Saturday, September 06, 2008

William Lobdell

Ever heard of William Lobdell? Probably not. But you should now, because I found this article wonderful and fascinating.

Lobdell is the author of Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America — and Found Unexpected Peace

Some of you may be wondering why I am reading articles and books about a guy who lost his Christian faith. I am a seminary student, right? How is this article going to strengthen my faith? Well, it's not and it didn't. But what it did do was offer me insight into what those who've lost their faith go through, and that's always a fascinating topic. And the subject of our broken and fallen world is always an interesting topic, especially regarding the Catholic Church abuse scandals. Lodbell had the religion beat at the LA Times when the stories first broke.

The article is long, but absolutely worth it. Here's a taste:
In late 2001, I traveled to Salt Lake City to attend a conference of former Mormons. These people lived mostly in the Mormon Jell-O belt – Utah, Idaho, Arizona – so-named because of the plates of Jell-O that inevitably appear at Mormon gatherings.
They found themselves ostracized in their neighborhoods, schools and careers. Often, they were dead to their own families.
If Mormons associate with you, they think they will somehow become contaminated and lose their faith too,” Suzy Colver told me. It’s almost as if people who leave the church don’t exist.”
The people at the conference were an eclectic bunch: novelists and stay-at-home moms, entrepreneurs and cartoonists, sex addicts and alcoholics. Some were depressed, others angry, and a few had successfully moved on. But they shared a common thread: They wanted to be honest about their lack of faith and still be loved.
In most pockets of Mormon culture, that wasn’t going to happen.
Part of what drew me to Christianity were the radical teachings of Jesus – to love your enemy, to protect the vulnerable and to lovingly bring lost sheep back into the fold.
As I reported the story, I wondered how faithful Mormons – many of whom rigorously follow other biblical commands such as giving 10% of their income to the church – could miss so badly on one of Jesus’ primary lessons?
As a side note... I've already been in two arguments in class with students more conservative than me. This is going to be an interesting two years.

4 comments:

~Red Tin Heart~ said...

You have a very wonderful site. It is so great to find someone who seeks the truth.
I stumbled across your site by accident really. But I am really happy I did.
xoxo Nita

Kansas Bob said...

Did you know that Lobdell has a blog - http://williamlobdell.com/

I remember reading his story and wondering how I would have been affected if I had covered that scandal.

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

I had just heard of him recently but didn't read the entire article. I think I will read it now...

Good luck in class, keep us posted on how it goes.

ptg said...

Mormons are quick and thorough when it comes to 'shaking the dust off their feet'. My father's mother's side of the family are Mormon. Their efforts to draw my family in drove my parents to distraction; I recall my mom crying while some of them stood in our front steps and wouldn't stop telling her she was going to hell. It took years to get them to leave me alone. Maybe they just can't find me. Most of them seem like nice folks otherwise.