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Why I'm staying: replying to CNN's 'Why millennials are leaving the church'

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  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 30, 2013 12:34 p.m.

    "5. Our doctrine is not a laundry list of what we can and cannot do."

    Then why do I always see posts from members saying that people who leave the church generally just couldn't/wouldn't deal with following the commandments that comes with being part of a church with higher standards for living than other churches?

    I'd accept the argument that the doctrine is about much more than that but then that would apply to just about every other church as well.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    July 30, 2013 12:44 p.m.

    I can answer CNN's question in three sentences.

    Going to church means holding one's self to a higher standard, taking on more voluntary responsibility, and giving one's self more work do to while getting nothing in return (in the worldly sense). Going to church is harder than not going to church. And speaking in general, millennials (of which I am one) are lazy and tend to look for the easiest path through life.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 30, 2013 1:11 p.m.

    @Brave Sir Robin
    The CNN post actually gave the answer to that based on survey results. The issues they found included...
    1. too political
    2. too exclusive
    3. old-fashioned
    4. unconcerned with social justice
    5. hostile towards the LGBT community

    Or you know, we could just call them lazy and dismiss their concerns. Either/or.

  • milojthatch Sandy, UT
    July 30, 2013 3:26 p.m.

    I fully agree with Brave Sir Robin. Truly being religious means holding yourself to a higher standard, and that is something society is not ok with.

  • Church member North Salt Lake, UT
    July 30, 2013 3:41 p.m.

    I really enjoyed reading this article. I do have to disagree with point #4 in the article though. When I was questioning the church I would often ask hard and difficult questions, both in church and to my family members. I was told many times to not question and to just have more faith. I don't think the church creates a good environment to ask difficult questions. But that might just be my experience. Good article though.

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    July 30, 2013 4:17 p.m.

    I read the CNN article a couple of days ago and I agree with many of this article's points in response - at least in principle.

    In practice, where the rubber meets the road in the everyday experience of Mormons, I'm less confident. I know too many people who didn't feel like "brothers" or "sisters" because of unrighteous assumptions and judging by ward members. I know some who felt that their sincere questions made others suspicious of their motives. There are others who did feel a stringent list of do's and don't's, and who felt condemned for not living up to the ideals imposed on them.

    Most of all, I feel we're complacent about the challenges to faith in today's world, especially for "Millenials" - our lessons and classes aren't geared to meet some of today's spiritual needs.

    We often fall short of the ideals espoused by the article. My confidence in Mormonism is heavily driven by its optimism for who we are, and what we are capable of achieving. I believe that Mormonism contains a framework for meeting the challenges to belief - but only if we rise to embrace its potential.

  • iheartcupcakeslc Draper, UT
    July 30, 2013 4:59 p.m.

    @Brave Sir Robin-the idea that I don't hold myself to a high standard, just because I don't believe in an organized religion is insulting. I am very active in my community, donate money to charities that need it for things other than building shopping malls. I volunteer and donate because I WANT to, not because I believe I will be rewarded for it in an imaginary afterlife.

    I get the sense of community that religion provides. It can be difficult to find people who have similar beliefs. I am so happy I've been able to find a wonderful support system of people with similar beliefs as my own. People who aren't assigned by someone else to be my friend, but people who actually choose to associate with me. It's incredibly refreshing.

  • WI_Member Appleton, WI
    July 30, 2013 5:37 p.m.

    Local clergy are unpaid. General Authorities of the LDS church receive stipends (compensation, salaries.) Please do not use that point to elevate the LDS church over other denominations. Many other churches rely heavily on volunteers as well.

  • wilson756 Utah, UT
    July 30, 2013 5:55 p.m.

    Within your reasons I find #4 and #5 to be completely false.
    #4 states that mormon's are taught to ask questions. Which is completely false to anything I was told or taught in my 20 years of activeness and pure dedication to the church. I was always told to rely on faith, and to never question any of the doctrine. I always thought of myself as a sinner because I questioned things too much. It wasn't until I decided to find the answers to my many questions that I found factual evidence that the foundational beliefs of the church are false.
    #5 I also find to be completely false. When simply explaining the churches beliefs, you cant help but find yourself listing off the hundreds of things you can and cant do. Yes, you can define the beliefs by telling someone to be more "christ like", but that still doesn't mean there Isn't an enormous list of do and do not.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    July 30, 2013 6:38 p.m.

    I'm not LDS but I think the lay clergy of the Mormons has a lot of benefits. I also find that churches that give a lot of people an opportunity to have a "ministry" (Mormons use the phrase "calling") also makes going to Church more meaningful.

    I think a lot of people believe "not going to Church" is the same as not having a religious faith. Those who seem to hold onto their membership do a good job of encouraging involvement, not just showing up.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 30, 2013 7:53 p.m.

    @ milo and Robin: You have both stated that religious people hold themselves to a higher standard.

    If that is true, there are not very many religious people - whether they attend church or not.

    Either that, or, on a comparative basis, they have really low standards to begin with.

    How many religious people on these comment boards show by their words and actions that they are following Jesus' admonition to love one another? How many show they judge not?

    How many individuals in prisons claim to be religious versus claim to be atheist?

    How many religious leaders or fellow church members have been found guilty of committing fraud or sexually molesting children in their care?

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    July 30, 2013 8:19 p.m.

    Atl134: Without Christ at the center of your life, one is left with 'Social Justice', a poor substitute for genuine Christian living. Social Justice is a code word for delegating Christian living to government, a pathetic hypocritical and cynical view of humanity. Sorry, I'll take neighborly 'social justice' over a liberal's government delegatory 'social justice' anytime.

  • Eastern girl New Haven, CT
    July 30, 2013 8:20 p.m.

    Good points!

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    July 30, 2013 8:58 p.m.

    Wilson 756: I am over 70 years old, raised in the LDS church and have asked questions all my life. I have disagreed with some LDS about evolution, blacks and the priesthood, questioned some mission practices, and many, many other issues. I have never been discouraged from asking questions. I have been in many classes where hard questions were asked and answered--and, sometimes not answered. What I have been told is to strive to live a worthy life, honor the priesthood, serve your fellow man and someday these issues will be sorted out. To me, the association with the saints, in spite of our imperfections and differences of opinion, make the LDS church the most wonderful organization in the world. I love it.

  • Markhorse DENAIR, CA
    July 30, 2013 10:22 p.m.

    JSB Thanks for articulating what I was thinking.Very sincere

    Wilson756 The Do's and Don'ts are mere recommendations to protect us from things that will hurt our body and spirit.

  • Vladhagen Salt Lake City, UT
    July 30, 2013 10:34 p.m.

    I think that we run into difficulties when we start to claim to have "factually" proved the validity or falseness of a religion. The whole point of religion is that it is higher than we are. I think that people tend to get what they seek. If you seek for nothing higher than yourself, you end up obtaining exactly that. If you seek for something higher, you tend to get it. How much power does mankind have over death or sorrow? That should tell you how much power man has in the realm of asserting the factuality of religion.

  • George New York, NY
    July 30, 2013 11:38 p.m.

    @milo and robin

    "Higher standards?" The standard that reinforces a false sense of supuriotry for a group of people that must turn to a outside source to manage their behaviors for them?

  • milojthatch Sandy, UT
    July 30, 2013 11:40 p.m.

    @Kalindra - I said "Truly being". I will fully agree that many people alive now and historically have used religion for devious purposes, and those people possibly need religion the most. The point however is that if you are truly religious (and actually "get" the point of your religion), you admit that you are not perfect and that you need help from a higher power to better yourself.

    My argument with most of the World, (not just atheist) is this trends we find where we are told that there is no need to better yourself because you're perfect just the way you are right now. No sense of a need to become something more or turn to a higher power for help, and I find that view flawed. It's like a baby sitting in their dirty diaper and not wanting it to be changed, or a student being ok with not learning the lesson the teacher is teaching and being satisfied with their limited knowledge. The fact is, REAL religion means work, and that is something many people today don't want to do.

  • ENDavis Lehi, UT
    July 31, 2013 4:12 a.m.

    Just for the record, in case anyone is keeping score...

    The local leadership of the church (i.e. Ward Bishoprics, Priesthood Quorum leaders, Relief Society leaders, Sunday School teachers, etc.) are a lay clergy, and do not receive any financial benefit from service in the church.

    Upper levels of church leadership (i.e. General Authorities, Area Authorities, Mission Presidents, etc.) each receive a monthly reimbursement of all living expenses, including but not limited to: housing, groceries, vehicles, utilities, and education (including college) for dependent children.

  • maclouie Falconer, NY
    July 31, 2013 5:09 a.m.

    Item #4 is so true contrary to another post.

    While one definition of "church" are the people and not the organization, one could say the "church" does not make for a place to ask questions because so many members don't have the answers and the only fall back is to increase one's faith. However, the "organization", or leaders of our Church, always encourage us members not to take the word of the messenger but to ask God if these things are true. Just read the 13th Article of Faith. We need to be seeking all the time which means asking questions and moving forward.

    This article is written by someone mature in the Gospel and understands true religion.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    July 31, 2013 7:16 a.m.

    Re: "I was told many times to not question and to just have more faith."

    Hmmmmm. It'd be interesting to know who told you that, what their connection to the Church was, and under what circumstances the advice was rendered.

    I have never, ever in my long, long [yeah, OK, some would suggest there need to more "longs" in there] association with the Church been told "not to question and to just have more faith."

    Rather, every time I've raised a serious question [admittedly, some questions were not serious], Church leaders, interested relatives, fellow members, etc., have tried to get me an answer. Sure, frivolous, un-serious questions are often ignored or met with an unspoken "stinkeye" response, but I've never had a serious, sincere question blown off.

    I didn't always like, believe, or adopt the answer, but I've NEVER been told not to ask the question.

  • Spikey Layton, UT
    July 31, 2013 7:37 a.m.

    The church has been my rock in a sea of violent waves. It is the calm in the storm, the anchor that keeps me in place. I am a convert of almost 25 years, and while I've had my ups and downs, I feel that life is good here.

    I was raised in a home where it was ok to be racist, it was ok to sleep around, it was ok to make fun of gay people, it was ok to not help others, put yourself first. All of that changed: I changed my racist views, I am married and devoted to my husband and will remain true to him and him alone, I love gay people (LOVE!) and while it's really hard for me, I try to help others.

  • bribri86 Phoenix, AZ
    July 31, 2013 7:41 a.m.

    Hey Kalindra

    You said...

    "How many religious people on these comment boards show by their words and actions that they are following Jesus' admonition to love one another? How many show they judge not?

    How many individuals in prisons claim to be religious versus claim to be atheist?

    How many religious leaders or fellow church members have been found guilty of committing fraud or sexually molesting children in their care?"

    Let me ask you a few questions...

    So, how many religious people don't come on these comment boards who do show their words and actions in real life?

    How many individuals are not or never have been in prison who are religious? Should we judge people who are in prison who are religious, because don't good people make mistakes? Shouldn't we forgive them?

    How many religious leaders or fellow church members have NOT been found guilty of committing fraud or sexually molesting children in their care?

    You speak as someone who might have had bad experiences and have focused on them. Your same arguments are similar to people who want to restrict firearms from everyone because one or two people use them incorrectly. Is that fair?

  • Charles.Reese FULTON, MO
    July 31, 2013 7:42 a.m.

    I appreciate this individuals list, but I believe there are somethings that are missing.

    1) Hypocrisy - I know this was alluded to, however lets call it what it is. Everyone of us as children of God have this problem since we are not perfect. We know that Jesus the Son of God was the only perfect individual to ever walk this earth. And part of the reason young and old individuals leave a church or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is because of hypocrisy. We can't expect our young to follow us if we are not doing what is right or striving to do so.

    2) Lies - How often or how many times have you told or been lied to? Satan is so good at convincing others and our young that there is no God and that the easy way is better. What he doesn't tell you that it brings suffering and great pain.

    3) Identity - In my youth it took me a long time to find myself and who I was. I was raised in the church, but I had no testimony of the truth or God. How many of our youth struggle with this?

  • George New York, NY
    July 31, 2013 7:54 a.m.

    What "higher standard" tells so many of you to show such complete distain and contempt for your fellow man?

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    July 31, 2013 8:07 a.m.

    As a believer, I have the distinct advantage of knowing that everything has profound, eternal meaning. Everything I experience in my life, everything I learn, everything I love belongs to me forever. Thus my life and everything in it has profound meaning. If there is no God and thus when we die everything we experienced, everything we learned and everything we loved, dies with us then by definition nothing had any meaning or purpose. As I consider the magnificent order of the universe and creations beauties, I can not believe it was all the result of an accidental explosion in space and thereafter only evolution and has no purpose or meaning. Therefore faith is my very necessary way of living in my world and loving my life and those in it!

  • teeoh Anytown, KY
    July 31, 2013 8:11 a.m.

    @iheartcupcakeslc

    “People who aren't assigned by someone else to be my friend, but people who actually choose to associate with me. It's incredibly refreshing.”

    What I find refreshing is a system where people through assignments and responsibilities find and create friendships that might otherwise not have happened. I hate to think about all of the friends and connections I might not have had if not for the home teaching program. HT and Visiting Teaching are inspired programs that build a greater sense of community and selflessness.

    Sure, some take on these responsibilities more with a sense of duty than desire, but that is their challenge…to learn to adopt a Christ-like love. And so many do learn that as they fulfill
    their assignments.

    I think it’s great that you hold yourself to a high standard without the help of a guiding institution. I think you are the exception and not the rule. Human nature shows that most people would indeed be lazy if left to their own impulses. I love the inspired programs of the Church that act as an impetus for me and others to step up to the plate.

  • teeoh Anytown, KY
    July 31, 2013 8:12 a.m.

    This author is spot on to say that that “the heart of Mormonism is asking questions.” The Church’s very foundation is based on asking questions (First Vision). Our testimonies and knowledge are the results of asking questions (Moroni 10:4). One of my favorite things about the gospel is that we are all on a journey of discovering and learning truth, which comes about though questioning and studying.

    To the naysayers of this concept, don’t confuse the (sometimes) inability to get the answers you seek with a culture of “no questioning.”

    I agree with procuradorfiscal. I’ve never, ever heard that we should not ask questions. However, I have heard that sometimes we don’t have answers and we press forward with faith. Those are 2 VERY different things.

  • Charles.Reese FULTON, MO
    July 31, 2013 8:32 a.m.

    I would encourage everyone to read Joseph Smith's First Vision account. Especially those who are struggling with who they are and what is true.

  • HScott27 Houston, TX
    July 31, 2013 8:35 a.m.

    @procuradorfiscal

    What counts as a "frivolous, un-serious question"? I see stinkeyes far more often than I have seen genuine interest into why someone is asking a difficult question. Especially if they continue to express their doubts and concerns. Often difficult questions don't have easy answers, and when someone fails to come up with an adequate answer the default is to say: "just have faith" or "just keeping praying and one day you'll get an answer", etc. Which in the end just leads to more frustration. Just because the church encourages people to ask questions doesn't mean they build an environment for people to feel comfortable asking those questions. Just like there is a sign on every chapel saying "Visitors Welcome" doesn't mean everyone who is visiting will feel welcome. You have to do more than encourage, there has to be a safe environment in which everyone can feel comfortable asking any question. Without any stinkeyes. It is much more than just saying something, the church has to do more and follow through with their words.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    July 31, 2013 8:42 a.m.

    Since religion is only what you do religiously. The need for a compass that points to the moral true north is needed. I like philosophy. The difference between mortals and immortals, is reason. The reason is, is because you matter. you matter? That's the Spirit of things. The name of the Spirit is Jesus, who was a gift from God because He so loved the world. Love gives you wings because you'll never know where your heart will take ya. It's more than an emotion, it's the ability to get into the Spirit of things. So up till now the past is determined, the future is uncertain, the present is what you've got. Good people give good gifts.
    To be free you have to help others to be free.

  • keyboarder College Station, TX
    July 31, 2013 8:44 a.m.

    @George. It's unfortunate when the LDS culture imbues a sense of superiority. If anything, it's because we believe that Heavenly Father's way is superior. The whole idea of an omnipotent, caring god requires that. But if you look at our very personal teachings or discuss this with most members individually, you'll find that we are very aware of our imperfections and struggle along with everyone else.

    A sense of grandiose superiority is usually accompanied by exclusivity. We share our message and invite others to join us the world over. The church's missionary efforts are no secret. We don't believe that we are better, rather want to share something valuable with everyone else.

    As for the church managing our behaviors? The church presents us with a view of the world, principles by which we can be happy, and then we are left to choose. Church teachings inspire individual agency, the ability to choose for oneself. Any oppressive attitude that some might experience, even if it comes from other church members, is certainly not inspired by the church or its teachings. On the contrary, we are reminded often that leaders are never to dominate others.

  • G L W8 SPRINGVILLE, UT
    July 31, 2013 9:04 a.m.

    ENDavis, we don't know the financial condition of specific general authorities, how much they contribute out of previously earned and saved monies, how much uncompensated time they spend on business aspects of the church, whether or not they earn any kind of profit (not to be confused with prophet, as some antagonists do) for their service.
    I hope the fact that expenses are reimbursed is not a bitter pill for you and others to swallow. I myself occasionally need reimbursement at the local level for out-of-pocket expenses: scouting, purchases of supplies for ward parties, etc. But the reimbursements NEVER match the sum of the funds donated. It just isn't necessary!

  • shimmer Orem, UT
    July 31, 2013 9:13 a.m.

    Re: milojthatch

    If only it were that simple. But too many religious people hold all of society to their standards resulting in oppression of personal freedom and beliefs.

  • The Taxman Los Angeles, CA
    July 31, 2013 9:40 a.m.

    We may be taught to ask questions to ourselves, but certainly not to church leaders. I had personal experience with this during the Prop 8 campaign in California. A sheet of paper containing a demonstrable falsehood was being circulated and taught in church meetings. I questioned the falsehood and provided proof that it was not true. My Bishop and Stake President ignored me and did not correct the record. Obviously there were most important considerations than the truth during that campaign season.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    July 31, 2013 9:48 a.m.

    milojthatch

    I don't think being religious is holding yourself to a higher standard. Religious only means you go to church and say you believe what a specific church teaches. Being religious and being moral have never been interchangeable terms.

  • coltakashi Richland, WA
    July 31, 2013 9:52 a.m.

    As a factual matter, the LDS Church is doing a better job of keeping the loyalty of its teens and young adults than most other denominations. That was determined in a nationwide study done a few years ago, a study that was the basis for a book by one of the researchers, Kenda Creasy Dean, titled Almost Christian. One chapter is titled Mormon Envy, and explains that Mormon youth have the highest level of affirming the faith of their parents and being able to articulate their own reasons for that choice. To respond to the author of the CNN article, Rachel Held Evans, to a greater extent than many of their peers raised in other faith traditions, Mormon millennials are finding Jesus in their own church.

    A remarkable evidence for this is the surge of young LDS missionaries that will reach over 80,000 soon. Other churches' youth ministries look at it with great envy, and in a recent panel on Christianity Today, they expressed no hope that their own denominations could duplicate thast level of commitment.

  • G L W8 SPRINGVILLE, UT
    July 31, 2013 10:19 a.m.

    Re: iheartcupcakeslc ”People who aren't assigned by someone else to be my friend, but people who actually choose to associate with me.”

    Certainly, much satisfaction can be gained from friends who choose association. There's no disagreement there. My view goes back to Will Rogers' "I never met a man I didn't like"--though, in my case, some occasionally haven't been reciprocal.

    I have never regretted an "assignment" to befriend someone. In actuality, LDS who understand even our most basic doctrines understand we are to accept everyone as children of God. Yes, we are human, and all will struggle with that at one time or another. But most of us try.

    Visiting members in their home "by assignment" has given the opportunity to become acquainted with people I otherwise would never now well. Even after assignments change, I've remained friends with them. Encounters in the neighborhood, at church, and in the community allow renewed opportunities to bond with them. It is NEVER boring or unpleasant.

  • glennsmith Sweet Grass, MT
    July 31, 2013 11:03 a.m.

    "Higher standard" refers not to a standard that is better than everyone else, but to a standard that is higher / better than I would live without Church influence in my life. I am a better husband, father, employer, friend, neighbor because of the standards I live, or aspire to live. Can I be the kind of person I am without LDS membership? YES. Would I be ? Not likely. Again, the "higher standard" ideal is an internal thing.

    As for asking questions, I have done so all my life, even sending a letter to Pres. McKay when I was 18 asking about blacks and priesthood. Yes, I did receive a reply. Yes, I cheered when the authorization came via Pres. Kimball.

    And I still ask questions. Did God play patty-cake when He made Adam & Eve? I don't believe so. Did HE set off a giant firecracker (aka big bang) to set creation in motion. Maybe, Fun to think about. Some answers haven't been revealed yet Or man hasn't learned enough science yet to understand them.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    July 31, 2013 11:29 a.m.

    Re: "I see stinkeyes far more often than I have seen genuine interest . . . ."

    Again, it'd be interesting if we knew the specifics -- the whos, whats, and wheres, etc. I've been in the Church all my [long, long] life, lived in several states and foreign countries, had many, many questions, and have never, ever, not once, been offered, as an answer, to just not to question, or to just have more faith.

    It'd be interesting to explore what factors might explain the disconnect between my experience -- which I can only assume from my experience is pretty common -- and the one you describe.

  • Church member North Salt Lake, UT
    July 31, 2013 11:57 a.m.

    To glennsmith:

    I am pleased to hear that you are happier being a part of the LDS church. I believe you when you say you are.

    Every person in this world is different. What works for one person does not work for another. I left the church a few years ago with my wife and young kids and I have never been more content and at peace as I am now. Life is much better and more fulfilling for me away from the church. I know this doesn't work for everyone but it works wonderfully for some people. In the last 10 years the people in this country who don't belong to religion went from 15% to 20% of the population. I have a feeling this trend is only speeding up. We need to continue to show people who believe differently than us respect, just as you have done on this forum and our country will be fine.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 31, 2013 12:06 p.m.

    @ bribri86: Nice taking my words out of context. The statement I referred to - and quoted in my original comment - claims that religious people live to a "higher standard" - with the subtext being that those without religion have lower standards in how they interact with the world.

    If those statements had any foundation in reality, than the actions I mentioned would not be committed by religious people but only by non-religious people. The fact that religious people - including you by taking my words out of context - engage in less than stellar behaviors proves my point - being religious does not automatically elevate you to a higher standard and being non-religious does not automatically make all your actions suspect.

    Some posters have defended their "higher standard" comments by making them individualized - they live to a higher standard in their lives because of their religion.

    I have no problem with statements like those as they allow all of us to be the best we can be regardless of why.

    But I strongly object to the idea that only those with God are good - especially when so many of those with God aren't.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    July 31, 2013 1:01 p.m.

    atl134

    Nothing new in what you said, could have been said for centuries now. Many people like to think they live in some different, special, exclusive time of human history. We don't. Every atitude common to the people of today, have been around since Adam and Eve. Or in your belief system, since monkeys become human.

  • m.g. scott clearfield, UT
    July 31, 2013 1:06 p.m.

    iheartcupcakeslc

    I guess neither you nor anyone important to you works in a mall.

  • kvnsmnsn Springville, UT
    July 31, 2013 1:10 p.m.

    JSB posted:

    =Wilson 756: I am over 70 years old, raised in the LDS church and have asked
    =questions all my life. I have disagreed with some LDS about evolution, blacks
    =and the priesthood, questioned some mission practices, and many, many other
    =issues. I have never been discouraged from asking questions. I have been in
    =many classes where hard questions were asked and answered--and, sometimes not
    =answered.

    I think I agree that whether or not you get your questions seriously dealt with probably depends on where you are and what kinds of members you're around. I've been in wards where the leaders discouraged asking questions, and I've been in wards where anybody could ask any questions they wanted. Currently I'm in the latter type of ward. It probably just depends on the maturity of the leaders.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 31, 2013 1:14 p.m.

    @banderson
    "Without Christ at the center of your life, one is left with 'Social Justice', a poor substitute for genuine Christian living. "

    Guess you're a Glenn Beck fan. Condemning people as not being genuine Christians because they support universal healthcare (or any other social justice idea) fits 2-3 of the categories CNNs survey found people are choosing as their reasons to leave churches.

    @maclouie
    "However, the "organization", or leaders of our Church, always encourage us members not to take the word of the messenger but to ask God if these things are true."

    But oftentimes the only acceptable answer to say... Moroni's Promise, is if God gives the answer the "organization" thinks is correct. Otherwise, someone getting a different answer often faces accusations that they weren't sincere when asking God. So I'm not sure that's really an improvement.

  • ENDavis Lehi, UT
    July 31, 2013 1:46 p.m.

    @Charles Reese: "I would encourage everyone to read Joseph Smith's First Vision account. Especially those who are struggling with who they are and what is true."

    Which version would you like me to read? The one he wrote in 1830, 1832, 1835, 1838, or 1842? They're all different. In some he says he's 14 years old, in others he's 15 or 16. Some of his stories featured only angels visiting him, others had only Jesus Christ, and others both Jesus and HF. In some stories, he had already decided that all the churches were not true, and wanted to know what to do next, in others he went with the question which of the churches were true. In some stories he is said to receive a forgiveness of his sins, in others there is no mention of sins. In some stories there is darkness and Satan fighting against him, in other stories it didn't happen.

    So which version of the vision would you like me read? And if the first vision actually happened, why is it that no one seems to know what date it happened?

  • pennypinstripe BOUNTIFUL, UT
    July 31, 2013 2:26 p.m.

    @ENDavis This argument is common against the Church and Joseph Smith. However, I know personally that after telling a story several times, I have changed details in the story not on purpose, but because I don't remember it perfectly each time. People will point out things that have changed or even dates, and the same could be said for anyone that is relaying an experience in their life. The same could be said for Joseph Smith. This argument does nothing to alter my testimony of the amazing experience he had.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    July 31, 2013 3:10 p.m.

    CNN on religion?

    BAhahah..(silence)..Bahaha

  • Church member North Salt Lake, UT
    July 31, 2013 3:39 p.m.

    at: pennypinstipe

    Is it possible that no evidence will ever alter your testimony?

    Is that a good thing?

  • Silverprospector SAN ANTONIO, TX
    July 31, 2013 4:09 p.m.

    pennypinstripe -

    We aren't talking about minute details here. Would you forget that god and jesus visited you and just call them an angel? Would you forget such details that would be burned into your memory. Furthermore, if it really happened back when it supposedly did, wouldn't he have written it down at the time? Such a world altering event and he doesn't even write it down? Come on.

  • Silverprospector SAN ANTONIO, TX
    July 31, 2013 4:12 p.m.

    milojthatch

    BTW Not being religious doesn't always mean being atheist. It just means not being religious. You can still believe in god, or be spiritual in another way, you just don't have to go sit in a chapel every week.

    Charles.Reese

    Which of the multiple different first vision accounts would you like us to read?

    teeoh

    You don't want to ask too many questions or you may face church discipline. Yeah sure you can ask the simple questions, but the ones that really threaten the churchs credibility, even if they are true, are not permitted. Just be very careful who and what you ask. Other then that, yeah you are ok to ask questions...

    The #5 on the article is untrue. The mormon church is based on rules you have to follow in order to get to heaven. You can't drink, smoke, drink coffee or tea. You can however now eat meat, even though advised against in the word of wisdom. And you have to pay tithing, go to church, etc. If not you can't go to the temple.

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    July 31, 2013 4:43 p.m.

    maclouie,

    We were taught not to question beliefs or question the doctrines nor question the leaders - most especially the current prophet. The LDS church doesn't encourage critical thinking skills and instead tells its members that they are on the road to apostasy if any question the doctrines or principles of the church, even if they doctrines have changed over the years.

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    July 31, 2013 5:07 p.m.

    The entire temple recommend interview that determines your "worthiness" to attend the temple is a checklist of things you must do and not do in order to be worthy to attend the temple.

    In order to attain the highest level in the Celestial Kingdom, you have to follow a checklist of dos and do nots. For instance, you must be baptized and confirmed a member of the LDS church, you must get your temple ordinances, including marriage in the temple and you must refrain from doing certain things and be sure you do other things including, paying tithing on your income.

    Yes, there most certainly is a checklist with the LDS church.

  • J.D. Aurora, CO
    July 31, 2013 5:25 p.m.

    Well, I believe for years that I was mislead about the history, and no longer think it is true. So, I am likely not going to stay. It is hard to stay once you learn the facts.

  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    July 31, 2013 5:53 p.m.

    ENDavis
    They could have been all correct in sequential steps. An angel appears and ministers to Joseph then the angel introduces Christ and Christ introduces the father. It if the person had not kept a detailed journal details and the sequence that they happened may have been forgotten or not clearly recalled. As far as I can recall Joseph never said anything about it with the exception that he was talking to a minister and he related his experience and the minister rebuffed him. Since none of us were eyewitness as to what happened., only Joseph knew for sure. There are also passages in the scriptures that mention people seeing and hearing unspeakable things which were not lawful for them to utter
    3Ne 26:18, 3Ne 28:13, 2 Cor 12:4

    It also could be that people were not yet spiritually able to handle the truth hence the different accounts. In the book of Mark Christ tells his apostles that he taught the multitudes using parables but in his inner circle he was more clear. Mark 4:10-12

  • jcobabe Provo, UT
    July 31, 2013 8:03 p.m.

    Sarah Shumway, good for you! I applaud the loyalty and confidence that you express. I think perhaps you follow Elder Holland's admonition to be true to the faith that we *do* have. In a world where sceptics and doubters seem so commonplace, it is quite refreshing to hear from someone with the courage of their convictions, who professes strong feelings of faith. I join with you in "Why I am Staying", because we know we are all children of our Heavenly Father, striving to follow the example of Jesus Christ.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    July 31, 2013 8:35 p.m.

    I think we underestimate the good that geographical wards give us. This is why I think it is good they did away in many places with the dual system of Singles wards and single student wards. I can see pluses to singles wards. I was in one for many years, and aging out of the singles wards and being a single in a family ward was not easy. However I love teaching in the primary and know I am in the right place.

  • kargirl Sacramento, CA
    Aug. 1, 2013 1:22 p.m.

    Nevertheless, there are those souls whose shadows have never, or rarely, fallen upon a door of a religious establishment, who do not quote scripture, yet whose lives are testaments to the teachings of the Savior every day. They simply cannot help themselves--anyone in need, whether of food, clothing, or fellowship, seems to draw their attention, and it matters not to them that their ownly reward is a deeply felt thanks. For them, even that is embarrassing, for they do these things as they breathe--almost without realizing it, it is second nature to them. I have known such people; they are examples I wish to follow, living followers of the Savior, whether they realize it or not. They may not go to any church. Don't discount them.

  • thebigsamoan Richmond, VA
    Aug. 2, 2013 12:07 p.m.

    @ENDavis,

    It's true that the General Authorities of the LDS church receives a cost of living assistance to help pay for their expenses while dedicating their lives to the Lord, but to call that a salary is ludicrous to say the least. If you compare that to the clergies of other faiths where most get free housing, free medical and life insurance policies, free cars, etc, on top of their fat salaries, then what the GA's get are peanuts in comparison considering many of them are highly trained professionals in their respective fields, eg, doctors, lawyers, college presidents, college professors, business men, etc, but gave that all up to serve. Curiously though, how many of those paid clergy do you think will remain behind the pulpit if they are given only a cost of living expense with no salary? That I'd like to know. My family are converts to the Mormon faith and that's just one aspect of Mormonism that attracted us.

    I thought the article was well written and well articulated.

  • logical Meridian, ID
    Aug. 2, 2013 12:29 p.m.

    To "Thinkman", what church are you talking about? Obviously it is not the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints. We are taught that we are suppose to not follow blindly. There may be those that do, but we are suppose to get our own revelation on truth, etc.
    As to the "check-List"; that is a minimum requirement. I am striving to be like Jesus. Compare it to climbing a mountain. Obtaining the summit is to be Christ like, the "check-list" is just the Gate: "Matthew 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." I hope you find the gate someday and don't look back.

  • logical Meridian, ID
    Aug. 2, 2013 12:43 p.m.

    Opps, I forgot to finish my thought on the gate: the "check-list" is the gate just to get onto the mountain, at the base of the mountain. We all struggle with different challenges some may even be on the check-list, but we strive for something much much greater that can't even be achieved in this life, to have Christ like attributes in all things.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Aug. 2, 2013 12:52 p.m.

    @ Silverprospector: "You can however now eat meat, even though advised against in the word of wisdom."

    No, we could always eat meat. The WoW calls for using meat "sparingly". So 3 oz portions are reasonable. Unfortunately most of us eat 16 oz portions.

  • cpafred SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 2, 2013 2:50 p.m.

    @Thebigsamoan
    Richmond, VA

    You claim that General Authorities receive a "cost of living assistance" but to call that a salary is ludicrous.

    You seem to be an expert on this, so please help us out with some actual facts to support what you say. How much do they make?

    I make a "cost of living assistance" at my job too. It's called my salary. Income is income is income no matter what you call it, and calling it some ridiculous name other than income sounds like another attempt at deception.

    I'll wait eagerly for the numbers to see how they compare to some other peoples' salaries.

  • Beart SAINT LOUIS, MO
    Aug. 2, 2013 3:28 p.m.

    Going to church isn't so much holding oneself to a higher standard. Lots of people go to church. It is more trying to continue the quest for a strong purpose in life beyond owning the latest android or other electronic toy, searching for something that can't be measured in currency. I don't think the post should offend anyone with paid clergy, but if it does, then it does. When religion has a price set on it, we have expectations of customer satisfaction. Heard of "shopping for a church"? I have.

    And if this is the nature of one's reason for going, then the clergy, as good as its intentions may be, still is at the mercy of the paymasters for his/her position and will try not to ofrend with hard words, even delivered kindly. Question? Yes. Confirm? Yes.

    Personal revelation is all about personal responsibility. Among millennials, accepting personal responsibility is a hard choices. Maybe this has more to do with why so many are leaving churches behind.

  • wwookie Payson, UT
    Aug. 3, 2013 8:11 a.m.

    I feel bad there are a few posters who feel they weren't encouraged to ask questions n the LDS church.

    My experience has been exactly the opposite. It is when I went to other religions that I felt pressured to accept everything on faith.

    There is a series of books by Hugh nibley that I like to read and cause the reader to question more things.

    I wonder if posters here are confusing preaching against the church with asking questions about doctrine. If you've already come to a conclusion about the church's doctrine, then you aren't questioning it, you are trying to invalidate it. That is a closed mind approach and of course you would be offended if someone told you to accept something you don't believe.

  • Samuel B Martineau Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 3, 2013 8:17 a.m.

    wilson756

    I disagree that the LDS church teaches its members to not ask questions. One of the most basic teachings of the church is that each person must gain their own testimony or belief in the existence of God, sacrifice of Christ, restoration of the church, etc. This begins with a question.

    But the teachings of the church do encourage members to turn to God for the answers to these questions. If there is a God, and he does communicate with his children (both basic beliefs of the LDS faith) then this only makes sense. I find nothing inconsistent or secretive in the church's position on this point.

    I have read the anti mormon sites, heard the arguments. When it comes down to it, I feel that God has spoken to me. I trust that what He says is true.

  • Open Mind Taylorsville, UT
    Aug. 3, 2013 9:40 a.m.

    @WI_Member,

    I have never heard of general authorities getting any compensation. Only paying for flights, meals, etc when traveling and serving. Would you have any evidence to support that?

    @iheartcupcakeslc,

    While I understand you taking offense to what Brave Sir Robin said, I believe what he's trying to say is that for many millenials who leave their faith, laziness is a big factor. That doesn't mean every person fits under that umbrella.

    I also find it insulting to call my belief in the afterlife imaginary when you cannot prove your beliefs any more than I can mine.

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    Aug. 3, 2013 10:15 a.m.

    Saying that you stick with religion because you hold yourself to a higher standard is an easy and self involved way of answering a difficult question. The focus is all on self and your own superiority to others.
    Folks, I work with young people. Why do they turn away from religion?
    Well it isn't because they dislike the idea of God, our savior, or the message of our savior. What they can't handle are self involved people who think they are better than others.
    As much as I love reading the Gospel of Jesus Christ--I sometimes wish he would have even spent more time talking about how to deal with the people who hear his message and become smug, know it all, and self righteous.

  • kvnsmnsn Springville, UT
    Aug. 3, 2013 1:57 p.m.

    atl134 posted:

    =But oftentimes the only acceptable answer to say... Moroni's Promise, is if God
    =gives the answer the "organization" thinks is correct.

    Acceptable to who? Acceptable to the person who's telling you to apply Moroni's Promise? Who cares what that person thinks? The only person you should care about is God, and what God has to tell you. If God tells you that the LDS Church is false, or that the Book of Mormon is a fraud, then I say you should believe that the LDS Church is false, or that the Book of Mormon is a fraud.

    =Otherwise, someone getting a different answer often faces accusations that they
    =weren't sincere when asking God. So I'm not sure that's really an improvement.

    Once again, who cares about the accusers? You alone know whether you were sincere when you asked God your question. I can understand why they might feel motivated to call you insincere, but your accuser is really in no position to declare whether you are sincere or not; that is between you and God.

  • cpafred SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 3, 2013 8:19 p.m.

    @ Open Mind

    Have you heard of a thing called "General Conference"? In the October 1985 general conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley acknowledged that living allowances are given to the General Authorities. He said the amounts are modest in comparison with executive compensation which is saying nothing since executive compensation can be several hundred times what the common man earns. I'm pretty surprised that many members seem to be unaware of this fact.

  • Mind to Mind St.Peters, MO
    Aug. 4, 2013 8:00 a.m.

    What specifically defines a person as a ....." Millennial " ?

  • kvnsmnsn Springville, UT
    Aug. 4, 2013 5:48 p.m.

    Church member posted:

    =I left the church a few years ago with my wife and young kids and I have never
    =been more content and at peace as I am now. Life is much better and more
    =fulfilling for me away from the church. I know this doesn't work for everyone
    =but it works wonderfully for some people.

    God for me is simply that being that preserves forever some good things. I feel like I owe it to future generations of humanity to partner with this God, and that's why I'm a devout Latter-day Saint. Church member, what is your conscientious obligation to future generations of the human race?

  • elarue NEW YORK, NY
    Aug. 5, 2013 7:13 a.m.

    I don't have the statistical data to back this up, but I would suspect there's another reason why people are leaving organized religion - rejection of authority. People would rather live moral lives because it makes sense for them to do so, not because God told them to. We're taught to see God as our Father, but we're not acknowledging that being our Father means next to nothing anymore - how many people are estranged from their parents? Seeing fellow church members as brothers and sisters? Same difference. People would rather leave their blood relatives and go seek out people they feel comfortable with.

    I would think that for a culture that claims such a strong libertarian streak, this would make sense, and something would have been done about the rhetoric. But nope, just hearing more "God said so," and that's it.

  • kvnsmnsn Springville, UT
    Aug. 5, 2013 3:24 p.m.

    Elarue posted:

    =We're taught to see God as our Father, but we're not acknowledging that being
    =our Father means next to nothing anymore - how many people are estranged from
    =their parents?

    I think being estranged from one's parents, even in today's society, depends on the quality of the relationship with one's parents. My oldest daughter couldn't wait until she graduated from high school, and then was out of the house as soon as she could. But when her boyfriend abandoned her and his baby son, she swallowed her pride and moved back in with us. She just got admitted to our local university, and is planning on a career in the medical field; my wife says she'll babysit our grandson while she goes to her classes. So despite my daughter's desire to be free, there was no estrangement there.

  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    Aug. 19, 2013 8:18 p.m.

    CNN would no doubt love to portray all religion in America as being on the way out, but in order to do so it has to ignore the comparatively high retention rate—and actual growth—of the LDS Church here and around the world.

    I would add to the author's points that the LDS Church doesn't try to buy your allegiance with gimmicks or watered-down doctrine that changes along with the whims of society, as most other churches do. It just tells it as it is, without moral ambiguity, which is refreshing for many in a generation that is used to being told that right and wrong are relative.