; but in essence the purpose of this life is to learn to become like God in certain ways. Everyone's path to those eternal truths that God knows and practices; is different.

    It may very well be God's will for one person to be a Mormon; and yet for another person to be a Buddhist. It all depends on what the spirit needs to learn to become more like God; and how to overcome the mortal flesh before becoming immortal. Hence, personal truth is very much important to find in order to come to eternal truth. We will never fully resolve both in this life; but we should not despair; we learn and grow according to what God has given to us in life which is very much an individual experience.

    Now, if one claims Mormonism's eternal perspective is not true; well then there is many other arguments one could make. But, beware of black and white thinking on either side of the isle...

  • Melchizedek Atheist Provo, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 1:51 p.m.

    Every human being has a responsibility to to point out every single falsehood they experience in life to everyone. That is right up there with the Golden Rule. Everyone is entitled to truth, no matter where the falsehoods are, or when they were originally circulated, or how inconvenient or unpleasant it may be. That is crucial to the survival and betterment of humanity,

    Also, some ethical guidelines, like the one I have just sited, are not from within any religious belief.

  • NeifyT Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 1:43 p.m.

    Yet again I come to an article that means a lot to me personally, and within the constraints of this forum can never begin to speak my heart. But, I do want to comment on the black and white thinking referred to in the article; and the instances I see of two commentators using the same in reverse of each other. And further if I can manage in my shortened posts; why I believe both are actually true at the same time.

    Hutterite states "You need to seek your truth, and be true to yourself. "

    and Diligent Dave counters "Either something is true, or it isn't..."

    I believe both statements are true, and while seemingly contradictory are really only a sign of black and white thinking or cartoon bubbles.

    What I call "eternal truths" are ones that are true regardless of one's belief in them. For ease lets call Gravity one such and God another.

    But, then there are "personal truths" which very much depends on one's perspective. Does the sun rise and set? Or does earth rotate on its axis? Both are true depending on your perspective.

    Finally which religion or none is a personal truth; not an eternal one...

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 1:19 p.m.

    Major B: If that's what church is to you then you should join the local Lutheran church in Birmingham and stick with them. If you ever get serious about your eternal outcome, that would be the time to rejoin the LDS church.

    By the way, I have some very good, devout Lutheran friends and they practice their faith much more seriously than the congregation you just described. There may be a specific congregation in Alabama that does things as you describe but it is not representative of all Lutherans.

    I hope you were not dissing on Lutherans just to be funny because they deserve better.

  • nonceleb Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 1:14 p.m.

    The crisis in faith is usually caused by academic, historical, and scientific information in the first place. To fight that with more research, which is based on intellectual integrity, will only increase doubts even more. In reality, the only way to combat doubts is through faith-based means. As a wise man once said, "A man cannot be reasoned out of something he was not reasoned into."

  • Major Bidamon Birmingham, AL
    Dec. 1, 2016 12:54 p.m.

    The only long term hope for the church is for it to become like the Lutheran church ... serve Donuts and Coffee after services, make church 1 hour long, and drop the "one true church" mantra. Even an atheist RM (as myself) would entertain coming back.

  • cracksealman Orem, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 12:45 p.m.

    I have had business dealings with the church and was just treated poorly. I have heard from many people about their business dealings with the church which dont conform to christlike practices. "Its all business with them" is what I have heard. However, I have looked upon this as my "Zions Camp" test of faith of have valued the experience. I love my choice to stay and remain faithful. What keeps my spiritual feet on the ground are what Christ taught were to simple things to keep faith in our lives, 1. Love Him 2. Love others. I used to get confused by "lists" of what to do each day. So very very simple really. Merry Christmas.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 12:38 p.m.

    Many people leave the faith and become better for it. I know I did.
    Things make so much more sense when you don't have to believe the same things bronze aged humans believe. I no longer have to believe the god of the Old Testament had the ethics I had to follow. I am a lot more kind hearted now. I believe in the Greater Good.
    You can have faith in doing good things without a religion.

  • CaliCougar American Fork, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 12:30 p.m.

    Joe5,

    Thanks for your very thoughtful comment above. I couldn't agree more with you on all counts.

    "Faith" is an interesting word, one that is highly subjective at times. I have been a member of the LDS church for nearly forty years now. Prior to joining, I was an evangelical Christian in today's vernacular. I have always placed my "faith" in Jesus Christ. I know we like to refer to the LDS church as the "true" church, and I understand the reasons for doing so. After all, Jesus Christ states this in D&C 1:30. I have learned from personal study over the years that the term "complete" can also apply, which I believe is the message of the five elements you mention. I don't place my "faith" in the LDS church. In and of itself, the LDS church can't "save" me in the truest sense of the word, only Jesus Christ can do that. However, the elements of the LDS church that you mention are critical, and even essential, components to my salvation. They can lead me to Him, and to becoming like Him in every sense of the word.

  • COUGARSTRONG HIGHLANDS RANCH, CO
    Dec. 1, 2016 12:29 p.m.

    I believe the LDS church can be true and I can still be okay not following it. As a lifelong member, it has become increasingly difficult to live the covenants, commitments and commandments. I think it is healthy to concede that many of us are not cut out for, or are capable of Godhood. Me included. This realization has made it easy to distance myself from Mormonism without creating resentment or enmity for an organization that wants to help me be better. I simply don't want to be like God, or be better than I am. I don't know that the church has a place for people like me? The more I learn and understand what it takes to reach the top, the more clear it is to me that I wont make it. Mostly because I don't have the capacity but also because I don't want to. One thing my mission, my temple marriage and life has taught me is that some people succeed and some people fail. The path is simply too hard for some of us. We don't want to become sinful heathens, we simply can't do all that God and His church ask of us.

  • bloke American Fork, Utah
    Dec. 1, 2016 12:23 p.m.

    Truth is, you need faith.

  • One of a Few Layton, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 12:16 p.m.

    "The Church is True" is a statement that seems to have absolutely no meaning and it feels like everyone is supposed to know what it means.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 12:06 p.m.

    @Impartial7
    How old do you consider old? I am 30 years old, and the idea that questioning church history or decisions is wrong was something that was very much part of the church I grew up in.

  • MaxPower Eagle Mountain, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 11:43 a.m.

    If the Church cannot be honest about its history(an item that can be verified without requiring faith), how am I to trust it anything else that requires absolute faith?

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 11:35 a.m.

    To me, a church is comprised of five primary elements. How we respond to each of them affects our decision to join or not join, to stay or leave:

    1) Doctrines (eg: the nature of God or the Plan of Salvation)
    2) Principles (eg: obedience or sacrifice)
    3) Ordinances (which implies real authority to perform those ordinances)
    4) Laws/Commandments (eg: chastity or the Word of Wisdom)
    5) Practices (eg: Family Home Evening or the Welfare Program)

    I believe what Paul told the Ephesians: "One Lord, one faith, one baptism." I don't accept that all churches offer the same eternal outcome. So choosing the RIGHT church is important, not just choosing one that happens to suit your lifestyle and biases.

    I believe there is a "true" church which means I have to find it and stick with it even if it becomes uncomfortable to me. I can't let offense, unanswered questions, or my own wisdom drag me away from it.

    Finally, I believe my faith permeates every aspect of my life and I don't need to check my religion at the door whether talking with family & friends or in the public forum. It's as much a part of me as any other characteristic is of someone else.

  • Gruffi Gummi Logan, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 11:23 a.m.

    The problem is really simple. Imagine a piece of land. God comes, plants a beautiful tree and calls this his garden. Then appoints men to care for it. These men often are good caretakers (they call it religion), but sometimes install garden gnomes, occasionally even leave empty, rusty barrels and old cars. Then, other men rightly question "what is this trash doing in God's garden?"

    Organized religions are very reluctant to recognize and address this problem. There are elements in any religion that obviously have nothing to do with God's intent, but everything with personal beliefs and preferences of the human caretakers. Instead of admitting "this or that really doesn't make any sense", the caretakers still order us to worship these figurative garden gnomes. But, because this creates a conflict between the official doctrine and elementary common sense, the caretakers in fact undermine the whole concept.

    Just my Catholic 3 cents. The Catholic faith, having had a longer history, also had plenty of time for a great many of such blunders.

  • Sneaky Jimmy Bay Area, CA
    Dec. 1, 2016 11:06 a.m.

    The foremost historian of LDS church history, Richard Bushman says "The dominant narrative is not true; it can’t be sustained". That should be an indicator to leadership that ridiculing people for questioning church history is not a productive, long-term strategy.

  • UtahBlueDevil Lehi Ut & Durham, NC
    Dec. 1, 2016 11:02 a.m.

    "Why is it virtuous for someone to "doubt their doubts"?"....

    This makes perfect sense. Unless you are challenging what you think and believe, you are not growing and "perfecting" your knowledge. We are sent here to think, to grow, and to learn. When you stop challenging your own assumptions, you have stopped learning and growing.

    One of the greatest cultural challenges the church has is this underlying pressure to conform. If your child doesn't go on a mission at the exact prescribed age, there is a feeling of shame by some. If your child doesn't get married in the temple, it is a sign of failure by the parents. If your family doesn't look, act and dress like the carbon copy of every other family in the pews that Sunday, something must be wrong.

    We were not sent here to be carbon copies of each other. One does not need to be a Republican to be a good member. And yet there is a huge level of cultural pressure to "conform".

    This is why a lot of our youths fail to keep the faith, because they feel if they are not perfect in their belief, they are unworthy. It's a culture issue.... not a faith issue.

  • z1freeride Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 10:42 a.m.

    Non-Mormon Christians with doubts should give up faith (and convert to Mormonism) without 'intellectual and spiritual kicking and screaming'

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 10:41 a.m.

    "At level 3, we're neither optimists nor pessimists, we're open-minded believers who know that history and life are not always clear-cut and tidy, but our desire is to keep learning and growing. We want to improve the status quo, not just criticize it."

    Well fine. I've relatives who do this very thing. But big problems arise when the theology comes up against the controversies of the world. For example, in my college days I was very put off by the remarks of Elder Benson. I thought them to be shrill and extreme. As an otherwise loyal member of the Church I had to just sit and take it. Eventually I just couldn't take it and became inactive for 15 years.

    We are entering another period of extreme conflict. Seniors like myself may well lose both social security and medicare thanks to the election of Donald Trump. The Church to its credit has defended immigrants. Will the Church do the same for seniors? Loyalty goes both ways.

  • Thucydides Herriman, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 9:58 a.m.

    Why is it virtuous for someone to "doubt their doubts"? How does this make any sense in any other aspect of life?

    If you had doubts about an investment strategy given by your financial advisor, should you doubt those doubts?

    If you doubt your child is telling the truth when he says his homework is done, should you doubt those doubts?

    If you doubt the safety of swimming in shark infested waters, should you doubt those doubts?

    If you doubt the existence of Zeus, should you doubt those doubts?

    If you doubt the existence of leprechauns, should you doubt those doubts?

    If I doubt that by doubting my doubt I will overcome my doubts, should I doubt that doubt? Arghhhh...

    Why do we devalue skepticism? I just don't get it. It seems incredibly reckless for church leaders to have adopted this mantra of "doubt your doubts".

  • Vince Clortho S_SPRINGS, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 9:48 a.m.

    The problem, as pointed out above, is that the LDS doctrine for the most part emphasizes level 1 faith. I know that as a missionary I recruited people to the faith with the hope/expectation that they would eventually commit to the law of consecration.

    It's a big ask to require such a level of commitment when consent is less than fully informed. I understand this now.

    I trusted what I was taught and that what I taught investigators was an accurate distillation of truth. Vetted with care and openness. I know I taught but one account of the first vision, and nothing about the BOM's translation ever touched on a rock in a hat. Polygamy was about taking care of widows and racism...well God knows best. These were not cultural barnacles.

    I deferred faithfully for decades and contributed countless hours and tens of thousands of $. So, now to have doubts (come to different conclusions despite my investment in the faith) means I lack character? To give voice to any of this experience is merely criticism without hope for something better?

  • djcoug Saratoga springs, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 9:27 a.m.

    Either the church is true or it isn't. Many people assume that it is an impossible thing to test and that it is all just a matter of faith. There are many truth claims that the church makes that are testable.

    Either Joseph Smith could translate Egyptian or he couldn't. Check out what Egyptologists (including Mormon Egyptologists) say about Joseph's translation of the Egyptian papyri and what became The Book of Abraham.

    Either horses, steel, wheat, barley and other things mentioned in the Book of Mormon existed in America or they didn't. Find out what archaeologists and anthropologists have to say about whether these things mentioned in the BoM actually existed in BoM times.

    There are many other testable claims. If the church is true, then the evidence should point in that direction. The evidence is already there waiting for you. Find the claims, test them, research them.

    J Rueben Clark once said "If the church is true, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If it is not true, it should be harmed"

  • jamesallred centerville, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 9:20 a.m.

    I agree that we should all strive valiantly to secure our faith.

    Even though I no longer believe in many of the truth claims of mormonism I still have profound spiritual experiences that I cannot explain in any ways other than divine.

    But that doesn't mean that my lost faith in mormonism any way diminishes the faith I have fought for to keep.

    Faith for faith's sake alone is not the true test of this life.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Dec. 1, 2016 9:11 a.m.

    In my own experience Dr. Williams' statement that "Most people who decide to leave the church really end up leaving a cartoon of the church" is partially accurate. But what I have also found is that their understanding of and involvement in the gospel has lacked depth. This is not to say they were not active members.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 8:32 a.m.

    @Diligent Dave;

    Welcome back, haven't seen you for a long time.

    Your argument using your scripture to support your truth is a circular argument. Just because you have a scripture isn't proof it is truth.

    @Yorkshire;

    Your experiences may have been (or may not have been) divine, but they in no way indicate that your church (or any other church) is "the true church". That is where most of the problems arise between believers and nones; it's the "my way or the highway" approach of religions.

  • illuminated Kansas City, MO
    Dec. 1, 2016 8:14 a.m.

    Brigham Young taught that we should avoid blind obedience to the church and its leaders. This quote came just 5 years after the Mountain Meadow Massacre where leaders led members to do horrific things:

    "What a pity it would be if we were lead by one man to utter destruction! Are you afraid of this? I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are lead by him.

    I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purpose of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders did they know for themselves by the revelations of Jesus that they are led in the right way.

    Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves whether their leaders are walking in the path the lord dictates or not. This has been my exhortation continually..."

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 6:54 a.m.

    Many older mormons were raised that questioning church history was wrong. What happens when questioning history leads to truths that were denied by church leaders? Many good mormons are still in shock from learning the church essays about Joseph Smith's wives & the rock in the hat. Where does this leave them?

  • Yorkshire City, Ut
    Dec. 1, 2016 6:43 a.m.

    For me, it came down to just one thing:

    The experiences that I had to do with me alone with only God ( and nobody and nothing else) were what pulled, and still pull, me through.

    I had had profound 'miracles' and profound experiences in my life that could have happened in no other way than Divine Intervention.

    And those trumped by far anything naysayers and critics and the internet could come up with.

    That is my wish for others--to have experiences that so deeply effected their hearts, minds, and lives that when the trials and offers to doubt comes, they can just move on, knowing what they have experienced for themselves far outweighs and is superior to anything else.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Dec. 1, 2016 6:36 a.m.

    In the end, we choose what we want to believe. Faith is just that, we have to choose what we accept. To me, being constantly engaged in serving others is a huge anchor of what matters.

    There are many reasons why people might feel challenged in their faith. I think the key to staying faithful is to be 'in the world, but not of the world'. We need to do all we can to learn about and understand other points of view, while seeking out the things that fit A of F 13. Learn all we can about other people, cultures, ways of thinking and living, which are positive and helpful and inform our own. Be anchored and open at the same time.

    I find many of us are like 'cruise ship tourists', we go through life's experiences viewing others from a safe distance, without really walking alongside them and seeing the world through their eyes.

    Endless reading of the internet, which is today so full of rubbish and misinformation, is a huge waste of time. If you are becoming too extreme in your beliefs - religious, political or social, you are in danger of a crash and are also harming others around you. Get outside yourself and serve others.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 6:35 a.m.

    "...but Mormons who experience doubts should fight for their faith rather than surrender it lightly or lazily..."

    --- Lightly? Even more offensive, lazily? What a way to insult your fellow members who have questioned and come to a not-lightly-made, and certainly not-lazily-made decision to leave.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Dec. 1, 2016 6:15 a.m.

    "Level three is the goal, he said, a space where people live not only with eyes wide open but hearts wide open."

    Is this really the goal? Do faith leaders work assiduously with people whose faith remains at Level One, or are they actually content to let things lie? In fact, aren't these believers praised for their unquestioning acceptance?

    No, I think the notion of a Level Three exists only because it's necessary.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Dec. 1, 2016 5:40 a.m.

    It is not unreasonable to conclude that the LDS church and Joseph Smith is exactly what it claims to be. No one should fault those in this category.

    Conversely, it is also reasonable to question and doubt these same things to the point where you can not believe. So be it. Move on. And others (family perhaps?) should accept it also. Do you really want people in church who don't believe?

    It is religion people. There lots out there. Pick one that suits you. Or pick none. And allow others to do the same. Don't be absolutely sure that yours is "the one" It just makes you a pain to others. And it make some do really crazy stuff. Live and let live.

  • Jolyon United Kingdom, 00
    Dec. 1, 2016 3:32 a.m.

    I too had a "cartoon" view of the church. I believed Elder Holland when he stated in general conference that either the book of Mormon was true or Joseph Smith was a fraud. I believed a simplistic cartoon where it was the only true and living church and was led by revelation. I didn't realise that history was ambiguous either. I thought the past was a matter of fact and that only liars would re-write it to make themselves look good. The ONLY way to know TRUE history is by warm fuzzy feelings.

  • btubbs Draper, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 1:51 a.m.

    I found Elder Hafen's talk "On Dealing With Uncertainty" months ago in the midst of my own long period of questioning and reassessing what I had been taught at church. He presented these same stages of faith there, and I could see how I had progressed through each of them in my life (and am still progressing). It's an insightful framework, and closely tracks other faith development frameworks like James Fowler's "Stages of Faith" or Thomas McConkie's "Mormon Stages" book.

    So it's frustrating to see this article, while including a warning against black and white thinking, still engaging in so much of it. Continued church activity is assumed to be the only acceptable outcome of someone's searching. Local subcultures are blamed for the "cartoon church", without acknowledging church leaders' role in scrubbing difficult facts from the curriculum. Questions are tolerated but "doubt" is belittled. Those who eventually leave are described as lacking character. We should be more honest and charitable than this.

  • jamesallred centerville, UT
    Dec. 1, 2016 12:01 a.m.

    I agree wholeheartedly that people should not give up their faith lightly or lazily. I don't know too many of these type of people/mormons.

    I majority of mormons who no longer believe many of the church's truth claims studied 100s if not 1,000s of hours to understand and examine their faith and test it both upon prayer as well as substance.

    The tone of the article feels very dismissive of the majority of mormons I know who take their faith very seriously and are unwilling to accept a faith built upon falsehoods.

    I really hope that the author of the article has the ability to open their eyes, ears and hearts to start to understand what is really going on with regards to many peoples faith journeys and not just create a caricature of what they think these faith journeys are.

    You can't help someone if you are unwilling to understand where they are coming from. And this article appears to not understand where many, many mormons are coming from.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    Nov. 30, 2016 11:45 p.m.

    @Hutterite—

    re: "If your questions lead you to give up your religion, however, that's OK. You need to seek your truth, and be true to yourself.
    And you needn't ever give up faith just because you moved outside one or another religion. They're not the same thing."

    If one gives up a false religion—this statement might be true. But, I believe the scriptures, like the one below, which seems to counter your "You need to seek Your truth...", as if there is a different truth for each person (which I do not believe is so).

    Truth is independent of our opinion. Either something is true, or it isn't. Some may think something is true, or isn't, but their opinion, ultimately, has no bearing on whether something is true or not.

    About "being true to yourself", yes, as long as that does not mean you are blind to absolute truths. If I think I am gay, for example, and if there is no such thing, really, (in God's eyes at least), then being true to a falsehood has the same effect of a negative number on zero. It is still zero.

    "...scripture is (not) of any private interpretation.

    —2 Peter 1:19–20)

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Nov. 30, 2016 11:24 p.m.

    It is interesting how folks react to different things in different contexts.

    Those who most quickly encourage people to leave their churches or even abandon their belief in God, are themselves, tenacious in clinging to and fighting for the things they believe.

    For example, how much evidence counter to the notion of man induced global warming would it take for some to give up their belief (faith?) in the claim that human activity is a major contributor to destructive climate changes? Certainly one or two little bits of evidence that might run counter to the theory would not be enough to sway these people from their beliefs in anthropogenic global warming.

    Similarly, such persons are not easily persuaded that porn or marijuana use or sex except between a married man and his wife are likely to cause any harm to most individuals.

    Those who encourage others to abandon belief in church or God over any and every small doubt or niggling piece of contrary evidence tend to hold a much different standard for their own beliefs.

    Of course, they claim they believe in "science". But they are very selective about which science they choose to believe.

  • Red Corvette St George, UT
    Nov. 30, 2016 10:18 p.m.

    Fighting for "faith" and seeking the truth are two different things. I'll take truth.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Nov. 30, 2016 10:16 p.m.

    If your questions lead you to give up your religion, however, that's OK. You need to seek your truth, and be true to yourself.
    And you needn't ever give up faith just because you moved outside one or another religion. They're not the same thing.