Date: February 12, 2019 09:14PM
I don't make any claims about how representative it is.https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2019/02/12/commentary-four-myths/
>Within orthodox Latter-day Saint circles, there’s a general impression that people who leave the church abandon faith in God altogether, but this isn’t quite accurate, especially outside of Utah.
The NMS shows that very few former Latter-day Saints do not believe in God at all. Only 6 percent fall into this category, with another 8 percent choosing the agnostic option of “I don’t know whether there is a personal God and I don’t believe there is any way to find out.”
This means that 86 percent of former Latter-day Saints say they believe in God, though they may have doubts at times or feel God is more like a “higher power” than a personal deity.
It’s inaccurate to characterize former members as having rejected all religious belief. For most, the reality is far more nuanced and complicated.
Many actually hold on to not just a belief in God but also to basic Christian teachings about Jesus and the afterlife. They do not, however, tend to still believe in specifically Mormon teachings about church founder Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon (the faith’s signature scripture) or contemporary prophets and apostles.
>More people are leaving Mormonism — but not so they can join another church.
A third of former Latter-day Saints now identify with another organized religion, including mainline Protestant (7 percent), evangelical Protestant (10 percent), Catholic (6 percent), and all other religions (11 percent combined).
The other two-thirds say they identify as “nothing in particular” (27 percent), “just Christian” (21 percent), agnostic (12 percent), or atheist (6 percent). Broadly speaking, they would be characterized as “nones” in today’s religious landscape.
This is similar to what Pew found in 2014 about former Latter-day Saints: about six in 10 ex-member did not affiliate with something else.
And because the Pew study is comparative, we can look at people who left other religions and see patterns in whether they joined another religious tradition. For “mainstream” religions like Catholicism, mainline Protestantism, and Orthodoxy, about half joined other faiths and half did not. For Islam, two-thirds did not, and for Judaism, nearly three-quarters did not.
What this seems to show is that Mormonism is (once again) somewhere in between a mainstream religion and a minority faith. Like Catholicism, mainline Protestantism, and Orthodoxy, Mormonism is a Christian religion, which may facilitate religious switching in a predominantly Christian country like the United States. But like Judaism and Islam, Mormonism is also a tiny minority (less than 2 percent of the U.S. population in each case), and it is religiously distinctive. Both of those things make religious switching harder.
There’s also a Utah factor. In the NMS, former Latter-day Saints in Utah were less likely to affiliate with another religion. In fact, they tended to have significantly lower Christian beliefs overall than ex-Latter-day Saints who lived elsewhere in the U.S. It’s worth asking: What is it about former members’ experience in Utah that seems to turn them off religion altogether?