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The Emotional Apostate…at Main Street Plaza

March 12, 2012

So, I have a post at another site…but this time it’s not Wheat & Tares. My post “The Emotional Apostate: The Case for Leaving to Sin and Offense” is up at Main Street Plaza. The basic question (emphasis added):

In these surveys (and in most discussions with disaffected Mormons), the narrative usually sticks closely to these objective, fact-based reasons. When people try to suggest reasons more…emotional…everyone is quick to decry those claims. We didn’t leave because we were offended. We didn’t leave to sin. Just (about) the facts, ma’am.

But what’s so wrong with these emotional reasons?

I think the reason why I’m considering these reasons more recently is because nowadays, I don’t get into too many conversations with people who judge the merits of the church on its literal truth claims. (That says more about the places I hang out than anything else, I guess). Instead, especially with the Mormon Stories community, various uncorrelated and liberal Mormon outposts on the web, etc., I’m confronted more and more with people who may believe about as much as me (which is to say: not much)…but whose decisions to affiliate with the church isn’t based on belief at all. In other words, these people don’t stay or leave based on whether the church is true…so to say, “The church isn’t true,” is a non-starter.

Rather, for these people, the church is good, and that’s good enough.

While I think that the church can work for a lot of people (and can work for a lot more if we can pick the healthy parts over the unhealthy ones…), the thought that’s been popping up more and more often in reaction to these liberal Mormons is that…I have to recognize a lot of disaffected Mormons not only disagree with the church on grounds of truth claims, but on the very claims of goodness.

These two claims against the church work in conjunction.

While many ex-Mormons might say, “I don’t care if it’s good; it’s wrong” (putting their belief in goodness at odds with their non-belief in truth), I think there are just as many who will say, “Not only is it wrong, but it’s harmful.” This aligns belief in harmfulness along with nonbelief in truth.

The thing is…even the liberal or unorthodox Mormons would be able to agree on many of the pain points that disaffected Mormons have problems with. I mean, someone like Joanna Brooks must be aware of the fact that the church probably isn’t where she would like it to be with respect to feminists, gays, and intellectuals. She must claim Mormonism in spite of and around these these positions.

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