Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mormons Who Came Back: Requesting Your Favorite Stories

I'm slowly working on a new website, Mormons Come Home (nothing there yet), aimed at helping people come back to the Church after they have left or simply drifted away. Part of it is also intended to help members be more patient, loving, and understanding toward those who have left. Anyway, I'm looking for material to add. If you can share or suggest published stories or other resources, your comments here or via email (jeff at jefflindsay d0t com) are welcome.

16 comments:

daveinlv said...

Hello Jeff.. I've been reading and enjoying your blog on your adventures in China. I was raised in the Church but fell away when I was drafted into the US Army in 1969. I remained inactive in the Church between 1969 and about a year and a half ago. During the 40+ years of my absence, I always got a lump in my throat when I heard the MoTab perform or simply heard the name of the Church mentioned. What brought me back was my life taking a big dump back in mid 2010, where I became severely depressed, and lost my job, which doubled my depression. My loving wife, who I have been married to for over 25 years, who was a Catholic when I married her in 1985, contacted the missionaries who came and helped me dramatically. A wonderful side-effect of this was my wife took the lessons and was baptised a bit over a year ago. We are working toward going to the Temple here in Las Vegas as soon as I/we become worthy. I posted a more detailed version of my re-conversion over on the Morman.org website.. I'd be happy to write one for your new website if you'd like..

Dave Frandin
Las Vegas, NV

Howard said...

Jeff,
The church is ill prepared for retuning ex'ed members. I was excommunicated I returned 35 years later completely repentant and enthusiastic but I was treated like damaged goods and a second class member for many years the journey back was very disappointing.

Michemily said...

I know that Natalie Holbrook of the famous blog Nat the Fat Rat might be able to share a story, or possibly she already has one on her blog.

I think your idea is so great and so loving, unlike my latest project, which just collects amusing language mistakes (it's at blabbergastedblog.blogspot.com). Anyway, good luck!

Openminded said...

Hey Jeff,
As much as I despise Mormonism ;-)

I found some pretty neutral-ground research (honestly, it can be used for or against) on gut feelings that you might like to add to this new website of yours.

It comes from Daniel Goleman's book "The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights". Here's my unabashedly self-promoting link to a blog post that describes some really interesting findings he reported: Gut feelings, the basal ganglia, and Daniel Goleman's latest Emotional Intelligence research.

Here's the meat of the post, which is quoted directly from his book: "Lower in the brain, below the limbic areas, lies a neural network called the basal ganglia. This is a very primitive part of the brain, but it does something extraordinarily important for navigating the modern world.

as we go through every situation in life, the basal ganglia extracts decision rules: when I did that, that worked well; when I said this, it bombed, and so on. Our accumulated life wisdom is stored in this primitive circuitry. However, when we face a decision, it's our verbal cortex that generates our thoughts about it. But to more fully access our life experiences on the matter at hand, we need to access further inputs from that subcortical circuitry [where our basal ganglia lies]. While the basal ganglia may have some connection to the verbal areas, it turns out to have very rich connections to our gastrointestinal tract--the gut. So in making [a] decision, a gut sense of it being right or wrong is important information, too."

Jeff Lindsay: said...

DaveinLV, I would be honored to share your story if you'd like to write something for the new website, along with your suggestions on how members can be more helpful in helping people who struggle or who wish to come back or who have come back.

Howard, your point is well taken. I've seen cases where we could have done much better, and that is one of the motivations for doing this site. Would you be willing to write a few paragraphs for me to share with others to help wake them up?

Openminded, that really is interesting and I appreciate the link. Need some time for implications to be digested - have to run right now, but thanks!

Michemily, thanks for the kind suggestion, and good luck with your own work - it sounds fun! Keep me posted!

jackg said...

Jeff,

I think this is a great idea on your part. I pray you have success in this endeavor.

Peace and blessings...

Howard said...

Jeff the contrast between the way investigators and returning ex'ed members are treated is starltling. In addition almost everything that could go wrong did because no one person is assigned to you to follow up so you fall between the cracks and are left to fend for yourself. Here are a few of the highlights.

I took 6 months to get the first appointment with the SP. The reconvening of my disciplinary council was rescheduled every one who would be attending was informed of the change except me! I guess I just wasn't as important as their schedules.

My rebaptism was scheduled and confirmed with the Ward Mission Leader but when I arrived on time with out of town non-member guests the baptismal font was empty, the room was dark, there was no music or speakers the entire program had to be ad libbed and my guests were unempressed to say the least.

The leaders were not well informed regarding what ex'ed returning members can and cannot do for instance first they accepted my tithing check and it cleared the bank then they refused future checks I was informed by a counselor to the Bishop in a normal voice in the hallway where many people overheard it was an awkward exchange.

Warm fuzzies were not extended by leadership instead I was met with skepticism as I was given worthiness interview after worthiness interview after worthiness interview by both Bishops and SPs the process went on in two stakes spanning 4 years before I finally gave up. It was just too ironic to be completely repentant and square with the Lord but not with the church or the church's men. The process crosses the line with me because it pretends to broker my relationship with the Godhead which is simply B.S.

While many members expressed warmth and acceptance I never felt welcomed by most of the leadership, instead I seemed to be an inconvenience to them.

Anonymous said...

@ Howard

I hope your experience is the exception and not the rule. On my mission I was able to help an "exed" member get re-baptized fortunately for him the leadership and ward were very loving and accepting of him afterwards. I hope that time can heal the wounds from you experience. I just want you to know not everyone makes the same mistakes that were made with you. I also want you to know that God will not judge you for the mistakes made by others. I hope someday that you can again return this time fully accepted by all not just our Lord.

Anonymous said...

Those abused by leadership sometimes find suicide an easier road than returning. When returning to meet with the Stake President I was met at the door by a Narcissist who denied me entrance since there was a secret meeting going on. So much for meeting the Stake President.

Thoughts of suicide cross my mind reading this blog.

Anonymous said...

With blogs and podcasts on the internet that are meant to help people to leave the church, this seems like such a good idea, a counterweight to that movement. Good luck. I hope I can give you a good story someday, of someone dear to me coming back to the church.

Korean Cowboy said...

Hi Jeff,

I love your blog, and especially your FAQ! Whenever I first joined The Church (on March 21, 2009...a day that I will never forget), I stumbled upon what I now consider to be my "go-to" resources for all things LDS. They have both strengthen my Testimony in so many ways.

This particular article covers a subject that is near and dear to my heart...my own wife was Inactive for seven years, before coming back to The Church (the timing of it could only be the work of our Heavenly Father). When the time comes, I will definitely love to share the whole story with you!

BTW, DaveinLV, your story brought tears to my eyes...thanks for sharing with us! :-)

Unknown said...

Hello Jeff,

I just happened across your Blog while looking up references to the Narrative of Zosimus.

I am a former member of the Church, now living in U tah, and attempting to return after nearly ten years away. This is not my first attempt, and the going has not been easy to say the least... things have sprung up to make the process more difficult, each time I've tried. This time, however, I am remarried and my wife is being very helpful in this process. I have had both good and bad experiences with members, once they have the slightest clue about my "status" as a former member. I agree with others that ex-Mormons are generally treated more poorly than simple nonmembers. This is the same sort of thinking which, in my mind, leads to hate among the Sunni and Shi'ite of Islam, and among the various sects of Christianity.

Anyway, I would be interested to see where you go with this, and in offering my experiences.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great project, I love the Catholics Come Home site and commercials. There is certainly a gap that needs to be filled, as I think something like 80% of people go somewhat or severely inactive at some point in life, and at least half come back.

I would suggest (though I know it would take alot more work) having at least some of the stories be filmed, as that medium tends to be better for personal stories and emotions. You're probably already aware of Mormon Stories' mostly skeptical personal accounts, as well as the wildly popular "I'm an Ex-Mormon" video spoofs- it would be great to round them out with stories of those who returned.

RT said...

Hi Jeff, I have read parts of your writings for several years now. I also have an interest in helping struggling members. While I have never officially "left" or even gone inactive for any period of time, I have experienced what is often referred to as a "faith crisis" and for several months I was weighted by the thought that an honest action would require me to leave the church. I have now come out from under that weight.

You can find much of my ramblings at growken.blogspot.com November 2007 contains my thoughts while in the heat of crisis. I have not contributed since October 2009. In my opinion much of my agony could have been averted if I had been given a more realistic and healthy view of how things really operate, such as: http://ifeellikeschrodingerscat.blogspot.com/2012/01/leaving-lds-cult-of-false-expectations.html

Keep up the good work Jeff!

Anonymous said...

I think the important thing is to show answers to the "difficult" parts of Latter-day Saint history and doctrine, which, for the most part, is what your website does. Many fallen away LDS leave after reading material from anti-Mormon sources that all too often do not accurately present our beliefs and history, and present their misinformation as fact. It is therefore important to show the "other side" of the story, and I believe that this would be extremely helpful for those questioning their faith.

Anonymous said...

Hello Jeff,
Many years ago now I had my name removed from the records of the Mormon church. I apostatized for the simple reason that I did not think the Bible, and consequently neither the Book of Mormon did reflect historical facts. I never developed any hostility towards the church or any other church for that matter, believing, as I still do, that religion serves a purpose. The fact that it has also been the cause of unbelievable bloodshed ever since its inception in the fourth century, is the result of people misinterpreting the message of the scriptures.
The literal interpretation of Deuteronomy 13:6-9, with complete disregard of the message of Jesus in Matthew 5:44 to love our enemies, has caused more suffering in the world than any criminal organization could possibly have done.
The Mormon church has a beautiful message with more logic than any other church I have studied.
It is my belief that people must be free to believe anything that is beautiful whether it is from the scriptures or its interpretation by whomever, as long as that message is constructive and serves ‘to make bad people good and good people better,’ to use the words of the former president of the Mormon church, Gordon B. Hinckley. There is no single overarching scripture that states clearly which church has the ‘truth.’ Tens of thousands of churches, all claiming to have an angle on the truth are a testimony of what I have just said. And those who believe that the Bible holds all truth and is free of error, should pick up their Bible again and critically examine it. I also believe that once we meet Jesus at his judgment seat, as all Christians believe we will, the question he will ask is not, “how did you believe?” but “how did you live?”
Keith