Community

(also see “Lay clergy”, “Service”, “Social life”, and “Social pressure / Superficiality”)

 

Pros of Mormonism from the perspective of the
Believer
Nonbeliever
Mormonism provides instant community across the globe. Wherever you are, there is a quick and easy way to plug into a community that will be familiar, feel safe, and will have programs and people to take care of you. Mormonism has a built-in safety net to cover you when disaster strikes. Wherever you are, the Elder’s Quorum and the Relief Society and the Youth programs will be the same; they will help you move, they will help watch your children, and they will provide food and support during hard times. There is an instant social network, an instant safety net, and an instant sense of belonging for people of all ages that move to a new area, simply because they are Mormon.
Many nonbelievers who leave Mormonism miss the community. They likely agree that Mormonism provides instant community across the globe. Wherever you are, there is a quick and easy way to plug into a community that will be familiar, feel safe, and will have programs and people to take care of you. Mormonism has a built-in safety net to cover you when disaster strikes.  Wherever you are, the Elder’s Quorum and the Relief Society and the Youth programs will be the same; they will help you move, they will help watch your children, and they will provide food and support during hard times. There is an instant social network, an instant safety net, and an instant sense of belonging for people of all ages that move to a new area, simply because they are Mormon.
 
The benefits of community that Mormonism is so good at providing often stimulate those who leave Mormonism to look elsewhere for another community. Many former Mormons join other churches simply because they are searching for something to replace the Mormon community that they lost when they stopped believing. Other ex-Mormons even join or create secular communities. For many people, community is an essential part of life that is necessary for happiness, and many nonbelieving Mormons acknowledge that Mormonism can do an excellent job at providing community for a lot of people.
 
Cons of Mormonism from the perspective of the
Believer
Nonbeliever
Heavy involvement in Mormonism likely means that participants have less time to participate in the non-Mormon community and thus isolates Mormons from their neighbors, friends, and surrounding community.
 
Sometimes, the Mormon community can be toxic to both believers and nonbelievers. Because of the heavy emphasis that Mormonism has on works (see “Guilt, shame, and fear”), every member in the community is aware of all the many things that every other person in the community is supposed to be doing. This can foster a sense of judgement and anxiety among community members. (see “Social pressure / superficiality”)
Heavy involvement in Mormonism likely means that participants have less time to participate in the non-Mormon community and thus isolates Mormons from their neighbors, friends, and surrounding community. Many nonbelievers who leave Mormonism suddenly find that they have more time and interest in getting involved with their local community. Often it is only when they leave the church that they realize how isolated Mormonism made them.
 
Sometimes, the Mormon community can be toxic to both believers and nonbelievers. Because of the heavy emphasis that Mormonism has on works (see “Guilt, shame, and fear”), every member in the community is aware of all the many things that every other person in the community is supposed to be doing. This can foster a sense of judgement and anxiety among community members. (see “Social pressure / superficiality”)
 
The nonbeliever is less likely to experience a sense of belonging in the Mormon community. Speaking out with taboo questions and expressing doubt or disbelief can make one feel unwelcome and labeled as a black sheep. This can erase any sense of community that a nonbeliever used to feel as a believer.

 

Comments relating to your lived experience with Mormonism are welcome. Although it can be difficult to distinguish at times, please focus on how the church helps and harms rather than it being true vs untrue.

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