I’ve had experiences lately that have caused me to really question how members of the Church fall away and are lost.
My little sister-in-law Mandy is one of those people – she’s falling away, ready to take her name off the records of the Church, and insistent that we are all deceived and just haven’t heard all the history that we should hear.
She’s making choices that I feel she’s going to regret for the rest of her life.
For this reason and a few others, I really want to get this post started and do more research on the topic of LDS member apostasy.
This post will be the start of an outline; then I’ll turn it into a thesis and then submit it to the Ensign and other blogs to see what kind of reaction I get.
Question: Why do LDS members apostatize?
Are there examples of Apostasy in the scriptures?
Scripture References of Apostasy
- Laman and Lemuel
- 5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have atransgressed the laws, bchanged the cordinance, dbroken the eeverlasting fcovenant. (Isaiah 24:5)
- 11 ¶Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a afamine of bread, nor a bthirst for water, but of hearing the cwords of the Lord:
12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall arun to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it. (Amos 8:11-12)
- 13 ¶Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: (Isaiah 29:13)
- Matthew 24:4-14
- 28 ¶Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the aflock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you boverseers, to feed the cchurch of God, which he hath purchased with his own dblood.
29 For I know this, that after my departing shall agrievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking aperverse things, to bdraw away disciples after them. (Acts 20:28-30)
- 1 This know also, that in the alast days perilous btimes shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, acovetous, boasters, bproud, blasphemers, cdisobedient to parents, dunthankful, unholy, 3 Without anatural baffection, ctrucebreakers, dfalse accusers, eincontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 aTraitors, bheady, chighminded, lovers of dpleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a aform of godliness, but bdenying the power thereof: from such turn away.
14 But acontinue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a achild thou hast known the holy bscriptures, which are able to make thee cwise unto dsalvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:1-5,14-15)
This final scripture reminds me a lot of what I heard in Sacrament Meeting yesterday. The speaker talked about the dangers of the Internet and what it is causing with the youth. He identified social media as a cause of “narcissism”. I looked up narcissism and found this:
Narcissistic personality disorder is a condition in which people have an excessive sense of self-importance, an extreme preoccupation with themselves, and lack of empathy for others.
Causes of Narcissism
Cause of this disorder is unknown. Early life experiences, such as particularly insensitive parenting, are thought to play a role in the development of this disorder.
Symptoms of Narcissism
A person with narcissistic personality disorder may:
- React to criticism with rage, shame, or humiliation
- Take advantage of other people to achieve his or her own goals
- Have excessive feelings of self-importance
- Exaggerate achievements and talents
- Be preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence, or ideal love
- Have unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment
- Need constant attention and admiration
- Disregard the feelings of others, and have little ability to feel empathy
- Have obsessive self-interest
- Pursue mainly selfish goals
I also found this:
Narcissism is a generalized personality trait characterized by egotism, vanity, pride, or selfishness. However, narcissism has subsequently included particular meanings in specific fields, including:
A central concept of psychoanalytic theory
A mental illness
A social or cultural problem
A personality trait.
“Egotism, vanity, pride, or selfishness…” – how ironic that these attributes are mentioned so often in the talk “Beware of Pride” by President Ezra Taft Benson and also in the talk by President Uchtdorf.
So is narcissism one of the reasons why members of the Church apostatize? It seems to have a strong correlation.
What is an Apostate?
“Members of the Church vary in their levels of participation or belief. Latter-day Saints who have seriously contravened or ignored cardinal Church teachings (publicly or privately) are considered apostates, whether or not they have officially left the Church or affiliated with another religion” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism , 1:59).
My Thesis on Why Members of the Church Apostatize
Due to pride, the Internet, and the power of social media, members of the Church fall into apostasy.
I should like to emphasize the importance of watching the little things in our lives…
Speaking to the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1831, the Lord said: “Out of small things proceedeth that which is great.” (D&C 64:33.) It is so with good or evil, my brothers and sisters. Small, kind acts can grow into mammoth good institutions. The Boy Scout movement is an example of this as is known by anyone acquainted with the history of this great institution. It is so likewise with evil things. Small acts of dishonesty, small acts of an immoral nature, small outbursts of anger can grow into great and terrible things.
There is so much to this talk by President Hinckley. The little matters in our lives can lead to big things that change our life forever.
I’m grateful for this time I’ve taken today to study. This will be an ongoing study and I will refer to it again in future studies.