Thanks to Idaho Jimmy for posting about

This got me wondering if anyone in the group has a qualitative sense as to what direction most people leaving Mormonism follow? Do they tend to just become ordinary semi-religious (holiday-religious) folk, do they go back to what they were previously, do they become evangelicals because they were convinced that Mormonism is wrong and doomed to hell? It even seems, from some of the critical Mormon blogs and sites that some choose to remain in the church but live as cultural Mormons rather than spiritual Mormons.


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i have no statistical data (it's all fuzzy), but it seems that the most common places to go are liberal/cultural/new order Mormonism (but that doesn't REALLY count as "leaving Mormonism," right?), atheism and agnosticism in general, and then with fewer becoming some other kind of conservative Christian group.

It seems to me though that when someone leaves Mormonism, it's easy to leave religion in general, because many of the arguments against the church lend so well against other religions (especially Christianity).
i think a lot of the times the more hard-core mormon you were before leaving will predict how hard-core non-believer you'll be afterwards. usually the studious (ie john dehlin, bob mccue, tal bachman, steve benson etc.) will get the tools of critical thought and then apply them to all other religions after leaving moism (like andrew said). however, i think that the numbers would be much higher on people who just leave b/c they don't identify w/ it or think it doesn't add up for them, and some will be just christian, some will be a "jack mormon", and some will just not really give a shit about religious "truths" anymore (apatheist and the like). a lot of people go to New order mormon but i think it's 10 to one of people that just don't buy it after a while. who knows, though.
According to Pew research data ( ), 70% of people raised Mormon stay Mormon, and then 15% join another religion (no further information available) and 15% do not join another religion. So it's split, 50/50 for ex-Mormons.
Ditto to both Andrew S and Markii -- I tried out many other Christian churches after I left Mormonism, but quickly realized they were all saying the same thing and were all equally refutable.

From my own personal experience, I'm friends with about half a dozen ex-mormons. One is an evangelical christian; the rest are all atheist. I don't know any exes that can actually sit through a mormon meeting because they chose to.
Mormonism is a harder faith to leave socially, I think. It's easier to leave "officially" because you don't need to be ex-communicated, but if you live in Utah, then the social pressures that your neighbors put on you usually end up breaking the questioners. If you miss a meeting, they will call you. If something happens, they will come. If they feel your faith is waning, they will bombard you.

I think this is a lot to do with why so many Mormons stay Mormon, apart from the fact that people generally stay in the religion they were born in. I imagine many are skeptics, but stay because it becomes more of a social obligation than legitimate faith, exactly like Jimmo was saying. After a while, as with prostitution, you know no other way of life. And even those who avoid church? Don't always get themselves removed from the church's numbers. I imagine there would seem to be less of us if people would take a stand on the issue instead of just disappearing. I'm not a good example of that, but I really don't know how to disband without hurting my mother... and my extended family, but meh.

I have one friend who refuses to ask himself questions because he's a sad little lad and everyone he sees who lives a perfect Mormon life is happy.
Thanks for the comments, Ann. I like the Goldilocks metaphor. I don't know if I have found my comfort zone yet since I am not in the anti-theism dawkinsian camp.
I only know of myself and one other family who left the Mormons. All of us being part Native American, decided to follow our traditional native beliefs. I think they still are. I kind of just moved into atheism especially when I found out I had Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. ( the god disease)




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