I’ve been following Carson Calderwood’s story from a distance, and I find it to be such a sad example of the Church pushing out people who are trying hard to contribute in a positive way. I recommend all go and listen to the Mormon Stories episodes with Carson and Marissa, and also go read Carson’s blog at http://conservativecakeliberalicing.blogspot.com.
I appreciated all of his posts, but his most recent post caught my attention, and I’d like to share a portion of it here. Go to http://conservativecakeliberalicing.blogspot.com/2015/05/LeaveItAlone.html for the full article.
Many times when discussing our thoughts on Mormonism, extended family or friends ask me the often repeated Mormon phrase, “If you left the church, why can’t you leave it alone?” Since now I’ve both left and been kicked out I thought it would be a good time to detail my explanation and have something to point people to when they ask so I don’t have to have the long conversation over and over again.
[… T]he wonderful J. Rueben Clark said (BYU Law School was named after him), “If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed.”(2) This was my mantra in life, which unfortunately led me out of the church. The more I investigated it, the more it fell apart until I no longer could believe it was God’s one true church anymore.
Taking in all of the above with the strong push we get as Mormons to be member missionaries and share the good word, how could I not want to share what to me is the good word? Doesn’t it also seem a little very hypocritical to send people out on missions, encourage members to share the gospel with their neighbors, even push to do it on social media and then think that I can’t do the same? It would be like a non-member telling a recent Mormon convert, “You can leave the world, but you can’t leave it alone.”
I have an idea as to why members say this phrase, despite its obvious double standard. Most members are good people doing good things. My problems are a lot more with the system than the people. Everyone I’ve talked to that will be honest with me admits there are things in the church and its doctrine that bother them. They choose to put those items on the proverbial shelf and not deal with them. When someone leaves the church and especially if they point out the problems that made them leave, this brings those items off the shelf and puts it right back in front of them creating cognitive dissonance. This makes them feel uncomfortable, those issues are on the shelf for a reason. Rather than deal with them its easier to just vilify the person making you feel that cognitive dissonance and put them back on the shelf.
Here are some funny examples of the irony I find in members using this trite phrase on me. There are so many ways they don’t leave ex-Mormons alone, I can’t understand how they can say the phrase knowing how much they hound less-active and post-Mormons while keeping a straight face.
I’ll make members a promise — when they stop sharing their good word, I’ll do the same. Until then, let’s keep searching for the truth because “the truth will set [us] free.” (3) and “If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation.” (2)
Also see our other post on how we are happy to be branded as apostates — http://bitly.com/WeAreApostates
1-Loyalty, Conference, April 2003.
2‑J. Reuben Clark, D. Michael Quinn: The Church Years. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1983, p. 24, emphasis added.
Excerpted from Conservative Cake & Liberal Icing by Carson Calderwood