It's a bit more complex than that.
IMHO, a lot of people leave the church because they don't feel comfortable there. They hurt in the very place where they want to feel healing. And the hurt overpowers the opportunity for healing.
It's hard not to judge. We do it constantly. And we often judge unrighteous judgments.
And when there is a cultural and political conservatism imposed where it need not be, it can create insurmountable conflict.
Yes, I'm speaking of the "wink, with, nudge, nudge" crowd who are so anxious for the world to be evil as they point it out so that they can rejoice when the wicked are punished and they are proven right.
Anonymous D gave me some insight recently that this kind of prideful thinking is very much the "Nephite Disease" of the Book of Mormon. It is in classifying people with whom we disagree as the "other" and relegating them to a level of righteousness and eternal judgment much lower than our own. If they're not with us, they must be against us and likely Lamanites to boot!
The recent lines in the sand about the woman who resigned from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir tend to point this out in a vivid way. Many condemn the women for being unpatriotic or disloyal to the church. Some suggest that if she resign from the choir, she should resign from the church because obviously the choir wouldn't be singing for the inauguration if it hadn't been approved by the Brethren who are the Lord's spokesmen and authority on the earth. She herself explains that she is taking a difficult moral, not political position for a teaching opportunity.
It's a slippery slope of orthodoxy, or as Anonymous D has also pointed out, Catholics have a doctrine of Papal Infallibility but the rank and file generally don't believe it while Mormons don't have a doctrine of Prophetic Infallibility even though they think and act like they do. I'm glad our leaders recognize that they are capable of error and actually point them out now and then as the recent LDS Gospel Topics essays address some historical and current problems.
Of course we should love the sinner and hate the sin, whatever that means. And Christ supped with the sinners and forgave the woman caught in adultery. But Jesus had some pretty harsh words for the Scribes and Pharisees and overthrew the tables of the money-changers in the Temple as well. I think the line is pretty clear. The Lord loves the sinner who repents or is capable of at least recognizing the possible need of repentance even if hope and faith of such is weak. He is not a big fan of those who seem to have no ability to admit they could even possibly be sinners because they beat their chests with much show of their piety as they condemn those who are of the "other," and obviously in sin.
The amazing thing about the message of the Book of Mormon and the Nephite Pride that led to destruction, is that the last Nephite Prophet, Moroni, spent some significant alone-time teaching about Faith, Hope, and Charity. These are supposedly simple doctrines that still trouble me. One scripture often glossed over is that at the end of Nephite Civilization as he is hiding to save his own life from the thousand-year, easy Nephite enemy, the Lamanites, he writes with one purpose in mind:
Wherefore, I write a few more things, contrary to that which I had supposed; for I had supposed not to have written any more; but I write a few more things, that perhaps they may be of worth unto my brethren, the Lamanites, in some future day, according to the will of the Lord. Moroni 1:4.His brethren, the Lamanites! Not for the Nephites- they're done, not for us in Latter-days (although those prophets saw our day of Pride). It would be like the modern church doing everything for the benefit of the Democrats, or the Muslims, or the Refugees! Actually, we do a lot for the Refugees (see here and here) even forgetting that they are often Muslim and might even [eventually] vote Democratic. And maybe, just maybe, we should have a little more Charity in our hearts for those who do think differently. Some can be perfectly worthy members of the Church and still not be out of some conservative mold.
And I'm not leaving.
I need the Church and I think the Church needs me.
At least my Stake President said I was OK last Sunday.
We are the only true and living Church with which the Lord is well pleased, speaking of us collectively and not individually because he cannot tolerate individual sin. (D&C 1:30-31 paraphrased).
For a couple of decades I've concentrated on that amazing collectively because we are better united than we are individually. Just recently I read something about the living part. There are a lot of true things in the world in and out of the LDS Church even in other churches and religions, along with the knowledge of the ages. And a blogger recently noted that the living part is the priesthood authority in fallible men and I believe in women too, at least by Temple ordinances.
I am and will stay with the Church because of the living priesthood that seals generations backwards and forwards, the living and the dead, the only living church that does so.
And I will keep trying to practice Charity with all including with those who are different. I have to learn to love the Conservatives.
Wonderfully said. Many of us in the minority politically and racially are tired of feeling the pomposity of our bretren when they for example post "hair on fire" comments, and deem it truth.That is where the conflict comes in, sharing facts, and unwillingness to see it leads to fractured relationships... Repeat, rinse..... Denise GraysonReplyDelete
Thank goodness I found your blog. After this election, and listening to my closest friends denying racism (to this Asian Mormon living in a rural white town), hearing callous comments about the people (mostly minorities) who protested #notmypresident... it has totally shaken my faith and testimony. To be true followers of Christ and His one true church and then totally disregard human rights? Can people in these white conservative towns and most of Utah open their eyes and ask themselves why this is still such a white church, even in urban towns where the white majority is the minority? (Grew up in the bay area, the only Asians in our ward). It has been really hard for me to understand the hypocrisies of our church... more so now then ever before. Yet I want to be at peace and strengthen my testimony. I understand that good men are fallible but don't understand how the Lord can allow leaders to lead people so far astray (i.e. race issues - gotta love the BYU religion professors that taught in my classes you should marry within your race. Really appreciated him trying to turn my marriage prospects to .1% of all Mormons). I really Really appreciate your writings and they are helping me through this icky stuff. I probably just need to pray more and read scriptures but I am having a hard time. No plans to leave the church but I really need to believe in it more than I do right now.ReplyDelete
When I finally leave for good it will be because I can't stand one more verse of Choose the Right played ad nauseam in the months leading up to every election.ReplyDelete