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They got offended. They wanted to sin. They were too lazy to keep the commandments.
Those are three of the most popular “reasons” that current members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints tend to use to explain why an increasing number of people are leaving the Church or losing their faith.
Explanations - Next - Mormons - Survey - Saints
As I’ve explained before, these explanations did not hold up in the nationally representative Next Mormons Survey, which showed that former Latter-day Saints cited other reasons, including the sense that the Church was a judgmental place and they could not trust its leaders to tell the truth about controversial or historical issues.
The offended/sin/lazy justifications also don’t hold up in a new study released this week from David Ostler and discussed in the book Bridges: Ministering to Those Who Question. It’s a lovely book directed at current LDS leaders, parents, and teachers, explaining why faith crisis tends to occur and what, if anything, the Church can do to help.
Ostler - Sample - Church - Others - Beliefs
Ostler’s sample includes some who have stopped attending church as well as others who are still active but whose beliefs have changed. It is not nationally representative, in that the data was drawn specifically from a social media affinity group made up of adults who were once very active in the Church and have since either left or experienced a faith transition.
It’s statistically unusual for former Mormons to have been so involved; in the NMS, for example, the majority of former Mormons had never received a temple endowment, been sealed in the temple, or served a mission. The median age for leaving was 19, before many of those milestones are achieved.
Ostler - Convenience - Sample - % - Respondents
In Ostler’s more focused “convenience” or “snowball” sample, fully 98% of respondents said that at the time of their faith crisis, they held a current temple recommend. Since previous social science...
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