Why Mormons Question

Click here for the “Why Mormons Question” full report.

For a video explaining the results of the study, watch here:

Why Mormons Question is a service of Mormon Stories and the Open Stories Foundation. Mormon Stories explicitly seeks to align all operations with the Mormon Stories Shared Values Statement. Additionally, we endeavor to ensure that the projects we undertake 1) support individuals in Mormon-related faith crises, 2) save marriages, 3) heal families, and 4) celebrate, challenge, and advance Mormon culture in healthy ways.

The Why Mormons Question project is possibly the least understood of all of the Mormon Stories and Open Stories Foundation undertakings. Many argue that research intended to investigate the phenomenon of questioning and loss of belief in the Internet age necessarily seeks to destroy faith and families and therefore directly contradicts foundation objectives numbers two and three (above). To be clear, Mormon Stories and the Open Stories Foundation do not seek to destroy faith — and in fact, we have created the podcast “A Thoughtful Faith” with the explicit desire to support/promote thoughtful, well-informed faith.

Further, Mormon Stories and the Open Stories Foundation  believe that the Why Mormons Question project has the potential to save marriages and heal families. In many cases, miscommunications and conflict in familial relationships can be avoided when family members have access to information and resources that can help them understand and empathize with one another. The Why Mormons Question project seeks to make this information available as safely as possible to all who genuinely seek to understand what their loved ones are learning and are subsequently struggling with.

Again, the information on this site is not intended to draw individuals out of Mormonism. The information found on this website is simply intended to be information. We have done our best to present it with honesty and compassion for all who now or once loved Mormonism.  We understand that God, belief and family cultural traditions are often held close to the heart and that it can be challenging to encounter information that does not always place something one strongly identifies with in a positive light. Although many hearts have been broken by the information that is available on the Internet, we have accepted that the information will not disappear if we choose not to look at it. For better or for worse, we no longer have the luxury of living in a society that will allow us, our children, or our children’s children to protect themselves from information that, admittedly, can be painful when it is first encountered.

Last of all, we sincerely hope that the resources on this website will validate and support those who are suffering because of the information they have accessed online.

What is Mormon Stories?

Mormon Stories is a nonprofit organization that seeks to create online and in-person environments that allow for authentic self-expression and the open discussion of Mormonism. We are a secularly-based organization with no affiliation to the LDS church. We are not a religion and have no intention of becoming a religious organization at any point in the future. Our podcasts, websites, online and in-person communities are conducted in the spirit of the Mormon Stories Shared Values:

  1. We acknowledge the richness of Mormon heritage, teachings, and community in all of its diversity.
  2. We believe that one can self-identify as Mormon based on one’s genealogy, upbringing, beliefs, relationships, and other life experiences, regardless of one’s adherence or non-adherence to the teachings or doctrines of any religious organization.
  3. We seek spaces where we as Mormons can live lives of intellectual and spiritual integrity, individual conscience, and personal dignity.
  4. We acknowledge and honor different spiritual paths and modes of religious or non-religious truth-seeking. We respect the convictions of those who subscribe to ideas and beliefs that differ from our own.
  5. We recognize the confusion, distress, emotional trauma, and social ostracism that people on faith journeys often experience. We seek constructive ways of helping and supporting people, regardless of their ultimate decisions regarding church affiliation or activity.
  6. We affirm the inherent and equal worth of all human beings. We seek spaces where Mormons (and all people) can interact as equals regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. In this spirit of egalitarianism, we prefer non-authoritarian and non-hierarchical means of organization and affiliation.

We recognize that our goals are lofty and that we consistently fall short of our own ideals. We continue in the pursuit of what we hope will empower individuals, strengthen family relationships, and forward healthy Mormon culture despite our imperfections because we believe that goodness and happiness will come from our efforts. At the same time, we acknowledge our own ineptitude and see the advantages of maintaining flexibility in our programming and decision-making. Your feedback is therefore important to us. Please let us know when and how we’ve missed the mark and what you can do to help make Mormon Stories better. Please email us at MormonStories@gmail.com.

7 comments for “Why Mormons Question

  1. Richard David Baer
    April 19, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    I graduated from BYU in June, 1960 with a major in Sociology and a minor in Psychology. I left the Mormon church in 1979 after 15 months of intensive study trying to prove “Mormonism, Shadow or Reality” by the Tanners was full of lies. My conclusion was they were telling the truth. I am thrilled to learn of your project and would like to help in any way I can. I have 4 children, 19 grandchildren and soon to be 15 great grandchildren that I would like to understand why I left the church.

  2. Craig Frogley
    July 21, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Great effort and material… thank you. The PowerPoint needs some spell checking and the charity reference is Moroni 7 not Mormon…. but you probably already caught these. You are probably aware of Michael Ashe’s fine books “Shaken Faith Syndrome” and “Of Faith and Reason”.
    I am a retired full-time institute teacher now teaching for BYU Continuing ED. If I can be of assistance in this work I would love the invitation and opportunity.
    I too spent months in “Mormonism, Shadow or Reality” and found that the Tanners found it easy to take things out of context to support an private agenda rather than telling the whole truth. “Shaken Faith Syndrome” addresses this “whole truth” issue from a church and critics perspective very well.
    Thank you again for a great resource!

    • July 26, 2013 at 10:28 am

      Thank you for your comments. It means so much when I see and meet people with jobs and callings within the church who also share my own feelings… and are not afraid to express them.

      Thank you. (To all of you on here.)

  3. Alan Wild
    July 23, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Denver Snuffer’s book ‘Passing the Heavenly Gift’ seems to be a big help for those who are confused by church history. After reading it I thought it would drive people away from the church, but others claim it was the most helpful thing they had read.
    People are different. I am quite familiar with most of the issues mentioned here, along with the answers. I have no problem with these things and do not see why others do. I feel for those who cannot have faith without complete and thorough answers to all their questions. I don’t think it works that way.

  4. Nicholas Gold
    July 25, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    It is very unfortunate, but there is a genuine disconnect between the central “correlated” leadership and the average Mormon member, particularly when the upper echelons are very insulated both physically as well as mentally/emotionally from the common membership.

    Financial transparency is an issue that has to be frankly addressed, if for no other reason than that the present system demonstrates a decided level of mistrust by the upper tier of leadership towards the common member.

  5. July 26, 2013 at 10:21 am

    I found your site today, and I bookmarked it in my Facebook page by sharing your link with others. As someone who was raised in the church I am well aware of what I have been told — what you are told and what is entirely different from what it.

    For me my gripe is the fact that when I was born into this world I never had a chance to say no to religion. I ran a cartoon once of a childs head poking out of its mother screaming “Where’s my religion?!” I never had a chance to say no to it anymore than I could have said don’t mutilate my penis by cutting it. No one asked me and yet they tell me it was for my own good. No.

    If anyone here ever wants someone to talk to about their Exodus from their faith; even if your in or out of the church, I want you to know that you’re NOT alone. Drop an email anytime to me and don’t be afraid to bare your soul.

    I leave you with this, from a book I am writing.

    Poems To The Dust
    Jason G. Gagnon
    Copyright © 2012
    Freelance Digital Media, Ltd
    Duplication / Republication Strictly Prohibited


    Broken space, stolen at birth.
    No freedom of self-expression allowed, no choice but what’s forced upon it to learn.
    No choice but to follow; no way of escape, raised and indoctrinated to a select sect, one set of beliefs.
    No turning back, nowhere to flee; no way to retract or erase what’s been implanted so deep.
    Its poison when you can’t conform; pain swells within and guilt floods the mind.
    Feeding on your conscience, what’s been planted cannot die.
    All that’s left is the one truth you know of; and you beg that it is a lie.

  6. Anne McLeod
    September 28, 2013 at 12:09 am

    Why are there no categories listing the financial adventures of the LDS Corporation of the First Presidency? When I saw the wording on the new tithing slips that mentioned that the Church reserved the right to use my donations any way that would help the Church’s mission, I saw immediate red flags.

    Did not take much research to realize that the LDS leadership not only pay themselves high “stipends” (think massive salaries) with tons of perks, far above the average income of an America family, but they continue to say that the Church has an unpaid clergy.

    Where are the financial priorities? A mall in Salt Lake City, seriously??? Ensign Peak Investment company? The many other ranches, businesses, and even hunting ranges that are recipients of church members donations?

    I had honestly believed that our tithes went to help the poor – what an outlandish notion in the LDS church – sadly, we go for showy temples and thousands of meetings houses when we could help feed the world’s hungry and better the conditions of our own members in third world countries.

    The sweet sister missionary who converted my husband came from a severely impoverished family, how upsetting it was for us to find out that the church authorities live it up in lavish homes and abundantly generous bonuses and perks!

    Since 1959 the church has refused to post financial statements to let the members know where the billions we donate to the church gets spent. In countries where there is mandatory financial reporting, the church shows most of its income going to salaries and buildings, with just a pittance spent on humanitarian aid.

    When we followed the money we were done with the LDS corporation in short order.

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