William James

William James
We must get by on what truth we have today, and be willing to call it error tomorrow.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Distinguishing Between Church Members And The LDS Church

The comment was made:

" have read a number of "exit stories" on various boards. Some even manage to get them on here despite rules against it, as they mention in passing while responding to a thread. A large percentage of them speak of the acts of a Bishop (or some other ecclesiastical leader) not performing their calling as the offended party sees it. Or a member who has done something wrong to them or something they view as wrong. During the course of whatever events transpired, the person who leaves looses faith in "The Church", instead of just loosing faith in that individual.

I believe that many lose their faith because their eyes are on the person to their left or to their right and not on the Savior. So two questions…

How do "we" separate the member from the organization?


How do we reason with the ex-member who was not able to separate the two?"

To which I responded:

I'll go out on a limb and speculate here. Although the formal reason many people have left the LDS church is some real or perceived offense committed by a leader or fellow member, I believe it is more often the case that a different reason is the real reason. Some people have gone against church standards and by virtue of that alone feel shameful, uncomfortable, or shunned. (footnote: this does not necessarily mean the person sinned, but they may think they have and may feel guilty). In other related cases, a person may come to the honest belief that, although their behavior violates church standards, the church's standards themselves are erroneous, and the person, while not feeling guilty, nevertheless feels uncomfortable being among a crowd which does not accept them the way they are because of serious doctrinal disagreements. Still others leave the church because of theological disagreements which do not necessarily have any direct bearing on their behavior. Others are simply drawn away for social reasons.

In my own opinion, the church would do a great deal more (likely more than any other measure which could be taken) to attract and retain members if it would seriously re-evaluate and modify its doctrines on certain subjects than by merely trying to extend its "loving arm" by inviting people back to church without correcting some of the fundamental errors which led to the separation in the first place. I fear this will not happen in my lifetime, but I tend to have faith that someday it will, when the science becomes so overwhelming (and enough people start leaving, becoming inactive, or refuse to join) that even people who would otherwise remain TBMs are compelled to simply recognize that the church has been wrong and call for change. How blessed that day will be. As it now stands, the Jeffrey R. Hollands and the Boyd K. Packers in the church will only let that happen over their dead bodies.

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