My Non-believer Lifestyle

Many years ago I imagined that if I were ever to lose my testimony of the church, my life would dramatically change–for the worse.  I thought that calamities would befall, sent as warning ‘lightning bolts’ from Heavenly Father.  I suspected that my lifestyle would become hedonistic and indulgently sinful.  In short, I pictured a change so dramatic that it would be obvious to everyone (Mormon and not), that I was ‘fallen.’

However, in the space of time since my testimony has wavered and waned, I haven’t noticed a dramatic difference at all.  Despite some changes in time and focus (e.g. not attending marathon back-to-back temple sessions on Saturdays), my life hasn’t toppled into any cesspools.  Rather, it’s continuing on much the same.  I haven’t taken up any illicit hobbies, or broken any laws.  I’ve continued on in my suburban-Mom-cum-PhD-student lifestyle. Generally, I don’t think there’s anything about my demeanor or my appearance that readily exposes a change in belief.

I wonder if I’m an exception to the typical path of non-belief.  Or is it possible that many (if not most?) who lose belief continue on much the same afterwards?

Jana

Jana is university administrator and History professor. Her soloblog is http://janaremy.com/pilgrimsteps/

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74 Responses

  1. Chandelle says:

    I didn’t expect things to be very different, because I was a convert. I was an atheist before I was Mormon and I became atheist again after I left. So I already knew that non-religious people are generally no better or worse than religious people, and we don’t really live much different except in the way we spend our Sundays. When I imagined toppling from faith I mostly thought that I would struggle with the loss of community, that sense of a shared culture, language, and motives. I did flounder for a while in my sense that I didn’t really fit anywhere, but I feel more comfortable now, with my minuscule Quaker group and my small town where our interconnections are quite evident.

    I suppose it’s readily obvious that I’ve left, in that I’ve since been tattooed and pierced, and on rare occasions you’ll catch me in a tank top. I drink coffee and the occasional glass of wine. But in my generally demeanor I think, if anything, I am simply more relaxed than I was as a member, and certainly (I hope!) less rigid and self-doubting and judgmental – all good things. Looking back, I feel like my membership brought out the worst in me, and I only found some peace with myself after I left.

    I have seen a very few ex-members change quite a lot. But by and large, most people seem to carry on largely as they did before, except perhaps with a few interests or tastes that they might have avoided as a member. (Example: I’m a huge Tarantino fan now.) In personality and day-to-day life I can’t say I’ve observed, or experienced, much of a difference.

  2. Caroline says:

    Well, my faith has changed — less Mormon specific, more progressive Christian focused. And my behavior has not changed much. I haven’t experimented much (or at all) with a lot of the standard Mormon “don’ts.”

    I figure that those that leave over theological/philosophical reasons don’t generally see their lives spiral downwards into pits of amoral turpitude. As for those that leave for other reasons, I dont know if/how much their behavior changes. (I don’t think I know anyone who has left for any reason other than philosophical)

  3. I think there’s a difference between ex-Mormons and post-Mormons, at least the way I perceive them. Ex-Mormons are those who hold a grudge or are angry about the church and their relationship to it. Post-Mormons have just moved on. There is definitely a preconceived notion among the faithful that those who leave do so only because either a) they’ve been offended, b) they want to persist in sinful behavior, or c) they’ve been “deceived” by the “antis” (ie., they’re all ex-Mormons). Of course, almost all of my friends who no longer attend fit in none of these categories. They’re not angry or bitter, the church just no longer fulfills a need in their lives, or the negatives of their weekly church experience came to consistently outweigh the positives. Or, increasingly (especially in California), they came to feel that the moral direction of the church no longer corresponded with their own.

  4. Naismith says:

    I can understand people moving on, and the church not being a fit for someone.

    I don’t understand why anyone would leave their membership in the church (I respect those who ask to have their names removed, it seems more honest) or are active in Mormon forums.

  5. BC says:

    Naismith,

    The only post-mormons I know who have their names removed do so as a symbolic gesture against the church. Most simply don’t care what the church thinks of them and they move on.

    It is the church’s decision to keep a list–to label people. It is not the responsibility of those who leave to keep the bean counters in the COB happy.

  6. Sibyl says:

    I would guess that where a person ends up after leaving is, in large part, a product of how much life experience they had before leaving.

    I am a university student and among my post-mormon friends there are only a couple of us who haven’t turned to some brand of promiscuous sex, drugs, or alcohol. The stereotype lives sadly on in the World of the college age student.

    And I often wonder why that should be. The reason I’ve found is that college age students want something to be fulfilling – something to give them meaning in their lives. They pull away from their roots and find that they need to fill in the gap. So they pick one of the three “exciting” things that they’ve been forbidden to do the rest of their lives.

    Those who had already found meaning elsewhere prior to leaving, however, I am sure do not run into this problem. This seems to be merely a problem of having been obedient when having belonged to the church and having never decided what oneself really wants from life on one’s own terms.

  7. Jana says:

    By way of full disclosure, I should say that I do wear sleeveless shirts (I live in a mediterranean-type climate and spend much of my time on the ocean) and enjoy my afternoon cup of tea. I guess these seem like such benign things that I don’t associate them with the lascivious behavior that’s stereotypically attributed to non-believers.

    I also don’t feel judgmental about those who choose a different path than mine, and who might seem outwardly to have become more “worldly” on their path. Perhaps they have an eyebrow ring or tattoos or a new partner. That experimentation seems normal to me given the constraints of the LDS lifestyle. However, I don’t think that non-belief inevitably leads to dramatic lifestyle changes, which is quite different from what I used to think would happen.

  8. Jana says:

    Naismith:

    I’m curious why you don’t understand those who maintain membership after losing belief. My experience is that many do this for reasons of family relationships. Or simply because they don’t want to go through the hassle (and it is a hassle) of formally severing ties. Have you never known anyone who still felt the value of their membership even if they weren’t actively participating in or believing the doctrines of the LDS church?

    By way of example, I have a friend who felt that the ‘honest’ thing to do was have her name removed when she felt doubts. Since then she’s regretted that decision, given how much the church still means to her and to her extended family.

  9. Angie says:

    Wow – what a timely post. I enjoy watching the “talks and discussions” on byutv, and this week I watched your Women’s Conference address. Since I knew of you first as a blogger – pilgrimgirl, the exponent, mind on fire – it was a rich experience for me to listen to that talk.

    (At this point, I have to qualify this comment by saying that I hope I have all the dots connected, and that the “Jana” of this post is the same “Jana” from all those blogs AND the Jana from that BYU talk. If not – oops!)

    First of all, you are an AMAZING woman!!! I wish we knew each other in real life.

    Second of all, in answer to your post, my belief is that it all comes down to motivation. Some people make religious decisions (e.g., external religious behavior and/or internal religious thoughts) based on a sincere pursuit of truth. Even if their definition of truth is that there is no absolute truth, these people are attempting to make their actions consistent with what they believe. These people are on a true faith journey. They are always open to being wrong, to being taught. I’ve always admired Malcolm X for being this kind of person.

    Other people make religious decisions with some other motivation, or even with an agenda. Some want to free themselves of rules that restrict their physical passions or require them to change more than they feel comfortable. Others want to prove that religion is oppressive, or hypocritical, or restrictive, or abusive, or whatever has been their personal experience. These people cling stubbornly to their “rights” – the right to dress how they want, eat what they want, act how they want. This approach was described in the book “Generation Me.”

    If a person sincerely wants to live an authentic life of integrity, then it’s very likely that religion will be a source of pain at times. There’s just so much to figure out. But if a person is immature (and we all are – until we mature!), then religion can be merely a tool of smugness and self-congratulatory indulgence.

    Which one are you/we/they? No-one can ever decide that for another person.

  10. marie says:

    I think the reason post-mormons remain active on LDS blogs is because they can find people with similar thoughts and experiences. Also, taking your name off church records and disposing of garments does not remove the LDS out of you. There are so many cultural and social aspects of being LDS that it always stay with you and is a huge part of your past. Most post-mormons are surrounded by active family members and friends, so it’s hard to just let it go.

  11. I suspect that the Women’s Conference address was given by Jana Riess. I also suspect this is not the first time they’ve been confused for each other, since they’re both fabulous and fabulously articulate. 🙂 Jana Riess blogs at http://blog.beliefnet.com/flunkingsainthood/

  12. Naismith says:

    “It is the church’s decision to keep a list–to label people. It is not the responsibility of those who leave to keep the bean counters in the COB happy.’

    Actually, it is the church’s decision to shepherd them. As long as they are on that list, as a Relief Society President it was my job to look out for them. And I respect their agency, so I didn’t assign them visiting teachers if they did want regular visits. But I did need to visit about once a year or so (or when they said they were going to move) to make sure they haven’t disappeared or slipped through cracks. And if a new name shows up on my list, I am going to track them down, through every legal means available to me.

    It’s not “bean counting.” It has nothing to do with statistics and everything to do with loving and supporting our sisters as long as they choose to live within the same tent. My elder brother will ask me about those sisters some day, and I want to be able to report that I did my best for them.

    As it happens, some of them have come back into full fellowship. Some of them felt they were being stalked to be contacted once a year, and threatened legal action.

    “I’m curious why you don’t understand those who maintain membership after losing belief.”

    I guess because I compare it to other memberships I’ve gained and given up in my life. For the past decade or more, I’ve been active in a professional organization that his impacted my life on a daily basis. My best friends have come from this organization, and I’ve held leadership posts. But I am going to be leaving that field, so I’ve decided to terminate my membership in the organization. I will remain friends with the friends, but can’t see why I would invest time in an organization that has no meaning in my life any more. I just have so many other things that I am going to be doing.

    I am not saying that anyone *should* leave, of course it is a personal choice. But it somehow seems ironic when someone screams at me for visiting them and yet wants to remain a member?

  13. Craig says:

    I’ve found that I’m a more moral and ethical person now than I was as a Mormon. Certainly I do a lot of things that go against Mormon ideas of morality (gay sex, alcohol, etc.), but I am now completely authentically myself – something I never was as a Mormon, and so in that way I feel I’m a far better person now than I ever was before. I have changed a lot in that respect, but in other ways, I’m still the same person I was before. Some think that I’ve totally radically changed, but the truth is, I felt I had to hide so much of myself and my personality before.

  14. BC says:

    Naismith

    I understand and respect the sense of responsibility you feel toward those on your list. My wife has been a RS president on three separate occasions.

    We both left the church, together, several years ago. She continues to serve those in our area when she sees a need. She also continues to attend RS functions in support of friends and those she cares about. When she does attend such functions she does so because she chooses to, and she goes in a modest sleeveless dress.

    My wife is much happier these days. She serves only out of a desire to serve, not out of assignment, and certainly not because someone’s name is on a list.

    I still have a sister in your shoes. She is a RS pres. and is exhausted all of the time. She also lives in fear of God asking her to account for some member who she could have done more for.

    The feelings I have for the men in the COB who perpetuate this abuse of these faithful members I won’t share here. They nearly killed my wife. I have her back. Her kids have her back. If God has a problem with that, he can take it up with me directly.

  15. Chandelle says:

    Naismith, I don’t think a comparison can be drawn between a religion – especially one so absorbing as this one, in which it shapes or consumes a person’s identity – and a professional organization related to one’s job. They simply are not on the same plane.

    For me, I continued to participate on fMh – though not much on other Mormon boards, except very rarely here because Jana is just so awesome! – for the simple reason that Mormonism continues to interest me. I often compare it to a divorce. I feel in love with Mormonism, I got married (baptized), then we had irreconcilable differences so I filed for divorce (had my name removed). And now we’ve gone our separate ways, but it’s not like that relationship never existed. I had a grieving process. To a certain degree, participating on fMh helped me to define that grief and share it with other people. Now I don’t post there, and I only rarely read, but Mormonism, and my time in it, will always be a curiosity. If I can come here and explain how it’s affected me to leave, and be welcomed in that commentary, and hear others’ experiences, I can’t see how that’s hurting anyone.

    As for people who don’t have their names removed – for some people, I suspect it’s just a tremendous hassle that they’d rather not handle. Some people cannot stand confrontation, and that is inevitable when you have someone coming to your door – yes, even once a year – asking you back to church, or when the bishop and stake president pester you about meeting when you turn in your resignation letter. Sometimes this situation is handled gracefully; other times it spins out of control.

    It can also be a tricky process that has to be done just so or else it won’t work. Some people just don’t want to go through all of that. And some people just don’t care. The Church, and their name on its rosters, is irrelevant. And some people feel deep love for the Church, and respect for their heritage, and don’t want to cast it aside. I think these are all worthy reasons.

    If you’ve been harassed by people for showing up their doorstep, I think that’s a shame, but perhaps you could simply walk away realizing that you don’t know them, and you don’t know what they’ve experienced. Some people do feel that they were abused by their leaders, and seeing another one, and having to explain themselves yet again, is a wholly unpleasant experience that reflects all the other meetings that preceded it.

  16. Naismith says:

    “The feelings I have for the men in the COB who perpetuate this abuse of these faithful members I won’t share here.”

    What abuse? I don’t see any abuse. Is it abuse for me to knock on their door?

    I don’t think it is abuse for me to serve my sisters. I have been blessed in so many ways.

  17. Naismith says:

    “I don’t think a comparison can be drawn between a religion – especially one so absorbing as this one, in which it shapes or consumes a person’s identity – and a professional organization related to one’s job. They simply are not on the same plane.”

    Hmmn. I guess it might depend on whether something is a job or profession. For me, in a typical week I spend far more time involved with professional stuff than church stuff, even when I am in a fairly time-intensive church calling. And I spend more time talking with people in my profession than people who are LDS. My profession is a huge part of my identity, and it is wrenching to give it up (which isn’t really my choice, but oh well).

    I appreciate the insights on non-believers who don’t want to leave the church. It’s not how I would play it if I were to leave, but I appreciate that people are different.

  18. ESO says:

    I think it a fairly common complaint from ex-mormons that they just “weren’t themselves” as Mormons and they are so much more real or authentic now. That’s cool. I just think it’s a shame that they don’t seem to understand that some people really feel that they are at their personal best IN the Church. Active, and all that jazz.

    Chandelle says this:
    “If I can come here and explain how it’s affected me to leave, and be welcomed in that commentary, and hear others’ experiences, I can’t see how that’s hurting anyone.”

    And my answer is this: it’s like you showing up at Fast and Testimony meeting and telling people how much greater life is now that you have tank tops and tea. You wouldn’t do that, not because you are saying anything particularly outrageous or rude, it is just not the forum. Perhaps (hate to put words in her mouth) Naismith feels like I do: that THIS is not the best forum to extol the richness of post-mo life. Exponent II is, as it self-defines, a forum for Mormon women. When people who are no longer (or never were) Mormon women come here and post about their non-Mormon womanness, it feels antagonistic to those of us who actually want to read about, you know, Mormon women (maybe that’s why most of those people read Segullah instead). But I agree that a forum for formerly Mormons might be a very comfortable place for such a posting.

  19. Melanie says:

    I’ve sat down a couple of times to write comments, but taking a fourth stab at it I think it’s best to be frank. When I decided to stop going to church, I was surprised at the sudden amount of agency I had once I saw myself as no longer accountable to a Bishop. I recognized that came with a lot of responsibility and spent the next day in the library reading “Our Bodies, Our Selves.” I was fortunate to have many supportive friends and family members who were able to help me to understand the mores of the new bodily world I had decided to enter.

    I drink in moderation with family and friends. I wear clothing that keeps me cool when it is hot outside. I am unmarried and I have sex with people I care about. I smoke weed occasionally because it makes me laugh and makes food taste incredible; I smoke cigarettes from time to time because they remind me of family members who have past. I am living with integrity, which is something I can’t say for when I struggled to keep the “commandments.” Leaving the church had radical implications for what I do with my body but it has been a deeply empowering experience that has expanded my appreciation for what the body is capable of and what I, as a decision maker, am capable of as well.

  20. BC says:

    “What abuse? I don’t see any abuse. Is it abuse for me to knock on their door?

    I don’t think it is abuse for me to serve my sisters. I have been blessed in so many ways.”

    I understand how you feel. Believe me, I’ve been there. I don’t expect you to see the emotional and psychological abuse that is being done to you and other women in the church.

    Here is the point. My wife is still blessed for the service she does for others. The difference is that she does it only because that is the kind of person that she wants to be, not because she is afraid of big brother checking up on her.

    Now here is the real point of this whole thread. That is the person *you* are as well. Take away the church, take away your big brother and You would still be a kind and loving person who wants to serve others because that is who you are. I bet I’m right, and I don’t even know you. I do know the type however, I married one.

  21. ESO says:

    BC–your last comment is amazing. How will we moronic Church members ever live without a condescending know-it-all like you?

  22. Naismith says:

    Actually, ESO, I hadn’t really taken it that far. Jana is a perma so whatever she says is fine with this forum, I assume.

    I’m just amazed at how much time people have. I know that I would have more time if I didn’t spend it going to church, visiting teaching, etc.

    But I have so many other interests that I would want to pursue, I wouldn’t look back, and would do those things instead.

    Since I left the Catholic church 30+ year ago, I haven’t spent five minutes worrying about Catholic things. I do go to mass with my family members when I am visiting them. But spend time on a blog?

  23. Jared says:

    For those who want everyone to agree with them or otherwise they feel put down, I’ll just say, I believe in agency. Each of us is given a few years on earth to make our mark. How we do it is our choice. I respect agency–yours and mine.

    What I am about to write is not a put down, it’s an observation from many years of experience in the church. Those who are truly converted don’t become exmormons or post mormons. I’d be surprised, in today’s world, if 10 or 15 % of active mormons are converted. A person who is converted is born again, they’ve received a remission of their sins, they are sons or daughter of Christ, they’ve experienced the mighty change, and been baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost.

    These kinds of experiences don’t come because of church callings. They come because of yielding one’s hearts to God.

  24. Naismith says:

    “Now here is the real point of this whole thread. That is the person *you* are as well.”

    I thought the point of the thread was that people are different and we have different ways of finding peace and drawing energy so we should respect one another’s viewpoints?

    “Take away the church, take away your big brother and You would still be a kind and loving person who wants to serve others because that is who you are.”

    Too funny! No, not even close. I’m an introverted, selfish cocooner when left to my own devices. Only because of the gospel of Jesus Christ have I learned the joy of reaching out and serving.

  25. BC says:

    ESO,

    I’m sure it does sound condescending, I imagine as a missionary I was insufferable–sharing uncomfortable ideas people don’t want to hear.

    Naismith,

    I’m glad the church has given you the framework to reach out. All I’m saying is that the desire to serve should be pure, not driven by guilt or fear. I have seen a lot of the latter in the church.

  26. ESO says:

    BC–Have no fear, I have no difficulty imagining you as an insufferable missionary.

    Seriously, I’m glad that you and your family have found a peaceful place, but you are basically suggesting that believing members are brainwashed: how is that not incredibly patronizing?

  27. Chandelle says:

    “I just think it’s a shame that they don’t seem to understand that some people really feel that they are at their personal best IN the Church.”

    That’s not true. I do understand that many members, if not most, feel (and perhaps are) their best in the Church. Just because I feel better out of it does not mean that I think everyone else will. That’s why I’ve never tried to talk anyone into leaving, and when I explain my exit, I always say that this is what worked for ME, and that’s all. I think it’s a shame that some people take a personal choice as an indictment of their own.

    I can’t agree that posting here is akin to anti-testifying in F&T. All sorts of discussions go on here, some of which would be severely discomfiting to many active members. However, I do appreciate what you’re saying about this being a MORMON forum and wanting to read about MORMON women. I generally keep quiet, but in this particular post, the focus is former members. As was completely clear from the post title. So it seems it would have been a simple thing to avoid it. The posts bracketing this one run on in both directions with topics specific to active Mormon women.

  28. Chandelle says:

    So Naismith, just to sum up: if you left the Church, you would have so many better things to do with your time than talk about it, but since you’re still a member, you don’t have better things to do with your time than tell people who aren’t members anymore that they shouldn’t talk about it? 🙂

  29. pearl says:

    Naismith:

    I am not saying that anyone *should* leave, of course it is a personal choice. But it somehow seems ironic when someone screams at me for visiting them and yet wants to remain a member?

    I am one of the people who would scream at you. I remain a member because my grandma on her deathbed asked me to promise that I wouldn’t have my name removed. the fact that I am willing to do that for a grandmother I loved in no way entitles you to show up and try to tell me that you “love” me when you don’t know a thing about me and seem unwilling to exercise enough imagination or compassion to figure out why I wouldn’t really want a visit from you.

    Seriously: why not spend a little putting the golden rule into practice, and realize that if you have stopped attending an organization or giving it financial support, you don’t really want visits from its official representatives?

    As for why I am still interested in Mormonism, well, I’m still interested in MYSELF. I’m interested in who I am because of my Mormon upbringing, and discussions like this help me understand that.

    Why is that so hard for YOU to understand?

  30. pearl says:

    eso writes

    And my answer is this: it’s like you showing up at Fast and Testimony meeting and telling people how much greater life is now that you have tank tops and tea.

    which is a lot like showing up at someone’s house and telling them how much happier they’ll be when they become Mormon.

    Though of course this isn’t testimony meeting or someone’e house. It’s a public forum about mormonism and women, and several of the permabloggers don’t attend church, as you’ll find out if you read their blogs.

  31. Naismith says:

    “So Naismith, just to sum up: if you left the Church, you would have so many better things to do with your time than talk about it, but since you’re still a member, you don’t have better things to do with your time than tell people who aren’t members anymore that they shouldn’t talk about it? ”

    No, that’s not what I said. What I said was
    “I appreciate the insights on non-believers who don’t want to leave the church. It’s not how I would play it if I were to leave, but I appreciate that people are different.”

    I meant that. I understand that we are all different. I expressed my gratitude to you for explaining how others feel about it. I NEVER said that people who aren’t members any more shouldn’t talk about it.

    I don’t know what your point is, of twisting what I said and laughing at me, but oh well.

    And yes, I would likely spend my time on the long list of other interests, once I was freed from the constraints of LDS living (actually I think those are like the kite string, that both ties me down and allows me to soar, but just saying). But if we’re all different, why is that a problem for you?

  32. Chandelle says:

    Just having a crankypants morning. That was one of those snarky comments that I leave and then immediately regret? I think we understand each other on some level. I just thought it condescending for you to say that we should have better things to do with our time. Like I said, it’s a process.

  33. pearl says:

    Naismith wrote

    I don’t understand why anyone would leave their membership in the church (I respect those who ask to have their names removed, it seems more honest) or are active in Mormon forums.

    then she wrote

    I NEVER said that people who aren’t members any more shouldn’t talk about it.

    iow, she communicates her lack of understanding and her disapproval for people who no longer believe in or attend the Mormon church but still want to understand the role the Mormon church played in their lives, but she did not use the explicit words “they shouldn’t talk about it.”

    just out of curiosity, Naismith, did you have your name removed from the records of the Catholic church?

  34. Naismith says:

    Pearl, yes, I did speak with a priest and let them know I had left. Their processes aren’t as set out like ours. Had they asked me to put the request in writing, I would have.

    “iow, she communicates her lack of understanding and her disapproval for people”

    Well, Pearl, I see you’re having a great time making fun of me, and of course I want to serve however is needed. But seriously, I never said I disapproved.

    I did indeed say that I don’t understand it. Since when was it offensive around here to ask questions? I appreciate you and Chandelle sharing your point of view. Thanks for that.

    I still don’t understand it on a gut level, but of course I will accept that is how you see it, and it has helped me appreciate the wide range of opinion and experience.

  35. pearl says:

    Naismith writes

    But seriously, I never said I disapproved.

    No, Naismith, you didn’t say “I disapprove,” you merely stated your opinion in a way that expressed disapproval.

    I, for instance, never said, “Hey, my intention is to make fun of Naismith!” And frankly, that’s not really my intention: My intention is to point out the inadequacy in the way you defend your position and characterize others’. But I recognize that to someone like you, it probably comes of as “making fun,” and that’s that best way you are able to describe or process it, so I live with it.

    I don’t have much trouble understanding why you can’t understand what someone else’s attitude about all this looks like to them when you can’t even really imagine what your own attitude looks like to others.

    And do you have any response to comment #30?

  36. Jana says:

    Angie:

    That I am sometimes mixed up with Jana Reiss (who is far more intelligent and articulate than I am), delights me. I hope she feels the same way 🙂 FWIW, I want to be her when I grow up–I hope that counts for something! But yes, pilgrimsteps is my soloblog and mindonfire is the brainchild of my partner and xJane. Jana Reiss blogs at BCC (I think). We’ve both talked at Sunstone and in a variety of other Mormon spaces.

    I’d love to meet you in real-life someday, Angie. Feel free to drop me a line if you are even in SoCal, or let me know where you live and on my travels I will make sure to look you up! (janaremyATgmailDOTcom).

    I like your thoughts about motivation. I didn’t stop believing in the LDS church because I wanted to drink a caffeinated beverage and wear sleeveless dresses. My spiritual journey has been an intense search to find personal truths and a community with shared values. I still find both of those among Mormons, even as I have branched out and embraced other faith traditions, too. I’d like to think that my current hybrid religious identity is allowing me to be my best self. It certainly feels more “right” than before and I feel more joy and peace, and far less fear.

  37. amelia says:

    In comment 18, ESO says:

    “And my answer is this: it’s like you showing up at Fast and Testimony meeting and telling people how much greater life is now that you have tank tops and tea. You wouldn’t do that, not because you are saying anything particularly outrageous or rude, it is just not the forum.”

    No one else has responded to this particular bit of dismissiveness so I thought I would.

    Do you realize how condescending and dismissive what you have said here is? You imply that people (like Jana and Chandelle) who have moved beyond participating in the church have done so in order to wear tank tops and drink tea. Many of the commenters on this post have pointed out that they did *not* leave simply to escape the limitations of Mormon lifestyle. Instead, they point out, they left in order to live with a more free and peaceful conscience. As Jana has explained here and elsewhere (on this blog and her own), she has been on a faith journey, seeking truth. She has not been looking to experiment with different clothing styles and beverages (even if doing that has come along with moving beyond Mormonism).

    I find your comment exemplary of the narrow minded prejudice of many, many active members who cannot fathom that someone who has in the past been a believing member could leave the church for reasons of faith and belief as opposed to a stupid petty desire to “misbehave.”

    And, as a permablogger, I’d like to point out that this forum is a forum in which ALL Mormons are welcome to participate, regardless of their current activity and/or membership status. Mormonism is not something that simply disappears when you stop attending; to assert that someone doesn’t belong in discussions about being a Mormon woman because they no longer attend is just unacceptable in this forum.

  38. pearl says:

    @39No one else has responded to this particular bit of dismissiveness so I thought I would.

    I responded, briefly, @31.

    But I thank you for the completeness and directness of your response, Amelia, which is awesome!

  39. amelia says:

    sorry Pearl–I missed that. thanks for pointing out that this forum is a place where everyone is welcome.

  40. ESO says:

    I certainly do not dismiss anyone’s faith journey or their right to comment on it. I simply question why a post like this, the subtext of which is “when I was Mormon I was all wrong, but now that I left the Church, I am right,” is not at, perhaps, a solo blog, or a formerly Mormon blog of some sort.

    It fascinates me that you have chosen to censure me for my intolerance rather than the commenter who suggested that all Mormons are brainwashed. Or how about your own language?
    When you say that someone has “moved beyond participating in the church” you are suggesting their superiority over those who remain (stagnant? below? our language is problematic, perhaps). If those who have left Mormonism do so “in order to live with a more free and peaceful conscience” than you cast those who are Mormon as oppressors and people with troubled consciences.

    Yes, you are a perma, but I hope you can respect that you have claimed a culturally important moniker and place in our community. It is frustrating to those of us who value our history to see Exponent become so synonymous with the disaffected. As a Mormon and a feminist, I cringe at the thought that some Mormon dabbling in the bloggernaccle would come here to be introduced to that chemistry.

    Perhaps we have radically different definitions of “Mormon women.” I don’t actually think there is that much flexibility in those words. If I drop out of school, I am no longer a student. When a self identify as an ex-Star Wars fan, it means I no longer AM one. Post graduate studies denotes that my graduate studies are done. If you have claimed a different religion, you are no longer Mormon.

    That is not to say that a former Mormon is not a perfectly worthwhile fabulous kind of an intelligent goddess. It just means that they are no longer a Mormon woman. If someone comes here to read up on how to be both a feminist and a woman, they are likely to get the idea that this path will lead them out of the Church. That is a shame.

  41. ESO says:

    That second-to-last sentence should read “both a feminist and a Mormon;” sorry.

  42. Craig says:

    @ESO

    This is definitely nothing like F&T meeting. I wouldn’t be caught dead in a church, especially on Fast Sunday.

    Quite ironically, you seem to be telling us that we shouldn’t comment here because we’re not orthodox believers/ church members on a blog post written by someone who isn’t a believer. You’re kind of doing exactly what you tell us not to do.

    I don’t understand why it’s problematic for you to read about the experiences of people who aren’t active members or believers. Why is it so threatening to know that some of us, while still having a connection to Mormonism, find more authenticity, truth, and satisfaction outside traditional Mormonism? That someone has a different belief from you or different experience shouldn’t be interpreted as a personal attack on you. Criticising Mormonism or some aspects thereof isn’t a criticism of you.

    “I just think it’s a shame that they don’t seem to understand that some people really feel that they are at their personal best IN the Church. Active, and all that jazz.”

    They who? As a former member, I certainly understand what draws people to Mormonism, and why many stay. You might want to make fewer broad generalisations.

    I guess the main issue is that you seem to think this is (or should be) a forum ONLY for believing members of the church. I don’t think that’s true, especially seeing as how many of the permabloggers don’t fit into that category.

    Lastly, just to touch on the issue between you and BC, I think the point of this post and of the discussion was that Mormon or non-Mormon, we are who we are regardless of our membership in a church or what religious beliefs we have. Mormonism isn’t what makes someone a good or bad person. You are, at your core, yourself. You wouldn’t be a vastly different person as an atheist, Hindu, Jew, Buddhist, or Catholic. Certainly your Mormon beliefs are very important to you, and I’m not belittling that. There are terrible, rotten, nasty Mormons and terrible, rotten nasty atheists. Belief systems don’t change who people fundamentally are at their core.I t should be seen as a compliment that you are/can be a good, kind, loving person regardless of what your other circumstances are.

  43. Chandelle says:

    “…the subtext of which is ‘when I was Mormon I was all wrong, but now that I left the Church, I am right’…”

    Seriously? That’s what you got from what Jana said? She didn’t say anything of the sort along the lines of right vs. wrong. Instead, she was contrasting her expectations of a post-Mormon life versus the reality. She expected life to be worse, even calamitous. It wasn’t. That was the sum total of her commentary. How are you drawing out these judgments that simply are not there?

    “If those who have left Mormonism do so ‘in order to live with a more free and peaceful conscience’ than you cast those who are Mormon as oppressors and people with troubled consciences.”

    Again, it seems that you’re looking to be offended. If a person chooses a different approach, that means nothing about yours. As for me, I certainly have not intended the implication of a more peaceful conscience to be in contrast to the assumed disordered consciences of members. FOR ME, being Mormon meant intense dissonance between my values and the Church’s expectations. Ultimately, that discordance became untenable, at which time I left. That has nothing to do with YOU.

  44. Jana says:

    ESO:

    Your concern that the Exponent “brand” is affected by having non-believing permas is important to me. I’d like for you to discuss this more, as you seem to have a stake in the organization and its historical roots. Would you like to write a guest post about your experiences with Exponent II and your vision for its place in contemporary Mormon feminism?

    FWIW, I don’t consider myself “ex-Mormon” or “post-Mormon.” That I am still welcome at LDS church and on this blog despite my lack of belief is a comfort to me. In this post I tried to choose my words carefully, to avoid the implication that I look down on anyone who is active and/or believing LDS, because I don’t.

  45. ESO says:

    Jana–I appreciate that and I will consider; I have a couple of other assignments I am working on right nwo. But I really do appreciate your comments on the whole thread.

  46. amelia says:

    ESO:

    Perhaps I made a poor choice of words with “move beyond.” I was speaking of individual faith jousrneys, not some objective notion of what any faith journey should look like. Jana and Chandelle have moved beyond active participation in the church. That is a simple statement of fact regarding their individual faith journeys; it has nothing to do with the value of any other church member’s participation in the church. It has nothing to do with anyone’s superiority or inferiority. The same thing is true of my comment about “free and peaceful” consciences. Everyone who has commented about their experience leaving mormon practice has made it clear that they speak only of their own consciences, not others’. I find it rather comic that you persist in misunderstanding that in light of the beginning of your comment 18.

    As for my lack of commentary on. BC’s comment, I felt that you and others had pointed out the problematic nature of the comment; on the other hand I thought yours neede addressing.

    And clearly you and I think very differently about what it means to be mormon. My being mormon is absolutely nothing like my experience as a gread student. As a 9th generation mormon (which is hard to be as an adult member of a church as youg as ours), my being mormon is a part of my identity and to suggest that I would stop being mormon were I to cease my activity in the church is like suggesting a Jew is no longer Jewish when they are not an observant Jew. It makes no sense to me to think of being mormon as being a member of just another social club.

  47. ESO says:

    Judaism is not only a religion, but an ethnicity, so I don’t think the comparison works. I don’t see any particular merit in boasting about our ancestors’ beliefs. I know people with as long a line in the Church as yours who do not consider themselves Mormon and people who were baptized last year from a few hundred years of Catholic-practicing families who DOES consider herself Mormon. They are both right. We determine our Mormonism, no one else can. Clearly, we differ on the definition.

    Of course anyone on earth is welcome in an LDS Church and to comment on a bloggernaccle blog. But we would never say that someone is Mormon just because they are welcome at Church. Perhaps Exponent has no standard of faith for posting participation, but I know some blogs do.

    When I point out how those phrases can be read, I do so not because those are my personal interpretations, but because it is a plausible reading. I don’t particularly care if the poster or other commenters have judged me as x,y, or z (and I agree that most have been discussing their own experiences explicitly, with some notable exceptions) but I DO care if a Mormon new to feminism reads here and feels both condemned and that no one could be both a believing Mormon and a feminist. I want people to know those two are not mutually exclusive. If the Exponent blog is their only experience with the mix, they will probably conclude that it’s a crapshoot.

  48. Stella says:

    It seems, as ESO pointed out, that things get a little too focused on the “right” and “wrong” of being an active Mormon. I haven’t been active in three years. Do I still consider myself Mormon? Yes. I do. It is my heritage and the foundations of it have been my roots. Do I consider myself a bit agnostic, a bit Buddhist, a bit and a dash of a lot of different things that I have learned in life? I do.

    My unending question is why this obsession with labels? And why this obsession of classifying “active” (and all the things we associate with that word) and “inactive” and all the stereotypes that come along with that word). We as people are so much more complex than “active” and “inactive” aren’t we? Our life’s tapestries full of so many more colors than that. What I love about Exponent is the chance I have to come and share the colors and complexities of my life, without the labels and judgements. I always appreciate that here.

  49. amelia says:

    When you say: “we determine our Mormonism, no one else can,” do you mean each individual determines her own Mormonism? Or that Mormons collectively do so? If the former, I don’t really know how to reconcile that sentiment with everything else you have said about what it means to be Mormon on this thread. If the latter, I will simply strenuously disagree.

    And I just can’t be bothered to worry too much about what inaccurate conclusions hypothetical readers may reach when they read a single post at Ex2. Any reader who reads with discernment and thoughtfulness beyond a single post will recognize that the Mormon feminist womanhood treated at Ex2 is a complex and contradictory philosophical space that allows for many permutations of “mormon” and of “feminist” and of “woman.” It drives me bonkers when members of the church are always preoccupied with performing their identity so no ome misunderstands what it means to be mormon; performing a mormon feminist woman identity is just as repulsive to me. And ultimately I think either of those performances is more harmful than beneficial.

    P.s. I apologize for typos; I’m on a plane ona tarmac (delayed) typing on my phone.

  50. Craig says:

    @Stella/amelia

    Exactly. “Mormon” does not and cannot have one and only one right definition. It is many things. I, as an outspoken atheist, gay, male, feminist, communist non-member am also Mormon (and not Mormon), in my own way.

    “My unending question is why this obsession with labels? And why this obsession of classifying “active” (and all the things we associate with that word) and “inactive” and all the stereotypes that come along with that word). We as people are so much more complex than “active” and “inactive” aren’t we? Our life’s tapestries full of so many more colors than that. What I love about Exponent is the chance I have to come and share the colors and complexities of my life, without the labels and judgements. I always appreciate that here.”

    So very much rAmen. You speak my mind in a nicer and and more uplifting way than I ever could.

  51. pearl says:

    eso @42

    That is not to say that a former Mormon is not a perfectly worthwhile fabulous kind of an intelligent goddess. It just means that they are no longer a Mormon woman.

    I am not a “former Mormon,” so don’t tell me that I am. You do not own the brand Mormon, and you don’t get to withhold it from those who find it a meaningful label. I am a Mormon who no longer believes or practices, but I claim the right to the title Mormon by virtue of the investment I had in the church, and the way the church shaped me.

    ESO @49

    Judaism is not only a religion, but an ethnicity, so I don’t think the comparison works. I don’t see any particular merit in boasting about our ancestors’ beliefs.

    Actually, for those of us who have been Mormon for nine or ten generations, it IS an ethnicity, complete with an identifiable genetic relationship, particular speech patterns, and a specialized cuisine. It might not be YOUR ethnicity, but it’s MINE.

    And while I don’t feel any need to boast of my ancestors’ beliefs, I am pretty awed by their courage, commitment and endurance in moving from Ohio to Missouri to Illinois to Utah, and I find it incredibly arrogant, proprietary and insulting of you to suggest that I have somehow forfeited a personal stake in what their travails meant–to Mormonism, to the nation, or to me.

    If the Exponent blog is their only experience with the mix, they will probably conclude that it’s a crapshoot.

    If the Exponent blog is their only experience with Mormon feminist blogging, they’re probably not very interested either in Mormon feminism or blogging, so I wouldn’t worry too much.

  52. amelia says:

    Re: the comparison to being Jewish. It may or may not be an accurate comparison. I used it simply to illustrate how being Mormon feels to me. Another person could attempt to police the boundaries of “mormon” all they want but it will have no effect on my self-identifying as mormon. And I find it more than a little disingenuous that a church (or its members) that demands the kind of absolute and complete identification and dedication the Mormon church does could imagine that, having made that demand of people who practice, they can simply and easily dismiss as no longer Mormon someone whose subsequent (lack of) practice they disapprove.

  53. Janna says:

    As one taught at the feet of the Founding Mothers of Exponent II, I can state with some finiteness that the the original intent of this forum (whether that be the blog, the paper or the retreats) was to provide a forum of personal expression for anyone who “touches” Mormonism in any way. Even non-Members who enjoy the presence of Mormon women have attended the retreats for years. Also, for what it’s worth – and this is just my impression – the Exponent II forum includes more “active” (apply the general definition of “active” here) Mormon women than ever before.

    I’d say that Jana more than qualifies as a valuable voice carrying out our Founding Mothers’ intent. My affinity for this forum is grounded in its history of women who let each other “be.” I hope that we can continue this tradition.

  54. pearl says:

    re: the whole “former” thing–some roles are considered so fundamental that they are never given a “former” status. A woman who bore three children who all died is never a “former” mother. If you graduate from medical school and get a license to practice medicine and don’t somehow forfeit it through malfeasance, you’re still a doctor even if you don’t practice–Howard Dean, for instance, is still a doctor. Those situations are closer to how I feel about my Mormonness than my role as student could ever be.

  55. ESO says:

    I do indeed believe that each individual determines their own Mormonism. Just because my family joined way back in Palmyra, it doesn’t make me Mormon; my baptism and covenants that I keep make me Mormon (as my Catholic grandmother does not make me Catholic and my atheist uncle does not make me atheist). Anyone who wants to be Mormon can be so, but let’s be real: if you self-identify as an ex or post-mormon, that literally means “not a mormon.” I am NOT saying that I decide who is “Mormon enough,” each of us decides for ourselves if we are Mormon or not and acts accordingly.

    I can understand that you may not want to guard your language for a hypothetical reader. I have heard from more than one member of the wards I have been in over the years who were turned off by reading a post or two. Maybe you think that is silly, I think that is one more Mormon likely to run the other way screaming when they hear “feminist.” Call me a missionary, but I care about the image of Mormon feminists, and I don’t want it to be the image of someone who can’t be Mormon.

  56. ESO says:

    # 56–Pearl, those are interesting examples and certainly get closer to the membership/culture divide. I think of it more like a person being married to the Church and when they leave there is a divorce. Obviously, it leaves a mark on you. You don’t go back to being “single”–you have a new status of being “divorced.” Sure you had some good times and bad with your ex, and you will probably always love some things about them. But your ex is an ex, and not a spouse.

    For me “raised Mormon” or “one-time-Mormon” is a more accurate description that acknowledges the imprint but also designates your own choice to move away from it.

  57. Craig says:

    @ESO

    Sounds like you’re saying that you don’t want anyone to ever be offended or read something here they didn’t like. So to ensure that, you want to have censorship of those who aren’t “really” Mormon.

    How does drawing the line between active, believing Mormon and semi/non active/believing Mormon make feminism more palatable?

    “Anyone who wants to be Mormon can be so, but let’s be real: if you self-identify as an ex or post-mormon, that literally means “not a mormon.”

    Not necessarily. An ex or post-Mormon might be someone who, (like me) neither believes in the doctrines and isn’t active or a member anymore. But we are still a type of Mormon in whatever way we decide we are. Non-Mormon means not a Mormon. Post-/Ex-Mormon are different. If they were totally synonymous with non-Mormon, they wouldn’t exist. Those terms talk about belief or official activity/membership, not heritage or culture. This is what you’re leaving out. Mormonness isn’t defined by whether someone is or is not a member of the LdS church.

  58. Craig says:

    Basically, you’re wanting the Exponent to be something it isn’t and never claimed to be.

  59. ESO says:

    Craig–their “about” page states that Exponent is for “Mormon women.” I acknowledge that my definition of who that includes may be tighter than some people’s. I don’t think it invalid, though.

  60. Kaimi says:

    I heart Jana.

    I realize there are a variety of ways to draw lines around community clusters. I prefer line-drawings or non-drawings in which I’m in the same tribe, one way or the other, as Jana. 🙂

    (And to the OP, I’ve found that Jana isn’t one whit less articulate, interesting, ethical, or generally delightful as her formal affiliation has shifted.)

  61. Craig says:

    Well by your definition, I shouldn’t be here at all. I’m neither Mormon nor a woman.

  62. Kaimi says:

    I can sympathize with ESO’s concern. She’s worried that the label of Mormon feminist — already suspect among many church labels — will become more conflated with ex-member. That’s a legitimate concern, I think, for someone who is interested in living as an otherwise orthodox Mormon feminist, who wishes to make clear that Jana is *not* part of her specific tribe, and who is worried that other members will view her as interchangeable with Jana.

    It’s like the fights for the soul of any particular movement. You don’t want those weirdos to self-identify as Republicans (or whatever other group) because then when you say “I’m a Republican” (or whatever else) other people may think that you hold the same views as those weirdos.

    On the flip side, we usually allow a fair amount of self-labeling. Evangelicals wish that Mormons wouldn’t appropriate their label, but there’s not much that they can do about it. The same goes for labels like “bloggernacle.” I personally started the conversation that resulted in that title; but I don’t have any veto power over whether someone’s blog calls itself a bloggernacle blog.

    Labels like “mormon feminist” are sufficiently fluid that I don’t think it makes a lot of sense to engage in too much exclusive border policing. We can say, “you’re not my type of Mormon feminist” or “my definition of Mormon feminism doesn’t include people like you” or even “Exponent II should adopt my vision of Mormon feminism, and not yours.” But the broader label isn’t one that lends itself well to further policing.

  63. Two of Three says:

    I have really enjoyed this post and the subsequent responses. I benefit from hearing all sides of the issue. I would like to address the original question : “I wonder if I’m an exception to the typical path of non-belief. Or is it possible that many (if not most?) who lose belief continue on much the same afterwards?”

    I was very much the same before I joined the church as after. Only, after I joined the church, my sunny disposition was attributed to the gospel. Now that my faith is waning, I feel I am still that positive person. Although I agree with Craig in that I feel more “authentically myself” all of the time. I am less and less concerned about what others want for my life and more in tune with who I really am.

    My behaviors haven’t changed much. I still go to church (and get out of it what I can), volunteer at school and I don’t swear in front of the children. On my last visit with my (non-member) sisters, I had a glass of wine with dinner, more to feel in control of my own decisions than anything. I can’t see alcohol as a big part of my life.

    To sum it up. I was a good person as an Episcopalian. I was a good person as a TBM. And I am still a good person as Mormon with one foot out the door.

  64. chanson says:

    I think it a fairly common complaint from ex-mormons that they just “weren’t themselves” as Mormons and they are so much more real or authentic now. That’s cool. I just think it’s a shame that they don’t seem to understand that some people really feel that they are at their personal best IN the Church. Active, and all that jazz.

    I have said repeatedly that many people thrive in the LDS church (although it doesn’t work for everyone). Most recently, I said it here.

    Sure, it’s possible for a person to recount a personal experience — and have a subtext that “everyone whose experience is different is wrong.” It’s also very possible to defensively read that subtext in when it’s not there.

    Also, I think this whole discussion illustrates why a forum for the faithful is indeed the right audience for Jana’s post. If you’re going to attend church lessons about the “bitter fruits of apostasy” then you ought to hear the other side of the story.

  65. LRC says:

    It sure would be a lot easier to draw lines around which people are Mormons and which aren’t if God would just strike down all the ones who aren’t REALLY Mormons, wouldn’t it? Not only would it solve the definitional issues, we’d all know what would happen to us if we took that awful step of removing our names from church records or answering “none” when asked our religious affiliations just before surgery.

    But God doesn’t send down lightning strikes (at least not on people who follow water-safety rules and stay off the boats during lightning storms, right, Jana?). And God doesn’t seal up the lips of those who would call themselves Mormon only because they attend the Pioneer Day celebration with grandma every other July. God doesn’t even whack people over the head when they call themselves Mormon feminists – even when those so-called feminists are men.

    Funny, this God. Seems to let us do lots more things than our fellow-beings would have us do. Maybe God isn’t so worried about all these labels. Maybe we shouldn’t be so worried about them, either?

    The truth is that “Mormon” has at least as many meanings as “Feminist” and that The Gospel(TM) is big enough for all Truth(TM) and we really don’t have a clue about What It All Means, so it’s better to share the joys of the journey rather than throw rocks at the other hikers.

    Thanks for an interesting story which has sparked enough discussion to bring me out of lurkdom, Jana.

  66. LRC says:

    And in answer to your question, I’ve been thinking about the people I know personally who’ve left some or all of their Mormon beliefs on the wayside (there’s enough to fill a chapel, at least), and I can only think of maybe a handful of folks who are less ethical-acting now than they were when they attending Sacrament Meeting every week.

    I can think of several more who’ve gone on “benders” for awhile as they’ve rebelled against former constraints and tested new-found freedoms, but again, all but a handful have let go of the crazy wildlife lifestyles and have settled down to being good people who want to make a difference in the world.

    And I’m not sure if I know anyone who’s left the Church and then had a truckload of problems dumped on them (you know – lost the job; lost the house; got cancer; wrecked the car). I know a few who’ve lost spouses and/or connections with other family members because of changes in religious beliefs (generally, in members-don’t-want-to-associate-with-apostates kind of situations).

    So, Jana, you fit in with my experiences of people who’s journeys have led them away from LDS-dom for permanent or for a time.

  67. pearl says:

    ESO@58 For me “raised Mormon” or “one-time-Mormon” is a more accurate description that acknowledges the imprint but also designates your own choice to move away from it.

    Then when you leave the church, you can describe yourself that way.

    For the rest of us, please abide by what you say in @57, I do indeed believe that each individual determines their own Mormonism. and quit expecting us to use definitions that are comfortable to you.

    Chanson @66: Also, I think this whole discussion illustrates why a forum for the faithful is indeed the right audience for Jana’s post. If you’re going to attend church lessons about the “bitter fruits of apostasy” then you ought to hear the other side of the story.

    AMEN!

    What I’m really worried about is that someone will show up to the Exponent II blog and get the idea from reading ESO that you have to be rigid, orthodox and thrust your labels on others (even though you keep saying you know that’s inappropriate) in order to be a Mormon feminist.

  68. EBrown says:

    Just a note about how one leaves the Catholic Church. There is no list or resignation process. Notifying a priest or bishop is completly unnecessary. One leaves by leaving. Catholic theology asserts that the grace received in the sacrament of Baptism is permanent. If someone had left the Church, even after many years, one could return to full communion simply by receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation (i.e. Penance) in the same way members who had never left receive it. The Church does not check up or patrol to keep members in line or to reactivate them.

  69. pearl says:

    wanted to add this link, which voices some of my feelings about the wholeness of my Mormon identity:

    http://joi.org/bloglinks/There%20Is%20No%20Such%20Thing%20as%20Half.htm

  70. Stella says:

    @ Craig

    I love you! But you already know that 🙂

  1. July 18, 2010

    […] a compass? And what about those Jaredite Barges? Hate mail: good or bad? Apostates: everybody knows they’re miserable, right? Should we go back to the church and try to make it work? And what about the evidence that […]

  2. July 18, 2010

    […] A recent post on the Exponent has brought this discordant motif blaring forth again, with slight variation. How was Jana’s post received? Here is one comment that caught my eye. And here was another. …it’s like you showing up at Fast and Testimony meeting and telling people how much greater life is now that you have tank tops and tea. You wouldn’t do that, not because you are saying anything particularly outrageous or rude, it is just not the forum. Perhaps (hate to put words in her mouth) Naismith feels like I do: that THIS is not the best forum to extol the richness of post-mo life. Exponent II is, as it self-defines, a forum for Mormon women. When people who are no longer (or never were) Mormon women come here and post about their non-Mormon womanness, it feels antagonistic to those of us who actually want to read about, you know, Mormon women (maybe that’s why most of those people read Segullah instead). But I agree that a forum for formerly Mormons might be a very comfortable place for such a posting. […]

  3. August 2, 2010

    […] the comments here and here we were reminded that — while Mormonism doesn’t work for a lot of people […]

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