Sunday in Outer Blogness: Stay or go edition!!

This week’s reading included this charming analogy:

So imagine that you get to know one of your co-workers and eventually find out that she was raised LDS, but left the church because she moved to a new ward with an epically terrible organist, which resulted in a major faith crisis for her, because how could a church possibly be true if it had an organist that bad?

It is no exaggeration to say that expectations and assumptions can matter more than facts. None of us would leave the church over a bad organist because we were not raised with the expectation that a decent organist was a requirement of the true church. But a lot of Mormons were raised under other assumptions which are now causing a world of hurt.

As usual, this question is posed backwards. So many people who choose to stick with religion want to pose the question as, “Are things like the Book of Abraham or cover-ups of multiple first vision accounts issues that are really worth leaving the church over?” A more reasonable question is: “Given that my reason for participating in the church was that I thought it was teaching me things that are real and important about my life and the universe, and given that, in fact, that’s not true at all — why should I stay?” A lot of people discover that they still have reasons they want to stay, despite the issues and despite problems with it being “true” in the sense of conforming with reality. But a lot don’t. Period, end of story.

Of course, I think this week’s best self-serving analogy misrepresenting someone else’s religious journey has got to be this gem:

Julie: This is getting ridiculous. “Liberal” and “conservative” have nothing to do with it. If veganism doesn’t mean abstaining from animal products, then it doesn’t mean much at all. Veganism is veganism.

Ross: Spoken like a true conservative vegan.

Julie: All right Ross, but I really hope you don’t succeed in starting a movement for us to give up our stance on dairy and eggs. Like I said, a lot of us really care about veganism. There’s really nowhere else for us to go.

Ross: Maybe that’s for the best. There shouldn’t be a comfortable place for judgmentalism and close-mindedness.

Sorry to belabor, but, yes, that’s comparing liberal Mormons who want to be considered Mormon with “liberal vegans” who want to be considered vegan while eating eggs and dairy. Can you spot the flaws in that logic?

Even the Ensign and this week’s Old Testament lesson were full of judgments of the less-faithful!

And women are still the elephant in the room, or not in the room, as the case may be

Now that the FAIR Mormon conference is over, the responses to Daniel C. Peterson’s talk on the CES Letter are in! Also, there was a big leak of old versions of the Church Handbook of Instruction — I’m looking forward to all the interesting info trickling out over the next few months.

Anti-polygamy statutes in Utah took another beating, which Christopher Bigelow and the International Business Times saw as bad for the CoJCoL-dS. Weirdly, Bigelow claimed that this might lead to legal challenges requiring LDS temples to perform polygamous marriages (when multiple spouses are simultaneously alive) without mentioning the key point that conformance to the law is explicitly mentioned in the LDS scriptures as the reason for discontinuing the practice of polygamy. On the other hand, the IBT nailed one key point that I’ve never seen a general-audience piece point out before:

“But such a statement is likely to sustain the ongoing confusion about Mormon polygamy,” Mason told IBTimes. “What keeps alive the confusion over polygamy in Utah and as a Mormon practice is, largely, the LDS church’s efforts to represent itself as the only Mormonism.”

Right. The CoJCoL-dS keeps repeating that they are the Mormons, and they don’t (currently) practice polygamy, yet the papers report stuff about some Mormons practicing polygamy. Result? Random bystanders are confused, and the members of the CoJCoL-dS are frustrated that people won’t just accept the idea that “Mormons don’t practice polygamy.” If they’d just stop it with the misleading message, and not complain when people point out that there are multiple sects of Mormonism, some of which currently practice polygamy, the confusion would disappear.

In church life, we have a response to that odd porn-addiction video released by the CoJCoL-dS, a horrible portrait of conditional love, a funny experience with the spirit of discernment, missionaries who are in it for the hot-lovin’ reward, and real problems from belief in prophets.

In life journeys, life is not so simple. Sometimes leaving the church takes some real effort.

There were tons of fun stories from random life this past week! Personally, I finally wrote about the fun I had volunteering at Camp Quest Switzerland! Uomo Nuovo is continuing a beautiful voyage in France, and Brandon Pearce and family enjoyed a gorgeous time in England. So Says Me is starting equine assisted psychotherapy. And it’s time for back to school!

There you have it — another fantastic week in Mormonism!! See you next week!


C. L. Hanson is the friendly Swiss-French-American ExMormon atheist mom living in Switzerland! Follow me on mastadon at or see "letters from a broad" for further adventures!!

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6 Responses

  1. Andrew S says:

    The reframing of the question is so good. A lot of times when people say, “You shouldn’t have had such high expectations of the church,” my thought is… But isn’t that what they are selling to people about the church? This is… Finally… Against all odds… Incredibly… An organization that exceeds all others!

  2. chanson says:

    @1 good point. It’s supposed to be the best, most important organization in the world — but it’s your own fault if your expectations were too high…

  3. Holly says:

    All the important things–like who can have the priesthood–are exactly the way God wants them to be, because he would never leave something that important open to screwing up by flawed human beings. And who cares about all the UNimportant things? They’re unimportant. You know–like the quality of the organist. Or what a “translation” is. Or how men and women can be “equal” when one presides and the other is subordinate.

    The point being that there’s never any reason to question anything. If it’s important, it’s right, even if you can’t understand right now exactly how it’s right, and if it’s not important, well, you’re just showing you how trivial you are by worrying about it.

  4. chanson says:

    @3 Aha, I should have known there was a simple explanation for this! 😉

  5. Parker says:

    Ha! I just made a similar comment to Andrew re one of his posts. A few years back I was in SL (probably attending Sunstone). I left the hotel on Sunday morning in a rental car to head to the airport. I turned on the radio (no idea the station or the program) but here was male voice saying that he knew a woman who said (“complained”) the Church had dumbed down the lessons and talks, compared to an earlier time when they offered some real substance. The male voice completely agreed with that. Then he added, “The Lord knows what is going on, and the Brethren are speaking and giving to the members of the Church precisely what the Lord wants the members to hear and study.

    So there!

  6. Oben says:

    it all depends on our respective, the important thing is our good behavior

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