The Fallout Story

Hawkgrrrl Anti-Mormon, Asides, christianity, church, Culture, faith, Humor, inter-faith, LDS, Mormon, mormon, Mormons, religion, testimony, women 130 Comments

The Fallout Story is a rule of etiquette (that I made up) that I hold sacred for discussing breakups.  The rule is:  the dumpee owns the fallout story.  The dumper is prohibited from making any disparaging remarks (henceforth and forever) about the dumpee, as a matter of courtesy.  As a friend put it:  “She keeps the ring; she tells the story.”  This is where we get the phrase:  “It’s not you; it’s me.”  We all know that’s not true (c’mon, if it wasn’t them, why are you dumping them?), but it is good etiquette.  The Fallout Story rule applies for all kinds of breakups:  romantic, employment, loaning money or credit, and I would like to suggest, leaving the church (it’s usually called an “exit story” in this last case, but the rule applies).

There are rules of etiquette in polite society.  Put the tea bag in the cup before the hot water.  A used knife should remain on the plate, not be returned to the table.  The person to the right goes first at a 4-way stop.  But there are other unofficial rules of etiquette not yet adopted that should be.  Don’t talk on the phone while you are going to the toilet (public restrooms or otherwise).  Don’t use acronyms for the eff word on Mormon blogging sites.  Never run over time when you teach a lesson during the 3rd hour.  Don’t subject acquaintances to pictures from your mission or vacation without repeated requests to do so.

So, why is the Fallout Story rule just good manners?  I realize that most breakups are not all one-sided.  Often, it is mutually beneficial to both parties, and there may be blame enough to go around.  But, as Sesame Street taught, when you divide a piece of cake, one person gets to cut the cake, and the other chooses which piece s/he wants.  That way, the person will try to cut the cake fairly.  You can’t have it both ways.  You can’t get to cut the cake and also choose the first piece, and then tell everyone that you were forced to eat the cake when what you really wanted was ice cream.

I know, as a person who has been the dumper in a relationship, that being the one to make the call, to decide to walk away, can be deeply satisfying with its own intrinsic benefits.  You are prepared to walk away on your own terms and (at least for the moment) may even be willing do whatever it takes to get out.  Which is exactly why you should be courteous to the dumpee.  The one with the most awareness in the situation, the one who is calling the shots, has an obligation to be courteous to those with less power or awareness.  This idea goes to the heart of courtesy.  In WWII, Winston Churchill was criticized for his deferential declaration of war written to the Japanese.  As Winston Churcill replied, “When you have to kill a man, it costs nothing to be polite.”

So, in leaving the church, my rule would state that if the church severs the relationship, out of courtesy, the individual owns the rights to the Fallout Story (rather than the church).  Obviously, an ex-Mo seeking reconciliation will have different motivation in how the Fallout Story is relayed.  But if the post-Mo leaves voluntarily to pursue other interests, that person should only use the most courteous terms in describing the fallout and in referring to the Church they left.  And if that person is antagonistic and vocal in attacking the church, the church would own the Fallout Story and be able to explain events from an official perspective.

A wise businessman I know once said (of individuals declined for credit):  “We don’t decline people for credit; we only tell them what it will take to obtain credit, and they determine whether they want to do those things.”  When it comes to parting ways with the church, some fallout (but not all) is like that.  So, (under my made up rule), if you want out, but you want rights to the Fallout Story, you have to get kicked out.  We’ve all seen breakups like that, where you make the other person so miserable they finally break it off.

Another reason for etiquette in these situations is that relationships between people (and organizations are people) is very subjective.  Your “ex” may be a great partner to someone else.  Even though you didn’t really mean it when you said, “It’s not you, it’s me” there is still some truth to that sentiment.  As Yasmina Reza put it in the play “Art”:  “If I am who I am because you are who you are, then I am not who I am, and if you are who you are because I am who I am, then I am not who I am.”  So, assuming that you are right in your negative perceptions of the dumpee (company, church, or any other individual or organization you voluntarily disassociate yourself with) is inherently unfair because your experience with them is always subjective and about you as well as them.

So, do you agree that the Fallout Story rule is good etiquette for those leaving the church (and vice-versa)?  Can you think of valid exceptions?

What other unofficial rules of etiquette do you feel should be adopted in the modern LDS church?

Comments

comments

Comments 130

  1. Two things,

    1. The fallout story / exit story is somewhat of a hybrid of divorce stories and consumer reports: emotionally loaded, filled with inconsistencies yet holding a grain of an experience.

    A person who leaves needs to be validated, particularly because the institution places a negative value on the exiting party (the phrase ‘better to have a millstone tied around your neck and cast into the depths of the sea’ was used on me once by a good friend years ago, it still smarts). Shouldn’t a person take action to protest their good name?

    A person who leaves ultimately needs to find alternatives and telling stories don’t help that.

    But a person like me spent time, heart and energy promoting it and sometimes feel that the institution just isn’t what we worked for – and want to warn those still in, just like we wanted to warn those outside the institution before we left. The learned behavior of voicing our opinion on the institution (however well researched) on unwelcoming parties is just as bad post Mormon and True Believing Mormon.

    A code of etiquette? I guess my would be to respect the beliefs of others and insist on respect from others.

  2. Hawkgrrrl,

    This is a very fair-minded approach.

    Of course, there are different dynamics when one person leaves one other person than when one person leaves a group, to say nothing of a global organization, still less of a religious organization which claims the ultimate allegiance of its members.

    In general I am inclined to agree with your approach.

    Other unofficial rules of etiquette: If dark-suited male General Authorities are going to be the overwhelming majority of speakers in General Conference, ask colorfully-dressed women to offer the opening and closing prayers.

    BEFORE calling someone to a position, get their spouse’s permission and support.

  3. Hawkgrrrl,

    Very nice analogy. I think many of those who leave the Church and still care enough to describe themselves as Exmo, don’t have the emotional perspective to see how ungracious and crass their screeds can become.

    I might add to the analogy, that a good predictor of how a new relationship may go is how the previous one ended. The breakup itself may not be a good indicator of character, but the fashion and style with which one handles it is. Or a little more simply, don’t date someone who still fixates on their ex(es).

  4. ‘Put the tea bag in the cup before the hot water.”

    How is it that a good mormon girl like you knows about this, hawkgrrrl? 🙂

    Anyway, I think you could add to these rules of etiquette:

    ‘We can still be friends’

    as women usually say to their dumpee’s.

  5. Great post and ideas expressed. I know many who have left the church (permanently or just very less-active). All of them played a part by either sins of commission or omission. I know that sounds extreme and I know the organization of the church is not perfect. However, in my experience, it has proven true. It would be great ettquette to hear one of my friends someday say,

    “You know what. I didn’t go to church on Sundays. I wasn’t good about serving in the Temple. I didn’t come to church on Sundays with an attitude of bettering myself. I didn’t read my scriptures and pray as much as I should. However- I don’t know that if I had it would have changed the way I think about the church. Maybe so. It’s only fair to see that I could have been part of the problem.” And then they can continue on with their long story of how certain things can’t be proven factually, and how Joseph Smith had a young wife, and how people in the church were discriminatory, clique, fake. . .

    There is almost always some tragic story about something lame that somebody said or did to them.

    The people in the church can do and say horrible things. Some people in the history of our church have said and done things I don’t understand and don’t agree with. People aren’t perfect and I’m grateful to have a testimony that isn’t founded on the choices of others, but instead a confirmation that when I live the gospel with my whole heart my life is full of joy and when I don’t, it isn’t.

  6. Carlos JC – “How is it that a good mormon girl like you knows about this (how to make tea), hawkgrrrl?” I had to learn this one the hard way, by waitressing when I was in high school to a Bostonian who lectured me rather publicly on my poor tea making skills. Then he told me it was a good thing I had my looks to get by on (to soften the blow about my lack of waitressing skill). Ah, those were the days.

  7. The problem with your otherwise sensitive and compassionate reasoning is that the person making the choice to leave an organization is not the party with the power. Altho they may take back their personal power it is insignificant in comparison to the organizations aggregate and public power.

    Further, the person leaving is, assumedly, leaving because they have discovered a personal truth. Truth always wants to be heard. And, conversely, falsehood (which we can assume the leaving party would assess the organization to embody), is best disclosed. So, it follows that someone who feels they had previously been deceived and/or controlled, and has now discovered a liberating truth would, necessarily, want to make that clear.

    Not saying politesse isn’t always welcome and appreciated, but I think you’re asking for it where other issues of great belief v. betrayal have other agendas.

  8. #5–“I know many who have left the church (permanently or just very less-active). All of them played a part by either sins of commission or omission.”

    This is exactly the problem with the ‘dumpee’ owning the story. If someone chooses to leave the church, the church is the ‘dumpee’. According to your rules, the church owns the story and the story that is almost universally told is that the person who left is a sinner. (Technically, this is true–in the church’s eyes, leaving the church is a sin, so if you leave the church you are by definition a sinner).

    People generally want to leave quietly, but if the church labels them as sinners, they feel a need to respond.

  9. Bill. In my experience, the church has been very careful not to label any specific friend (speaking of those who have left the church) of mine. As an organization and most people in it, everyone was careful and considerate- not labeling any of them as “sinners”. I recognize that my experience is limited, but I was just saying that my friends happen to have played an equal part in the church not working out for them. It is frustrating to me that the church is hold to a high level of expectation with how they treat anyone who leaves, but that people who leave just get verbal and loud about leaving and why. They own the fallout story. The quote in the post that I was responding to was “So, in leaving the church, my rule would state that if the church severs the relationship, out of courtesy, the individual owns the rights to the Fallout Story (rather than the church).” I just wish that those who left the church would be fair in their fallout stories and see what they may have done to contribute to it not working- and admit it. That’s all.

  10. This whole “you contributed to things not working out” is fine when it comes to a discontinued relationship between two “normal” people. It’s not fine when the “dumper” leaves because the “dumpee” was a child molester. Why should an individual who leaves a toxic, pathological person be obligated to be silent about the “dumpee?” If anything, you might expect the “dumper” in that case to warn others of the dangers he or she perceives the “dumpee” to pose toward others.

    Many times, when an individual leaving the LDS church, they do so because they have concluded that the LDS church was not what they were previously persuaded that it was. Such individuals feel they were deceived, and yes, they often harbor some anger toward the institution, at least for a time. In such a person’s view, the institution is just as toxic and pathological as a supposed lover who turns out to be deceptive and/or criminal. They may even feel a sense of urgency to warn others of what they perceive as serious problems in the institution.

    The fact that most continuing LDS members disagree with the “dumper” doesn’t mean the “dumper” is somehow obligated to present the institution in the way they would prefer. Those who disagree with the “dumper” are always free to express their differing experience with the institution.

  11. The “dumper” vs. “dumpee” distinction (and the accompanying etiquette) is too reliant on point of view to be of use in the broader sense. I could come up with a half dozen scenarios which would easily blur the distinction.

    Re: “dumping” or “being dumped by” the church. There is an asymmetry.

    1. Excommunicated members get to say whatever they want about the proceedings and reasons. They get to characterize the leaving process however they wish. They fit your model of the “dumpee” because church policy prohibits public statements (or private discussion) of the circumstances of ecclesiastical courts. The ex’d person *owns* the discussion and story as sole proprietor.

    2. People who have their own names removed are in a slightly different position. In their case, there’s *nothing to be said* by the church or church authorities except “they asked to be removed, and we did.” Unlike the early days of the church, no one is telling the congregation over the pulpit who’s leaving, why, and what should be thought of them. I’ve been a part of dozens of people leaving the church of their own accord (clerking, mostly; leadership, sometimes). There’s nothing to be said by the church organization or leaders except “they asked to be removed” and that’s what we might say if asked. Usually, no one asks, and so no one says anything. If there’s a “story” or “side of the story” to be told, it’s *also* always done by the leaving party (as far as the church is concerned; if individual members like to gossip, that probably happens and it’s discouraged and also their character flaw, IMO).

    So it seems that the leaving party always seems to get the last word in this kind of “breakup.” Asymmetrical, for sure.

    IMO, the people with the strongest feelings and the tallest soapbox get to own the story.
    In most cases, it’s the leaving party for policy reasons. I also think there’s some wisdom behind those policies. If one might frequent certain ex-Mormon internet discussion forums, one might quickly see a level of bile, filth, and disrespect that I would hate the Saints to lower themselves too. The Saints would, too, if encouraged to gossip/defend/attack/talk about the “breakups.” I’m glad the policy is like my mother’s (“if you can’t say anything nice…”).

    Bill says:

    People generally want to leave quietly, but if the church labels them as sinners, they feel a need to respond.

    You may be mistaken in your assertion here. You may never have been to ex’s discussion forums where they don’t allow the church, it’s active members, or anyone else involved with the “breakup” to say anything, much less “label” anything. They do not leave quietly. They do not “respond” to anyone or anything in any sense of the word.

  12. I’ll take Jesus’ words:

    “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

    That’s NOT the natural response; the natural response is to strike back when you feel harmed. Jesus also taught that blessed are the meek and merciful.

    It really doesn’t get more complicated than that for me.

    (Nick, did that qualify as pulling the ultimate authority card?) 🙂

  13. #9 – “In my experience, the church has been very careful not to label any specific friend (speaking of those who have left the church) of mine.”

    You are right, the church doesn’t single people out–it implies that they are ALL sinners. There have been various conference talks over the years that have implied that people who leave do so because of sin or because of offense. You certainly seem to have bought in to the idea.

    #12 – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

    For people who feel they have been deceived (as described by Nick #10), the ‘do unto others’ response would be (from #10) that “They may even feel a sense of urgency to warn others of what they perceive as serious problems in the institution.” Warning others of perceived danger is a Christ-like response. After all, ‘it becometh every man who has been warned to warn his neighbor.’

  14. First of all people that who have been committed to the gospel and leave have got to have the chance to grieve and to expect them to do so in silence is just not reasonable. It’s like asking someone who has lost a family member or is terminally ill to skip the first 3-4 stages of grieving and go straight to quiet acceptance. Expecting that sort of behavior is rooted in the belief that deep down there’s nothing wrong, untrue or false about the church and if a person believes that to be the case and acts on it they must be stupid, shallow, weak or sinful. To whit:

    “All of them played a part by either sins of commission or omission. I know that sounds extreme and I know the organization of the church is not perfect. However, in my experience, it has proven true.”

    #5. There are a lot of buttons you can push with people who have decided to leave the church and I think the “I know you say it was about doctrine but we really know it’s sinful slothful loathsome behavior and not only that somebody didn’t smile at you and you’re offended is the real and true reason you’ve left the fold” has got to be number one. “In my experience” and $2.50 will get you a short low fat latt (decaff) e at Starbucks. And the term “All” covers a lot of people. If you’re interested in reading a reasoned thoughtful opinion on the subject go to Runtu’s Rincon http://www.runtu.wordpress.com and read his post “The Right Way” on the subject. And remember that for the sake of one to many cognitive dissonances you could be in the same boat.

  15. Wow, that twist about the church wasn’t expected, even though I was kind of wondering where it was going. That is so true! It’s unfortunate that so many get to rip on the Church or on leaders when the leaders out of politeness and privacy issues can’t defend themselves. The problem with adopting the Fallout Story is that the Church can adopt it, but those once people leave the Church, they don’t and probably won’t live that etiquette. As for other rules, still thinking . . .

  16. Nick: “It’s not fine when the “dumper” leaves because the “dumpee” was a child molester. Why should an individual who leaves a toxic, pathological person be obligated to be silent about the “dumpee?” If anything, you might expect the “dumper” in that case to warn others of the dangers he or she perceives the “dumpee” to pose toward others.” I think your analogy goes too far. Child molesters have violated the law and are sick, sick, sick individuals. Even if you don’t believe the church is true, and even if you believe you were “deceived,” only one who truly believes in a DaVinci-esque high level conspiracy could truly believe the church is a deceptive kabal. I realize that idea is the basis of The Godmakers, but since that movie (like the DaVinci Code and other works of fiction) relies so much on bad sourcework and outright fabrication, how can a person who was once believing go down that “total conspiracy” path? And even if it were a total conspiracy (a la Scientology’s attackers claims about that group), does that mean it is illegal and harmful along the lines of child molestation? Most agree (except the evangelical crowd who believe everyone is going to hell) that even if the church were not true, it is a good code of conduct for life and leads to happiness, again, nothing like child molestation. We have to start being respectful enough of other religions (in both directions) to stop telling people they are going to hell for cognitive dissonance, so I disagree this is a sound basis for attack. I know that’s an anti-evangelical statement, but so be it.

    N. – I agree with your remarks. In truth, members should not say anything untoward about those who leave unless necessary to clarify their own position (e.g. they are implicated in the Fallout Story).

  17. I tend to agree with Nick. I do think the “child molester” analogy goes too far (or maybe not–in the Catholic church, many people left because of church practices that essentially allowed child molesting; surely they are dumpers who should tell their version of the fallout story). But I think people who feel like they’ve been deceived may be justified in feeling that they have a right or responsibility to tell their story, even if what happened to them falls far short of being an illegal, harmful conspiracy.

    Suppose I meet a man who seems like a generally good, nice, decent guy. While he is wooing me, he talks constantly about his great family values and his financial stability, and those things in part persuade me to marry him. But after I marry him, I find out that he has failed to tell me about a lot of very unpleasant details in his past (previous marriages, extreme promiscuity, criminal convictions)–things I find very troubling, things he knows a lot of people would find troubling. I then leave him because even though he still seems like a nice guy, his lack of honesty and up-frontness about his past has made me feel extremely betrayed and misled. I believe he’s likely to mislead others similarly. Does he get to control the story?

  18. #16:
    Yes, it was probably unwise of me to use “child molester” as my analogy. I was not trying to say that the LDS church is engaged in criminal acts, etc. I used the example merely as a “clear case,” but I can see how that could be disturbing to some. I apologize for that. Rest assured that I do not think there is a massive LDS conspiracy out there, just waiting to become a Dan Brown novel.

    My original point was simply that if a person leaves the LDS church after concluding that it is not what it claims to be, that person cannot be reasonably expected to be silent about their conclusions. Rather than “bad manners,” as the initial post suggests, the “dumper” in this case may sincerely feel a moral obligation to warn others against what s/he perceives as a false set of faith claims.

  19. I’ve never quite understood this attitude: the only good exmormon is a silent exmormon. If someone leaves, say, the Scientologists, no Mormons will call them bitter or say that it’s bad manners for them to talk about their experience.

    Mormonism is part of who I am, and it’s natural for me to talk about something that I live every day. Where I will agree with you is that some people can and do get extreme in their attacks on the church. That’s unnecessary and, in my view, unhealthy.

    In my blog (http://runtu.wordpress.com), I talk about things that matter to me, and occasionally that means I’m critical of the church. People can and do disagree with me, and amazingly enough, we’ve had some interesting and helpful discussions.

    It’s not bad manners for me to talk about my life and my experiences and my thoughts. What is bad manners is telling me to shut up if you disagree with me.

  20. I’m sorry but this is a very bad analogy. The church is a very large and influencial organization. An individual is rather small and helples by comparison.

    The contention that people leave in order to sin is silly. They leave because the large conglomorate of a church no longer meets their needs spiritualy or otherwise. Yes, some of them are angry and bitter because they have given a lot of themselves to the church. In return they get guilt trips for not attending enough meetings, reading enough scriptures, or going through enough temple sessions.

    They have a story to tell, and to suggest that out of politeness they should not has not basis.

  21. Nick – “Rest assured that I do not think there is a massive LDS conspiracy out there, just waiting to become a Dan Brown novel.” Unfortunately, there are already several novels out there that cover this territory. Too bad Dan Brown doesn’t take a crack at it; it might at least be interesting.

    I think you have a point about being able to say *something* about why you have left (leaving the molester analogy behind). I suppose what I object to most is evangelizing “away from” religions people have left, almost regardless of motivation. I have yet to hear someone express their concern for the welfare of those who remain “deceived” without feeling it is disingenuous and condescending.

    Runtu – I certainly don’t feel that dialogue, even critical dialogue, should be silenced, just courteous. Most of the dialogue I see here on MM, even from those who have left the church, is respectful discussion from differing viewpoints. It’s far more healthy to take the gifts that ennoble from our experiences and to focus on the new paths that you hope will add to the positives in your life without making attacks on the past. You can’t live in both the past and in the now.

  22. Basically, I like the dumpee-tells-the-story rule for some breakups and not others. In some breakups, people (or people and institutions) just aren’t right for each other or have irreconcilable differences, and things don’t work out. No one’s really to blame, or both of them are to blame to some extent. In those situations, the etiquette rule seems fine.

    In other situations, someone is at fault, and it’s not necessarily the dumper. What if my husband habitually cheats on me and I leave him? What if I quit my job because my boss sexually harassed me or my paycheck keeps bouncing? Do I owe these dumpees the courtesy of allowing them to describe the breakup as they wish, while I’m just satisfied with being the one supposedly in control of the situation?

  23. Imperfection – “The church is a very large and influencial organization. An individual is rather small and helples by comparison.” In what way is the church’s size or influence binding on someone who has chosen to leave? The individual is the only one with any practical control over his/her own life, either in or out of the church.

  24. Anna – “What if I quit my job because my boss sexually harassed me or my paycheck keeps bouncing?” Sexual harassment is breaking the law. If your boss sexually harassed you, your company is not at fault unless they knew about it and failed to take action after it was reported or they encouraged or condoned it openly in a hostile work environment. So, your beef is with your boss, not your company, if you quietly leave an otherwise friendly environment without reporting your boss’s crime, and crimes should be reported. I agree that actual crimes cross the line from break-up to something else (e.g. plaintiff and defendant comes to mind, in which case, both stories are heard). If your paycheck keeps bouncing, that is a breach of contract on your company’s part. I think there is some serious question as to who chose to sever the relationship – you or them. They failed to meet their contractual obligations to you. Since neither of these analogies are really relevant to the leaving the church scenario (no paid clergy, etc.), I’ll just leave it at that.

  25. >>> the “dumper” in this case may sincerely feel a moral obligation to warn others against what s/he perceives as a false set of faith claims.

    I agree with Nick on this. However, it would then be inconsistent to allow those that are part of the “dumpee” (the LDS church) to feel the need to spread the word about the “dumper” about why they aren’t a trustworthy source of information. (Assuming they feel that way.)

    This is a consistency issue. If we allow for the moral possiblity that the “dumper” might have a moral obligation to spread the word, we don’t also get to get upset over the “slander” of the “dumpee.” I’m afraid it is one and the same.

    I like Hawkgrrls proposal not as a hard fast rule, but as an understanding between two parties. But of course both parties may honestly feel the need to spread the word for the sake of morality and, if they really feel that way, they should do so.

    One more point: If the person that leaves the LDS church does so on the grounds that they found a higher more certain or more correct truth, they *should* spread the word about the falsehoods in the LDS church.

    But if they did so on the grounds that there are no certainties and/or that religion is just a personal preference, then morally Hawkgrrl’s rule would apply and anything else would be a self-contradiction.

  26. I think the relationship analogy is deeply flawed. The relationship between church and member is not a relationship between equals.

    Besides, whenever the church severs the relationship via excommunication, they immediately poison the well by reminding everyone that since it is their policy to keep details of the proceedings confidential, any account given by the former member will necessarily be one-sided, and by implication, biased and unreliable.

    To me, that doesn’t seem like they are ceding “ownership” of the exit story to the former member. So why should someone choosing to “dump” the church cede anything to it?

  27. #25:
    One more point: If the person that leaves the LDS church does so on the grounds that they found a higher more certain or more correct truth, they *should* spread the word about the falsehoods in the LDS church.

    I don’t agree that the “dumper” always needs to have a better alternative before they can speak about their conclusions regarding LDS faiht claims, but there certainly are circumstances where one should be cautious about doing so. I have reached certain conclusions about the historical/faith claims of the LDS church, but I don’t discuss them with my children, who are still being raised as LDS by their mother. The vast majority of the LDS church’s behavioral teachings are, in my opinion, excellent guidelines for young people, and will protect young people from many potential dangers. There will come a time for them to make adult evaluations and decisions on their own, but for now, I’m not going to try to eliminate what has been a mostly-successful child-rearing model.

  28. Hawkgrrl,
    This is certainly a very well thought out and carefully considered point of view. you have obviously spent much time and careful preparation to be as thoughtful about this subject as possible.
    There is, however, an overwhelming flaw in your logic. You have never been in the situation you are describing, and therefore are not qualified to be as directly opinionated about it as you are. You come form a place where in every ‘exit story’ situation, the LDS church is still the good guy, and the ‘ex-mos’ are the bad guys in black clothing. You have no idea what it is like to leave the church under certain circumstances, namely when philosophocal and doctrinal differences are the reason, rather the the too easily assumed cop out of great personal sin on the part of the leaver.
    For those of us who have left the church under such reasons, the decision is a difficult, personal undertaking. I never cease to understand why in some cases members of the church take it upon themselves to develop broad sweeping generalizations about those who do leave. It is not personal to you, but it is to those of us who go through it. Not every member can be painted with the same brush, of course, but in my personal experience the lack of understanding and the automatic judgemnt to those who leave the church by members is sad and unChristian. If those who leave need to vent and tell their stories as a way of healing after a very difficult time in their lives, that is their right to do. And you have no right to try to set up rules for them to follow. It has, after all, nothing to do with you.
    I mean this respectfully. Please try and understand this from their side, even if you could never understand or condone their actions.

  29. In my experience, most ex-Mormons are repeated asked why they left by their LDS family and friends so it’s rather difficult for them to remain silent. Most struggle with how much to say because they don’t have a desire to damage the faith of people they love and respect. The ex-Mormons who do rail against the LDS Church, tend to do so in forums where they are among other ex-Mormons like themselves so I’m not sure there is any harm done to practicing Mormons. There is a much needed healing element in venting, especially when venting is done in healthy and appropriate ways.

    I guess my point is this, I’m not sure your analagy applies in this situation. It’s not a case of kiss and tell as it were and not being chivalrous and gallant. It’s an achingly emotional experience for the one who leaves. Just as it can be a source of grief and pain for his/her loved ones who remain. I think it’s a shame that there can’t be an open dialog between the two where they whys and wherefores can be expressed with out the faithful Mormon feeling threatened by his/her “apostate” loved one’s reasons for exiting.

    One final thought . . . I have been personal witness to the musings of Mormons on the reasons for someone’s departure from the LDS Church and have been appalled to hear them assume that the “apostate” surely must have committed some sin . . . ususally of a sexual nature. In fact, I called my spouse and two close friends on this one night when they were surmising that another close and long-time friend who had resigned must surely be having an affair. They were properly ashamed of themselves. Another popular notion held as an explanation for someone leaving the LDS Church is they were somehow offended and their reaction is petty and unjustified.

    No wonder ex-Mormons feel the need to state their case. It’s often a matter of defending their honor and integrity. I think the bottom line is, all too often, Mormons simply don’t want to be confronted with the possibility that someone else could possibly hold something else to be true and hold that belief in the same way they hold their “knowledge” of the truthe of their church. This is viewed as arrogant, naive and very off-putting to those of us who are not LDS and live among the LDS; especially when you are related to and love LDS people. It feels like you live on a one-way street, where you get no genuine respect, and it’s not pleasant.

  30. >>> I don’t agree that the “dumper” always needs to have a better alternative before they can speak about their conclusions regarding LDS faiht claims

    But that’s not what I said. I said if they leave “on the grounds that they found a higher more certain or more correct truth.” In other words, if you leave the Church because you think it is false and that people in the church are better off knowing it is false (that would be, by definition, a more correct truth or more certain truth) than you have an obligation to spread the word.

    However, it would be silly for such a person to then turn around and make the claim that what they think is “bad” about the LDS Church is that it thinks it has exclusive truths that others don’t because of course they would be claiming the very same thing of themselves at that point. Self-contradictory, in other words. The correct thing is for them to just go on and claim they have more truth than the LDS Church (their views thus become an alternative).

  31. One more word on scientology, since that was mentioned. These guys are the top dogs at controlling the fallout story if Time magazine is to be believed (although as any LDS person should be able to state with authority – they don’t always get their facts straight). According to Time, scientology will ruin your Hollywood career, freeze your assets, and even force you to commit suicide if you speak ill of them.

    However, these claims seem a little outlandish to me. People pay enormous sums of money to Scientology which doesn’t purport to be a religion but does ask you to believe some pretty far out things. These ex-adherents knew that going in, and they agreed to those terms. Do you really need someone to “warn” you not to join it? Buyer beware. If scientology is committing crimes, let it be investigated and proven in a court of law.

    Having read about the practical application of Scientology, the dogma doesn’t appear inherently harmful to me, and as long as you keep paying, they don’t seem to care what you do really. Frankly, it’s less expensive than tithing.

  32. Hawkgrrl, do you see hwhat you are saying here??? If there is something sinister going on in Scientology, “let it be investigated and proven in a court of law.” Are you serious? Assuming momentarily that there is something criminal going on in any organization, do you think it is wise for everyone with a personal experience to just sit back and shut up and wait for the authorities to expose the truth?
    What about your responsibility to protect others when you know something bad is going on?

  33. “What other unofficial rules of etiquette do you feel should be adopted in the modern LDS church?”

    Don’t gossip about people who leave; or people who stay; or people who miss a week; or people who breathe?

    Oh, and always try to act Christlike by trying to assume the best of others.

  34. ‘There is, however, an overwhelming flaw in your logic’

    Goodness, people!

    Maybe this story is more tongue-in-cheek? folks here seem to be taking it way too seriously, imo

  35. Just S – “You have never been in the situation you are describing, and therefore are not qualified to be as directly opinionated about it as you are. You come form a place where in every ‘exit story’ situation, the LDS church is still the good guy, and the ‘ex-mos’ are the bad guys in black clothing.” Your comments have very little to do with my post or my actual stated opinion. You don’t know my situation or what I do and don’t assume about people who have left. As it happens, I have two sisters who left the church many years ago for different reasons, both to pursue what was of greater value to them. I also have a sister whose husband was ex-communicated. None has returned nor is it likely any of them will. I do not ascribe their departures to a desire to commit sin; the situations were all very complex and many factors contributed to the outcome, including mistakes made by local leaders in some cases. I have siblings and friends who have stayed in the church who are more sinful than those who have left. Please do not stereotype me based on a lack of knowledge of my actual circumstances and feelings. My opinion in the post is simply that I value courtesy above defending one’s own honor or enforcing one’s newfound opinions through evangelizing (e.g. spreading the word to “save others from deception”). And Carlos JC is correct that the analogy was intended to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek. But I’m glad if it opens dialogue.

  36. #32 – the criminal complaints (specifically fraud, but hints at far worse) about Scientology have come forward very publicly. If ex-adherents have a complaint of criminal activity, they should go to the police and add it to the body of evidence. The matter should be pursued by the authorities, and if there is merit, prosecuted. I’m not saying people shouldn’t report crimes, just that they should report actual crimes to the proper authorities vs. blogging about it when there’s already a proliferation of accusion out there. It also doesn’t make them look like the sharpest tools in the shed for getting into it in the first place. And if there is merit, it isn’t slander or libel (if in print), but if there is not merit to their claims, then it is.

  37. i think this whole idea/story misses the whole point of freedom of speech and copyright laws based upon authorship. if i write something about the church, i own it. i dont lose my ownership because of some convoluted idea that the church gets to decide how i express my opinions of why i left the church. in this scenario of dumpee v dumper, the church would get the say in both situations. if a person is ex’d the church exerts authority over the dumpee by forcing the break up. the church then, based upon this idea would get the say again if it was what was being the dumpee. this whole idea that the church is what gets to dictate the separation is what has been happening for a long time now. if you don’t agree with me, you must also realize the history behind my statement. joseph smith even went to jail for a time because he decided to restrict the freedom of press by ordering the destruction of the nauvoo expositor. the church in this instance attempted to control the flow of information and the attitude thereof by shutting down opposing views. just because an ex-mo’s view of the church is opposite of a tbm’s sparkling view of the church, it doesn’t mean it is wrong. what is wrong is the attempt to squash ex-mo’s equally valid view points. it is also dissapointing to see how tbm’s still think that us ex-mo’s have left the church because of ‘sins’ of any kind, and not by any actions of the church. it not only belittles our opinions, but also makes those who still believe this way seem ‘out of the loop’ of reality. for those of you who think this is the case regardless of what i say need to do a bit more research on why we feel the way we do. next time you feel the need to lump us in to a category like that is the time i start refering to tbm’s in a derogatory way. goodness knows i’ve had enough opportunity to.

  38. I’m not a huge fan of your analogy. Why can’t everyone with a story tell it? Why do people who leave the church need to censor themselves? My relationship with the church wasn’t like a romantic relationship, it was the relationship between a person and the organization that person thought represented god.

    You need to realize that there are a lot of people who have left the church because they have felt used and lied to. Whether or not they are justified in feeling that way, are they going to trust the official story of an organization that they feel is in the wrong? Why wouldn’t they get a voice?

    My last point is this. I have left the church, and while I don’t feel like the church did me a huge wrong in any way, their official story that I left because of my sins is absolutely wrong. If the organization of the church is really the only side that gets to tell my exit story, then all you are going to hear is a misrepresentation. I don’t think it is overtly malicious that they claim everyone who leaves does so because of sin (though covertly it is), but the official story isn’t realistic or true for any ex-mormon that I have ever met.

    Cheers!

  39. Ok, lets be frank. I am what you might call an “ex mormon” My experience was largely negative. I was covenant born, served a full honorable but disasterous mission. After my mission I live a temple worthy life. The day I my letter requesting that my name be removed from the records of the church was submitted, I had a valid, and honestly obtained Recommend.

    I left however, because I came to the realization that my faith was not in the LDS faith, but in the Roman Catholic faith. The argument, and allusions by the First Presidency, Q12 and others that I left in sin are fallible. I am now 5 years ordained a priest. I still consider myself worthy of a temple reccomend in that I can answer all the questions yes, sans the wine and then I limit my drinking to the bare minimum required for the consecration of the Eucharist (sacrament in LDS terms.) I even pay a full tithe back to my parish of the stipend they pay me.

    I am also on many of the “exmo” boards. Yes, there are many with a vitriolic anger and most for good reason. I actually know one guy who was excommunicated because he upheld the rules of the BSA camp where he was Director when the local LDS troop was discharging firearms in an unsafe manner in the camp. To not allow these people the opportunity to vent would only cause the situation to fester. When one has a gangrenous wound you amputate it. YOu don’t tell it to repent of their sin.

    Many people leave the church because of abuses perpetrated by called leaders. In this case, the church itself is the infection. When they seek recourse through the appropriate channels they are deffered back to the same authorities that are perpetrating the abuse. How then can you say they are the sinners.

    I left b/c i had issue with reconciling known fact with LDS assertion as fact. Its funny that most of my friends from the LDS will no longer even talk to me. I actually saw one of the young men whom I had helped through a very difficult situation, and he said he was not allowed to talk to me any longer because i was a practicing homosexual. The Bishop of the ward had told him (*this was confirmed by 5 other people as it was stated in sacrament meeting and reiterated in priesthood meeting) as much when he, the Bishop, in fact knew that I was leaving to pursue my baptism in the Catholic faith in order to pursue a life in the full time ordained ministry. That hurt. I was lied about, to the congregation from the pulpit. This happened after I left. But it still has a pronounced affect I have when I hear that the church doesn’t do stuff like that.

    Dont automatically assume we leave because we sin; don’t assume the church is blameless. Especially when it knows about the situation and allows its perpetuation because the leader in question was called by revelation. I believe that God has revealed. But I don’t believe that just b/c someone is called to priesthood authority that they were actually called by God. Especially when they set about from the start in an injurious fashion and perpetuate the trend. Please becareful about how you view ex LDS members. Some have left legitimately and not because of fornication, tithing or word of wisdom issues.

    Romans 8:23 “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of the Father.”

  40. Your analogy is flawed from the get-go. You want to pretend that you are Miss Manners and that everyone should play nicey-nice with your premise, but this issue isn’t about good manners at all. What you are really doing is trying to smother the exit stories of individuals with justifiable grievances under a moldy stinky wet blanket disguised as good manners. Nice try. You’d be far better off trying to stage a defense with this analogy, which is infinitely more apt, considering the realities involved: if you purchased a very expensive product that is manufactured and sold by a major corporation who purports it to be thus and such, do you not expect that product to be and perform exactly as claimed? Naturally most people would answer: “yes.” If the product were that great, you’d even invite your friends to review it and spread the good word, wouldn’t you? What will you do then, when after a little while you discover the product to be not what its manufacturer purported it to be? Would you put it away on a high shelf and quietly forget about it? Would you hide your discovery from your friends? I don’t know very many people who would do that: most people would broadcast the fraud. Most people would try to get their money back. Most people would sue the corporation for fraud. Most people would NOT “politely” shut up about it: the reason being that the issue has NOTHING to do with “good manners,” it has EVERYTHING to do with exposing a fraud in the interest of the public good.

    Cheers.

  41. there are those of us, who’ve never sinned as far as church definitions!!

    and we’ve done everything asked of us, did above and beyond in what was required and expected, Gave thousands of $, thousands of hours in time, gave away talents and nothing was given in return.

    nothing.

    your white, racist church just took and took,
    and labeled us unfit, of lowly estate.

    Basically you’re telling us exMormons, that you’re not a believer in American civil liberties and rights!!

    Because you tell us to shut theHal up!!, thinking thats the end of that, and it isn’t.

    We who left the cult behind do not live anymore by your manners nor are we bound by your rules of social engagement.

    As a military veteran, I don’t take kindly to people telling anyone else, especially me, that I don’t have a right of free speech; ie. to tell my exit story,

    and to tell it again and again if I wish.
    Basically you tell me, as an Veteran, as an Native American, that I don’t matter at all to you in the grand scheme of things and that I’d better shut up and not tell people

    what I think of theCult!!
    That offends me.

    it’s people like you, that think the way you do, that spoke this way,

    that LIVED this way that eventually told me that I was no longer welcome in theCult.

    As for me to you or any one of your Cult.
    You may speak, you may write,

    you may believe anything you wish, because that is your right.
    And I, as part of an Warrior Race, whom has served in both military and police uniforms,

    whom has seen conflict overseas as well as domesticly (sp?),
    whom has seen just how fragile Life is, does not wish to take anything away from you, or your cultPeople.

    unlike you, I will not tell you to shut theHal!! up like you are telling us exMo’s to do.

    shame on you sister,

    luvs,
    theSam!! / Abel, my Temple name!!
    samuel l flyinghorse
    anchorage, ak

  42. I’m not clear why a mormon who has never had to go through leaving the mormon church should impose (hawkgrrl’s word) appropriate “ettiquette” for this situation.

    If the dumper gets stalked by the dumpee (which happens a lot in this case–you can’t leave the church, but it doesn’t leave you alone…and, IME it doesn’t), the dumper probably needs to be able to tell the fallout story.

    If the dumper gets repeatedly asked by associates of the dumpee about why s/he left, then the dumper usually needs a fallout story.

    If the dumper finds out that s/he is just one of a long list of people who have been taken advantage of by the dumpee, then s/he will want to share the fallout story with sympathetic others who share that experience.

    If the dumper realizes that a friend is about to get into a bad relationship with the dumpee, there are some situations where sharing the fallout story is a matter of being a good friend.

    If the dumpee goes around accusing the dumper of all sorts of character crimes (even to the point of broadcasting commentary about the dumper to people who don’t even know her/him), the dumper will likely need to share a fallout story, and perhaps broadcast it.

    If the dumpee makes it a point to lie about the dumper, and to disrupt the dumper’s relationships with friends and family, the dumper needs to share her/his fallout story.

    If the dumpee has committed a crime, the dumper needs to report it. The dumpee may have done something to deserve being put on a public offender registry.

    Leaving the mormon church is not usually a case of “it’s just you and me and we just disagree.” Myself, and my two siblings had to leave the mormon church. We did it at different times in our lives, and for different reasons. We never “went negative” about our exit to other mormons. All of us had the unfortunate experiences of being treated badly by mormon family and acquaintances (and we left while living in quite different regions of the USA). This suggests that there is something about the mormon culture that overall has a hard time accepting a break up. I believe it was just the last general conference where the “dumpee” made a general announcement that they wanted their “dumpers” to come back and be forgiven. In a dating/relationship analogy, this kind of behavior looks pretty sick, and is relatively clingy and ungracious.

    I think it is reasonable to suggest that if you are looking to reform the “ettiquette” of exiting the mormon church that you, as a practicing mormon, begin by calling for the reform of the ettiquette of mormons in these situations. Imposing your personal rules for behavior on people in whose situation you have never found yourself is somewhat declase.

  43. Reading all this makes me feel how much I have never been an ex-mormon. I really don’t understand most of what you are talking about. Not hat I can’t read words:o) It is just that although I can “understand” I have a hard time relating to 3/4 of what has been written although I have been excommunicated and therefore I am in a position where I should have something to say.
    I just don’t care about what people in the church think of me or what they say. The state of having been excommunicated to me is a great tool to separate idiots from interesting people at first meeting. The smart ones will care for me and the stupid ones will run away from the filth I represent from them. GREAT! Please avoid me losing my time thinking that you’re smart and discovering too late that you’re not!
    I understand your etiquette thing but I honestly think it is really too much. Yet, I have been often told that I am “soooooo random” so maybe it is only my little weird way to be.
    What I care about is not to talk about ANY situation I know from first-hand experience (aka MINE!!!!) and not to talk about mine with anyone just out of “modesty”. I don’t run butt naked in the street, I don’t pour my heart/bitterness to anyone “willing” to listen. To me these two things are just exactly the same.
    Although…I do have a blog on which I share personal experiences with complete strangers. Blogging is a bliss and paradox is my essence. LOL
    No need for an etiquette really. And what is great is that it applies to any church or relationship we can meet in our life.

  44. I have bitten my tongue for 20+ years about things that I disagreed with in the church, because to speak was akin to heresy. After feeling silenced for so many years, why WOULDN’T I want to talk about it now? I am a woman, which makes me twice silenced in the church. It’s psychologically healthy to finally openly acknowledge what MY values are, and not worry about whether or not they fall within the bounds the church has sanctioned. Many of “my” values mirror those of the church. Some do not. But now I can speak, and before I never could. And it bothers me that I need to “own up” to anything, when the church only paints a rosy, utopian picture of itself and will never publicly acknowledge when it has made a mistake (1978, anyone?). Your suggestion reinforces my feeling that the church is more image-based than anything. That makes me sad; it’s one of the reasons I left.

  45. I was a sitting bishop when I began to learn the facts/truth/history that the church had been intentionally failing to tell me. I would never have joined the church had I known these things. Was I angry when all the truth was told? You bet ya! It is kind of like finding out your wife of 20 years is really …gasp… a Man! Do you feel betrayed? You bet ya! Do you wish you take back all of the time and money spent on a corporation that didn’t have the decency to tell you that Joseph Smith didn’t tell the current first vision story until 18 YEARS LATER!!! I have tried very hard to be nice to others who are currently still trapped in the corporation, but it is difficult. I want them to know what I know because it will set them free.

  46. As soon as anyone makes “rules” that declare only one side of a story is valid, you know there is much TRUTH being swept under the carpet. Why?

    When TRUTH is not allow to prevail, what does? Lies and innuendos. Lies and innuendos are not of God, but of the god of this world.

    The question we should all be asking ourselves is – what’s more important to us? A good image, like that celebrated by the god of this world? Or knowing the truth since, last I heard, God hates liars AND only the TRUTH can set any of us free.

    BUT truth can only set us free after we allow ourselves to learn and KNOW the TRUTH.

  47. I’m a Mormon who graduated from BYU and married in the temple. All of my family is in the church and they are generally happy. Sure we have our skeletons in our closet. Lots of churches have them. What’s important for church members to remember is that they should always try to learn all they can. Seek to learn the truth on whatever subject you feel inspired to pursue. And you can know for yourself about the truthfulness of the church as you see how joyously its members and leaders will unjudgmentally help you get the honest, truthful, official answers.

  48. Hawkgrrl, I had to respond to your post. I was born fifth generation in the church. I do not agree with LDS doctrine in any way. For this, I was punished at the tender age of twelve. Are you going to seriously tell me that I am the agressor and I should lighten up and not complain? What if you were born into an atheist household, and you decided that Mormonism was the way to go? Would you not be upset if your parents ridiculed you and derided your thinking?

    Any LDS child will be punished for failure to believe. Don’t try to tell me otherwise, remember that I am fifth generation. I was not permitted to think for myself, and that is the legacy of Mormonism. I have used my real name, because I have poured out my heart to you. This is how things really are.

  49. And you can know for yourself about the truthfulness of the church as you see how joyously its members and leaders will unjudgmentally help you get the honest, truthful, official answers.

    LOL! So it’s the “official” answers that are “honest” and “truthful?” I’m honestly a bit perplexed as to whether you were being sarcastic.

  50. Alex you seem to be implying that the truth can be gained from how you feel about it. If you felt that the moon was really a big ball of cheese in the sky, would that make it true? The church tries very hard to keep its members from knowing its true history. All you have to do is go to the early writings of the prophets of the church. The very prophets we proclaim to be inspired of God said much and wrote plenty; yet you will never see these things in current church materials. Why? Because they contradict the story in numerous, fundamental ways that the church is now telling. Do you know what polyandry is Alex? Google it along with the name of Joseph Smith, read, and be amazed. How did they forget to tell us about that??? Would a true prophet called of God really do such things? The character of the man does not match the stories now being told by the church. Would we, as current members of the church, ever stand for such behavior out of the current prophet of the church? I hope not.

    You use the word “official” in your answers. Are you suggesting that the answers/excuses given by the organization that has lied to you for so long are the truth? Can you trust such an organization? My friend, you are naive and misled. Are you really going to suggest that being happy is evidence of truthfulness? I stopped attending the church years ago, and I and my wife have never been happier. We are truly happier than we were when we were in the church. Does that make our position true? I know many other people who are in other religions who are very happy. Does that make their religion the one and only true church on the face of the earth? Of course not. In fact, many of those very people are having spiritual experiences every day that would cause most Mormon’s spiritual experiences to pale in comparison.

    You say that it is important to learn all you can. Try learning all you can about the foundations of the church, and then start talking about it to your bishop and stake president; but be careful because the next thing you know they will be warning you if you continue, you could find yourself in trouble with the church. You see, the church is not really interested in you really finding truth. They want you to take their version of “the truth” and not think for yourself. Doesn’t this cause you to at least pause and wonder why? If not, maybe you are not the truth seeker that you were brainwashed to believe yourself to be.

    Good luck to you my friend. I hope that you can figure this all out sooner than my family and I did. Countless hours of wasted time and lots of dollars could be put to so much greater use for your benefit; but if not, know that the corporation appreciates you! 😉

  51. fella (#50) – While there has obviously been plenty of “correlation” and even denial about some things from “the church” (Based on your words here I’m assuming you mean the “corporate” church, which to me is not the church at all, but that has been discussed quite a bit here), my experience has been different than yours. From an early age I was taught about a lot of the stuff that was hidden from you. My intent is not to discount nor disrespect your experience, rather, I wanted to express that there are those in the church that have different experiences and have read the same history. You come off as a little arrogant (suggesting that if we all knew what you knew we would leave, re: “figure this all out sooner than my family and I did” & “know what I know because it will set them free”), and manipulative (re: “Doesn’t this cause you…” etc.).

    That being said, I do appreciate your input, and I respect your story, fwiw. And I do agree that there is WAAAAAY more to the church than the so-called “official” answers or history.

  52. Respect is earned.
    If the church instructs members to make untruthful claims and mandates Invalidating Behavior of them, then it is being disrespectful and and has earned no treatment in kind. It deserves every damaging Truism the evacuee chooses to relate.

  53. One thing only:

    The vast majority of the bitter comments here are great exapmles of Hawkgrrrl’s actual post – that the DUMPEE has the right to speak. If you feel like the Church pushed you out (dumped you), it is your right to speak about it. If you left the Church voluntarily and willingly (you dumped the Church), then it is common courtesy to allow the Church to believe whatever it will about your departure.

    Of course, there are flaws in this generalization. After all, it is a generalization – and Hawkgrrrl has said so. I just find it **incredibly ironic** that most of the comments that argue the most heatedly that she is wrong actually describe situations her post supports as having the right to the ones who tell the story.

  54. To clarify, I was a self-professed atheist for about a year, yet I did not go about trying to “undeceive” all the believers in God. I considered the possibility that I didn’t know everything, and I mostly managed to be courteous in explaining to people why I didn’t feel the same way they did.

    I think Punky’s Dilemma in #42 comes up with some valid exceptions. The ones I like most:
    -If the dumper gets stalked by the dumpee (which happens a lot in this case–you can’t leave the church, but it doesn’t leave you alone…and, IME it doesn’t), the dumper probably needs to be able to tell the fallout story. I certainly agree that an ex-Mo should firmly but politely explain why they don’t wish to be bothered (ideally without being discourteous).
    -If the dumper gets repeatedly asked by associates of the dumpee about why s/he left, then the dumper usually needs a fallout story. Agreed, one should be firm but courteous; it’s possible to do this without being condescending or rude.

    Some caveats on the others:
    -If the dumper finds out that s/he is just one of a long list of people who have been taken advantage of by the dumpee, then s/he will want to share the fallout story with sympathetic others who share that experience. “People who have been taken advantage of by the dumpee” actually goes to the heart of the flaw of the analogy as well as the beauty of it–the church is a collective organization of individuals. Who did the advantage-taking? The organization? Some individual? Some sub-set of individuals? And what constitutes taking advantage? Every religion impinges on its adherents in some way, but that is voluntary, at least once one is an adult. Perception of being taken advantage of puts the ex-adherent in the position of victim and necessarily on the defensive; it’s hard to be objective from that position.
    -If the dumper realizes that a friend is about to get into a bad relationship with the dumpee, there are some situations where sharing the fallout story is a matter of being a good friend. Possibly, but this assumes that everyone will experience the same thing in that relationship (that the cause of the fallout is overwhelmingly one-sided vs. complex and multi-faceted). This is why I dislike evangelizing “away from,” even when done by the LDS – it implies that there is something inherently wrong with differing perspectives vs. finding the good in them and building on that. I also think the lack of objectivity in evangelizing makes it difficult to do this without being self-serving or self-justifying. I like Nick’s thoughts on this one that he sees the value in it and has a non-interference approach.
    -If the dumpee goes around accusing the dumper of all sorts of character crimes (even to the point of broadcasting commentary about the dumper to people who don’t even know her/him), the dumper will likely need to share a fallout story, and perhaps broadcast it. I agree to some extent with this premise, but I would caution that “the church” as an organization does not generally conduct smear campaigns (I can think of rare exceptions), certainly not on this level of specificity. So, yes, individuals who do so should be corrected, but this can be done firmly and neutrally.
    -If the dumpee makes it a point to lie about the dumper, and to disrupt the dumper’s relationships with friends and family, the dumper needs to share her/his fallout story. Again, the organization of the church doesn’t do this, but if individuals do, they should be corrected. They are certainly being discourteous.
    -If the dumpee has committed a crime, the dumper needs to report it. The dumpee may have done something to deserve being put on a public offender registry. I totally agree with this. Crimes should be reported, investigated, and prosecuted.

    Remember that Christ essentially left Judaism. He corrected individuals who were wrong firmly and directly, but he was not belligerent. He didn’t condescend or try to convince them that they were all deceived or deceivers or paint with a broad brush. He pointed out where specific Jewish leaders were not living up to the law of the prophets or didn’t understand them. He pointed out where they were astray, but he didn’t air grievances or even evangelize “away from,” just toward his better way. Just a thought.

    Many seem to be assuming that “telling one’s story” is either a basic human right (I won’t disagree with that) or that it is necessary to defend one’s honor (these feelings can run understandably deep). Etiquette to me is more about the person who exercises it; being courteous is a gift you give yourself, not other people. Being courteous is taking the high road. Everyone is free to do what they choose, but being discourteous or self-serving (on either side of the discussion) stunts personal growth and creates barriers between people that don’t serve either side well. I would certainly call for courtesy on both sides.

  55. I think the analogy is flawed in many ways. The church has about 12 million girlfriends and knows little about each individual one. Each member, however, has only one church. Very few members are capable of causing either great harm or great benefit to the church, but the reverse cannot be said.

  56. There are human problems. When I announced that I had returned to the church, I lost some friends and the trust of many others. It was hard to not be bitter about that – but, truthfully, when I truned my back on what seemed to them not only shared good memories but also good happy ways to live, it is understandable that they would be put off and even hurt by that. I note in myself a tendancy to project my own inner conflicts on to other people.

    ~

  57. I have the God-given right to say what I want to when I want to about my overwhelmingly negative experiences in the church. I will continue to share my experiences on line and with people who ask me. If that makes people in the church upset, too bad. I can’t do anything about that. What somebody else thinks of me is none of my business.

  58. This doesn’t work for me and here’s why:

    It has been my experience both in my own dating years, and as a friend to men and women who have been dumpers and dumpees at various times of life, that both sides are entitled to discuss their experiences with the friends and family members who can offer them the support they need. Neither party is entitled to spread lies about the other, but they certainly can talk about it to whomever they please.

    There is no need for a gag-order. It seems a childish proposition, particularly if one sees truth as something to be valued.

    With regard to ex-members of the church or any organization, they own their own stories and it seems controlling and cultish to suggest that they should not talk about their experiences.

  59. The church is in serious trouble. It is losing members by the thousands of hard-working high wage earners like me. In our area, so many have left the church. Many with whom I am personally acquainted are attorneys. There are many more to come. The church had a fiduciary duty to tell us all the truth, and they chose not to. Shame on them for lying to so many for so long.

  60. I have to agree with the SAM. I’m an ex-Mo who gave far too much of my time to the so-called church and i’m also a military veteran who gave a good portion of my life protecting and defending the right of free religious exercise, free speech and free assembly (amomg other things).

    I’ll say what I want no matter who it aggrevates and couldn’t care less if some cultist gets offended. Let tscc tell its side of the story and I’ll tell mine. In the end, the facts will bear-out who is telling the truth.

    BTW, I left Mormonism because its a lie. Prove me wrong, oh mighty cult, by demonstrating otherwise,

    Timothy

  61. Timothy (and anyone else this applies to)–the purpose of this site is to establish productive dialogue among all types of members, including ex, of course. The type of dialogue you are using (tscc, cultist, mighty cult, etc.) will not build any bridges, imho. Please be respectful and at least make an attempt at understanding or take your story elsewhere. And I mean this with all the respect I have for you and your life experience, which obviously has not been positive (with the church), and I also have great respect for your military service. Peace. 🙂

  62. Etiquette smediquette. The Dumpee (TCOJCOLDS) needs to step it up and prove what the Dumper says is not true. Show me in human relationships where your view of etiquette really works. More than often it’s me against you so lookout.

  63. Adam, when the word gets out, the word gets out. Personally, I think this post has proven one thing very clearly:

    Hawkgrrrl was dead-on when she said that courtesy is important. This post also is a perfect lab test for the other post on certainty.

  64. If only it were that simple!

    I left Mormonism in 1981 or 1982. In 1989 I met the woman who became my wife. Only a couple of years ago she was approached in the street by a Mormon who asked her why she had taken me away from “The church” and upset my mother?

    It transpired that my mother -and other members of my family- have been spreading lies about me as to why I left The Mormon Church. Vile, nasty lies. I left because I prayed and was told it was not God’s true church.

    According to my family that is a lie and: “We know the REAL reason why you left.” (Etiquette? Yes. Mormon etiquette would be a good idea. When’s it going to happen?

  65. Matt: “I left because I prayed and was told it was not God’s true church.” That is interesting (sincerely). So many people seem to leave because they no longer believe in answers to prayer as a means of discovering truth, yet you left using that method. Interesting.

    That’s really lame that your family wouldn’t let you speak for yourself on your own experiences. May we all practice more “etiquette” and kindness, and not try to manipulate, degrade, interpret for each other.

    fella (#60) – “The church had a fiduciary duty to tell us all the truth.” I’m assuming you’re still referring to the corporate church here? I linked to the discussion in my previous comment (#52), which you did not seem to respond to, and would recommend checking it out. What I mean is that I think we are all part of the church. Leaders of the church make decisions for everyone in some cases (including choosing not to talk about everything, as you say “lying”), but they are not the church, imo. We all are. Some get disillusioned because of a teacher, or a bishop, or an SP, or a GA or they don’t know who to point to so they just say “the church,” without realizing, imo, that “the church” is really just made up of all those parts.

  66. This is complete nonsense. Owning the “fallout” story? Be serious. Why on earth do I have to muzzle myself out of some perceived rule of etiquette? And who gets to set these etiquette rules, anyway?

    Now, for discussing with my family why I left the LDS Church- I just don’t go there. It just causes upset feelings, stress & division. They believe what they want to believe, I disagree with them, and the subject is ignored.

    Polite people don’t discuss religion, politics or money. Unless they know they are in an appropriate situation, with people they can trust?

    But owning the “fallout” story? Good grief.

  67. To me, courtesy means you don’t go on church property and protest. It certainly does not mean that you stay quiet about the church being a scam once you realize that it is.

  68. What planet are you from with this fantasy? Everyone knows the victor writes the history. And when it comes to becomeing an ex-mo, beauty as in who is the victor lies in the eyes of the beholder.

    And you obviously have never voluntarily left a job because they mistreated you. Either that, you are a patsy who thinks the mistreating employer’s version of the story about why you left is the one which should be told.

    Get a grip, break ups always have two sides to the story and somewhere in the middle lies the truth a truth you will never get an inkling of without both sides of the story.

  69. Like moths to a flame.

    Seems like a lot of those arguing vehemently against Hawkgrrls original post are doing a pretty darn good job of making her point.

  70. I think Oddte nailed it. Courtesy is not protesting on the church grounds. I think it is also not trying to tell your friends that still believe why you disagree.

    I think that many people feel like they were silenced by the church-as women, intellectuals, people with same-gender attraction, etc. Once they leave they finally feel they can have a voice without the risk of having something important to them taken away. It is painful to lose one’s faith. Yet, active members of the church cannot talk about it out of fear of a church court. Once a member leaves they can finally talk about the pain in the process. Whether that be learning about church history, the disagreement with docterine, or even if someone was offended.

    I am also not sure that the church will continue to keep quiet when there are excommunications. The church had a press release when Peter and Mary Danzig were public about their departure.

  71. That is so simple to me. Etiquette, smettiquette … I own my story.

    I have the right to speak it, write it, shout it… and anyone has their own right to refute or rebutt… My story, my copyright, my freedom to speak.

  72. By your reasoning then, a wife who is abused by her husband (physically, mentally, sexually, emotionally, whatever) and then seeks a divorce from her abuser has no right to speak about what she has been through because she instigated the break up? That’s crap!

    People who leave the mormon church often (not always, but often) feel abused by it. They feel they have been conned out of money, time, and talents. They have been subject to judgement by people that the LDS church gives authority to (bishops, SP’s, etc). They have been asked very personal questions that no one, least of all some stranger who happens to be their bishop, has any right to ask. When this is happening to teenage boys and girls it falls under the umbrella of sexual abuse. How dare you suggest that they not be able to talk about their experience because they decided to end it!

    If you are ever in an abusive relationship, whether with an individual or an organization, and have the strength to break those ties, I hope you remember what you have written. The pain of being in an abusive relationship is enormous; the strength it takes to break off the relationship is equally huge. The path of healing is a long one and talking about the experience is a vital part of becoming whole again. I’m sorry if you are “offended” by people talking about it but that simply shows your inability to empathize with them.

  73. Please read all comments – crimes should be reported, investigated and prosecuted. I certainly never implied that abuse should go unreported out of deference to the perpetrator.

    However, actual abuse and “feeling abused” are not the same thing at all. Being conned and “feeling conned” are also not the same thing. I acknowledge that it’s very hard for the person who views him/herself as the victim to see it that way. If individuals within or outside of the church have broken laws or abused or conned individuals, by all means, report it to proper authorities. But if the “abuse” is disillusionment and the “conning” is cognitive dissonance, courtesy is a more enlightened approach and elevates the “victim” to a higher status.

    Do the sins of others (e.g. abuse or defrauding) give someone a pass for whatever behavior they want to inflict in their pain? Adult religious participation is voluntary. The “power” we imbue others with due to our religious beliefs was ours to give to them, and is ours to take away. I am not offended by people’s vitriolic outrage; just saddened.

  74. “Being conned and ‘feeling conned’ are also not the same thing. I acknowledge that it’s very hard for the person who views him/herself as the victim to see it that way.”

    I think this is a good point, and you’ve made the point that when someone is actually conned, or laws are broken, or agreed-upon terms are violated, your dumpee-tells-the-story rule doesn’t apply in the same way. But then the question is, how do we decide whether someone was actually conned or just feels that way? Where is the line drawn, and who gets to draw it?

  75. AdamF….I appreciate the tone of your responses, and after reviewing my earlier post, I can see how you might construe my comments as probably more than “a little arrogant”. I apologize if the tone of my response was offensive. I am not sure I buy into your theory that that there is a difference between the “corporate” church and some other ethereal organization that you or others may imagine to exist. My experience with the church over 20 years was an organization that is run like the business that I believe it to be. If you are trying to say that the “corporate” church is the one out there telling all of these lies, and that should somehow excuse the practice, then I would respectfully disagree. If you are saying all of the members of the church are really the church, then I have to say that I have come to believe that most Mormons are basically dishonest people when it comes to the telling of their history or shall we call it “sharing the gospel”. Even those ignorant masses of which I was a member for 20 years are engaged in some level of dishonesty when it comes to “sharing the gospel.” I engaged in it, and it always made me feel guilty and dirty. I knew we weren’t telling people all of the truth when it came to the “gospel message” we were proclaiming to the world, and I was one of the very few I ever met who truly loved sharing the gospel. We were always trying so hard to convince everyone else that we were really Christians just like them, but it simply isn’t true, and I knew it. (Milk b4 meat).

    I joined the church when I was about 21 years old. I immediately (one year later) went on a mission. I can remember telling people that whole polygamy thing was something of the past, but it really wasn’t., and I knew it. Mormon doctrine is that Mormons will practice it in the next life. This is just one of many examples. i am glad the church has worked for you, and I don’t run around my area trying to tell people there is no santa claus; however, I am the poster boy for how wonderful life is without the corporation in it. I live life with zeal every day, ESPECIALLY Sundays! Today, our family went together and saw the new Indiana Jones movie AFTER we swam all morning. We have so much more quality family time, and so much more money to do things with now that we stopped the extortion payments of 10%. Our lives are more peaceful, and my 7 children are excelling in every area.

    My challenge to those who remain is to think long and hard when they are asked that temple recommend question about whether they are completely honest with their fellow man, especially when it comes to their sharing of “the gospel” with people like me who will wreck their families for their version of the truth. (a whole other story…long).

  76. “Seems like a lot of those arguing vehemently against Hawkgrrls original post are doing a pretty darn good job of making her point.”

    Interesting, all in all.

    BTW, http://eldenwatson.net/harmony.htm is kind of fun to look at.

    The alternate approach reminds me of someone who had never read any gospel other than Matthews and who read the Gospel of John and promptly decided that the Bible was false and that Christ really didn’t exist after all.

    But, I think people feel a need for their narratives.

    I am not offended by people’s vitriolic outrage; just saddened.

    Indeed. Interesting how some people respond to a discussion of what is mannerly, as if the thought of discussing manners would censor them.

  77. fella – thank you for the response. I am glad we could engage a little bit here. I tend to get annoyed when people hit and run (which has happened quite a bit on this post).

    “should somehow excuse the practice” – I agree with you here. It does not “excuse” any practice. I was not suggesting that it does.

    “I knew we weren’t telling people all of the truth” – I think that what is “all” is subjective, but fwiw when I talk to others about the gospel and the church I don’t try to hide anything. My friends and acquaintances with whom I have talked with about the church know I don’t try to hide anything, and I’m open about what I believe in and what I think is lame, if that makes sense. There is stuff in the church that I absolutely love and believe in, and has been wonderful in my life, and there is stuff that bothers me (polygamy, as just one example).

    What I was saying about the church is not that only “the members” are the church, nor that only “the corporation” is the church. “The Corporation” is made up of people, so I think don’t see it as “the church” anymore than any other “ethereal” aspect–I do appreciate your input, even just a different view because it really makes me think from other angles… Perhaps I am confusing “the Church” with “religion” or “beliefs”… My religion, my beliefs, are wider in scope than “the church”.

    If someone says, “Elder so and so in the 70 or the 12 said this lie” then I understand what they are saying, but when they just throw “the church” out there it’s more ambiguous to me.

    I believe things like “the Kingdom of God is within you” and feel that the church is a vehicle for my (and my family’s) progress. Whether it is true compared with other churches, or whether leaders have made mistakes (you could start with Moses on that one—didn’t he kill a man?), is not as big of a concern for me as the opportunities for growth it provides, which to me is the ultimate purpose of everything (progress). On that note, I am happy that you are happy in your life and with your family. If the life you are living is fulfilling your purpose in life, then that’s great.

  78. you could start with Moses on that one—didn’t he kill a man?

    It is narratives like that which have me convinced that people need to read the Old Testament more often.

  79. Yeah, really. There is enough in the OT that if people would read that they wouldn’t be so disturbed by Mountain Meadows or the destruction of the printing press. 🙂

  80. I disagree with the premise that the church (dumpee in this post) owns all the many and varied stories of why it was dumped. I think the “exit story” is better understood as part of the grieving process. Recently I read in “Grief and Grieving” by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross:

    “Telling the story is part of healing of a traumatic event, no different from trauma of large-scale disaster. In your world, it WAS a large scale disaster, most likely the biggest you have ever experienced.

    Telling the story helps dissipate the pain. Telling your story often and in detail is primal to the grieving process. You must get it out. Grief must be witnessed to be healed.”

    Whether being traumatized by members prompted resignation or the fallout from resignation resulted in social and familial trauma or the learning that prompted resignation led to a traumatic restructuring of the individuals mind or family, the likely presence of major psychological trauma suggests that viewing exit stories as legitimate expressions and a means of recovery from trauma or grief.

  81. Nathan Raeburn Kennard — hmm, that would explain the ritualized nature of so many exit stories, and the irrationalism of many of them as well.

    If you treat them as emotionally driven grief processes rather than rational expositions, it really does explain a lot, including the black and white thinking, etc.

    What is interesting is the difference between those who walk away from God and Christianity altogether and those who merely reject the Church.

    Anyway, interesting stuff. I’m beginning to think I need to reread The True Believer in that context.

    Though I will note, from some experience in grief work, that public blathering in grief work isn’t the same community for the most part as the ex-mormon crowd as far as acting out goes.

    I still have a good deal of thinking to do on that point, though. The idea that what ex-mormons are doing is public grief work and emotional acting out rather than anything rational or intelligently driven is a new thought to me, though you may well be right that what is really going on is a damaged emotional process with public histrionics.

    Seems kind of harsh to typify the ex-mormon crowd that way, I’ll need to think a lot more before I embrace the model, and I’d really look for a different way to express it if I did.

    But thanks for the thought.

  82. I think the grief perspective works on a number of levels. It simply needs to be balanced by the understanding that the perspectives inherent in grief are understood to be distorted by that grief – that the initial perspective caused by grief (the lashing out and magnifying blame, for example, that demands punishment often far beyond what actually is deserved) nearly always needs to be modified and put into the perspective of distance in order to lead to healing.

    Iow, once sufficient time has passed and the “immediate grieving process” should have run its course, there is a degree of objectivity and peace that should come to the griever. That’s the foundation of “working THROUGH the grief”. I don’t see that in a lot of people who have left the Church, while I do see it in a lot of others. Again, most of those whom I know who can’t let go of the perspective of initial grief are the same ones who were the most “black and white” when they were members.

    I think there is merit to the grief point of view, but I also think there is merit to the “that’s just the personality of that person” view in many cases. It’s hard to distinguish the two, but the longer the bitterness and vitriol last, the more I think the latter might be the case.

  83. Nathan didn’t typify the ex-mormon crowd ‘that way’ – he also didn’t say that they should be only treated as emotionally driven processes rather than rational expositions, rather that it was another way to look at some of them.

    You’re treating ex-mormons as a unified being, trying to evaluate us all alike. We don’t leave for the same reasons, we don’t all grieve, but you might be able to understand some of us if you look at us like humans and assume that we’re rational and logical, and that maybe some of us had something rational and logical happen to us to make us leave.

    As a side note, your opening statement stands out for me as a perfect description of testimony meeting:
    “hmm, that would explain the ritualized nature of so many exit stories[testimonies], and the irrationalism of many of them as well.

    If you treat them as emotionally driven grief processes [testimonies] rather than rational expositions, it really does explain a lot, including the black and white thinking, etc.”

    Amen and amen. You’ve made me think about testimonies in a new light. What’s more ritualized than “I know the church is true and (fill in the blank) is a prophet of God”. What’s more black and white than the characters in the book of mormon? What’s more irrational than the “I prayed and God helped me (find my keys, fix the vacuum, get there on time, etc.) ”

    It’ll be much easier to listen to these testimonies, knowing that the members are just trying to fit the church into reality, and anything that tough is going to sound crazy sometimes.

    Chris
    Sending from Nathan’s computer while he’s getting ready for work.

  84. Chris, neither Stephen nor I said they ALL can be explained as a result of grief. Stephen explicitly said “many” – and he also said that he would need to think about it some more. **Also, if you go back and re-read what Nathan actually wrote, it does seem to imply that all exit narratives can be understood better as a product of grief.** He might not have meant that, but it does come out that way. Stephen actually took that implication and broadened it to “many”. I think he and Nathan are agreeing on this.

    We are grateful for the perspective Nathan provided and simply were saying that’s a good way to look at some of these situations.

  85. So, when someone joins the Mormon Church and rejects (dumps) an old belief system or church, would good manners suggest that they not tell their story – but let their old congregation of Baptists or Catholics or Muslims tell the story of why someone would leave to become Mormon from their standpoint (as the dumpee)only? Or does this only work one way?

    Someone should tell Gladys Knight how rude she is for going around discussing how she dumped the Baptist belief system to embrace Mormonism.

  86. There is a huge gap between the fallout in a relationship, and my eventual rejection of the church. That gap is that two people knowingly enter into a relationship together. A was born into the church as a sixth-generation descendant of 19th century Utah polygamy. At 8 years old I couldn’t even commit to doing my math homework every night, let alone commit my life to a religion that I didn’t even understand.

    I feel that my eventual rejection of the church, and my very vocal criticisms of it are more akin to accusing a rapist that is on the streets than merely my side of a “he said/she said” relationship breakup.

    I never asked to be in the church. I had no clue at the age of 8 what promises I was making. Promises that for years afterwards were used as leverage to guilt me into obedience to them.

    I am still going to therapy to deal with the emotional/psychological damage that the church has done to me, and quite frankly criticizing it (and putting it below me) has helped me recover more than anything else.

  87. I would add that many people feel seriously betrayed by an organization that they once believed was literally speaking for God on this earth. It is kind of like I said earlier in a post that you discover the love of your life that you have been married to for 20 years is actually a man. I think anger is an appropriate emotion, and yes it is a crisis because you wonder if your spouse will leave you over it, whether family will continue to love you, etc. It is traumatic. However, it was the best decision we ever made. Life is soooo much better without the church in it.

  88. Brian, as gently and sincerely as I can say this, I hope and pray that therapy works for you. I hope it helps you move beyond the “rape” mentality to something that will bring a fuller and more complete understanding for you.

    May God bless you.

  89. Hmm, after this I listed to a Catholic tell an exit story on the AM radio as I drove to work. Elements that had not made sense before started to make sense. (They started off complaining about how the Monsignor and they interacted over paperwork for their marriage that asked about raising the children Catholic. They checked no, and explained it was because they could have no children. When he brought up miracles and second opinions, they referenced her insulin pump — which reminded me of Jessica’s babysitter who had a similar story, except she did have a miracle baby whose confirmation we were able to attend — and the Monsignor approved them to be married. There was a lot of emotion there, a lot of anger at him, and I could not have made sense of it before. They filled out paperwork, put down the wrong answer, he was understanding and agreeable. Why were they still angry at him about that?).

    I’ve got a lot of thinking to do. This has been interesting.

  90. I think the grief process analogy is helpful to the discussion, with the caveat that the grief process has to lead to a more enlightened position or it is unsuccessful and unhealthy. Anger can destroy a person.

    As I said in the post, the one with the most awareness in the situation is the one who should be courteous. But maybe the truth is that when you have developed self-awareness (which is undoubtedly a journey), you can make the choice to be courteous, and you will have the objectivity to prefer courtesy. For those not there yet, I understand the difficulty, and I wish you well regardless.

  91. Ok, I had a busy mass schedule this weekend but here it goes.

    I think the grieving analogy works for some. For others not so much.

    Like i said min my previous post, #39, I left because my whole life I felt called to the Ordained Catholic Ministry. At the age of 7 I told my CTR-A teacher I wanted to be Fr. Mulcahey, of M*A*SH, when I grew up. But I gave it an honest shot. When I left the church, it took five years and the threat of criminal prosecution. After my ordination, the church still assigned me home teachers. Lets be real, thats akin to stalking.

    Ettiquette example is not so good. NOt unless we were allowed the same courtesy. As I said in my post earlier, after I left the bishop called me a child molester in Sacrament. HOw then are we to respond.

    The church, nor its members, does not have the priveledge let alone the right to ask former member to, just leave us alone. Nor does the church have the right to claim priviledge on my faith journey and life experiences in regards to my interactions while a member of it. It is also not fair to the individual to have a leader “called by revelation and set apart by the laying on of hands” to lie about why people have left. These are tactics used by cults to control membership and force compliance.

    I know that everyone’s experience is different. Mine may be extreme on the actions of the bishop, but in the area i was living at the time it was routine. Again I defer to the young man who asked an LDS Boy Scout troop to leave for discharging firearms in the camp site. They exed him for “failure to obey called priesthood authority.” Is that fair? But the young man in question wrote to then elder Eyring about the issue and only response he got was an autographed copy of “Draw Closer to God.”

    I think, that if the church wants people to make nice, it should stop giving people reasons to leave beyond doctrinal disagreements.

    This whole discussion has also become akin to school yard tempertantrums on both sides. “she called me a bully” “he bullied me” “make him stop but let me trash him” “maker her stop trashing me” Nauseating really.

  92. Hawkgrrrl–
    You’ve got some pretty serious control issues going on here. Passive aggresive manipulation disguised as “ettiquette” is still dysfunctional.

  93. “Passive aggressive” — seems like everyone uses it as an insult these days rather than as a description of specific behaviors that fit the profile. /Sigh

    “may be extreme” — very much so, and sadly so as well.

  94. OMG. Discovering that a church is just making stuff up (rock in a hat anyone?), taking your money (gimme that 10% tithing or you’re going to hell!), lying to you (“Uh… I don’t know we teach that…”), monopolizing your time (VT, HT, missions, 3 HOUR blocks of Sunday worship), turning a blind eye to crime (polygamy), being mysoginist (A woman can only achieve the highest level of heaven as her priesthood-holding, husband), chastizing you for your choice in beverages (coffee? tea? or diet coke?) and screwing with your mind by making you wear “magic underwear”… and then DOING something about it, can’t even be compared with a breakup. The comparison is *so* far off. First of all, a breakup involves two *individuals* in an interpersonal, give-and-take relationship. In a relationship, it’s *always* possible for *either* party to compromise. Whereas the dealio with the Mormon Church involves a strict set of imaginary, made-up, magical rules imposed on a person, with only a one-sided compromise, i.e. the member just sucks it up, puts his/her cog dis to the furthest recesses of his/her mind, and does what he/she is told.

    If I was in a relationship with a man who told me what to eat, what to wear, that I was always “less” than him both in this life and the afterlife, that I had to hand him 10% of my hard-earned money, and he was constantly ordering me to do service tasks — you bet your right leg I’d have a right to the breakup story. Why? Because that would definitely be an abusive, controlling, unhealthy relationship. If you expect me — out of “politeness” — to keep my mouth shut and give up my right to say, “Hey! This guy’s a jerk! Ladies, beware!” then you don’t really know the definition of courtesy.

    Now… deciding to leave a church and then devoting all your spare time to web sites, books, protests and propaganda against said church might indicate that, well, you need more friends. But when it comes to bully organizations like the Mormon Church, like Scientology, like Islam, etc., the appropriate thing to do in terms of etiquette to the rest of society is to make sure the warning has been issued to keep other people from getting burned. I mean, would it be polite after tripping on a crack in the sidewalk to just keep your mouth shut and watch a frail little old lady get closer… closer… closer… and then trip on it and break a hip?

    You can apply whatever silly little rules of etiquette you want to… to yourself. But don’t expect people with brains to follow them.

  95. Stephanie,

    I don’t think Hawkgrrl’s intended target was specifically people with brains, more so people with grace.

  96. The following seems appropriate, for EVERYONE, regardless of the situation:

    ***3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.***
    4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
    ***5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.***
    6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
    ***7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.***
    8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
    ***9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.***
    10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    ***11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.***
    12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

    (Matthew 5:3-12)

  97. Reading fella’s comments in #78 reminded me of the two churches mentioned in the Latter-Day scriptures. Here they are:

    1.(from behind the title page of the Book of Mormon)
    Copyright 1981 by
    Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A

    2. (from D&C 10:67-8
    “Behold, this is my doctrine – whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church. Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.”

    I do believe there is a distinction between the ‘corporate’ church and the church of Christ. Can this reference be any more explicit? Christ’s definition of His church is clear and concise. His warning not to add or remove anything from this definition is also clear. Can one be a member of #2 and not affiliate with #1? I think that is a manageable situation.

    Another way to say it: He who holds the copyright on my book may not hold the copyright on my heart.

    Spektator

  98. Spektator: “He who holds the copyright on my book may not hold the copyright on my heart.” Well put. This goes to the heart of what the church is (another post from another day). Is it a corporation (#1 above), a group of like-minded individuals (not listed above), any humble follower of Christ (#2 above). So, with whom is the beef one has (if one has a beef with the church): the organization, the leadership, only people directly involved, all church members, all members of organized religion, or bystanders? All of the above?

  99. Your said “So, (under my made up rule), if you want out, but you want rights to the Fallout Story, you have to get kicked out. We’ve all seen breakups like that, where you make the other person so miserable they finally break it off.”

    To put the above comment on ‘church’ perspective, you are basically recommending that if a person who leaves wants to have talking rights, than we must make the church so ‘miserable’ (or sin so badly) that they (the church) will just kick us out? Great idea! Because there is nothing I would love more than to have to completely compromise myself in order to have someone else make a decision for me that I could have made myself! Most of us do leave because (newsflash) THE CHURCH IS NOT TRUE. We do not leave because we are morally inept, or lazy, or offended (only offended to be lied to). I still believe in God, while some do not, and I still am the same person with the same moral behaviour and goals as before. I am not lazy, just wish to put my energy and dedicate my talents somewhere else. And I do not feel I need to debase myself in order to get kicked out of the Church. I can make my own decision and leave without compromising myself, and for fair reason. Your dumpee analogy is flawed. If I leave with good reason (in case of a breakup, maybe the other person was an abuser), it is not the dumpee in this case that owns the story, but the dumper. Are you crazy? Are you going to tell me you never broke up with a pshyco? If you did, you were the dumper. And if your sister now wants to date this pshyco, would you not tell her? Would you not own the story? I guess the same mind that can make those rules is the mind of a person who can justify the inconsistencies with the church.

  100. rhonda – “to have to completely compromise myself in order to have someone else make a decision for me that I could have made myself!” IME, civil disobedience is sufficient if you no longer believe the church to be true. Just explain your cognitive dissonance. You don’t have to commit some big sin. I was being tongue-in-cheek in that part of the comparison, certainly. I don’t really advocate trying to make either the church or yourself miserable. People should follow the dictates of their own conscience, and live and let live.

    As to dating a psycho, no, I can honestly say I haven’t, but I empathize with anyone who has. What a “psycho” is can be pretty subjective. The law is in place to protect us from actual “psychos” whether they are ex-boyfriends or ex-religious leaders. Getting the church to back off is a heckuva lot easier than getting a stalking ex-boyfriend to back off.

  101. You just want to play the victim card. You also want to change the focus from why someone leaves to how they leave. lets you stay in denial.

  102. “Getting the church to back off is a heckuva lot easier than getting a stalking ex-boyfriend to back off.”
    That is written from the perspective of someone that has never left (or tried to) leave the church. What could you know about the process of getting the church to back off? I left 8 years ago and only this past year have I been finally left alone. I got unannounced and uninvited Home Teachers/Visiting Teachers, Bishop, missionaries, etc. Some would wait a block away on their car until I arrived home from work, or went outside to do gardnening. I would receive countless phone calls. This after I had written a lettler requesting absolutely no contact. If you would like to discuss bad manners, how about all of the above? I was always polite, but firm. Many missionaries/Bishops/HT/VT would first ask the ‘is there anything we can do?’, then if I still did not allow them to enter or help, it would be the ‘you need to repent’, and finally the good old standby ‘I will bear witness against you’. This last statement coming from those who could not even pronounce my name. I am not sure God would need them as a witness considering their familiarity with me. My point on the phsyco boyfriend was not to ask if you actually had one (as I have had the good fortune of never having one) but to point out that even as the dumper you can have good reason to ‘own’ the story and even an obligation at times to do so. Getting back into how easy it is to get the Church of our back… nearly impossible at times. It is like a monkey that refuses to let go. That is all I will say.

  103. rhonda – sorry to hear that. I am close to many people who have left and none experienced the kind of persistence you did. I have also been in wards where individuals asked for no contact, and it was always respected IME. It is discourteous for people not to respect your wishes. I agree.

  104. Thank you very much. I do know many people who left and wishes were respected, but many were not. I understand that in many cases the intentions are good, but one’s whishes must be respected regardless of intentions.

  105. #110 – AMEN!

    I was asked recently by leaders in one of our wards how they should react to those who request that they not be contacted. My response was simple, “Honor their wishes. Do not contact them. Send a note to them every 6-12 months asking if they still want to be left alone, and honor whatever their answer is. If they request that their names be removed, take is as your responsibility to see that they are removed. They are adults and responsible for their own interactions with God. Let them make those decisions for themselves.”

    One of the most ironic things I can imagine is that when those who are assigned to Home Teachers request that they not be contacted, performing Home Teaching according to the PRINCIPLE of Home Teaching (being willing to do whatever your assigned families want of you) means that you not contact them. That’s extremely easy to forget.

  106. I left 8 years ago and only this past year have I been finally left alone. I got unannounced and uninvited Home Teachers/Visiting Teachers, Bishop, missionaries, etc. Some would wait a block away on their car until I arrived home from work, or went outside to do gardening. I would receive countless phone calls.

    That is very unusual. In my experience, even active members have a hard time getting that kind of home teaching or visiting.

    Did you have a family member encouraging them or asking for follow-up contact (not counting random tracting visits by the missionaries that you get just by virtue of living in America).

    the good old standby — where did they get that? You are dealing with some seriously unusual people, or you were. I’m wondering what happened. It is really too bad, whatever it was.

  107. Ok, let me see if I understand you correctly. My mother (the dumper) gets no right to say anything about my father (the dumpee) in regards to his abuse, unfaithfulness, violence, lies, etc., because she dumped him (yes, I really did grow up in such an enviroment).

    Sorry, one size does not fit all. Wake up sweet sister, the world is not black and white. While I have very little interest in going out and spreading the word that the mormon church is not what it claims to be, if someone sincerely wanted to know more about why I left and what I know, I wouldn’t hesitate to tell them. I’m pretty much a live and let live kind of guy. But don’t tell me to remain silent.

    You ask at the end of your post “So, do you agree that the Fallout Story rule is good etiquette for those leaving the church (and vice-versa)? Can you think of valid exceptions?”. I think it should be apparent that I don’t agree. How about instead of expecting us to keep quiet you weigh what is said. Or just say, “I’m not interested in hearing what you have to say”. Personally I can respect that. But please respect the Postmo’s right to free speech. Anyone who has a brain should be able to determine for themselves whether a someone has a valid complaint or is just ranting like a lunatic. Are you concerned that the listener doesn’t have enough common sense to fairly judge what is said?
    It’s been said that there are two sides to a story, and that’s absolutely true. So let both sides be heard.

  108. I think this is an interesting analogy so let’s carry it just a bit further.

    The reason you left your ex is because you found out that he lied about being married and will continue to find unsuspecting victims to lie to again like he did to you.

    Do you still think you should stay quiet?

    Caveat emptor?

    The problem with the people who leave the church is that they feel there is a pattern of misrepresentation going on and that the church is like the gigolo that preys financially on the believer and disparages the former lover.

    Perhaps the dumper has the right to expose the dumpee for what it is.

    How do you like my extension of your analogy?

  109. Fwiw, I think if everyone would go back and re-read, very slowly and very carefully, the original post – without any preconceived notions, much of this would be resolved. It appears that people have been told what Hawkgrrrl said and are responding to that assumption, not the actual post itself – which is packed with exceptions and disclaimers – meaning she isn’t proposing the kind of “shut up and quit complaining” model that many of these comments seem to be assuming.

    Frankly, I think one of the reasons why the Church rarely speaks publicly **as an organization** and asks Priesthood leaders not to do so is specifically because it has taken the initiative to call a disciplinary council, thus taking the role in Hawkgrrrl’s analogy, of the dumper. (I’m not saying the Church is aware of Hawkgrrrl’s theory, but rather that it understands the need for the dumpee to own the story.) I know the official counsel is not followed in some cases by those individuals involved – and, rarely, the Church will make an official statement when it feels someone in a high profile position is grossly misrepresenting an excommunication – but the explicit counsel is to allow the excommunicated member to “own the fallout story”.

    I wish local leaders accepted that more fully and overcame the natural tendency to take offense at what they hear, but we all make mistakes in our callings. I also wish I could deliver a solid spiritual slapping to ANY PRIESTHOOD LEADER who addresses the reasons for someone’s excommunication in sacrament meeting or any other such general, but “non-public” setting – except in the cases of exceptions identified by the Brethren.

  110. Thank you Ray, wish I had met more people like you in my old ward. Stephen M, you say that continuous contact is unusual if you try to leave, but not in my experience and many others I know. When I was a member (and I remained one until I was 34) I averaged one HT visit per year (sad but true). I was a single sister (married at 34 actually), and seldom had HT visits over the years. The VT did much better, visiting usually on a monthly basis. But once I left, after 2 Sundays of missing church I got a visit from the Bishop and one of my HT. Then VT, HT. After 6 months more visits and one of our friends who was the ward 2nd councelour showed up with missionaries. Once the missionaries were sent, we were usually caught by them almost on a weekly basis. It seemed like we were a project. We told them numerous times not to contact, but every time some of our VT or HT moved and we were assigned new ones, they came by anyways. To give you an example of the persistance, my father left the church when I was 16, and he still gets about 5 or 6 visits per year even though he has explicitely told them not to contact. He now does not answer the door. He goes up to the door, sees who it is and walks away. My sister left the church at 14, and until she was 29 was still being visited against her wish. My sister has requested numerous times to be left alone and finally it seems like it has happened.
    My mother comes from a very strong mormom family of 18 (16 children) and in the south of Brazil they are considered the equivalent of mormon pioneers. I was the very first person baptized in the Amazon, church in the north of Brazil started in our living room with our family and 2 others. So when I say we came from a very strong family, I mean it. It took me long and many years of scripture and soul searching to come to my decision. I consider myself a moral and faithful person, and never left church over any offense by others or sin on my part. Yes, I have family that would give information to the church such as my address and phone number, but they ceased to do that many years ago. My mom who is still faithful is constantly being guilted into giving them my information but she has learned to respect my wishes and refuses. I do not like that they do that to her. She is a very good mother.
    In respect to the other comment regard ‘the old standby’. I cannot tell you how many times someone has said…’ I will stand in the right hand of God and bear witness against you.’ It has usually been a missionary after I have told them that we were not interested. And that irritates me because most of them did not know the first thing about me. One of my friends told me they would be no friend at all if they did not bear their testimony and then warned me that if I did not repent she would have no choice but to ‘bear witness against me at the bar of the Lord’. My husband’s friend said the same. So yes, we have heard it often. I don’t understand what makes them think they will be ‘on the right hand of God’ to begin with, and assume I will not? After hearing it so often my reply was that they better take a number as the right hand of God seating was getting pretty full. Yes, it is a tongue in cheek remark, but in my view, God will judge me, and only Him.
    My experience is not uncommon as you seem to think, not if you have heard numerous other experiences.

  111. “I will stand on the right hand of God and bear witness against you.”

    I wonder if that is a cultural thing – or the product of a particular Bishop’s or Stake President’s influence. I’ve never heard that sentence used in my entire life.

  112. Btw, rhonda, I will be using your story (edited, of course, to be a generic story) directly in the discussions I have with leaders in this area.

  113. The idea of the fallout story being owned by the dumpee as a courtesy while the dumper remains silent is just silly to me. Both sides have equal rights to expressing thier position. I’ve never heard of this courtesy before and have never seen it in practice in my 32 years (and I’ve seen a lot of messy relationships end). To me, it doesn’t sound like a courtesy at all. No one should have to put themselves in the submissive position and shut up while the other side gets to tell their story.

    Come to think about it, in the relationships I’ve witnessed that have broken up, more often than not, the dumper was more than validated in their decision. Many times both the dumpee and dumper had reasons for the relationship going bad, but more often than not the dumper was in a bad relationship where the dumpee was either emotionally or physically abusive, or they were consistently unfaithful in the relationship. Eventually the dumper had enough and ended it. Are you suggesting that in such a scenario the dumper has no right to tell their story?

    Now, expanding this courtesy to the relationship between an individual and a group (church, club, place of employment, etc.) is even sillier. You cannot expect that such a relationship is on equal grounds? The individual is at a great disadvantage here when trying to voice their own story against that of a group, especially if the group is large and has a lot of financial backing to perform PR work. It is even harder for the individual to get an empathetic (not necessarily sympathetic) ear from anyone within that group. I think in the case where an individual leaves a group they deserve every right to telling their story.

    Now, that said, I do think there are cases where a person can take telling their story too far. For example protesting on church property (as was mentioned earlier) or trolling forums and blogs, deliberately derailing the conversation just to express their opinions. It is unfortunate that some people feel the need to do this as it only promotes feelings of contention.

    When it comes to formulating an opinion in regards to one’s story vs. another’s. I dislike taking sides, but if I must I tend to listen to both sides of the story before coming to any conclusions. I also take into consideration the behavior of the individuals after the break up because generally a person’s actions will hint at the integrity of their words. Note that I use ‘integrity’ rather than ‘truthfulness’ as one can be true to themself and their beliefs (their story) without having a firm grasp of the actual ‘truth’ (whatever that is–something I’m finding more and more abstract as time goes on).

    And for those who may be wondering, I’m currently a member of the LDS church in good standing. I’ve recently found my ‘testimony’ to be fastly deteriorating in light of my recent findings about the early church history. It’s still a struggle for me though and a hard pill to swallow. I’m at the point where I’ve decided to give the Book of Mormon one final good read alongside some prayerful consideration before I decide to leave (sort of a due dilligence thing). The difficulty is that most of my motivation to do so is gone. I really don’t expect a positive answer when I consider what I now know. It’s very disheartening to say the least.

    Oops, I just told part of my story, didn’t I? But wait, where does your courtesy rule fit in when one hasn’t left yet?

  114. Vee – Nothing in your comment is discourteous, IMO. I went through a similar process years ago and did one “final re-read of the BOM” which is what resulted in my gaining a testimony of it, much to my surprise. It was not the outcome I expected, as I was very skeptical in my reading. I took notes on it at the time, and my written notes just didn’t match my personal spritual experience. So, I wish you well in your quest, and I hope you find your outcome satisfying. Regardless, you are always welcome here.

    rhonda – (Like Ray) I’ve never heard anyone use that phrase before. It sounds like the kind of thing that could get one struck by lightning.

  115. >>> I’m at the point where I’ve decided to give the Book of Mormon one final good read alongside some prayerful consideration before I decide to leave (sort of a due dilligence thing).
    >>> I went through a similar process years ago and did one “final re-read of the BOM” which is what resulted in my gaining a testimony of it, much to my surprise. It was not the outcome I expected, as I was very skeptical in my reading.

    What an interesting idea. I didn’t come up with that one.

    For me there was a totally unexpected spiritual revelation about polygamy that changed my view of Church history dramatically while simultaneously handing me a way to deal with all past and future issues that fell into the realm of “I’d never do that personally, so I guess I just don’t have a testimony of it.” (Well, that over simplifies things, but explains it well enough.)

  116. My mother comes from a very strong Mormon family of 18 (16 children) and in the south of Brazil they are considered the equivalent of Mormon pioneers

    My wife spent a lot of time in Brazil as a kid growing up. Her father worked on the Itapu dam.

    From what I understand, you, your father and one sister left the Church. While none of you were home taught much, since you have left you have had a hard time getting people to stop visiting. Even after you left, somehow you got assigned home teachers and visiting teachers and people kept sending your addresses out to the missionaries and others to contact.

    I gather all of this happened in Brazil. An interesting facet, people would use a catch phrase that none of the Americans on this blog are familiar with to condemn you when they didn’t make progress. Lots of them used it in an obviously non-LDS (but possibly very local Brazilian?) manner.

    Bless your heart. You’ve had a different experience.

    BTW, I googled “bear witness against me at the bar of the Lord” in English and the exact chain of words came up empty, which was interesting. I ran some other google searches as well. I’m perplexed, I’ll bet there is a different translation that ought to bring up a hit or two more. I’m just unaware of anything in mainstream LDS experience that sounds like that, even close, in any related idiom.

    If I might ask, where were you when this happened? Mato Grosso? Anyway, forgive my being perplexed.

    And accept my sympathy.

  117. Stephen M,
    No, the above statement (that everyone seems to find so alien) was made in Canada. I was born in Brazil (I was 3rd generation mormom) lived there until 16. When I was 8 we moved to Manaus (1976) were I was baptized by my father in the Amazon River. We held church meetings in our home with the 6 of us (our family) and 2 others that we found. If you read church history you will know that the membership is the Amazon has grown since that time. My mother’s family is from Parana (Ponta Grossa) but about 1/2 of her 16 siblings now live in the US and some in Japan.
    Our family moved to Canada when I turned 16. My father shortly after fell away from the church. My sister followed him. I remained a strong member serving many callings at a time until I was 34. This happened in Canada. As I said, I have a huge family remaining in the church but we are the only ones in Canada. For many years the person providing my personal information to the church was my mother. She has since stopped. But she was mostly guilted into providing information. In addition, all contact has stopped because I formaly resigned from the church this past year.

    I do not carry ill feeling towards the church, I am simply saying, it is not so easy to leave and yes, there is almost a feeling of persecution at times. People lose family, spouses, children, friends, jobs, and many times their character is attached over leaving. It is assumed you either left over some offense, or you commited an offense, or you are lazy and can’t be bothered to come to church. If you don’t believe me than take a new listen to President Monson’s talk inviting the “the less active, the offended, the critical, the transgressor” into fellowship. Do this with an outsider’s view. Do you honestly believe that this is the only reason people leave? If I felt the church was true, there was no amount of offense that could keep me away from it. I am not critical, I just want the truth. I am not a transgressor, I live a moral life, and I am not less active (meaning I come to church only if I can get out bed). I have chosen not to come for my own reasons.
    There was constant questioning as to why I was leaving, but I never felt that the reason for the questioning was a genuine desire to know why, but simply a way to point out the errors of my logic and the truthfulness of the church. I cannot accept the church is true simply on the basis that someone has a testimony of it. A feeling that something is true does not equate to it actually being so. Every research I carefully did was dismissed, and I was supposed to be courteus and accept truth based on a feeling or because a church official or book said so. I find it very concerning that all books and materials are untrue with the exception of church sanctioned material. I cannot accept that. Truth is truth no matter where you find it. Also, truth is consistent. When a crime is reported to the police, you will be questioned many times over, and by a few different people (no, I never commited a crime, my best friend is an RCMP cop). This is done so that they can tell if your story is consistent and to determine if you are telling the truth. There are too many inconsistencies with the church, and too many different revisions of events. I became very concerned when certain books and materials were removed from the church library (I was the librarian for a few months when I moved from the singles ward to the family ward). I asked if I could have the books, but the leaders said no, that they needed to be taken out of circulation. Do you ever study from the Journal of Discourses anymore? Why not? Isn’t it a saying that everything that comes out of a prophets mouth is scripture? In fact, you can no longer find those books in the Church site. I happen to have all of them. I can see why they were taken out of circulation. I showed consideration listening to their side and was rapidly dismissed when presenting mine, so after a while when people asked, I would simply say I am not willing to discuss it and they can find out for themselves if they ever feel inclined to do so.
    It does not matter, I am no longer a member. I am now left alone and moved on with my life.

  118. “Isn’t it a saying that everything that comes out of a prophets mouth is scripture?”
    Perhaps it is, but I don’t know why (if we do) we continue to say stuff like this. Actually, I am surprised it isn’t taken further more often, a la anything said by any church leader is scripture. Either way, I cannot accept this statement. I think people believe it because it’s a safe stance, requiring little effort.

    “I find it very concerning that all books and materials are untrue with the exception of church sanctioned material.”
    Me too rhonda. Like my previous statement, this is another way that members can feel safe. I even have a non-member friend who doesn’t want to believe in anything but the Bible because that would open up things too much, and she wouldn’t know “what to believe.”

    “I never felt that the reason for the questioning was a genuine desire to know why, but simply a way to point out the errors of my logic”
    I am sorry that they acted this way. Whatever happened to having a desire to understand another rather than change them? Obviously they had an agenda, and I can see why, but I wish we would focus more on love and understanding.

  119. rhonda – “If you don’t believe me than take a new listen to President Monson’s talk inviting the “the less active, the offended, the critical, the transgressor” into fellowship. Do this with an outsider’s view. Do you honestly believe that this is the only reason people leave?” OT1H, his talk was directed at people he felt likely to return to fellowship (not necessarily a comprehensive list of all the reasons people have left); OTOH, those who have concluded the church is not true through logic probably fit into the category of “critical” in that they are evaluating doctrine through the lens of critical thought. I’m not sure he meant it that way, but it is another definition of the term “critical.” Either way, I am sorry for the discourteous treatment you received.

  120. So, do you agree that the Fallout Story rule is good etiquette for those leaving the church (and vice-versa)? Can you think of valid exceptions?

    What other unofficial rules of etiquette do you feel should be adopted in the modern LDS church?

    You’re a good author, but this was a very silly article.

    I was excommunicated, at my own insistence, only a couple of months before a letter of resignation became possible.

    I’m still a Mormon in all the ways that matter (believe me, if I could purge myself of all my Mormonism, I’d do it). I don’t feel any shame or regret, and I’m glad I had the courage to go through it all at the tender age of 18-19 (it was a long process from start to finish).

    I’ll tell my story if I feel like it, to anyone who might be interested. If you’re offended, it’s a personal problem on your end. Sorry, but I’m not. The proclivity of the ultra-religious to preach themselves into my face at every opportunity, but cry foul when I give them some reasons as to my lack of interest in their fairy tales, bespeaks a dreadful double-standard.

  121. This is an old article, but I just had to bring up this quote because so many of you were blown away by the fact I mentioned that many missionaries/members once they realized I was not interested would bear their testimony and then say that they would ‘stand in the right hand of God and bear witness against me’ for leaving the gospel. So here it is (from the mouth of Boyd K. Packer himself – LDS news article called ‘Most important,: Bear clear testimony’ link is: http://deseretnews.com/cn/view/1,1721,500006559,00.html):

    ‘President Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve, recalled a time years ago when he met a young, disrespectful missionary. The young man had been referred by the Missionary Training Center to President Packer as a member of the Church’s Missionary Committee to determine if he should be sent home from his mission.
    The young man was a smart aleck and impudent and rude, President Packer thought. He took the young man to lunch.
    “There could only be one verdict,” President Packer said. “This young man could not go on a mission.”
    As the pair returned to the Church Office Building, they saw the Missionary Training Center director waiting for them at the top of the stairs.
    “I thought, ‘When we get up to the top I will have to send him home,’ but I thought, ‘I can’t do that.’ About half way up the steps I took hold of this young man and pulled him around so I was looking him right in the eyes. I said, ‘You have been disrespectful and impudent and don’t deserve much. But there is one thing you have got to know.’
    “Then I bore my testimony to him, clear and pure testimony.
    “Then I said, ‘Now, don’t you ever say you don’t know or that you haven’t been told, because you have been told. I will bear testimony against you at the judgment seat of Christ that you were told.’

    Touche! and here it is. Now you know where the members get it from.

  122. I know this is an old post but I have to respond. I don’t think your etiquette rule applies when leaving the Church. Or at least there are many exceptions to the rule.

    1. If you leave the Church because you feel you have found truth elsewhere you should feel obliged to tell others your story. Members who have left other churches and joined the LDS Church do it all the time. They give their story which usually includes the negatives of their former faith. The Ensign prints articles from converts that includes negatives of other faiths (though very mild).

    2. If you leave because you feel the Church did something wrong to you, I think it is okay for you to share your side of the story. If you broke up with your boyfriend because he cheated on you or abused you, does he have the right to share the story because you were the dumper?

    Where I do agree with you is when people leave the Church and become bitter. To me, bitterness means the person isn’t at peace with their decision to leave. They hide this insecurity by attacking the Church, and allow hate to fill up the emptiness inside. That isn’t the Church’s fault, so the best thing I feel for that person to do is keep their mouth shut and solve the problem through self introspection.

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