I’ve often been asked, “If you have so many issues with Mormonism, why not just quit?” I say there are two very good reasons not to quit.
To explain holism, imagine the human body, specifically your body. The organism known as “you” has a head, a thorax, and, if you’re lucky, limbs with appendages. Inside of that, you have a composition of organs, which are made up of a variety of tissues, which are made up of lots and lots of cells. Those can be broken down to organelles and then to organic and inorganic compounds such as protein, lipids, water, salt, etc. And those are made up of atoms. I’ll stop there. Going back the the concept of “you,” where part of all that is “you?” If I wanted to take the “you” out of your organism, which part would I dissect? The “you” transcends the compilation of your anatomical parts. So, to quote Rob Bell, “Holism is the reality that emerges only when all the parts are put together but can’t be individually located, labeled, or identified at a smaller, component, parts level.”
Mormonism is a holistic movement that has emerged from pieces and parts but cannot be identified wholly in any of them. Mormonism is much more than any one component. It’s more than Joseph Smith, more than the Book of Mormon, more than any general authority, more than a policy or practice, more than that gossiping person, more than that hypocritical person giving a sermon, more than that asshole who abuses his priesthood. At times, it has been a proverbial elephant in a china shop and has caused damage, yes, but it has also been Gilead’s balm to many.
Its potential far outweighs its problems.
I caught wind of John Dehlin pretty early on in his podcasting of Mormon Stories. It was a fascinating journey listening to his journey of faith. We had many life parallels beginning with similar mission experiences. We both served in Guatemala and experienced unethical baptismal practices. We both had curious minds and wanted better answers to questions. He interviewed a great sample of brilliant minds on both sides of the pew. I couldn’t get enough; his podcasts were my drug of choice.
John drew a huge online following, and with that, a sort of celebrity position as he advocated for change. However, John’s quest for change coupled with an unbridled tongue led to his excommunication. I do not blame him entirely. Church leadership could have prevented this, but John became another modern Mormon martyr for the cause of reform and change. His predecessors include the September Six among others.
This devastated me. John’s embodiment of a beacon of change from within had been destroyed because one cannot effect change as effectively from the outside as within. John left behind some morsels for those who remain behind him on his co-founded site Stay LDS. But it ended there. His focused turned to post-Mormons.
I decided something needed to be done for those wanting a voice for change within the walls of Mormonism. I created the Creed so that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints could make their voices heard by enacting change wherever they may be. My goal is to empower everyday Mormons with small, yet powerful ways to make a difference.
I envision a day when large portions of congregations will remain seated and silent as hymns to Joseph Smith are play, when parents refuse to have their children be baptized, when temple preparation courses details all aspects of the temple ceremony and all the covenants to be made.
We are the agents of change.