In or out.

One thing that has long been curious to me, is why do some people, when learning about the troubling elements from Church history leave immediately, while others stay around a long time before eventually leaving(or even not leaving). I myself spent at least two to three years having serious doubts about The Church, trying to reconcile the difficult things I was continually learning about the church with the aspects I loved and believed. (similar to several people I know) Whereas other people I've known leave the Church almost immediately after learning of it's uncomfortable past. Both groups seem to have been equally devoted to the Church before their doubting, and frequently I have wondered, what is it that separates these two approaches. (aside from the fact that some people who leave quickly were just looking for a reason to not believe. I'm sure that happens, but among people I know it seems less common.)

Today, something finally dawned on me. People who leave the Church quickly tend to have a more 'things are either this way or that way' sort of approach to life. When applied to the Church they would take the approach that either the Church is totally true, or it isn't true at all. In thinking of the people I know who left the Church quickly, this seems to characterize their approach to many issues.

I do not mean to attach any judgment to this. While I personally tend towards not being that way, I think it can have some benefits. For example, I think my life would have been simpler if I was able to have quickly left the Church.

I don't think this is the only factor separating these two groups of people, but it seems like a significant one.

I think the way a person's parents approached religion can be a factor. Children of parents who took a more restrictive approach to religion will often feel a bigger backlash and resentment if they learn things which don't support the traditional restrictive views they were raised with. If a person is raised to think their Church is ABC and anything outside of that is wrong, will have a difficult time when learning their Church also includes DEFGHIJKLMN. Whereas a person who was raised believing their church is ABCDEFGHIJ, probably won't have as hard a time when they learn it also includes KLMNOPQRSTUV.
But this again goes back to 'things are this way or that way' sort of thinking. Perhaps they view the world in those terms because that is how it was presented to them by their parents. Or they inherited that approach to things genetically from their parents.


Jack W. said...

I also think about this quite a bit. It also took me a while to jump off of my fence-sitting role. I think a big factor for me was my family's pioneer roots and firm devotion on my mother's side(Parley P. Pratt. His daughter - my Great^3 Grandma Olivia - was one of the first settlers of Pleasant Grove).

This will be fragmented.

Growing up, I was bored with church, but liked the social opportunities it gave me. I went on my mission a year late, and with a little hesitancy. It never clicked with me the way it clicked with others. Many in my family equated my oratory skills at the podium for a strong testimony when it should have been considered more of a strong giving of a testimony.

Many things that were perceived as "deep" or "strong" that to me were quite surface level. This is a thought I need to flesh out a bit before expounding.

I tried hard to find a way for the church to be right for me, but roadblocks popped up everywhere I searched for these things.

I have no doubt that the church makes my parents and family happy. But it made me feel fake, insincere and emotionally lacking. I felt some of the religious feelings described by devotees in music for instance, or well-written works.

So in trying to place all the ducks in a line, the church quacked its way away from me.

ricky said...

It was the church that taught me to see the world as black and white, but it was art school that finally helped me get past that, which is what I guess kept me in much longer than I would have. Studying art gave me a love for ambiguity and the church is chocked full of it. It was interesting to me how things could be true and not true at the same time.