Over the past year it’s become clear to me that perhaps the biggest productive role my podcast and blog serve on the Internet within Mormonism is in providing people w/ coping mechianisms to remain active, or reactivate themselves, after becoming disaffected w/ the LDS church. For many, this is a really hard thing to deal with.

My next podcast is going to address this topic.

For those of you who fit the following description, “I want to participate in church….but it’s just so hard now that I’ve been through all this”–please send me in advance the questions or problems that you have w/ activity, and I’ll do my best to address them individually in my podcast.

I very much look forward to this podcast–perhaps more than any I’ve done.


  1. Nancy July 22, 2006 at 4:32 pm

    After my divorce, and no interest from available men in the church, I have begun to look for good men outside the church. And there are many, but this often means comprimises. I am disallutioned by the male oriented power that seems to run everything. Yet I hold callings, and am raising my children in the church.

  2. John Dehlin July 22, 2006 at 5:05 pm

    From angrymormonliberal…

    “My primary question to throw out there to the community in this podcast is How do you deal with the anger?

    Normal mormon culture makes me extremely angry, assuptions about homosexual and lesbians, assumptions about my beliefs, assumptions about my life choices and my wife’s life choices. More specifically, there are aspects of mormon history that are so completely ignored that I can only think some kind of prejudice is involved. The church treatment of Juanita Brooks after her honest assesment of the Mountain Meadows Masaccre, the complete absense of the Iosepa community from any narrative of mormon history, the treatment of of those of african descent, especially the racist folklore that emerged and has not been commented upon even obliquely until recently. I have memories, as a child, listening to a general conference talk discouraging inter-racial marriage and feeling deeply inside that this was wrong, that the speaker was wrong in saying what he said. It boils over sometimes.”

  3. ElGuapo July 22, 2006 at 7:43 pm

    I may not quite fit the bill having already resigned, but I do still attend weekly with my wife and kids. One question I’d address is how to deal with priesthood and Sunday school hours. Sacrament is easy to sit through because it’s impersonal, no one’s going to call on you or ask you to come up. But the more intimate classroom settings make me uncomfortable now. It just seems that the goal is uniformity of thought and feeling the spirit, not having viewpoints challenged and reaching mutual understanding. That’s not a criticism really, it just is what it is.

    So, for instance, I really enjoyed reading “Waiting for World’s End,” sort of a highlight reel from Wilford Woodruff’s prodigious journal writing. And I really like Wilford and sympathize with him, despite not sharing his convictions about the church. So as we study his teachings this year in priesthood, I’m actually interested in the topic … but I still go home rather than sit there hoping not to be called on or asked to do or say something I’m uncomfortable with.

    Perhaps ancillary to that, then, would be this question: for those who are disaffected or any like me who are still-attending exmos, do you think it’d be better if everyone in the quorum was proactively made aware of the change? In my case I was teaching elders quorum only a few months ago and it seems very few are aware of the change.

    Thanks, John, it’s a great thing you’re doing.

  4. jen July 23, 2006 at 6:09 am

    my question would be how to raise kids in a church where you must “bear testimony” instead of just have faith. at some point kids are going to ask about your testimony, or may be introduced themselves to the inconsistencies in church doctrine. how do you raise your kids mormon without beleiving yourself?

  5. Cathy Ross July 23, 2006 at 6:10 am

    Hello John.
    Here is my question for the show:
    “Living a life in the Church is a big compromise. Why should I tolerate all the negative stuff when I get so few positive things out of the church?”

    Unless you are a Buddhist, you know that we only have one life and one chance to live here on earth.

    Living within the LDS church is a big compromise.
    You have to tolerate:
    – bigotry
    – intolerance
    – arrogance
    – racism, sexism
    – ignorance
    – superficial friendliness
    – psychological manipulation
    – stress due to overly high standards

    I wonder: What’s the sense in all this?
    We cannot change the church, because the church is a hierarchical organization.
    Until you become the next prophet, John, you will not change anything in the church.
    You will not change the pressure on young men to become missionaries.
    (you heard the story about the sister missionaries being gang-raped in South Africa? Why didn’t their garments protect them???)
    You will not change the bigotry against nonmembers.
    You will not change the hatered towards homosexuals, people with two pairs of earrings or other “deviants”.
    You will not change the fact that the church covers up its history as much as possible.

    I seriously feel that you live a life like Don Quixote, fighting against windmills.
    Hinckley will not visit your site and change his point of view.

    Why should I stay in the church and live a life of compromise, always having to tolerate all this stuff which is so fundamentally against my moral values?

    Sometimes, it is better to throw an old doll away, even if it has become part of your life, when it is old, stinks and is full of germs.

    So, why John, why live a life compromising your own moral values?

    Cathy Ross.

  6. Dallas Robbins July 23, 2006 at 7:41 am

    “Cathy Ross said:
    Living within the LDS church is a big compromise.
    You have to tolerate:
    – bigotry
    – intolerance
    – arrogance
    – racism, sexism
    – ignorance
    – superficial friendliness
    – psychological manipulation
    – stress due to overly high standards”

    When I first read you list Cathy, I immediately asked myself, not only does one find this in the church, but in my experience, in everyday life also. So, as a Buddhist might remind us, “life is suffering.” And I find lots of sense in that maxim.

  7. enochville July 23, 2006 at 8:43 am

    I don’t fit your intended audience, but perhaps this question might be held by some of your intended audience.

    It is one thing to find out that many important and foundational events, doctrines and revelations are in reality quite different from what the general membership was taught to believe by the church leadership. But, it is quite another to contemplate that the Spirit misled you and everyone else who ever prayed about the Book of Abraham. That before you knew of the problems, the Spirit had confirmed to you that the Book of Abraham really was the writings of Abraham and that Joseph really did translate the ancient papyri and that the doctrines really came from God only to find out the “doctrines” came from Thomas Dick, Joseph made up the translation, and Abraham never wrote the Book of Abraham.

    No doubt, some will question whether the Spirit ever confirmed to anyone that the Book of Abraham was what it claims to be, but I say ask any missionary currently serving what he believes about the Book of Abraham and whether the Spirit has confirmed that truth to him. The Spirit surely didn’t confirm any of the apologist ideas before the individual heard about them.

    So, how do you cope with a Spirit that is unreliable in confirming what is true?

  8. seeking truth July 23, 2006 at 10:40 am

    My questions is the same as Jen wrote above. It’s all about the kids at this point. Do I really want to raise them in a church I no longer believe in, in order to not “rock the boat” living in SLC?? Because you know what, it sucks to have your eight year old cry because she saw you drink coffee and she’s afraid her LDS friends will find out and not want to play with her anymore. Maybe it’s time to find a new place to worship and socialize since my belief system has broken away from that of the LDS church. (in small ways, like that the WOW was of God) I feel like if I don’t, I’ll just end up confusing my kids more than anything else. Also, I’ve come to the conclusion lately—- why would I WANT to send my kids on missions when I no longer believe the truth that they will be asked to proclaim? The temple? I would not be able to attend their wedding.

    So if you could just help me with that, John, life will be great!! ha ha. I realize that you can’t, I guess I’m just giving voice to these issues I am wrestling with. I look forward to hearing the next podcast.


  9. Dustin July 23, 2006 at 12:06 pm

    Hi John,

    I have recently decided to give going to the LDS church another try. I went for one month to my local ward. I was away for just under 3 years. My goal was to go somewhere to be reminded of things like humility, patients, loveing ones neighbour etc. I found that the above teachings were present at times, but had to be picked out of watered down lessons on the Old Testament and carefully handpicked quotations from an early nineteenth century polygamist.

    So here are my main reasons I do not care to go back:

    -every lesson seems, indeed, like a bunch of white folks giving each other high fives (or pats on the back)…there is nothing resembling “school” in Sunday School
    -I have since been labelled as a reactivation effort-I hate the culture of labeling which still is alive and well, despite the fact LDS leadership has tried to stop it. ie active, inactive, member, non-member, “the” church, “the” gospel, etc.
    -I don’t get the feeling that you can just go and warm a pew on Sundays-I can just see the ward executive committee licking their lips every time we enter through the chapel doors
    -I agreed with your analogy that every organization has it’s faults, but does every organization claim to be the only, true and living church?
    -no net benefit, the time I spend feeling uncomfortable and in disagreement far outweighs any insight into becoming a better more “christ-like” person.
    -Finally, If someone were to approach me and ask if they should join the LDS Church I honestly don’t think I could recommend it.

    These are a few things on my mind for now. I am looking forward to your podcast.


  10. Devin July 23, 2006 at 3:30 pm

    In Relating to other member I find that some of my difficulties include:

    -I have difficulty with the “all or nothing” attitude that seems to be rampant among TBM’s. (Either JS was everything he claimed to be, or he is Satan’s little helper.) Somtimes I feel like, as an unorthodox Mormon, I’m seen as a cancer in the church that isn’t welcome.

    -I never realized that so many people paid attention to my underwear. I don’t generally like to make a big deal publicly about which of my beliefs deviate from the accepted norm, but the fact that I’m not wearing two shirts is harder to keep private.

    -I also get tired of people insisting that I tell them what all of my issues with the “gospel” are so that they can quote some scriptue or statement by a prophet that is certain to resolve my doubt.

  11. Gamaliel July 23, 2006 at 3:42 pm

    One thing that’s difficult for me is the feeling that I no longer fit in: that I’m now fundamentally different than everyone else in the ward. I find myself looking around during church meetings and wondering if others have the same concerns that I do.

    It seems probable, however, that there would be some like-minded people within the ward. The question is: How do I recognize them? How would they recognize me? I’d love to get to know them.

    Tapping into online communities like this one has been a great source of help, but activity in the church means being part of a local community. I need to feel like I really belong with the people I sit with, sing with, and serve with each week.

  12. ElGuapo July 23, 2006 at 9:59 pm

    In response to Gamaliel, one idea for finding other unorthodox Mormons nearby would be to set up a Frappr map. Frappr.com is a free site where anyone can create a group map and people can pinpoint their locations. You can use an anonymous user name, and addresses are only shown at the zip code level. People can also message each other through the site without sharing email addresses. Here’s an example from a question that came up on FAIR about what tribes people are from: https://www.frappr.com/12tribes. In fact, feel free to add yourself to that map too. Which reminds me, there’s also one for exmos: http://www.frappr.com/exmos.

    If there’s a lot of interest, John could set one up–even integrate it into the site here if he wanted–or you could do one yourself, Gamaliel.

  13. John Dehlin July 23, 2006 at 10:16 pm
  14. Mike25 July 24, 2006 at 12:36 am

    For me, I would probably not stay in the Church if it weren’t for family and tradition. It is hard for me to sit through church for three hours after my eyes “have been opened”. I see the contradictions, I see hearsay and opinion spoken and accepted as doctrine, and I see correlation keeping the “thinking” to a minimum. That last thing, correlation- and having so many “taboo subjects” we can’t talk about in church (ie its history) keep me from going usually. However, I do find myself occassionally going to church for a few reasons now:

    From the superficial level, I go (occassionaly) because it’s good for my daughter. I go because it’s good for my parents to see me continue in the family tradition- it puts them at ease which is part of their well-being which is what I care about. I find myself going in hopes that I might find another Sunstone Mormon in my neighborhood.

    On the deeper, soul seeking level I think I go because I have hope that it could all be true. All I want is an afterlife with my loved ones. I’ll probably hang on to Mormonism, if even by a thread, till I die. No one can prove if JS saw God or that he didn’t. We will only know after this life. That’s enough to keep my curiosity piqued, even if from a critic’s point of view, for the rest of my life.

  15. ElGuapo July 24, 2006 at 8:50 am

    John Dehlin wrote: Here’s my frappr map.


    Well there ya go. ;)

  16. Square Peg July 24, 2006 at 10:03 am

    For me, it really comes down to the following choice:

    I can continue to participate in the LDS community as a quiet heretic—and somehow learn to live with the fact that I will always be partially unaccepted and unacceptable (something I see as inevitable in a religious tradition that fears and distrusts heretics as much as ours does).

    OR, I can choose to leave my lifelong religious community and begin the process of finding or building a new community that is more compatible with and accepting of my beliefs—at an extremely high cost in terms of family and social relationships.

    From where I sit right now, neither option looks very attractive. The first seems easier and more convenient—but also possibly less fulfilling over the long term. The second feels much more difficult and painful—but also possibly more rewarding, honest, and meaningful.

    Right now, I’m in a weird kind of holding pattern of limited church activity as I continue to search for ways to stay in the church and live an honest, authentic life. Mormon Stories has certainly given me a lot to think about in that regard, but I’m still very much on the fence. One day I’ll make a decision to either become fully active again (if I can find a way to do that in terms that make sense to me) or sever my ties with the church completely.

  17. Concerned Parent July 24, 2006 at 6:12 pm

    A couple of previous responses have touched on the issue of ‘raising children’. I still attend church with DH and kids. I am very concerned about the ‘lock-step’ approach for children (especially boys) with baptism at 8, ordination to AP at 12, Early Morning Seminary, Eagle Scout by age 18 and then mission at 19. I currently view the church’s programs as being focused on perpetuating the institution (creating a future missionary force) …. versus developing Christ-like young people (I have heard of non-LDS church youth groups volunteering with local soup kitchens / community projects. It appears that, at least in my area, the youth go to EFY and have LDS-affiliated scouting service projects).

    I can contrast the church’s recent Joseph Smith bicentennial festivities with the week-long program my child attended at a local Protestant church. The Protestant church’s curriculum focused on “God loves me”, “God is with Me”, “Read the Bible”. That’s a bit of a difference from lessons focused on Joseph Smith and the westward trek of the LDS pioneers.

    A question :

    Is it possible to raise children within the LDS community when parents don’t subscribe to the ‘lock-step’ approach of Primary, YM/YW, Seminary programs ?

  18. Remy July 25, 2006 at 7:10 am

    John, my main question would be how one deals with issues of integrity. How do we represent ourselves truthfully and speak about values that may conflict with church norms without suffering ostracization or being dismissed or marginalized? How do we handle temple recommend issues? I think that many simply choose to remain silent, and I think that this is a valid response, but it doesn’t work for everyone.

  19. skater July 27, 2006 at 7:38 pm

    I love this site. I am too very concerned. I found out the church’s foundation was cracked 5 years ago. My belief fell apart. I’m surprised that some can still look at JS as a prophet. Perhaps the conditioning is very deep at best. I have 3 kids and one nearing baptism. My wife is trying hard to keep it together. I’d call her a wannabe TBM but her dream of an eternal family has evaporated since I no longer believe. I believe in what Grant Palmer said that we need a Christ centered church and throw the rest out.

    Anyhow, the podcast you are preparing would greatly help me. I fell like such a hypocrite sitting in S.M. knowing what I know but am obligated due to family, heritage and tradtion.

  20. John Dehlin July 28, 2006 at 8:17 pm

    From another listener:

    Here is a list of questions dealing with the things that I struggle

    Should I let my kids continue to believe all the things they are taught
    or should I share my new views with them?

    How do I go about telling my kids about some of these controversial
    issues without destroying their testimonies?

    Do I even want them to have testimonies of some of these things?

    If it has been so hard for me to continue to believe in God and figure
    out my own spirituality, how will my kids be able to deal with it?

    If I feel uncomfortable at church, do I want my kids to feel that way?

    Is it fair to them to wait until they are about to go on missions and
    get married in the temple to share these things?

    Does it make sense to continue to pay tithing to an organization that I
    no longer really believe in when my family is struggling to make ends

    Is there a tithing compromise that makes sense?

    Should I renew my temple recommend?

    If I believe things only symbolically and not literally, or only have a
    hope of certain things, can I honestly answer “yes” to all the
    recommend questions?

    What about the question about not agreeing or sympathizing with any
    groups or individuals whose teachings are contrary to those accepted by
    the church — can I answer that honestly?

    Should I tell my Bishop how I really view things or just quietly keep
    my real beliefs to myself?

    Should I wait until I get asked to do a new calling that I can’t accept
    or should I go tell the Bishop now which callings I am willing to do?

    Should I tell my friends in the ward that my views have changed or just
    let them continue to think I still agree with everything?

    If I don’t tell them, am I being deceitful and dishonest? If I do tell
    them will they still want to be my friend?

    Even if I can handle the embarrassment, is it fair to make my wife miss
    out on social activities because people don’t know what to do with her
    heretical husband?

    Should I just attend sacrament meeting so I don’t have to answer
    questions and participate in uncomfortable lessons? If I do that, is it
    fair to my wife to have to explain to everyone where I am at? Is that a
    good example for my kids?

    How can I give a talk or lesson in church? If I just avoid those things
    I don’t agree with, am I still a hypocrite for standing in front of
    everyone and looking like I am a full believer?

    If I don’t have a temple recommend, can I still participate in

    Should I be giving people blessings when I don’t have much faith in
    them anymore? Should I decline when asked?

    How can I continue to have scripture study with my family when I don’t
    believe (at least literally) many of the things that are said?

  21. John Dehlin July 28, 2006 at 8:43 pm

    More from another listener/writer:

    My Uber-Question is simply this: “Am I being dishonest to participate, actively, in the LDS church?” Examples that come to mind are these:

    – I feel like I am playing word-games during a temple recommend interview — giving my own private interpretations to the words while the interviewer takes away an impression which is likely different than I feel inside. I do this knowingly because I need the recommend (I actually work for the Church right now!) *and* because I hope that someday the temple experience will be meaningful for me.

    – How can I accept an assignment to teach when I don’t believe all the correlated materials?

    – I derive no personal comfort from LDS participation — though I wish I did. How can I a) Teach or b) Say I have a testimony of the atonement?

    – How can I avoid feeling anger during testimony meeting as person after person professes a confirming witness which I have sought but have not obtained?

    – Can I honestly say I have a testimony? I don’t know what that word means anymore….

    – How can I home-teach when I don’t agree with the Engisn messages?

    – How do I find *anyone* at church to whom I can relate? I feel like a stranger there…..

    – What do I say to my bishop and stake president who are both “down-the-line, literal history, do everything by the book, righteousness = works, everything I do is inspired because of my position” type of people. I am *afraid* to talk to them for fear of 1) Retribution for being “sinful” or “slothful” 2) Having to expend enormous effort to manage a relationship with them to avoid repurcussions to my family.

    – How do I avoid or handle being a disappointment to my wife and extended family…

  22. Enish July 29, 2006 at 3:11 pm


    Like ElGuapo, I’d like to hear some thoughts on how to best approach Sunday School and EQ from the standpoint of one that doesn’t beleive the foundational claims of the church. It seems I have two options: 1) I can sit quietly uncomfortable saying as little as possible during discussions that seem to provide so little in the way of independent thought or 2) I can engage with my thoughts but likely make everyone else uncomfortable since my thoughts always seem to range much further than any of the ward instructors are willing to consider (ditto for other members of the class, as far as I can tell). I have no interest in challenging foundational cliams, but as I don’t see the world from the faithful viewpoint, even speaking my thoughts on things like the church’s stance on the marriage amendment comes across to people as a challenge to the faith.

    Lately, I have just sat in the foyer reading, but I wouldn’t mind (and would prefer) engaging in the classes if there were some middle ground that could be found.

    Succinctly put: How can I engage in SS/EQ classes in a way that adds to the discussion without making either myself or the other participants uncomfortable.

  23. John Dehlin July 30, 2006 at 3:46 am

    More from a listener:

    * BOA+ Kinderhook+ BOM translations/claims.
    * The ever-constant change of chief doctrines in the Church which upon one’s perception of this instability members may be deprived of a feeling of the “fullness of the gospel”, of a “restored gospel”, of a “peculiar gospel” or of being unique from other churches. After seeing one church in JS’s time, a completely different one in the fifties, and another completely different church as it stands today, leaders can be seen as completely human in their opinions, prophecies, and commandments and that can make it hard to take them seriously today. After seeing so many doctrines thrown out in the past, how many of today’s doctrines will remain? How can we put faith in today’s doctrines and suggestions after seeing a history of constant and convenient re-modeling of the Church?

    * “Human” Imperfections in past leaders are of the most heinous: Fraud/scams (Treasure seeking/magic, and a running away at midnight from a bankrupt bank). Murder (blood atonement, MMM). And sex/adultery. These imperfections are far from “warts”.

  24. John Dehlin July 30, 2006 at 3:56 am

    From another really good friend:

    My Recent Mormon Story (a practical approach)

    Reasons I went Back:
    • I have learned that in today’s world the absence of some type of “structured spiritual medium” is not the optimal circumstance for a family. (family being any unit greater than one)

    I can accept the fact that “our” church is as true as any other church, and that if you compare the “real-world” programs it comes out ahead.

    • To help others like myself.

    • The church is a “work in progress”, and maybe in some small way I can help to shape it.

    For me there are two main categories of the LDS church today.
    1. The religion, doctrine, and supernatural.
    2. The real-world values, community and organization.

    Where I find value:
    1. Category (2) above.
    a. Making our family more a part of the community, looking out for others and vice versa.
    b. Associating with many people in a short amount of time and hopefully having a mutual sharing and assistance.
    c. Instilling values, morals and life skills.
    i. Primary, Sunday School, the Boy Scout/Young Men’s Program, the Young
    Women’s Program.
    d. Being part of something bigger than “just you and yours”.

    Influencing Factors:
    1. My wife, and a friend.
    2. Coming to a point where I could separate category (1) from category (2).

    How I reconcile my personal beliefs:
    Nothing is free, there are costs and benefits to everything. In this case for me, when I really looked at it, the benefits out-weighed the costs.

    Most of the costs I previously associated with the church were of the hypothetical supernatural nature.
    For the most part, my personal spiritual beliefs and the “hard-line” LDS doctrine are at odds with each other.

    But, after much time (many years) and a progression in my own life experience, I have come to a point where I have explicitly chosen to focus on “real-world”, “real-life” criteria, and dismiss all of the opinion and debate of the super-natural, which can’t be proven or disproved.

    In so much that the pre-defined “super-natural” specifics help, they are correct. But for me, to press or debate them is as futile as arguing why the characters in “Star Wars” did the things they did in the movies.

    I have a highly spiritual dimension, but struggle with the branding or labeling that tends to accompany religion.

    At the end of the day, I have found peace and purpose to my “re-affiliation” with the LDS church.

  25. noyo king July 31, 2006 at 2:53 pm

    I think life is entirely too easy in Utah and for the Mormon culture here in these Estados Unidos. It is my opinion, for the most of us, we have too much time on our hands and are not anxiously engaged, not just in the programs and the agenda of the ‘Church’ but engaged in living. Living more simply so that others may live, using less so that others may have more who have nothing. We curse the undocumented among us and want them shipped back on Orin Hatch’s lear jet provided by one of his pharmaceutical lobbyists. I wish I could beam about half the Mormon population in the intermountain area to San Jaun de Lima Peru and or any of another 10,000 places and see how the other majority of the world’s population lives, including their fellow brothers and sisters, los hijos de Lehi.

    Take responsibility for the fact many were “illusioned” at some point due to the immature warm and fuzzy feelings and seminary stories or for superficiality that brought you each week. Life begins when one or two doses of reality hit you broadside and you can shoose to become “disillusioned” or you can get over it.

    The Church is as true as the Gospel. Yes, mistakes are and were made and change comes slowly. There is nothing like it anywhere and never will be anything as good. I have looked. Time to grow up spiritually and take responsibility.

    Another comment John, concerning the 25+ year veteran of the seminary/institute program, Grant Palmer. His work was not courageous or honest. It was deceitful, unscholarly and dishonest and probably reflects some deep seated problems.

    The whining, the criticisms and the finger pointing is wearisome and getting old. The time may not be long, wherein the darkness of night may fall for any of us or for our middle class Mormon SUV, Lake Powell and time share culture. Find life and find Christ in abundance, not in things but in giving them away.

  26. CraigBa! July 31, 2006 at 10:42 pm

    • I have learned that in today’s world the absence of some type of “structured spiritual medium” is not the optimal circumstance for a family. (family being any unit greater than one)

    I agree entirely, except that I would say “family unit being anything equal to or greater than one.”

    My feelings, 10 years after leaving the Church, are that everyone needs the sort or spiritual sustenance that church provides. Or at least I do. With all the other things coming at us in the world, it’s worthwhile to spend a few hours each week focusing on your soul, and having other people there with you.

    I can accept the fact that “our” church is as true as any other church, and that if you compare the “real-world” programs it comes out ahead.

    Maybe. I think it’s a shame that so many here have simply written off all other churches as a possible alternative. (And no, I’m not coming to you today from the Southern Baptist Convention). My own personal decision has been to visit them all, and see what I find. If at the end you decide the LDS Church suits you best, then at least you’ve had an interesting journey.

    And hey – it’s what Joseph Smith did.

  27. Lis May 1, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    This conversation is probably dead by now… but I find it interesting that so many people seem to be frustrated with the discouragement of independent thought in church/Sunday School. I’m fairly alternative in my beliefs and opinions, and, being a bit outspoken, don’t hesitate to bring those beliefs into Sunday School or wherever — sometimes, yes, people feel threatened or try and get back to happy conservative beige ground, but more often than not, I find that they’re less judgemental than I expect them to be. I get raised eyebrows here and there, but most people are very willing to discuss issues on intellectual, spiritual, and emotional levels — even when the subject matter is emotionally loaded or controversial.

    I think this is yet another case of people versus gospel — some people are comfortable with the heirarchal over-controlled letter-of-the-law attitude they grew up with and others are okay with coloring outside the lines. You find the same thing in politics and etiquette and so forth — different generations think and act in different way. The younger folks, like myself, have in many cases been raised with a less authoritarian attitude than our grandparents/parents, and live in a world where discussion and debate by anyone on anything and everything is the norm. So perhaps the church is changing as its members change?


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