Episode 175: Top 10 Reasons to Stay in the Church

35 comments on “Episode 175: Top 10 Reasons to Stay in the Church”

  1. Chriccha Reply

    Seats look LDS, but carvings look like crosses… @_@
    Interesting topic! Maybe we will see one about top 10 reasons to leave?!

    • mono Reply

      In an effort to deflect any criticism, it is probably a ploy to subtly “prove” they really are Christian. Probably the same PR firm that advised them to make JESUS CHRIST way bigger than the rest of the copy-righted word mark. (Just in case you didn’t know, the real name of the “Church” is The Corporation of the President.)

  2. Anonymous Reply

    I love how John just pulls stats out of his butt. Seriously John, if you are going to quote a statistic, give a source to back it up. Stats can’t be based on your own Boy Scout experiences “over the ridge.”

    • Anonymous Reply

      I think Zipha helped clarify the point John was making using anecdotal evidence. The point is that kids going to a Church sponsored activity does not ensure that they are not being exposed to “worldly” or sexual stuff. In my Boy Scout /priesthood experiences there certainly was some exposure to porn and talk about sex. I think it would be pretty odd if there wasn’t at least some amongst a bunch of 12-18 boys.

      • Elder Vader Reply

        My family has a prohibition against sleep overs.  I won’t let my kids go to other kids’ homes and sleep over, I don’t care who the friend is, or how much I like their parents.  That’s the policy in the vader household.  98% of my exposure to porn and younger-age sexual activity took place in the faithful LDS homes of people my parents trusted.  — Don’t want to get into details, but I’m confident if I gave specifics most everyone would agree that those experiences would be better if delayed to an older age than I experienced them. 

      • Cwald71 Reply

        I think they right on the money…I looked at my first porn, and had my first swig of whiskey on a  scout camp.

        • Anonymous Reply

          Cigarettes, Porn, and Masturbation… or how I spent my week at Scout Camp.  I think a lot more of this goes on than the leaders would care to admit.

          • mono

            I learned what a “boner” and “circle-jerk” was in the back of our Boy Scout leaders station wagon as we were merrily on our way to an “activity” (swimming was the activity, but I experience a way different one).

    • Jacob Brown Reply

      I ran away from my first and only Boy Scout summer camp because the environment was disturbing to me. The boys were joking about girl anatomy, they were cursing, and they were telling dirty jokes. I’m sure I was way over sensitive to it all, but it felt like a different world. I just started walking toward the freeway. It wasn’t like I was gonna make it home. It was a several hour drive home. I just didn’t know what to do.

      I don’t know about the 1 in 3 statistic for Boy Scouts, but I do believe that it is very common for children to experiment with each other. 

      • Anonymous Reply

        Jacob, teenage boys “joking about girl anatomy, cursing, and telling dirty jokes”? That doesn’t sound like teenagers at all. How unfortunate that you were subjected to such debauchery. I’m shocked to hear of such vile behavior from a group of teenage boys.

        • Jacob Brown Reply

          I know, right? It was really normal stuff, but because of the way I was raised it felt really dirty and scary to me at the time. The fact that I needed to run away from it all just shows how much of a different place I was in at the time.

    • Bolb Reply

      I agree about the stats.  I think their may be some truth to the comments, but I’m not sure I really trust John’s general judgements.  It would be better if making such a call would have some kind of reference.  In this case, it may need to compare to other youth actives at that age.  Boys at this age are curious, and scouting offers a good forum to discuss ideas and concepts they need to figure out (kind like the forum here)

  3. Anonymous Reply

    Good podcast. Interesting insights and discussion. Have to say that while I appreciate Patrick throwing penalty flags on some of the more exaggerated claims, the LDS Church does deserve criticism for the part it plays in separating people (families, siblings, spouses) over doubt and lack of belief. Sure the leadership is improving in it’s handlings of these issues at least on paper. But as was mentioned the culture, doctrines and focus of LDS worship still promote a family ideal that is rigid and leaves little room for change. It’s sad really.

    So is part 2 forthcoming and not after a short pause as the audio suggested?

  4. Jeremy Reply

    I really liked #3. I personally know of a company here in St. George, Ut. that fired all the employees that either 1) Didn’t have a temple recommend or 2) were working on getting their temple recommend.  The owner called the non-members “a plague on my business”. 
    So, now, a really close friend of mine who works there, has to go through the motions of going to church, etc. just to keep his job. I won’t go too much into his situation, but the idea just picking up and moving out of Utah isn’t an option right now.

  5. Kevin Reply

    Great podcast, as usual. Many thanks to all. (Though I’m a bit conflicted about the fact that filthy terms like “wee wee” were bandied about.)

    It’s interesting that this pair of discussions is about reasons to STAY in the church and reasons to LEAVE the church. I’m more curious about why people JOIN the church. Surely John and Zilpha can assemble enough returned missionaries to put together a list like this as well.

  6. Anonymous Reply

    I’d be interested in seeing the actual research showing that men’s participation in churches “drops off precipitously” when women are ordained. If I see data, I’ll eat my words. Until then, I call Mormon urban legend. Sorry, John. 🙂

    • Usuallylurking Reply

      I don’t know if there is other data. But here is link to

      National Sex Ratio: 48%-52%Evangelicals: 47%-53%Mainline Churches: 46%-54%Catholics: 46%-54%Orthodox: 46%-54%Other Christians: 46%-54%Mormons: 44%-56%Jehovah’s Witnesses: 40%-60%Historically Black Churches: 40%-60%
      The percentages do not vary significantly between the “ordaining women” groups and the “non-ordaining” ones, like Mormons and Catholics.

      Some great thoughts on the subject from Ms Jack. She is an evangelical Christian, married to a Mormon who has been a guest a few times here on Mormon Expression.


  7. Hermes Reply

    I can confirm the seedy side of Scouts.  I once attended a summer camp where I was introduced (at once) to pornography (which I did not sample), to chewing tobacco (of which I did not partake), and to country music (which I dislike to this day: the guys playing it were older rednecks who routinely threatened the rest of us with large knives, when they weren’t swallowing their tobacco and throwing up all over camp).  Despite this, I went on to achieve Eagle, and actually had what I regard as a pretty good experience in Scouting (overall).

  8. RJ Reply

    Fun episode, but seemed a little like listening to the Fox News network discuss the top 10 reasons to vote for Barack Obama. I appreciate the effort though.To give an example, #2 on the list, “my family would reject me or treat me differently if I left”. There is another way to frame that, which has a lot to do with why I stay. The reason is I do not want to reject or renounce something that is so important to and cherished by my family. Despite the change in the make up of my faith, I still genuinely  love and cherish what I have shared in the church with my family, including my extended family. If I were to leave the church I’m not afraid of rejection, a number of my immediate and extended family have left the church and are not rejected or shunned. I’m not afraid of being hurt by my family, but of hurting them. I understand that a lot of people for their own valid reasons must leave the church no matter how it impacts their family, and I totally respect that. But for me, I am not compelled to do that. Also, I really feel for you Zilpha, as far as the experience you shared about your mother goes. It really made me sad to hear. I totally understand why you guys feel the way you do.

  9. Anonymous Reply

    Fun podcast.  I look forward to part 2.  Ugh, scouts.  I hated scouts when I was 12 (and made my first stand of my life against authority and refused to go back) and I hated it when I was called as scoutmaster while doing my residency in Florida.  Like I didn’t have enough on my plate anyway but I was hardcore at the time and had a policy I’d never refuse a calling if the bishop could look me in the eye and tell me it was a call of inspiration not desperation.

    But damn Zilpha, I know it’s petty but I would be tempted to bite your mom back by limiting her access to the grandkids.  Maybe if only to make a point temporarily.  That got my blood pressure up.

    • Anonymous Reply

      Oh yeah, my point.  I didn’t see any of the stuff John was mentioning but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there behind my back as scoutmaster, or away from me when i was 12 (I really wasn’t in scouts long enough anyway).

  10. Jacob Halford Reply

    I love the fact that two weeks after a discussion about the perceived negative tone of ME, there appears a more positive podcast. 

    I enjoyed it, even though I don’t think some of the reasons were really given a good case. It would have been good to have some one who maybe has stayed give a stronger argument for some of them. 

    I agree with Kevin, a podcast about the top ten reason why people join the church would be fascinating. You have so many dimensions that could be brought out for it, from joining out of missionary charisma, it gives them a social life, the baseball baptisms, it gives a sense of meaning to those who have a aimless existence, it gives easy answers to some of life’s mysteries. And so on. 

  11. Johnboy Reply

    I’m glad to hear that my sole reason for going to church is validated as #1.  I am way past all of the other reasons.  Of course, I don’t live in Utah, so most of them are easy to dismiss because they don’t affect me.  I also had to renegotiate with my wife what was expected of me: no more temple recommend, no tithing on my earnings, no callings I don’t feel comfortable with or really don’t qualify for, no home teaching unless I feel like it, etc.  I look at it like attending the opera – most of the time I wouldn’t appreciate it like my wife, but I am willing to attend if it makes her happy.  So far things have worked out the last few years by avoiding church topics and her being comfortable that my disbelief was not due to infidelity or some desire to sin.  The difficult part is approaching though, now that we have three young children: baptism, priesthood, seminary, mission, temple marriage.  I would love to hear an episode with people who have mixed marriages with children and want to walk the fine line with their children.  This is obviously not a problem John and Zilpha have to deal with, but many listeners probably do.  Specifically, baptism, confirmation, priesthood ordination, temple marriage, when father won’t submit to temple recommend interview.  Also – at what age and how to address topics taught where there is disagreement.  I don’t want my kids to grow up feeling sorry for me or disrespecting me, but I don’t want to have a battle with my wife over every ridiculous thing the church teaches.  Weird things that bother me now: teaching my left-handed child to only use his right hand to take the sacrament, kneeling at prayer, lessons about animals depicting Noah’s ark.  I seems these types of things are not worth discussing until my children are old enough to figure out that there is no Santa Claus (or to even understand the concept of Santa Claus they are so young), but I can see the issues coming down the road and want to prepare now, which is why I am such an avid listener of Mormon Expression.  Thanks for the great discussions and helping me feel not so crazy after church every Sunday.  

    • CPaul Reply

      Sometimes I partake of the sacrament with my left hand just for fun,  How to raise your kids in the faith while you don’t believe is a good question.  It really is a conundrum.  I like the social programs of the church and as a youth had a great time growing up in the church.  I want my kids to participate in all they have to offer, but I also want them to be critical thinkers and skeptical about truth claims.  Not settled on the best way to do this.

  12. Nathan R Kennard Reply

    I wonder if it is an uncommon scenario in which a former mormon who is non-married and went on a mission lives in Utah County with parents who no longer hold membership in the mormon church.  I suppose that finding dating partners might be challenging. This scenario seems like it might relate to ‘stay in the church if leaving would cause difficulty with important family members’ reason.

  13. Cancermanmorley Reply

    I can also attest to the whole scout camp thing and other church activities not being the most God friendly and protected environments.  My first scout camp was pretty tame, a little pornography here and there, a little swearing, but overall not so bad. Incedentily my Father was a scout master and attended my first scout camp so that perhaps had an influence on what i was subject to be exposed too and who i hung out with. 

    The next year I moved to the east coast, from the west coast .  I wen’t to scout camp two different times on the east coast and scouting is a big deal there. First trip I was exposed to streaking, masturbation, porn, stealing and fights. The next year though, was ridiculous and I had just as much a part in it all as anyone else did. There was smoking weed, cigars and regular cigs, pornagraphy, hazing .. very very bad and mean hazing, many many intense fights with other troops, masturbation, drinking, serious theft, vandalism, sex. etc. it was pretty crazy.  We smoked weed and smoked out our tents every night for about 4 nights in a row. We skipped just about every merit badge class, had sex with a really hot camp worker, we scouted out the camp storehouse and stole a ton of stuff from it.. it was really bad. Our first day there we almost got our entire troop sent home from getting in a fight with another troop.  Lest anyone think I was the instigator of all this and the bad exception. Almost every other troop out there had scouts like us which is why we got into so many fights. Also there where a couple of older kids in our troop that did bad stuff and we didn’t even hang out with them.

    Mutual night on the east coast was pretty crazy too. I can name quite a few people who had their first sexual explorations on the church stage or in random rooms. A girl even had sex on the bishops desk which was one of those things all the youth or most of the youth new about but never mentioned to their parents. I can recall a couple different times where we caught some kids out in the foyer on the far side of the church performing oral sex.  I had other experiences back on the west coast years later as well that were just as bad. I cannot say how many missionaries told me their dirty deeds and crazy stories as well and many centered around church functions ( many utah mormons )

    I have loads more crazy experiences that are even more intense or worse than what i posted, lets just say I agree completely with John’s stat about scouts and the conclusion that church sanctioned activities are certainly no more protective or safe than secular ones. 

  14. Nathan R Kennard Reply

    Judging from the comments, there might be a meaningful podcast on the topic of Boy Scouts as it relates to or is experienced in mormonism. My own experience was nearly universally positive, but that is not always the case.

    • Greg Rockwell Reply

      I would love for that podcast to exist.  I didn’t have any of the “exploratory” experiences mentioned, but I was first introduced to public sexual shaming at scout camp (12-16 year old boys don’t have a very nuanced view of the concept of variance in body maturation).  I am sad to say that those experiences stay with you long past the expiration date.

      There were a few things I liked about Scouts early on.  (I was an enthusiastic-as-hell Cub Scouter.)  But Boy Scouting lost its appeal for me, pretty much completely, by the time I was 13.  Yet there I was.  It is the program after all. 

      I will say that from a leadership standpoint, Mormon Scout leaders were highly preferable in my young view to the gentile leaders.  The BSA must be like a highly refined magnet for all things unsavory in men… bizarre paramilitary gun nuts and greasy pedophiles.  Scouters have always been scary to me.  (If you find yourself offended by this comment, read Gunther Grass’ The Tin Drum for a much better target of your easily wounded love-o’-scouting.)

      When I consider the program from the outside, I can see that it is clumsily attempting to integrate boys into complete men, but it is woefully philosophically regressive.  

      Misogyny in the Church is also manifestly evident in the difference between 14-18 year old boys going to lakes for multi-day water skiing trips, while the young women have… girls camp.

  15. Anonymous Reply

    Jacob, teenage boys “joking about girl anatomy, cursing, and telling dirty jokes”? That doesn’t sound like teenagers at all. How unfortunate that you were subjected to such debauchery. I’m shocked to hear of such vile behavior from a group of teenage boys.

  16. Jiggs Casey Reply

    Awesome podcast, as always.  However, it seemed to me that the top four or five reasons you named were not so much reasons to stay in the church.  They were reasons not to leave the church.  There is a difference.  I’ve listened to the next podcast (reasons to leave) and it’s even better.  Keep up the great work!

  17. Apron Appeal Reply

    Oh I laughed too long and too loud when John talked about the church saving so many people from become serial killers and rapists. TBM MIL wanted to know what was so funny and  wouldn’t stop asking until I told her. So I did. She didn’t think it was very funny and then I get a mini lecture…”Gwen why do you associate with people who left the church?!” 

    Because John apparently you are right, that is what all unmormon people are or will eventually become. I’m glad my bubble isn’t that small anymore.

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