The LDS Church has had a rough month. It started with the March 25th outreach effort of Christians across the nation distributing thousands of DVDs on doorsteps which compared Mormonism with the Bible. Soon after that, the Church released a statement of their concern over the content of an upcoming PBS series titled “The Mormons” due to air on April 30th and May 1st. Now, in Logan, Utah, a new billboard has gone up which advertises a web site in support of disaffected Mormons.
The Associated Press reports:
A billboard aimed at uniting former Mormons has gone up on Main Street in a city that once had the image of a local temple on its public seal…
“It’s a milestone for the group. …We’re helping people validate their choice to leave. We’re not trying to drag people out of the church,” [Former Mormon Jeff] Ricks said…
Ricks, who left the church in 1993, said Post-Mormon Community serves as a social network. The goal is to erase the stigma that sometimes comes with leaving the faith.
According to the PostMormon.org web site, there are 13 Post-Mormon chapters around the world,
…members of a rapidly growing community of families and individuals who have voluntarily left Mormonism. We choose to no longer base our lives, and the lives of our children, on so-called truths dictated by others. We believe that truth is freely available to any honest, diligent seeker regardless of creed, age, race or sexual orientation.
We have felt the butterfly’s metamorphosis. Forces that well up from within have compelled us to grow beyond the limits of Mormonism. And so we have become a loosely knit community of friends and support groups, and endeavor to help those like us who also feel the need to explore meaning, purpose and life beyond Mormonism…What we once perceived as the “strait and narrow way” has broadened to include all ways that promote individual and collective well-being.
We are not anti-Mormon; it is not our intent to belittle others. In fact, we want to keep all the good that came into our lives through Mormonism, but we will be open about its misrepresentations and the way in which its dogmatism and authoritarianism have proven detrimental to many individuals, families and communities.
From a Christian perspective, there’s a definite down side to PostMormon.org. The group does not endorse any religion or belief system, though members are welcome to “continue their spiritual journey through more traditional means.” The web site states,
We do not advocate another form of Mormonism or any other religion and believe that loving one’s neighbor begins with giving up the claim to have special access to truth. We feel that arrogance attends the illusion of “knowing the truth” and that such arrogance leads to a narrow-minded tribalism that impedes personal growth and fosters a divided community.
It’s unfortunate that PostMormon.org, dedicated to helping people find joy in life after leaving a religion whose “dogmatism” was “detrimental,” would embrace such an idea. If a member of the Post-Mormon Community continues his spiritual journey and eventually comes to believe he knows the truth, will he be labeled “arrogant” and be thought to be on the road to “narrow-minded tribalism that impedes personal growth”? How is this an improvement over Mormon “authoritarianism”?
I love the idea of available support for people struggling with the problems they encounter in questioning or leaving Mormonism, but PostMormon.org seems to be throwing the baby out with the bath water. Truth is freely available to all; yet the ability to know the truth is not an illusion. By embracing this ideology PostMormon.org is merely replacing one deception with another.
Jesus, who claimed to know the truth, said, “the truth will set you free.” I believe Him. The only hope for Mormons, Post-Mormons and non-Mormons is the Truth: Jesus, the way, the truth, and the life.