Every year I go back to the states to see my family and am surprised how many friends I know have left the church. I’m sure a disproportionately high amount compared to most of you. So if you’re superstitious and still want to be active in the church it’s probably not a good idea to be my friend.
Because of the above it’s been an obsession of mine the last few years wanting to know what happens to returned missionaries in their 20’s 30’s 40’s 50’s and beyond. I have a friend who works in the stats dept for the church who said I would imagine we would know activity rates of returned missionaries but don’t publish them. I did a Google search returned Mormon missionaries and why the leave and found Mormon stories @Why people leave the church and what family and friends and community can do about it’, which is another story in it self.
What I have found is not what I expected through the decades from many of my friends who now blend between agnostic and atheist. I expected from the folklore you hear in the church, i.e. that if you don’t believe in God and being judged, why would you be honest, why wouldn’t you lie a little, be immoral, have a drink, take drugs, sleep around? If there is no god or after life why worry now if you cheat on your spouse, watch X rated shows, get drunk or even sleep around because there won’t be any consequences in this life or hereafter. Its knowing that there is a god and will be judged that keeps us in check.
What I have found is vastly different from that perceived view of what happens to people who loose their faith. They have hardly changed except they talk more freely and honestly about how they feel about life with a real refreshing candour and openness. They aren’t sleeping around and are loyal to their spouses. Some have the occasional beer but none of them have drinking problems or brushes with the law.
They aren’t so worried about seeing R rated shows but don’t have pornography problems. They seem more honest with themselves and others, Many are involved in charitable service and helping family. They seem to handle the same pressures, which we have of jobs, kids, and financial worries and seem to have the inner fortitude to work through these related pressures and problems as members of the church do. They do good works and charity from an inner desire to do what is right and not so to speak to be chalking up points for the after life. If anything they are more present with the here and now because in some of their views this could be all there is! They seem to be genuinely happy.
My preconceived view thirty years back of how their lives would have turned out from not taking part in the church has been spoilt.
Famous Atheist Quotes
“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored” – Aldous Huxley
“An atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An atheist believes that deed must be done instead of a prayer said.
An atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death” – Justin Brown
“If anything, an atheist has to be more morally responsible precisely because we don’t blame a god for our own actions” – Ivan Ratoyevsky
“Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned” – unknown
“A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he knows.” — Samuel Clemens
“The foolish reject what they see and not what they think. The wise reject what they think and not what they see” – Huang Po
I’d be curious to hear your experiences