|LDS temple Salt Lake, 1940s, family estate picture|
Independent journalist Johnny Harris explains, on a 23-minute video today, “Why I Left the Mormon Church”.
He had graduated from Brigham Young University (Wikipedia has just posted personal data which shows him to be 33), and married (Iz) and had a child, and moved to Washington DC. He had done missionary work, at his own expense, which is presented as knocking on doors and proselytizing, and said he was going through an internal mental review of his own faith, often on bike rides or runs. It struck him one day that he could not commit himself further to the collective cause of the church. He confronted Iz, who first thought that could end their marriage, but then Iz joined him in the same separate introspection. They would have to raise their boys to become much more independent thinkers.
He does review the four major ordinances of the Church as baptism, confirmation, endowment (a special ritual) and marriage. Descendants can do rituals for your soul after you decease. The whole setup (eternal family) imputes a collective solidarity that “takes care of everyone” who has an otherwise rightful place within the church. But this amounts to a right-wing form of “socialism” or the psyche. In the distant past, the Mormons were a persecuted group, and could understand the idea of an identity of a lived experience of oppression, with an uncanny parallel to today’s woke Left, but with other groups. Harris does mention the homophobia of the LDS church of the past, and it seems directly related to the idea of social solidarity as expressed in reliable procreation within a family expressing traditional gender roles.
So Johnny’s journey seems to be one of leaving tribalism for individualism. He can do this with an entire family. For an individual like me, it is more problematic. That’s particularly troubling if I were taken out by someone else’s violence (which I have avoided, turning 78 in July, having avoided HIV and COVID). With no community behind me, that’s the end. No funeral, nothing, just erased. Maybe because of someone else’s indignation and anger. You really have to want to be saved.
I visited the Sal Lake area once, in May 1981.