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Recovery from Mormonism
Recovery from Mormonism is a term used by ex-Mormons to describe the transition from Mormonism. The term is most often associated with Ed Decker’s Ex-Mormons for Jesus and is also part of the title of some books about leaving Mormonism. Many who choose to leave the Mormon faith find it very difficult because of religious, cultural, and familial ties. They use the difficulty in transitioning from Mormonism as evidence that the Mormon Church is a mind-controlling cult that forces conformity rather than a community of those who believe in similar things.
Unlike many Christian churches, Mormonism teaches a strong sense of community within the Church, both on the local and church-wide levels. Because of the importance that Mormonism places on this sense of community, loyalty, and unity, as well as the importance of family relationships, many who leave the Mormon Church find the transition very difficult since they are breaking not only intellectual and religious ties, but also social ones and sometimes familial ties, though the Mormon Church encourages families to stay close regardless of whether all family members are Mormons.
Any transition across cultures is difficult, however, and converts to the Mormon Church face the same difficulty, since Mormonism forms a distinct subculture with different terminology, traditions, worldviews, and so forth. Any person attempting to shift from Protestantism to Catholicism, or from rural to urban settings would find many of the same cognitive and cultural difficulties. Furthermore, all cultures and traditions teach their beliefs to their children and hence Mormons do not brainwash their children, but rather seek to instill those beliefs and traditions held sacred by the community. Also, the idea that a Church with twelve million members in nearly 160 different countries, and members in prominent positions in several different governments, universities, businesses, and so forth could be compared to a cult is ridiculous, unless one supposes a world-wide conspiracy that would be impossible to maintain.
With the growth of the internet, the ex-Mormon community has grown through online communities and blogs. These sites range from humanist to fundamental religious communities similar to the spectrum found within the larger ex-Mormon community. Some Mormons, unwilling to break family or cultural ties remain nominally Mormon, but participate in the online communities of ex-Mormons. The tone of discussion in these forms is often vindictive and bitter as the participants relate instances of perceived hypocrisy or insult. Many bloggers stoop to ad hominem arguments and emotive language that characterizes Mormons as irrational, weird, or even dangerous. This is not unlike the orientalizing used against Muslims which portrays them as the prototypical “other” to perceived Western normality by overemphasizing or distorting differences to portray them as exotic, overly-sexualized, or effeminate. In this area, ex-Mormons often overlap with Anti-Mormons.