From baptism to resignation or excommunication

ex-Mormon excommunication post-Mormon

Now that I’ve gathered all of Outer Blogness (that I could find anyway), and updated the blogroll here accordingly, I’d like to suggest an assignment.

This is inspired Wry Catcher’s hilarious post about her baptism and why she hasn’t resigned (she was baptized by two different religions and figures they cancel each other out 😉 ), which, in turn, was inspired by Ned Flanders’ post on why he resigned.

So what about you? Have you posted your baptism story and/or why you resigned (or didn’t) or how you got ex’ed? If so, please link to your post in the comments here. If you don’t have a blog, you can tell your stories here.

I’ve posted about why I haven’t resigned, but I haven’t posted my baptism story yet. Maybe I will…

67 thoughts on “From baptism to resignation or excommunication

  1. Hi Chandelle –

    I have heard of people who’ve been inactive for many years returning to church. That’s not actually that uncommon. And the church is rife with stories about excommunicated members who hiked the tough trail back to finding favor amongst the saints. But resignees/self-excommunicants? I’ve not heard that one much if at all.

    Amongst those who’ve had a serious mind shift and actually resigned and changed religions or become atheist or the like? The only one I’ve ever heard of is DKL, from Mormon Mentality bloggernacle blog. (Actually, I’m not sure he resigned ever, but he was an avowed atheist [and a smoker, which I’m sure is more shocking] for at least a decade before returning to the church.) That is the only case I actually know of. It certainly isn’t common I don’t think.

    But anything’s possible… 🙂

  2. Wayne — I’d like to continue collecting entrance and exit stories if others have them. Also, I agree that most former Mormons aren’t particularly bitter. The Internet can give you a skewed picture because when former Mormons post about Mormonism online, they usually post something negative about it (such as why they stopped believing). But when former Mormons post about other aspects of their lives, there isn’t usually an obvious label saying “this is an exmo talking” so you don’t see how much of it is ordinary and positive.

    Chandelle — I agree with Wry. People go back after doubts, inactivity, or even excommunication, but concluding that the church is definitely not true then later deciding “No, wait, it is true after all,” is quite rare.

    John F — Don’t worry, I know you didn’t call me an anti-Mormon. I just want to make sure I’m doubly clear on this point. I also don’t want to be one of those people mocks others in an unkind way and then says “What? Can’t you take a joke?” I like to use humor, but I intend for it to be light ribbing among friends (not sure how well I succeed on that…)

    Additionally, Mormons aren’t my main target. I also like to make fun of atheists, Christians, Americans, the French, nudists, myself, etc. 😉

  3. while individual stories vary, the bottom lines appear remarkably similar: Disillisionment. I agree with a poster on FLAK (or NOM)who said: “Ambiguity is the church’s best friend”. Being ‘the only true church’ can only be meaningful if that is the standard completely thru the chain… and it isn’t. In many cases, mistakes are allowed to stand in spite of being shown wrong or even False. Cover-up & PR are more important in too many instances; Just ONE is wrong enough. FPRs trump research findings; ‘truth’ is a fluid rather than a fixed concept in Morland.

  4. “‘truth’ is a fluid rather than a fixed concept in Morland.”

    Welcome to life in general Guy. “Fluid truth” is all around you. It’s not a uniquely Mormon thing.

  5. chandelle…
    There is, to date, just one study that addresses disaffiliation from Mormonism in any detail:
    Albrecht, Stan L., and Howard M. Bahr. 1983. “Patterns of Religious Disaffiliation: A Study of Lifelong Mormons, Mormon Converts, and Former Mormons.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 22(4):366-379.

    The problem with this line of research is that you can’t easily find ex-Mormons, except vocal ex-Mormons, who are, no doubt, not representative of ex-Mormons (we all know chanson and I are not representative of the majority of people leaving the religion). The LDS religion isn’t going to give you information on people who resign for legal reasons and many of them just want to be left alone. So, the short answer is, there is no real evidence on the question you are asking. We know where most Mormons who resign/leave go (at least, where they went in the 1980s; see the study mentioned above), but we have no data on whether/if any of them return. I’d love to do that study, but it would probably require an enormous survey to capture enough people who fall into that category if we want to be representative of even Mormons in the U.S.

    (Just toying with numbers here, but there are 300 million U.S. Americans and probably 2.5 million of those self-identify as Mormon, which isn’t quite 1%. The LDS religion claims close to 5 million Mormons in the U.S., which, if remotely accurate, would mean there are almost as many former Mormons as there are current Mormons, about 2.5 million. If you randomly surveyed people in the U.S. and got 1,000 responses, 10 would be Mormon, 10 would be former Mormons. You’d need at least 121 of each of those to have a relatively normal distribution that is useful statistically. That means you’d have to survey over 12,000 people. And then you’d only have a couple hundred Mormons, maybe a handful of which left, became die-hard atheists, etc., then returned… Maybe… If you really wanted to find people like that to study them using random sampling, you’d probably need closer to 12,000 former and 12,000 current Mormons, which means a survey of over 1 million people. All that to find a couple hundred very rare people – no one is going to fund that survey. Sorry!)

  6. Chanson-

    It works well, on this page, that it is not so obvious that there is a mixture of Mormon Exmormon here. It it has kept me coming back.

  7. Love for God & neighbor… are almost 100% out of the LDS presentation. Instead, there is a Uber authoritative, Uber hierarchical, secretive administration.
    This environment appeals to those who prefer the highly structured, Highly scripted presentation, but I find it morally/ethically bankrupt. It is shallow & superficial.

  8. Jonathan…

    That’s a good question. The short answer is that your results would be biased/skewed.

    The long answer… I can’t say this for sure, but my take on it would be that there is a higher probability of people leaving the religion outside of high percentage Mormon areas (Rick Phillips’s 1998 paper on Mormon religious participation in rural Utah seems to indicate this is true and work he is doing now also seems to back that up). If that is true and you over-sample high percentage Mormon populations, then you are missing a lot of people outside the Mormon corridor (i.e., the intermountain West). This would result in a lower rate of disaffiliation and probably a higher rate of reaffiliation after periods of inactivity. In order to get a truly accurate picture of U.S. Mormons, the sample would have to be random.

    That said, over-sampling then weighting may be a suitable alternative, but you’d still have to do some sampling outside Utah. I’m not an expert on dataset weighting (it’s pretty complicated stuff), but if you knew actual proportions of Mormons in every state (available via the ARIS), you could probably apply weights post-hoc that would allow you to accurately adjust your calculations. If you took that approach you could probably substantially reduce your sample size.

    But you’d still have the problem of finding enough of the real “hard core” apostates who returned. You can do statistics on very small samples, but generalizability isn’t as accurate and you have to use a variety of different techniques for small sample sizes.

    I wonder if anyone in the research division at LDS headquarters has messed with probability sampling or data weighting… I’ll have to ask next time I see them.

  9. Posted both conversion and resignation stories a couple years ago on another blog I used to keep. There were several resignation posts since I kept getting jerked around and it took 9 months from the time I first requested it to getting the actual letter from SLC confirming my resignation. Woe to the first bishop in that process – who had the nerve to lie to me about the procedure for name removal.

  10. Nope. When I got it all out of my system I was so over it and tired that I removed all the posts from that blog. It may serve me well to retell those stories in my current less vitriolic mind frame. I’ll have to think about that.

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