The church’s support of California’s Proposition 8 and its overall stance on homosexuality are the main contributing social factors causing people to leave the Mormon faith, according to a recent nonscientific survey.
The study conducted by Mormon Stories, a nonprofit support community committed to helping Mormons in faith crises, found most frequently that there are various factors in most people’s decisions to lose faith in the Mormon Church. However, the four most common factors contributing to disbelief are ceasing to believe in the church’s doctrine and theology, studying church history, losing faith in Joseph Smith and losing faith in the Book of Mormon. The three principle social issues for people leaving the faith are the church’s stance on homosexuals and Proposition 8, women and race.
More than 50 percent mentioned a moderate to extremely high cost to relationships with parents. One third indicated a similar cost to a relationship with spouse.
“The saddest thing to me is the extent to which marriage and other family relationships are being damaged or destroyed over these issues,” said John Dehlin, executive director of Mormon Stories. “I’d like to hope that Mormons can work together to end our cultural tendency to reject those who question their faith.”
The three lowest ranked reasons are some that Mormon leaders have touted: the desire to engage in behaviors viewed as sinful, becoming offended by someone at church and lacking meaningful church friendships.
Nearly 3,400 participated in the online study.