Why Are Ex-Mormons Still Interested in Mormonism?

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It is a common response from active believing members to be surprised that ex-Mormons or non-believing Mormons would still be interested in the Church.

Many times as a member I heard it said, & even thought & said it myself, that, “apostates from the Church can leave the Church, but they cannot leave the Church alone!”

At the time I was a bishop I couldn’t get my head around why my own brother would continue to be interested in the Church even though he didn’t believe it.

I thought I knew why. I believed the Church teaching that once a member apostacized they remained interested in the Church because, like evil spirits who couldn’t live the gospel teachings but who still knew it was correct, they were obsessed with trying to prove it wrong, and failing.

How wrong was I!

The fascination with the Church has more to do with coming to terms with a great big massive con. Initially its like feeling one’s heart & soul have been suddenly ripped out of one’s chest in an emotionally traumatic disappointment. One feels terribly letdown, abandoned, gullible, empty & hurting.

It’s really like an extended, aggravated grieving process. Especially when most, if not all, one’s extended family are still active believing members.

As a missionary minded & well trained evangelist (by the Church), once one discovers the hoax one feels particularly desperate to tell one’s friends & family. Because, let’s face it, we want to help our loved ones avoid the same pitfalls we’ve experienced.

The other reason that we continue our interests in the Church is because for decades the Mormon belief system defined us & altered our neurology. The Church made us who we are!

We want to come to understand the world from a completely new perspective, but we have to keep referring back to our Mormon psychology as a reference point for moving on. A process which, for some, can take a great many years.

After a lifetime of mind-control inculcating fear, guilt, shame, cognitive biases, phobias & prejudices is it any wonder it takes most people years to get it out of their system & be free!?

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Our particular effort in engaging in dialogue with General Authorities is to encourage them to make sure all members are taught a correct understanding of Church History rather than the sanitised version we get taught at the moment.

We feel it is important that the Church which preaches of honesty does not itself practice misrepresentation & deception.
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Below are some links to my previous thoughts on this subject:

http://stevebloor.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/why-some-ex-mormons-cant-leave-the-church-alone-when-they-leave-the-church/

http://stevebloor.wordpress.com/2012/05/13/is-it-right-to-try-to-influence-others-in-the-church/

http://stevebloor.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/letter-to-family-member-who-accused-me-of-attacking-their-beliefs-when-im-just-asking-questions-to-raise-awareness/

http://stevebloor.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/dont-judge-us-till-youve-walked-in-our-moccasins/

Best regards in your journey through life,
Steve

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13 Responses to Why Are Ex-Mormons Still Interested in Mormonism?

  1. Kullervo says:

    I dunno. I’m not sure I am still working out some kind of grieving process or sorting out my identity as a non-Mormon, or at least, I don’t think that is why I remain interested in Mormonism.

    I am interested in Mormonism because I grew up Mormon, so it’s a part of my personal history and formation. That alone is justification enough. Furthermore, I still have tons of friends and family who are Mormons. On top of that, I think things like society, culture and theology are interesting and compelling topics, so, given my history with Mormonism, it’s only natural that it would come up.

  2. Jeff Walsh says:

    Steve it is good hear and get a response from you, Have you ever considered that maybe the things you have apparently accepted from the “so called” concerned members such as D Michael Quinn, Todd Compton, Fawn Brodie, Grant Palmer, Jim Whitefield, George D Smith who is the founder of Signiture books, web sites such as mormonthink etc etc could be modern day Korihor’s who’s only concern is to carefully pull you away from the path you once trod. Jeff Walsh

    • blooruk says:

      My interest, and I believe I can speak for my brother Steve Bloors’ interest in Mormon / exmormon scholars, is a byproduct… a result of inductive reasoning. I consider myself a cultural Mormon.

      Hold your breath….

      Nature made my body and brain. My mind, the information processor by which nurture stimulates. As a result of this combination of nature via nurture, my identity is determined.

      Like those of other faiths whom become aware of the fallacy of their superstitious foundation, there comes a point in time when the information received by the brain stimulated from personal crisis or through a jolt in cognition by stimulation of the prefrontal cortex; the region of the brain which has been mostly dormant from birth…a reboot of cognition is determined. Determined to view what is, with an actualist point of view.

      This is happening to members all over the globe.

      Let go of what you want to believe and just notice what IS!!

      • Jeff Walsh says:

        No Sir, The reason why some members are leaving is because they are believing “so called” information from dissaffected academics who have great big axes to grind and who deliberately twist, take away, add to and actually lie, and quote from sources which are definitly anti-mormon. As for:-

        “Our particular effort in engaging in dialogue with General Authorities is to encourage them to make sure all members are taught a correct understanding of Church History rather than the sanitised version we get taught at the moment.”

        Are you suggesting that the writings of excommunicated BYU professors, disaffected academics who, because of the bile which issues from them, do not have a platform within the Church to regurgitate their “evidence”, resort to writing books which are eagerly published by Signature Books who’s founder and some members of the board of directors are the very ones writing the books. Which are in turn bought by anti-mormon groups eager in their turn to pass on to unsuspecting members of the Church. I ask you WHO IS BEING DECEIVED HERE.

        Are you suggesting that this is the material that should replace the “sanatised” version we are taught at the moment. I think you will have a long wait.

        My advice to everyone is to check the evidence before believing anything on these anti mormon web sites, who use these books as their source material.

      • SteveBloor says:

        Hi Jeff,

        I thank you for your efforts, but think this exchange has run its course.

        No-one wins. It’s not about proving anyone else right or wrong.

        There are no axes to grind, just truths to reveal. Truth has no axe. It doesn’t get emotional, it just is. The facts are open for all to see.

        In fact the first source of facts was familysearch.org where I discovered Joseph Smith had at least 33 wives, 11 of which were already married to other living men & some were teenagers as young as 14. Then we have his own words to show he lied about it to the world & Emma for some considerable time.

        Swing it any way you like, if that happened today he’d be locked up as a paedophile & adulterer, & a lying crook to boot.

        If God sanctioned it or instructed him to do it, then he’s not my sort of God.

        There is plenty of evidence from the Journal of Discourses (the Conference Reports of the day) to condemn Brigham Young & John Taylor of being evil, bigoted, racists.

        All the accounts from the scribes to the Book of Mormon ‘translation’ described Joseph Smith using a chocolate coloured peep stone in a hat to receive inspiration about the words for the Book of Mormon.

        Plus there is much, much more….

        My only axe to grind is realising I was led to believe a fictional account rather than the actual truth.

        Why did Gordon B Hinckley, my beloved Prophet, lie on live TV in an interview where he was asked about God being once a man & man having the potential to become a God. He denied he knew much about it & said we don’t teach it? Yet its in the current Gospel Principles manual!

        Let’s be honest & open as a Church, rather than deceptive.

        That’s my philosophy.

        “The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” ~Robertson Davies

        I hope you come to accept these things yourself.

        It’s a very bitter pill to swallow, but well worth it.

        Know we’re here for you & all those who are leaving Mormonism.

        Shalom,
        Steve

  3. Jeff…. you Dilute the truth like all apologists… attack the messenger!!! very very poooooooor!!!

    While many of the sources that you quote you can argue have an “axe to grind”, this is on the whole is NOT the majority of the reasons for people leaving the church upon their discovery of the “unsanitised” versions of the church. Or should we call it the ACTUAL TRUTH?

    - There is absolutely NO defence of the BoAbr being a totally false translation.
    - There is NO defence that the BoM was NOT translated by using the gold plates and the urim & thummin as the church teaches it was.
    - There is NO defence of “Zelph”
    - There is NO defence of the Kinderhook Plates
    - There is NO defence of BY racist teachings, (“Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 10, page 110.))
    - There is NO defence of the First Vision falsehood story. (no mention of God & JC until 1838!!! 18 years after the event and 8 years after the formation of the church)
    - There is NO teaching of Adam-God anymore despite it being taught for decades.
    - There is NO defence of the blood atonement doctrine, and the Danites who performed them.

    These are not issues that can be clouded by your pathetic accusation of “axe to grind”. This are issues where the church has either lied point blank about it’s history, covered up it’s existence, or now try to claim “it’s in the past and is not relevant to the church of today”. It’s utter bullshit and a scam!!!

    How can I stand up in church and teach priesthood lessons from BY when the very same man thinks that I should be “killed on the spot” because of my relationship with a member of the black race?

    These issues, and the hundreds of others that I’m happy to rattle off for you if you wish, are not about Quinn, Palmer, Brodie. They are about the very church I loved and served in for 20 years, as the staunchest of believers in the truth claims of the church.

    • pioneer1003 says:

      Amen to this. Steve and Jeremy, your replies to Jeff Walsh are spot on – how can any rationally thinking person stay in the church when faced with all of this evidence? And yes Jeff, sorry to have to tell you this, but most of the info comes from within the church itself – JOD and Millenial Star to start with.

      I was both mortified and amused when I first saw GBH blatently lie on TV – said it all for me! Then of course, Jeffrey Holland more recently – they keep burying themselves don’t they.

  4. TeeCee says:

    Mr. Walsh, Sir, I have to disagree with your comments, we all have our own reasons for leaving. I left shortly after serving a mission. Shoving religion down someone’s throat simply was not for me, nor was the attitudes of the members who feel the need to stick their noses into other peoples lives. Concentrate on your own salvation, we are concentrating on our own, in our own way.

  5. Excellent advice from Jeff Walsh to check the evidence; we should check it and re-check it. Evidence is the key, and we must be wary of both anti-Mormon and pro-Mormon attempts to skew it.

    For example, did Joseph translate the gold plates in the way illustrations in LDS church publications presently suggest he did, or did he use the scryer’s “peepstone in a hat” method as contemporaneous witnesses commonly recorded? If the latter, then what lies behind the deliberate misportrayal by the church of events to prospective members? Let’s check the evidence and share it with the world, for surely truth cannot be harmed by it.

    Likewise with the contrasting and evolving accounts of the First Vision. Examine all the evidence as historians do, and discuss it openly. Don’t just select those portions of an evolving narrative which are calculated to have the deepest effect upon the credulous. And teach the evidence honestly and fully to the children, so that no-one can later turn around and say, when they encounter broader realities, “I was indoctrinated and misled by my primary and youth leaders”.

    So too, when we use the Book of Abraham to support proposed doctrinal and historical frameworks in developing the understanding of those who are emotionally and spiritually malleable; let them examine the full evidence concerning the actual translation of the text by modern LDS and non-LDS scholars, and be prepared to allow them to make an objective judgment concerning the prophetic powers of Mormonism’s founding prophet. Give them evidence, evidence and more evidence; question all and withhold nothing. This is how we are able to work it out in our minds as part of our spiritual quest.

    The list might continue, but whether it is the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, or early history of the church and its leaders, it is surely time to make transparency the watchword, and by that means dispel all allegations of institutional hypocrisy. It may mean we have to jettison the tired and threadbare dogmas of a spent age, but that is the risk we take as truth seekers.

    This is the information age, and, as Jeff suggests, the age of evidence, and I for one am glad of it. It means that deceptions may be revealed and shamed and abandoned.

    We should embrace fully the sentiments of a former LDS leader, Joseph F. Smith, who said, (and I really hope he said it in full sincerity):

    “We believe in all truth, no matter to what subject it may refer. No sect or religious denomination in the world possesses a single principle of truth that we do not accept or that we will reject. We are willing to receive all truth, from whatever source it may come; for truth will stand, truth will endure.” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939, p. 1.)

    In a word, it’s time to stop being afraid of where the evidence will lead us.

  6. ‘Truth has no axe. It doesn’t get emotional, it just is. The facts are open for all to see. ‘ Can I quote you on that Steve. Mike Quinn, Richard Bushman, Grant Palmer, B H Roberts, Leonard Arrington are/were all good historians committed to finding historical truth.
    It might interest Jeff to know that despite being excommunicated Mike Quinn is still a believer in the Prophethood of Joseph Smith. Richard Bushman is also a faithful member. We all have our biases and as such we can all be guilty of presentism and of error. But each of these authors and many others such as Dan Vogel, Juanita Brooks, Todd Compton, Van Wagoner,Fawn Brodie, (the list could go on) have given invaluable contributions to the area of Mormon Studies.

    Hasn’t the time come for the false dichotomy of mormon and anti-mormon to be replaced by an understanding that we as human beings from whatever side of the divide we are on are all committed to honesty and truth.

  7. H Lions says:

    Gentlemen
    I am reminded of the anecdote of the atheist and the apologist,
    The apologist after some discussion tells the atheist “Sir you are like unto the blind man in the coal cellar with no candle, seeking out the black cat who is not there!”
    The atheist thinks a moment and replies “And you too sir are like unto the blind man in the coal cellar with no candle, seeking out the black cat who is not there. The only difference between us is that you found it!”

  8. The Mormon Church was a big part of my life growing up and continues to be a big part of my family’s lives. It’s only natural to want to keep informed and to educate myself about the fuller details of an institution that had such an impact on my childhood development.

  9. Max says:

    It is also human nature to desire to protect our loved ones. If you find out that you are being defrauded by an organization, don’t you desire to inform your family, friends and neighbors? Mormonism stole 45 years of my life and continues to defraud my my parents, siblings, and children of money and time.

    The “evidences” of Mormonism don’t match up to reality and one only needs to read the Book of Mormon with a critical eye to see that the archaeology, history, and facts do not line up with reality. Unrealistic population growth, huge battles with millions killed and no archaeological record to match. Animals which didn’t exist in the Americas during the time frame, no Hebrew DNA found in the Native Americans. Wooden submarines? The logistics of such a trip are beyond credulity. The Book of Mormon is clearly fictional.

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