In the interest of fairness, I’ll cover both teams, pro- and anti-Mormon. Let me say at the outset that I’m not counting the “less active” as anti-Mormons. These people, who make up the vast majority of ex-Mormons, could not care less about Mormonism. It simply isn’t part of their lives at all, even though they’re probably still being counted on the membership records.
1. The offended. These people left Mormonism because someone or something in the church offended them. Maybe the bishop said something unkind about their Easter hat, or the MIA maids picked on them mercilessly. Their distaste for Mormonism is personal, and it manifests itself in deep loathing for all things Mormon. At any given time, there are between 3 and 5 of these offended members worldwide.
2. The sin-lovers. These people left because they felt stifled in Mormonism. Unable to satisfy their baser lusts in the church, they left in search of prostitutes, drugs, and “immodest clothing.” They feel contempt for the church’s leadership and pity for the straitjacketed members. There are perhaps between 50 and 100 of these hedonists, mostly in Western Europe.
3. The “never had a testimony” crowd. These people are generally among the “less active” mentioned above and really don’t bother themselves with opposing the church.
4. The self-appointed intellectuals. These guys believe they are just “too smart” to believe in Mormonism. They are the ones spoken of in the scriptures as occupying a great and spacious building and pointing the finger of scorn at the faithful.
5. The “Jesus Saves” kids. Most are Evangelicals (with some exceptions) who are trying very hard to save the souls of “lost” Mormons, who of course believe in the wrong Jesus and follow a “different” gospel. Oddly enough, the Jesus Saves kids tend to be the most sensationalistic about Mormonism and the least accurate in their descriptions of what Mormons actually believe. It’s sort of like Paul Dunn in reverse: the crazier they make Mormonism sound, the more justified they feel in opposing it. A subset of this group actually makes its living by producing anti-Mormon books, films, and presentations.
6. The members who figured out that the church is not what it claims to be. This group constitutes most former members and even some of the Jesus Saves kids. The trigger is different for everyone. For some it’s polyandry; for others it’s the Book of Abraham; and yet for others it’s just the realization that Mormonism doesn’t work very well as a practical religion. Whatever it is, most of them have concluded that the church just isn’t true. Some of these people hate the church, but most don’t. Most are just deeply disappointed to find that they built their lives around falsehoods. I’d say they have a right to oppose the church.