A recent study showed that nearly 50% of disaffected Mormons become atheist or agnostics. A mere 11% identify themselves as Christians. I think this is a matter of serious concern. Regardless of church affiliation I imagine the LDS heirarchy would like to see all of those who have crossed their path to be in some way devoted to the teachings of Jesus.
Disaffection from Mormonism and Christianity is a complicated topic so I don’t thing I can pinpoint the exact reason this occurs. But I think that a portion of the reason this happens is due to the story the LDS church uses to explain its origin. Another reason is found in some of the LDS evangelistic and apologetic messaging. In short, the LDS church tells its members and potential converts that the Bible is weak and unreliable and that Christianity is shallow, hollow and untrustworthy. The church does this in order to give the Book of Mormon and the LDS church a position of prominence and superior relevance in the life of its members. Does it leave any wonder why former Mormons leave Christianity all together when they lose faith in Mormonism?
This answer from FAIR about sharing the best way to tell people about the Book of Mormon highlights my point:
The Bible alone, as magnificent as it is, has not united the believing world under one Lord, one faith or one baptism. In fact, it seems that the Bible itself has never come under more criticism or skepticism at any time since its inception than it is today. Many around the world are concluding that the Bible is irrelevant in their lives. They say that Jesus may have been just a legend or a mere myth which, over time, transformed him into a God in the minds of a group of people who came to call themselves Christians. The very value of scripture seems to be assailed constantly.
The April 2012 General Conference seemed to have a thread of awareness in it that secular materialism is becoming a threat to faith and that there are shared values found in Protestant denominations. If the LDS church wants to consider itself a part of the larger Christian family it needs to do its part to tone down its own sectarian rhetoric. The simple fact is that we are now living in a post-Christian society. Disaffection to mainstream Christianity is not the threat that Mormonism needs to worry itself with (particularly when its making its own move in that direction).
I was glad to hear L. Tom Perry affirm the need for the Bible in this month’s General Conference. I’d like to see Mormon apologist do more of the same. The current apologetic approach seems to be to affirm and build the secular case against the Bible in order to make room for distinct Mormon doctrines. I think this has the unintended consequence of actually weakening Mormon faith. Mormons need to acknowledge and affirm the important place the Bible has in their religion. They need to be strengthening the case for the Bible. There need to be Mormon apologetic resources which make the case for the reliability of the Bible. Until such time I think we can continue to see disaffected Mormons not only lose their faith in Joseph Smith but Jesus as well.