Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Losing one's religion

I just spent some time watching an "exit interview" with a CES instructor and his wife who recently resigned from the LDS Church. I highly recommend it. It's a great window into the conflicts that many orthodox members of the Church experience, especially with respect to the Church's rejection of gay people. I found it interesting that the couple's disaffection began with cognitive dissonance about a friendship they formed with a gay man and his partner.

You can check it out here. If you are a believing, participating member of the Church you might find this interview useful in better understanding what people who leave go through. If you are an unorthodox or secular Mormon, it's required viewing. :- )

3 comments:

Neal said...

Very interesting. And very long!!

These are good people who have valid questions. Thanks for sharing their experience.

El Genio said...

I listened to Part 4 earlier today. One of the most heart-breaking parts of the interview was where John talks about the treatment gay kids were getting in the CES system. It really was just a brief mention, but it was a glimpse at what could be a very depressing and difficult youth.

J G-W said...

I found this interview incredibly moving... Heart-wrenching, inspiring... LONG! But I ended up listening to every minute of it.

I was intrigued by the question of whether the problem resides in the Mormon faith system per se, or in historical amnesia, dogmatism, rigidity and anti-intellectualism within popular Mormon culture. (Not to mention homophobia and sexism.) It seemed to me like a lot of the discussion danced around that issue, without ever addressing it directly.

I was just having an interesting discussion today about this with some friends... I credit Fawn Brodie with helping to begin the process that eventually led me back to the Church. Getting all the uncomfortable facts there out on the table and giving a name to them actually helped me discern that I actually had a testimony. It helped me clarify exactly what my testimony was about and what it wasn't about, and it's given me incredible strength for the journey of life...

I thought the whole discussion about, "What would happen if we taught Church history in all its complexity and truth?" I found myself both agreeing with the notion that it would create a lot of cognitive dissonance for a lot of folks and probably drive them away. But I also agreed with Brooke that it might actually strengthen testimonies, and put LDS faith on a much more solid footing. It all depends on how we approach it... And I think ultimately -- especially in the age of the Internet -- nothing can be more damaging than to pretend it doesn't exist, which sets the stage for people feeling an incredible sense of betrayal when the learn certain things...

I loved Brooke's statement about how, if we can figure out how to incorporate gay couples/gay families into our sense of family down here, she can't possible imagine how God wouldn't be able to incorporate it into a sense of family in eternity... A beautiful statement.