Just tonight I read an article by a BYU student, Blake Oakey, called “What Tithing and Korihor Have To Do With Ex-Mormons Attending BYU“. He takes a legitimate movement by BYU students to allow actual religious freedom at BYU and spins it to sound like an insidious plot to destroy the souls of men.
Right off the bat we get this:
The idea of Ex or disaffected members attending BYU makes me squirm.
Even the idea of being around someone who once shared his opinions but now has changed their mind makes him uncomfortable. And not just being near them, even being in the same school as them.
He then goes on to talk about how students’ tuitions are subsidized by tithing and how it is a stewardship that he and other students take seriously. This is good, I would hope that every student would appreciate the sacrifice others have made to contribute to their education. However, the then proceeds to talk about students who “flagrantly disregard the honor code or doctrines of the church” and says that they are in no position to receive those funds. There are two points here. First, I would agree that those who flagrantly disregard the honor code which they agreed to should be subject to all the same disciplinary action as all the rest of the students. Mormon or ex-mormon, it doesn’t matter. Follow the rules you agreed to abide by. On the second point however, students who are not LDS are under no obligation whatsoever to follow the doctrines of the LDS church above and beyond following the honor code and whatever is needed to obtain a non-member ecclesiastical endorsement.
The idea of Ex-Mormons attending BYU, who leave the church hoping to benefit from the institution funded by a church and prophets they don’t believe, in is offensive and problematic to many of us.
Someone who no longer believes in the church is “offensive and problematic”. This is such a terrible attitude that I can barely stand to read his words. This is an attitude that very much fosters an “us against them” mentality that is not just unhealthy but damaging to the church in the long run. If you’re not for us, you’re against us. Also, it’s not like what a person currently believes is always a matter of choice. Some people when confronted with the truth, by their nature, must incorporate it in to their view. Why should a person be punished for finding out the truth about the church and for no longer believing in it?
Blake would rather have them lie to everyone around them and pretend to be something they are not, instead of just becoming a non-member and paying non-member tuition and moving on with their lives, or get out of his presence! He’s so afraid of someone who has decided that the church is not what it says it is, that he is completely in favor of just ejecting them entirely.
when anti or ex-Mormons come around, the wisest decision it to remove them before they can hurt other’s testimonies
Are their testimonies really so fragile and built upon a sandy foundation that even the very existence of an ex-mormon threatens their testimony? I wish I could say that this mentality was rare and unique to this individual but unfortunately the way the church talks about “apostates” leaves little room for a fully indoctrinated young mormon to believe anything else. They couldn’t possibly just want to finish out their education in peace, no, now that they’ve left the church, their entire existence is about destroying the church and the believers! It’s a ridiculous notion, but it is one that many members, including myself while still an active member believe whole-heartedly because it is the narrative put forth by the LDS church.
While I am a firm supporter of religious freedom, and the right to live the beliefs of our own conscience, and support the Article of Faith #11, at a church run school like BYU, allowing those who know the truth of the gospel, who have become disaffected or have left, to remain is just asking for trouble.
“While I am a firm supporter of religious freedom…well I’m actually not. You’re fine believing whatever you want to believe, just so long as you don’t believe I’m wrong. If you believe I’m wrong, get out of my school!” He has fallen for the all-ex-mormons-are-anti-christs rhetoric so fully that he actually believes it is better to get rid of them all then risk that one of them might, you know, change someone’s mind.
The answer to that question is quite apparent to anyone who has spent any amount of time within the Church. During my 22 year stint on Earth, one truth about this matter has become abundantly clear. When members leave the Church, they never leave it alone.
I used to buy in to this line when I was a member, because I’d never seen the other side of the fence. I had no idea just how naive this statement is. First of all, it’s not even remotely true. There are many people who leave the LDS church or become inactive who simply fade away and have nothing to do with the church ever again. Secondly, there is a reason that some people who leave the church “never leave it alone.” Just as members believe it is their mission and duty to bring people to the knowledge of Christ and help them overcome the world, those who have seen the church for what it is often feel it is their mission and duty to help the people they love and care for come to see the spiritual and mental bondage that they are in. If you knew that your loved ones are in the thrall of an organization that uses well established methods of mind control and behavioral manipulation to get them to devote their entire lives and a tenth of their income to their organization that is founded in lies, would you not do everything in your power to free them? Would you not do everything you can to expose the truth? With every essay the church releases it becomes clearer and clearer to those willing to open their eyes that “anti-mormon lies” are the actual truth and the sanitized correlated history and doctrines members have been fed over the years are the lies.
There is always the festering thorn of the gospel that they can never truly remove.
This is true, but not for the reasons Blake thinks. It isn’t the spirit pestering them for their bad decisions. It’s the church and/or its members constantly pestering them. It’s the day-to-day lies and half-truths spun out by the church that drives them mad with frustration. It’s the unwillingness of their loved ones to remove their blinders that makes them weep at night.
While it is truly heart wrenching to see our brothers and sisters lose their trial of faith and resign from the LDS Church, it is important to always show love and respect.
I’m sorry, but destroying someone’s life by stripping them of everything they’ve earned at BYU so far and their livelihood because they are no longer a source of tithing is not love or respect.
My friend has a family member who has completely left the Church. It is nigh impossible for their family to spend any time with this person because everything is always seeped in contentious arguments. They love their family member immensely, but there came a time when they needed to separate themselves for their own spiritual safety.
Did he ever stop to consider that maybe the family member isn’t the cause of the contentious arguments? That maybe, just maybe the family member would love to just have a real conversation regarding the truthfulness of the gospel without members turning every single word in to an attack on the church and themselves. Separating themselves for their own spiritual safety? If your testimony is so fragile and your knowledge so thin and lacking that further light and knowledge might bring your opinion crashing down, then maybe your opinion should be brought crashing down. Any opinion, even strong opinions called “testimonies”, that cannot stand the light of truth and knowledge needs to be changed.
While being Ex-Mormon is not always the same as being Anti-Mormon, when it comes to the safety of the soul, I think it’s best that the honor code allow that separation to continue unabashed.
“Instead of having to actually think, it’s better to just get rid of anyone who thinks differently.” This person unabashedly spews fear mongering and hate rhetoric designed to make members fearful of encountering a dreaded ex-mormon. I wish I could blame Blake wholly for his attitude, but I can’t. I know that this article and his attitude in general are the product of years of indoctrination. I was there myself, I understand being there. In their mind there is absolutely no good reason to leave the church, so in order to protect themselves their mind puts up a barrier against acknowledging that ex-mormons might not be liars. To acknowledge that an ex-mormon isn’t a liar and might have a valid reason to leave the church is to admit that the church might not be what it claims it is and their mind simply won’t allow them to even consider that possibility. So Blake, and others like him continue to do what they have always done and blindly fear.
I am ashamed that I used to think this way. That I saw everything so black and white with no room for anything in between. I am ashamed that I blindly lumped all ex-mormons together as hateful and spiteful apostates. I was what Blake is, and it frustrates me because I understand how impossible it is to reach out to someone like that. Now that I’ve become a post-mormon, I have a much greater understanding of what it means to leave the church. There are those who are bitter, yes, some probably longer than they should be. For most, their anger is just a phase, their bitterness temporary. They’ve suffered a great loss in their life and must grieve. A very few of these feed on and fuel this anger and bitterness and unfortunately these, to the Church’s benefit, become easy poster children of apostasy and the church can paint them as the standard ex-mormon.
Each of us who have moved on can only do our best to not feed the narrative that the church would have its members believe and be kind, loving, patient, generous, and generally charitable people. The more members who can see that we are still the same people we always were, just now not believing the same things we used to, the more we can help the Blake Oakeys of the world realize that maybe, just maybe, those ex-mormons might have a point or at the very least, that they deserve the same religious freedom that mormons want for themselves.