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 them. They 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.