I hope you’ve enjoyed my series of articles analyzing the strategies of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!
Here they are, in case you missed any:
- What Does the CoJCoL-dS Offer?
- A little bit of nothing for everyone!
- Leadership monopoly, leadership vacuum
- High demands and polarization
- The whys and hows of polarization
- Retro Morals
Now you may be wondering why this subject interests me so much. Of course I’ll start with the standard answers to the #1 exmo FAQ (If you’ve left the church, why won’t you just leave it alone?)
Being raised Mormon played a big role in making me the person that I am. That’s never going to change — I’m not going to magically, retroactively get a new past just because I don’t want to continue to practice Mormonism indefinitely. It’s a little like High School — I see no point in staying there forever, but that doesn’t mean that I hate it or that I didn’t learn anything of value from it or that I wish I’d never done it.
As I’ve said, I have every right to my own stories — and I strongly reject the believers’ claims that my perspective on Mormonism is less valid and/or more biased than theirs.
That said, there are a whole lot of aspects of my past that I don’t spend so much time analyzing, so why this one in particular?
Some of it is just random. My first experiences with socializing on the Internet were centered around ex-Mormon websites, and that led to being linked into a community of friends centered around that shared experience. Also, since I moved to Europe (and integrated myself into a new, European life), following Mormonism is a way of reconnecting with the culture I left behind.
But in addition to all of these personal reasons, I actually think that Mormonism is objectively interesting.
Some outside of Mormonism think it’s fascinating that people would believe in a prophet who’s “obviously a con-man” — but, honestly, I don’t think that part is unique at all. At best — because Mormonism started more recently than many other religions — the paper-trail is still warm. And that can help shed light on what other religious leaders might look like if we had perspectives on them written by someone other than their own followers. But I don’t think it’s that exceptional.
What I think is more interesting is that people would venerate an organization that is obviously a for-profit corporation. Just because the leaders aren’t living lives of conspicuous consumption like wealthy televangelists, believers don’t seem to mind giving 10%+ of their income to a real-estate corporation that is amassing great wealth apparently just to invest it and amass some more. That’s that point that’s kind of always in the background in all the articles in my series linked above.
I hope you’ve found my analysis interesting. I certainly had fun coming up with it and writing it all out. I welcome further discussion!