Why do many ex-Mormons leave Christianity altogether?
This is the question that Tim asks at LDS & Evangelical Conversations. As an Evangelical Christian, Tim does probably have the prerogative to find out why so many ex-Mormons don’t seem to consider (or don’t seem to pick) some other form of Christianity (perhaps an Evangelical flavor) on their way out.
And to be sure, Tim has written that he thinks some evangelical tactics may be responsible. But now he wants more responses: why does a loss of faith in Mormonism lead to a loss of faith in Jesus?
1a. I think it’s because many of the perceived arguments against Mormonism apply against Christianity. I mean, this is something I’ve *cringed* at when Mormons have used it against ex-mormons. “So, you don’t believe in x historically doubtful event in the Book of Mormon but you *do* believe in y historically doubtful event in the Bible? How dare you?!” (I think Seth has stopped doing this, lol) And, to an extent, if historical doubtfulness is the issue, people can generally see that there’s a world of difference between the two, I suppose.
That’s my first thought. Check after the break (or just the link to my comment) for more
1b. Or…something like this…when doubting Mormonism, we might doubt that the church has something unique to provide us that we feel we really need (but were pressured and raised to believe that we need). This carries on to Christianity in many ways. One thing I just DO NOT GET is the “need” to be “saved.” It seems like Christian groups are assigning their only problem (e.g., hell) and then are advertising a solution for it (e.g., Christianity/relationship with Christ). Yet, in disaffecting from the church, what I realized was, I…don’t need that stuff.
2. Next, even though I’ve been glad for your articles like “We Push Them Out…into what?” I don’t think many people read them or implement them. non-LDS Christians are still notoriously unappealing in their approach to Mormons, so when people disaffect from the church, then EVEN IF WE REALIZE, “Hey, they were right on x, y, or z claim about the church,” the next thing that comes to mind is, “But GEEZ. I would never be like one of THEM.” I still frequently go up to bat FOR the church when I hear people saying things about it…
It doesn’t help that many Evangelicals feel that their attitude in evangelizing isn’t all that important (or rather, maybe they feel it is, but they have very different thoughts on what is effective.) So many people use a “tough love ministry” because “this is the truth” and “the truth may be hard to hear, but it can’t be sugarcoated.” OK, whatever. But to someone who does not believe that, all you are doing is alienating them. Many evangelicals seem fine with this too! “Well, I shared the truth with them and Jesus will work through them.”
3. Finally, LDS doctrine in many ways is what we are familiar with. So, even if we can’t buy it any longer, other Christian doctrines don’t necessarily fill the gaps. Ugh, I don’t want to get into a discussion: “Aha! So you guys were following “another Jesus” and this is proof” (protip: that’s the wrong thing to do)…but at some level, you have to realize that Mormonism and…say…Calvinism…are arch rival philosophies when you look at what each places on the idea of “free will.” In many other ways, various traditional Christian ideas seem unpolished or jagged in comparison to what Mormons grew up believing.
4. …Also, it’s kinda tacky to go back dating right after the hugest breakup in your life. I know some people would say, “But you need to get back on the scene EVENTUALLY,” but…this was a REALLY REALLY REALLY big breakup. And the settlement was ugly.
So, those are my thoughts. Anyone else have any? I guess another good question would be to ask…what drew those who went to non-LDS Christianity after leaving Mormonism there? What things enticed them that do not entice many others?