When I interviewed transitioning Latter-day Saints about the obstacles they faced in trying to connect with a new church after Mormonism, the response fell into two general categories. One set of obstacles had to do with the difficulty of shedding one religious and cultural identity and adopting another.
In that category, I would place the challenge of adopting new perspectives on specific doctrinal issues. There are clear differences in the beliefs of Mormonism versus historic, biblical Christianity. Two in particular seem to create the most trouble for transitioning LDS: the tri-unity of God, and the grace of God.
Even members of traditional Christian churches often struggle to grasp God’s triune nature. But Latter-day Saints are consistently taught to reject this understanding of God. This stance, combined with the intrinsic difficulty of the doctrine, makes this issue a thorny one for people from a Mormon background. There are some excellent resources that explain why Christians believe that God exists as one being in three persons and set forth the biblical basis of this teaching. But it is still difficult to process this seemingly foreign and mentally challenging doctrine.
In my experience, former Latter-day Saints have an easier time understanding the doctrine of grace, but often find it difficult to translate that understanding into practice. My respondents report some difficulty overcoming the lingering sense that their worth before God depends on their personal performance. They often have a hard time shaking the feeling that they need to measure up to some behavioral standard in order to be accepted by God or to be significant in the faith community.
All of these issues call for great patience on the part of churches as they come alongside to help former Latter-day Saints on their journey. There is no time table for the transition. Many questions will need to be answered – perhaps more than once. Most of the people sitting beside them in our worship gatherings have no idea of the difficulties in making such a journey. Thus transitioning Mormons need to be accepted without a judgmental spirit as they sort out their new identity and new world-view in a new congregation.
1 thought on “Challenges in the Transition Our of Mormonism, part 5”
After reading your most recent installment on this topic of transition out of mormonism, I have to say you are right about the local body of Christ having little understanding of what it means for a former mormon to leave the LDS and to embrace biblical christianity.
I am so thankful for my own church, that has been a huge support to me thru this time of change in my life. They have made big efforts to answer my questions on doctrine, and patiently have held my hand many times thru tearful challenges with my still LDS husband. They have stood in the gap many a time and prayed for me and my family.
God truly has led me to a body of believers that live out the Christian faith in such a beautiful way. They are not perfect people, but truly people sold out for the lord nd willing to stand in the gap. I only wish other former mormons could have the same.