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.
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!