Is this why people don’t leave the LDS Church?

Perhaps this is why.

Perhaps loads of people don’t leave the LDS Church because if they do, their very lives will crumble.

As in, like the World Trade Center did. 

Lost employment. Family shunning. Severe depression, even suicidal thoughts.

Lost employment, 1) through coworkers in Mormon culture acting out of offense or 2) disbelief, leaving the employee to not even be able to function since loss of belief in the church is as significant as the loss of family.

Family shunning, because 1) after all, anything it takes to convince the person to return to the fold because, after all, families are forever. Then 2) there’s the temple recommend question: “Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any… individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?”

Severe depression, when the church amounts 1) to your entire worldview and 2) comprises all of your identity and even come suicidal thoughts, those things shattered.

Better to fake it, Mormons might say, than lose everything.


20 thoughts on “Is this why people don’t leave the LDS Church?”

  1. I can add to this list…
    -loss of heritage and culture. Some of us are old…we would have to start allll over.
    -this is a huge deal for me…loss of family history benefits. I LOVE doing family history and let’s face it, the church has all the resources.
    -loss of sacrament. This is WHY I go to church. To renew the promises I made to the Savior. In spite of Church flaws. Especially because of mine.
    -because I AM the Church and I am very stubborn. I can’t leave myself. I CAN seek to change myself and make myself better tho. I am the change I wish to see in myself and in the church.


    1. I’m just going to take my eternal life in the Terrestrial Kingdom… I would be there for EVER…but I think you get a Barbie Bump and get regular visitations from the Elders Quorum and Christ, once in awhile. So you’re saying I Do get a little Barbie Bump? You had me at Kingdom…
      I’m going to dry hump the most popular girl in the Kingdom…
      OMG it’s like a skiing trip to hallelujah mountain with Jake from State Farm… and then having unlimited Khakis.


  2. It is devastating to go through a faith transition. I had it likened by a therapist to losing a child to death. You go through all the stages of grief, lose your sense of community, your sense of home, even your very sense of that warm feeling that you’re a child of God and special, and then feel like you’re losing family, which, coming from a family-centric culture, compounds and isolates and hurts as much or more as the first loss.

    The hard part is that while you are struggling through trying to process this profound sense of loss, your family is also grieving what they have been taught amounts to your spiritual death, and your depression serves as “evidence” that you are miserable and lost and all the things they’ve been told will happen to you. In their grief, they pull away, too, and both sides feel the relationship deteriorate and worry it will never be able to be rebuilt, even if from a new framework of accepting each others’ agency, right to believe what they find true for themselves (living with integrity!!), respect, and just love. Both sides feel rejected by the other, and in their pain, sometimes retaliate out of the hurt, instead of reaching toward each other – not to “fix” but to comfort and grow out of the hardship.

    Many of the things we loved and valued about the Church, specifically the teachings of Jesus Christ, the concept of family love and comfort, integrity, seeking after truth, kindness, serving others, lifting up those who are less fortunate and comforting those who struggle, the concept that every soul has worth, are all things that most of us continue to hold on to and even fiercely defend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For some, Tiffany characterizes a faith transition accurately. But for others, like myself, leaving the LDS Church can be described in the words of Fawn Brodie: “It was like taking a hot coat off in the summer.”

      I was a convert member in early adulthood. But I made a big mistake. I married a Mormon widow, one who had been sealed to her deceased husband. Thus, I was a second-class LDS married man, one married for “time only,” the very kind of marriage rites that Mormons characterize disparagingly for adherents of other faiths. My marriage contained a “until death do you part” clause. Oh, we were indeed married in the temple, but when we knelt at the altar in sealing room, were were not allowed to take each other in the Patriarchal Grip, a temple handclasp meant to unlock entry to the hereafter in which a Mormon marriage would endure into eternity.

      In other words, I was a second class husband. If we would have had a child, my son or daughter would be mine to rear in this earthly existence, but he or she would belong to my wife and her deceased husband in the afterlife. By scriptural reference, I would be relegated to being a “ministering angel,” a servant of sorts to those who had attained Celestial Marriage, like my wife and her first husband.

      I endured in this marriage for eleven years. During that time, I sponsored four of my step-sons on LDS missions and send three of her children to Brigham Young University (two others to state universities). We were darned good parents, but we were temporary. Everyone, those ward members at church where my wife had sat with her first husband in the pews, and his seven children, all knew it.

      So, after eleven years, after I had done a yeoman’s work of rearing my wife seven children by her first husband, we called it quits. I remember that first morning after we split. I went to a local coffee shop and enjoyed my first cup of java in more than a decade. It tasted so good! That was my equivalent of Fawn Brodie’s liberation.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Loss of identity – I would argue that for some, this is another aspect to leaving the LDS church that affects some in their decision to leave (or not). Being raised in an LDS community or even (perhaps especially?) in an LDS family that is a minority in their community instills a strong sense of unique identity and purpose in society. You are taught to believe that you have this unique (even elite) knowledge and role in mankind to be an example and to share your knowledge with others. Leaving Mormonism means that you not only have to disband those beliefs, but also that sense of ‘specialness’ that you felt amongst your peers.

    I believe, however, that Mormon identity does not have to be lost with LDS membership. I consider myself agnostic, but when asked, will still respond ‘yes’ to the question as to whether I am Mormon. I maintain this label as a cultural mark of the ilk from which I was raised and of my immediate and extended family. I would hope that if this type of cultural label can be accepted more easily, exmormons would feel less of a drive to so ardently fight the organization and culture to which they owe so much of their identity.


  4. The LDS Church is notorious for encouraging “faithful” members to shun their ex-Mormon families and divorce their ex-Mormon spouses. I was particularly gratified that Rhett mentioned the recommend question which mandates shunning, by prohibiting “worthy” temple members from

    “… affiliat[ing] with, or agree[ing] with any … individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to .. the [LDS Church].”

    This is a clear *commandment* by the General Authorities for all Mormons to engage in shunning. With almost no exceptions, every ex-Mormon that I know has a heart-wrenching story of how the LDS/Mormon Church destroyed their family by encouraging their “faithful” spouse to divorce them, and their “faithful” children, brothers, sisters, etc., to shun them — all under the pretext of remaining “faithful” to the church by not “affiliating” with apostates.


  5. I believe that LDS Church leaders would be truly, remarkably stunned if they really knew how many of us “members” have grown to despise (if not hate) the institutional church. And that THE ONLY reason we remain engaged AT ALL is to keep the peace in our families: for a time.

    I still believe in God and Jesus Christ but I loath the LDS Church. I loath the boring meetings, the time wasted, the burdens added by useless callings and layers and layers of “busy work”. Oh I’ll surely leave The Church someday – hopefully sooner than later. In the meantime, I do all that I can to establish boundaries with local lay leaders and interact with The Church on my on terms: and no one else’s.

    I think The LDS Church is slowly but surely ” dying from within “….” May the ultimate fall of it be very public and very embarrassing for The Leaders who have grown fat off of it for decades and decades. That is all.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Many ex-mormons bristle to hear that they left because they “wanted to sin.” Your reasons for people staying are similarly puerile. Perhaps some stay because they find authentic beauty and truth in the church.


  7. And, yes, some may not believe in the whole package, but still find good and peace staying. I acknowledge that. I think that’s far more likely to happen when you experience unconditional love and kindness when you express concerns and doubts, rather than being told (directly or indirectly) that you are only of value as a full-believing member. When you’re rejected and on the receiving end of very un-Christlike behavior, it’s pretty difficult to see that the church provides a safe and good environment that welcomes all.


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