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The Path of the Uncorrelated Mormon John Dehlin. How do we create local and global communities of support for uncorrelated Mormons? The only question.

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Presentation on theme: "The Path of the Uncorrelated Mormon John Dehlin. How do we create local and global communities of support for uncorrelated Mormons? The only question."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Path of the Uncorrelated Mormon John Dehlin

2 How do we create local and global communities of support for uncorrelated Mormons? The only question (for me)


4 (Need help developing this presentation)

5 (Not about word parsing, academic posturing)

6 Some Common Stages True believer Traumatized believer Liberal believer Evaporation of traditional belief Pragmatic, non-believing participant Ex/Post-Mormon

7 The True Believer

8 “To believe in God is impossible. To not believe in Him is absurd.” Voltaire

9 “If God did not exist it would be necessary to invent him.” Voltaire

10 True Believer God lives and He loves us The scriptures are His word Jesus died that we may live with God someday Church leaders (GA’s and local) speak for God LDS church members are chosen The LDS church is true Obey and be blessed

11 Beautifully simple, Simply beautiful (Iron rod)

12 16,000,000 reasons to love Mormonism

13 If I could have stayed in this stage, I would have

14 The Traumatized Believer

15 Love

16 Studying Church History Multiple, varying first vision accounts Joseph’s use of folk magic/treasure digging Book of Mormon translation (stone/hat) Masonry / temple connection Polygamy/polyandry and deception Kinderhook plates Book of Abraham Church’s history with race Dis-empowerment of women Mountain Meadows Massacre General lack of candor by church

17 Thinking about doctrine/theology Taking the Bible seriously God-sanctioned genocide, sexism, homophobia? The need for an atonement? One true church w/ exclusive authority? Apostasy? Historical Book of Mormon? Proxy work for the dead? Church led by God?

18 Spiritual Issues Never receiving a spiritual witness Feeling unfulfilled in church activity Feeling spiritually led elsewhere Redefining your understanding of spiritual knowledge Disaffection of a loved-one

19 Cultural Issues Developing racial sympathies Developing feminist sympathies Developing LGBTQ (gay) feelings or sympathies Developing liberal political sympathies Extensive exposure to non-Mormons

20 Organizational Issues Corporate culture Culture of authority, rules, and unquestioning obedience Culture of patriarchy The billion $ mall

21 Non-Sources of Trauma (Disaffection Myths) A desire to sin Being offended Caring too little

22 No single smoking gun…. …instead a mosaic that lacks credibility

23 Credible concerns by credible people

24 For many, it’s the Church’s credibility that becomes the issue

25 The Liberal Believer

26 Liberal Believer The gospel is still mostly true, but the church/leaders aren’t perfect “Buffet” Mormon A “shelf” for doubts/concerns Lots of symbolic/metaphorical belief “This is where God wants me….” Patron saints: Lowell Bennion, Eugene England, Richard Bushman

27 Challenges to Liberal Phase The church is led in a somewhat authoritarian, literalistic way By nature, liberals question, dissect, disobey Open liberals are not generally appreciated in authoritarian organizations Hard to be authentic, and hard to not feel like an outlier Sometimes the trauma becomes too great

28 Evaporation of Belief

29 Evaporation of belief God, Christ, all religious beliefs often go out the window Hit rock bottom Very, very disturbing and unsettling for many “Dark night of the soul”

30 Dark Night of the Soul No existential foundation – Meaning, purpose, fear of death, loss of identity and values framework Fear of losing family, friends, social network, jobs Can’t tell anyone. Desperately lonely Anxiety, depression, suicide

31 At this point, some people circle back to a previous stage

32 Factors that Affect Circling Back What if my spouse leaves me? How will I raise my children? Concern about loss of respect from friends/family Concern about social isolation Desire to see a deceased loved one again Concern about death Concern about job security

33 Pragmatic, Non-Believing Participant

34 Enjoy it. “Works for me.” Can’t find anything better

35 Problems with the Pragmatic Perspective Usually involves staying silent Often leaves one feeling inauthentic Can lead to building internal pressure Can lead to bitterness/anger Can lead people to live a “double-life” The eventual killer: Integrity

36 Ex/Post Mormon

37 Often is an incredible act of courage – Can lead to loss of family, friends, job, etc. Can leave a huge vacuum in life In early stages, can involve behaviors that are reactive to Mormonism – Coffee, alcohol, etc. Involves establishing: – New identity – New moral framework – New social community – Coping mechanisms for death, suffering

38 1. There is a significant trend towards disbelief and disengagement (uncorrelation) in the LDS church (credibility and integrity are the 2 big issues)

39 2. This trend is much bigger than just the LDS church

40 3. There is probably little to nothing substantive that the church can do about it (and stay strong)

41 4. If you haven’t already become uncorrelated, you likely will, and the majority of your children or loved ones children most likely will

42 5) Becoming uncorrelated causes a major disruption and often leaves a significant vacuum in an active LDS church member’s life

43 The Biggest Gaps When People Become Uncorrelated Loss of spouse Loss of support for raising children and teens Loss of friends/family relationships Loss of moral framework Loss of identity Loss of spiritual framework/support Concern about job security

44 Could We Create Together…. Support for alternative approaches to a moral framework Support for alternative forms of spirituality A dating service for singles/divorced Local communities – For children -- Local play groups – For teens -- EFY’s – For college students -- College meet-up groups – For couples/families – Book clubs, study groups A new collective identity? (“Reform Judaism”)

45 NOT a church/religion Can co-exist with church/religion Positive, constructive approach Carry forward the good in what got us here – Heavy emphasis on love/service – Support of families (all types) – Strong communities of support – Encouraging healthy living

46 Leave behind the less desirable things – Belief in harmful doctrine/theology – Bigotry – Sexism – Authoritarianism – Patriarchy – Elitism – Anti-intellectualism / anti-science Strong appreciation of science Rooted in common sense values/ethics

47 How do we create local and global communities of support in support of transcendence? The only question (for me)

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