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?