Split Over the Mormon Church, but Maintaining Some Ties

Janet and Lars Bergeson recently held a prewedding lawn party for their son at their home, surrounded by farms on a bluff in sight of Mount Bergeson. The landmark, named for a Swedish Mormon who arrived in 1860, is a reminder of their ancestors’ religion.

The couple left the fold long ago, so they knew they would not be allowed to attend the temple wedding and eternal sealing of their son, Nils Bergeson, 24, to Emily O’Hara, 25. The young couple are Mormons in good standing who hope to join the Peace Corps.

Despite years away from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, being shut out of a family affair in the temple rekindled dormant emotions for Janet Bergeson, 52, as the rest of the family prepared for the wedding. Comfort came from users of a Web site that Mrs. Bergeson began participating in about six months ago, www.PostMormon.org.

“Just being able to discuss these things online, that’s helped me shape where I am today,” she said.

The Web site is the primary focus of the Post-Mormon Community, a nonprofit group founded in 2002 that tries to help those struggling after a loss of faith, said Jeff Ricks, the executive manager of the organization.

Some arrive at PostMormon.org shunned by family members or doubting a doctrine. Some PostMormon.org visitors are gay, many in heterosexual marriages and with children, Mr. Ricks said. A few have been officially disciplined or excommunicated. The common denominator, though, is that they seek an anonymous and confidential way to find support, he said.

The Web site is one of several that attract Mormons who have left the faith or are questioning it. Another, www.exMormonFoundation.org, additionally says its mission is to unveil the “harm” caused by the church and to provide a “countervoice on Mormonism.” A third site, www.exmormon.org, provides support, though it also attracts “ex Mormons,” a term that some say connotes anti-Mormonism. Indeed, exmormon.org has a large archive of arguments against the church and its doctrines.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Mormons, Other Faiths

6 comments on “Split Over the Mormon Church, but Maintaining Some Ties

  1. APB says:

    If there is a local temple constructed nearby, be on the lookout for an announcement of an open house. There is a brief period, a week or two, before consecration, or whatever the correct word is, when it will be open to “gentiles.” It is a fascinating experience, from the “Recommend Desk” to the huge full immersion baptismal font, which should not be missed. Of course you will get a bit of proselytizing at the end, but it is a small price to pay for what is almost certainly a once in a lifetime experience.

    I found the “Recommend Desk” particularly interesting. In order to perform some of the most important rituals of the faith, you need what amounts to a certificate of good standing from the bishop. Or so it was explained. Definitely not an Inclusive Church.

  2. Ross says:

    My parents in San Diego had the opportunity APB describes, to tour the Mormom temple there before it was consecrated.

    Their comment was that it was practically a marriage factory — I forget how many simultaneous weddings they said the place was set up to handle, but it was a lot.

  3. azusa says:

    “Of course you will get a bit of proselytizing at the end, but it is a small price to pay for what is almost certainly a once in a lifetime experience.”

    Don’t worry, they’ll still get you when you’re dead!

  4. libraryjim says:

    And after it’s been closed to the Gentiles, they replace all the carpeting, and other furnishings because the temple cannot have been contaminated by contact with non-Mormons.

  5. saj says:

    … is this true about the carpeting and furnishings?

  6. libraryjim says:

    Oh, I hear now they give out those little ‘booties’ to go over your shoes so that you don’t actually TOUCH the carpeting, so now they don’t require it to be replaced. (However, I’m sure they still do if someone refuses to wear the shoe-coverings.)