I did not leave Mormonism. I resigned my membership in the LDS Church. Given the current emphasis by the LDS President on removing the word “Mormon” from the vernacular, I would say the LDS Church has left Mormonism.
I used to be very careful to ensure I was on the right side of every question, in the right place at the right time and that when I taught, I made sure what I taught was very much in line with what I knew the Brethren taught. I studied their words just as much as I studied the scriptures, perhaps even more so.
Last week, for the first time that I can recall in the five years since I had resigned my membership in the LDS Church, a good brother of the ward stopped me on my way to the car after church and said, “I just wanted to tell you how much I admire you. Each Sunday you come to church, sit next to your wife and listen carefully to the speakers. I know you’re here supporting your wife even though you’re not a believer. You stand tall in my book.” I wanted to correct him that I AM a believer, but the time wasn’t right.
Through artificial means, mankind has devised ways around that core structure to bring children into the world. Two men or two women can now become parents without going through the same method set forth by God. However, this defeats the purpose of the divine plan, which is to unite a man and a woman in the procreative process. That unity is much more than physical, it binds the couple together at a much deeper spiritual level.
I took a few weeks recently to closely examine what I believe. I made a short, concise list of about forty relevant doctrines, principles and practices. I wanted to offer the list to kind and well-meaning folks who have asked how they could help me come back into the LDS faith. For the most part, there is a a lot of commonality in what we believe.
Misconceptions, distortions, and untruths being told about Mormons have slowed the growth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They say that we have weird beliefs and are secretive. Yet they also say we are good neighbors, hard workers, believe in clean living, have high moral standards and help others.
The idea that the church is more of a business than a church is laughable but you can still find it as one of the silly things that detractors of our mission continue to raise any place where they can get an audience. If they would bother to take a few moments to do some basic research they would see how ridiculous their claim is.
Richard Bushman is a highly respected historian who probably understands the beginnings of Mormonism as well as or better than anyone else. Besides being the co-general editor of the Joseph Smith Papers, he chairs the board of directors of the Mormon Scholars Foundation. He knows early church history.