Not long ago I met with a young man who is on his way out of the LDS Church. Through some friends, he and his wife came to our church recently. I met with them for several hours to hear their story and to share insights I have learned over the years about the journey out of Mormonism into a biblical Christian faith. Much of that time was spent just answering questions that they had accumulated on their journey so far.
With about 1/3 of people raised LDS eventually leaving their childhood faith, this scenario is becoming more and more common. This young couple faces certain issues that I have run into over and over again.
- First, they have been ostracized by family members. They are wounded by how certain family members have treated them since their decision to leave Mormonism.
- Second, they are confused about the new landscape of religious options that has opened up before them. They now have to navigate the process of how to make choices for themselves, instead of having their religious life dictated by the LDS Church.
- Third, they are trying to sort out what they believe, and why. Now that Mormonism is not the default setting, they must work through and evaluate where the ideas in their thinking come from, and whether each idea is valid.
Like many people transitioning out of Mormonism, this young couple has retained a belief in God and Jesus Christ, and has held on to a loyalty and trust toward the Bible. Others follow different paths, into atheism or self-defined spiritualities. It seems that perhaps those who look to the Bible often do so because of an early exposure to sources or friends that use the Bible as the authority for belief and practice. I find it an important goal in assisting former Mormons to help them transfer their trust from an ecclesiastical institution to God and his Word.
I have a lot of hope that this young couple will make the journey successfully. They are earnest and sincere. They seem pretty united in their journey. They have encountered loving and sensitive Christians who, rather than bashing on their Mormon ways, have pointed them toward positive literature about the Christian life and faith, and have invited them into their own lives and into the Christian community.
This is the model for how churches can successfully enfold those persons who have chosen to disengage from the LDS Church.
- Be patient. Give them time.
- Answer their questions.
- Don’t dwell on the negatives of Mormonism or stimulate anger and bitterness.
- Do offer positive encourage in moving forward.
- Connect them into healthy relational networks that provide support and prayer.