For many Mormons, their faith and relationship to the LDS Church has forever changed from what they were growing up. And this is how it should be. We’re all called to growth and to assuming responsibility for our own life choices, including the most compelling vision of what existence is all about, how we want to live, with whom do we want to associate, what it is that brings us (or promises us, we sense if we keep going) the greatest joy. In the faith and spirituality arena, religions all contain visions of what it means to be a fully flourishing human being (including, for some, divine potentialities), and they outline practices and create communities designed to help foster growth toward their particular vision. The rub comes when communities and leaders, out of utility (trying to meet the needs of the most people or its especially fragile members), or from fear, ideals of protective love, or simply being deeply engaged in day-to-day operations fail to encourage the kind of maturation that life (and even their community’s highest teachings) points people toward. What is someone in the community to do when the greatest focus is on the spiritual needs of children and others who seem to need continuing dependence upon the institution when they themselves are ready to venture into new views, enter into that new relationship with the institution and its founding scriptures, sacred narratives, and communal forms? How does this person live into greater richness when all the messaging seems to call for “safety” within the fold or continued reliance on others’ wisdom and authority?
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