Thursday, November 13, 2014

You Can Leave the Church, but the Church Can't Leave You Alone

Sometimes I feel like the kid who saw dead people in the movie The Sixth Sense, but what I see is much more horrifying than ghosts.  What I see is terrifying and dangerous, and, worst of all, what I see is real, not a figment of some writer’s imagination.  The thing I see can cause deep and lasting damage to the people we say we love.

To give you an idea about what I’m talking about, let’s flash back to my last therapy session:

Oscar Franklin: I see double standards.

Psychiatrist: In your dreams?

[Oscar Franklin shakes his head no]

Psychiatrist: While you’re awake?

[Oscar Franklin nods]

Psychiatrist: Double standards like ...people with double standards?

Oscar Franklin: Good people. Decent people. They don’t see me. They only see what they want to see. They don’t know they have double standards.

Psychiatrist: How often do you see them?

Oscar Franklin: All the time. They’re everywhere.

I'm sure you've all heard the saying, "You can leave the Church, but you can't leave it alone."  Without exaggerating, I’ve heard this hundreds of times in my life and not only is it rude and hurtful, it’s completely inaccurate.  It’s time to drive a stake through the heart of this phrase, sprinkle it with tap water, and throw it in the garbage where it belongs.

Let’s take a closer look at who can’t leave whom alone.  There's a huge double standard, as evidenced by the following:

1- Post-Mormons don’t go knocking on their neighbor's doors to tell them about Agnosticism.

2- Post-Mormons don't text friends saying, "I noticed you went to Church today. I sure missed you at not-Church. Hope to see you soon."

3- Post-Mormons don't bribe their neighbor’s kids with treats to stay home from Church.

4- When PBS has a show on about Richard Dawkins, Post-Mormons don't make fancy invitations and invite all their Mormon friends over to watch it.

5- When their Mormon neighbors move, Post-Mormons don't track them down and invite them to leave the Church in their new area.

6- Post-Mormons don't fly across the country to Philadelphia at their own expense and then spend two years trying to get Philadelphia Mormons to leave the Church.

7- Post-Mormons occasionally quote Carl Sagan and Neil de Grasse Tyson, but they don’t inundate Facebook with such quotes the week before and after the Nobel Prize for Science is presented.

8- Post-Mormons don't put on huge anti-Mormon pageants every year at multiple locations and invite all of their Mormon friends to attend.

9- Post-Mormons don't secretly interrogate their neighbor’s children to find out why their parents are staying in Church.

10- Post-Mormons don't drive down to the Church on the night they're having youth activities and say, "Hey kids, we're on our way to the arcade.  Do you want a ride?"

11- Post-Mormons never chastise Mormon family members for posting something on Facebook that was too mormony.

12- When a Mormon neighbor makes the decision to stay in the Church, Post-Mormons don't write them a letter explaining the eternal consequences of their decision and telling them that before they make such an important decision they must sit down with them to discuss it.

13- Post Mormons don’t give their Mormon friends books by Jerald & Sandra Tanner for Christmas and Birthday presents.

14- Post-Mormons don’t send their teenage sons to their Mormon neighbors to collect donations for Post-Mormons that have fallen on hard times.

15- Post-Mormons don’t email Brother Jake videos to their Mormon friends.

16- Post-Mormons never look at a Mormon and try to figure out what type of underwear they're wearing (unless the Mormon is very sexy).

17- Post-Mormons never use funerals as an opportunity to teach the plan of natural selection to grieving Mormons.

18- Post-Mormons never write their testimony inside a copy of No Man Knows My History and give it to a colleague while explaining what the book has meant to them and how it has changed their life.

19- Post-Mormons don’t turn on a John Dehlin Mormon Stories podcast to listen to when they’re giving their Mormon friend a ride home because their car broke down.

20- Post-Mormons don’t purchase a gift subscription to a Secular Humanist magazine for their neighbors.

21- Post-Mormons don’t end all messages, texts and emails to their Mormon family and friends by stating, “The Gospel is not true!”

22- Post-Mormons usually don’t have the audacity to tell a Mormon how they should vote.

23- Post-Mormons don’t offer to give their sick or injured Mormon friends a Scientific Proclamation that will cancel the negative effects of any superstitious thinking that may impede their treatment or recovery (Example: Fred, I urge you to go to the hospital immediately and seek appropriate medical care…).

24- Schools located in areas dominated by Post-Mormons never send kids home from school for being dressed too mormony.

25- Post-Mormons do not send Birthday cards to their Mormon neighbor's children with a note that says, "Darwin loves you and so do I. We sure miss you when you go to Church."

26- Post-Mormons don’t tell their Mormon friends that they're going to hell because they don't believe in the Big Bang.

27- Post-Mormons don’t invite their Mormon friends to dinner and surprise them by having also invited two young evolutionary biologists who would like to share a message with them.

28- Post-Mormons don’t assume that their Mormon friends are just going through a temporary Mormon phase because they were offended by a Post-Mormon, were accidentally exposed to some pro-Mormon literature, or had the desire to feel excessive guilt for their sins.

29- When they notice a family in their neighborhood has attended Church for several weeks in a row, Post-Mormons don't leave delicious chocolate cupcakes on their doorstep with a note that says they wish you would stop attending Church so often.

30- Post-Mormons don't call a meeting with other Post-Mormons and say, "Hey, lets make a list of all the Mormons in the ward boundaries, and let's think about it and pray about it, and we'll narrow that list down to 5 names, and we'll focus all of our energy and attention on these five people or families, and we'll try to get them to leave the Church.

31- Post-Mormons don’t deny Mormon friends and family the opportunity to attend weddings.

32- Post-Mormons don’t hold posthumous Church resignation ceremonies for their Mormon loved ones who have passed away.

33- Post-Mormons don't disown their children if they decide to be Mormon.

 34- Post-Mormons don't counsel anyone to divorce their spouse because they've decided that Atheism isn't true and that Mormonism makes more sense.

35- Mormons usually don't become depressed or physically sick because their Post-Mormon friends and family abandoned them because they were being deceived by God.

36- Nobody has ever begun using drugs or alcohol to mask the pain caused by their Post-Mormon friends who couldn’t accept their belief in the Book of Mormon.

37- Nobody has ever committed suicide because their Post-Mormon friends, family and community rejected them because they wanted to marry another Post-Mormon.

So after noticing this very obvious pattern of behavior, let me ask any Mormon who reads this post, “Who's not leaving whom alone?”

Notes:  Let me know if you can think of anything to add to this list.  Thanks to some anonymous friends for contributing to Nos. 23, 27, 28 & 32.


  1. Great post! I enjoyed reading the others you had on your previous site yesterday. Please tell me they'll be back and that there will be more!

  2. Whomever your friend was for #27, please congratulate them for making me laugh out loud. Great post all around.

  3. I can NOT thank you enough for this post! What a gloriously accurate response to such an ignorant, cliche question. God bless you!

  4. The nots. Talking about the nots being bothered by the haves for lack of a better term. Star-bellied?