I want to add a YouTube link here: Why Committed Mormons Leave the Church
, by John P. Dehlin. I feel that before people can understand my personal story of how I came to leave the church, they have to understand the general story of how many others have (and will) come to leave the church. Dehlin's presentation accomplishes this and is so well done that I hope you'll watch it and share your thoughts with me.
It's not a short presentation; it takes about an hour to view it. But if you have an hour to spare, you may find it to be interesting, moving, and well worth your while.
The phenomenon of recent departures from the Mormon church reflects a change in churches worldwide. Secrets are not so easily kept now that we have the internet, and the Mormon church has suffered losses for trying to keep its secrets. Each new generation seems to be considerably more liberal and open-minded than the generation preceding, and many churches are thinking about loosening their doctrines and restrictions; they have to if they want to change, adapt, and survive. I even think the Catholic Church's current choice of Pope reflects this phenomenon.
If the Mormon church doesn't come to grips with the growing reality, it may find that its foundations will start to crumble. Apostates in the past have been contemptuously dismissed as unimportant. "Go ahead and leave, we don't care, we don't need you anyway." I feel like that's what happened to me. But apostasy is no longer a freak occurrence, and the church is largely underestimating the quality as well as the quantity of members that it is losing.
I like this presentation a lot because it doesn't hate on the church (and despite the pain in my past I do not desire to punish the church), even while it cries out for fringe-Mormons and ex-Mormons to receive a more Christlike love and understanding from their faithful-Mormon families and friends.
One of the greatest myths about Mormon apostasy is that apostasy is a sweet, seductive temptation. My own experience (and, as this YouTube video shows, more than a few others' experiences) does not bear this notion out. Leaving the church is the most painful thing I ever did. I wouldn't have done it if I had felt like my personal code of honor had left me any choice in the matter.
Anyway, I hope you'll find it informative and thought-provoking, if you can and choose to watch it. I imagine I'll talk more about my church experiences in this thread as time goes on, but for now it suffices just to say I am willing to answer questions and eager to have dialog.
Just as "Monogamy mythology" must topple in this modern age, so must "Mormon mythology" also topple. I like how one of my Utah friends recently put it: "The church needs to do what it is asking its members to do, recognize past errors, feel remorse, resolve not to repeat the offenses. Come clean, be open and honest and give the sheep something in which they can trust and feel safe."