What Mormons had to say about their faith crises?

The Salt Lake Tribune/February 13, 2016

The Salt Lake Tribune, in partnership with American Public Media's Public Insight Network, asked Mormon readers if they have experienced a faith crisis, what triggered it and how they resolved it.

Within 24 hours, the newspaper received more than 1,000 responses. Eventually, that number topped 1,700.

• Of the respondents who provided their relationship with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

• 538 no longer are members.

• 637 are officially LDS but are not active.

• 532 are active Mormons.

Among the triggers for their faith crises:

• Joseph Smith is mentioned 327 times, for various reasons, including his plural marriages to the wives of other husbands, his differing "First Vision" accounts, his character, and translation questions about Mormon scripture.

• Polygamy and/or polyandry are noted 322 times, mostly as related to LDS history. Few said they were struggling with it in modern days or as a women's issue

• LGBT policies and practices were raised 373 times.

• About 20 respondents brought up their activities in Ordain Women, which advocates female ordination to the all-male LDS priesthood. Another 15 referred to Kate Kelly. Some were not supportive of the OW co-founder but said they were shocked at her 2014 excommunication.

Here is what some Utahns had to say about questions regarding Mormonism:

"I wouldn't say it's a crisis of faith as much as it is a clarity of faith, albeit a clarity which is not approved or supported by the church. ... If anything, it's the church itself that is having a crisis of faith. I feel very strongly that the church has strayed and is lost ... serving its own interest and doing that which is political and/or financially expedient regardless of what is right."

Kenneth Coon


"I've reconnected with Catholicism (I converted in young adulthood … while making it a rule to question everything that the Catholic and Mormon churches say). ...I just really wish that people would drop the stereotypes. Leaving the church because we are lazy or offended. For me, I've never been more studious than during my faith crisis."

Ellen Koester

Salt Lake City

"I was able to piece things together and factor in human error in divine mandates. It gave me peace, and I suppose it allowed me to care for those struggling and those who were causing the struggles for people inside and outside the church. I guess I gave people the same benefit of the doubt I wanted for myself when my motivations were called into question. I decided to forgive flawed people, who made mistakes or gave offence ..."

Loren Brewer


"I was sold a 'one true church' gospel, and it's just not true so I can't bring myself to support something so full of lies. ... I was very faithful to the church for 43 years. My dad was a mission president in South America when I was 9. I have a son on a mission in Russia. I did not lose my faith lightly or because I wanted to sin. I felt completely betrayed ..."

Becky Berger


Compiled by Peggy Fletcher Stack and Rachel Piper

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