How To Deconvert A Mormon

How To Deconvert A Mormon

This is a standard intervention strategy for changing behavior- any behavior.

  1. Consciousness Raising. Intentionally increase knowledge about the problems with Mormonism a little at a time. Throw out a statement here and there to arouse curiosity and get them thinking. When asked (and not before!), follow up with podcasts, articles, books, social media, discussion groups, lectures, etc.
  2. Social/Environmental Control. Invite people who are not Mormon into their social circle. Be sure to include individuals who are gay, people of color and people who differ politically. This might open their mind and their hearts.
  3. Arouse emotion. Emotional arousal works on a deeper, feeling level than consciousness raising. Films, dramatic media presentations and personal stories that elicit emotions can have a great effect.
  4. Personal Re-visioning. Look toward the future by showing them the positive new life they could have and the better person they could become through the process of letting go of the shame and burdens imposed by a powerful church, and not allowing others to think for them, control them and dictate their life.
  5. Rewarding. Use praise and other forms of reward to reinforce the positive change.
  6. Disorientation. Once the excuses are exhausted, the rationalizations easily countered, or when the old reality no longer fits, they may feel defenseless. They can’t delude themselves any longer. They can’t maintain their previous way of living. The first phase can be an emotional vortex where they spin in confusion, anger, blame, sadness, frustration, or guilt. This phase usually  lasts until the person is able to reframe what is upsetting him or her without self-blame and without blaming others.
  7. Exploration. They now start to consider options concerning how they will proceed in life with this new light and knowledge. Have support nearby to help. They may need counseling. They will become more introspective as they struggle to look inward for a new life direction and plan.
  8. Commitment. Support them if they wish to publicly announce this change in their life, but only if they feel comfortable doing that. They will likely want to help others going through the same thing and help them on their journey.
  9. Rewarding. Use praise and other forms of reward to reinforce the positive change.
  10. Countering. Help them substitute healthy behaviors for unhealthy ones. Examples might include studying science instead of religious literature, getting married and having children at an age when they are mature enough to handle it and can afford it without feeling guilt, paying bills instead of tithing, hanging out with their family instead of going to a church meeting, including gay friends in their activities, not shaming or looking down on others but being nice, not beating themselves up but thinking they are okay, figuring out what is important to them instead of living their life according to what other people say or want.
  11. Environmental management. Let them go to take control of their own life and arrange it to be the healthiest and most supportive environment they can create. Support and help them with managing their environment if they need it.
  12. Discuss tough situations. Although they may be doing great with their new life certain situations might come up that will be really difficult such as a confrontation from controlling former ward members, family members or TBM friends. Discuss how they will handle these situations in order for them to take responsibility for their own life and not get pushed around, but at the same time keep a hold of/repair as many good relationships as possible. Help them find and make new great relationships.
  13. Remember that ultimately they are only responsible for themselves; you can’t take on the responsibility of “fixing” other people. Remain in your heart- do your best. Care for them deeply; it’s their job to change. If they don’t want to, let them be.

A similar process can be done for people who are unhealthy and should take steps to be more healthy (through diet and exercise).

Basically you can do the same things to deconvert Mormons that Mormons do to convert people (tell them there is a problem with the world, control their environment, arouse emotions, give them the vision of a new person, use praise and rewards, substitute new behaviors with old ones, involve friends and family to reinforce. But don’t push it! Sometimes only the “elect” are ready to hear the truth.)


Posted in Questioning Mormons, Why LDS Members Leave The Church | Leave a comment

Questions For Mormons: Joseph Smith

I have heard and read that the following are true, if they are please give sources, if they are not true please explain why there is a misunderstanding. Thanks!
  1. Did Joseph Smith marry women who were already married to faithful Mormon men?
  2. Did Joseph marry women without Emma’s knowledge or consent?
  3. When Joseph was almost 40 did he marry many teenage girls, even as young as 14 using religious manipulation?
  4. Did Joseph pressure Emma into accepting polygamy even though she was highly against it?
  5. Did Joseph marry his own foster daughters?
  6. Did Joseph con people out of their money by pretending that he could find them buried treasure and then never actually finding any treasure?
  7. Did Joseph marry or have others marry wives of Mormon men who he had sent on missions?
  8. Did Joseph give different versions of the First Vision with vitally important differences?
  9. Did Joseph lie to the church and the public about polygamy?


Posted in Emma Hale Smith, Fanny Alger Affair, Joseph Smith, Polygamy, Questioning Mormons, The Book of Abraham, The First Vision, Why LDS Members Leave The Church | Leave a comment

Best Podcasts For LDS Mormons

Here are some links to what I think are the best podcasts for LDS Mormons to listen to.

The disclaimer is that I haven’t listened to every podcast available to LDS Mormons so my list isn’t perfect, but these are the ones I recommend:

Why I Stay (active in the LDS church) — John Dehlin

So You Think You Can Dance Champion Benji Schwimmer (part 3 especially)

Mormonism and the Internet with John Dehlin, Scott Gordon (FAIR) and Rosemary Avance

Terryl Givens — An Approach to Thoughtful, Honest and Faithful Mormonism

D. Michael Quinn – 21st Century Mormon Enigma

Why Mormon Stories, Why I Left, and Why I Stay

Why People Leave the LDS Church and How We Can Help

John and Brooke McLay – From CES to Ex-Mormons

The Bill Prince Family Story – From Stake Presidency and Houston Mormon Royalty to Ex-Mormons

Simon Southerton, DNA, Lamanites and the Book of Mormon

Grant Palmer Returns to Discuss Sexual Allegations Against Joseph Smith, William and Jane Law, and His Resignation

Dr. Michael Coe – An Outsider’s View of Book of Mormon Archaeology

Richard Packham and How the LDS Church Creates Unnecessary Enemies

Jared Anderson – An Academic Introduction to the New Testament

The Psychology of Religion with Dr. James Nagel

“Middle Way” Mormonism

Creating Spaces for Non-Traditional Latter-day Saints

A Mormon History of the Americas

Decrypting The Book of Abraham

Posted in Questioning Mormons, The Book of Abraham, The Book of Mormon, Uncorrelated Mormonism, Uncorrelated Mormons, Why LDS Members Leave The Church | 3 Comments

Power, Control and Morality in the Mormon LDS Church

This is the seventh and last post in my series: Understanding John Dehlin’s Uncorrelated Mormon Movement. This post is not endorsed by John Dehlin and is my own opinion. Uncorrelated Mormons are those who do not believe or who only believe partially in LDS doctrine, or believe in the need for major reform inside the LDS church.

This then is the correlated Mormon setup: Those at the top of the LDS hierarchy dominate. Women cannot be too much like men or they are kindly shoved back down again. The very structure of most theological assumptions results in this dominance-submission scheme. Power is at the top. This hierarchy results in an assumption of an unchanging God. God must remain constant so men can strive to be like “Him.” The hierarchy itself must also remain static.

The LDS church claims to change with ongoing modern revelation, but the church does not really change much until it is acted upon by outside forces (polygamy, blacks and the priesthood, etc.) There is not much movement in regards to equality.    

In the correlated Mormon system power is conceived of to exert quiet domination and moral control over the members. In the uncorrelated Mormon’s view power is conceived of as personal power which has nothing to do with power or control over another.

Money is the embodiment of power. The more money the church has, the more influence it will be able to exert over society. They are humbly raking in the money through required tithing and gaining more and more quiet power.

Leadership is another symbol of power. In correlated Mormonism leadership involves a thorough working knowledge of the rules. Many rules exist to control others and limit their freedom of thought. It allows male priesthood leaders to counsel and advise those under them according to these rules. It is assumed that people need to be kept in line. Rules are a result of a regulatory approach to others, so rules are made to support the System.  After awhile, if that is indeed what they accomplish, they become sacred rules. They take precedence over the individual, who must learn them in order to fit into the System and support it more effectively.

In the uncorrelated Mormon view, rules are developed to increase individual freedom rather than to impose limits. They aim at embracing the individual and serving her or his needs, not those of the System. They are intended to facilitate personal growth. As a result, they are in process. If a rule does not make sense, it can be challenged and modified or even thrown out altogether. Rules never take precedence over the individual.

In the correlated Mormon world view morality is a public issue. In uncorrelated Mormonism morality is a private issue.

Correlated Mormonism desires everyone to conform to its definitions of right and wrong. It wants everyone to support its myths and beliefs. It has everything labeled and defined.

The uncorrelated Mormon view sees the world as constantly growing and changing. It can not be labeled or defined; it can only be observed as it emerges. Understanding comes from watching, learning from, and facilitating the process of emergence. One does not need to control or define.

In correlated Mormonism differences are seen as threats. When differences are labeled dangerous or harmful, it becomes essential to train everyone to think and act in similar ways.  In uncorrelated Mormonism differences are seen as opportunities for growth.

If history is any teacher, the end result will be that uncorrelated Mormonism will grow and correlated Mormonism will start to lose energy and move toward a state of entropy.

* Now for the surprise ending and the resource I used to write all of my posts in Understanding John Dehlin’s Uncorrelated Mormon Movement. This is it: Women’s Reality by Anne Wilson Schaef.  Yes, I took excerpts from this feminist book written in 1981 and changed the word MEN to correlated Mormonism and WOMEN to uncorrelated Mormonism.  Can you believe how well it rings true?  You can see where I changed the words to fit the posts because all of the changes are in italics. Read through the posts again and see how it rings true. Why is this? It is because correlated Mormonism is run by MALES. It is a man’s church with a MALE mentality. It does not have sufficient input from women to be balanced.  Many people see this and changes are happening. I am excited to see all the changes that will occur in the LDS church over the next 35 years or so. Exciting times!

Posted in Homosexuality, LDS Members Don't Want To Know If Its Not True, Mormonism Good and Bad, Post-Mormon Road Map, Questioning Mormons, Uncorrelated Mormonism, Uncorrelated Mormons, Why LDS Members Leave The Church | Leave a comment

How To Treat LDS Mormon Family and Friends Who Question

This is the sixth post in my series: Understanding John Dehlin’s Uncorrelated Mormon Movement. This post is not endorsed by John Dehlin and is my own opinion. Uncorrelated Mormons are those who do not believe or who only believe partially in LDS doctrine, or believe in the need for major reform inside the LDS church.

When we (uncorrelated Mormons) do not feel as if the correlated Mormons in our lives understand us, we blame ourselves for not communicating properly, but it is not a communication problem. Correlated Mormons do not understand uncorrelated Mormons because they can not.

This is because “superior” system people are often slow learners and are not very motivated to learn about other systems of belief. Why should they? They’re already in charge (and “right!”).

Since correlated Mormons have been brainwashed by their own system into thinking that they are superior and that they know and understand everything, they assume that they can tell uncorrelated Mormons who they are and what they should do and think. Not only do they assume that they have the right to tell uncorrelated Mormons what to do and think and feel and believe, but also that they are correct in their perceptions of them and expect uncorrelated Mormons to accept whatever they say. (This often includes either a terse reaction with a lot of preaching or an arm around the shoulders with feigned sympathy and understanding- both are patronizing and used to control).

The truth is that correlated Mormons do not know and understand everything.

The message that uncorrelated Mormons receive from correlated Mormons is that they are weak sinners and need assistance. There is no chance for mutual support or mutual respect to grow and flourish in a relationship like this. Both parties suffer. The correlated Mormon doesn’t grow and learn, the uncorrelated Mormon becomes either weak and dependent or angry and alone.

Since many of us uncorrelated Mormons live in a culture where our perceptions are rarely validated – especially not by those who “count” – it is difficult if not impossible to trust ourselves. If our perceptions cannot be validated, then we must be crazy.  There must be something wrong with us if we do not accept the common reality of correlated Mormonism.

Only as uncorrelated Mormons have started talking to each other – really talking –  have our conclusions about the LDS church received validation. We realize that we have all reached similar conclusions independent of each other.  We realize that we are not crazy.

Over time, uncorrelated Mormons become more confident and continue in their journey of self-discovery and definition. They eventually become more joyful beings.

However, too much joy is a threat to the correlated Mormon system, which does it’s best to quell our joy and make us feel guilty about feeling joyful.

There are often times that uncorrelated Mormons get into conflicts with correlated Mormons who try to tell them what to do, or that what they have done is inappropriate. They shush them, excommunicated them, humiliate them, etc.

I believe that it is never inappropriate to get angry about being labeled “inferior” or “wrong”.  It is important to be able to express the rage related to the situation.

Many correlated Mormons will say that our anger is wrong or bad (they are only trying to help you, you have no reason to feel that way, why do you let yourself get so upset?)

Uncorrelated Mormons need to have a place where they can express their anger in a safe place, because if they express it in a place where it could be labeled “inappropriate” (such as in church or with an LDS leader or with other correlated Mormon(s)) they could be subjected to an excessive amount of backlash.

This is why there are many LDS online forums and boards (such as New Order Mormons, Post-Mormon and Ex-Mormon)  with angry people. They need a safe outlet, so they can continue on with their happy lives.

Meditation and breathing therapy can also help relieve tension and help to forgive.

Correlated Mormons should give uncorrelated Mormons the experience of being accepted as they are.

Once uncorrelated Mormons realize that their own perceptions are not bad, crazy, and so on, their self-esteem increases and they become more willing and able to critique their own perceptions.

Many uncorrelated Mormons who are angry begin to blame. They blame ancestors, parents, the church, culture, friends, spouses, etc. This is just a phase that will pass. They eventually get tired of blaming.

As uncorrelated Mormons confront their anger – especially in a supportive environment with lots of validation, they move on and they start to learn to let go and love again. They usually get the most support from other uncorrelated Mormons, but it would be so great if correlated Mormons would also listen.  Uncorrelated Mormons eventually learn to be strong enough not to be defensive.  The uncorrelated Mormon will eventually start to see the good in correlated Mormonism and uncorrelated Mormonism.

Posted in Post-Mormon Road Map, Questioning Mormons, Uncorrelated Mormonism, Uncorrelated Mormons, Why LDS Members Leave The Church | Leave a comment

A Shocking Conversation With EVERGREEN: LDS (Mormon) GAY Therapy Organization

This conversation is being reprinted with permission from Rob Lauer Producer and host of “Portsmouth Insites” on PCTV at TV Producer/Host.

Saturday morning after reading in the NY TIMES that famed psychologist Dr. Robert Spitzer had renounced his early beliefs about sexual orientation, I [Rob Lauer] emailed EVERGREEN–the LDS gay therapy organization that bases its organization’s entire operation on earlier statements made by Dr.Spitzer.

Dear Brethren:   “Will you continue to have a full-page on the Evergreen website about Dr. Robert Spitzer when in this morning’s NEW YORK TIMES, Dr. Spitzer himself has publicly renounced his former theory that same-sex attraction can be changed and has now publicly proclaimed that he believes attempts to alter sexual attraction are harmful?”

“Here’s a link to this morning’s NEW YORK TIME’S cover story: ”

“Sincerely,  “ROB. LAUER”

BELOW is the reply I received from DAVID PRUDEN, who has been the Executive Director of Evergreen since 1995:

“Gee, I thought there might be gravity. I did a study. There is gravity! I proved it with my scientific study. Ten years of academic (gay) harassment pass. I am now 80, sick, and old. Never mind, I now suspect there is no gravity. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe none of those apples fell (people changed) but maybe they did. I didn’t ask them. Didn’t conduct new experiments. I just got tired and now I’ll say I was wrong. Science doesn’t work that way. The study is important. Spitzer is not. The study stands on its own. The people he studied didn’t withdraw their data. Spitzer can’t just wish them away.”


“David C. Pruden, M.S.  307 West 200 South, Suite 3001  Salt Lake City, Utah 84101  (801) 363-3837”

I [Rob Lauer] sent a brief but polite email. What I received was a snarky reply that assumed things (“ten years of academic ((gay)) harassment”) and that took a cheap shot at Dr. Spitzer’s age.

I honestly expected a brief but thoughtful and professional reply from someone at an organization that routinely holds conferences and events at which LDS General Authorities speak.

I’m truly taken aback by the juvenile tone and callousness from the Excecutive Director of an organization that prides itself on upholding the highest moral standards of one of the nations largest churches.

(What really saddens me is that Mitt Romney gives money to Evergreen.)

I just sent the following email back to Mr. Pruden:

“I [Rob Lauer]  politely asked you a straight-forward, serious question. I’m more than a little taken aback by the tone of your reply–not to mention the content. … “Perhaps the “Ten years of academic (gay) harassment” that you allude to was because, as Dr. Spitzer contends, his research consisted of accepting the words and opinions of individuals with no outside, objective scientific verification of their accuracy. Your characterization of Dr. Spitzer and the cheap shots at his age and health are, quite frankly, juvenile and unbecoming of someone in your position. You represent an organization that claims to uphold the highest standards of one of our nation’s largest religious denominations. This organization has routinely held events at which LDS General Authorities have spoken. This organization exists to help LDS men and women who are suffering because of their sexual orientation; they come to your organization in desperation, with faith that it can help them. (And you know all too well the success rate this organization has in actually changing their sexual orientation.) Given your position over an organization that exercises such power over the emotions, hopes and fears of vulnerable men and women–and does so in the Name of Jesus Christ and on behalf of one of this nation’s greatest religious traditions–I am surprised and disappointed by your flippant response. If your tone is any indication of the attitudes found at Evergreen, LDS men and women trying to deal with their sexual orientation would probably do well to look for help and advice elsewhere.” “ROB. LAUER”

He just emailed the following back to me: (I post this because I’m astounded that the EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of Evergreen would respond in this manner.)   “I know Dr. Spitzer. Do you? I know what his current health situation is. Do you?   “Science stands alone. The expressed stories of 200 men who he interviewed have not changed. He did no follow-up research. Surely you understand at least a little something about science and research or maybe not.   “Regardless, who are you? I don’t find your name among the Evergreen partners or supporters. Are you planning to become involved in Evergreen in some positive way or are you just the unofficial editorial board chairman reviewing posted documents on our resources site?   “This is kind of a silly conversation isn’t it BROTHER Lauer?”   “David”

He emphasized “Brother” because (I suppose) he doesn’t believe that I’m really Mormon.

I [Rob Lauer]  just sent the following email back to him:   “My name is Rob Lauer. I am a gay Mormon, I was baptized into the LDS Chuch in 1977. I graduated from Brigham Young University in 1983. I was the Associate Director of the Church’s Hill Cumorah Pageant from 1997 until 2003. I am a Mormon writer/playwright.   “You can call me Rob or Brother Lauer–since I am a fellow Mormon.   No, I do not know Dr. Spitzer personally–though I’ve followed his career for years since my teens (in the 1970’s) when he supported removing homosexuality from the list of psychiatric disorders.   Regarding his health, I know only what he has made public.   And yes, I understand science very well.”

“I do not support Evergreen–though until 2003 I agreed with many of its positions. Science, rational thought and my personal relationship with my Heavenly Parents have lead me to accept the truth about the nature of sexual orientation.   Answering your question: No. I don’t think this is a “silly conversation” at all. I continue to be surprised by tha casual, non-serious, even contemptuous manner in which you are conducting it…especially given the fact that you are Executive Director of Evergreen and I am a total stranger.”


Posted in Homosexuality, LDS Members Don't Want To Know If Its Not True, Uncorrelated Mormonism, Uncorrelated Mormons, Why LDS Members Leave The Church | 1 Comment

The Sin of Not Believing In Correlated Mormonism

This is the fifth post in my series: Understanding John Dehlin’s Uncorrelated Mormon Movement. This post is not endorsed by John Dehlin and is my own opinion.

Many uncorrelated Mormons (Mormons who no longer believe or who believe only a portion of LDS doctrine) who have revealed their true beliefs to correlated Mormons are often treated badly – especially by close family and friends. This affects the person’s quality of life and well-being.

This “bad” treatment may include shunning, judging, lecturing, looking down on, excluding, not listening to, not inviting, not talking to, labeling, not supporting, rejecting, not visiting, speaking ill of, mocking, divorcing, gossiping about, etc.

Even if the uncorrelated Mormon has valid and legitimate reasons for his or her disbelief. The questions are seen as toxic and unwelcome. The disbelief is treated like a grave and dire sin. Even when no sin has been committed.

Many uncorrelated Mormons may appear happy, successful, confident, self-assured, and intelligent, but they are often plagued with feelings of sadness.

There is often a sense that deep down there is something seriously wrong with themThey may be convinced that they are not okay, that they are “tainted”, inadequate or not good enough or somehow worthless. They may try to conceal these feelings by developing their own personal “coping mechanisms”. They tend to question their own perceptions and feel that they are going crazy. This is because after thoughtful, rational and in-depth study of the LDS church they start to feel that it is not true.

Uncorrelated Mormons who live among correlated Mormons may project an image of “toughness”.  Although they may appear strong and confident to those around them, they hold their sadness inside and often don’t ask for support.

They often feel that nothing they do is ever “good enough”. This worthless and insecure feeling makes them feel that correlated Mormon friends and family could never genuinely like or value them. Without correlated Mormon (family and friend) validation and approval, they feel something is intrinsically wrong with them.

Sometimes they “rebel” to compensate for their “inferiority” because they feel that their inability to fully believe and accept LDS doctrines and rules means they are intrinsically bad.

Some uncorrelated Mormons attempt to “fix” their situation through debate, by being “right” about the facts of an issue or the circumstances of an event as it pertains to LDS church history or LDS doctrine and consequently the reasons behind their disbelief. Situations that are merely a question of the facts for correlated Mormons take on the proportions of a life-death struggle for uncorrelated Mormons.  Unfortunately the issue of who is right or who is wrong on specific issues doesn’t coverup the fact that because the uncorrelated Mormon is in the minority (in Mormon families and communities) than they are intrinsically “wrong”.

True, uncorrelated Mormons may “win” an argument because they have studied in-depth about these issues, but they do not feel better afterward. They can never prove that they themselves are “a right”.  For as long as they remain uncorrelated, they are always “a wrong”.

Some uncorrelated Mormons use goodness as a strategy for absolution. They become very good. They overwhelm themselves with their unquestionable goodness. Somehow they believe that if they are just good enough, they will be absolved of the sin of disbelief. It never works.

Some uncorrelated Mormons believe that fairness exists in the correlated Mormon world. Despite clear evidence to the contrary (look at the rejection of believing homosexual Mormons), they keep trusting that since Mormons teach about love and compassion they will eventually be accepted.

However, it is not possible because the correlated Mormon system has unwritten laws that promulgate its values and support its myths.  Instead of receiving fairness and equality uncorrelated Mormons are often emotionally stripped of their last hope for ultimate fairness.

Correlated Mormons might respond to this by saying, “Sometimes I just can not be fair. I have to go by God’s (Mormon) law.”  In other words, “Where the law is not fair, I can not be fair.” In action this means, “Because you have turned from complete belief in the one-true church you are no longer a part of our eternal celestial family and friends, so no matter what,  I am rejecting you here on earth.”

Another example of the unfair “rules” of Mormonism is in regards to correlated and uncorrelated women who are active in the church. A man can be less competent, spiritual or knowledgeable about the LDS church  than a woman, but he still has the “advantage” over her simply because he is a man. It really does not matter whether or not men consciously know that they have this birthright. Most assume it at a very basic level. Women know it and this awareness affects the way they see themselves, men and other women in the church. It doesn’t matter whether or not this is fair, it is just a part of the LDS system of patriarchy and priesthood.  It sometimes manifests itself in men treating women with less respect, and even condescension. It also includes never going to women for leadership (over men), personal counsel (for men) or ultimate decision-making (over men). It also involves giving women the undesirable jobs of  multiple child-rearing, the church primary and nursery and keeping all of the respectable and praised jobs for the men.  The only jobs in the church where the body of the church prays for, praises and gives general adulation for are powerful men-filled roles such as bishops, stake-presidents and general authorities. These jobs sometimes take on a “celebrity-like” status for the men.

It is true that many uncorrelated Mormons are very angry. Many feel they have been duped by an organization that had been telling them how they were supposed to feel, behave and respond for many years. They feel the LDS church has not been completely honest about its true origins. They feel they have given years away to something that has no substance. Sometimes they direct this rage toward their correlated Mormon family and friends and they in turn become angry back – which only makes everyone angrier.

What uncorrelated Mormons really are looking for is love and affirmation. They are asking others to tell them that they are okay.

Unfortunately it is often far more than correlated Mormons can give.

Posted in LDS Members Don't Want To Know If Its Not True, Mormonism Good and Bad, Post-Mormon Road Map, Questioning Mormons, Uncorrelated Mormonism, Uncorrelated Mormons, Why LDS Members Leave The Church, Women's Status in LDS Church | 1 Comment