This is a guest post by Lynn Stevens of Edmonton.
Once familiar with the entire range of issues relative to actually leaving the Church, several key issues seem virtually universal in all these forums!
- Most strive to merely defend their personal resolve here! That much, is quintessentially normal!
- Problematically, people spend endless time nipping at the branches; and not even seemingly capable of looking at the roots of any real evil.
Almost everyone, for starters, has a slightly different reason for both joining and leaving the LDS church. The old clich?É¬© stereotyping about “apostates” and also the “LDS apologists” is just that! Experienced people (who have really been shafted by the official church) rarely leave only because of the history debates. For instance, I literally was abandoned by the church, illegally and fraudulently; violating both civil rights statutes and the protective guarantee process, outlined by Joseph Smith in the doctrine and covenants. For over 20 years as a convert and returned missionary, .I thought this was categorically impossible! I heard it said on television that “people leave the church;” the church never leaves the people! Sadly, this is simply not true!
People really do get “shafted” by those leaders they gave their souls to, .not all these claims are lies or distorted rhetoric! The silly concept of being “offended” is another “blame the victim” trick that does far more harm than good to utter. Clever people see right through that like a polished window.
I could have sued the church for a lot of money; but declined to pursue that and other options! I have made my peace and forgiveness, so why am I writing this? It is because of the following LDS malaise.
My saddest disappointment is with the pretentious duplicity of the very leaders I loved and worked hard with for 23 years. (The chief leaders in Utah; and in high positions) over the years, the church hierarchy only became more unreasonably strict; and they made sure that they were almost impossible to contact, write or email on the internet (as it developed).
I understand how and why this could happen honestly and justifiably, to a point. However, I ask, quite simply. If Jesus Christ was sitting at a boardroom table in downtown salt lake city, would he make sure that no member of his church could contact him over the gravest of Mormon injustice? The irony is here that the faith is in more trouble over my false membership removal if the church is “true” rather than apocryphal, which I now permanently believe!) Yes, there are many decent Mormons and, of course, it is false to say you do not believe in Christ! However, it is just as silly to fire-brand to the “666” ranch all who leave the church (being destined for the flames of hell; and all of it, of course, provided by a just, loving and merciful heavenly father).
There is a lot of non-intellectual disrespect in both camps of this issue. I would not tell a happy Mormon to “leave the church”. I also would not tell any who have left that they will be “automatically” happier if they return. This kind of advice suggests that one has the answers for someone he or she does not even know!
The first presidency, general and local leaders are the chief reason why you are in a seemingly unprecedented public relations disaster! Keeping people from being truly honest is that church-created “fear”; one I let rule my conscience unwisely for 2 decades! An honest, deserved criticism of a high-ranking leader or temporary “policy” is tantamount to a greased slide to outer darkness! Believe me, I know the fear; and it reflects a “house built on sand mentality!” if you really are strong and true, you can take and learn from the criticism! I appear, right now, like a moderate neo-hippy with beard, long hair and all that fearful stuff! Yet, I guarantee you, even as a supposed “non-member”, I could write more sensitive “official” replies to LDS directed complaints! Diplomacy and true wisdom will always trump being “stonewalled” or getting some computer-generated letter fired back by a “yes-man” (who really couldn’t care less if you dropped dead in an hour!)
Some of you will point out that this horrendous piece of unrighteous, alleged dominion can be easily corrected.
However, I could not even start to be “owned” by the church again after being literally forced out; and so insidiously refused any and all meaningful contact and explanation about this phony “request” (for membership removal) I did not make any such affirmative demand!
Retroactively, I had a solemn mockery made of 23 years of my life. It was not a church court or an excommunication. It was an intentional lazy effort to get a person?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s name off the church records! Righteousness, in such high matters is not supposed to be like rolling the dice. Yes, there is an appeal process endowed with sound jurisprudence. However; just wait until you try to access any of these people! It will be a real eye-opener. I promise you! I do not pursue this as a hobby because I think it ends up being unhealthy if one does.
I am willing to respond to emails, if I have time and feel they could be productive. Sadly for the church in both the US and Canada, I think you have needlessly lost some of your most dedicated converts and have not really learned a blessed thing! This abomination occurred nine years ago and I have never even received a letter explaining why this happened! I thank god that Christ will judge me; because with friends like Mormon bureaucrats, I apparently have no need for enemies! You may use my name; but it now stays off the membership rolls. I am not applying for re-instatement!