I have often heard the criticism that Latter-day Saints classify everyone who disagrees with our beliefs as “anti-Mormon.” Of course, the people who say this are usually anti-Mormons. Am I proving their point? I don’t think so.
Uh… How to begin to respond to such a claim…? Hey McKay, is it true you’ve stopped beating your wife?
The biggest exit barriers we have in the church are things like: labeling (anti-Mormon), shunning, ostratization, excommunication, etc.
(That was on J. Nelson-Seawright’s post about making exit from the church less attractive than staying. The equation is logical in principle, but it seems the problem is more on the other side, as people are made to feel unwelcome for even the mildest disagreements with official policy.)
Personally, I hate doing the whole earnest “Why are you being so mean to little me?” routine, but here in reality universe, people get immediately dismissed as “anti-Mormon” merely for admitting to being former Mormons. And if you dare to say anything remotely critical of the church, the debate will be about your character and motives, not on the validity of your claims. For example, take yesterday’s comments on an eight-month-old post.
I think the whole debating-the-other-belief-systems thing is not terribly interesting (I’d rather reminisce about our BYU adventures), but it was a theme in Outer Blogness this week, so let’s dive in. Christians challenge atheists. The non-religious warn us about the dangers of religion. Atheists take on the spiritual-not-religious and the atheism-is-faith guys and the BoM apologists and the mishies! (Then just try to identify themselves.)
Meanwhile, atheists-in-embryo write sweet letters to Mormon missionary grandparents. And in the reconciliation department, Dan tries for some middle ground, explaining that Mormonism works for some (but not all), while Sir Thomas More (or Less) sets out to defend the Mormons!