What’s in a name? 😉
Back when I wrote my handy guide to different types of Mormons I claimed that ex-Mormon and post-Mormon are just two words for the same thing. Since then, many people have told me that there’s a real difference between the two, namely that an ex-Mormon is someone who is angry and/or recovering whereas a post-Mormon is someone who has moved on.
That makes a lot of sense as a distinction, and I suppose that’s the idea of this one new forum I found the other day: postmormon.org. I guess if that’s it, I’d qualify more as post-Mormon than ex-Mormon myself. My novel qualifies more as ex-Mormon since the focus is on being Mormon and experiences shortly after leaving the church. (Yay, I don’t have to change the title!) Maybe the sequel should be called post-Mormon…
However, it’s important to keep in mind that a lot of people’s choice of labels depends more on which they encountered online first, so people who started out on RfM are more likely to adopt the label “exmo” whereas those who came in through the foyer are more likely to go with DAMU (DisAffected Mormon Underground).
It is becoming increasingly clear that Recovery from Mormonism (the main bulletin board of exmormon.org) has a bad reputation — not only with believing Mormons but within the post-Mormon community — as being full of angry rants, and I think that may be why a number of former Mormons take offense at being called exmos.
It’s unfortunate if this is causing a division of the variety “I don’t believe in the church anymore, but I’m not one of them.” I’m not terribly interested in posting (or even reading) a bunch of angry rants myself, but I think most of us have gone through some anger over this, and can understand what people go through when it sinks in how very much they and their families have sacrificed for something that ultimately they’ve found to be false. So I hesitate to say “Hey, just buck up and stop complaining” or even “Whew! I’m glad I’m not like that!” since who knows if any given “angry apostate” will still be “like that” a year or two from now.
So I guess I’m saying that while I’m interested in building bridges of common interest with the faithful Mormons, I don’t want to do it by trying to draw a line around the “good guys” that includes me and leaves people who aren’t all that far from me out in the cold…