Where Would You Go?

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Let’s say, for the sake of argument only, that you were done with Mormonism. (Really, it’s just a hypothetical, don’t freak out!) In such an event, where would you go?

I’ll be honest–I really don’t know. But I’ll try to think out loud about the possibilities that seem the most likely landing spots in my case, and then ask you to share your personal thoughts about other faiths for which you feel a particular sense of sacred envy. So, in no particular order:

  1. Atheism. Giving up on religion altogether holds a certain appeal for me. Just taking all the dogmas and theologies and doctrines and chucking it all.
  2. Lutheran (ELCA). My wife’s family is Lutheran, so that is the church I have the most actual experience attending. I like the experience. For some reason Mormons seem to be fascinated by and drawn to high church traditions (maybe because they’re so different from our extremely low church sensibilities), and I certainly feel this draw myself. And the pastor of the family church is a woman (and very skilled at her vocation), which is a plus. I get tired of how patriarchal Mormonism is.
  3. Episcopalian. I have zero experience with the Anglican tradition, but I have a lot of Mormon friends who are smitten with it. In theory I suspect I would be as well. But this might depend a fair bit on whether the actual congregation in my area lived up to the beauty of the cathedral and choir that I’ve built up in my imagination. A struggling congregation in a storefront might not have the same appeal as what I’ve built up in my head, so it would depend on the actual congregation in my area. (Note: I have a lot of respect for the Catholic Church, but were I to go that direction I’d go Anglican, as Roman Catholicism is a little too much like Mormonism for my taste for purposes of this exercise.)
  4. Willow Creek. This is a megachurch that is in my ward’s boundaries. I’ve been several times, and they put on a really impressive service. They’ve got like 100 different ministries, pretty much everything you can think of. With that many members (something like 25,000–attending a single church!) and that much money they can do a lot of good. But it’s evangelical in orientation, which would I imagine be a bit of a transition for a Mormon like me. Apart from Willow Creek I’m not sure I’d go an evangelical direction. (Although my friend Bridget Jack Jeffries is evangelical, so maybe she could help to smooth out my transition to that tradition.)
  5. Judaism. Like most Mormons I’ve long been Philo-Semitic, and I can read classical Hebrew, which would be a plus. I’ve attended Jewish services a number of times and enjoyed them. Here I’d have to decide whether to go more Reform or more Orthodox; I suspect my sensibilities would lead more to the Reform direction.
  6. Islam. I have a lot of respect for Islam, and there’s much I admire about it. I doubt I would actually go that direction, but I could see visiting a mosque and checking it out.

So what traditions do you feel drawn to by your sense of holy envy?

 

Comments

  1. R. MacRobert says:

    Honestly – I am near the end of my rope with Mormonism and my wife is a Catholic not in love with her own tradition, so this is something we actively investigated. Our preference is a church in the Anglican tradition, but there is no minister nearby at present. So we’ve ended up going to the United Church of Canada (think Methodism-Lite).

  2. Budism. I’ve found more peace in letting go of control and meditating than I have anywhere else. Judaism appeals to me from a family standpoint as that’s what several of my ancestors were before they converted to Mormonism.

    With all that though, I’d probably end up agnostic.

  3. A Happy Hubby says:

    To Disneyland? At least as a first step.

  4. I actually have a hierarchy of where I would go if I left the church, and I have carried this around for years.
    1. Hasidic jew. Love the traditions.
    2. Unitarian. You can still carry your beliefs with you, you can believe what you want.

  5. Kevin Barney says:

    A lot of Mormons end up going the Unitarian route; I forgot about that.

    Methodism might be interesting, but I’d need to check it out, first, as I don’t know much about it. (I actually went to second grade in a Methodist Church. It was public school, the class was just located physically in the church.)

    Buddhist is an interesting possibility. I honestly don’t know a great deal about that tradition.

  6. Olde Skool says:

    Catholicism, for the art. I have long said that I am one good canto away from conversion.

  7. A Happy Hubby says:

    After a bit more thought from my first flippant answer …

    I would look into a group like Oasis for community and probably study some type of secular Buddhism.

  8. My wife and I have been inactive for more than six months now with no plans to return, and I should add that your option 1 of leaving religion altogether is not something that necessarily requires atheism. We may find a church someday and are hopeful to, but for now we enjoy the freedom to think of God’s mystery outside of any framwork that may restrict our thought or mold it in a way we’re not ready for.

    Just yesterday, for the first time in a long time, I had a profound experience with prayer that has given me so much comfort that my current (non)religious status is condusive to spiritual growth and continued guidance from the divine.

  9. Eastern Orthodox Christian. Everything about this church is beautiful to me. The music, the liturgy, the history, the theology, the intense focus on Christ and the love of God. I’d convert right now if there was a church local to me.

  10. I can’t really see myself being done with the greater Mormon movement. I could see getting sick of the institutional LDS church, so if I called it quits with them I could see ending up in a smaller Mormon/ restoration sect/group. Unfortunately, most (besides C of C) are so fundamentalist that I would just end up as an independent Mormon visiting different congregations from time to time. If I left Joseph Smith religions completely I would probably head toward Judaism, but still believe in Jesus. Messianic Judaism maybe, but again many of the messianic Jews I know are pretty conservative/fundamentalist in their beliefs and that’s not me.

  11. Kevin Barney says:

    Oh R.R., yes! I forgot about that. There is actually a Greek Orthodox Church not too far from where I live. (And I can read ancient Greek–another plus.)

  12. Kevin Barney says:

    CwB, thanks, that’s another one I forgot. I like the Community of Christ (I belong to the John Whitmer Historical Association and try to attend their conferences.) John Hamer is doing awesome stuff at their Toronto congregation.

  13. I would be a religious mutt. I have attended several Evangelical services, I volunteer at a Lutheran church, and have attended multiple Buddhist experiences. Each one holds something for me. And someday’s just hiking in God’s Great Outdoors brings me closer to Him than anything.

  14. Kevin Barney says:

    I like the “religious mutt” moniker…

  15. “With that many members (something like 25,000–attending a single church!) and that much money they can do a lot of good.”. I bet people say that about the LDS church also. Too bad the church spends money on things like shopping malls, hunting preserves, luxury housing developments, and multi-million dollar houses of worship for a select few. Imagine the good that could happen around the world if the church leaders really followed Christ’s teachings.

  16. I’m an introvert and in a crappy ward, so I’ve considered becoming an independent Mormon (like CwB mentions). I guess that’s not really leaving Mormonism, though (although my parents and current ward would certainly see it that way). If I were truly to leave Mormonism, I could see myself becoming Catholic, if only because of Pope Francis.

  17. Glenn Thigpen says:

    I don’t know. I would have to find the one that would get me back home, or at least show me the way. I would have to do a lot of investigating.

  18. Kevin Barney says:

    Tim, good point about the Pope; he’s certainly a draw!

  19. Aaron Brown says:

    I’d start my own church, give women the priesthood, marry all the gays, and charge 9% tithing.

    Aaron B

  20. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, because there’s been a lot about the church lately that’s kind of broken my heart or disappointed me. All the episcopaleans I’ve met have been some of the happiest and well adjusted people I’ve met, but I can’t escape the fact that I don’t believe in the trinity. There’s so much of my idea of God that’s rooted in Mormonism. So when I sit down and think, I don’t want to be a Mormon anymore, I’m left with the bleak feeling of, I don’t know where to go. I don’t belong in the church, and I don’t belong anywhere outside of it.

  21. Tiberius says:

    I’m enough of a natural hedonist that I would need to buy into fairly concrete truth claims to convince me to sacrifice time and effort towards another faith that could be spent traveling, sleeping, reading good books, playing video games, etc.

    That being said, concrete spiritual beliefs and efforts of others have always been inspiring to me, even though I would need to fully buy into the truth claims to get what they offer, and I think post-Mormon I would not be terribly disposed to do so, so I’d suspect that if I left I’d be a bit of a religious tourist (or “religious mutt”–I like that term). A preliminary bucket list: visit the Ganges, backpack Israel, mass at the more prominent Catholic churches (ideally a papal mass at St. John Lateran’s cathedral where the Pope also functions as a local priest), spend some time in the Ultra-Orthodox section of Jerusalem. Also, my comparative religion professor at BYU talked about spending a few weeks meditating in a Buddhist monastery and talked about how that was a life-changing experience. Finally, mathematics dealing with differing orders of infinity (transfinite numbers) have always bordered on the mystical for me, and I’d probably take a graduate course or two in set theory.

    Of course, this is all on my bucket list whether I leave or not, but if I left this would also serve the function of taking the spiritual place of what I was getting from the Church, whereas of now it supplements/complements it.

  22. whizzbang says:

    I’d be done with religion altogether, although now I have all these dress shirts and a few suits that I would want to wear them somewhere!

  23. I have served as a substitute organist for and attended numerous Episcopalian, Lutheran (ELCA), Methodist, Congregational (United Church of Christ), Disciples of Christ, and Presbyterian services, as well as occasional Baptist, Jewish, Roman Catholic, Unitarian, Hindu, and Lutheran-Missouri Synod services. I have found something attractive in all of them and something unattractive in all of them. I have been greatly moved by Evensong services in Anglican churches in the UK and Ireland. I have also been drawn to I suspect my musical/spiritual sensibilities might incline me most in the direction of a congregation with fine uplifting music and no requirement that I have to listen to a “Praise Band.” Some Mormon friends have asked whether the false doctrine I encounter in those others’ services bothers me. There are 2 answers to that: (1) most, though clearly not all, non-LDS sermons I have heard could be transplanted into an LDS sacrament meeting without any doctrinal problems and would constitute a vast improvement in the educational and inspirational content of our meetings, and (2) I can ignore false doctrine in other churches just as well as I can ignore it in my own (there is plenty to go around). I think I may be a mutt, but with aspirations of becoming something more. I’m not “done with Mormonism” (among other things, I’ve spent too much effort learning to deal with ambiguity, fallibility, my spiritual needs not being met by our Church practices and “worship” services, wrong-headed policies, misleading rhetoric, etc.), so maybe I can’t really get into this exercise anymore. If I were in a really intolerable ward, I’d expect to be an independent Christian with some seriously Mormon ideas and therefore, not really “done with Mormonism.” I would probably spend much more time in Episcopal cathedrals and on mountain tops.

  24. Sorry, I lost the end of “I have also been drawn to”… eastern meditation traditions.

  25. I think you’re onto something with your high church holy envy thing.

    Honestly, I suspect I’d go Catholicism. Here in Chicago, it’s super-convenient, the services and cathedrals around here are beautiful (or, alternatively, the formerly-brutalist Catholic church is like 2 blocks from my apartment, if I were to go that route), and the Pope is an inspired man of God.

    At the same time, during Open House Chicago, I saw the First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple, and the art and architecture are gorgeous. It definitely strikes me as a holy place, and worshiping there would be wonderful.

    And, although I’ve never been inside the building, the Fourth Presbyterian Church is also pretty gorgeous.

    I mean, there’s a lot I love about Mormonism. It’s the language I’m familiar with for speaking of the divine. But if I were to leave, getting some high church and beautiful architecture, while still being able to worship God and Jesus, would be pretty nice.

  26. Brother Sky says:

    I’d go either Buddhism (esp. appealing to me is the notion of the middle path and the disavowal of desire) or the Society of Friends (Quakers), in part because many of the Quakers I’ve known (and Buddhists, too, for that matter) seem much more calm/centered and less hysterical than most Mormons I know. Also, because The Society of Friends is the best name for a Christian church, ever.

  27. I would probably spend a few years, maybe the rest of my life, attending and exploring a whole variety of religious and nonreligious traditions. I have very good friends who are very active in the Roman Catholic, Community of Christ, United Church of Christ, Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalist, Unity, United Methodist, Quaker, Episcopal, reformed and conservative Judaism, Buddhism, Hindu, Greek Orthodox, ELCA and Missouri Synod Lutheran, Presbyterian USA, nondenominational, and probably a few others. I would start by attending various religious services with my friends. I regret that I do not have any close Muslim or Baptist friends, but I would like to attend Muslim services and Southern and American Baptist services. Dan Peterson once quoted an old saying of uncertain origin that to be a Mormon requires an infinite tolerance for boredom. At least bouncing around, I would not have to worry as much about that! I might take some weekends off. Or I might attend the Mosque on Friday, the Synagogue on Saturday, and a Christian denomination on Sunday.

  28. I’ve always enjoyed speculating about this question, and years of academic theological work gave me familiarity with a lot of flavors of Christianity. (For me, specifically Christian beliefs are core to my faith, so heading to Islam or Buddhism or what-not wouldn’t be an option.) But I’ve always seen it as a theoretical question, because I figured that when it all came down I would never really leave the tradition that has shaped so much of my identity and worldview. “To whom shall we go?” and all of that.

    Yet life is unpredictable. And recently I’ve found myself, in an entirely unplanned and unexpected way, falling in love with the Episcopal tradition. I don’t know that I’m ready to jump ship from Mormonism, but wow. For the first time in ages, I’m actually getting spiritually fed at church. It’s pretty amazing. And it’s making me re-visit questions in my life that I’d assumed were long settled.

  29. Either Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox.

  30. Interesting question. I think even as a hypothetical the answer is not much different from where I am now. The outskirts of a largish Mormon tent is not a bad place. I am and would continue to tinker with Buddhism philosophically, but not in a particularly religious or observant sense so that could fit additively with almost anything else.
    If a Mormon back bench were not available for some reason, I’d look for a good congregation in a liberal/progressive tradition, which has looked like United Church of Christ in some areas and Anglican/Episcopal in others. Even Catholic in certain parishes (but definitely not in others).

    A somewhat different question, which is also fascinating, is where could I imagine being a preacher or minister? (Of course I’m too old to be serious about this, but it’s an interesting question.) For that, I’m not sure about names but I think it would have to be a tradition that focused more attention on pastoral care and less on hierarchy or strict (meaning bright line right and wrong) doctrine.

  31. Yoga.

  32. Elizabeth St Dunstan says:

    I love this discussion! I’ve been pretty inactive since the PoX, but I haven’t yet mustered the guts to try on new churches (something about breaking my family’s heart, etc). So far I find myself intellectually drawn to the Unitarian movement and their genuine Christlike mission, but my worship envy is pretty solidly on the Anglican tradition. I can fairly say that I’ve had more experiences of genuine worship at evensong and in nature than I ever have in LDS services.

  33. A while back I’d have said a reform or conservative Jew (the orthodox don’t allow converts I’m pretty sure). I recently went to an African-American, non-denominational church and it was pretty amazing…the music…the shouting and standing in agreement and approval. However, these days, this non-descript spirituality where wisdom and faith from all traditions is welcomed and sought after seems appealing. I might end up just jumping on the “None” bandwagon, were I thinking about leaving, that is.

  34. Ray Bradbury used to call himself a “delicatessen religionist,” and I think that that would probably be the mindset I would adopt if I left Mormonism. Actually, I think I would like to turn into one in addition to Mormonism. I’d like to eat from a buffet of spiritual practices and traditions. I would definitely like a large plate full of Quakerism and Universal Unitarianism, but I would at least share holidays with the Catholics and pray with the Buddhists. I am very interested in Islam and Judaism, too. I wish I had a million friends from different religions inviting me to worship with them—I have a weird inverted yearning for missionary work right now, except this time I want to play the investigator.

    I guess instead of considering myself a “none,” I’d consider myself an “everything” or an “all of it.”

  35. I have chosen agnostic.

    But if I were to turn back towards spirituality, I’d be keen to try Baha’i. The limited relationship with god though, might change my mind.

    I also like UU as a social movement. But meetings I have attended feel to secular for the emotional/spiritual reprieve I seek.

  36. Agnostic
    After a lifetime of always being given a simplistic answer to every complex question there is, it is exhilarating to inhabit the space of “I don’t know and I will likely never know.”

  37. orangganjil says:

    Your hypothetical isn’t so hypothetical for my family. We discussed this after we decided to, for the most part, check out of LDS Mormonism. We are kind of “religious mutts” (I really like that term – thanks) these days. We do a lot of “home church”, either actually at home or out in nature. We also decided to let serving the homeless on a regular basis function as a “church service”, so that’s a frequent event for us. We sprinkle in the occasional LDS meeting in our ward as well as visits to other faith traditions (these have been good for our children to experience).

    Honestly, it has been the source of incredible spiritual growth for us and feels like breathing fresh air after being cramped in a small car for four hours following a lunch stop at Taco Bell.

  38. I would go become something akin to a monk and write new scripture based on my days long meditations

  39. Sarah Bringhurst Familia says:

    We went Unitarian for a year after we left, and it was a great place full of other recovering religious people from different faith traditions. It’s kind of like the smorgasboard option, since we had services led by everyone from a Buddhist monk to an Evangelical minister to an atheist. We originally went to provide some continuity for our kids, but also enjoyed it for ourselves.

    I’m now agnostic, and absolutely love the luxury of a two-day weekend. I go out for a leisurely coffee with my husband on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and then there’s plenty of time for family activities, errands, museum visits, classical music concerts, plays, and social gatherings.

    I do ashtanga or vinyasa yoga three times a week, and enjoy the readings from the Bhagavad Gita and other religious texts, as well as the meditation and the workout.

    From a theological standpoint, it took me some time to get used to not knowing so many things, but now I’m comfortable with my Socratic ignorance, and feel it has enriched my empathy and understanding of the human condition. I think and talk about ethics and philosophy, and also enjoy learning about other people’s religious traditions.

    I also have the high church fascination, so I go to church every time I go on vacation somewhere with a cathedral and a choir. Last month I was in London and dropped in for Evensong at St. Paul’s. and in December we were in Malta, so I went to midnight mass at St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta.

    I spend all the time I used to spend on callings and other service for the church working on Hiraeth Magazine, a digital literary and arts magazine and podcast focused on humanising migration by telling the stories of all types of migrants, from refugees to expats.

    The only thing I still really miss is singing or accompanying a choir. I keep meaning to look up one in my area where I can participate.

    What I found was that the Mormon church was so all-encompassing that it required a variety of complementary replacements to fill all the different social, spiritual, philosophical, and other needs. But those needs are now so much better filled in other places than they ever were in Mormonism. Although I still do spend some time in Mormon-themed Facebook groups and with a few post-Mormon friends who also live in Amsterdam, because there’s nothing like people who really get all those funny Mormon bits of me and can really relate to my youth and young adulthood.

  40. I would probably be a simple “philosophical Christian,” but there is decent chance I would dabble in either Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy. There is something about the tradition as well as intellectual heritage that is attractive to me.

  41. Ditto to Afowler comment. But I occasionally attend a 30 minute week day mass at my local Roman Catholic Church which is far more uplifting spiritually than the 3 hours I spend at church on Sunday. And while I am sitting waiting for the service to start it is quiet and so one can reflect which is impossible in my incredibly noisy ward before the sacrament meeting. Doctrinally I have no idea where to go if I jump ship but I feel the need for a liturgy and a more formal recognition of Easter and Christmas such as taking by lent seriously.

  42. dlorenzen says:

    I’m one of those attracted to the high church style moderated by English sensibilities – so Anglican/Episcopalian. But two issues make it less attractive in practice than in my conception – 1) in suburban California, where I am, the church has evolved to compete in the religious landscape by de-emphasizing the high church aspects, and 2) I am bothered much more than I would like to admit about the relatively wide range of beliefs that are embraced in the tradition, even while, at the same time, this is something I wish Mormonism would do better

  43. Since I grew up 100% agnostic until the age of 17, and thinking about what I have learned, known and experienced ever since my baptism 18 years ago… in this very hypothetical and hopefully very unlikely situation I guess I would probably go back to Joseph Smith, after all, and try again to apply his example of quest for the truth. I do not see how I could ultimately discard Joseph and his experience before and in the Grove.

    Growing up in an environment satured with Catholicism — and I live near Rome, too, at this time — and knowing a little about some Protestant and Evangelical faiths, as well as Islam, Buddhism and especially Judaism, there is much I admire in and learn from these faiths and from their sincere adherents (this is true of atheists or anti-theists, too, except the part about admiring these stances). But discarding Joseph, or discarding even Christ Jesus as some here are implicitly suggesting in their answers, that I hope I will not do. Choosing our faith — or lack thereof — is such a personal and private choice that involves our deepest thoughts and emotions, and it’s certainly one of the most crucial ways in which we exercise our agency on this Earth.

  44. Obviously, in doing so, I would try and see where my new (or restarted) search for ‘truth’ and fulfilment would lead me, even if now I bear a different load of experiences, knowledge, and learning (not just in the sphere of religion, but also in many other fields I have been studying on an academic and personal level since my conversion) than I had at 19. That would certainly influence my reasoning and choice.

  45. Other Bridget says:

    1. Lutheranism, for the reasons you mentioned (I’m glad to know this high church fascination thing is shared by others!).

    2. Islam. I love their approach to prayer in particular.

  46. I am somewhat promiscuous when it comes to worship services, I attend others’ services often. So far in 2017, in addition to regularly attending my ward (I teach the HPG) I’ve been to: First Christian (Disciples of Christ), nondenominational Community Christian, Methodist x2 (reconciling ministry and traditional), Lutheran (Missouri Synod), Catholic, a street church, & Episcopal. My opinions:

    1. I love liturgical services, but prefer them on special occasions rather than weekly worship.
    2. I am not drawn to the super informal services. I want some reverence.
    3. Christ-centered, love-driven, and grace-accepting services really move me.

    For me, the sweet spot for these is either the Methodist (reconciling) or the First Christian (Disciples of Christ). I would easily find a long term home in either of these.

    Theologically, the Methodists come closest to matching my own beliefs. It’s not 100% of what’s taught over the pulpit, but then again I don’t subscribe to 100% that comes out of ours, or SLC for that matter. By and large, though, what I hear there would be at home in a Sacrament meeting. Without kicking the gays.

  47. Sincere question for anyone who wants to answer: when you find yourself thinking of new places to go, how would you categorize the primary variable that you’d look for in a replacement? Is it doctrinal? Ethical? Liturgical? I guess I’m interested in hearing what people think they find most valuable in religious experience, in contradistinction to what they receive in Mormonism.

    I’d also be curious to know what challenges (some new, some the same as you find in Mormonism) people we think we’d find on each of these new paths, including the “no” path. I’ve considered this route as well, but think that the loss of a community as intimate as a Mormon ward (making it on one hand a place to minister in remarkable ways, as well as a place that, like a family, can be utterly maddening) would be deadening, or at least stifling, in many ways.

  48. BL, If I were interested in another place to go to church, the primary variable would be worship services focused on encouragement and inspiration to live Christian principles and draw close to the Lord personally. For me when such inspiration comes it is generally in the context of quiet contemplation, good worship music and thoughtful, encouraging talk, none of which are regularly featured in LDS sacrament meetings I am able to attend. That combination of factors includes ethical and liturgical elements. The major challenge would be finding a congregational community such as I have found in some Mormon wards both for its supportive functions and its frustrating opportunities to practice Christian virtues. In other churches I’ve attended, I might miss some elements of Mormon doctrine, but I do not expect that would weaken my belief in them. As noted previously, I can ignore false doctrine as well in one place as another.

  49. I would be a semi or mostly active Lutheran (my husband’s family is Lutheran) or Anglican, who was secretly a little jealous of my Unitarian friends and would say stuff like, “I’m really drawn to Buddhism.” I would sleep in on most Sundays.

  50. I like being Mormon, and I’m in for the long run, but if I were to choose another religious tradition, it would be Conservative Judaism, in a heartbeat. I like the liturgy based on scripture and traditional prayer, with its focus on God’s holiness and justice, and the call to work towards holiness and social justice in our own lives. Every so often I sneak over to our local synagogue on a Saturday to pray with my Jewish neighbors, and I find the services resonant with my deepest spiritual, emotional, and intellectual yearnings, even though it’s a three-hour service, mostly in Hebrew. I can follow along in the Hebrew/English prayerbook (the new Lev Shalem Siddur is astonishingly beautiful in its eloquence and explanations) and in the Hebrew/English Torah (the Etz Hayim Torah Commentary is the most satisfying and wise scriptural exegesis I’ve ever encountered). It would be something of a loss not to put Jesus at the center of my worship, but the trade-off would be a focus on covenant, community, canon, and commitment that lines up well with my traditional LDS upbringing and values. And I would have access to a mature, intelligent, literate spirituality that I often find lacking in Mormonism. Jesus was a Jew, and that would be good enough for me too.

  51. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    I would join Aaron Brown’s new church – as long as we could negotiate the repeal of Testimony Meeting. Either that, or FLDS. I think I could do quite well for myself there – financially.

  52. If you had asked me as a Mormon, there is absolutely no way that I ever would have said that I would end up as a Reformed/Calvinist evangelical Presbyterian. And I would have agreed with many of the above posters that I absolutely never would darken the door of a church with contemporary praise and worship music. But here I am.

    I would have probably said something high church–Anglican, Roman Catholic, or Orthodox, both for the attractiveness of high church liturgical traditions and also because their notions of apostolic succession would have at least been comprehensible to my Mormon sensibilities about priesthood authority.

    So, unsurprisingly, I spent a lot of time post-Mormonism trying to make Anglicanism work somehow. And I still love high liturgy and many of the other features of the Anglican tradition such that I could see myself attending a more conservative Anglican church in a pinch. But at the end of the day, I love the preaching of God’s word more than I love liturgy, and I think that’s the most important.

    If I had to start over from scratch right now, I would choose a reformed-leaning multi-ethic or black church (which means, by process of elimination, it would probably be Baptist).

    But I really feel that God has called us to be where we are, despite all the ways that I am rankled by the way we worship at my Presbyterian church.

  53. Such an interesting question, BL. My current religious wanderings were primarily motivated by the desire to get a break from my experience in Mormonism of never quite feeling like a real person in the community, given my status as a single, gay woman (not to mention feminist and with strong questioning tendencies). So the biggest thing I was looking for was a community where I felt welcome and accepted. As I said in an earlier comment, I seem to have landed in the Episcopal tradition. I do love the high church liturgy, but honestly that’s just a bonus.

    As far as doctrine goes, I’m not even sure what to say. On the one hand, I’m too Mormon to agree with some of the teachings of traditional Christianity, like ex nihilo Creation. So I’m not on board with everything I hear at the Episcopal church. On the other hand, I definitely didn’t agree with a lot of what I heard preached at LDS services, either. And I don’t mean just the crazy space doctrine, like the Lost Ten Tribes being in the middle of the earth or whatever. I’ve seriously questioned some of the basic things, too. Patriarchy, obviously. And obedience as the highest virtue. I’m even currently flirting with the possibility of just letting go of the idea that eternal families are the be-all and end-all of salvation, and finding that immensely liberating.

    But there’s still tons in Mormonism that I like and even believe. I find genuine inspiration and powerful teachings in the Book of Mormon, for example. So right now it’s all pretty messy. A younger version of me probably would have been horrified at what I’m doing now, which seems to be collecting different ideas that I like and weaving them together, rather than searching for The Truth and then wholly committing myself to it. Maybe I’ve just gotten more skeptical that The Truth is located in any one religious organization. I don’t know. For years I rolled my eyes at the consumer model of religion in which you find the one that works for you. And now here I am, doing just that! Honestly, I’m still trying to make sense of my own behavior from a philosophical standpoint. But I think I’ve hit a point in my life, for better or for worse, where finding a community that nurtures me and helps me connect to the divine is more important to me than whether I agree with the doctrinal beliefs of that community in every particular.

  54. Franklin says:

    Great post, Kevin. But you forgot two churches that a whole lot of Mormons already have flocked to, even though they think they’re still Mormons. One is the Republican Church (sometimes called the Grand Old Piety). The other is the Capitalist Church. It seems these two are doing extremely well among Mormons.

  55. I’m not sure what religion this is called, but the most spiritual experience I’ve had in 12 years was when I was trail running and the sun came up while I was listening to Beethoven.

  56. I think I might worship at the shrine of Vera Wang and backless, sleeveless dresses.

    Which I guess means that after Mormonism, I might forego religion altogether.

  57. Nothing’s really attracted me, thought there’s been plenty of holy envy for various practices, architecture, arts, music. I guess I’d end up being more Gnostic, taking more from everything than I already do when folding them into my Mormonism.

    I do wish there were more good examples of religious architecture in Utah. It’s always seemed to me the hills of Utah County need some old architecture Buddhist, Taoist, and Shinto Temples, each set up high with no housing tracts sprawling around.

    (A Mormon Temple set up away from everything could be nice as well, but we’re in this whole “bring the temple to the people” thing. Then we get talks about not making use of the temple nearby when people in the “good ‘ol days” had to use the life savings of the whole town and walk for weeks to have their once-in-a-lifetime chance to go.

  58. HokieKate says:

    Like Lynnette, I’m worried about community, and support for my family. Social inertia is what is keeping us LDS. I want a strong children’s and youth ministry where my kids can grow up with wholesome friends doing community service work. I want my husband to fit in and feel comfortable. I want a real women’s Bible study group like my friends have. I do prefer more traditional music and people dressed somewhat nicely.
    So, here in the south, that means we need to go explore good old First Baptist.
    I have Catholic family and friends, and I like a lot of Catholicism, but I love birth control and the idea that infants are born innocent.

  59. I have Catholic family and friends, and I like a lot of Catholicism, but I love birth control and the idea that infants are born innocent.

    Protestants also believe in Original Sin, for what it’s worth.

  60. Where would I go?… nowhere!!!… sleep in… no early am meetings… have a nice breakfast… read a book.. take a walk… no after 3 hour block things that have to be done… learn a new song on guitar… no HT’s coming over… did I mention read a book?…

  61. Dog Spirit says:

    Without family ties to Mormonism, I’d go Unitarian universalist in a heartbeat. I’m tired of doctrine being the most important thing about religion. I don’t believe doctrine has utility in and of itself. So I wouldn’t be looking for a church based on its doctrine, but rather a church where doctrine is not emphasized. So while I think I would love to visit lots of other churches if left to my own devices, to sample their lovely variety of worship services from liturgical to worship bands​, I don’t think I could ever actually join a church that required intellectual assent to doctrinal positions. And certainly not a patriarchal one!

  62. Gotta go with agnostic (at best). The question, to me, seems to be asking, “If you finally got fed up with a certain silly thing, what other silly thing that strongly resembles the one you’re giving up would you go with instead?”

    Putting away childish things, etc., etc.

  63. St. Apollonia says:

    You all should really look deeper into Catholicism (from credible Catholic sources, as there are too many non-Catholics who think they know everything about Catholicism, but really just perpetuate misconceptions). Catholicism is the fullness of revealed divine truth, and the fullness of the Christian Faith.. and once you understand the faith, it is immeasurably beautiful. The Catholic Church is Church founded directly by our Blessed Lord, so she has complete historical continuity all the way back to Christ and the Apostles. Every bishop & priest can trace themselves directly back to Christ through unbroken chains of Apostolic succession (involving the “laying on of hands”), and the Church has maintained/preserved & handed on Apostolic oral tradition (Sacred Tradition), from whence the scripture of the New Testament arose.

    Sacred Tradition (Apostolic Tradition) & Sacred Scripture (the Bible), go hand in hand like interlocking puzzle pieces and illuminute each other to reveal the fullness, and are key to accurately understanding the faith, one without the other are incomplete. Protestants discarded the majority of Apostolic Tradition, as well as many books of the Bible, and the teaching authority set in place by our Lord in His Church, hence the confusion and endless fragmenting of thousands of conflicting/contradicting man-made sects & “flavor” of Protestant Christianity.

    It is the Catholic Church to which Jesus promised to remain with always, even until the end of time, to which He promised would be led by the Holy Spirit into all truth, and to which He promised would never be destroyed. This Church is the enduring “Pillar and foundation of truth” (1 Timothy 3:15), and for 2,000 years, the Catholic Church has guarded, defended, preserved, and handed on the unchanging Deposit of Faith which was entrusted to the Apostles directly by Christ Himself. For 2,000 years, the doctrines of the Church (faith, moral, & social) have remained surpisingly consistent & unchanged, which is a near impossible (if not impossible) feat for fallible, flawed, & sinful men to maintain – especially when having to deal with the immense pressures of the world – and not even any the few “bad popes” have ever changed doctrine to their own liking. I believe that this is a testament of the divine protection of the Church…. and we can compare this 2000 yr consistency in doctrinal teachings to other religions and/or governments (with much shorter lifespans), and the way their teachings/laws have constantly changed & elvolved in often contradictory ways.

    Catholicism is truly the fulfillment & continuation of Judaism, and is really the only way that Christianity makes complete sense.

    For those of you that are drawn to Eastern Christianity (such as Eastern Orthodoxy), you should look into the many Eastern rites/traditions of Catholicism. The Catholic Church consists of 22 rites, the largest being the Latin rite (or Roman rite), which is the rite of Catholicism that most Westerners are familiar with. The other 21 rites are all Eastern traditions, many nearly identical to the Eastern & Oriental Orthodox churches. The difference really, is that the Eastern rite Catholics are in union with Rome and accept the primacy of the bishop of Rome aka the papacy (which is entirely Biblical).

    Also, Catholics do believe that infants and some people (such as some mentally challenged people) are entirely innocent and not capable of sinning. The belief of original sin, is that through Adam & Eve, we inherited the “stain of original sin,” which just means that we are born with an absence of “sanctifying grace.”

    God bless!

  64. I’d have a hard time going to another organized church. The high church rituals of some of the other faiths are interesting, but I would more likely just become an unaffiliated Christian. I’ve gotten too comfortable with the concept of eternal, preexistence spirits, and an afterlife filled with ancestors and family members, that I could hardly go with any of the evangelicals or anything that smacks of Calvinism. I have to admit some fascination recently with Mahayana Buddhism, after reading “The End of the World: Plan B” by Charles Inouye. A lot of feelings there about charity, compassion, the elusiveness of justice, and evolving into a higher state of spirituality that appeals to me.

    But all of this is academic for me. These are my people; this is my place. I keep moving forward and hope to add to the good stuff in the church, and try to minimize the bad, within my sphere of influence.

  65. Kevin Barney says:

    St. Apollonia, thank you for your passionate plug for Catholicism.

  66. Senalishia says:

    More than likely I would go atheist; I’ve been Mormon all my life, and the nature of God and the universe it presents is so deep and detailed that if I decide it’s just something a bunch of people made up I have no reason to believe that actually it was the guys next door that had it right. But if I find I do need some sort of spirituality in my life it would probably end up being some sort of ad hoc nature/Universe worship. I’d be too wary of letting other people into my spiritual life to join another church.

  67. Kevin Barney says:

    Also, St. Apollonia, you might enjoy this old post of mine:

    https://bycommonconsent.com/2010/05/08/joseph-as-proto-catholic/

  68. Jonathan says:

    Eleusinian Mysteries, hands down.

  69. jaxjensen says:

    I’d find an Amish community willing to take me…

  70. The high church rituals of some of the other faiths are interesting, but I would more likely just become an unaffiliated Christian. I’ve gotten too comfortable with the concept of eternal, preexistence spirits, and an afterlife filled with ancestors and family members, that I could hardly go with any of the evangelicals or anything that smacks of Calvinism.

    I hear you! Having grown up Mormon, Calvinism and anything smelling even remotely like it was the most repugnant thing imaginable to me.

    And yet here I am, ten years later, dyed in the wool Calvinist, and praising God for the doctrines of grace.

  71. Saltbeard says:

    Thanks for asking this question in a non-rhetorical, meaningful way.

    My answer is (and in practice has been) nowhere. I’m not an atheist (in that I don’t express an affirmative belief that there is no god) so that one’s out. But we spent some time looking at other religions and never found anything that moved us or made us want to belong or participate. The question to me became simply, “why do I need anything at all?” And the answer is I don’t. Part of that is admittedly hedonistic – I value my Sundays so much now (they truly are the best day of the week) and am loathe to give them up. Mornings in particular, lazying around the house with my second cup of coffee, playing with the family, are a pure joy I can’t believe I missed for as long as I did. But part of it is also the simple feeling that no faith I’m aware of would enrich my life at this moment, and I do not think the world would be better off for my participation in a faith tradition. So call me Monte Brewster and mark me down as a “none of the above.”

  72. I’m definitely in the “Mormons smitten with the Episcopal Church” camp. Can’t put a finger on why, but I’ve attended several and I always find it inspiriting. The Episcopal Cathedral near me has an amazing music program. In truth, just about any church with a strong musical tradition (in the classical sense) it extremely tempting for me, and if I were to leave the church it would be for a congregation with strong musical offerings. The music in our faith is generally so incredibly uninspiring and boring. It is strange to me that our general musical presence is so poor because we have the marvelous Mormon Tabernacle Choir (I will proudly admit I’m a fan) and many Mormons I know have great musical talents.

  73. Bokononism. Easy choice.

  74. Catholic. All of the guilt, shame and claims to authority of Mormonism without the weekly attendance expectations.

  75. Kevin Barney says:

    jazjensen, I’m glad you mentioned the Amish. I find them fascinating, and have actually researched what it would take to convert (just out of curiosity). It would be an absolutely huge life change, but it is possible if one is sufficiently committed.

  76. Hawkgrrrl says:

    Realistically, I would not change religions, even if I weren’t LDS. But despite that, I have a lot of respect and even holy envy for many other traditions. Here are some (in no real order):

    1) Agnostic / Atheist / Deist / Theist. Probably realistically where I’d land if I weren’t LDS.
    2) Anglicanism. I love the high church aspect coupled with progressive attitudes, but there are elements of the creed that I just don’t buy.
    3) Catholicism. I would definitely not change as they are as sexist as Mormons, but I do really love to visit their cathedrals and I always find the evidence of centuries of sacrifice very moving. Plus I love a good fish fry.
    4) Mennonite. Even more than the Amish, the mennonites are just good people but much more mainstream. Their ability to forgive is top shelf. But I’m not donning a prayer bonnet for anyone.
    5) Buddhism. I love the new agey stuff we get in the West, but real Eastern Buddhism is not nearly as appealing to me other than as a tourist.
    6) Hinduism. There are certainly aspects to this that I find really enjoyable, but I would be a very agnostic Hindu. It is in some ways like Catholicism, mostly about life events rather than regular worship, so that could work. But I don’t take the mythology very seriously other than as a symbol.
    7) Unitarian Universalism. Funny thing is, I think I might quickly grow to hate the liberalism of the UU as much as I hate the conservativism of the LDS.
    8) Church of God. I would love to attend an African American church. They are so inspiring and the music really gets you going.

  77. Anyone who said they’d go to Disneyland just proves their Mormonness. My Mormon radar never stops going off their, regardless of whether or not the Dad is wearing BYU paraphernalia.

    This topic is interesting for what it reveals. It’s helpful in contextualizing so much of what rubs a traditional member the wrong way from what we read here.

    I’ve had very powerful revelation that ultimately gives me absolute certainty the church is what it says it is. Pres. Monson could practically say he’s making it up, and I’d shrug my shoulders sadly and continue in what I know.

    That certainty isn’t here because many apparently haven’t had a similar revelation for themselves (I’d suggest you can’t have it going against the prophets as you do). It’s clear why so many posts or comments are written with the undertone that you have better insight than the brethren. But so odd to presume to know better without any real revelation to back it up.

    It’s equally clear why you’re so misguided. Rather than seek the revelation the proves everything from Adam to Smith to Brigham to Monson right, you go further down this path of questioning with receuving.

    Many of those you view as misguided traditionalist, biased conservatives have the same testimony as I do, born out of their own powerful revelation. What if it’s you who ought to be listening to them, regardless of how unsophisticated our views on the origin of various books of the Bible are?

    One thing a true revelation will teach you is there’s nowhere else to go. It’s an almost lonely experience as you know what’s right and there’s nothing else in the world that can measure up; regardless of how many people around you on Sunday appear to go though they motions.

    It’s true.

  78. Acp, I appreciate the passion of your testimony. It would be more powerful if it were more specific and less accusatory. It seems dangerous to me to presume that people who appear to disagree with some parts of your view of “everything from Adam to Smith to Brigham to Monson” have not had powerful revelation that keeps them grounded in the gospel of Christ and in the Church, or that none of them have had powerful revelation directing them to take action contrary to what they’d been taught by authorities, e.g. Nephi, but also some current members and former members of the Church. Not all are given the same gift. D&C 46:11-14 I need to remember this when I encounter others whose gifts seem very different from mine.

  79. Acp says “One thing a true revelation will teach you . . .”
    I don’t take offense because the thought and expression is all too common. However, let me counter with a little piece of my “testimony”:
    I am Christian and I’m a Mormon. I am in a living relationship with God. I have experienced a number of “change my life” spiritual experiences. Not a lot; no more than once a decade. Those that can be put into words could be put into Mormon-sounding words, but the content is either completely unrelated to Mormonism or contrary to standard form Mormonism.

  80. I like the early morning church of trail running dog walking. Wait, I already go there

  81. If I were to leave Mormonism I would not join any other religion. I would likely try to find my own way to continue to “commune” with God. That being said, I have no plans to leave the church. I’m in my mid-fifties and a) have had enough spiritual experiences to sustain me, and b) I’ve been exposed to 99% of the tough questions/issues people face and I still believe (I haven’t found answers to all of the issues, but I’m willing to wait).

    It’s difficult to imagine anything that would drive me away from the church. That doesn’t mean I haven’t had concerns with the way the church handles some things, but I’m not going to toss out what I have experienced for a few disagreements and unanswered questions. I don’t have an issue with those who no longer believe and choose to leave. I just can’t see myself getting to that point.

  82. It’s hard for me to ever think of leaving the church because, while I lack the certainty Acp claims in everything from “Adam to Smith to Brigham to Monson,” I am certain that this where I am called to be, and that’s good enough for me. But if I try to imagine an alternative timeline where the restoration didn’t exist, or where I wasn’t born into it and never found it, I think I may have ended up as one of the following, in descending order of likelihood:
    Jesuit or Dominican
    Regular lay Roman catholic, or eastern Catholic
    Episcopalian or Lutheran
    Methodist or Baptist (but most probably a black church)
    Deist

  83. My father in law has said that if her weren’t Mormon he would probably “make the Sierra Club [his] religion.”

  84. I am somewhat drawn to Hinduism. I currently incorporate elements of Hinduism and Buddhism into my own spirituality. Unitarianism is appealing to me on a political level. In college I attended a local black Baptist Church and found their services very engaging and entertaining.
    At the end of the day, I find that all of these traditions fall short in various ways. If I were to ever gather the courage to leave Mormonism, I think I’d replace it with the church of regular yoga; Sunday mornings full of sleeping in, reading poetry and great literature; personal meditation; and constant effort to be being kind and loving to my fellow beings (human and otherwise.)

  85. Aussie Mormon says:

    Well sport is the religion of Australia, so I guess I could start watching sunday football.

  86. Interesting thoughts. I’m a Methodist minister that loves this site. Let me just write that Joseph had a Methodist background and your articles of faith match Methodism exactly except for baptism. If I weren’t Methodist, LDS Is where I would splash down. Or episcopal. Because we come from that branch of Christianity,
    But to tell you the truth it’s nice to experience many!

  87. the far horizon says:

    I’d take up the most dangerous game of all if I ever left.

  88. Tiddley-winks? You could put an eye out with those things!

  89. Re Sheri’s comment at March 23, 2017, 7:50 pm and the question of which church to join.

    If one were poor, there would be no better church to join than The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and no church has better programs in place to lift people and communities from poverty not only to welfare, but more importantly to self-reliance.

    Utah is also the U.S. state with the least income inequality. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_Gini_coefficient

    So the Saints must be doing something right.

  90. In general, I am personally repelled by any fundamentalist, orthodox, or conservative approach to religion that puts an emphasis on Pharisaical rule-following rather than on loving people (though I recognize that different people might require different paths to God). God for me is not some judgmental, distant God ready to condemn each child the moment they make a mistake. In fact, I am not a big fan of focusing on ‘shoulds’ and ‘shouldn’ts’ that seem to me to be grounded in an outward-in form of behavior control; for me, it is about ‘being’ rather than ‘doing,’ so I am more concerned with an inward-out approach to life. When we live our lives in a state of oneness with God, then right action, absolutely appropriate to the moment, will fall out of that Spirit-ful state of ‘loving being’.

    For me, I am drawn to any person or approach to religion that believes God is not to be found in the future, in some far distant place. God is here and now, in the present and within our very souls, or He/She is nowhere. It saddens me when religious people act like they think of grace kicking in and saving them literally after all they can do; where someday, perhaps far into the next life, if one works oneself to the bone to overcome one’s sinful nature, a person will eventually have perfected themselves enough to come in to the presence of God. I believe, instead, that the Kingdom of Heaven is within, and can only be truly experienced, as I said above, in the present moment. So I am especially drawn to meditation/contemplation, being still in nature, and trying to live in a constant state of at-one-ment with God and my fellow man (I don’t need to say that I fall incredibly short of this goal, but my focus is not on beating myself up but, when I notice behavior that is not in the spirit of Love, trying to bring myself back into at-one-ment.)

    My approach to God and religion has changed in large part due to personal mystical experiences of God so when I want to spiritually nourish my soul, I am drawn to reading about those who have also had mystical experiences of union with God, nature, or their fellow man, or who have experienced enlightenment. I am also drawn to mystical traditions both within and without organized religion. I don’t think I would exclusively attend one church, but I could see being a religious mutt, since I have had moments of feeling the Spirit, feeling love and connection to God in many of the different religious services that I have been to, and I don’t like getting too hung up on doctrinal differences. I also think Sikhs are pretty cool. Sikhism was one of the first major religions to teach equality of men and women, and many of the Sikh women that I have encountered seem lit from within. (Google Snatam Kaur to see what I’m talking about.)

  91. I think if I got sufficiently disillusioned I’d probably stop attending a church and just do the private Christian thing for a while.

    But before that, I’d probably disengage from the church institution but keep worshipping and serving in my ward. We attach a lot of extra responsibilities onto church membership, which I can see myself stripping away and treating our church like any other church…a building in which to worship for an hour and fifteen minutes on Sunday, and a community in which to serve and socialize. And I’d shop around for the ward with the best Sacrament Meeting.

  92. Somewhere where I can choose my own underwear.

  93. Yeah, I’m with Joni.

  94. Hedgehog says:

    Were there a CofChrist congregation closer than 40 miles away I’d be tempted to check it out for completeness before abandoning the Mormon tradition. I’m not sure I’d find it particularly attractive though you never know.
    If I wanted to make life simpler there’s a Methodist church just over the road by the park, or an Anglican Church just the other side of the park. Being used to the constraint of geography I did check out the local parish boundaries online a while ago, and it seems we’re on the edge of the parish of the church in other direction, but still easy walking distance. Like others I do feel drawn to a high church tradition, though I don’t know where either Anglican Church mentioned falls in the high – low spectrum, but even the cathedral is closer than the lds chapel. I’ve attended services in the cathedral as part of my kids school worship that I’ve enjoyed.
    And yes, I really have gone as far as locatingy closest CofChrist congregation, checking out parish boundaries and googling Methodist beliefs…

  95. Anglican or Roman Catholic.

  96. I’ve set up a personal shrine to Inari, the Shinto goddess of foxes and rice, centred on an ofuda (plaque) purchased from Fushimi Inari Taisha (shrine). I’d love to visit it and the Japanese fox village in person. In the meantime, I pray to her frequently, and ask her to bless those who brought me my meals.

    If I go to a church in North America, it would be a Unitarian one.

    Catholicism is fascinating but a no-go, because of Pope Francis’ views on me getting the medical treatments I need as a woman assigned male at birth. So is conservative, nationalist Shinto, for exactly the same reasons as conservative, nationalist Christianity.

  97. Kevin, when Elder Nelson asked potential Mormon dropouts “Where will you go?” he meant it as a taunt and an implicit put-down of other traditions, not something to be seriously discussed. Shame on you for discussing it seriously.

  98. GST, I know you’re just being funny (or I assume so), but this is part of the reason I’m slowly becoming disenchanted with BCC. I’m not ready to leave because I still think it’s important to be exposed to various perspectives and I feel I have grown and benefited from such exposure. I guess I’m just beginning to grow weary of the attacks on members of the 12 and 1st Presidency.

    I know it’s important for people to have a place to express and discuss things, but there is a growing perception that it won’t be too long before “orthodox” views are not welcome here.

  99. I agree with your statement. I am not LDS but I see such good in it that sometimes or at least lately when I go on the site it makes me sad. It seems like its treasures are not always appreciated.
    To many in my tradition are leaving and I would not want this for yours. Our country needs our faiths!

  100. Mike, I guess you could stop reading BCC, but Where Will You Go?

  101. I don’t see myself not reading BCC (though who knows what the future brings). I’m just expressing a perspective. I do believe that people ought to feel free to express their views here. I just hope everyone will always be tolerant of views that differ from theirs.

  102. Are you saying that Elder Nelson did not mean it as a put down? It seems inherent to his question. How can you ask ‘Where else would you go?’ without implying that the other traditions are non viable options.

  103. “How can you ask ‘Where else would you go?’ without implying that the other traditions are non viable options.”

    Well, if it’s good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me.

    *starts working on a cat-o-nine-tails”

  104. Pardon, it was Simon Peter who said it.

    *goes fishing instead*

  105. Kevin Barney says:

    gst, that’s funny, because the title to the post was not an allusion to a rhetorical question by Elder Nelson or anyone else, but a genuine question I was asking. I didn’t even think of that other usage, but now that you mention it I remember the question has been used in that other way.

  106. For a long time I thought I was a crypto-Roman Catholic, but in the end I became an Episcopalian, or, what one of my Roman Catholic friends calls “J.V. Catholic.”

  107. It’s bad enough that LDS church leaders occasionally say bad things in their official capacity, without people then taking them seriously and writing about it.

    /sarcasm

  108. Sorry you feel that way, Mike.

  109. Kyle M, do you mean you’re sorry that I feel people ought to be tolerant of views different than theirs? Don’t be.

  110. Not to speak for him but I’m reasonably certain he means he’s sorry you somehow don’t think BCC is a place that tolerates a diversity of ideas. Perhaps he is suggesting that vehement disagreement with certain ideas and robust discussion/argumentation is not synonymous with intolerance.

  111. I don’t see intolerance here. Yet. Just seems to be headed that way eventually.

  112. Deist. I don’t think Heavenly Father is that all hands on with us in the first place. I think sometimes we receive guidance and other times comfort and other times warning but this is largely up to us. If I were to fail my testimony I just wouldn’t go to church. I would not change anything about what I believe and I would not waste time with any other church.

  113. Thank you Kevin Barney!
    I for one have really enjoyed this post and it has been a thoughtful exercise for me to ponder on the question presented and to read others thoughts on the subject. Beautiful stuff!

  114. Kevin Barney says:

    Thanks for letting me know, Kristen.

  115. Hey Kevin. Thanks for thinking of me.

    Willow Creek is a pretty incredible place! My actual denomination is the Evangelical Covenant Church, but I consider WC to be a second home of sorts. Both of my children are disabled and WC has an amazing ministry for disabled children and adults, something they are able to do as a megachurch that smaller churches often can’t provide. This weekend they had a sensory dog in the Special Friends room. My daughter just loved her.

    My boyfriend and I went to WC this weekend. Instead of a regular sermon, they interviewed Anne Lamott and then Lee Strobel. Strobel has a Case for Christ movie about his life coming out this weekend which Willow Creek features prominently in (since WC was the church where his wife converted, which started him on his crusade to disprove the resurrection). I generally find Christian filmmaking to be pretty bad, but I’ll cross my fingers for them. The trailer is here:

    I know several ex-Mormons who moved on to ELCA or United Methodist Church and are happy there. Personally, if I went somewhere other than evangelical Christianity, it would be Anglicism (but that might be cheating since it isn’t all that different from EV Christianity), Community of Christ, or Unitarian Universalist. I’d probably check out Buddhism as well.

    When I was married to a Mormon, I asked if he would be interested in attending the Community of Christ together since I saw it as the best “compromise” option between evangelical Christianity and Mormonism, but he would have none of it, even though he was mostly inactive in the LDS church. C’est la vie.

  116. The simple act of just getting up and attending church has been extremely trying and frustrating, even before I started to have doubts about everything, because I have a son with Autism. We haven’t been able to sit through a meeting as a family for about 3 years now, so I can’t imagine there is another place I would even want to attempt to try out, were I to explore other options. It’s been years since I have been able to feel the spirit in church, or at all (without the help of anti depressants anyway, which has led me down this path of reconsidering all I have been taught.) Except when I’m sitting in a movie theater. Dr. Strange was more spiritually moving to me than church has been in a long time. Is there a church for geeks? Otherwise, I can see how Buddhism might be something I would be interested in exploring. Honestly, I feel a need to take a break from any church teaching about God and Jesus at all.