With recent media exposure of some of the dark underside of the church, I feel the church must be worried about disgruntled members. I can't show any data, but anecdotally I personally know of many LDS members throwing up their hands and walking away. They are fed up with the Mormon church. Leaving is not easy, and many have lost family, friends, and respect from their decision to leave the church. To members, these people are broken and need fixed--queue up the "hastening the work" program.
As mentioned in a previous post, part of the difficulty in leaving the Mormon church deals with destroying your self identity. Nobody ever wants to attack themself. The unfortunate aspect of it all is that the member's self identity isn't really who they are, it is a pseudo identity dictated by others. The leaders of the Mormon church seem to be trying to produce clones. Where members all look the same and act the same. Obviously they can't force change on the members race, but in areas that can be altered--the push it there. Look at hairstyles, earrings, facial hair, modest clothing, even underwear. There is an undeniable effort to make every member appear the same--almost like a dress code for a business. "I'm a Mormon, I know it, I live it, I love it", Ann Dibb.
The other aspect that adds to the difficulty in leaving, is the blurred idea of God and the church/leaders. The modern day Mormon church and its leaders has become God to the members. In the Mormon paradigm, members cannot have a relationship with God outside of the church. It is not possible. In fact ask a member if you can be close to God without Mormonism, you will get a cryptic answer. They will claim that God does touch people's lives but if you want His influence everyday then you must be a Mormon. So without the church/leaders, a person cannot truly be spiritual. This is emphasized in a talk by Henry Eyring in Oct, 2010;
I saw in that moment that he was one of the honest in heart placed by God in power among His children. We are a tiny minority among the citizens of that great city and nation. The mayor knew little of our doctrine and few of our people. Yet God had sent him the message that Latter-day Saints, under covenant to trust God and His authorized servants, would become a light to his people.
I know the servants of God who will speak to you during this conference. They are called of God to give messages to His children. The Lord has said of them: “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.”
This reveals the mindset of the leaders of the Mormon church. They are speaking for God. In other words, they are God. Eyring continues;
You show your trust in Him when you listen with the intent to learn and repent and then you go and do whatever He asks. If you trust God enough to listen for His message in every sermon, song, and prayer in this conference, you will find it. And if you then go and do what He would have you do, your power to trust Him will grow, and in time you will be overwhelmed with gratitude to find that He has come to trust you.
I feel it is fair to replace the word God in his statements and put leaders or church. Let's try that experiment;
You show your trust in
Him the leaders when you listen with the intent to learn and
repent and then you go and do whatever He the leader asks. If you trust God your leaders enough
to listen for His their message in every sermon, song, and prayer in this
conference, you will find it. And if you then go and do what they He would
have you do, your power to trust Him them will grow, and in time you will be
overwhelmed with gratitude to find that He they has come to trust you.
Interesting perspective, another little nugget from 1995 by Robert Hales;
There has always been a desperate need for the steady and reassuring voice of a living prophet of God: one who will speak the mind and will of God in showing the way to spiritual safety and personal peace and happiness.
Is it any wonder that there is hero worship in the Mormon church? These men put themselves up on a pedestal blurring the line between deity and themselves. I feel this is done on purpose. When members learn about the unsavory behavior of past and present day leaders, in essence it causes confusion, because in their mind, these leaders are God. That is why it is so difficult to turn your back on the church. When you turn your back on the church and its leaders you are turning your back on God. This compounds the issue by 10 fold. Fear of leaving God is the ultimate trump card.