When people make the transition from Mormonism into a new church community, they face certain typical obstacles. On one hand, it is difficult to shed one religious and cultural identity to adopt another. On the other hand, people face a variety of negative personal experiences.
For instance, a person leaving the LDS church may have an early experience with a non-biblical or sub-biblical church. I’ve known of people thinking of leaving Mormonism who end up studying with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Transitioning Mormons are usually unfamiliar with the denominational landscape of traditional Christianity. They are looking for truth, and usually retain a basic loyalty to Jesus and the authority of the Bible. (I believe this is one factor that sets these people apart from those who leave Mormonism for agnosticism or other spiritual paths.) As they seek for truth, the trust that has already been undermined by their negative experience in Mormonism can be further damaged by a bad church.
One respondent said:
“The first church [I attended] was a disaster because the Pastor – I am totally convinced – was not saved. His sermons came straight out of the Sunday newspaper, and there was no evidence of a spiritually alive man there. At one church, the Sunday school lesson was a woman who sang and danced Broadway show tunes! I went back the next Sunday, just to see it that was out of the norm, and a man gave the Sunday school lesson – “How to handle a one-night stand.”