Mormon Apostle “Furious” with People Who Leave the LDS Church

By Sharon Lindbloom
4 May 2016

On April 26th LDS Apostle Jeffrey Holland addressed a Mormon congregation in Tempe, Arizona. The theme of his talk was “God loves broken things.” Making it clear that everyone and everything is broken, Mr. Holland urged his listeners to hang on, persevere, and stay with the Church, assuring them that eventually, every promise will be honored. “Don’t cut and run,” he said. “This is the Church of the happy endings.” [19:26]

Sounding severe at times, Mr. Holland reprimanded his audience for feeling sorry for themselves and for being unwilling to suffer and sacrifice for the sake of their eternal future. He hammered home the edict: “Now, don’t you cave in now!… Hang on… Hold on… Persevere… Endure and save yourself… Don’t bail out… Don’t you dare bail.” Mr. Holland expanded that:

PattyCake“Don’t you dare bail. I am so furious with people who leave this church. I don’t know whether ‘furious’ is a good apostolic word. But I am. What on earth kind of conviction is that? What kind of patty-cake, taffy-pull experience is that? As if none of this ever mattered, as if nothing in our contemporary life mattered, as if this is all just supposed to be ‘just exactly the way I want it and answer every one of my questions and pursue this and occupy that and defy this – and then maybe I’ll be a Latter-day Saint.’ Well, there’s too much Irish in me for that. This. Church. Means. Everything to me. Everything!… This church means everything to me, and I’m not gonna leave it and I’m not gonna let you leave it.” [31:35 – 33:00]

Mr. Holland was referring to some of the problems the Mormon Church is experiencing right now regarding membership retention. Many members of the Church have recently called for answers to their doctrinal and historical questions (e.g., Joseph Smith’s polygamy and polyandry). Some have pursued efforts to see changes made to certain aspects of Mormonism (e.g., membership inclusion of children of same sex couples). Many have attempted to occupy areas of Temple Square and elsewhere in order to take a public stand on perceived inequality in the Church (e.g., priesthood for women). Some have defied Mormon tradition (e.g., the Wear Pants to Church movement). And many of these people have been leaving the LDS Church when their concerns go opposed, minimized, ignored, or unanswered by LDS leadership.

In his address, Mr. Holland belittled those who have heavy hearts burdened by questions. “What kind of conviction is that?” he asked. “What kind of patty-cake, taffy pull experience is that?” He suggested that people who chose to leave the Church are weak and unwilling to sacrifice or go through hard times. They refuse to trust.

What Mr. Holland fails to recognize is that trust is where many of these people have lived until that trust was shattered by the dishonesty of the object of their trust – the LDS Church. These people lived their lives trusting their church, trusting their leaders, trusting their “patty-cake, taffy-pull” experiences as Latter-day Saints…until it all fell apart. Suddenly they found that something was very, very wrong. None of it – the Church, its leaders, their own LDS spiritual experiences – none were worthy of their unquestioning trust. The Church had been dishonest. Leaders had been misleading. Experiences had been misinterpreted. Their lives, built on the foundation of Mormonism, began to crumble.

If Mr. Holland believes that people who leave the Church over truth are weak and unwilling to go through hard times, he couldn’t be more mistaken. For questioning Mormons, it is at this point that real suffering begins as their strong conviction to know what’s true propels them into very rough waters.

Mr. Holland exhorts Mormons to “stay in the boat.” Cling to the restored gospel (i.e., a set of laws and ordinances available only in the LDS Church). Because the Church is everything. Perhaps for Mr. Holland the Mormon Church is everything, but the biblical apostle Paul had a very different perspective of the Savior Mr. Holland claims to represent:

Christ is everything:

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—” (Philippians 3:7-9)

Christ is everything:

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)

Christ is everything:

“Christ is all, and in all.” (Colossians 3:11)

Christ is everything:

“Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:2-3)

Christ is everything:

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3)

Indeed. Christ is everything.

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

What, then, of the LDS Church? If it is not the truth, it has no part with Christ – and Christ is everything.