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://​con​ser​v​a​tive​cake​lib​er​alic​ing​.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://​con​ser​v​a​tive​cake​lib​er​alic​ing​.blogspot​.com/​2​0​1​5​/​0​5​/​L​e​a​v​e​I​t​A​l​o​n​e.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://​bit​ly​.com/​W​e​A​r​e​A​p​o​states

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.
3‑John 8:23

Excerpt­ed from Con­ser­v­a­tive Cake & Lib­er­al Icing by Car­son Calderwood

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