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  1. Sad to hear criticism of the words of prophets. The mouthpiece of the Lord. “Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” You’re all very smart people, but you seem to struggle with the most basic principles of the gospel.

    1. I appreciate you listening to the podcast, Concerned! Speaking for myself, I sustain the leaders of the Church (even though I don’t always agree with them). I think they are sincere, loving ministers who are doing their best. I also think that the Lord speaks unto us “according to our language” and so the leaders are shaped and even limited by their cultural contexts. I think the panel struck a very positive tone regarding the leaders. We love and believe in them and are excited to think how much better things could be if the leaders took the time to listen to the members, how that would open up the channels of revelation even further. I resonated with this quote by Church Historian Leonard Arrington:

      We are led not by a prophet, but by a council of 15 who disagree “Not every statement or act of church leaders is inspired, since they disagree among themselves. Not every conclusion is right, since they occasionally backtrack. That the Lord is in charge doe snot mean that he inspires or approves everything done in the church. That he is in charge does mean that our leaders will get a lot more right than wrong.” (Adventures of a Church Historian, p. 144).

      Again, I am glad you are listening. We need a variety of views so we can learn from and balance each other.

      1. I think what Concerned was trying to say is why I am Concerned2, it is more a matter of there are specific principles that talk about criticism of the words of the prophets. We have to make sure conversations are balanced, I understand this in not easy but would you want a child listening to a conversation with which words of the Lords anointed are criticized and then at the end of conversation. Go sing ‘Follow the Prophet’? My point is I believe that if they were at all concerned about a Prophets holy calling, the conversation should strive to acknowledge it. This leaves doubts to the listener. Personally, I have never found a good reason to directly criticize the Lords leaders and I am still able express a belief that if stated incorrectly one might think that it as a criticism.

        1. @35f5782642e9fa0f6cfff5a552e2ae97:disqus : I think we should be teaching our kids to have a personal relationship with a loving Heavenly Father through study & prayer more than have them sing “Follow the Prophet”.

          Our prophets have repeatedly said they’re not infallible, but there is this trend of wanting to make everything they say “the word of God”.

          We are all products of our culture, and when we criticize something our leaders say, we are more often criticizing the culture than the leader.

        2. Concerned and Concerned2, I agree with Velska and Jared. The discussion in this podcast was very respectful and constructive–that is the most important part. There is a reason that we have “common consent” in the Church (see D&C 28:13). Common consent is synonymous with “sustaining”; I think it’s important to remember that. The reason we have common consent is so that the members of the Church have a voice. Discussions like we hear on this podcast are a perfect example of well-meaning members of the Church using that voice in a way that strengthens the Church. 

          1. Yet this is contrary to the church teaching:
            When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan–it is God’s plan. When they point the way, there is no other which is safe. When they give direction, it should mark the end of controversy. God works in no other way. To think otherwise, without immediate repentance, may cost one his faith, may destroy his testimony, and leave him a stranger to the kingdom of God.

            This can be viewed at: http://www.fairlds.org/Misc/When_the_Prophet_Speaks_is_the_Thinking_Done.html

          2. or should I say “cult” teaching. There will be ‘no thinking’ only blind obedience to what the leaders of the church say….period!!!

          3. I think it is important to remember that we have been expressely counseled not to do what you just said. In fact we are told to prove everything that comes over the pulpit and to go to God a pray to confirm the truth of what we heard for just the reasons people have stated above. Church leaders are men and if you asked them if they they should be followed without question I think they would be appauled and overwhelmed to try and live up to that level of responsibility

    2. @f6e952b25cfd082e82d20464c50f4fe7:disqus , you left out the most critical part: it is the same when they’re moved upon by the Holy Ghost–not with everything they do or say.

      1. You already made my point for me, dmchae1. We need to understand that not everything that comes out over the pulpit is automatically scripture (in fact none of it is because the church membership has not yet voted to accept any of it), otherwise we’d have so many Books of Monson Pigeon Stories wherein the text of those alone would dwarf the Book of Mormon.

        1. Great comment illustrating the absurdity of members believing everything that comes over the pulpit at LDS Conference as equal to scripture.

        2. Quote by LDS Church Historian (1972-1982) Leonard Arrington:
          “We are led not by a prophet, but by a council of 15 who disagree. Not every statement or act of church leaders is inspired, since they disagree among themselves. Not every conclusion is right, since they occasionally backtrack. That the Lord is in charge does not mean that he inspires or approves everything done in the church. That he is in charge does mean that our leaders will get a lot more right than wrong.” (Adventures of a Church Historian, p. 144)
          If we accept Leonard Arrington’s perspective, what is the membership to do with the conclusions of these 15 men that are completely wrong, inaccurate or misguided?
          If a electronic calculator is known to give incorrect answers only some of the time then of what practical use is it?  One would be better served to do one’s calculations by hand just as one would be better served to make one’s own spiritual decisions rather than depend on unreliable counsel.

        3. Again, this is contrary to the church (cult) teaching:
          When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan–it is God’s plan. When they point the way, there is no other which is safe. When they give direction, it should mark the end of controversy. God works in no other way. To think otherwise, without immediate repentance, may cost one his faith, may destroy his testimony, and leave him a stranger to the kingdom of God.
          This can be viewed at: http://www.fairlds.org/Misc/When_the_Prophet_Speaks_is_the_Thinking_Done.html

          1. This may work for some, but many can’t, in good conscience, live that way.  I sustain my leaders, I don’t accept everything they say.  I study it out for myself and accept or reject it based on my own experience.  There are doctrines I haven’t accepted, but many that I have.  When I go for my temple recommend interview I am asked if I sustain my leaders, not if I accept as doctine everything they say. 

    3. ‘it is the same’? so when i read that Brigham Young chose to make Utah territory a slave territory and approved of slavery, that in essence the “Lord” chose and approved of slavery too? 

    4. Sustaining everything the leaders say and do is simple blindness.  Joseph Smith himself said on occasion,  I am only a prophet when acting as such, I am a man when acting as such. Even from the pulpit they will interject their own opinion.  

  2. Did I mishear something, or was it suggested by one of the women that if young adults are delaying marriage, they ARE having sex? This was in the last 10 min of the podcast. If that is indeed what was meant, I’d like some clarification as to why she thinks that. It’s not the case (I’m a counterexample). Great podcast. It’s helpful for me to hear that there are older leaders that are concerned about people like me (25 year old male, nowhere close to being married) and addressing these issues. Sometimes, it’s a huge struggle to not leave.

    1. Tyler, right after we finished recording I commented that “being sexual” would be a better way to phrase it than “having sex”. And I am sure there are exceptions. It certainly is a factor however.

    2. Oh…I should probably put this comment where it belongs, eh? So as I said down below…..

      That was me! Guilty as charged. We were giving that part of the
      discussion such a quick gloss over that I was being overly broad. I
      didn’t mean to impugn the character of every single. I meant to
      generalize the group, and not the individuals within that group.
      Certainly there are singles having sex, and I would wager a pretty vast
      percentage of them, particularly if we’re counting those not currently
      practicing their faith, as we were in this discussion. But also
      certainly there are singles such as yourself who are making great
      commitments to what they believe and living according to those beliefs.
      I’m sorry I didn’t say so.

  3. That was me! Guilty as charged. We were giving that part of the discussion such a quick gloss over that I was being overly broad. I didn’t mean to impugn the character of every single. I meant to generalize the group, and not the individuals within that group. Certainly there are singles having sex, and I would wager a pretty vast percentage of them, particularly if we’re counting those not currently practicing their faith, as we were in this discussion. But also certainly there are singles such as yourself who are making great commitments to what they believe and living according to those beliefs. I’m sorry I didn’t say so.

  4. [Now that I’ve listened] This podcast was absolutely brilliant. It cut to the core of most of the
    issues I have with the church, addressing them within the context of a
    very practical challenge the church is facing. It’s fascinating to
    listen to a somewhat random group of younger members of the church come
    up with solution after solution of what to do about the youth leaving
    the church that are vastly more intelligent and wise than the ridiculous
    superifical things the “prophets, seers, and revelators” of the church
    are implementing as solutions.

    It was a marvelous illustration of just how completely out of touch the
    General Authorities are.

  5. This was an amazing podcast. Everyone was so great. There is
    so much I could say on so many things discussed, but I’ll just mention a few. I
    love that Jared said it is okay to question and that the Church is strong
    enough to deal with our questions. So I think we don’t need to be scared of
    other people’s questions or our own. I also loved how much the importance of
    listening was talked about.

  6. Yes! Thank you so much for such a brilliant discussion! I am a 25 year old member of the Church, and I have to mention that I usually avoid ANY non-official Mormon media on account of being overwhelmed by the very institutions discussed! (I’m a bit more open to added weight of a PHD) I followed the link of a friend on Facebook, and I’m so glad I did. I count myself extremely blessed that I experienced my conversion or “Aha! Moment” when I was old enough to be discerning, but still young enough to be preparing for crucial life choices. Still, I can’t begin to tell you how much I’ve struggled with clinging to that Christian Truth in spite of these cultural cankers! How much I’ve struggled with these issues Post-marriage, when life happens and I don’t fit the framework! And I’ve NEVER fit the framework! How much my heart breaks as I watch my peers deal with these issues! Thank you so much for addressing them out loud. Wherever this leads, it is a discussion that Needs to be happening in the Church. Wake Up and Get Real! Please! Please! Please!

  7. I agree with all the reasons you are giving for young people to not choose early marriage. Economic is huge. It takes longer and longer to become a wage earner and typically it accompanies more debt then ever before. Also more exposure to society out side LDS society. They are seeing good, spiritual, and successful people not just outside the church but choosing life styles very different than Mormon society. But what I think you are missing is once the choice is made to not get married as soon as possible these people need to confront how to deal with their own sexuality. Those that choose to acknowledge their sexuality also will likely to be exposed to moral Christ like people that do not live the law of chastity. Adults living without marriage need to figure out what to do with their sex drive. The church is not offering a solution to this dichotomy. Until the church does they either need to convince people to get married and stay married, which is what they are trying desperately to do, or these peoples only other options are to either kill the sexual part of them or leave the church. This is what I see as the core of the problem. I am stumped to find a way for the church to truly deal with this. Yes all the issues the guests have discussed are factors, but is this not the core why choosing to put off or not to get married leads people to leave the church. Can any of the guests take this on? Are there any ideas of how the church can substantivity deal with this issue? How does a person live life without sex or masturbation without trying to killing part of yourself?

    1. Important thoughts @537d9a455227e4fcaf79523946dfd647:disqus . We did try to deal with sexuality the last 15 minutes or so, but it deserves its own full length discussion for sure.

    2. You hit this right on the head. I often wonder how much longer I can continue like this! Also, it’s difficult because I’m not trying to delay getting married. I simply have a very difficult time meeting women that I want to be with. The few that I’ve loved and wanted to be with haven’t felt the same. Church leaders interpret this as my being lazy or disobedient. Wtf? I can’t force someone to marry me! It takes two.

    3. the rest of the world seems to be figuring out the answers to your questions quite nicely. The 1950’s and before code of conduct for Mormons is just losing out – and is the reason the young are leaving. It just doesn’t make any sense anymore. (and the 18-30 year old folks know it)

      1. Holy Cow people you make way too big of a
        deal out of sex.

        First of all our culture is way over sexed.
        It’s all we think about and most of the portrayals of sex in the media are
        really idealized and ridiculous. Sex is wonderful but it’s not the end all and
        be all of life like the media in our current culture portrays it. We are buying
        into a false claim portrayed by our culture that sex, and fabulous sex at that,
        is a must have in order to live a life of fulfillment.

        This simply isn’t the case. You can wait a
        few years or may I say a decade or so without being sexually active and still
        have a fine and happy life. And this won’t damage your sex life in the future
        if you are old. In fact when you are having sex a lot after marriage the laws
        of diminishing return do kick in, and there comes a point when sleep is better than
        sex (granted it takes a while). Don’t become so caught up in the media’s portrayal
        of the transporting ecstasy of sex when it is just another part of a mundane life.
        It is great but then sometimes not. It is just like every other real thing, it
        has ups and downs. Realize that life can be joyful, even if you don’t have sex

  8. I’ve not yet listened to the podcast but I’ll start it up after I post this. I just wanted to post my personal reasons why singles are leaving the church in droves before comparing my list to yours:

    Why are singles leaving the church in droves?

    1. We
    are among the most ostracized demographic of the church in terms of
    having our spiritual needs met. This is especially true for single
    members over 30.

    2. By not being “locked down” because of the
    control of a temple marriage or temple recommend, we still have the
    freedom and the time to think and realize just how much all is NOT well in Zion.

    As a corollary, we also have the freedom to both live and attend where
    we want. The establishment of the new YSA wards and stakes is an attempt
    to keep us singles locked in place so we don’t move out of Utah and get
    “led away.”

    3. The process of courtship and marriage has changed
    since the era when the leaders were courting their wives. A man and
    woman can still easily get together through hanging out or group dates.
    In fact I prefer that approach because it removes the pressure of a
    formal approach and lets a guy find a wife who can also be his best
    friend and not just the mother of his children.

    4. Many young singles today are having a hard-enough time supporting
    themselves in this horrible economy. They do not want the added stress
    of financial obligations that they cannot meet, especially from a spouse
    who may not be so willing to hard that much harder just for both of
    them to make ends meet.

    5. Not only are we ostracized in terms of
    having our spiritual needs met, but we’re also ostracized as members of
    the church. Good ol’ Brigham Young called young singles above 27, “A
    menace to society,” and we certainly don’t appreciate being insulted as
    “slackers” over the pulpit when the prophet doesn’t even pretend to
    understand our situation, he just wants us married and it doesn’t matter
    to whom.

    6. We’ve basically got nothing to lose by leaving. Our
    families and neighbors may cast judgment on us, but we’re still free to
    go where we want and also false words spoken of by a holier-than-thou
    populace are only harming themselves.

    6a. I’ve learned from Rock Waterman (of Pure Mormonism)’s
    writings, my mentor, and my own research that the only thing lost by
    leaving the corporate church at this time is the cult-like obligations
    to the corporation while still able to easily retain a commitment to the
    actual gospel of Jesus Christ.

    We are not to surrender our free
    agency to anyone. Not a spouse, not to the prophet, and not even to the
    institutionalized church. I know we would never have to surrender it to
    God because the true God who gave it to us will never ask for it back,
    otherwise He’d cease to be God!

    1. Incredible words of wisdom!

      I also believe the youth leave the church due to unanswered questions and a lack of spiritual focus of the church (Why a six billion dollar mall while the poor are ignored? Public Image and fulfillment of “the great and spacious building”?).

      The internet affords the opportunity to seek truth regarding not-talked-about issues. A member can’t ask sincere questions without criticism.

      For instance, on the subjects of polygamy and early church history. Someone mentioned that the church is strong enough to handle the questions, but that’s not the atmosphere in church or the very structured “sanitized” lessons given in Sunday School classes… Look at the excommunication of our “intellectuals”.

      The youth are especially savy in internet research. People are yearning for truth and its being “shouted from the rooftops” as Isaiah prophesied for these latter days.

      As one example, I had a profound spiritual witness in answer to my question regarding polygamy. I found out, without any doubts or qualifications, that polygamy is “an abomination of the Lord” as the Book of Mormon clearly states (Jacob 2:23-24, Jacob 3) and that D&C 132 was added in by the “learned men” (1857 approx.) to justify polygamy and the “carnal desires” that Joseph Smith was warned against by God (D&C 3:1-11). The truth makes sense.

      This is an example of how the youth are finding out the truth about our early church history and falliable leaders via internet research due to spiritual yearnings and spiritual witness. (“Everyone needs to repent no matter their age or position” Richard G. Scott, General Conference).

      I’m a member and sticking with the unaltered Book of Mormon, but not the “faith promoting” falsehoods or glossed-over history which leaves out the 55 wives of Brigham Young and the 10 wives that divorced him for abuse and neglect, for instance.

      To be equally-yoked in a marriage based on truth, is of utmost importance. It is difficult, at this time, to find a fellow truth-seeker who loves the Book of Mormon.

    2. Congrats. I resigned this year. (29yo)

      If I choose to raise my future family in a church, it’ll be a different church.

  9. Wow that was simply a phenomenal podcast!!!! I only wish that it would have been 5x longer than it was. FWIW I would highly suggest podcasts devoted to a subset of the diverse topics including: (1) the doctrinal and social differences in teaching teens vs. young adults, (2) the need for the Mormon community to meet the social, financial and intellectual needs of the millennial generation and how to do that , (3) the process of changing between teen and YSA, (4) sexuality and YSA, (5) potential practical ways of instituting such changes within the church. Again this was a fantastic podcast, and I would love to see many of the points discussed fleshed out more thoroughly.

  10. I have been back here in Central Missouri since 2003 and got to know the University of Missouri Institute Director, Michael Reall over these years. I shared with him my “kissing contract” I used while a BYU Single Ward Bishop. This one “task/contract” improved courtship and would a very successful approach for the 2011 LDS Singles. Last year he became a Area 70 GA and I’m sure he has shared the desparate needs which confront 18-30 Singles here where the members are very few. The Podcast presentation only covers surface matters.

    I have been involved in college life experiences since I was three three (1953) when my father became the Institute Director at the University of Arizona in Tucson. In 1960 Apostle Howard W. Hunter visited our family for a month and called my father as the first “bishop” in the Institute Program. Before 1960, all Institute wards were “branches” and totally controlled by the Seventies Quorum. From 1960 – 2011 all Single Wards have been under the direction of the local Stake President, like Brother Reall served until last year here in Missouri.

    I very much agree with DaveP description and lack of enabling every LDS Single take charge — like in the “kissing contract” I had at my BYU Ward (late 80s-early 90s). Agreement: 10 kisses within 24 hours. If violated, immediately contact the bishop. There a great bonding and trust between the local bishop and the members because “kissing” is the first step in a closer relationship between boy and girl.

    1. @davistruth:disqus , I am glad you are listening and commenting! I would be interested in hearing what you feel the “deeper issues” below the “surface matters” would be.

      I am glad that your “kissing contract” approach met with some success. I personally recoil at the idea, however, and I imagine that many others would as well. When I was with my fiancee (now wife of four years), I would not want to be counting kisses or thinking about the bishop!! I respectfully see this as an overstepping of a priesthood leaders’ bounds. I have not been in a bishopric and am certainly open to learning from experience, but I would hope that success could also be found in teaching correct principles such as knowing yourself and your boy/girl friend, and taking steps to avoid regret, and making mutually decided commitments with each other rather than with a bishop. I think that the question of intimacy is intensely personal without one right answer or approach, and that it is best worked out between the couple and the Lord. As the podcast mentioned, it would be wonderful if we could get some solid marriage preparation in the Church. I think that healthy intimacy would come from teaching the principles of successful relationships.

      1. Hey Jared,

        The Kissing Contract was simply voluntary for all members. We also had 14 EQ Presidents and 18 RS Presidents. Our one ward did over 10% of the BYU Book of Mormon Project and our attendance to all meetings was over 120% each Sunday.

        We operated through inspiration. The Sacrament Talks were done through the “heart” and we allowed the Holy Ghost to speak with the one.

        We had two 800 # for each ward member to call, 24/7 and they used it many years after I was released.

        Our Ward lived by the Spirit of the Law, and not the Letter of the Law. At BYU, students wanted to be the EQ to impress back home == not at our ward.

        We built floats each year for the Provo July 4th Parade and many marriages came through project like this one.

        Have a Great Life, bringing the “spirit” in your life.

        1. Sounds wonderful @davistruth:disqus –that is priesthood leadership I can really get behind; offer caring, loving, and helpful resources, invite people to use them, and then let them take advantage of it.

    2. And the chiefest of the Pharasees speaks about the number of kisses that can be given in a 24 hour time!  Holy Crap, are you kidding me?  It doesn’t matter how many kisses, how they are given, with tongue or without, or any other nitpicking 1950’s sexual mindset.  Get out of the sexual lives of our young people if you can’t do anything other than reinforce co-dependancy or ecclesiastical evasion. 

      1. Yep, I didn’t date until 21 because of the church. One reason I left. First reason I left though was because it’s so provably false, and one is not accepted within the LDS community if they can’t claim they “know” it’s true (in other words, lie).

  11. “I just hope we earn our young people” – Joanna Brooks

    Joann Brooks
    , Dan Wotherspoon, Jared Anderson, and Tresa Edmunds, you have. I know a lot of local leaders who have earned their YSA, and the YSA have worked to earn
    these leaders as well. I do not however know of many leaders up top (starting at the stake level) who exactly deserve their young people. We are just another number to them. They do not try to connect and understand us. This is a serious problem.

  12. I enjoyed the podcast, I would like to hear one more dedicated to the single adults in the church. While the root of the problem may develop with the youth there is still a big disconnect between the single adults and the rest of the church. I feel the church is moving in the wrong direction regarding singles. I think the church should disband the YSA program altogether or make it into a regional program for activities.I married right after my mission and then got divorced at the ripe age of 28 with 2 kids. I attended a YSA branch for a short time off and on until I was 30.What I have seen happen is the creation of a subset of Mormons that need to be segregated from the rest of the church. I feel like it’s a problem when you put a group of people with largely bad to horrible relationship experiences together based on their relationship experience. I feel like the singles would get a lot more out of church if they were kept in regular wards surrounded by people that have real life experiences. We also need to stop candy coating everything. Marriage is hard, it’s work, it’s not always fun and it sure isn’t the same as the first two weeks of dating. Let’s have honest and frank conversations without judgement. Also, it’s time for the leadership of the church to come to grips with the fact that this is a different world than the one they grew up in. While in some ways kids mature more slowly than they used to, in other ways they know a whole lot more than prior generations.Also, the best single activity I ever attended was Duck Beach and the reason it was fun was because the church was not in charge. As a single I hated the singles conferences because they are generally based on a spiritual lesson with a service project and a dance. Sitting quietly listening to some guy tell me I need to get married while surrounded by singles also sitting quietly and listening does not help me meet anyone. Duck Beach, on the other hand, was a big party where people could let their hair down. (Some of the girls even wear bikinis and no one cares!)

    Make church about strengthening my relationship with God, giving me tools to make better decisions in my life and stop judging me based on those decisions, especially the decision to get married or not.

    1. @2efbbac77f0babd713d53a65f3b3bf96:disqus  THANK YOU  for that….. EXACTLY my thoughts as well. I’m a 30 year old single woman (never married) and COMPLETELY AGREE that the YSA program should be disbanned completely. (Or that it should just be a program for social activities).  Keeping 20-somethings in such a “high schoolish” setting for that long only delays most of them actually “growing up” and seeing the “real world.” We are led to believe that marriage will fix everything…….and that if we’re still single at 31, get kicked out of the ward, and into the family ward where people just take pity on us and we end up feeling completely out of place. Getting rid of the YSA wards would help people grow up faster, see real life problems… and I truly believe had I been in that kind of envioronment for the past 10 years, I would have had a much better chance of meeting the kind of guy I’d like to marry. Now I feel like it might never happen….at least with an LDS guy!…. because I’m stuck in a ward full of 21 year old boys. haha.  I also agree the church needs to have some activities that are NOT “IN” a church building… We used to have a HUGE near years dance in a mall here…. and later they stopped doing it because it wasn’t in a “dedicated” building (heaven forbid). About 2/3 of the people who used to go to that stopped going once it was moved to the church. Now my only hope for meeting an LDS guy is to travel to the Hunington Beach “Midsingles” Conferece (Mid is code for “menace to society) where I get to hear lectures on “how to attract my eternal mate” and then go to a church dance, and a fireside. Ugh. Somebody shoot me! 🙂 

  13. I really enjoyed this podcast. I think you hit on several important reasons that people of my generation are leaving. I think that the largest contributor, however, is the large-scale cultural changes that we have grown up with–especially those driven by the internet.

    I have my doubts that sex is more of a driving factor than in previous generations; people have always wanted to have sex. While I’m sure that the dissonance that is experienced by sexually active, unmarried members is a factor driving some people out, I’m skeptical that it would be a significantly larger share than from previous generations.

    One factor that I think also contributes, and that @facebook-2736617:disqus touched on lightly, is that people of my generation are bored to death by the church. Worship in the church is extremely repetitive. The talks and lessons in church meetings and conferences are repetitions of the same few pages of correlated ideas that were instituted in the 1960s. It is extremely rare that those of us who grew up in the church and went through seminary and Sunday school lessons hear anything that is new or interesting. Temple worship is an exact repetition. For people who have grown up with Wikipedia, Facebook, and a nearly infinite source of new content available at all times, the mind-numbing repetition in the church stands out in stark contrast to the richness of information in our daily lives.

    Another cultural change, that goes beyond simple boredom is that life in the internet age is not conducive to hierarchical organizations. It is the great leveler, as is apparent from the revolutions in the middle east. All sorts of organizations with strong hierarchies are having a difficult time adapting to this new reality, and the church is falling victim to the same dynamic.

  14. I just had the strange juxtaposition of listening to this wonderful podcast and then reading Dane Laverty’s post at T & S about NOMs and the efforts of people like John Dehlin. Maybe I’m mistaken, but it seemed to me that the majority and more strident commenters felt that change in the church should only come from the top down. I wonder if those comments are reflective of how the Q12 and first Presidency feel. It was deflating to listen to all the wonderful suggestions in this podcast and then see how quickly things at T&S dissolved into divisiveness when grass roots efforts at change in the church were discussed.

  15. I very much enjoyed the podcast, especially the comments toward the end about the sexuality of young adults in the church. Yes, it’s true that discussions of sexuality have not occurred as often as they should in church meetings, but I feel that it is changing. As a professional sexuality educator, I have been asked to speak in a combined priesthood/relief society lesson to all the adults in the ward. We talked about sex in marriage and all the good that it brings. I kept it very, very positive because they’ve had all the negative lessons in the past. A member of the stake presidency was in the group, and he liked the lesson so much that the stake presidency had me teach the same lesson to all the adults in the stake during a youth conference. Local church leaders see the need for adding sex ed to the married adult curriculum, and Salt Lake is not prohibiting it. Silence is the new approval.

    As one of the podcast participants noted, young adults have not been given the tools to make sexuality within marriage as successful as it should be. I agree. The information is out there, but it’s been off limits because it’s tainted with a XXX rating. Educated, inspired, and bold members of the church should take this information and then turn around and share it with their brothers and sisters in a way that can be digested by Latter-day Saints.

    I KNOW that young adults are having sex. Maybe they were having just as much in the past, but we didn’t admit it or we were so hostile against it that we couldn’t stand to deal with it. If we are to be truly loving, we need to be prepared to admit what is going on and then redirect those energies toward enhancing sexuality within marriage. And oh yes, sex within marriage can be absolutely incredible!

    Melissa Jones, Ph.D.
    Sexuality Educator
    San Antonio, TX

    1. Thank goodness.  For too many years we’ve focused on the “Sex is bad” way of teaching chastity.  It angers me to no end.  When I was in the YM’s presidency I purposely taught the law of chastity with specifics they’d get in a normal sex ed lesson and told them not why they shouldn’t have sex but why they should be chaste.  There’s such a drastic difference between the two approaches.  Sadly we as a people tend to be to apt at saying thou shalt not without ever asking why.  This has led to too many hasty marriages where couples don’t discuss their expectations in the bedroom because they don’t know what to expect.  

      I think if we could realize that nearly everyone has sex and so its not a dirty thing, we would be better able to talk about it and better able to convey the role of sex in a disciple’s life without turning red and squirming awkwardly.

  16. This was the best podcast yet. Jared and Tresa did such a great job with ther comment and insights. My experience has been that as I approached 30 years of age, I was increasingly aware that the promised blessings of obedience and compliance with the direction of church leadership were not coming. I had always been a faithful member. I always went to seminary, served a mission, got a degree, married a girl I met at Institute, didn’t use birth control, had a kid before I graduated from college, found a nice job instead of continuing to graduate school so I could support a happy family with a stay-at-home mom. Things just weren’t working out, and I realized I had lost myself completely in the church.

    The church was worse than irrelevant to me. It had become a frustration and condemnation to me. What was I doing wrong? Teaching seminary didn’t help. Being the ward clerk didn’t help. I just felt worse and worse about church. When I decided to step away to figure things out the bishop basically told me there was no place for doubting people like myself. He wished me well and I had my name removed from the records of the church.

    Since then I have learned so much more about what it means to be Mormon and how there are so many more people out there who have struggled like me. In some ways I am sad I had to leave, but I also know that at least the ward I am in would still not be a comfort and strength for me. It would be more trouble than it is worth. I just hope other people can go through this process without feeling so alone and bad about themselves. Doesn’t matter to me whether they decide to stay or not. Just find your place where you can be the best person you are.

    Thanks guys for such a great podcast. I look forward to many more.

    1. I think one of the greatest tragedies of the modern church is the “all-or-nothing” mentality that allows no room for honest, faith-seeking questions. Rather than showing empathy and Christlike compassion, people are ostracized and driven away.

      I have chosen to take the path of a moderate Mormon. I am 32 and single, now attending a wonderful family ward. But no matter how wonderful they are, I no longer expect to find fulfillment in church service. I’m taking responsibility for my own happiness, making my own decisions, developing a personal moral compass and surrounding myself with great people and good things. Do I occasionally have a drink with my friends? Yes. Do I feel guilty when I go to church the next day? Surprisingly no. And I think it has to do with truly embracing my agency and trusting in the faith I’ve developed throughout my life. Thank heavens for the internet. I’m so grateful to hear other stories, and know that I’m not the only one who struggles with reconciling what they think and feel with the culture of the church.

      1. I feel very much the same way. One thing I also did was to stop accepting callings and it was amazing how Sunday actually returned to being an actual day of rest.

  17. Maybe another reason singles are going inactive is they realize that the Gospel is somehow Faith, Repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost, Enduring to the End and oh ya get married in the Temple and BOTH of you have to make it otherwise nothing man, sorry. I wish someone would have told me in the zillion lesson that it all hangs on getting married! Like Christ is cool but get married and that is what really matters. I got married the first time out of obedience, if for some bizarre reason someone shows up here I am going to get married for love

  18. I am a single 30 YO female who is active and while there were a few good points in this podcast, the vast majority of it had me incensed and unhappy. I’m not sure who you are talking to, but I fully support the Leadership and have my whole life. You seem out of touch with those of us who are faithful. We’re not blind sheep, and we love the gospel and find answers in it. I see a gospel that works with everybody. It’s not an “injection model.” It’s something to be seen with even a modicum of faith. Feel free to have your complaints. I just wish that your voiced ideals supported the Brethren.

    1. rubyscarab, the gospel is not about “supporting the brethren” and it never has been. It’s about us coming unto Christ and, because the brethren are our servants, it’s their job to teach us how to do that, not to micromanage our lives or control us through guilt.

      1. Dave, Sorry that you feel micro-managed through guilt or that you know people that feel this way. I don’t.

      2. Coming unto Christ means accepting the leaders of the Church, sustaining them, and heeding their council. The idea that the two are not dovetailed is a gross fallacy. Also, there’s thing amazing thing called the Atonement that takes away guilt. Just saying.

        1.  I’d just like to ask one thing of you: Please show me in the scriptures where it says that. It is entirely possible to develop a personal relationship with Christ without a leader acting as the middleman.

          I can tell you right now that Jesus said, “Come unto me,” and “Come, follow me.” There’s nothing about “Stand behind someone else before coming to follow me.”

        2. “Coming unto Christ” means… what it says! I dont see any reference to a massive corporate bureaucracy. Besides, why do I need a Prophet that doesn’t prophesy?

    2. @c675a6c943a56b2b877f60f4dd79e41b:disqus , your perspective is extremely important. I think I can speak for everyone involved in this podcast in saying that we are so very grateful that the Church works for so many.

      We can empathize and appreciate all those who are faithful in the way you are describing (I think there is more than one way to be “faithful”). This podcast was addressing all the YSA who are leaving the Church, however, which is why we focused on factors that likely are contributing to this trend.

      I personally think that as the Church is more responsive and addresses these concerns it will improve the religious and practical experience for all members, both satisfied and troubled. And if I can be so bold, I think God wants us to address these issues.

  19. “We are a people worth belonging to. I just hope we earn our young people.”

    That comment Joanna Brooks made at the end of the podcast sums up this entire issue. In writing this, I speak for many of my disaffected peers at BYU. As a 22 year-old male student, I don’t see the Church as a safe place to live. It is impossible to overstate this – my spiritual home, my people, my foundation will not have me. They don’t want well informed, expressive, and thoughtful members – unless you are entirely orthodox. But orthodoxy is impossible for many of us! Most of us are not interested in the project of gently guiding the Church into a new age against its will. It makes more sense to leave. That is how the mass exodus of Millenials should be interpreted.

    The Church doesn’t want us. We are better than the people they want. You want us, but the Church isn’t enthusiastic about your efforts either. The Church is better with you in it, but you are staying in despite many problems which haven’t been resolved for decades. When the September Six were disciplined, Joanna said she went off and cried for years. There are young women who cry still. I’ve tried to comfort them, but what can you say? We’ll get there someday? One day you will be valued? We see the theological depth lying dormant within Mormonism, but we are living now. The small chance of an enlightened Mormonism in fifty years isn’t enough.

    We are a generation of intellectuals, feminists, homosexuals and allies. We are doubters and seekers. It’s over. I can’t speak for everyone, but there are many like me. I love Mormonism. It doesn’t love me.

    1. AMM- I want to personally thank you for sharing your heart felt sentiments here. I think your comment cuts to the chase. Many of us wonder – Does the church really want us? Many of us still feel “desirous to come into the fold of God and to be called his people”. We want to be there for our Mormon family and friends to “bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light”. Sadly we feel, or are made to feel, that we are instead adding to the burden of those we love. This causes us to mourn and we wish for someone willing to “mourn with [us as we] mourn” and to “comfort [us as we] stand in need of comfort”. All we want to know is that WE are wanted, and not just some caricature of ourselves. FWIW I want you with your splendiferous “informed, expressive, and thoughtful” attributes intact. If that be in or out of the church, I doesn’t matter. 🙂

    2. In other words, the LDS Church left the members…..and the members are seeking to know why? The Orthodox Members seek through leaders who are totally obsessed with materialism — the $6 Billion Mall Complex.

      The Presiding Bishop, as instructed by the Lord through Joseph Smith, deals with ALL THE TEMPORAL AFFAIRS of the “Church”.

      In 1918 President Joseph F. Smith created the “CORPORATION OF THE PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS”. This was an inspired act. The only scripture accepted by the members since the days of Joseph Smith was from President Joseph F. Smith (D&C 138: A vision given on 3 October 1918)

      As taught by the Lord in D&C 26, every April, every member controls the direction of the LDS Church, since July, 1830 after a revelation came to the first two called Apostles, Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith Jr. === but even they exercised free agency and in 1835, called others.

      As President Benson warned back in April, 1989 == we’re a condemned church because we are obsessed with Pride == literally pointing the finger at himself.

    3. I cannot claim to be a Mormon Millenial–I was born in the mid-70s, after all.  But this comment by Another Mormon Millenial is absolutely spot on.  I wish I had a place in the church.  I love it in so very many ways.  I love the doctrines of the gospel.  I see such depth and possibility in those doctrines.  But I am not wanted.  I am not needed.  Not really.  No matter how much lip service is paid to wanting and needing me.  And I will not go where there is no room for me.  I will not be the dog begging for scraps when there are other communities in which I can be a full participant while still accessing the most important aspects of Christ’s gospel.

      Indeed, the church is not a safe place for me to live.  Instead it is a place where I have been battered and bruised, rendered invisible because I lie outside the prescribed norm.  Why should I even attempt to live there?  I do not believe that God wants his children to subject themselves to the degree of spiritual battery that far too often happens to those of us who are marginal in the LDS church.  Instead I live in spaces in which I thrive and flourish and can *be*.

      Thanks for your words AMM.  There may be nearly a generation between us, but I could not have said this better than you did.

  20. “We are a people worth belonging to. I just hope we earn our young people.”

    That comment Joanna Brooks made at the end of the podcast sums up this entire issue. In writing this, I speak for many of my disaffected peers at BYU. As a 22 year-old male student, I don’t see the Church as a safe place to live. It is impossible to overstate this – my spiritual home, my people, my foundation will not have me. They don’t want well informed, expressive, and thoughtful members – unless you are entirely orthodox. But orthodoxy is impossible for many of us! Most of us are not interested in the project of gently guiding the Church into a new age against its will. It makes more sense to leave. That is how the mass exodus of Millenials should be interpreted.

    The Church doesn’t want us. We are better than the people they want. You want us, but the Church isn’t enthusiastic about your efforts either. The Church is better with you in it, but you are staying in despite many problems which haven’t been resolved for decades. When the September Six were disciplined, Joanna said she went off and cried for years. There are young women who cry still. I’ve tried to comfort them, but what can you say? We’ll get there someday? One day you will be valued? We see the theological depth lying dormant within Mormonism, but we are living now. The small chance of an enlightened Mormonism in fifty years isn’t enough.

    We are a generation of intellectuals, feminists, homosexuals and allies. We are doubters and seekers. It’s over. I can’t speak for everyone, but there are many like me. I love Mormonism. It doesn’t love me.

  21. Excellent podcast by the way. One of the best in Mormon Matters so far. One thing I thik that was skipped however was that young peoople postpne marraiage due to the training they have recieved at the hands of the church. What I mean is the church is vaery against young people learning how to interact with each other. They want to forbid any dating at all till you are 16 then the youth are told they are only to date in groups. If you are a young man you would never be alone with a women until after your mission and then you are suppose to get married. You have not developed any skills that would even allow you to deal with someone of the opposite sex in a relationship.

    I am not sure what the answer is because it may be good to have the youth in structured dating but then you can not wonder why they are postponing marriage.

  22. I am concerned about those who do not quite grasp the Lord’s will for them as essential participants in His kingdom. I know that He is concerned about your feelings too. So many of you have commented concerning the coucil of prophets and apostles. many quotes used were from great men who have their opinions, but they are not of God. I know because I prayed about them and God told me. These remarks are not scripture either. If you find a scripture that the principle comes from, then it has validity. I say to you, this is the Lord’s church. And this is what He asks me to testify to you: He will not allow the prophet to lead us astray. All council and advice, after having discussed it, and before giving it, is taken to the Lord to approve. If he does not approve, the direction will not be given. All this knowledge only comes from faith. If you have not strong enough faith to trust in the Lord’s chosen prophet, seer, and revelator that guides His church, then perhaps you want to work on your faith and trust in Him until you can get to that point. Pray. Pray and develop your relationship with Him. If you disagree with the Prophet’s counsel, then your will is not God’s will and you can realign yourself praying to understand and have the desire to follow the counsel given. If you do not yet know how much the Lord values you, as I suspect that is the case with many comments here- that you feel that others need to value you in order to feel that you are an important part of His family, PRAY. A basic fundamental principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray. Pray and read the scriptures and you will find everything I have written here in those words. You will find the comfort and peace that the Lord desires you to have. When you have questions, please go to God. He very much desires your welfare; and the opinions of men (as the point was made previously) aren’t always correct. We are to submit our will to His. This is not our free agency, as our free agency would prevent us from making choices. We still make choices after submitting our will to God. Also, once you trust and have faith in God enough to do what he asks, you will come to understand that he knows better than we do what will make us happy, and as we do it, we will be happy. “When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes a quest”, you will understand. If you do not know where this quote comes from, I urge you to search the scriptures diligently and pray with great faith and an openness of heart and mind to receive the answers you seek. know that He loves you. Be still and know that He is God.

    1. @99bb4e99ff602168878a0c96b1b1fc7e:disqus , I happen to know that quote is not from the scriptures. 😉 I do pray and seek to hear God’s will, to see to live as he would have me live. And as the panel explicitly stated in the podcast, our hope is that the leaders will listen to the needs of the members like good “shepherds” of God’s flock and then take those concerns to the Lord and see what He would have them do with these concerns. I think that would be a powerful and important step forward. Thank you for sharing your views.

      1. Its replies like this that make me proud to be a supporter of Mormon Matters.  It clearly demonstrates your ability to listen and respond appropriately to the (how should I put it) rather naive TBM response.   TBM response.  

    2. I appreciate the testimony you’re giving here @99bb4e99ff602168878a0c96b1b1fc7e:disqus , but I do think you’re making an awful lot of assumptions about people, including the fact that you know the Lord’s will for them better than they do.

      Our single adults are not single because they’re not praying. In fact, the friends of mine who are single when they don’t wish to be pray with a fervor that Enos would envy. They’re not single because their relationship to God is lacking. And comments like yours highlight the dilemma they face. They are continuously judged, and when they reach out for help they are not embraced with love and empathy, they are told to exercise their religious experience harder.

      I really don’t think this is a problem that can be solved by prophetic decree, but a problem that must be solved by all of us members truly listening to each other and being willing to act on that, instead of just lecturing each other.

      1. This is the truest thing I’ve read all day, and I have read a bunch today.

        I do believe that we cannot sincerely understand anything until we have experienced it, and the only way to truly experience anything is to completely commit oneself to it. That goes for things in the gospel and out of it. For this reason, I don’t completely discredit From The Scriptures preaching, because often we could be a little more committed. However, Tresa, I vibe way more with your response, because the reminders (which, unfortunately, are all we get in church by the time we’re 21) that are constantly prodding us into emotionless devotion and unwarranted guilt and fear of punishment begin to alienate more than welcome people who are struggling to retain their testimonies.

        We have all met and know people who could use a hand, and admit that they need one, but refuse to accept them when they are offered. As a YSA male I admit that I need a hand, but I have grasped the hand that From The Scriptures is offering so many times, and remain in the same place, that I feel like I need someone or something else to reach for me. That is why this sort of conversation is constructive. It may not always be completely in line with the doctrine and teachings of the church, maybe just justifiably in line with the scriptures, but it gets us thinking in ways we haven’t before, and that’s the sort of thinking that brings us together and moves us forward.

        Thanks for doing what you do.

    3.  From the Scriptures,  You commented “that the Lord will not let the prophets lead us astray.”  This presents a problem because the current prophets disagree with many of the “prophecies” that Brigham Young received.  However, Brigham Young was probably the second most famous prophet of the restoration.  He is the one that the members witnessed speak with the voice of Joseph Smith after Joseph’s death, as a manifestation that God has chosen him as Joseph’s successor.  He is the one through which God guided his chosen people to the Salt Lake Valley.  Brigham taught that God revealed to him that God the Father was Adam.  Well our modern day prophets and apostles say that Adam was not God.  Either Brigham Young was leading members astray or our modern prophets are leading people astray.  In order to believe that God will not let the Mormon Prophets lead us members astray we have to believe that God was Adam up until a few years ago and then God decided to no longer be Adam.  After God decided to no longer be Adam he must have sent word to the modern prophets of his changing status.  

      In other words we know beyond any shadow of a doubt that the prophets can and do lead us astray.  There are numerous instances where this had occurred throughout history.  This is one of the reasons that the members are not real excited about believing everything that the general authorities say.  How does the church deal with this issue.  They pretend that it did not happen and those members that only rely on the church to learn of church history have no idea that a lot of these situations occurred.  

      Is this an honest approach? No.  Do these men that claim to represent God actually put forth all of the facts?  No.  So why should we trust everything that they say.  They have not earned it.  On the contrary they have given us good reason to question everything that they say.  When God inspired the New Testament writers to state:  “PROVE ALL THINGS.”  It was because God was aware that there were be many that would claim that they were acting in God’s name without his blessing.  

  23. Fantastic panel… I think you guys were spot on with most everything discussed. How refreshing to hear fresh young voices and ideas in this very top-down culture. Whether the “geriarchy” (was that the word you used? LOL) will agree is doubtful to me, but kudos on working to get these ideas out.

    I was surprised, however, to listed to a 90-minute podcast on why young people are leaving the church and not hear the reason I left the church discussed. I felt like the church related to me, I was fine with the “life-map”, I saw myself as a future leader in the church, I had no problems with any church policies, rules, or agendas… I left for one reason only, and that was that I didn’t believe anymore. I got into a long, deep study of Mormon history, and was appalled at how whitewashed the official history has become. You may well be right that the majority are leaving because the church isn’t fitting their needs practically, but there are also many like me, usually who are among the most dedicated to the church, who do leave simply because their belief and trust has been shattered. It is almost impossible, in my opinion, for the church to regain someone’s trust who has seen how watered down and sometimes outright dishonestly church history is taught today. The church would do well to be more upfront about some of its sketchier history rather than pretending it never happened and letting members discover it on their own.Anyhow, I was very impressed by all of your thoughts. The church needs more minds like you!

      1. As a sixty year old living here in Missouri (former BYU Bishop) Dave P. hit a bullseye:


        1. Amen @davistruth:disqus . This is a wider problem not just across the spectrum in the LDS Church, but religions generally.

          @e5df366ce944069d67a284e06c5e4b60:disqus , I did address this very briefly when I discussed the unprecedented access the younger generation has to information (via the internet especially), which results in the institutional narratives no longer remaining unchallenged.

  24. I can’t read all the comments right now, but I just had to pop in and say thanks for yet another great episode. Mormon Matters just keeps getting better and better!

  25. I left the church because I was a faithful member, keeping all the rules (I still do, save I don’t go to church anymore, it made me unhappy), and it just was not enough until I got married. I am still very happy being single and don not appriciate pressure to get married. being single is not a party nor a burden, it is just another social status. I feel I got no respect as a member though I was doing everything right save not wanting to get married. (I don’t like children, a sin for a woman, and don’t really want to have any). Now I have left the church, and am am much more happy. It is not a bad orginization, but if you don’t fit the mold they want you to fit, and I don’t, it is pure misery.

  26. I found this podcast extremely comforting. I am a single adult living in Chicago and a lot of the things covered are things I myself have been thinking about. I whole-heartedly love and support the gospel, however, I think due to the fault of man, a lot of it is misinterpreted or misportrayed to the members. I grew up in Utah and in California so I got both sides of the story and can tell you that there is a definite difference in the mentality of both Mormon groups mostly based on the way lessons are taught to the youth and based on what is expected of them outside of the church. The one thing that bothered me in the podcast was the mention that singles that are putting off marriage are obviously having sex. Of course that is the case is some instances but I am very well aware that that is not always the case and to say it is is ignorance.

    1. @ea06bbd1c65f99bf70fc326cac9eb7c7:disqus We covered sexuality very quickly and you are correct, it needed more nuance. There are a few comments toward the beginning of this post that address this. I think “being sexual” is a much better way to put it than “having sex” for example.

    2. @ea06bbd1c65f99bf70fc326cac9eb7c7:disqus We covered sexuality very quickly and you are correct, it needed more nuance. There are a few comments toward the beginning of this post that address this. I think “being sexual” is a much better way to put it than “having sex” for example.

  27. I love all the folks who contributed to this, but I do want to ask, why was there no single LDS adult included? Am I wrong, or was everyone on the panel married?

    1. As I put this panel together, my thinking was rather than inviting in someone unknown to me, I should choose folks who I know are bright, articulate, deep and broad thinkers and church watchers as well as church members who only want the best for our tradition–qualities we may not have found in someone chosen primarily because they fit a particular demographic. I guess I was playing it safe. I am certainly open to meeting some bright and well-spoken and experienced YSAs for the next time we tackle this subject. If you or anyone would like to friend me on FB and make your suggestions and introductions, I’d love that. Thanks!

      1. @DanWotherspoon:disqus  I have someone in mind, but let me talk to that person first and see if they are open to it.

      2. This is funny to me, as a 27-year old single man, listening and wishing I could have been involved in this discussion myself.

        1.  and you certainly could contact Dan on FB as well, the group said they were open to more podcasts on this topic!  I am with Jared, would love to hear what a single member thinks, which is why I brought up that the podcast lacked one.

  28. Okay, I gotta do this in parts, otherwise I forget…

    Sure, young adults leave the Church, e.g. because of the Internet and finding out stuff they hadn’t been told in Sunday School. I don’t know that we should talk about that sh*t in SS, but perhaps we could say, you know, “we know there’s some sad stuff in our history; what can I say, we’re people”. Have a GA say that over the pulpit, have SS teachers remind kids about that.

    That’s the strategy I’ve tried to use with my kids. “We’re all people, and Church leaders have made some mistakes, but they’re people, too.”

    But also about the marriage discussion: I think a marriage definitely can work, but it takes two. One person cannot make it work in the long run… Been through a personal hell, or actually put my wife through it, and I’m grateful for the idea of a forever family, because that saved us!

    More coming, as I finish the podcast, which is really great (I won’t use the word “awesome” … dammit!).

  29. I really appreciated this podcast (which basically appeared on every member of my branch in Chicago’s FB wall at once), even though I might not have agreed with every point. It’s critical that we as members openly and frankly discuss these problems of cultural alienation, and we need to strive to make sure that our services and lessons are tailored to making the gospel relevant to all of our lives (which it is). Singles Wards are often awkward, and thats what drives people away. It doesn’t have to be that way.

    I would have loved to hear from actual YSAs on the podcast, but overall, I really appreciate what you did.

    1. “this podcast (which basically appeared on every member of my branch in Chicago’s FB wall at once)” 
      LOVE that! What a time we live in. It sounds like there might be another episode with some YSA voices in the works, @7ffbc1db53311a2c77e24aad9e9fc377:disqus 

  30. In the end, the reasons for people quitting are almost as many as are the people. But I have talked to so many, who talk about their “integrity” requiring them to go. That makes me want to ask them a few questions: Like, did their grade school teacher tell them that the U.S. engaged in a genocidal war against the American Indians (I bet most Americans still would contest that idea, right)?  And so on and so forth…

    No organization whatsoever approaches their potential members (or clients, if we’re talking about businesses) by first telling about their worst gaffes, and then more or less saying, “well, in case you’re still interested…”

    That the Church itself should present a more nuanced picture of itself, is definitely true. But also, I have been around the block, and haven’t seen anybody, who’s perfect. We all make mistakes. And I can see new people in the Q12, for example, who are much less hellfire and brimstone than some I won’t mention by name here. I can see our geographical diversity beginning to be reflected in the general authorities (slowly, but certainly).

    I also see some young adults, who have grown up as a part of a minuscule minority in their peer group, and they have far less trouble with historical gaffes. They know that nobody is perfect, and they have fewer delusions of grandeur. I don’t want to bash Utah, but it does seem that there’s this ultra-conformist tendency around the “happy valley” that isolates people from everyone, who is even slightly different or unorthodox. And couple that with the cultural “we’re invincible” blind spot, and you have people falling on rock bottom when their eyes start opening.

    And I don’t kid myself that I have all the answers; I don’t. But less navel-gazing is definitely in order for us.

  31. As one progresses through life, one gains understanding.

    1. Youthful indiscretions grant an understanding of why sin is tempting, and why people yield to temptation.  2.  Political power plays within organizations grant an understanding of why people can become afraid of organized religion, and powerful beings such as Gods.

    The atonement is a wonderful balm for the first kind of understanding, and brings people closer to God.  However, for the second kind of understanding, some people may find the atonement to not fit as well.

    I, for one, will admit that I tire of hearing about how “special” and “unique” we are for attending Church.  I don’t attend Church because I’m special, I attend Church because I am greedy.  Pure and simple.

    It’s time we owned up to what it really means to be a Latter-Day Saint.  It means that we desire to live with God in the Celestial Kingdom, and to inherit all that He hath.  It really does boil down to that desire.  It means not letting anything get in the way of that desire, for yourself or anyone else.

    Note that the first thing Alma 32, that great chapter on faith, states that it all begins with desire.  This desire, in my mind, is the solution to the second kind of understanding.

    That said, I genuinely feel for people who become lost because they believe that the Church, or God, does not want them.  Given that in the atonement, Christ is the mediator, and it is Christ that told us to take upon us his yoke, I hope we remember to treat others as Christ would treat us.

    1.  Ok now that I got my spiritual expression off of my chest, now for some practical insight.

      Yesterday I was reading amazon.com’s reviews of the book “Who Moved My Cheese”.  One of the most insightful reviews stated that “Of course management loves a book like this – it effectively turns them into a force of nature, absolving them of all responsibility.”

      Poking around I saw a link to another book, “Not Everyone Gets a Trophy”.  In the reviews for that book was an actual interview with the author, pointing out that Generation Y thinks in terms of transactions (if you do this then I do that).  We want to have a say in how we dispatch our responsibilities.  As youth, we have many demands placed on us, and the idea of sacrifice is not something we take lightly.  It’s not a question of how well you meet individual responsibilities, it’s a question of how many responsibilities you meet, and we would rather come up with a transaction that will allow us to meet all of them.

      Does that last point require an example?  Say I want to go to surfing tomorrow, on a Thursday.  However, I have a big task at work.  I might say to my boss that I will finish the task by Wednesday at midnight in exchange for the day off tomorrow.

      We believe that technological advancements should allow us to have additional free time, while still meeting our responsibilities.  However, this clashes with the traditional idea of constant one-upsmanship that the boss really wants to see.  Generation Y doesn’t like the idea of being a gladiator in an arena solely for the entertainment of the boss.

      It’s not that Generation Y is rejects the Church, it’s that Generation Y rejects Corporate America, and the Church, or any other organized religion, is just another Corporation.  The proof is in the pudding – Missions are essentially a big numbers game, as is Home Teaching.  Companionships are designed to foster either a lowest common denominator or a fierce competition.  Members go to church to brag about their illustrious lives and how many activities they take on (or how many activities their children take on).

      The “sink-or-swim” mentality, and the idea of “becoming” something, doesn’t really appeal to Generation Y.  The youth are looking for somewhere where they can grow safely, not somewhere where they grow hard.  Video games taught us gamification, a system where rewards scale with effort. This contrasts with the rewards scale with loyalty ideas of the past.

      Leadership doesn’t appeal to everyone.  The idea of becoming a god-like force of nature, absolving myself of all responsibility, and constantly demanding more of those around me (because I can) just doesn’t seem moral.

      1. Wonderfully expressed @c3150a906aabfc638d83f276aed41182:disqus  . Times, (and institutions, expectations, way of life, world views…), they are a’changin, and cultural institutions including religion need to either adapt or fade away….  including religion need to either adapt or fade away…. 

  32.  “Acknowledge where people are and apply the gospel to that reality.”  Much of our leadership lacks this ability.  Many of our members lack this ability.  Many of our families lack this ability.  This is such an uphill battle that I am dubious that the status quo could ever really change.  

  33. Please do a follow-up discussing the social sensitivity piece.  This is what I struggle with most as a 34-year-old struggling to stay in the church.  I appear straight-laced – stay at home mom with 4 kids – but am adverse to the gender and social narratives, as well as historical and intellectual issues.

    This is my favorite podcast I’ve ever listened to – and due to a technical error I had to listen to the first half about 3 times and didn’t mind!

  34. I am 25 years old, married and I attend church regularly. I list this information only so you will know where this point of view is coming from in category. I agreed with many of the points that were discussed in this podcast and I think that the 80% figure is accurate when I look around at all of my peers who have left the Church as apposed to the ones who have stayed.

    One thing that I think is important to address is the emphasis that church puts on things like personal appearance and other things outlined in the “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet that I believe are outdated.  I have always found it hard to believe that having hair below my collar or having facial hair makes a significant difference in the way I worship or come closer to God. I believe it has little to do with anything that has to do with salvation. It seems to me that it is just someone’s personal preference. I was told before leaving on my mission that I needed to stay clean shaven while preparing for my mission because things like facial hair inhibit us from feeling the spirit. This was from a member of the Stake Presidency. I felt sorry for this person because I think he actually believed that facial hair had a relevance to how he or I could feel the spirit.

    The reason that I think this is an actual problem and not just because I have a beard and will continue to have one forever, (I look better this way) is because recently my brother who has 4 children asked me “What will you do if your son wants to grow his hair out really long.” I replied ” Nothing….why would I do anything? Why would I choose to look at someone’s long hair as anything but a preferred look? And how does this effect anybody negatively?” He was surprised at my response and drew the same conclusions as that stake president member about appearance. Does anybody think this actually matters? Why is this being talked about? Couldn’t we spend more time talking about the things that were mentioned in this podcast? The printing space in the  FTSOTY could be better used with this information. There are more important issues than appearance to be worried about.

    I am worried that many members of the church think this way, they put emphasis on things of little importance and do little to become as the podcast called it “Better Christians.” I felt alienated from my brother after this conversation and felt like he “didn’t get it.” He did not understand the purpose of the gospel because he is too concerned with what color of shirt someone wears to church. As a young person I find this horrible and wish to spend my time at church talking about things that actually matter to me and my family.

    1.  I’m getting to this discussion late, but I just listened to the podcast.

      My wife and I taught a novel Institute class in 2 different states and the results after 5 years in one place were being repeated when the Church Education Department decided to terminate our little endeavor (along with many others under that same broad brushstroke).

      Why would this matter?  Of the about 60 kids we taught our fifth year at the first location, we attended several missionary farewells and about 15 temple weddings (many were pairings from within our class).

      Interestingly enough we did not teach the Gospel overtly, we taught ballroom dance instead.  We taught dance routines where young women and young men were required to work together in close physical proximity.  We gave them opportunities to perform in front of ward and stake functions where they could receive honor and recognition (applause) from their community and families.  We taught them that others depended on them (their partners and other team members).  In short, we taught them many of the lessons they needed and craved, that the Church does not.

      Our own children are now in this demographic and the Church is failing them and we have no opportunity to serve them as we served others.

  35. This was brilliant! You guys really hit the nail on the head with your analysis! I really enjoyed this podcast! 

  36. I am a 29 year old single male. I have lived all over the US and all over the world in my 10 years as a young single adult (Utah, Las Vegas, Atlanta, DC, New York, Phoenix, Boston, Chicago, Thailand, Guatemala, Ghana, and El Salvador) so I feel like I have a decent perspective on what it is like being a young single adult in a wide variety of places.
    I think the panelists are off. I understand their desire to help, to discuss the issues, and to figure out how to better help and serve the needs of young single adults and there is a place for that conversation. I don’t believe that this form of self-appointment or the overall tone that “the Brethren don’t get it” or that “Elder Ballard is a general authority so I defer to him, BUT . . . ” is the right context with which to discuss it. I thought it was interesting that in the final minutes the moderator said that he wished sex were discussed in more positive terms. I wish the whole podcast had been framed in positive terms and in the context of faith.
    Again, I see where they are coming from, but I believe firmly that stuff like this, while well intentioned, ultimately and unwittingly does much more harm than good.

  37. Very interesting podcast.  There may be one or two main causes for the mass youth exodus, but I think it gets much more complex on an individual basis, where a variety of issues come into play in unique ways.  The points about people discovering that following the church check-list didn’t bring the promised blessings really resonated with me.  I left the church at 29 when it suddenly became clear to me that the check-list was irrelevant.  I went on a mission at 19, went to BYU, got married at 24 in the temple, went on to a professional school so I would be able to support my family, had a kid, fulfilled callings to the best of my ability, was a ward financial clerk . . . and one day my wife told me that she no longer believed in the church.  After following the check-list, I couldn’t understand how my wife could no longer believe and ruin my chance at exaltation.  I poured over my patriarchal blessing, surely something as momentous as my wife leaving the church should be addressed in it and there should be advice how to navigate this trial, but there was nothing.  My wife’s disaffection and suddenly realizing that I no longer had any control over my ability to follow the church’s checklist catapulted me outside the Mormon mindset and I was forced to view things as an outsider.

    That is when the information available on the internet began to play a role and I learned about the historical church history, rather than the mythological church history.  My testimony was shot and I had to construct an entirely new worldview and narrative for my life.  We found that the “world” is a much more rational and beautiful place than we had been led to believe. In comparison to our experiences outside the church, our church experiences were quite oppressive.  I think the married wards are failing to nourish the members as much as the single’s wards are failing.  At least in the single’s ward we felt focused on and that our personal development was being nourished.  In the married ward, the entire focus was on being parents and there was no longer any personal development as all efforts were focused on the youth.  Even the youth activities don’t seem very relevant and I did not enjoy my youth experiences in the church, which mostly consisted of unprepared leaders capitulating to allowing the young men to play basketball each mutual. We have since found a Catholic family retreat that focuses on providing a nourishing experience for ALL the family members.  For all the talk in the LDS church about families, at this retreat we finally felt a true focus on all members of the family.  We nicknamed it “Especially for Families” because much of it felt like a version of “Especially for Youth”.

    Leaving the church has allowed us to be honest with ourselves and no longer try to fit the mold.  The experience has also enabled me to acknowledge my being attracted to men, something I felt I had to deny and kill within myself in order to follow the church check-list.  With one of my wife’s main issues with the church being feminism, that put us into the feminist, intellectual, homosexual group that is an enemy to the church.  For us, at least, there is a complex interplay of factors that led us out of the church, but I doubt our experience is representative of very many other individuals within the mass youth exodus. I expect most individual stories are unique, although some overlap between them may make up the top couple of reasons for the exodus.  In retrospect, for people who end up in our demographic, I don’t find that the church’s teachings are simply irrelevant, in many ways they are actively harmful.

    1. if you don’t mind sharing, i would love to hear a few details about the catholic family retreat you attended. what jumped out at you as effective? what was a general schedule like?

  38.  I haven’t had a chance to read all of the comments yet, but I am just wrapping up listening to the podcast, and man, have I found a great way to get my laundry folded!  This was fantastic!  I am the YW pres in my ward, have two teenagers, and have a handful of dear friends and even more acquaintances who are halfway in halfway out of the church, and I have been trying so hard to figure out how to get and keep these wonderful people into the church, because we NEED them!  We need them not because we need more perfection, but because we need more reality, and I have come to the conclusion that was echoed in this podcast- we need to let them come as they are, and make the gospel relevant to where they are.  It must be a tool!  This was so exciting for me to hear people articulating what has been knocking around in my head.  The interesting thing is, toward the end of the podcast (before the sex talk began), it was mentioned that we need to create a culture of even the lowliest among us (youngest, not in leadership positions) receiving revelation and being listened to.  The GAs are trying to promote this culture- if you were at the first world wide training on the new CHI, this idea was very much promoted- councils need to receive revelation- including YW/YM class presidencies.  The problem is, as I see it (sitting in my ward council twice a month), that there are many, many people who cannot let go of an older “stricter” model, despite the counsel we have been given.  I saw a real change in the first meeting after this training, and have watched it devolve back into what it was before (largely guided by one member of the council- not a member of the bishopric).

    1. @6f08d173b33827689d7ddc5890041be3:disqus , I am delighted to hear that the training meeting addressed these topics. I really do believe that the leaders are doing the best they can; I also acknowledge that cultural changes are taking place so fast that it is extremely difficult for them to conceptualize how to address them. This is why LISTENING is so important….  

  39. This is a great discussion going on here. I am a 27 year old single woman who is very far from marriage and I do not at all feel alienated from the church, but I realize that my experience is unique. I grew up in a home in which my parents were very very open about sex, drugs, and rock and roll. My father went inactive in his youth as a rebellion to his own father, joined a travelling band, and experimented with drugs and alcohol. My mother, who  felt ignored by her parents, ended up getting pregnant at the age of seventeen because her boyfriend was showing her love and attention she was not getting elsewhere. Both of my parents were very open about their experiences, very open about the repentance process, and I think because they had these experiences and were willing to share, the gospel, for me, was more about my individual relationship with God, and how the gospel heals people, then the gospel being a checklist to follow until we gain the large suburban home with the white picket fence (which is very far from what I would ever want anyway). Because I had that example and such an open forum in my home growing up, the gospel is a very real, individual thing for me and I love it. However, as much as I love it, I definitely get tired of the marriage conversation; I’m tired of marriage being looked to as an “end all” when that is not the case. One can live a very rich life, filled with service, love, and strong relationships without being married, and I can testify to that. I am not a future leader, I consider myself a current leader in the church who is making a difference.

    I have been in lots of singles wards, and I will say that I disagree with a comment made early on in this discussion. Perhaps, again, my experience is unique, but the majority of the single sister relief societies I’ve been in have very consciously stayed away from talking about our roles as future mothers too much because they know we are tired of it. I was in a ward in Salt Lake and a ward in Provo where marriage was hardly ever discussed, instead we had very rich and meaty gospel discussions, and I loved it. So the things you guys are proposing here are happening in some wards already, it just needs to be spread to all wards. As a Sunday school teacher in my ward, I really try to use the manual as little as possible, and create a conversation that is different and will get people talking about tougher, meatier issues. I think that is important to do. I look forward to being in a family ward and hopefully working with the youth. I love the idea of telling the youth to question things. They should know that it is okay! Just in the last year I have had 4 friends leave the church and it has caused me to really question things and ponder on why I am still active, it has caused me to challenge and question the gospel and my role in it, and that has changed and strengthened my testimony. The youth need to know that is okay, and in fact, should be encouraged.

    This is really long, I apologize, but I just want to thank you for this discussion and I believe that there can be a change in the church, we just need to be that change.

  40. Great podcast, guys.  I got married when I was 19 (cringe), so I totally can’t relate to the whole singles ward thing, but so much of the content of this podcast (and Part 2) deals with much bigger issues and a wider audience, I think. 

    A lot to think about here.  Hope people are listening . . .

  41. I am not of the Mormon faith but have had an interest in it due to a close friend being Mormon.  His son, a 22 year old, single male is struggling so much right now.  For quite sometime, I have felt that the reason may be in regards to this subject matter…  thank you for this page.  I have forwarded the link to my friend as I really believe it may help his son to realize that he is not alone!

    Thank you & blessings to you all!

  42. Great discussion, as I was one of those who left at 26, and I’m almost 40 now. My disillusion began at BYU, when began to question my involvement in organized religion. Couldn’t stomach it any longer and quit cold turkey. Nothing personal, but not my cup of tea, and my family respects my decision, though it took them awhile to accept it.

  43. Great discussion, there was a lot discussed that I am going to have to think about. I could use some clarification if anyone wants to offer it.

    Correct me if I understood this wrong but a big theme of this podcast seemed to be that YSAs are going inactive at an alarmingly high rate. We are trying to figure out what the problem is and what we should do about it. The brethren have noticed the problem as well and have tried to implement some programs and emphases to address this (encouragment to get married quick, changing the YSA ward organization). A big part of this discussion seemed to be focusing on the idea that some of these solutions might not fix the problems.

    My questions are what exactly is being said here? Are you saying that the brethren are out of touch, that they don’t understand the problems of the YSAs and so their solution is off the mark? Or maybe you are saying that we aren’t getting what the brethren are saying, that their solution is right, but we aren’t using it as we should.

    Honestly, if it is the former, I am more inclined to side with the brethren. I think they have a better grasp of what is going on than the people who spoke in this discussion. I am not saying that I think the panel doesn’t have good ideas or valid perspectives, but I think the brethren have broader view of the church as a whole, facilitated by their prophetic callings, and so I trust their solutions more than I trust the solutions of someone without that perspective.

    Just a thought

  44. Thank you all for a lively, thoughtful discussion. The tail end brought to mind a lovely piece from Sunstone, “When Virgins Collide”: https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/when-virgins-collide/

      1. Just heard Joanna Brooks on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, following up on her piece in the Washington Post about Mormon Myths. As nimble, friendly and articulate as anything on Mormon Matters. 

        The audio file will be available at 6 pm: http://www.npr.org/2011/08/24/139918754/the-oft-misunderstood-faith-of-modern-mormons

  45. Yes to theology as a reason to leave. The Book of Mormon contradicts the bible. It’s a different message – I think the young people can see that.

  46. I also think the more recent move toward being “Christian” will inevitibly move people of all ages away from the LDS church. The truth is that there is ONE God not a God of this world.

  47. I can’t hope to read all the comments, and I haven’t gotten all the way through the podcast, but there was a part when Tresa  (I think?) talked about how, when our lives don’t match the cultural pattern perfectly, then the church culture becomes another thing to bludgeon ourselves with. AMEN. I grew up in a traditional Mormon family and saw that plan work wonderfully for my parents (albeit with the usual doses of sacrifice). My own sisters, however, have had multiple fertility issues. My husband developed IBS (severe digestional problems) shortly after our marriage, and finishing school and even making it to church has become much more difficult than we ever anticipated. We all hate the social pressures to follow that traditional life path. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is when people greet me by asking, “Oh, are you alone today again?” instead of just asking how I’m doing, or directing their inquiries towards whether or not my husband is inactive instead of genuinely asking about his health and well-being. And so I find that I have bludgeoned myself with my life’s non-adherence to the traditional route, and going to church is something I steel myself against, rather then anticipate as a period of renewal and upliftment. So amen, and thank you for pointing out how difficult this social problem can be. And, as you’ve pointed out multiple times, our theology is so much more expansive than this issue, and could (and is, as I’ve witnessed at times) be taught to embrace and lift rather than serve as a benchmark and measuring stick to beat ourselves with.

    1. Thanks for sharing your reactions to the podcast and some of your experiences here. 

      Yay on fellow believer in Mormon theology being far more expansive than how it plays out in today’s (and I’m sure any day’s) church life. Awesome, too, on not beating ourselves up. (If you haven’t yet, I hope you’ll try our episode on guilt and shame. Some big connections to this there.)
      I know it’s a poor substitute for a ward member asking, but how’s your husband’s health and well-being these days?

      1. I feel sick after listening to this, not
        A good spirit, the church is doing so much good and ofcourse we can improve, but focusing on the negative is easy.. I’m 29 and single and have lived all over the world and in the US and feel their is SO much good happening that it’s out rageous.. Sorry guys I really felt that was a sounding board for anybody that saw the glass as half full.. I can find that in anything, anywhere I go..

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