New Order Mormons-A Path of Deception

While surfing the Bloggernacle I came across a blog with a post that I would like to review. The author of the post shared his “testimony”. He started out by stating that he was born and raised in the church, served on a mission, and cherishes the church, and then added that he did not believe in the spiritual claims of the church and never really had. This includes foundational things like the first vision, coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and the restoration of the priesthood by angelic messengers. In other words, all claim of the “supernatural” (his choice of words) never happened.

To him, the church is just an organization of men doing good things based on a whopper of a story. But, that is all right with him because there are many practical aspects of the church that are good, he writes.

Following is a list of a few of the practical aspects of the church that keep him coming back:

It’s good to grow up giving prayers, memorizing talks, and learning songs in Primary.

It’s good to have to sit still in Sacrament Meeting for an hour every week as a kid.

It’s good to have the self-esteem and motivation that comes with considering yourself a Child of God.

It’s good to be reminded on a weekly (if not daily) basis to cultivate Christ like attitudes and behaviors toward others.

It’s good to be taught to be self-reliant, prepared for emergencies, and to live within your means.

It’s good to learn to part with a double-digit percentage of your income and a significant portion of your free time -it makes you a more generous person.

It’s good to not use tobacco or to abuse alcohol or other potentially addictive substances.

New Order Mormons Choose the Third Leg of Three Options

New Order Mormons are those who no longer believe some (or much) of the dogma or doctrines of the church. Instead of leaving the church they choose to stay, choosing, what they call-the third option. The third option is to stay associated with the church but learn to cope with “believers”, and then embrace the practical things the church offers and utilize these things for their own gain. The list above is an example.  The first option is to believe and conform, the second option is to disbelieve and leave.

A Little Mind Boggling

I have to admit this is a little mind boggling. It reminds me of an account in the Book of Mormon. Alma and his brethren were “astonished beyond all measure” by a group of Nephites who started what amounted to a new religious movement, a splinter Nephite group known as the Zoramites. At this point in time, The New Order Mormons don’t appear to be starting a new religious movement, but they do appear to be forming a secretive shadow church, within the LDS church.

Deception and Love

New Order Mormons (NOM) are beginning to gather together via the internet, forming support groups to help one another with the goal of staying in a church whose claims they no longer accept. Remember, the three options NOM are discussing among themselves:

1.  Stay in the church and “believe”.

2.  Leave the church.

3.  Stay in the church as a non-believer and learn “coping” skills.

The underlying premise of Option Three is to preserve the family by staying in the church. “Family and other loved ones are more important than most other considerations,” says one NOM writer.

But I ask, can deception and love be lasting companions? Is deceiving your loved ones and friends the best solution? Are you really comfortable attending your son or daughter’s temple marriage by deceiving a Bishop and Stake President to obtain a temple recommend? I think most NOM want to be honest with those they love, but some are buying into the idea of deception and secrecy because of the NOM philosophy.

I believe there is another option. It is a better option because it doesn’t require any form of deception. It’s a fourth option.

The Fourth Option

The underlying premise of the Fourth Option is honesty. There are many ways to be honest and at the same time preserve your relationship with your family and friends. Here is a straight forward, honest approach; the Fourth Option:

1. Tell someone you respect about your NOM leanings. This could be a church leader, family member, or even someone you don’t know personally. You could even remain anonymous, if you want. It may require talking with more than one individual before you find the right person. When you do, you will know because ideas will come forth that you’ll be comfortable with.

2. Are you willing to discuss your reasons for doubting or not believing? If yes, begin there. Many members find if they will discuss their concerns they can find answers to the most perplexing questions, and in the process reacquire faith. Go here and here for more information.

If you’re not willing to discuss your concerns then make that clear from the start.

3. A key question that needs to be settled is:  how can I attend church with integrity? There are many members of the church who struggle with faith, but have found church activity rewarding so they continue going, and do so honestly by accepting their feelings and honestly dealing with them by working with the Fourth Option.

Concluding Thoughts

I think the bottom line issue for anyone entertaining the idea of adopting the NOM philosophy is honesty. Can you truly say that you’re not troubled by using deception as a tool to manipulate your loved ones? If you’re troubled, I hope you will immediately find a better way. Deception and love don’t make good companions. You can do better!

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6 Responses to New Order Mormons-A Path of Deception

  1. M&M says:

    With all that has been said, may I just add that understanding builds a bridge the fastest in the religious realm off the world. I Love this blog and it is very valuable to me 🙂 in all honesty I am not sure what I believe and so many blogs are covered with hateful and prideful undertones. But here it’s mostly just people pressing there points while trying their absolute best to understand the opposing party’s point of view. That’s how it should be in all religious conversations whether it be between a NOM and a faithful LDS or a Christian and an Atheist. Everyone was to be at peace with themselves. And both external and internal understanding is the best way to make it happen

  2. Kelly says:

    Various leaders and speakers have admonished us to adopt an “all or nothing “approach to the church. They criticize, however gently, those members who they label as “cafeteria” Mormons that select what they choose to believe and live, and pass by the rest. However, in some respects the church chooses a “cafeteria history” when speaking about its past – the positive stories and statements that support current policy and thought are emphasized, while those that have the opposite effect are effectively ignored.

    I suspect that if the Church were to present a more balanced version of its history (and by the way, this is very hard for any organization to do!) it would certainly create a faith crisis for some people. However, admitting that there are human failures and organizational lapses would prevent a worse type of faith crises – those who are faithful Saints that come across incontrovertible evidence that what they were told was not the entire truth and then feel deceived and walk away. By being candid that our history was as turbulent and paradoxical as the New Testament times, we allow for people to seek their own light and participate and believe at the level they can rather than feeling they are no longer welcome or are hypocrites. Everybody has questions and issues – why not make that OK?

  3. Ex Nom says:

    I joined the NOM site thinking it would be a good place to find support for my non-traditional LDS beliefs. The site claims to be for people who do not believe much or all of the church doctrines. I don’t believe the infallible man or follow the prophet doctrines. Or that the church and the gospel are one in the same etc…

    What I found there was a whole lot of angry people. I would say most are atheist which reminds me of the admonition to increase the light you have or risk losing it altogether. my theory is that most of these people started fault finding. Fault finding is a slippery slope fueled by pride. It never has a good ending. If we would focus more on our own shortcomings and failures we would have great treasure troves of knowledge opened to us and would not doubt the existence of God or even the truthfulness of the BoM. 

    Seeking to learn and expand our minds is very profitable and may in my opinion lead to one outgrowing the church. But only if done before the Lord in humility. Seeking truth by reading anti-Mormon  material or finding weaknesses and faults in your bishop or fellow church members will only lead to darkness of mind. 

    As far as being dishonest to keep your family intact? Anyone who thinks it’s better to be a liar than a divorcee is pretty lost, and that kind of justification also leads to darkness. How would you like to find out when you’re old that your spouse had an ongoing affair for the duration of your marriage, but he/she kept it secret in order to “protect” the marriage? I, for one would be pi*#ed off! Just as I would if my husband told me he’d been lying about his beliefs our whole marriage.

  4. Diane says:

    Some one recommended this site to me today. I am no longer a member of the church, but, because I have been a member for well over 20 years, so now, I think of myself as more of a cultural Mormon. I still don’t drink, or smoke. I didn’t do those things prior to baptism either, so really, my leaving has nothing to do with those issues, rather it has more to do with those who consider themselves TBM’s and hold other members righteousness into question(Like mentioned in EX-NOM response) and then not try to walk in our shoes and have to deal with the pure hatred that was just displayed for not believing the same way.

    I have issues with leadership and the truthfulness of leadership. I have issues with the intrusive nature of church and self righteousness of some of the people. I would rather like to view people who are trying to best person they are trying to be. And you know what there are many good people who are not LDS. (though many in the church won’t admit it) I don’t want to have to be the best LDS person. No such person exist, and the ones who have tried to do this, well have worked themselves into nervous exhaustion. I have issues with the way church treats members who are the least little bit different9(i.e) gay, not from two parent families. And then leaders and stalwart members call them Anti for expressing those concerns. Am I going to be welcomed here? I don’t know, only time will tell

  5. Jane says:

    The Church’s “you’re in or you’re out” mentality is an unfortunate, undeniable fact. I don’t think this is fair or spiritually healthy. It’s not like that in most other religions, which have wider parameters for participation. Mormonism’s authoritarianism and restrictiveness force people to take sides: you’re either with us or against us. That’s absurd. That’s not how faith or religion works. It’s a continuum, a spectrum. Those of you who are worried about subversiveness from within, what do you think is going to happen? What has changed? Do you think questioners and skeptics are a new thing in the Church? Do you think spouses on the “down-low” or members who prefer to keep their private business private were just invented with the internet? The only thing that’s new is a website that has created a name and a message that people can relate to. “New Order Mormon” doesn’t really have an intrinsic meaning. It gives gives people strength and hope for where they are in their journey (something that’s often lacking within official channels in the Church). And Jared, that journey may or may not lead to a reconsideration of Gospel truths. But so what? They’re not doing any harm either. They’re there to SUPPORT and find good in the Church. The traditional brand of mormonism is not for everyone, and neither you nor anyone else has the right to define the “mormon” experience for anyone else. Your accusation that people stay merely for their “own personal gain” is inherently mean-spirited and judgemental. What do you mean by “gain”? Do you realize a lot of these people would much rather be doing something else? Most of them stay for their families and children. If that’s what you consider “personal gain,” you have a very distorted view of family and relationships. If NOM, in conjuction with the Church, gives people a home and a community and helps them be a better person, the world is that much of a better place.

  6. liz says:

    So if I am to understand NOM have an issue with the “supernatural” experiences that are the foundation of the restoration. So out of curiosity are they also skeptics with regard to the plentiful “supernatural” in the Bible? And do they not believe in the second coming? Sounds more like atheist??

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