Mormonism: Sux or Rox?

This morning I was reading something where a former Mormon said he had kept the good he had gained from Mormonism and simply discarded the bad, and in the process, he left the church. I’d say that’s a fair statement of what I’ve done. As an active church member, I simply put the bad stuff on a “shelf” and ignored it, hoping that in the end God would sort it all out. Eventually I decided I couldn’t keep that shelf up any longer, and I left. On the other hand, my old boss at the Church Office Building told me not long ago that he recognized the bad, but he felt like it was outweighed by the good, so he chose to stay in the church.

But what interested me this morning was that a Mormon wondered what the “bad stuff” could possibly be, as if the entirety of Mormon beliefs, teachings, practices, and culture is completely positive and good. It’s sort of the idea that, unlike the Catholics and their Inquisition and selling of indulgences and Borgias, we Mormons didn’t have any black marks in our history or teachings that we needed to be ashamed of.

I’ve posted before about the positive things I like about Mormonism, and I have said before that much of who and what I am I owe to my Mormon beliefs. Ironically, it was a commitment to truth and integrity that I learned within Mormonism that ultimately led me to leave.

And it would be easy to give a laundry list of negatives in the church: dishonesty, guilt and shame, the use of people as objects to get money, power, and sex, bogus scriptures, and so on.

But I’m intrigued. Are there ex-Mormons who see nothing but negative in the church, and conversely, are there Mormons who see nothing but positive in it? Wouldn’t it be fairer to say that we all recognize the good and bad, but we base our decisions and conclusions on the relative importance of those positives and negatives.

So, dearest readers, do you see the church as all good or all bad, or something in between?

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13 Responses to Mormonism: Sux or Rox?

  1. It truly is unfortunate that many people are incapable of seeing the world in anything less than absolutes. Something is either all good or all bad. That’s unfortunate reasoning that makes it difficult to enjoy the world. We forces us to hold institutions up to a ridiculously high standard.

  2. K*tty says:

    The older I get, and that is old, I have come to this conclusion. Life is just a bunch of coping mechanisms thrown in with some denial and rationalization. Because I have left the church, I am no better off than my Mormon friends who still attend. I feel like the one Stepford wife who some how keeps avoiding being changed. There is no way I am going to convince the other wives who have that “content” button installed, that something is not quite right. I always felt like I was a square peg trying to fit in the “perfect” round circle. Now I am still a square peg, but I am no longer looking for a square to place myself. There is good in the Mormon church, but some days it is hard for me to focus on what that would be. The church is a major time and money thief. Major!!!!

  3. Eric Nielson says:

    It may surprise some people to hear that I see negatives in the church. But most all of them I chalk up to individual human weaknesses, and not ‘the gospel of Jesus Christ’.

  4. Soy Yo says:

    Eric,
    I would love to see what some of those negatives are and how they are “just” individual human weaknesses.

    I used to see good in the LDS church but as I continue to find things that point to it being a false religion, the good has faded. I’m sure people get good things out of being members but for me, not much good can come out of so much dishonesty. I value truth and without it, Mormonism is on a poor foundation that will not support its members when reality strikes.

  5. bull says:

    I was taught that Mormonism contains all truth. It is truth. Anything true is accepted by the church and assimilated into it. So, to a Mormon they have all that is good and true.

    Of course, as a former Mormon I realize that all of that good and truth exists independent of the truth. That is the great lie; the things that makes Mormonism unique, those truths they claim to have uniquely such as priesthood and revelation, aren’t really true. Anyway, by rejecting Mormonism all I’ve really done is leave things that I believe are false and bad without needing to leave anything good or true behind.

  6. Ten Bear says:

    I believe that your point of view pretty much reflects my own. When I’m confronted with issues, politics, global warming, eating right, what-have-you, I find that the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle of two extremes.

    When someone comes at me with absolutes like “always”, and “never”, and “impossible”, red flags go up immidiately. I figure, I’ve been given both a heart and a mind. I should use them both. So I reason through things and then take a look at how I feel when all is said and done.

    The church has good and bad, yes. But most of the good can be found in many other places too. Love your neighbor, sacrifice a little, be kind and so on. It isn’t a convincing factor to convert anybody, really. But a lot of the bad is exclusive to the church.

    Where else does it say that you must live celestial marriage to enter the celestial kingdom? Thats totally LDS.

    Where else was the foundational book for the whole institution brought about by translating a text while looking through a rock found in the bottom of well? LDS, man. LDS.

  7. sideon says:

    My personal beliefs include the idea that the world is mostly gray with the occasional highlights of white or black.

    Other than worshipping Calvin Klein models (which is ironic, if you consider their marketing tends to be black and white), I’m pretty much agnostic at my worst and paganistic at my best.

  8. In other news, your Book of Abraham thread at MADB is cracking me up. I clearly haven’t done a very good job disseminating my critique of the missing papyrus theory, because it’s still by far the most popular. (Apparently, this theory has such strength that it makes the critics “look dumb”. lol.) And then there’s Charles, back claiming that the mnemonic device theory takes into account the Alphabet and Grammar (despite his having more or less conceded defeat on that point before). Alas, Gee, Tvedtnes, and Nibley, like so many other false prophets, have tremendous staying power even when their “revelations” prove astonishingly unrevealing. 😉

  9. If only I hadn’t gotten myself suspended!

  10. Chris says:

    After reading the MADB thread mentioned above, I headed over to the wiki to check out the BofA ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Abraham ). It’s really one of the worst articles I’ve read there – it’s like reading a MADB thread. As if the large section called “Apologist Perspectives” wasn’t enough, any mention of a criticism of the document is addressed immediately by some apologetic claptrap. There’s even a long discussion from a 19th century egyptologist (Sir Wallace Budge) about how the Egyptian Osiris myth was a great preparation for those people to receive Christianity.

    I’m a wikipedia fan and I’m shocked at the low quality of this article.

  11. dave medsker says:

    ROX, always.
    Here’s why. We’re here to gain experience. what is a perfect experience? What is a perfect cloud? Quantifying experiences as good and bad is counterproductive to the plan. Struggles lead to growth and are often better for us than rewards. Who wants an atrophy experience? Since we know the plan so well, we are the ones who ultimately choose who and what we are comfortable with. Seems to me the only time the plan doesn’t work is when we make decisions based on bad info or our own lack of clarity, but thankfully there is usually time to learn and correct and improve.
    Thanks for opening a frank discussion of things Runtu. I’ve enjoyed the comments and your thoughts very much.

  12. whatever says:

    I see my experience of being in the mormon church as mostly negative. Maybe there are some good things that came out of it, but nothing I couldn’t have gotten elsewhere.

    My parents wanted me to wear uncomfortable undershirts so i would be used to garments if I ever got them sometime in the future. (what kind of sick game is that?)

    I was forced by my parents to go to church, to learn about free agency.

    I had to wonder as a kid why my father, who was very religious and faithful (but poor) was never called as a bishop.

    I was made to feel guilty for practically everything I did, even though most people would view those things as perfectly normal.

    My parents constantly harrassed me about the music I listened to, even though it was what most would consider normal music.

    Information is purposely withheld from members of the church until they go to the temple and get the shock of their lives when they find out what the mormon church is really about.

    Studying church history from anything but church approved sources is highly discouraged. (HUGE red flag with that one)

    The mormon church is all about family, unless that family is non mormon. In that case, the non mormon portion is almost non existent to them.

    I guess I could go on and on, but my main point is this…..

    I grew up hating going to church, hating my parents for forcing me to go, and constantly feeling guilty for being human.

    Now I’m out, and my life is so much better.

  13. Bradley says:

    I guess you people are so hateful that you have nothing better to do than smear the mormon faith. I have read many articals concerning my faith each one making me more angry than the next. Some of these people that have written these articles have written many more about other religions and denominations myself. I can assure you that these good feelings come from your Heavenly Father in heaven that is trying to lead you into the correct church. THEY ARE NOT from Satan These articles are though. They are Satans way of leading you astray from God. They are so far-fetched and left winged that it makes me sick. Dont listen to them. They are lying. They may not even know they are but they are. I hope that this artical is read by many and it gets around because sombody has got to defend the mormon faith. Mormonism is true its not perfect but its still more true than any other church that you will go to. Please listen to me dont read anymore articles concerning Mormonism or you will become brainwashed and you will be led farther away from God than ever imaginable.

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