(Starts at about 8m45s)
Cracks in the Mormon Dam. Some water already beginning to gush.
Atheist LDS current mission presidents. Unbelieving return-MP’s. Doubting General Authorities. A General Authority that stops BYU’s NAMIR/FARMS from publishing a piece against the agnostic-in-longtime-LDS-sheeps-clothing John Dehlin. Daniel Peterson fired and FARMS abandoning unabashed apologetics. Mormonism’s greatest expert on the Book of Abraham, John Gee, says the LDS Church doesn’t stand or fall on the Book of Abraham, and has offered no credible apologetic for the fraud. Extremely few identifiable up-and-coming LDS apologists, and even most of those seem to have liberalized their Mormonism. LDS philosophers abandoning traditional LDS beliefs. LDS theologians and authors embarrassed by the teachings of their own apostles and prophets.
Palmer claims that approximately 45% of return-LDS-missionaries no longer have a temple recommend within five years of returning. Speaking of the unbelief going upstream, Palmer says, “I think it’s beginning to penetrate the upper echelons of the Church.” Lest we jump ahead of ourselves, he says, “And I emphasize ‘beginning.'”
He even says, “I know at least 10 LDS Seminary and Institute teachers who think like I do.”
“I had a daughter and her husband and their two boys leave the Church two months ago. And the answer that they got is, well, ‘Even if it’s false, stay anyway.'” This is what I call, “Practical Mormon atheism.”
Mormonism is atrophying. “It’s like a balloon in the corner that you walk by every three days, and it’s getting less vibrant…”
More and more falling out of the LDS nest. Will they land on Jesus? Or will they go from Mormon atheism (yes, I said Mormon atheism) to secular atheism or pagan atheism, etc.?
Some fellow evangelicals have argued that this state of affairs call for a retreat — that we ought to stop critically engaging Mormonism and treat Mormons in general as transitioners. That we ought to simply encourage Mormonism to gradually, not definitively, mainstream into evangelicalism, even without integrity, even enjoying the delusion that Mormonism has always been evangelical at its core.
I say: Welcome, encourage, teach the transitioners as transitioners, and be aware of the shifts taking place, but don’t prematurely put up the banner. Increase the pressure of critically engaging Mormonism. Increase the maturity and depth of our intellectual critique of Mormonism. Increase the spread of knowledge of “unauthorized” LDS history. Increase the clear delineation between traditional Mormonism and Christianity. And increase the demand that persons of influence in Mormonism take their non-traditional positions with open and honest integrity (not whitewashing them as mere changes of “emphasis”, or as mere re-articulations of traditional positions). All the while gently encouraging Mormons, at an individual level, to consider the Jesus and the gospel of the Bible, to visit a local Christian church, and to take what is good with them as migrants to a new religious territory, but to definitively “jump ship.”