Why I Stay a Mormon When Many Friends Have Left

mormonn

“I’m leaving the church.”

Over the past month, I have heard/read this phrase seven times. Once from an incredible woman in my home ward who can’t take anymore of the ward’s judgement. Once from a family member who has felt the church is too restrictive for years. Twice from young adults my age whose knowledge and testimonies of the gospel have buoyed my own in the past. The rest from good friends and acquaintances. Some of these announcements, I’ve been expecting for months and years. Others, I never ever expected.

The intensity of the grief I have quietly shouldered these past few weeks has been hard to describe and has left me with an alarming loss for words. In the miniature chaos of having, as one friend described to me, multiple individuals I propped my testimony on discard their own, I’ve found myself wondering why I even bother. My social media accounts have been inundated with angry words about members of the church being voiceless and cowardly, critical articles about confirmation bias, Joseph Smith, the church’s stance on gay marriage; friends who virtually laud their doubts and tear apart the testimonies of my other friends. In the middle of this, I see some of my friends faltering and questioning, wondering why they stay, and it’s overwhelmed me. I’ve not been able to blog for weeks. I thought that was because I just felt uninspired. I’m suspecting it’s because I’ve been deeply discouraged, not wanting to add fuel to the flame, not wanting to hurt or be hurt by other people who are just waiting for a chance to do it. Not wanting to defend the beliefs that are so much a part of me, that I’d imagine I’d crumble apart without them, and only because I worry about how others would react.

Because of beliefs I have expressed on this blog and others, I’ve been cyber-bullied and sexually harassed by online strangers who have put me in virtual stocks to throw tomatoes at. I’ve been called horrible names and told I’m a horrible person in the comments on my blog. I’ve been told that I’m a totally brainwashed Mormon and that I’m on the verge of apostasy all in one long digital breath, and I’ve dealt with it. But to see some of the things my friends and family are saying? To see members of the church turning on members of the church? To watch so many doubt and then cause others to doubt and then invalidate their feelings for them? It’s crippled me.

I don’t want to and cannot stay quiet anymore.

I know that some of you reading this right now have serious doubts, and you’re wondering why you stay. And there’s no one there to encourage you to stay because the battle you’re fighting is quiet and lonely. I know that some of you reading this right now are doing so because you’re lurking about like the bigotry police, waiting for a reason to ridicule me and say, “You’re wrong! You’re so stupid and so wrong!” And I know that many of you reading this right now are just as discouraged as I am, because you’re seeing people who helped your testimony abandon theirs, and it’s breaking you apart. Many, many of you are wondering why the words of the prophets seem so at odds with the words that the media, society, and your own friends are telling you. Many of you don’t believe the words of prophets at all. Many of you don’t see other members living up to what the prophets ask us to do, and it hurts.

In a time that is so chaotic, confusing, and heartbreaking, a time when men’s hearts fail them and men’s testimonies don’t seem to be enough, it’s easy to say, “You know what? I don’t want any part of this. It’s hard to be a member of the church, it’s embarrassing to be a member of the church, it’s not worth it to be a member of the church, and it’s stupid to be a member of the church.” It’s easy to think that. But I believe that most of us who think that way have forgotten whose church this is. It doesn’t belong to prophets or men or the whims of society. It belongs to Jesus Christ.

He is the center, basis, and foundation of every part of it. He’s who we worship, who we strive to be like, and who we make covenants for. He’s in every ordinance, and should be in every testimony, because in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Christ is not some far off deity. He’s a living, omnipresent Savior who can be found in everything and every person. Our scriptures confirm that. The New Testament is not some made up storybook. It’s documented testimony of the men and women who surrounded Christ, who boldly declared that Jesus Christ was who He said He was and did what He said He did. The Book of Mormon is not some made up storybook. It’s a compilation of testimony after testimony after testimony after testimony of men and women who saw Christ, understood Christ, waited hopefully for Christ, and reaffirmed that Christ would come. Even when accused of being fiction by critics of the church, the Book of Mormon functions exactly as the words of Christ’s early apostles do, not to glorify prophets, but to glorify the Messiah.

Some would suggest that the church is not true because prophets have been wrong, because prophets are imperfect, and because prophets just don’t understand. I wonder, however, what we would worship if we had perfect men leading this church. Would we remember to worship the Savior without being compelled to do so? Would we see the consistent need for and infinite capacity of His Atonement? I can’t say we would. Instead of perfection, we have imperfect men who have made mistakes, yes, even mistakes that our 21st Century brains find shocking and hard to understand. We often falsely suggest that prophets are perfect. We often struggle with the thought that they aren’t. Many who pour over doctrinal oddities and human faults found in the saints of early church history use it as justification to leave and condemn the church. But this church was never organized for the agendas of those saints. It was never a way to deify imperfect men with corrupt agendas. A closer truth would be that the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored in this church to give us a massive and yet totally intimate view of how we desperately need the Atonement in our lives, and even (and maybe especially) leaders and prophets need it, too.

Prophets exist to help us worship Christ, not themselves. Christ Himself tells us, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken; ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory”(Luke 24:25-27)? After that, he expounds unto His disciples all scriptures and all the words of the prophets concerning Himself. I’d argue that all doctrine and all principles given over the pulpit are absolutely secondary when compared with the exhortation to become like and follow Jesus Christ, and as Christ teaches, that’s the purpose of prophets. To not believe in prophets and to still claim to believe in Christ is to invalidate a vast majority of Christ’s words. And to do that is to invalidate Him.

I can’t do that.

If there is one thing I know more than anything it’s that Jesus Christ is the Savior and that His Atonement is both real and mighty. There is no way that I could deny that, because I have seen it work. I have seen it work in the lives of people who I never guessed it could work for. I have seen it do things for me that I had no confidence I could ever do on my own. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is beautiful and it’s incomprehensible and it’s real, and it’s real because He’s real. Because He’s real, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I believe Him when He says prophets give us the truth. And because I believe Him, I cannot deny the truthfulness of the one church on earth that has prophets that testify of Him. To do so would be to selectively believe the Savior who chose to believe entirely in me, so much so that He died for me. I cannot imagine the pain that would give Him.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a living, progressing entity that represents everything the Atonement is. It represents the enabling power of the Atonement, the ability to go from humble, hard, and yes, even questionable — in our eyes — circumstances to edification and happiness, and within the walls of its chapels, we covenant to always remember the Savior. That is the key. Remembering. Remembering who we were, what we are, what we felt, and what we experienced. Hanging on to the things that bring us closer to Christ. This church does that. Sometimes I think we’re so concerned with the roots of the church that we tragically forget to look up and see the fruits of the church, even the ones we have picked and savored frequently throughout our lives. The Atonement of Jesus Christ, sacred covenants, and the ability to be with our families forever are magnificent fruits indeed, fruits that we cannot find combined anywhere else.

I am inadequate on my own. I make mistakes and I’m imperfect and I’m stubborn. But I’m staying in the church. Not because I’m a coward, a prude, an idiot, a bigot, a conformist, an illogical fool, or whatever other garbage noun society likes to throw at me to make me feel bad about believing in something. I’m staying because of Jesus Christ. He is here.

And I never want to leave Him.

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219 comments

  1. I believe with all of my heart that you are beautiful; beyond description, right down to your very soul. Your testimony and faith are powerful and they will work a powerful good. Your love for the Savior and others will overcome the negativity you face. It's marvelous what the Savior will do for us if we'll just trust Him and love him and take courage. And I think you're a fine example of that.

  2. I have seen enough people leave the church and end up miserable for me to question abandoning what I have witnessed on behalf of that which I have not. All the controversy over church history is confusing, but what has always been clear is that living the teachings of the gospel brings a certain level of peace and joy that I have yet to see attained elsewhere. Not everyone in the church lives the gospel. Not everyone outside the church is miserable. I often find myself questioning certain things, but there are enough truths that I am certain of to keep me where I am. The key is to never settle for anything less that the truth. Oftentimes people settle for doubts of beliefs. What an empty foundation for a lifestyle.

  3. Absolutely beautiful. Very relatable, raw, and so many lines could be famous quotes on their own. Thank you for being brave enough to share something so personal. You make the world a better place.

  4. This is probably exactly what a lot of people need to hear. At times I am tempted to doubt that God exists, but he has given me more reasons to believe than to not believe.

    John 6:67-68
    From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
    Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
    Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.

  5. I agree wholeheartedly. Within the past month, I have found out my friend is pregnant out of marriage, I've heard the confessions of two 17 year-old girls who are certain they are past saving, I've seen people give up and walk away on all sides. I have to admit, as someone who has had a strong testimony my entire life, it is hard for me to understand, it is difficult for me to be surrounded by this. As I was praying about it this week, I suddenly felt that I understand better the feelings of Mormon and Moroni, the pain they suffered as they watched their whole society apostatize and choose death over salvation. And I realized I am not so alone as I feel. Those of us who cling to truth, who stay true to our faith even when we are under such blatant attack from even those close to us, we are in excellent company.

  6. Anonymous (above) said it best: …"never settle for ANYTHING less than the truth." Jesus said in John 4:24:

    "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

    Follow the Holy Spirit's prompting, and ask Him to send believers & disciples in your pathway that will be conveyers of truth. Don't be afraid to do your own research. Archaeology corroborates the Old & New Testaments; what archaeology exists that backs up the Book of Mormon…?

    John 8: 31-32
    "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."

    Look to the Bible for truth. I am praying that God will send the people that will speak truth into your life with love, and encourage you as you draw near to Jesus, "The Way, The Truth, The Life."

    1. Archeology also backs up the Book of Mormon. They have excavated a house outside of Jerusalem. They found artifacts stating the house belonging to the house of Lehi. Other books translated from that area speak of a prophet Lehi who just up and disappeared. Of course we know where he went. To the Americas. But I don’t need these things to believe. Because the Holy Ghost has witnessed to me the truth of these things many many times. I don’t need worldly proof.

  7. Yes, oh my, yes! Thank you! I don't know you and I have never read your blog before today, but I feel like you know me, you understand me. I wrote about this same thing just today and then a friend shared this and it was yet another answer to me that this is where I am supposed to be. Thank you, thank you thank you, and God bless you!

  8. As someone who just recently left the church I really get where you are coming from. I too have had many in my life leave the church recently and I remember the feelings of emptiness and questions of why. I have now reached a point where I no longer the church to be true and therefore do not believe Thomas S. Monson to be a prophet nor those that preceded him. The thing that has been the most devastating to me through all of this is that I am now questioning my belief in God and Jesus. Does me not following the prophet mean that I can no longer have a testimony in Jesus Christ? No, but the testimony that I used to have of the prophet does now make me question my testimony of anything, sadly, including whether or not I believe there is a Savior. I want to believe but do not know that I can. It is a terrifying thing to walk away from what you have been taught to believe your whole life and find that there is a broad horizon where you once had walls. I give you credit for staying. I don't believe it is easy either way you choose. For me, even though church does teach some good things, staying is not an option when I feel like I have been deceived and manipulated. And I am finding that I don't need a church to tell me to be a good person or to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ (whether or not he was a real person or just a beautiful story to give purpose and direction to our lives). I can do those things on my own.

  9. In my opinion, the LDS church might be the least Christ centered church that claims to be Christian. I remember many instances where I went to an entire 3 hour block without even hearing the name of Jesus except to close prayers. This is something that you don't see in other churches. It seemed like we were too busy defending Joseph Smith and the crazy history of the church that we didn't have time to teach about Christ and how we can be like him.

    Good luck on your journey. I was much like you two years ago but I found the truth and since I made the transition out of the LDS church, I have never been happier.

  10. The first paragraph of this post continues a longstanding tradition of lying about why most people suddenly leave the LDS church. People do not give up eternal salvation because they were offended or just cause they like to watch rated R movies too much. It's because the lies/complete misrepresentations the church has repeatedly told about its history. Multiple versions of the first vision, Joseph marrying other men's wives and teen girls behind Emma's back. Joseph not even bothering to look at the plates while translating, preferring to use a magic rock he used to hunt for treasure instead… Etc etc and on and on. You should probably really figure out why people are leaving the church instead of just taking stabs in the dark at it before you write a blog post saying how much stronger you ware than these people. Maybe read cesletter.com and then verify whether or not the facts it presents are true or not.

  11. What about the power? That is what I ask myself when I feel like a mountain of doubt will crush me. What about the power? What about the things revealed in blessings from men who didn't know me personally? What about the moment when two of us received the same clear and direct inspiration on who to call for a position of service when we'd never spoken about it before? What about that moment when the Spirit steered me directly to someone who needed my help? Or the countless times that the words were given to me when I needed them, words I couldn't have found on my own, to counsel, comfort and serve? What about those feelings that are so strong and distinct – that I don't experience under any other circumstances except when I am consciously trying to draw close to God? What about the mantle of responsibility and the things you know and feel while you have a calling – that leave you when you are released? What about the answered prayers, the personal revelation and the constant presence of divine love that never fails to pierce my heart when I engage and serve and practice this Faith? I can't and won't walk away from that – it is like the air I breathe. And yes, I've read cesletter.com.

  12. Very well written article. I'm afraid there is a key foundational problem with your logic though. We don't have to believe any of the non-sense being taught by our Church to have a relationhip with Christ. In fact, the more I klearn about Him the less I see of Him in this organization.

  13. Thank you for writing this, for being brave, and for being honest.

    When I was nearly 17 years old my father committed suicide. I found myself harrowed, empty, and rock bottom — he was my best friend. My dad had left the LDS church nearly 10 years prior and had many harmful addictions. Because of this I learned from a young age what it meant to unconditionally love someone, and yet have to accept their imperfections. When he died, I remember laying on my bed thinking "This is it, this is when I decide who I want to be."

    The reason I share this, is because the testimony I gained in my Savior and in His atonement the year(s) following my fathers passing, has carried me through other tumultuous times in my life. I'm 25 now. I have felt the pain, fear, and anger that comes when doubting the church, its leaders, and its doctrines. However, I stay. I stay because when I was 17 I was not alone, and I am still not alone. I can't turn my back on the precious gift of healing and hope that was given to me nearly 8 years ago. It's that same healing and hope I reach out to when I find myself questioning my faith today. I pray that those who question the church and their testimony, as I once did (and sometimes still do), cut themselves some slack, have patience with themselves, and their Savior. He can heal all things, including doubt and debilitating anger. Fall back on what you know, and let it help guide you forward. It's okay to not have all the answers.

  14. Didn't Christ say, "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign?" (Matthew 12:39)
    Faith that is based on physical evidence (i.e. archaeological) is hardly faith at all. Isn't the witness of the Holy Ghost much more important than archaeological evidence? That is how I learned that the Book of Mormon is also a true witness of Jesus Christ, just as the Bible is. I read it, thought about what it was saying, and though I could already feel from simply reading it that it was true, I asked God in prayer anyway. And through all those experiences, I felt the Holy Ghost teaching me and guiding me to truth. So basically, don't knock it until you try it. And once again, faith that is based on or built upon some physical, exterior evidence is not faith. It may be a starting point for some people, but eventually they will have to build their faith off of something more personal – a confirmation from God through the Spirit. I don't have faith in the Book of Mormon. I have faith in Christ and faith in God. But it, along with the separate books that compose the New and Old Testaments has helped me to learn more about my Savior and strengthen the faith I already have in Him.

  15. Mormon or not we are only human beings. And you will find in time that no, you cannot do it on your own. His grace, his comfort, his strength, his light, his direction, his influence, his peace, his love is what you need. Whether you realize that now or later, you will come to realize it.

  16. Thank you thank you thank you!!!! Your words are absolutely amazing!! DO NOT let others shake your testimony. The Gospel and the Church are perfect and true, the people in it are absolutely not. The people in the church arent meant to be perfect. We need to focus on what we do know to be true and rely on what we know to be true. Heavenly Father is real. Jesus Christ is real. The Gospel is real and true. Thank you for being brave and posting these amazing words!!!!!!

  17. People in church forget what its all about (Christ) all the time. But, General conference is packed full of Jesus Christ, as is the book of mormon. Lots of us people in utah are pretty weak in our testimonys of the savior, but I think that is a problem with a complacent majority culture rather than doctrine.

    1. Ummm no. Any other Christian church I’ve been to focuses on Christ during church. And people wonder why others say LDS isn’t Christian.

  18. I love when people tell me that I'm unhappy after I left. There is NOTHING more untrue. What an ignorant thing to say.

  19. As someone who has also left the Mormon church I just wanted to say that I've been where you are at:) Don't be afraid to ask yourself over and over again what you believe. Maybe for awhile you have to believe in nothing. It is freeing and terrifying at the same time. You will deal with feelings of loneliness, anger, relief, and eventually peace. It will all come. I had to take it completely down to the basics so that I could begin building again. I recommend that you don't listen to those who try to manipulate everything you feel and every bad thing in your life as a punishment for leaving. Life is hard because that's life. Also, don't waste your time arguing with those choose to stay Mormon. Their choices work for them. They won't believe that you are truly happy without the Mormon church, just as you can't believe they can be truly happy as a Mormon. So just live your life! I promise that you can find peace and happiness and a group of true friends who will stand by you no matter what! You will no longer feel manipulated and anxious and (if you desire) you can even have a real and truly strong relationship with Christ. There are so many ways to feel his love and guidance in your life. I wish you the best of luck!

  20. Most of the people I know who have left are much more happy than ever. Pure hyperbole that people who leave are miserable.

  21. I could imagine writing this a couple of years ago. I left the church a few weeks after giving the lesson about apostasy and Thomas Marsh and the milk thing. It saddens me that the message in Sunday school is so divisive. The church aims to divide nonbelievers from the believers. I wish it weren't that way, but it's true. You want to know why some people who've left the church are so unhappy? It's because they've lost the friends they've once had. They feel like people from church truly can't be friends with them because they are always giving them a hard time about not going to church. I have one awesome friend who is the bishop's wife. She has been a great friend since I've left. She NEVER pressures me to go to church. When she talks about church it's to tell me what she's been up to lately just as part of her life, not to make me feel left out or that I have to be there or be the same as her. She accepts my differences. I never pressure her to leave the church. We have plenty to talk about besides. I wish it could just be that way, like when I was in high school outside of Utah, it didn't matter what faiths my friends were, we were all able to just chill out and accept each other and talk about the things we did have in common. Unfortunately here in Utah, it can be uncomfortable leaving the church because of the amount of pressure you can have. Just going into a staff room at work can feel hostile and make you feel unaccepted because people just want you to be Mormon and talk only about Mormony stuff. That's just not cool. Let's reach beyond the belief barriers and stop being so freaking hard on each other. It's not good for my mental health, nor is it good for your mental health!

  22. Thank-you so much for this post. It is heart-rending to witness, not just the crumbling faith of those I love, but the cacophony of opinions and voices surrounding so many issues in the church. It's caused me to question my own faith, but you are right! I have come to these same conclusions. The church and it's earthly leaders are not perfect, but neither am I. I feel sometimes as if the Savior is asking me if I too will turn away from Him, just as he asked His apostles. And like them, I have to answer, where else would I go? This is the church of Jesus Christ. It is here I've learned about Him and felt His comfort and peace. I don't have all the answers to so many of the questions all those voices are shouting at me, but I do know that Jesus Christ lives, this is His church, and that if I remain true I can be with my family forever. That is enough. I trust that God, in His infinite wisdom, will take care of everything else. I'm so sorry that because you are brave and put your voice out into the void, people have treated you as they have. Know that your voice is heard and appreciated.

  23. I really appreciate you making this post! It is hard to see all of the criticism that revolves around The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints. Honestly I am just so glad to be apart of a church where I can feel peace and hope when I am lost in my life, and I am just as glad that there are other religions that bring other people that feeling too. I am grateful for religion and for being able to freely believe what I believe. Thank you again for sharing and for being such an example, I really needed to read this!

  24. I think you are a powerful writer! I admire your conviction. But in so many ways, you just don't empathize with those of us who are leaving the church to come closer to Christ. The Church CAN BE so many of the things you described. But it can also be a toxic place for those of us who feel the weight of the historical whitewashing, the pain of discovering facts that were hidden from us, and the realization that all is not well in Zion. The fact is, I do care about fairness and equality, and after reading the church's own essays on race and the priesthood, and particularly polygamy, I was at a loss. The intellectual dishonesty in the polygamy essay is stunning. D&C 132 sets an awful precedent for potential abusive situations and fundamentalism, yet we can't call it out for what it is: a MISTAKE. And let me tell you, it's WAY HARDER to leave the church than it is to stay for a BYU grad who was married in the temple, has never smoked or drank, and has no desire to live contrary to the lifestyle. It's WAY HARDER. (Sorry for shouting.) So please, please, don't pretend that those of us who have realized the Emperor Has No Clothes are cowards for saying so. It's just not fair. I respect your beliefs. I shared them. I sorrow for you sorrowing for those you feel are "discarding" their testimonies, as if they are doing it carelessly. I assure you, most of us have not taken this casually. Have you read the church essay on the Book of Abraham? Have you ever heard of Studies of the Book of Mormon by the famous Mormon historian and apostle B.H. Roberts? Have you read the transcript of the Swedish Rescue Fireside with Hans Mattson, L. Tom Perry, two church historians, and the Swedish saints? There are no answers for a lot of the problems, yet we continue in our black and white paradigm as if we have all the answers. The church wants to have it both ways. They want nuance when there are real, foundational problems with the doctrines and teachings, yet we must simply "follow the prophet" on everything that comes down the pike and history within the church has shown that's a recipe for disaster (aka Martin-Willy handcart company, mountain meadows, priesthood ban, etc). It makes my brain heart, but more than that, it breaks my heart. You do need to think hard about the role of confirmation bias. If you're not willing to genuinely ask, "What if it's not what I think it is?", you are in no position to judge those of us who have.

    1. Reasons why we can’t stand Evelyn: 1) She’s a bully 2) Hypocrite 3) She is a hoodrat 4) She’s a googeigddr…. 5) She is no role model. 6) She’s ghetto as helll!!! 7) She has a stank as attitude…

    2. Pilt on ten out of ten Magamise kohta ei oska midagi oelda, sest minu lapsed hakkavad alles peale 3ndat eluaastat «normaalselt» magama… Esimene vahemalt hakkas, teine tegelt on juba 2.5 aga labi oo magamisest veel marki ei ole Paeval magasid molemad imikuna AINULT liikuvas vankris. Tapselt niikaua kui vanker liikus, niikaua magasid…

    3. Reprosurile au ca si cauza nevoia noastra de a ne simti superiori. Aceasta nevoie vine din stima de sine scazuta pe care o avem, asa ca incercam sa aratam ca suntem tari, ca avem dreptate, iar celalalt e slab si nu are dreptate. Dreptatea insa te poate costa fericirea in relatia de cuplu. Nevoia de dreptate arata faptul ca o persoana nu se simte suficient de puternica (nu are incredere in sine si stima de sine) ca sa accepte usor o greseala si sa o ierte. Unul dintre cele mai bune exercitii de vindecare a acestei probleme am postat in video despre incredere in sine de aici din pagina:

  25. Don't leave or unfriend your friends because of their viewpoints. Understand that they are grieving a real loss in their life. A loss of friends, a loss of belief, a loss of having an understanding of how things work. Imagine yourself in their position, just having stopped believing. Would you want people to treat you different? Would you want people to try and shut you up and stop voicing your opinion? Remember the things you have in common with your friends, meet them on that ground. You can take a break from them and unfollow them for a while on Facebook if you need to, but be easy on them. They aren't anti-Christ characters from the Book of Mormon. They are real living breathing humans who are experiencing heartache. You can say "let's agree to disagree on this matter" and change the subject to something you both enjoy if you are hanging out in person. The worst thing you could possibly do to these friends is break it off with them or cut off all contact or only be in contact with them to make them a church project. Just continue being a real friend and use the general social rule of avoiding religion and politics.I'm not saying you shouldn't voice your opinion on your blog (I believe in freedom of speech), I'm just telling you to not abandon your friends because of religious differences. In fact, how shallow would that be to do so? I once went into a college classroom and started wondering which people were Mormon so I could befriend them. I caught myself, told myself I was being stupid, and I could miss out on good friendships if I only befriended those who were the same religion as me. I just don't get why there needs to be a thing between believers and nonbelievers. It seems some religions are more relaxed on this and more accepting when friends and family leave the religion. Your friends do have freedom of speech and can say what they need to on their social media just like you do. If they are attacking you personally and name calling, that's not cool. But if they are only voicing how they are feeling about the religion/beliefs, they are free to believe how they believe. Again, just meet them on your common ground and take on that social rule of "no religion/no politics" when hanging out in person.

  26. Before I say anything, I'd first like to express that in no way is my opinion that a refelction of the authors nor do I speak on behalf of the author. The following is just my opinion about this article.

    First, the beginning paragraph doesn't have any sort of inclination of stating those reasons are why most people leave the church nor any sort of claim that this is a study of why people leave. It merely is a few reasons why people that are close to her are leaving. I do find it funny how you chide her for merely giving reasons and claiming that she is saying that is why people leave and that she "should really figure out why people leaving instead of just taking stabs in the dark", yet you offer difinitive statements as to why people leave. "People do not give up salvation because there were offended or just cause they like to watch rated R movies too much." I know people who have left because they were offended and that they found something like rated R movies they liked too much and didn't want to change. I've know people who just didn't like someone who just moved into their ward and left the church. People leave for whatever reason they want, not just, "because the lies/complete misrepresentations of the church has repeatedly told about its history."

    Lastly, if I read into this wrong then I definitly apologize, but saying she needs to know why people leave before she write a post saying how much stronger she is than these people, hint that you think she is claiming to be better than those that left. That is not even close to what is going on. Long story short, this post is about how she is saddend by these people leaving and merely gives reasons why she is staying. This is meant to be a, in case you need this too, article. Not a I'm better than you article.

    It's very well written and helped motivate me to be a better person. So to me, this article is doing what it was inteaded to do.

  27. You are a beautiful daughter of God. You stand up for the right in all things and in all places. We are in a battle of good and evil. And I fear it will only get worse. How grateful I am for you and your strength. It is true, I know it with all my heart. Man is far from perfect but the doctrines of the gospel are perfect. We have to have the courage to look past imperfections of man and find the truth. Ari you have found that, I'm so proud of you. Thank you for your strength and courage.

  28. Keri, what about it? Why do you assume that comes from the organization of the LDS church, and not from the light of Christ? Why do you feel that power MUST be exclusive to members of the church? Think about it. The power is real. Your interpretation of the source may not be accurate. Personally, I believe that God inspires you when you draw closer to him. I think putting limits on that power benefits the corporation of the LDS church, not God's children across the globe.

  29. I’m sorry to say that you’re simply a victim of childhood indoctrination and it’s time to face up to that music. The fact that you’re a Mormon is purely a coincidence based on the geography of where you were born and the family that you were born into. Had you been born in Kabul, Afghanistan, you’d be covering your face with a burka and singing to Mohammed. Had you been born in Calcutta, India, you’d be praising to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Had you been born into a Jehovah’s Witness family, you’d be walking the streets handing out Watchtowers like candies. You were raised in the Mormon bubble and it becomes your world; you accept it as the truth and reject all the other religions. Other religions also live inside their own bubbles; they accept theirs as the truth and reject yours. If you’re a normal, intelligent human being with the ability to reason, it should be clearly apparent to you that there is no one true religion because they’re all made up. For god’s sakes, how can you possibly believe in something as laughable as Planet Kolob? Be brave, live your life on your terms and leave the silly church.

  30. Anna, it's heart wrenching for me to read your words. Members of the church are taught that they must go to the temple to be sealed in order to be with their family forever. Who does this benefit? Is this truly Christ's plan for his BILLIONS of children on this planet? Look at the extravagance of our temples. Is that more important than feeding the hungry and clothing the naked? No wonder you hang on, no matter what. You truly believe it's what required of you, and if you don't, you'll be cut off from your family eternally. Awesome. How about living a Christlike life and serving others? Why would Christ create such narrow parameters? Think about it. Who does that doctrine benefit? What's the one thing people want more than anything? An eternal family. Ok. So let's attach a "sacred" practice to obtaining that which requires people to pay 10% of their income for the rest of their lives to a corporation that keeps it's finances private. Is that God's plan of happiness? Or one of the world's best scams? Occam's Razor wins.

  31. "Mormon or not we are only human beings. And you will find in time that no, you cannot do it on your own. His grace, his comfort, his strength, his light, his direction, his influence, his peace, his love is what you need. Whether you realize that now or later, you will come to realize it."

    This is so presumptuous. You speak for yourself and those that would agree with you. The fact is, there are many well adjusted atheists and agnostics. Maybe you "need" to believe to make it through the day. Not everybody does though. Some people have the emotional need to believe that someone is there watching over them when they are feeling lonely or afraid. Others use their prefrontal cortex in other ways to help them deal with the tough things in life.

  32. How is it that I spent my whole childhood a Mormon who couldnt drink Barqs rootbeer – yet since 2012 you can consume temple(body) corroding Redbulls and Monster loaded with caffeine, sugar and tons of other artificial crap ????? Why does some all knowing deity not get something simple like that right the first time? Dont even get me started on the loads of scientific evidence showing the benefits of coffee and tea. Does God not know the benefits of his own plants?

    So someone can be hundreds of pounds overweight (smoking twinkies, chugging redbulls, and shootin ding dongs) clearly not treating their body like a temple, and still get into the temple?!?! Yet some guy who eats healthy and exercises and has a morning cup of coffee cant get in? or if they dont pay their 10% membership dues they cant get in?

    and HOLY GHOST SHIT how is it possible that apostasy is worse sin than murder? Also the Bible mentions that men should not have facial hair more times than it mentions homosexuality. Funny how we pick and choose what we want to focus on.

    Why is that Mormon women can have a boob job but they cant have a second ear piercing?

    Thank you for your cringe inducing post Ari as it reminded me that I need to submit my formal resignation asap.

  33. Hey it's me again the person who wrote the comment that these replies are to. To the first reply, you misread my last thought, I said "I dont need a church to tell me to be a good person, or to follow the teachings of Jesus" meaning I can follow the teachings of christ with out a church telling me to do so. I am fully aware of my short comings as a human being. Believe me I am. At this point I would declare myself agnostic but that doesn't mean I don't hope for things. And I will still teach my children to follow the examples given of Jesus because these stories tell us to love one another and to treat others the way that we would like to be treated and above all that is what I want my children to know.

  34. I struggle with the church because of its over-emphasis on following men and not God. On one hand they say "Follow the Prophet, he knows the way." Christ says that he is the way. Real prophets point to Christ and not themselves.

    The church says the Prophet can not lead the church astray. However, Brigham Young certainly did just that (along with Taylor, Woodruff, and Snow) when they preached the Adam/God doctrine and even more were complicit in prohibiting an entire race from receiving temple ordinances (Gospel Topics: Race and the Priesthood).

    In 3rd Nephi chapter 14 Christ gives a method for detecting prophets. It is by their fruits they are to be known. The last recorded and canonized revelation happened in 1918. I can find no prophecies, no revelations, and no act of seership, (to say nothing of translation) evidenced by those claiming those gifts today. Where the oracles of God are found, so is the Kingdom of God. What does that say about the current church?

    My faith no longer is placed in men because cursed is he that does so (2nd Nephi 4:34). This is why I no longer believe in the church.

  35. Just remember: Many have the same feelings as you right now, but in the end "Every knee shall bow and confess that Jesus is the Christ." It'll be hard to be held accountable with a mindset like yours.

    Also just wanted to point out that there was a time that men believed tobacco products had benefits as well.The early saints were told not to consume them and stopped. That was in 1833. The U.S. Public Health Service didn't declare tobacco products detrimental until 1957 (that's 124 years later). If God has asked us not to do something, rest assured there IS a reason. Men just haven't found the knowledge yet, because guess what? WE DO NOT KNOW EVERYTHING. Our knowledge is increased most assuredly, but if we knew EVERYTHING scientists would no longer have an occupation. Best wishes and I hope you find happiness, whether temporary or eternal.

  36. This is not argumentative, but I believe the original post said "not everyone outside the church is miserable." They merely pointed out that some people they've seen leave the church ended up being miserable. I didn't think it was ignorant. Regardless, I have loved ones who left the church that experience happiness. And there are plenty in the church who struggle with unhappiness. So I agree with you both on that. I don't really think a fullness of happiness/joy comes until the next life anyway. That'll be nice. My personal belief is that it's not just about being happy. It's about using this life to prepare to live like God in His Celestial Kingdom. I believe there's a certain lifestyle and commandments that are required in that kingdom. So we prepare to live like whichever kingdom we choose. That's how I see it. I will agree with the article that it's hard to see loves ones leave – but it's a great strengthening lesson in love.

  37. I too have many friends that are struggling and leaving the church, but their doubt only strengthens my testimony.

    Doubt your Doubts before you doubt your faith.

    I do think for myself, and I have found that the reality of the gospel is the only place I want to be.

    Every knee shall bow.

  38. For your information: The 10% given in tithing and other donations by members of the church is not used just for temples. The donations are used for all the help the church gives to people in need including those that are hungry and naked. And the building of temples is also so important because that is where we make covenants (or two way promises) with God that we may have those eternal blessings to live with him again. Just getting sealed in the temple is not going to automatically allow us to live with our family eternally either. It requires us to live those covenants, repent, and also "living a Christlike life and serving others."

  39. Thank you so much for this post. It definitely strengthened me. I'm sorry you've been cyber-bullied. That shouldn't happen to anyone, regardless of what they believe. Keep standing up for what you believe in because it helped me and can help others!

    1. cool the video is done I see myself for about 2 whole se8s0do&#c23n;lol in the pink with blonde hair…but i;m curious as to when we are suppose to be paid I have yet to recieve a check…..not to be rude

  40. The flaws of the prophets and leaders were never an issue for me as I went through my faith crisis. It was primarily 1: The deception of the church in not being honest about the issues. 2: The doctrinal and Book of Mormon Issues (Anachronisms of horses, silk, steel, swords, temples, etc.), 1769 KJV errors copied, deutero-Isaiah, Matthew 26 double translations that didn't match, textual and story matches from The Late War, First Book of napoleon, and View of the Hebrews). There is a reason why most historians who become educated in biblical theology and biblical history end up leaving the church. I still attend church, but do so more for the social support system. I still read the scriptures, but as much as I have prayed for over a year, and struggled with my faith, when I look inside I know I just cannot ever believe the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham are literal or historical anymore.

  41. It's all about man made dogma..oh and $$ money, just follow the money. I worked for the "church" for years and saw so much unrighteous spending of people's hard earned tithing that it was sickening..so I left. The Savior did not approve of the "money changers" that were outside the temple. A person should not have to pay money to serve in the Lords House. But that is just what is happening in the Mormon church. If you don't pay, you don't play. That is it. I believe in my heart that he does not approve of this man made action. The church is under condemnation for its greed, pride and corruption.

  42. There is so many better and more interesting things to to judge the character of a person then their religion. John Lennon had it right with "imagin". Take away all the things we use to divide us and just be human!

  43. Someone may have already stated this, but the New Testament was NOT written by people who actually knew Christ. Any credible biblical scholar will tell you this. The authentic writings of Paul were written some 50-60 years after Christ died and those are the earliest accounts we have. Everything else came much, much later which means the gospels were written waaaay after anyone who knew Christ was alive.

    Looking at the Bible for what it is is important. Looking at the Book of Mormon for what it is is equally important. Theologians and scholars are well studied on these topics and the science and linguistics are reliable. In any case, you don't need to worry about your friends leaving. LDS history is messy and gives anyone a pause who truly looks at it. Your friends are finding their authentic path and there is no need to mourn any loss on your end.

  44. Hi, I totally understand that fear of everything you know crumbling away. And where does it leave you? I understand wanting to avoid that. I did avoid it, once I understand it as a real fear, I avoided it for a year or more. I am not "fight on the Internet with strangers" type. I'm sorry people have hurt you. I have cried many a tear myself. My Mom just told me to get a thicker skin, and I'm trying!

    Now that I'm one foot on both sides I want to pass on the message, all the anger you recieve the people who have left comes from pain. These people are hurting just like you are.
    It hurts them deeply that people judge them. They loose family and friends. It's heartbreaking!
    It hurts them that people say that are there is no happiness outside the church. There is. Real happiness! Not counterfeit!
    It hurts that they can't talk about it with out being called "anti". Learning church history is such a crazy experience that you want to tell everyone. But having your friends and family acuse you off being an anti is super hurtful when then info is on lds.ord. The essays.
    Telling people "if you don't like it just leave" is awful, why can't people have opinions must we all think as one?

    I can have an open diaoulauge with my mom. No fights. I just say I respect your beliefs and I won't say anything you don't want to hear. She is amazing encourages her children to learn to think for themselves, add well as have faith.

    I completely agree with your about the real purpose about being Jesus. But for me I find it easier to get to him with out Joseph and Brigham and Polygamy. I know too much and it just hurts to much. They get in my way.

    Best wishes.

  45. Thank you for having the courage to voice this–this seems to be exactly how I've felt in the months and years since returning home from my mission. So many people seem to belittle and insult me for my beliefs–and they're people who once claimed to share those beliefs, which makes it that much worse. I admire your strength and your ability to powerfully testify of our savior, Jesus Christ. You have courage that I hope I can emulate someday. Thanks for lending me some of your strength. :)

  46. Amen! That's totally how I feel about Utah, too! And I envy that awesome relationship you describe with your friend–I wish I could have more of a relationship like that with some of my ex-mormon friends. I feel like maybe I do make them uncomfortable, but I guess I don't know what I'm doing wrong. It makes me really sad, because I do love them and want to be friends with them. I want to be able to just hang out and laugh with them like I used to, but I feel like these deeper issues are constantly the elephant in the room and we can't be relaxed and friendly anymore … It's a really hard situation, and heartbreaking for people on both sides of it. :(

  47. Ari is fortunate she's straight and that the *lifestyle* choices she enjoys *naturally* coincide so well with Mormon teachings.

    It means she has to compromise WAY less in order to remain functional in the church. Like… exponentially less. Ari has decided on her own that this small amount of compromise is acceptable.

    But this is about *all* of us, not just her.

    And if she can't see how much others are *forced* to compromise in the church by remaining true to themselves (it becomes literally impossible), she's not ready for greater understanding yet, anyway.

    She'll get there as she begins to realize more and more she's in a special club.

  48. Doubting your doubts is the dumbest thing Uchtdorf ever said. (And he normally says a lot of smart stuff.)

    What you REALLY meant was, "Doubt your doubts before you doubt the Mormon church, but your doubts are valid about any other religion or philosophy. Feel free to liberally doubt those."

    It's very one-sided, hypocritical and absolutely psychologically destructive.

    I will never bow to something that has an ego so big that it would *force* me to bow.

    That is the supreme definition of tyranny.

    Good day.

  49. The light comes from Christ, but it's magnified by whatever church you belong to. I find that where I want to end up eternally led me to tWhathis church. That's my personal feeling and my personal believe in Christ. W.hat I (we) choose to believe isn't a threat to anyone else – quite the opposite. I wonder what so many people are afraid of when they see LDS people defending their faith

  50. I appreciate your courage to share your beliefs in the face of dubious doubters. Let them mock you and ridicule you. I have been appalled at the lack of civility in these comment sections. I have many friends and family who have left, but many more who are staying. One think I have noticed is a desire for respect they have requested on my part for their choice, but a continual and persistent attempt to sway me to their choice–and, I won't. In the end, 'haters gonna hate." Keep strong Ari.

  51. I am told when I no longer believe that it is because I never had a testimony. I have to evaluate that word and say that in a court room setting looking for witnessed proof or evidence of fact I would have to agree. It hurts to think of it that way because the Church teaches you to rely on anecdotal personal experiences and feeling as proof of some elusive unsubstantiated fact and then to take the extra step and claim this is 'knowledge' and an appropriate testimony.

    My feelings were so sure and affirming I felt I had the right to claim 'knowledge'… to declare "I know the Church is True". I had personal experiences no one could recreate. The odds of these things happening seemed too unlikely to be real (like shaking loose watch parts in a box and finding a working watch when done) and the feelings that came 'a burning bosom' so 'other worldly' that it just had to be… at least in my mind. The reality is though, that such self assurance can also be very self deceptive. (And that loose watch part narrative really just a scarecrow acting as a red herring.)

    If we are really willing to place it all on the line for real truth, we must also place on that alter our most beloved pet ideas. If truth really matters more than a wish list or uplifting feelings, that quite frankly might be reproduced through a really great movie or song, then take the courage to really do so.

    What I want members of the LDS Church to understand is that as much as you praise yourselves for standing by what you think is right in the face of ridicule and rejection… (and that is a noble trait), members are leaving the Church for the exact same reasons. It is scary walking away from the LDS Church. Not just because it is a simple Church, but because we have family and friends tied up with what we now view as a dangerous and harmful cult. Cult comes from the word culture, and every LDS person should be quick to recognize that aside from the religion alone there is a real culture of Mormonism as well.

    We grieve over the lies we have been told and are hurt when thinking over the many sacrifices we have made to defend those lies. When we are ridiculed or rejected by family or friends (even our culture) that is insisting we are 'fallen sinners' or wrong, it takes courage to speak up and try to explain why we are willing to stand alone. All too often current members get offended that we would want to share anything that would suggest the Church is wrong, the discussion never even gets have a beginning. If you are feeling alone a believing member, you probably know it takes courage to stand by your beliefs in the Church, when others tease you and don't seem to understand, or worse. Maybe you're given the cold shoulder and no one will even take the time to hear you at all. Total rejection. This is very hard.

    Either way, standing alone with nothing but your own conscience takes courage, is hard, but is worth it if you are sincere and honest. Instead of feelings hate or giving off judgment to each other, we need open dialogue that doesn't insist on valuing each other's points of view, but is willing to hear and consider them. We should insist on valuing each other as feeling and meaningful individuals that we all care about, regardless of where we are in regards to the fence.

  52. I don't assume any kind of exclusivity on the power of God. As I said above, I experience the power of God in a way that I find rich, profound and inspiring as a member of the LDS church. I've been in and out – and I can tell the difference in my life when I engage in, serve in and practice this Faith. And I won't walk away from that. It means to much to me.

  53. That's not at all what he said. He's asking us not to forget the faith-building experiences we have had whenever we experience a doubt. A lot of the negative comments that I'm seeing here seem to assume that church members take what's handed to them without having spiritual experiences of their own. I can assure you that is not the case. We are also commanded to search these things for ourselves and ask our Heavenly Father in prayer whether they are true. So we should have many of these experiences to draw from if we are appropriately testing our faith. Uchtdorf is simply asking us to remember the faith we have built from our own experiences, as we are often asked to do in the scriptures. That's why the commandment to remember is so important. We are naturally very quick to forget.

  54. This is much what I've been feeling and going through. Such a well-written article! I'll be coming back to read this again and again and esp when I'm feeling down spiritually. Thank you for having the courage to write this!

  55. This is much what I've been feeling and going through. Such a well-written article! I'll be coming back to read this again and again and esp when I'm feeling down spiritually. Thank you for having the courage to write this!

  56. Ari, I posted something very similar a couple of weeks ago! Reading your post made me SO happy. I can see you are already getting bombarded with the angry and hateful people, I got a lot of that! Don't let them scare you. If they were really THAT happy after leaving then they probably wouldn't be trolling posts like this 😉 I think the most frustrating thing that people said to me when I posted about this topic was that I was in a process of "cognitive dissonance" and that I would eventually leave the church, that it was only a matter of time. They are wrong. You are strong and I feel it in your words. I hope that the anti/ex Mormons (the ones that are hostile) don't get to you. The church is true!

  57. Thanks for writing this. You have said what I think a lot of people have been thinking, probably many more than you realize. Please know that you are not alone, and that your words are appreciated and having a big impact. Keep trusting Heavenly Father, and keep exercising that faith!

  58. Thanks for what you have written. As one who knows this pain deeply, I encourage you to keep your testimony centered on Christ and it will not falter.

  59. If this comment emerges amidst the fray, perhaps you'll consider another angle to your thoughts. Mormonism by its doctrines represents a highly desirable value system which has proven positive. Culturally by its adherents hubris inflicts and has proven damaging. But core is your topic of Christ in the center. If Christ lives – exists then staying Mormon is full valid as you prpose. If Christ the Devine is the invention of Thousand Year Evolved mythology, then Mormonism and Chistianity loses significant appeal as does most all belief systems tied to Devine beings. The must still be systems of ethics. But that is where more profoundly the question occurs for me and why it is so devistating to be cast out when voicing those doubts to whom I thought would love me anyway.

  60. Church, church, church. Do you realize that when Christians talk about religion they talk about Christ, Christ, Christ, and when they say "church," they are referring to the community of ALL believers of Christ, not to a specific denomination. But when Mormons talk about religion, they talk about church, church, church, and when the say "church" they are referring to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    Jesus exists independent of a Church. And to get as close to him as you can in this life, you need to approach him from outside the confines of a particular denomination.

    Try it. You'll be amazed at what happens.

    John

  61. False things deserve to be torn down.
    The Book of Mormon, D&C, Pearl of Great Price, & temple ceremony are *ALL* plagiarized. That isn't some weird coincidence, it is irrefutable evidence that the LDS church is not only the creation of man, but of a serial plagiarist.
    Holding to the faith as these things are exposed is not honorable, it's misguided.
    You can argue that the church produces good fruit, but you have to do it while ignoring the financial, emotional, and in some cases even sexual abuses that occur in the church. You can't have it both ways. The good fruits of members can't be lauded while ignoring the bad.
    So at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself this: is this God's church?
    If the answer is yes, then it's worth all the rubbish. Unfortunately it has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that it cannot be what it claims.
    You have placed your confidence in the arm of the flesh, to an institution created by the cunning craftiness of men mingled with scripture.
    Rationalizing away all the problems is not faith, it is failing to value plain and precious truth.

  62. Amid all the hateful comments, here's a loving one. This article is beautiful! You bore such a powerful testimony and I felt the spirit so strong as a read this. I too have been saddened to see people leave or drift away from the church, but I find peace when I hear or read testimonies like yours. I have noticed that while many men's hearts are failing them, even more are remaining faithful and you are a wonderful example of that. Thank you for your strength during these latter days.

  63. I feel like I could have written this. I feel exactly how you have been feeling and have been experiencing exactly what you've been experiencing. Glad to know I'm not the only one who won't ever walk away.

  64. I too agree that I didn't read this that everyone that has left is unhappy. My personal view of the unhappiness is that when people are not choosing to do what is right they are unhappy… in or out of the church.

  65. I just wanted to say thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. It takes courage to stand firm and tell others of your faith and to help others…I'm in the midst of this right now and have been for a couple of years (my sister has left and has been trying to "unconvert" me). It feels lonely being in this mist where all I feel like I can do is study and pray and hold on with everything I've got. While it breaks my heart to see that so many are facing something similar, it also makes me stronger to know that I'm not alone.

    1. salam , man lisanse mohandesi keshavarzi khoondam alan ham terme avale arshade eslah nabatat daneshgah tarbiat modarese tehran ha.skmsmiahattam bebinam vase phd az key eghdam konam va chekarhaeio anjam bedam . va inke hameye daneshgahaye holand dar maghtae phd rayegan hastand?mamnun

  66. Thank you for your stirring testimony of the Gospel. It touched my heart. I know the pain of seeing loved ones fall away from the path. There are many of us who stand with you in proclaiming the truth and whose testimonies remain steadfast and together we can continue to show the way to our Savior Jesus Christ.

  67. Thank you for putting yourself out there and writing this great article. I couldn't help thinking of the phrase "don't cast your pearls before swine" as I was reading some of the negative posts. You are well written and those that were negative were often nitpicking or stating things that you didn't say. I personally agree with you and even though I haven't experienced what you have in friends and family leaving the church in one large group, I have felt the pain of family leaving one by one.
    I tire of all the negativeness and backbiting in this world. I love that there was none of this in what you said. You truly have a gift for words.

  68. "In a time that is so chaotic, confusing, and heartbreaking, a time when men’s hearts fail them and men’s testimonies don’t seem to be enough, it’s easy to say, “You know what? I don’t want any part of this. It’s hard to be a member of the church, it’s embarrassing to be a member of the church, it’s not worth it to be a member of the church, and it’s stupid to be a member of the church.” It’s easy to think that. But I believe that most of us who think that way have forgotten whose church this is. It doesn’t belong to prophets or men or the whims of society. It belongs to Jesus Christ." Article link
    So let me get this straight: Those who leave do so because they've given up and forgotten that Jesus is in charge of the church? No. We leave because we discover that Jesus is NOT in charge of the TSCC. God is not in charge. Actually, many of us leave because TSCC treats Jesus like an afterthought. For me, whether or not Jesus actually was who he said he was, I still looked to him as a symbol of humanity, kindness, compassion, charity and love. I never forgot about Jesus.
    We leave because we do our research. We leave because we give important aspects of history the attention they deserve, and then draw honest conclusions (however painful those conclusions might be). We leave because we're tired of pretending to be okay with things we're not okay with. We leave because we discover that the church is vastly different from what we were taught it was. We leave because we find contradictions and inconsistencies in an environment that preaches that God never changes and prophets will never lead us astray. We leave because we don't know how to teach our children to love and admire Joseph Smith when we've lost all confidence in his character. We leave because we discover that there is "truth" and goodness everywhere, and that there are many ways to live a good life. We leave because we want to have the freedom to say how we really think and feel. We leave because we look for truth, and don't find it in Mormonism. We leave because we learn that the church is not what it claims to be.
    Why do you "leave Mormonism when many friends have stayed"?

  69. I feel like that is a terribly unfair statement. Perhaps Ari doesn't struggle with same sex attraction but I am sure she has her own trials that make it equally difficult to live the gospel. I think this all comes back to the atonement and understanding that the Savior not only suffered and paid the price for our sins but he also gave us the enabling power to overcome our struggles. If we reach out to our Savior with faith he will reach back and help us to do the impossible.

  70. You have lots of readers, so I don't know that you'll ever get to this, but I wanted to thank you for your beautiful blog. I've been a member of the church all of my life. It's hard to watch people struggle with their testimonies. That being said. I can't let go of the one TRUE thing in my life. I am grateful every day for my husband, my three children, my parents, etc. The ripples in my life continue outward in a string of friendships and profound human connection. I am who I am and I've touched and been touched by the people in my life because I was born to parents who have done their best to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and keep the covenants they made and baptism and in the temple. When I grew old enough to make those same covenants, I took them seriously, as I do today. I know the Book of Mormon is the Word of God because I read it and because I asked through prayer. I pray to get through each day and I attend church to keep the spirit close. With all of that, I cannot deny the miracles in my life that come as I do what I'm supposed to. It hurts to watch others let go of the "church." But more, it's hard to watch people lose the faith. That being said, I can't, and neither can you, afford to worry about the internal struggles of the people around you. You can love, you can lift, you can pray, and you can serve, but you can't let their doubts drag you down. Not even for a second. The best analogy comes, I think, from the rescue swimming lessons an individual learns when he or she signs on to be a lifeguard. Those who are drowning will flail, kick, struggle, and fight, oftentimes drowning the well-meaning, but ultimately unwary rescuer: The struggling swimmer's fear outstrips his or her rational mind. To save such a soul, the rescue swimmer has to keep their own safety firmly in mind at all times, or they'll simply be pulled under as well. Like Elder Holland counseled, start with what you know. "Fan the Flames of your Faith." It's true. It's all true. Yes, there are difficult discussions and questions that have painful, difficult answers, but those concerns are not now nor have they ever been a reason to abandon the key tenets of our faith. "We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in his son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost." "We believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly. We also believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God. We know that the God in whom we believe chose a 14-year-old boy to restore the true church of Jesus Christ on the Earth. We know that boy, Joseph Smith, received all the keys necessary to return us and our families to his presence. We know that that priesthood, that authority directly from God continues in a chain unbroken by apostasy or divine abandonment. God lives. I know the Jesus is the Christ, and I know that he has called and continues to call living prophets to help us navigate the shoals of our lives. Keep the faith. You're doing the best you can, as are we all. Hang in there.

    Always,
    A sister in the faith

  71. Beautifully written post.

    On a side note – it's just so weird to me to hear of this mass exodus that is taking place. I don't live in Utah or other LDS hotspots. My immediate ward is well educated. My wife's family is all LDS (8 kids). Between my ward, my friends that I grew up with, and my family I can think of just a single family who went inactive due to doctrinal issues (and they are active now after taking a 4 year "break"). If anything, people have become more dedicated over my 20+ years in the Church. Things like the gay marriage debate or OW has galvanized people, not drawn them away.

    That said, we shouldn't be surprised when people leave. The world is turning against Christianity in general. We know as the Last Days grow closer that Satan will become more powerful, persuasive, and prominent. People will care far more about what their neighbor thinks than what God thinks (see Benson – "Beware of Pride"). Religion becomes "foolish traditions" that are designed to chain you down. The ironic part in all of this is that we KNOW this playbook. It is nothing unexpected. It will happen because it is clearly described in detail in scripture. You can't read more than a few verses in the Book of Mormon before you come across Lehi's monumental dream and the Great and Spacious Building.

    Of course, everyone has agency to choose for themselves right and wrong. This too is part of God's plan. People (myself included) make bad choices all of the time. Our job is to repent, remain open to the Holy Ghost so that we can continue to feel the Spirit and to invite others to partake of the Gospel. I can't control other's choices but I can do all in my power to remain faithful and try to help people grow closer to Christ.

  72. Thank you for your beautiful essay. I am grateful for it because it expresses some of the anguish we experience when we lose someone from the community that shares our cherished values. I don't pretend to know everything – in fact the only thing I really know is how I feel in communion with the spirit. I searched many Christian religions and found the spirit in the LDS church over 40 years ago. That feeling stays with me and I will be true to it come what may. To deny the spiritual connection that I experience is to deny my identity. We are all on our journeys and we will all fall short and need our Savior. I respect the journeys of others and ask others to respect mine.

  73. People will believe what they believe. I believe we will all be accountable to God one day for what we believe and practice. Where more light and knowledge is given then more will be expected. Having the right to choose how I believe is critical to the plan of God for all. I love the teachings of the LDS Church. Following the gospel plan is a journey…it is not easy and particularly difficult living in this day and age. Live how you want but know that one day you will be accountable to God for the knowlege and light you have received in this life.

  74. There are plenty of repercussions for Mormons who chose to ignore the laws of health. But in that instance, I think it's more of a "you're missing out on some incredible blessings because of the way you treat your body" in addition to the crappy health they'll experience, instead of punishments. I think it's more of God not pushing the "bless" button instead of God pushing the "smite" button. Mormon diets and food choices and church-sponsored events are mostly in contradiction to the spirit of the Word of Wisdom, in my opinion. But maybe it's more important to start with how we treat people, and get the to health stuff when people are ready for it.

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  75. I whole-heartedly agree. Thank you for writing this article Ari. I hope we can all be better people and more understanding of each other.

  76. Elder Oaks most recent conference talk seems particularly pertinent to this post. Specifically when he quoted Hugh Nibley: "You have to be willing to offend here, you have to be willing to take the risk. That’s where the faith comes in. … Our commitment is supposed to be a test, it’s supposed to be hard, it’s supposed to be impractical in the terms of this world.”

    In order not to be separated with the chaff, the wheat has to remain wheat, and it's not going to get easier.

  77. Well said. Best of luck as you travel this road that many of us are on. I'm sure I'll see you along the way. Hold strong, there many who are watching and following.

  78. Remember the persecution of the Savior, of Joseph Smith, of nearly everyone you've ever heard about in the Church. Persecution is part of being a true disciple. It comes with the territory. Our Father in heaven allows it to strengthen our resolve. The resolve you've made. Hang in there. Know that those that are with us (speaking of those from the heavenly realms as well as our mortal friends and neighbors who are strong in the faith) are more than those who are against us. The Lord's truth will prevail. And that's the side you want to be on.

  79. I almost fell for the books against Joseph and other things that were published….Palmer and the rest. I wrestled for 2 years with what seemed very compelling and I was in touch with many who had left the church. The bickering, bitterness and, yes, misery was everywhere among them.Far from being happy, they WERE miserable and so intent on making others so. If you dared stick up for anything to do with the church, you were called vile names by these ,so called, enlightened people. I finally read Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling and the box set of History of the Church and found many things the anti JS books had taken out of context and so cleverly manipulated to suit the spin they wanted to put on things. Hold out faithful til the end. Those leaving are fulfilling prophecy and can't see it. The end won't be far away now. Hold on. And to those who will now inundate me with hate mail, I won't even read it so don't waste your time.

  80. Thank you Ari!
    Reading through the comments can be very disheartening and discouraging. Why do people who don't belong to the church feel the need to disparage those of us that do? I haven't been brainwashed. I'm not being held hostage. I attend the LDS Church because it is the best fit for me. There are points I do question, but I won't trash my testimony or my faith because of those points. I continue, on my journey, doing the best I can. I try not to belittle those that don't believe as I do. I try to treat others as I wish they would treat me. If you are in one of my relationship circles, or even if you ask me to, I will pray for you, whether you are a "believer" or not.
    For those that continue to try to belittle us – you really aren't proving any points in your favor. Would we want to follow someone who teaches and preaches hatred and negativity? Who calls us names and tries to belittle our faith and hopes? No.
    So if it is your desire, enjoy your lives outside of the church, but please stop the name calling and derogatory remarks.

  81. I agree with the above remark, thank you so much for your article I love it! It is tough to watch those we love and look up to walk away from our faith, but you by staying strong and firm in your faith and in your Love of the Gospel and the Savior Jesus Christ, will always be a 'light upon a hill' for them and others, even if it is years from now that they choose to see that light. As I am sure you already do and already know, the most important part is to never stop loving those around you just because they make choices we do not understand. Best of luck :)

  82. People can be happy or miserable whether they are in the church or leave it. My questions are, after living in the church believing fervently in everything you knew to be true, what do you believe now? How do you feel about obedience and eternal life? How do you feel about Christ; is he still real to you, someone you still pray to? I have heard some very ugly stories about how some members treat others causing them to leave, and I'm utterly shocked, but Christ is still the perfect Christ and we are far from that. As for the other stuff about our history; I'm just going to let Him take care of it. A testimony is a testimony of Christ, not of imperfect humans. I'm sincerely trying to understand; not trying to be ignorant.

  83. Have you read ONE-MINUTE ANSWERS To Anti-Mormon Questions by Stephen R. Gibson? He addresses all of these issues.

  84. A beautiful article and well written Ari!
    Your Testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ and His Church here upon the earth cannot help but lift and strengthen others whose hearts are searching for truth in opposition to the foolishness of man and the world.
    When a person says they have left the church, have they really? Wait until they're in one of the fox holes of life, which will surely come, then they will be able to see more clearly where they stand and to Whom they reach out to for help. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland stated in a conference talk that we should (paraphrased) 'never discard what you know to be true. Hold on to that.' We know that Christ says also to 'be believing and doubt not'. We also know from Scripture that fools mock and deride. Thank you for standing true to your Faith in Christ.

    Rob T. // California

  85. My belief is that if the Church helps bring you closer to Christ, stay with it. If it doesn't, then don't.

    As someone who has met the Savior in person (I'm sure this will cause many skeptical flames in reply), for me personally, I feel that studying and following the principles in the Church's Standard Works helped me get to that point (and beyond).

    But that's just me. I do not rule out the possibility that someone else's path may differ.

    I wonder about the value of allowing comments for this type of post. It is highly unlikely that someone's comment is going to change someone's else beliefs…

  86. Great article. Thank you, Ari, for being brave and sharing your feelings. I too have watched as family, friends and acquaintances have left the LDS Church. I grew up in the LDS Church but not in the "typical" LDS family. My father had grown up in the church and his family had been members for many generations. My mother had joined the LDS church as a young adult and had been raised attending many different Christian churches. But it was my mother who took us to church, my father never attended and had addictions and habits that the church taught were not healthy or good. But, I learned a great deal growing up like I did. I learned that not all members of the LDS church were "good" people and not all people who were not members of the LDS church were "bad" people. I learned to respect others' views and to live as I believed to be true and right and to let others live as they believed to be true and right (as long as they didn't hurt others). I was not raised to think that I was better than people who were not members of the LDS church, but have seen this among some people who are members of the LDS church. As a young person I learned that there is a difference between the "gospel" and the "church". Sometimes members of the LDS church use these interchangeably, and that is unfortunate. The gospel is the teachings of Jesus Christ, including modern scriptures that I and other LDS believe have been revealed to modern day prophets. The church is the organization and the people. And people are fallible as human beings. We often expect those in authority, whether it be in a church or another organization, to be perfect or nearly so. But leaders, as well as common members, of the LDS church have and will continue to make mistakes and even sin. But their choices, sins, and mistakes do not change the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    I have family and friends who are from many different religions, agnostics, and atheists. I try to be respectful of them and their beliefs and I expect them to be respectful of me and my beliefs. I have attended other churches throughout my life and have made a choice to worship and belong to the LDS church. I was never brainwashed or threatened or felt lied to. When it becomes the hardest to be respectful is when people leave the LDS church and then become so hateful and vile towards those who still believe and go to church. Not all who leave are this way, but many are. If someone chooses to leave any church or religion, they are free to do so. But I would ask that they still be respectful of those who choose to stay in that religion or church. There is no need to be rude, cruel, call names, or belittle others.

  87. Bless you for having the courage to share this, even knowing you would be belittled and vilified for doing so. I admire you, and you will be blessed.

  88. Ari, your post could have been written verbatim by a fundamentalist Mormon. Or a member of the Allred Mormon group.

    In other words, your post is a slight of hand that doesn't really address why you stay in the Salt Lake City LDS Church, despite what the title is.

    And how would you respond to a member of Allred's or a fundamentalist LDS church member's post like this? Would you take it at face value?

    How you answer that question, my friend, will tell us much more about you than this post.

  89. When your house gets blown down, the only thing you can do is build a new one. Staying homeless is not a good option. I recommend starting with Jesus Christ, but beware of over-reliance on reason. "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him." 1 Corr. 2:14. Therefore, go back to basics of what you can discern spiritually. Rely on the feelings that you get from things you KNOW are good, beautiful or true. Use that feeling and have faith it can be your yardstick to discern truth going forward. You may even find that truths previously discarded can be relearned when judged by the pure yardstick of the Spirit. To paraphrase Obi Wan Kenobi, "Many of the truths [or falsehoods] we hold dear depend a great deal on our point of view."

    I hope you will rebuild your house with new faith and not retreat to a belief system based only on the tangible world. You will be eternally grateful you did.

  90. By their own admission, the general authorities are not truly special witnesses.

    In Chapter 2 of the Joseph Fielding Smith “Teachings of the Presidents of the Church” manual, he is quoted as having written: “I did not live in the days of our Savior; he has not come to me in person. I have not beheld him. His Father and he have not felt it necessary to grant me such a great blessing as this. But it is not necessary. I have felt his presence. I know that the Holy Spirit has enlightened my mind and revealed him unto me, so that I do love my Redeemer, I hope, and feel it is true, better than everything else in this life.”

    It is an honest admission; much of his testimony is very bold and beautiful, including portions before and after the quoted segment. But it shows me our leaders are our peers, not particularly more spiritually gifted than us regular members.

    Elder Oaks recently stated: “modern apostles are called to be witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world, Doctrine and Covenants 107:23. This is not to witness of a personal manifestation. To witness of the name is to witness of the plan, the work, or mission such as the atonement and the authority or priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ, which an apostle who holds the keys is uniquely responsible to do. Of course apostles are also witnesses of Christ just like all members of the Church who have the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

    If by their own words, our apostles and prophets claim to have only a witness of Christ by the Holy Ghost, not a personal manifestation, I believe and trust their words. It is other members of the church which actually believe their witness to be dishonest, envisioning manifestations they do not claim.

    I'd recommend Ari read Elder Packer’s very candid October 2007 general conference talk “The Weak and the Simple of the Church” (see, I'm not pointing you to some dark anti-mormon site, just read a conference talk on lds.org).

    I can live with this, but it is problematic when you are barred from entering the temples if you actually believe what President Joseph Feilding Smith, Elder Oaks, Elder Packer, and others have admitted.

  91. It is the best fit? Is that all? Isn't it the only true and living church? How convenient for you that what happens to be the best fit for you also happens to be the one, true, and living church without which no one can be exalted.

  92. The key question before us, as this post and its replies clearly demonstrate, is why do many feel the need to drag other people with them. Misery loves company! Whether you decide the church is for you or not, if you are not headed in the direction of certain misery then ask yourself why do I want/need others to understand or follow me?

    The right to make a decision is often confused with the ability to make the right decision. Nevertheless, make your decision and move forward. Even if it is the wrong decision, the Lord will nudge you in the right direction as you leave yourself open to his promptings. You don't need to trigger a bomb in your wake. In fact, any negative feelings you nurse will only impede the Lord's ability to guide you.

    If you feel the need to lash out in any way at those who are not making the same choice then you should rethink your decision, and (please) keep the resulting internal conflict between yourself and the Lord rather than let it overflow into other people's lives. Once you reach a decision your are totally comfortable with, act on it, and then get on with your life.

    It is tough enough carrying your own baggage through life. Nobody wants someone to throw any of theirs on them as well. The church should set up a booth on temple square for people who want to make their exit a drama fest, and staff it with people who can show them exactly where to direct their letters to get their name removed as efficiently as possible.

    As the OP brilliantly states, I am in this church and will remain here because Jesus Christ leads it. The vacillations of the pundits (and historians) over the years will never change that one simple fact. If the sins/weaknesses/failures of church leaders either past or present are bothering you then you missed this key point completely. Either make the effort to properly rebuild your testimony or get yourself out of the church. And if you choose the latter then be sure enough with your decision accept all the consequences (hopefully nothing bad).

    Too many people want to make a public display as they jump from the proverbially bus, but still wont let the church and those who stay on board continue on our own way unmolested. This is the critical difference between an apostate to any belief system and person who just has a genuinely differing opinion. Whichever direction you go, there is plenty for you to worry about there without even noticing what those you left behind are doing.

  93. I can relate to this article. I have felt self-conscious because I don't identify with the politics of most church members, so I have had run-ins with various church members. I haven't always agreed with all church stances on issues. And yes, I am far from perfect, so my conduct hasn't always matched my beliefs. This article doesn't exactly echo my sentiments. But it does capture my feeling that I can't leave because I can't ever deny that my relationship with Christ came through reading the Book of Mormon, repenting, serving a mission, and serving in the Church. I can't molt that exoskeleton and emerge as a disciple of Christ who doesn't need the Church. I certainly haven't moved past the Church. I need the ordinances, the temple, the priesthood, the ongoing exhortations and the service opportunities. Yes, I do miss friends who have made different choices. My response to the idea of leaving is "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." John 6:68 Duane Hampton

  94. I was baptised in 1974 at the age of 17. i was semi active for about 4 years I left in 1987 vowing to never ever darken a chapel door ever again. i even began reading ex-mo sites. looking at comments about the Morg Collective. i spent years telling everyone that we didnt need the restored Gospel; that God never let the lights go out. as i read the exmo stuff i foundmyself saying ,"hey , wait a minute! thats not true Mormons dont believe that. thats a lie. " then one day i realised i was saying "hey, WE dont believe that.!" then one day i read a post supposedly from a man about 80.he claimed he had served a mission and had about a hundred kids grand kids and great grand kids. he claimed he never knew that Joseph Smith was accused of using seer stones and had been arrested. he claimed he had been duped by the prophets. that Joseph had a criminal record. this was when i lost it. i knew the arrest was common knowledge and i had been taught this by missionaries. i was thinking that the guy had lived under a rock but then i figured the letter was a fake. i thought how low can people go to diss the church. at least have either cogent arguments or a social phenomenon for leaving and asking others to leave. if this is your only argument your testimony was never that sincere. I located a church the very next day. a year ago i was rebaptised. i never felt better about a decision in my life. people will always find reasons to leave. they may not like the colour of the bishops tie. they may not like the color of the bishop if it comes to that. funny isnt it that many of those who leave never really have a good reason other than something selfish. i speak from experience. i wanted something deep and ritualistic. something mystical. it took me close to 30 years to realise that what i had wanted was fancy crap. what i NEEDED was truth. the gospel is a crystal clear lake so clear you can see the bottom. so clear that you dont realise that its so deep that most of us will never touch bottom in this lifetime.i am sad now when people leave. some will return and we can rejoice but others never will. thats sad but they will have to deal with the consequences.we can try to work with them and I am grateful for all who prayed for me. but there is nothing that they could have done it was all up to me. dont beat yourself up its not your fault. sometimes its not even theirs

  95. Good point, GOP. Hop right out of that hot, hot, hot frying pan and directly into the fire. Why bother checking which fire you hop into? Just jump in and enjoy the warmth. It's been a long time since anyone paid much attention to Odin or Zeus or any other of the perfectly serviceable gods. They get lonely, too.

  96. I was baptised in 1974 at the age of 17. i was semi active for about 4 years I left in 1987 vowing to never ever darken a chapel door ever again. i even began reading ex-mo sites. looking at comments about the Morg Collective. i spent years telling everyone that we didnt need the restored Gospel; that God never let the lights go out. as i read the exmo stuff i foundmyself saying ,"hey , wait a minute! thats not true Mormons dont believe that. thats a lie. " then one day i realised i was saying "hey, WE dont believe that.!" then one day i read a post supposedly from a man about 80.he claimed he had served a mission and had about a hundred kids grand kids and great grand kids. he claimed he never knew that Joseph Smith was accused of using seer stones and had been arrested. he claimed he had been duped by the prophets. that Joseph had a criminal record. this was when i lost it. i knew the arrest was common knowledge and i had been taught this by missionaries. i was thinking that the guy had lived under a rock but then i figured the letter was a fake. i thought how low can people go to diss the church. at least have either cogent arguments or a social phenomenon for leaving and asking others to leave. if this is your only argument your testimony was never that sincere. I located a church the very next day. a year ago i was rebaptised. i never felt better about a decision in my life. people will always find reasons to leave. they may not like the colour of the bishops tie. they may not like the color of the bishop if it comes to that. funny isnt it that many of those who leave never really have a good reason other than something selfish. i speak from experience. i wanted something deep and ritualistic. something mystical. it took me close to 30 years to realise that what i had wanted was fancy crap. what i NEEDED was truth. the gospel is a crystal clear lake so clear you can see the bottom. so clear that you dont realise that its so deep that most of us will never touch bottom in this lifetime.i am sad now when people leave. some will return and we can rejoice but others never will. thats sad but they will have to deal with the consequences.we can try to work with them and I am grateful for all who prayed for me. but there is nothing that they could have done it was all up to me. dont beat yourself up its not your fault. sometimes its not even theirs

  97. The ten percent tithe is a biblical doctrine, practiced by other churches as well. Incidentally, those other churches use it to a) pay the pastor, and b) keep up the building and administrative costs. We use the tithing to run the church and upkeep and build the buildings. The buildings have to come from somewhere, some money. If we believe all money comes from God then tithing makes sense. Also, there is no way for the bishop to determine if someone is a full tithe payer. When he asks me I can say yes, even if the answer is no, and the only other person who would know is God. The church doesn't force it. God asks it, and we get to decide and we answer to God for it.

  98. This has been happening with my friends for the last 5-7 years. It's so depressing but i've tried to block it out when i can. It's their lives, not mine. Facebook is unbearable.

  99. It's the little things that will get you every time. All it takes is a small crack in the door and Satan puts his foot in and makes it bigger and bigger. I believe that the media is one of the greatest problems EVERYONE, either in the church or out of it, have to contend with today. Many believe that if it is on the internet, it is true. If a person truly believes that it will make him happy to leave, then why are they trying so hard to convince others that it is right for everyone else.
    I am sure that our Father in Heaven is feeling the pain of his children that are making unwise choices because they feel they know what is best for THEM. I know my Heavenly Father loves me and also those who make these decisions. I know that my Savior atoned for all of our sins because he loves us.
    In the early days of the church, they weren't perfect any more than we are today. They had a new church, a restored church, to learn about and make it grow. They made mistakes and the Lord let them make those mistakes to learn and do better. These were mortal beings trying to do the will of the Lord and learn His ways that were different from what the world had taught. When you read the testimonies of hundreds of the early saints that left all that they knew and loved because they believed the church was right, your own testimony will grow. They had terrible trials to overcome, but they stayed strong in their testimonies. Yes, there were some who left the church and even caused the death of the Prophet Joseph and his brothers, but many, many more stayed strong through the conflict….my ancestors being among them. May the Lord bless and guide them back, or at least to feel some peace in the choices they are making.

  100. This is a world-wide phenomenon. The "mass" exodus is new and happening everywhere. My family has been involved. For those still believing and attending the LDS Church it is causing a period of mourning and grief that is not being picked up by those at Church, it is an isolating experience. It feels much like how it was for me at Church after divorce. My relationships, the way people viewed me, the structure of my Church association changed dramatically. I am feeling quite numb.
    Thank you for sharing. Now I really, really know how Lehi, Nephi, Alma and many others felt when family were oppositonal or hostile. Hold on to the Light.

  101. Who debunked the CES letter and where? How is it a sham? Instead of just saying it is, back it up. Please. Many of us would love that.

  102. Firstly…Thank you. Thank you for having the courage to share your beautiful testimony. Thank you for helping to strengthen others testimonies who are also struggling with seeing their friends and family leave the church. Thank you for being an example of standing in holy places and being not moved. I, for one, will also stand with the Savior. If He so believed in me that I was saved to come to Earth at this time, who am I to tell Him that I can't? Thank you so much for your beautiful words, Sister Ari. <3

  103. Haven't read it all yet, but do all your viewers a favor and increase your font size by at least 4 points. I'm on a Retina Display and it's harder than heck to read without going blind.

    Great read, though (if you're reading using an RSS feed or reader that increases font size). Thanks for sharing!

  104. Thank you so much for this perspective. It is what a lot of us are feeling but cannot express. I know many people who have left the church and although it is heartbreaking to watch, in the end we are responsible for our own salvation. What others choose to do, that is their choice. It is up to our own individual commitment to follow the Savior's example and become more like Him. I really like what you said about leaders (present and past) being imperfect. Of COURSE there were mistakes made. People make mistakes all the time! But luckily, the church doctrine is not based on mistakes of people. The GOSPEL is what is true. The church is true, it is being led by a perfect Savior, and that is what is most important. When we judge the church based on imperfections of men, of course people will falter and be misguided. Scriptures say that "men's hearts will fail them." We must look to God for peace and truth, not to other people. Other people, even leaders, will let you down at times. But Heavenly Father and Christ will never let us down because they are the only perfect people.
    If one attends church and no one talks to them, or Christ wasn't mentioned very much, that doesn't make the church not true. It just shows that people are imperfect! We cannot judge each other's mistakes and faults, when we ourselves have plenty of them.
    Thank you again for your courage to stand up and speak truth. In a world where truth is being compromised, we need to stand strong and proclaim our testimonies. I, for one, am so grateful for a Savior to look to. If I looked to men, I would for sure go astray. I'm grateful for the peace found in Christ, because it is HIS church, led by imperfect people who are trying to do their best.

  105. Just found out in the last few days that the land across from the Nauvoo Temple, which many believe was the original Zarahemla Temple site, was purchased. An Archeological dig begins this summer. Please go to http://www.bookofmormonevidence.org for more info on this. No this is not proof just great info on where I believe that the Book of Mormon events occurred here in the united states and not thousands of miles to the south. For fun or to satisfy your curiosity take a look.

  106. Of course those who leave say they are happier…..no more guilt ……and because of their pride no repentance is possible. So sad that we lose seemingly good people because of pride. But isn't that what this test is all about?

  107. People left the church even when the very founder of the church (Christ himself) walked and talked among the people. I think people see the exodus and feel rats are leaving a sinking ship and the smart thing to do is to do likewise. A gospel centered life is a life fighting resistance (Natural man is an enemy to God). A life without the church is a life with significantly less resistance, a life that is even facilitated by the world. It is a tempting life, but then I recall the poignant question the Savior posed, "Will ye leave me too?". I have enough witness that I am where I should be.

  108. You make a great point. And I suspect the next time a car dealership totally rips you off, you will just walk away, making sure never to warn your friends when they go to the same dealership to buy a car.

  109. Hi Ari,
    There is no mistake that you are a person full of passion, love and belief. For this I applaud you. I hope you draw happiness from the Church for the rest of your life! However, I would caution you with your words. You are young and you still have a whole lot to experience before you can tackle such a complex topic as this with the depth required to do so adequately. What you describe certainly applies to many who have left the Church, but there is a very large group of us for whom it applies very little to not at all. In other words, you are well intentioned, but you generalize people who have left the Church too much. In fact, you do many of us a disservice. :/

    I left the Church after years of study and prayer. I haven't looked back. I am extremely happy! Do I miss things about the Church? Sure! I was an organist, choir directory, Elders Quorum President, Primary teacher and I was key to establishing the Young Single Adult program in Atlanta, GA. All those things brought me happiness and I look back on those times with great fondness. However, in the back of my mind were things that were unsettled, bothering me like a rock in my shoe. I started studying Church history, ancient Israel, Apocrypha, etc. etc. etc. What I found made a huge amount of sense to me and finally, because there was no other option, I left the Church.

    To this day I look at people who left the Church because others left who's testimony they had become dependent on, or because they were offended over something as weak. Those are not valid reasons to me. How can getting upset over what so-and-so said about you topple a testimony? Ridiculous. I group people who have gone on the Internet and read a few articles about Joseph Smith or The Pearl of Great Price and then left the Church into the same category. They probably never had a testimony, they were just in a social/spiritual comfort zone. There are always exceptions to these cases, but by and large my years of experience with people like this has been pretty consistent. These kind of people should never, ever have any influence on you.

    There are others like me who spent years coming to what amounts to one of the biggest decisions of our lives. We know the ramifications. Most if not all of our social life is ripped right out of our lives. We begin from scratch socially. We know some friends and family will disown us. We also know that there is a chance we are wrong and are putting our spiritual lives at risk. (I don't claim I *know* I am right. It would be akin to claiming I *knew* the Church was true and that was/is not possible.) We take our knowledge, our spiritual experiences and what our gut tells us and we make a decision. Most of us are very happy as we move on in life.

    I hope my message here does not offend you. I commend you for taking more time and thought to write your blog entry. It is more time than many members take to think on this topic. Good on you!

    A word of caution. Your paragraph about not believing in prophets essentially means you invalidate Christ is flawed. I would make that statement if I were a 100% active member of the Church. The logic is flawed, the statement is flawed. But it is what I would expect from a passionate 20 something member of the Church to say. Something someone would say who hasn't had much water run under the bridge yet. (Or does but puts no thought into it except when participating in conversation.) I applaud the passion, I would just say tone down the rhetoric. :)

    Keep up your good works. Keep in mind that there are people out there who respectfully disagree with your ideas and beliefs and do the same for them. There is no need for intolerance or ugliness. I always look at it this way; one size does not fit all. Keep up your blog, I think your actions speak a great deal about the kind of person you are and I wish you all the best!

    Kevin

    1. ” Key amendments to the US Patent Law signed by President Obama on September 16, 2010 will come into effect on March 16, 2012. ” Did you mean that they are already in effect or they will come into effect on March 16, 2013? Best respsdg,Joreah Fine

    2. So are you suggesting public subsidies to install the "services" (sewage, water, power, phone, roads, footpaths, streetlights, stormwater) plus contouring, surveys etc that will be necessary to provide serviced lots?Given alternative land use options these days, what, in reality is the cost of getting a "serviced lot" to market.

  110. Remember the parable of the wheat and the tares? I hope and pray that I can be a wheat because I want my promised eternal inheritance, no matter what Satan throws at me. One of our greatest blessings is the gift of agency. My witness of the truth of the LDS Church is so deep in my heart over and over again, miracle after miracle if I watch for them. I would truly feel I was in "the not of glory" place if I used my agency to give up that promised inheritance. So the choice, as I see it, is whether or not you trust the Lord, Jesus Christ's promise, or give it all up because Satan has the world turned upside down now prior to the second coming of the Lord to this Earth. This Church isn't just another church, it is the restored Church of Jesus Christ. Will we be the wheat or the tare, it's our choice. The choice is individual, so it doesn't matter what others choose, it's what you choose if you want your inheritance or not. I know I am at perfect peace staying close to the Church, loving Heavenly Father with all my might and strength, following the prophet, loving my neighbor and myself, doing what the Lord has taught us to do. I am truly a happy person because of my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  111. Thank you for saying what a lot of us have wanted to say but didn't know how. I, too, have had friends leave the Church and it is a very sad thing for me. Maybe I am not the best example to follow at times but I do try to follow the prophet and try to live as righteously as I can. One of the things that bothers me is those people who flaunt their rebelliousness but still say they believe the teachings, but if those teachings don't make them happy, why should they follow them. But, who am I to judge? I'm an imperfect man trying to do what's right and failing most times. That's why I try to not just believe IN Christ, but to believe Christ.

  112. Thank you for your post and your testimony. It is His(Jesus Christ) church, it has been restored. This is something all can find out for themselves. I don't judge those who believe differently, but I do stand and share what I know for myself. We can rationalize to believe anything we want, but if we humble ourselves before God and seek His will and direction, I believe we will get an honest answer.

  113. Thank you for your post and your testimony. It is His(Jesus Christ) church, it has been restored. This is something all can find out for themselves. I don't judge those who believe differently, but I do stand and share what I know for myself. We can rationalize to believe anything we want, but if we humble ourselves before God and seek His will and direction, I believe we will get an honest answer.

  114. Anonymous, my sister left the church 10 years ago because she couldn't discern her own thoughts from that of satan whispering what she thought was truth. She saw a billboard sign that had a picture of the prophet Joseph and the words "praise to the man". Satan said " wow, they worship a man" and she actually believed him! how silly. obvi praise does not mean worship, but she didn't doubt her doubts before her faith and she left that very moment. the next 10 year were full of happiness. but it was counterfeit. she partied and lived for herself. of course she was happy! but she was also alone. she too became agnostic after talking with friends that told her the truth of all things. duh! humans were created from a single cell organism of evolution. she was so smart, smarter than God, smarter than her family that believed in a lie for generations. one day, her life fell apart. now, this can happen to Christ believers and non believers alike, its life. but at this point she had a choice. she could continue to do it on her own as she had been. or she could turn to Christ and have his help. she had to choose. she choose Christ. her life did a 180. she is literally a different person. i have witnessed it. she has the light of Christ in her countenance. that can not be denied. friends and family see it. strangers see it. that too can not be denied. Satan is a counterfeit period. you can be happy if you follow him (yes, i said if you follow him because you can only follow one master, if you don't follow christ, you follow satan, whether you are aware of it or not) but you will not have the light of Christ if you don't follow Christ. thats all there is to it. following Christ isn't easy. Christs people are persecuted, fought against and even killed! but its all apart of the plan. are you willing to follow him happy or not? he never said follow me if you want to be happy. i invite you to consider that your thoughts to deny your faith were not yours. i invite you to call satan out and ask GOD to give you the gift to discern truth. even if you don't believe in the church, you can not deny that there is light and dark, good and bad. you can feel it. if you let yourself.

  115. Wonderfully spoken Ari! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true. Heavenly Father is mindful and aware of his children. He loves us, and wants us to return to live with him. Our Savior, Jesus Christ died for us, which provided a way for us to return to our Father in Heaven.

    When I see strong members fall away from the church, I remember the scripture that states that even the very elect will be deceived. I hope we can all be strong enough so the adversary doesn't get a hold on our hearts.

    Thank you for sharing your testimony, and standing strong for the LDS Church!

  116. God Bless you for your courage Ari. There are many of us that stand with you in proclaiming the truth of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm sorry you've had friends and loved ones lose their testimonies, that's always hard to see, but know that there are many of us who continue to stand with you. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led by our Savior Jesus Christ and I appreciate your willingness to share your faith with the world.

  117. Arianna, thanks for sharing your Testimony…I join my voice with yours, nothing has brought me more Joy, love of others, forgiveness, peace and understanding, clarity, sense of direction and purpose, growth for the better, and blessings beyond trials and sorrows…than the Gospel of Jesus Christ brought forth by a Prophet of God to be the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints, Amen!!!

  118. I had my name removed from the LDS church because the more I learned about Christ and his doctrines, the more I realized that the LDS church does NOT follow the doctrines that Christ has set forth. Because I am determined to follow Christ at all costs, I could not in good conscience stay in a church that ignored his teachings.

    Christ defined his church simply as a group of believers that repent and come unto him.

    D&C 10
    67 Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.
    68 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 have NOT left his church, I have left a church that is a state-recognized corporation. Does God's church need to be recognized by a worldly government to be valid? No. Did Jesus appeal to the government of his day to recognize his group of believers? No. Did Jesus counsel the Nephites that they should conform to the laws of man to have a valid church? No.

    The LDS church teaches of temple marriage, sealings, endowments, work for the dead, etc. All of these things are "more" than the doctrine Christ set forth in the Book of Mormon. And Jesus makes it clear that anything "more" is NOT of him and "cometh of evil."

    In 3 Nephi:11-40 God spells out his doctrine, which is simple to believe in him, repent, be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. He then says:

    39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.

    40 And WHOSO SHALL DECLARE MORE OR LESS THAN THIS, AND ESTABLISH IT FOR MY DOCTRINE, THE SAME COMETH OF EVIL, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.

    The gospel of Christ is given freely and openly to all. God does not work in secret.

    When Jesus ministered among the Jews and when he visited the Nephites he never told them to build temples. He never mentions work for the dead or any temple ordinance. Why? Because it is NOT part of his doctrine.

    When Jesus finished his work the veil in the temple was rent.

    Matthew 27:51
    51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

    No longer was the law of Moses and associated temple rituals needed. Old things were done away.

    Today's temples and associated ordiances are not a part of Christ doctrine. They are "more" than he set forth as his doctrine and are not of him.

    Leaders in the LDS church practice priestcraft, clearly against the teachings of the Book of Mormon.

    2 Nephi 26
    29 He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.

    Do the brethren get the praise of the members? Yes. Do they get gain? Yes, they get a stipend,book deals, etc. Are they seeking the welfare of Zion? No. Because if they did there would be no poor among the members.

    Moses 7
    18 And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.

    The LDS church ignores the words of Mormon that baptizing little children is an abomination.

    Moroni 8
    14 Behold I say unto you, that he that supposeth that little children need baptism is in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; for he hath neither faith, hope, nor charity; wherefore, should he be cut off while in the thought, he must go down to hell.

    No, I do not feel unhappy or sad that I have left the LDS church. I feel more free than I've ever felt before. I can be a part of Christ's church (those that repent and come unto him), and I can worship God according to the doctrines he has set forth, instead of the tradtions and precepts of men.

  119. Thanks-

    My wife had an experience during Relef Society when she was first investigating the church 30 years ago. A senior sister was trying to help out and said a very great truth, "When I come to church, I make better decisions".

    Still true in 2015.

  120. I like to sit on the fence. It is safe there. There is little noise to be had and even less aggravation from the world, there. However, while I sit there it is hard to write; to be inspired. I have had enough of the world to know that if you engage it, it will pummel you like a hammer against the anvil of truth that Pindar so eloquently described. It will batter you like the relentless waves of the sea. So I like that little fence. I don't have to engage my LDS friends there as they suffer from pathological disbelief – try to help, and be prepared to suffer. I don't have to seek the approval of my non-LDS friends there either – a thing more tiring even, when I try it. But you. You have fearlessly decided to face those odds; and in the most public of ways. I admire that. I respect that. People will never understand, LDS or not, the risk you have taken. They will never understand how much you love our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. They will never comprehend the volatility of truth, the power of redemption, or the necessity of wading in the muck to find first ourselves and then others who are looking for the same thing we are.

    But you do.

    In your own way you have found truth. In your own way you have learned that it is best to stand alone than not at all. But you are not alone, are you? You know that too. Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, will always be with you. I hope that you will soon be joined in your struggle by many who love and respect the Savior as much as you. I too believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. I too believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church that encompasses the truth about our lives before and after this earth. You don’t have to stand alone. Despite how few of us there are – and fewer still – we can lock shields and face the opposition together. I have a family. I would have them know that there are those outside of it seeking the same thing we are; and that we owe no greater allegiance than to stand beside them in faith, love, and power. Zion is the willing. Choices must be made. Many to good ends, many to happiness, many to the promise of an open, wide field, in which blessings can still be found. Choices are untouchable. They are sacred — much as our own are. Let those choices be made and love as you are meant to love.

    You are not alone. You never were and you never will be.

    May you always remember it.

  121. This is an exciting time! I read your article but not all of the comments, so I don't know if anyone mentioned this or not…

    What you see with your friends and family leaving the church was foretold and is a fulfillment of prophecy – it is part of the sifting of the church, the wheat from the chaff. Prior to the return of Jesus (bridegroom), the church (bride) must be made clean. The prophets have said that this will happen both by internal and external influences. Those who cannot remain faithful in the testimony of Jesus will mostly remove themselves from the church rather than be excommunicated. While sad on a personal level (I too have much family out of the church now), it means that we're that much closer to the savior's return!

    We'll continue to see both an influx and outflux of people and we'll be left with only the Pure In Heart. Either during this sifting or after it, the rest of America will be cleansed. IIRC, that will be the whole Western hemisphere. This will be done through massive calamities all across the land – perhaps not one but many, either at the same time or in succession. It will be scary and death and destruction will abound until only those who can build Zion will remain – like the Nephites who were left after Jesus' crucifixion. Like I said, exciting. Not fun, but necessary.

    I'm glad to see you're rooted in the testimony of Jesus. We get out what we put in. I suspect that those you know who left stopped doing the basics – daily personal prayer and scripture study, daily family prayer and scripture study, weekly sacrament meeting attendance and family home evening, and frequent (not just monthly) temple attendance. I have never known anyone who did all of these things and left. I have known a few who picked up serious sins and kept those things up for a while, but eventually gave them up prior to leaving. Most just become weary or apathetic and stop doing these things one by one – which is ironic because for those who give their all, the energy and vitality they receive is tremendous and keeps them going; truly hungering and thirsting after righteousness brings an abundance of blessings.

    Anyway, don't listen to the haters. Hate gets its own rewards in due time. All will be recompensed for their deeds. Keep the faith!

  122. I believe people are "happier" outside the church because they now don't feel that they have to live up to the standards/truth that the people of the world/Satan and his angels attack and hope to destroy, which the Lord Himself said won't happen, but it will be tested and abused. Christ's life and ministry WASN'T EASY so how can we expect it to be being members of His church? And that is just with the ministering, not the sacrifice of His Atonement, beatings, etc. Not only was it hard for the Lord, it also was for His Apostles and followers, just as it was during the beginning of the restoration with the horrible persecution they received and all the saints of the past as well as what is to come in the future. I don't think we as a people of His church, me included, knows what persecution really is like the past Saints experienced, but it will come and what will we do then? Deny the Christ as Peter did at that moment or be persecuted for His sake and lose our lives in His name as Abinadi did?

    Yes, I do feel that there are members of the church that make it difficult for others and those others leave. It truly is sad and pathetic. But we must fight and stay for the Lord because He is our Savior and Redeemer. I would feel happier too leaving the mist of hurtful words towards me by other members, family, friends, etc, but I know I would feel more miserable leaving the blessings we receive through the covenants we make/renew every Sunday and at the House of the Lord.

    Forgive me (and Ari, Moroni and all others who testify of Christ and His Church) when we write we behold our weakness, and stumble because of the placing of our words; and [we] fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words. But the Lord says "Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness."

    Thank you Ari for your words and courage to stand up for truth and to "be a light unto the world." for "blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake; rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven."

    Forgive me (and Ari, Moroni and all others who testify of Christ and His Church) when we write we behold our weakness, and stumble because of the placing of our words; and [we] fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words. But the Lord says "Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness."

    Thank you Ari for your words and courage to stand up for truth and to "be a light unto the world." for "blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake; rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven."

    Let us continue to be a "peculiar people" and follow the command of the Lord in 3 Nephi 12:44-45:

    But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you;

    That ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good.

  123. Psalms 23:4: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."

    2 Timothy 4:7: I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.

    D&C 84:88: And whoso receiveth you (and persecute you in His names sake), there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.

  124. I have yet to know a person who TRULY left the church because of doctrine and not because of sin. I doubt you did either. You can only go to church feeling guilty for so long before you quit. It's a lot easier to claim some other reason than own up to the facts of what you've done. It's easier to find or make up another church which can accommodate your behavior than to conform to right behavior. Good luck with that. I had written a refutation of each point you presented, but it was way too long and I couldn't cut it short enough. In any case, you did a good job of wresting the scriptures and of ignoring other passages in order to make your points. You focused on one puzzle piece at a time and declared what the whole picture looked like without considering the other pieces or in how any of them fit together in a whole. Reminds me of Korihor. Or the pharisees. They knew the scriptures too and could twist them to mean what they wanted. That's why we have prophets, so we can know what they mean, how they go together, etc. and not just what some random guy wants things to mean.

  125. Thank you, well said. There is a difference between the "Gospel" and the "Church". A house divided against its self will fall, this is a tool of the Adversary. We all could talk about "Church" issues all day , in the end its about Faith in God, his Son Jesus the Christ and the Holy Ghost. I dont care what Denomination you are in the Body of Christ! Thank you Ari and Anonymous (August 3, 2015 at 2:27pm)

  126. Thanks for your comments… I've recently felt the same way and even wrote about a current situation in my last blog post. We must all try to keep our faith centered in Jesus Christ!

  127. Anonymous, you are going to have to wrap your head around the fact that people can and are much, much happier outside the Church. You have no idea because you haven't lived it and I'm not blaming you for it because it is all that you know. Most, like myself, had no issue with the standards of the Church. (I won't call it truth because it isn't. Sorry.) That was the *least* of my concerns. I was a temple recommend carrying keep the commandments member until the day I walked away. Why? Because if I was going to be part of it I needed to live the standards set by it. Once I left, those standards no longer applied. Now my life is different and I am *much* happier the way I live my life than how I was. Members either can't or don't want to understand this and that is fine as long as they don't tell me I'm not happy. Check out the great Me I'm An Ex-Mormon videos on YouTube. You will see lots of folks who are very happy that have left the Church. 😀

  128. I WILL NEVER LEAVE! I HAVE SEEN AND HEARD AND MY NAME IS NOT LAMAN. THERE ARE MANY OF US WHO HAVE SEEN AND HEARD. WE ARE JUST COMMANDED TO RESTRAIN AT THIS TIME. ALL KNEES WILL BEND. ALL HEADS WILL BOW.

  129. I haven't read any of the comments left here. I hope they are all positive and supportive. I just want to let you know that if they're not, there is one person who is extremely grateful for your eloquence and your courage in writing this blog. You've said many things I feel, and I agree 100% We stay because of Christ. Thanks.

  130. Please be aware that your argument is based on the premise that the Mormon Church belongs to Jesus Christ. If you start with that as your assumption, it's not hard to conclude that you have a good reason to remain active. Unfortunately, that's too shallow. Every other person in every other religion in the world would have an impeccable reason to remain active in their church if their analysis started with "My church belongs to Jesus/God/Allah as his only true church, but why do I remain when it's so hard and when everyone is leaving" You have to dig a lot deeper to avoid vacuous logic. I'm sure if you ask your friends why they're leaving the church, you'll find ample reasons to sincerely doubt the grandiose claims of Mormonism beyond the fact that so-called prophets have failed to demonstrate prophetic ability (e.g. see http://www.cesletter.com). For that matter, there's good reason to doubt every other magical/supernatural worldview. Good luck in your search for the truth. Keep digging!

  131. Thanks for your thoughts and I wish you all the best! Stay strong in the gospel. I add my own witness that it is indeed God's church and kingdom on this earth.

  132. I was 18, and my choice was to go on a mission, or to live my life as a hopeless romantic and marry my first (nonmember) love. I read the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I prayed to know that Joseph Smith was the prophet of the restoration, that the LDS Church is true, and that the current prophets are spokespersons for Heavenly Father. I got my answer, and went on my mission. I didn't ever date that girl again, but I found someone much better for me. We have been sealed in the temple, and blessed with four wonderful children. I regret nothing, and my testimony builds every day. It would have been a far easier choice to leave the church, but I cannot deny what I know in my heart, mind, and spirit to be true. And I look forward to helping raise my family to join me at Heavens gate.

  133. Thank you so much! I feel like some of what you've written I could have written if I were better with words. Thank you for helping me understand why I stay in the Church.

  134. Thank you for this.

    Just this morning I was thinking about this very thing when I saw this post on one of my friend's facebook page. I needed this. You see, my husband left the church over two years ago. He took his name off of the records a little over a year ago. He was born and raised in the church, served a mission, was Mr. FHE and family prayer. We were married in the Temple over 20 years ago. At times I felt that he had a stronger testimony than I did. Never in a million years did I think that he would leave it. Obviously I was wrong.

    He didn't leave because he wanted to sin. In fact, he could get baptized tomorrow if he wanted to. He has done nothing to prevent that. He studied for 5 years and got to the point where he didn't believe it to be true, and he left. Also, he didn't like the pressure he felt to serve others, including his own family, and the time being a member took. He has wanted to be free to do what he wants without constraints.

    Everyone in our Ward has been great about it, completely respectful to him and supportive of us, encouraging me to love him and respect him. Unfortunately he wants nothing to do with any of our LDS friends anymore, simply because they are LDS. He wants nothing to do with anyone that is LDS. If you're LDS, you're not worth his attention or time. Sometimes I feel like that includes me, but we are working on it.

    He has spent a lot of time trying to convince me that I'm wrong, even though I've been respectful of his new beliefs (he's an atheist now) and haven't tried to convince him that he is wrong, or push him to go back to church. I actually encouraged him to leave when he finally told me that he didn't believe anymore. I didn't know what he was going through until the very end, he never shared his struggles with me. I could see that him going to church was very painful for him. He should follow his conscience just like I follow mine.

    It's been very difficult for both of us and hard on our marriage. You go through a grieving process when this happens. We both feel betrayed for different reasons. It brings the problems in your marriage to the forefront when this happens, and you have to work through them. We've been very close to divorce a couple of times, not because he left the church (I would never leave him for that), but because we are on such different paths now and don't have the same goals anymore. And he's become a different person, someone I don't understand or recognize some of the time. He's not happy. I'm not happy either at this point.

    And I've gone through periods where I was doubting my own faith. In the end, I can't deny what I know. I can't deny the experiences I've had. I see that hand of the Lord in my life on a daily basis. I can see the hand of the Lord in my husband's life as well but he doesn't see it. That's okay. If we spend the rest of our lives muddling through, it will be okay.

    It's hard to see loved ones leave the church, especially those very close to us. They have their agency to chose just as we do. I think that's what a lot of people forget. If they truly don't believe, then why stay? Their experience in life is just as valid as ours, even if it doesn't take us down the same path. We need to be supportive of their choices in this area. I certainly wouldn't want anyone insisting that I had to leave the church, in spite of what I believe.

  135. So PERFECTLY expressed! Thank you for your courage, your testimony, your light! I felt the Spirit strongly as I read your words. The Gospel of Jesus Christ brings me GREAT happiness, peace and joy. The commandments have blessed my life and the lives of my children in abundance. I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ and am grateful every single day for my membership in it!

    1. Kære HelleJeg ved ikke lige om de bliver solgt andre steder ? Men prøv lige at tage kontakt til Bob Noon pÃ¥ Vesterbro hvor hun sælger hendes ting ;-)Jo kreativt kaos er en nødvendighed jeg ville bare ønske at jeg kunne holde orden bare lidt mere end 2 timer efter opgyindnren…KH

  136. I think that your first sentence captures a lot of people who leave the Church, although likely not everyone. I can say that of my five siblings, the two who left the Church (because they did research and found it not to be true), are also the two who cheated on their spouses, thus destroying their marriages and causing untold heartache to many people (which heartache and suffering they never owned up to). Supposedly they were unhappy in their first (in both cases temple) marriages, but now they're happily married to their partners in adultery. I will give them that they are having to make fewer sacrifices in their lives than they used to have to.

  137. You are an amazing and spectacular young woman with an incredible testimony. Thank you for sharing it and for strengthening my own. The Savior is proud of you. Don't forget that…

  138. So to summarize, the reason why you stay Mormon is because you haven't even started to question things, as you begin with the assumption that the church and BoM are true.

  139. Ari, we live in the time prophesied of in the vision of the Tree of Life when there are many who are in the Great and Spacious Building pointing their fingers of scorn at those who are on the path and those who have partaken of the fruit. Some have fallen away and it is deeply painful for those who remain next to the tree, but there is nowhere else to go. Thanks for staying faithful and remaining on the path.

    We know that the Great and Spacious building is going to fall. It may be sooner than we think. I had a dream that something terrible is about to happen and it might help you prepare for things: http://kellywsmith.com/destruction-is-imminent.html

  140. Thanks for posing as Zeezrom and trying to trick her with such a loaded question. She did not (nor does anyone) "assume" the BofM and Church are true. They must be testified of by the Holy Ghost after studying and praying about it. That requires work, study, questioning, prayer, asking questions and most of all desiring to know. Once you have that knowledge, if you will continue on that same path, your testimony will grow until it becomes a mighty tree. If you stop, it will die.

    Since you must have stopped that process and your testimony is dead, you now go about like Korihor and try to destroy the testimony of others.

    Do you realize who you are working for?

    I followed the requirements and found out for myself that the Book of Mormon was true. I have read it every day for over 29 years and can't wait to read it every morning. I KNOW it is true and bear testimony of it to the world.

    The way people lose their testimony is they let go of the Iron Rod or the Word of God and Satan blinds them. They then think they are "free" and go about trying to destroy the testimony of others. They will receive their reward and it isn't worth anything.

    Please come back. Please humble yourself and repent and start over. There is still time, but not much.

  141. Please read 1 Nephi 15:24 which show the reason ANYONE leaves the church: they let go of the Iron Rod. They stopped reading, praying, attending meetings, doing service, listening to the advice of Home Teachers, Bishops, Stake Presidents, etc. and now Satan has BLINDED them with Fiery Darts! Everyone gives their own reason for leaving: hypocrisy, sin, being offended, polygamy, historical "facts", etc. but the reality is that they let go of the iron rod. It has happened in my family too and I pray that we will remain faithful and endure to the end.

  142. I am not the anonymous to whom you are responding, but I have a few things to add. I believe that most people who pray do not pray to find out if it is false, but they pray to find out if it is true. That alone presupposes that in the mind of that person, they are eagerly wanting it to be true. Or at least they are leaning in that direction. But they would never take up the Koran or any other sacred book and pray to find out if that is also true. They only pray about the Book of Mormon.

    They would never think to pray about the truthfulness of any other self-proclaimed prophet. But they pray about Joseph Smith.

    Do you realize I served my mission in Japan in the mid-1990's. Not once did the church lesson plan that I taught to my investigators require them to pray to find out if Jesus Christ was the Savior of the World. And I was in Japan! 1% Christian! Not once.

    But I was supposed to commit them to pray about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.

    When I prayed about it a long time ago, the only answer I got was, "You already know its true." I have heard so many people tell me that they've had the same experience!

    To me, this sounds like the kind of answer I would give my teenagers when they come to me to ask a question, but already have their mind made up as to what the answer is going to be. "Well…what do you want me to say, child? You already have decided on your own."

    When I asked God, my mind was already made up. I wasn't really praying to God to find out if it was true or false. I was just praying to God to make him tell me what I wanted to hear. What could he possibly say to someone like that, whose mind is closed off to an authentic answer from Him?

    Jesus never asks us in the Bible to pray about a church or a book. He asks us to follow him.

  143. Ari! (It's Hannah from high school :) I don't want to scroll through all the comments, some positive and some negative I'm sure, I just want to say THANK YOU so so so much for writing this! I am so proud of you! And I want to say amen to what you wrote! It's scary to put yourself out there and open yourself up for people who disagree to take a shot at you. But we have to stand up for what we know to be true! Thanks so much for doing that, you inspire me! Keep at it! (P.S. I started a blog just recently where I'm sharing how the gospel helps me through my struggle with infertility, it's http://www.viewfromtheairport.com if you're interested in taking a look.)

  144. I have lived both ways, active and inactive. I can say by my experience that living the commandments makes me much happier than when I was inactive and doing all the things the world say are okay. One thing I never did when inactive is bash the church. I don't understand why when so many people leave, they have this desire to bash and put down the church? Why can't you just leave and live the way you want? Why blog or comment in negitive ways. The people may be imperfect, but the gospel is true. We have our free agency to do as we please, and as a single woman over 50, I can tell you it can be hard, but we govern ourselves. I've always known in my heart the gospel is true and it doesn't matter what other members do, I only worry about myself. I'm far from perfect and don't leave because it doesn't suit my lifestyle. Sorry your bitter, I just hope that you can find other interests besides putting down the gospel you were once a part of.

  145. I left church a couple of time. Looking back it was because of my lack of understanding and issues I had with other members. But the one thing that would not and could not diminish was my testimony. It was like a life jacket at sea. No matter how rough or high the waves were it would not sink. You can ignore it but you cannot forget. I'm grateful for it. Stay where you are mate. Well done. x

  146. I can totally relate to where you and many other LDS people are at. I left the church after 35 years and it was devastating. I'm not going to say I'm better off, or happier, etc. It was a tough and tearful ordeal. Worst thing in my life. It wasn't because of other people leaving, or issues with people in the church. It wasn't because of sin. It was because I sought to learn more about my religion and as I did the pile of problems grew so big that I eventually ran out of logical explanations. It just wouldn't hang together anymore. People in the church may say I've been deceived, and they do, even close friends and family. But they can't logically reconcile the information when I present it, and have no interest in discussing or exploring it. I'm sorry that people have been less than polite to you in sharing their viewpoints. You're a moron and I'm Satan's fool. You can't win on either side 😉 I wish you and all LDS people well, and hope we can all participate in kind and respectful dialogue despite our antithetical positions.

    1. I’m sorry you were treated poorly Ron. You sound like a decent hearted person and don’t deserve to be treated with disrespect. Thank you for showing restraint and courtesy in your reply even though what was written doesn’t match your beliefs. The world could use a lot more of that.

  147. That is one opinion. There are many, she and I included, that would say those CHOOSING to stay are on to something. Outsiders may do see 'blind sheep', and sadly there may be some of those. But what group of people, religious, atheist, political or social doesn't have some of them? And for those that are, why does that discount the numerous others who have actually given it their own thought and choose to stay? Who are we to say that which of those someone may be?

    Personally, I feel she hit the nail right on the head. But that's because I have seen the fruits and joy the gospel and driving to follow Christ has brought me. And I could never leave that.

    Thank you Ari for writing what I have felt for a long time but failed to find the appropriate words to express.

  148. Thank you for your testimony. I "saved" it before I even realized I needed it, which today I did. I share so many of your thoughts and feelings and I can't deny it either. This is what I needed today. Keep on blogging. I'll be back :)

  149. Thank you! I have thought of all the good the gospel has brought me in life recently. The church has been instrumental in helping me to focus daily on the Savior. I'm fine being one of the Saviors sheep.

  150. 'It's hard to be a member of the church, it's embarrassing to be a member of the church, it's not worth it to be a member of the church, and it's stupid to be a member of the church.'

    this is NOT why they are leaving.

    a more accurate statement would be 'It's impossible to believe in and trust individuals who have lied to us, beginning with Joseph Smith.' THAT is what these people are thinking. I know, because I'm one of them

  151. I too have watch friends and family leave the church. I am still in regular contact with a few. One of which, I have friendly debates with. He brought up a notion you talked about, imperfect General Authorities. My testimony is not based on them, it is based on the knowledge and guidance I have received by no one but by Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit.

    If you look in John chapter 6 (or for a clearer explanation Jesus, The Christ chapter 21), a example occurs of what I feel is happening today. Christ, having just fed a multitude, goes across the Sea of Galilee. The next day after He lands, many of those he fed the day before catch up to Him. Christ told them the didn’t seek them for spiritual guidance but for the miracle Christ preformed. They sought immediate solutions for worldly concerns, namely physical hunger. Christ attempted to teach them but they didn’t seem to get it and “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” (John 6:66)

    I have felt that in the coming days leading to the Second Coming, that many members of Christ’s Church will fall away in a similar fashion, and only the truly valiant and faithful will stay. Some may return, possible bringing more with them, but many will not come back.

    Don’t lose hope for them, God works in mysterious ways, and don’t be discouraged, just try to be an example to them.

    1. admin dit :Ouaii! c’est génial comme idée, ça serait vachement bien, je pourrais le mettre sur une page de mon blog.Je dois encore plus y réfléchir Katia!! Ca dépasse mes compétences du moment mais je suis autodidacte alors, y a de l&!peuo;qssooir!rJe t’imagine sautiller hhh, faudrait que je voie ca un jour!!Bisous

  152. Beautifully stated, Ari. If I may recommend some reading for you any others: “Planted,” by Patrick Mason, “A Reason for Faith,” by Laura Hales, “The God Who Weeps” and “Crucible of Doubt,” by Terryl Givens.

    Chin up, everyone. We are not alone in our belief and faith.

  153. Thank you for sharing your feelings. It is hard when your friends and family leave the church because it makes you feel betrayed, abandoned, and rejected as a faithful member.

    No true friend wants to make you feel that way. Leaving the church is not easy. You have been hurt because a few of your friends have left. When you leave, your whole world seemingly turns against you.

    You will find more peace in maintaining your relationships and learning that rejecting the church is not a rejection of you than you will by writing a combative blog post.

    One other thing that struck me from the points in your post, Jesus Christ can be found in more places than the LDS church. Admitting that the church is not true does not invalidate Jesus Christ for millions of Christians around the world.

  154. Sharing intimate beliefs in a public forum is risky. It requires courage and conviction. Thank you for demonstrating both. Many do not agree with you. For many, their experience with the Mormonism and the Church has been negative, not positive. I understand that. As a lifelong member of the Church for 47 years I’ve seen many come and go – and sometimes come and go again. In my roles as bishop, stake presidency, teacher, father, husband and friend I’ve testified to, taught, cried with, listened to, mourned for, and rejoiced with many as they’ve struggled in their individual faith journeys. I do not trivialize, condemn or ignore the very real reasons why some cannot feel comfortable here with us. I do not pretend to know or understand the eternal consequence of those that leave the faith they once embraced. But I do know God loves His children. I believe that his plan for each of us is more expansive and perhaps more inclusive than we currently understand . I also know that The Church of Jesus Chris of Latter-day Saints has helped me to know and love my Savior. I’ve felt His love for me and others in overwhelming ways. He has manifested Himself to me through his Holy Spirit as I’ve participated in worship, ordinances and learning in the Church. I’ve wept many times at the beauty and truth contained in the Scriptures that testify of Him. I’ve been a recipient of His grace, of His patience and of His love. I don’t know all the answers -But as I’ve wrestled with my own doubts and problems I’ve found that the deeper I dig into doctrines, policies and history the easier the answers come. For me, at least, comfort and reconciliation come by understanding and learning more about our doctrines and histories -, not in avoiding uncomfortable issues. Many times the surface of the water is more troubled than the depth. I’ve learned to be patient, to not rush to judgment, to not panic at things I don’t understand right away. I’ve learned to trust that answers and assurances come in the Lord’s time and in His way – often requiring us to excercis faith and patience. I trust because I’ve been through that cycle so many times – always coming away with renewed faith. Finally, I invite anyone reading this comment or this blog post to come unto Christ and be reconciled to Him. It’s a lifelong journey, but one in which if we persist – not allowing ourselves to become discouraged – yields great peace and joy. Thanks again Ari.

  155. Hi my friend,
    You don’t know me but I want to say I believe in the choice you are making. It is certainly not an easy time to be a follower of Christ. It often seems like the whole world is full of people waiting to ridicule, condemn and hate. It doesn’t seem to matter how much you love, serve, or try to understand. We live in a time where eyes can’t see and hearts can’t feel. I’m sorry you’ve been hurt by people who have chosen to embrace bitterness and desire to spread it to you, but your faith is yours for a reason. I believe in Christ. I believed him when he found me in an Iraqi desert. I believed him when he led me away from friends and family to a faith they all thought was a sham. I believed when darkness seemed to hunt me from every corner of my life. And I believe him now. Don’t let weak souls interrupt your faith. I know it’s hard when the souls attacking you are those you used to trust and respect, but there is nothing for it. For whatever reason, that is the way of our faith. I can only say that every prophet and apostle has had to suffer as you are suffering now. It comes with the territory of desiring to be a true follower of Christ. Good luck my friend. Prayers and strength in your direction..

    1. , that feeling rubs off on those around yoeu.hTre is so much more that needs to be said but this is becoming a book. Someone else pick up where I left off please.

  156. If you are a Mormon for the sake of Jesus Christ, then next Sunday compare and contrast how many times Jesus Christ is referred to or quoted with how many times Joseph Smith, Thomas S. Monson, or any of the other modern prophets is referred to and/or quoted. Then go to any one of your local Protestant churches and do the same. It is pretty clear that the LDS church focuses more on these fallible prophets, that you referenced, than it does the Savior.

    The question isn’t whether the church is good, the question is whether it has more truth than other religions. To find that out you need a control for your truth-seeking method. You need to attend other religious meetings, sincerely investigate their theology, read their scriptures and literature, meet with their leaders, grow to love and respect their people, listen to their stories of how much their faith means to them, and pray with a sincere heart to know if the things you have learned there are true just like you have done for your current faith. Then compare and contrast your experiences with the other religion with those of your faith. Is there a significant difference? If you don’t want to do that, then just admit to yourself that WANT to believe what works best for your life because of your friends and family… that you don’t really “know” and don’t want to know.

    How would a Muslim, who was raised in Syria by parents who spent their whole lives preaching the doctrine of ISIS, realize that he/she was wrong? What would they have to do? What mind-set would they have to have? Can you do the same in your search for truth? What sacrifices would they have to make? Is finding truth worth it? Your eternal salvation may depend on it.

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