Mike Reed wrote:
Doctor Scratch wrote:
I doubt that there's such a thing as a true "ex-Mormon." The Church leaves such an indelible and powerful stamp on its members that it's hard to imagine anyone ever fully "leaving" or ever fully sloughing off the influence that the Church has had on their lives.
Good point. I'd say that this is mostly true for those with Mormon ancestry and raised in the Church. But I think an exception could be made for many converts, who later decide they don't believe it anymore. For them, I think it is possible to truly become ex-Mormons. Do you agree?
I agree with both statements, with some qualifications. If I had entirely thrown off Mormonism I wouldn’t have posted on Mormon-related boards for ten years. Catholicism never had such an effect on me. The interest that remains, though, is not Church related. I never read Church magazines; not the least bit interested in what GAs or other Church leaders have to say (unless it’s controversial, such as Oaks has a knack for), and going to Church would bore the life out of me. The Mormon subcultures still interest me somewhat, but then I no longer read their publications either, except for the odd back issue. I have no family Church ties and I’m fully ex-Mormon in every sense of the word. Mormonism is still of interest to me for the role it plays, or may play in a “much grander scheme of things” (a Dawkins’ phrase, incidentally, from his conversation with Francis Collins). For me Mormonism started out as the king of beasts, and ended up as the mouse that roared. It has lost all of its openness and daring, and great figures like B.H. Roberts have faded only to be replaced by “hewers of wood and drawers of water”, or “disciples pure and simple”, in contrast to Roberts’ vision of a great intellectual/spiritual revolution. The banal, defensive and judgemental apologetics is another sign of a serious intellectual famine in Mormonland. It that sense it has “dumbed down”, with espionage committees, excommunications of “so-called intellectuals”, tighter and tighter rules and regulations, and listening to men in suits at General Conferences whose every teleprompter word can be predicted with almost pin point precision. It’s all about “feelings”, and gone is Joseph Smith’s grand vision of “digging up new things for my hearers”. When are we going to hear something like the King Follett Discourse in modern times? Probably never. But I believe Mormonism plays an overall role in the larger scheme of things. As more Mormons come to prominence in various fields, even “secular fields”, it will be very interesting to observe how Mormonism adapts and changes. By that I’m not suggesting total accommodation to “worldly values”, but perhaps more refined Glenn Becks, and many more Elna Bakers and Harry Reids. I think in this sense Mormonism has an interesting future.