You Lost Me

You Lost Me A new book has hit the Evangelical scene called “You Lost Me”. David Kinnaman, President of the Barna Group, explores the faith of young people who have left the faith. You can read a summary of the research here.

You can also read a very positive review from Publisher’s Weekly here.

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14 thoughts on “You Lost Me

  1. I’d be interested in seeing how these apply to Mormonism… Because with respect to evangelical teenagers, I can see some of these themes applying just as much, and others not applying as much.

  2. I think that reason 5 would play out quite differently for Mormons, considering that there is functionally no he’ll, and the other kingdoms of heaven aren’t that bad. That being said, there’s plenty of talks to drum up the exclusivity factor as well.

    I think 2 could go differently depending on the questions… I mean, some people complain about how you can get through entire lessons without reading scriptures… But at the same time, lds seminary goes through all the scriptures at least nominally

  3. I could see all six applying to some extent in the LDS world, although, perhaps, as Andrew S. suggested, LDS youth who have gone through the full program including seminary might be less likely to complain about shallowness (or have a different understanding of what shallowness is) than evangelical young adults might.

    Of the young adults I’ve known personally who have dropped out, sexual issues and, to a lesser extent, politics (in the broad sense — maybe mostly cultural conservatism), seem to be big factors. And I’ve known some who basically are tired of being judged for things that don’t really matter (such as length of hair and arbitrary standards of modesty).

  4. I think 1, 4, and 6 have the most relevant LDS parallel, though we could do better across the board.

    I liked the conversation on the Wheat and Tares post about better ways of dealing with doubts. Right now, if you doubt and disagree as a Mormon, you’re “on the road to apostasy.” There has to be a healthier way to handle diversity of thought.

  5. My take on these.

    Reason #1 – Churches seem overprotective.
    – I felt this was the case when it comes to word of wisdom and other “worthiness” issues.

    Reason #2 – Teens’ and twentysomethings’ experience of Christianity is shallow.

    LDS Church is boring but I found lots of opportunities to have a very deep experience. My mission being the primary.

    Reason #3 – Churches come across as antagonistic to science.

    I never felt this too much in the Mormon church, but it’s there. BYU teaches evolution (if not the human-forming type). I generally felt my scientific views were compatible with Mormonism.

    Reason #4 – Young Christians’ church experiences related to sexuality are often simplistic, judgmental.

    I didn’t feel this when I was an active Mormon (except with regard to gays.) I think it now.

    Reason #5 – They wrestle with the exclusive nature of Christianity.

    This was not a huge reason the LDS church lost me. I always felt that Mormonism accounted for diverse views far better than Evangelicals and other Christians.

    Reason #6 – The church feels unfriendly to those who doubt.

    I never felt unfriendliness, more like over-concern. I didn’t express doubts because I didn’t want fellow Mormons to feel like they needed to help me in my faith.

  6. I’ll look more into this later but I think that while #3 doesn’t apply to the LDS church, there is a parallel that functions equivalently. I think most Mormons don’t view science as conflicting with LDS beliefs because it has never been made a hot button issue for Mormons.

    However, “The LDS church comes across as antagonistic to history” functions in the same way as #3 does for evangelicals.

  7. Once again, the David Clark Maxim comes in play! Insert polygamy into the equation and see if it makes more sense.

  8. Polygamy never bothered me too much. Having revered polygamist ancestors certainly helped with that. Even the pussy-footing of the church regarding embarrassing didn’t significantly erode my faith, I expect that of anybody who is not completely comfortable with their past.

    Reason #5 may take a slightly different form for those lost by the LDS church. Mormons wrestle with the authoritarian/exclusive nature of the church, even when conceptually Mormonism is more inclusive than traditional Christianity.

  9. Last night I asked one my adult children (20-something, married, active LDS) about why the huge dropoff in attendance by young single adults. The instant answer: They feel that they’re not welcome in church unless they’re following all the commandments.

  10. Agreed, the church doesn’t seem to want you to actively participate if you are not “worthy” and they don’t cater the message and presentation for those who are less than completely interested. I don’t know if that is the case with other churches.

  11. Excellent, well researched book. I say the reasons apply equally within Mormonism, including being embarrassingly anti-science. The LDS was a sad anachronism in my youth. So little has changed, that for today’s LDS youth the LDS church must be nothing more than a judgmental ghost. Hence the twenty something singles activity rate in single digits. The sad old farts running the joint haven’t given a rat’s rear in my lifetime. So poeple vote with their feet

  12. Jared C. said:

    BYU teaches evolution (if not the human-forming type).

    Actually, at least one BYU biology professor (Steve Peck) openly teaches that evolution applies to modern-day humans as well. At least according to what I’ve read, he gets more flak from students for that position than he does from the powers that be.

    Earlier, the same person said:

    [T]he church doesn’t … cater the message and presentation for those who are less than completely interested. I don’t know if that is the case with other churches.

    I don’t know how it is in smaller churches (where it’s more difficult to “hide”) these days, but at least in the larger Protestant churches I’ve had contact with they have emphasized that they want people regardless of where they are in life, and they’re happy to have people there regardless of how involved they choose to be. And I think they mean it. (Of course, they’d rather have people become more involved; they just aren’t going to pressure people to do it.)

    In my experience, attitude on such things in the LDS world varies from ward to ward. But I’ve heard too many people say that they feel unaccepted for various reasons that I can’t help but think that judgmentalism is a significant problem.

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