I woke up to headline blaring “Thousands of Mormons are Leaving the Church Over New Gay Apostate Policy.” Another spoke of the thousands and told of a “Mass Resignation Event” scheduled for this Saturday.
Rough stuff. The kind of stuff that makes your heart sick.
I looked a little deeper, and it is true. There are 1,200 people signed up in a Facebook group who plan on resigning from the Church on Saturday in Salt Lake.
Then I looked a little deeper to try and find out more about those 1,200 people. I didn’t have to look far. Someone in the group had already asked the question:
“How many of us are considered by LDS Standards to be “Active” members?
So far, 734 people responded, which is a pretty good sampling of a group of 1,200. Better than half. I pieced together the results and they look like this:
A couple of things stick out:
• There are more people planning to resign (4%) who aren’t really even members of the church than who are weekly-attending members (3%). So there is an share of deception involved.
• 83% of the people “resigning” are ALREADY inactive, or have ALREADY resigned from the church. Making the whole agenda, and accompanying media storm a bit disingenuous.
• This is not a scientific survey, so there are obviously many other people involved, but it is a good enough sampling to get an idea of the current stance of many of them.
So, when you see the hype about the thousands leaving the church, take a deep breath. It is not necessarily what it appears to be. 3% does not make for an exiting headline, nor does it drive an agenda. So you don;t have to worry about walking into church on Sunday and finding the chapel half empty.
On a more somber note, it is tragic when anyone wants to leave the church. In the survey, 3% of those who plan to resign attend every week, and another 2% that attend monthly. That is 5%. It is too many. One is too many..
…especially if that one is someone you love.
A lot of our brothers and sisters are heartsick over this new policy and its ramifications. My hope is that they work through those struggles within the church. I don’t like the wheat vs. tares metaphor in this instance. I don’t like the idea of wheat becoming self-extracting tares.
I want my brothers and sisters to stick around, and keep marching down the path together, even when it is difficult.
I hope people pull back, and not respond in the heat of the moment by walking away – especially when so much hype and disinformation is being spread. Sometimes things take time to process and understand. And even if we understand and disagree, sometimes it takes time to determine a wise course of action.
President Uchtdorf gave a Conference talk a couple of years ago where he addressed those who are contemplating leaving. Quoting from the Gospel of John her said,
“I am reminded of a time in the Savior’s life when many abandoned Him. Jesus asked His twelve disciples:
“Will ye also go away?
“Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”
There are times when we have to answer the same question. Will we also go away? Or will we, like Peter, hold fast to the words of eternal life?” (link)
I recommend re-reading that talk (Come Join With Us) in the context of this past week. I also recommend that we pray for those who are planning on walking away from the Gospel, that their hearts might be made soft, and that WE can have softer hearts as we deal with those who are struggling.
Note: My post last week about “Church Announcements and Two Wolves” ended up being my most read, and shared, post since I began blogging. I was surprised, but it shows how important the topic has been this past week.
Another Note: I haven’t decided if I am going to open up the comments for this. But I do know that if I do, I will be very selective, and my blog will not serve as a soapbox to bash the church.