You’re either with us or against us
You can’t work for change outside of an organization.
Or can you?
I think most of the regular posters here on MSP have faced this decision. Many seem to be current (or former) LDS members.
In general, I don’t really understand the “with us or against us” philosophy. I’ve encountered it in other places too – outside of the LDS church.
On the one hand, I think there’s something to be said for someone who works hard and pays their dues. Someone who shows dedication and service. Someone who doesn’t just “run for the hills” when things get tough.
On the other hand, I think there’s also a point for each individual to take stock of their own beliefs and feelings. If you feel like an organization is not meeting your needs, and you disagree with the direction it’s going, I think it’s absolutely acceptable to make a change.
Resigning membership, quitting a job, switching political affiliations – I believe all are valid responses and absolutely essential for change.
In terms of membership in the LDS church, there may be some (on either side) who remain angry or frustrated, some for very valid reasons. Yet in the end, who can say which direction is “right”? I think everyone needs to follow their own conscience.
I believe it’s just as important to know when to take a stand and fight for something – as it is to know when to withdraw.
I think it’s also important to note that just because some former mormons may critique LDS policies, leadership or direction, it does not mean they are “anti-mormon”. I’m not suggesting that some people are anti-mormon. But I think it’s overly simplistic to dismiss any critique by someone who is not a temple attending mormon as negative or harmful.
In her post about raising the bar Chanson notes that keeping NOM, feminists and intellectuals in the Utah LDS church could actually benefit the church. Or at least keep the discussion lively.
Personally, I believe that well-placed criticism can actually be very helpful. I think it’s important for all organizations to remain in the cycle of continuous improvement.
Not only that, but for me personally, I feel very differently about individual mormon members than the LDS leadership. The vast majority of active LDS members I know (many of whom I’m related to) are good people just trying to do the right thing. Many individuals who remain mormon work hard to show tolerance and understanding. To give an example, when I left mormonism, I was prepared that some of my extended family (particularly my grandparents) might never speak to me again. Since that time, I have spoken with them often. We both actually share a passing interest in genealogy. Our relationship isn’t perfect, and I believe it’s different than it would be if I had remained mormon. But it is something and it’s still there.
I know many of these members who believe that change needs to come from within. But with the hierarchical structure of the Utah LDS church, I’m not sure the change will happen until the leadership changes. When I offer feedback or commentary about different LDS policies or cultural norms, that’s what I’m referring to. Change that needs to happen from the top down.
I am about 99% sure that my opinions will go nowhere – but I still feel it’s important to at least speak up. There are many people who have misconceptions about mormonism. I don’t intend to clear up that confusion – but to offer additional perspective and sources for study.
I think that the Utah LDS church could change and really become a radically different organization – one that would honor the service and sacrifice of the individual members. Until that time, I’ll remain a voice of dissent – but not necessarily anti-mormon