Join Kristy and active Mormon researcher/author Jana Riess as they discuss in more detail her NPR interview on the shift many are making as the result of their faith crises/awakenings from orthodox to cultural Mormon. Jana is analyzing data on how different generations of Mormons are self-identifying and what the future may hold for how people talk about their culture or heritage, that it’s much more complex than active/inactive or ex-Mormon, staying or leaving, there really are an infinite variety of ways people who grew up and/or at some point were very orthodox can self-identify now (#culturalmormon, #postmormon, #retiredmormon, #cafeteriamormon #heritagemormon, #progressivemormon, #wokemormon, #mormoninaformerlife, #catholicmormon, #none, #exmormon). We talk about letting go of the very real and understandable fear of bringing one’s authentic self to our communities in moments of vulnerability and letting the chips fall where they may–how doing so can inform our next steps.
Links mentioned in this article:
Jana Riess’ Blog post on being “in-between”
Mette Harrison’s interview on Mormon Transitions, wherein she talks about deciding to be her authentic self for her survival
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
I’m all for people choosing to stay involved with the church that best meets their needs but there was a comment made that really bristled me. You spoke about inactive people being the topic of every Ward council and when Mormons reach out to them, it comes from the goodness of their hearts. It’s sincere, “let’s help people pay their bills, raise their kids, help them be happier people, help them be stronger people, more financially secure.” Give me a break! These are all myths that are very misguided. A person is not more financially secure being constantly hounded to pay a full tithe and fast offerings. The Mormon church does not have the corner on declaring people happy by any means. I for one find it incredibly insulting to have people sitting in a Ward council talking about what they “think” will make me a better person. It’s creepy. I’m a much happier person and am more financially secure after leaving the church. If you want to help people, help the ones that are in your community that are asking for help. I served as a bishop’s counselor, executive secretary, ward mission leader so I know what those meetings are about and they are not exactly what was declared. My experience is that those that are asking for help, get very little real help. They don’t get help raising their kids, or being stronger, or somehow become financially secure. They are “questioned”, “interviewed” and “counseled” into some very unhealthy behavior. I resigned a year ago and I still have Mormons slinking in and out of my life, being dishonest with their intentions. If you had good intentions, you would respect people’s free agency.
Thank you for sharing your experiences here. As a member of the bishopric, sounds like you came across some unsettling things. I think it’s important to share all these stories, I can’t speak from experience because I have a uterus and so bishopric was never in the cards :), so I appreciate your comment. You may have noticed from this and other episodes my interviewing style is similar to what I do as a psychologist: mostly a reflective listener, so I did not push back when Jana talked about her experiences with her bishopric. Sounds like yet another case of leadership roulette. Although I’ve never been a leader, I’ve heard many stories from clients who were in need of financial assistance but in their experiences leaders were not as generous as Jana’s.
Yay for the discussion on removing “inactive” from LDS vocab! As an LDS member married to a spouse of another faith, I would also love to see the term “non member” removed. I have attended church by myself (mostly full-time) for 20+ years. While most fellow members have been loving over the years, it would be helpful for the Church to embrace those like myself who are not in traditional LDS families and/or aren’t fully engaged or believing. I feel like people are sad for me and constantly trying to get my husband baptized, get me to go to the temple, etc. Culturally, I would like to be left alone to worship in my own way. There are many times I wished to be left alone at church to think, pray and learn. Instead, I feel smothered by ward members who are trying to be nice, ask me how I’m doing, worried that I look unhappy, etc. Granted, I am more on the introverted side, but the Mormon culture of treating me like a lost sheep gets suffocating at times. On a side note, thanks for your writings, Jana. I have followed you for some time and enjoy your perspective on Mormonism. And, I was lucky to meet you in Seattle last year! Kristy, I also have twins, and respect and admire so much the work you do knowing how busy you are. 🙂
Yay, another twin mama! We understand each other, all too well I imagine. I would have replied sooner, except they (and I) have been sick. So many people I talk to wish they could be left alone and Morm on their own terms in peace too. I know the cliche’ aimed at us apostates is “you can leave the church but you can’t leave it alone.” I’ve found it often goes both ways, it’s difficult to untangle oneself with constant efforts at reactivating the “inactives” Thanks for commenting!
I too am a convert from a non religious liberal family. I was a member over 40 years and I have seen correlation suck the life blood out of the church. I really have no hope for improvement seeing the potential leaders in the Q15. Bednar is the youngest at 60ish and he’s a train wreck. Good luck hoping ladies!
I have similar concerns about Bednar. If there is hope to be had, I think we’re talking after 30-40 years. Then again, as a senior apostle and then prophet, he’ll probably have a huge say in who the next apostles will be, will likely pick men like him to succeed him.