There are limitless reasons why people decide to stay active in the church (orthoprax), warts and all–after experiencing a transition from orthodoxy. Some that come immediately to mind are because of where they live (Utah County), or their marriage, perhaps they work for the church, currently serve missions, or the community aspect. All reasons are 100% valid and unique to the individual.
Greg Prince–historian and biographer of David O McKay and Lenard Arrington–and interviewee in PBS’ “The Mormons,” is one of these cases. A true scientist, he immersed himself for 20 years in thousands of pages of first-hand accounts on the inner-workings of church headquarters for his books. “Power corrupts” surfaced as a theme as he followed the data in his work, and still he remains somewhat orthoprax for personal reasons. Follow the data is how he naturally transitioned out of the orthodox framework he was raised with, and he described what that process was like for him. We also talk about cognitive dissonance and how an insistence on orthodoxy will be problematic going forward for the church. We end by discussing pluralism vs fundamentalism and the factors that might determine if church headquarters will embrace pluralism or dig it’s heels in even further (as in, sending the message to members: “if you don’t like orthodoxy, here’s the door”). Regardless, we can choose to reject fundamentalism and embrace pluralism in our own lives, as it’s much healthier not only for institutions but for individuals too
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I enjoyed listening to this episode. Thanks for the work you are doing, Kristy, and thanks for the candor, Greg. It was great to hear your perspective and reasoning.
I definitely identify as a “none” now that I have transitioned out of Mormonism. In listening to the discussion of “nones” at the end of this episode, I wondered why we are perceived as a problem that needs to be fixed. Curious what anyone’s thoughts are there.