Latter-day Saint Faith Crisis


Below is a list of resources from multiple venues: official LDS Church publications, books sold at church-associated bookstores, wisdom from people of other faiths, social media groups, and more. Each resource is rated on a scale from Faithful to Critical, where Critical resources are more likely to make active members uncomfortable and Faithful resources are unlikely to cause any discomfort.

Official Church media

Rating Description
Gospel Topics Essays Faithful Eleven essays about controversial topics in church doctrine and history such as plural marriage, multiple First Vision accounts, the Book of Abraham, and so on. These essays take a scholarly tone but are written for the purpose of providing faithful, non-disruptive perspectives on issues that trouble members.
The Joseph Smith Papers Neutral / Faithful Complete scans and transcriptions of documents written by, dictated by, or relating directly to Joseph Smith, founding prophet of the Church.
The Maxwell Institute at BYU Faithful An institute for religious scholarship that employs several scholars with unorthodox and progressive views about the church.
Faith Crisis: What Do We Do When We Feel Nothing? Faithful Professional musician Michael McLean's personal account of a nine-years-long faith crisis.
Come, Join With Us Faithful Dieter F. Uchtdorf. A talk from the October 2013 General Conference covering important topics about faith crisis, mistakes in church history, and nuance among church members.

Church-associated bookstores (and related materials)

Rating Description
Bridges: Ministering to Those Who Question Faithful David B. Ostler. One of very few books about faith crisis that claims the endorsement of both those who have left the church and those who stay. A compassionate and detailed guide to understanding and supporting people whose relationship to the church is different from ours.
The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections On the Quest for Faith Faithful Terryl Givens and Fiona Givens. A smart and scholarly approach to the problem of faith crisis. Makes several philosophical defenses of faith, which may be helpful to members with theoretical questions about the foundations of belief.
Planted: Belief and Belonging in an Age of Doubt Faithful Patrick Q. Mason. A brief overview of some of the reasons people doubt the church, faithful responses to those reasons, and ways to support people who doubt or leave.
Surviving a Faith Crisis (and How Church Members Can Help) Faithful Patrick Q. Mason. Adapted from Planted, this article is a helpful resource for members who are unsure how to productively support someone in faith crisis.
Letters to a Young Mormon Faithful Adam S. Miller. A (perhaps misleadingly-titled) book of dense Mormon philosophy. Discusses the conundrums and merits of a Mormon lifestyle with a meditative attitude.
Listen, Learn and Love Faithful Richard H. Ostler. A book, website and podcast centering the experiences and needs of LGBTQ church members.
A Thoughtful Faith: Essays on Belief by Mormon Scholars Faithful Philip L. Barlow. A collection of essays exploring faith from an intellectual perspective, including the doubts and questions many church members struggle with. (Out of print.)

Wisdom from other faiths

Rating Description
Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church Faithful Rachel Held Evans. An autobiographical account of a faith transition told with a powerful sense of honesty and vulnerability. Evans details her departure from evangelical Christianity, her struggle to find a church that met her needs, and her eventual conversion to Episcopalianism.
Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life Faithful Fr. Richard Rohr. A discussion of two kinds of spirituality: a childlike, conforming kind and a mature, individual kind. Rohr explains the way people may transition from the first to the second in the process of "losing" faith.
Faith After Doubt: Why Your Beliefs Stopped Working and What to Do About It Faithful Brian D. McLaren. A four-stage approach to faith journeys that emphasizes the value and importance of both faith and doubt.

Social media

Rating Description
Waters of Mormon Neutral A heavily moderated group facilitating discussion among members who have experienced faith transition. Criticism of the church is permitted but kept within strict guidelines. As such this is one of few groups where faith transition can be discussed without the tone of profound anger that is often found in similar groups. Note that entry to this group requires a few preliminary steps and an interview with an admin.
Thoughtful Transitions Critical A lightly moderated group for discussion among members and former members who have transitioned away from the church to a greater or lesser extent. Very few rules are imposed on discussion here, so anger and profanity toward the church are common.
Faith Journey Meetups Neutral A group for women from across the LDS belief spectrum. Members of the group frequently meet up for discussion and support in addition to daily discussions online.
Celeste Davis (Instagram) Neutral / Faithful A church member who posts essays focused on her changing relationship with the church.
Chelsea Homer (Instagram) Neutral / Critical A former member whose posts include a wealth of discussion about the process of faith transition and being in a mixed-faith marriage.
Dr. Julie Hanks (Instagram) Faithful A therapist whose practice, Wasatch Therapy, specializes in faith transition. She works to build bridges between current and former members of the church.
Why I Left the Mormon Church Neutral Johnny Harris. A personal story of leaving the Church told in a respectful way by a video journalist.


Rating Description
Mormon Stories Podcast Critical John Dehlin. A long-running podcast consisting of interviews with current and former church members. Focused on exploring critical and difficult issues in Mormonism.
Mormon FAIR-Cast Faithful FairMormon. A series of interviews about scholarly, apologetic, and controversial topics in the church.
Radio Free Mormon Critical Mormon Discussions. A series of interviews, discussions and monologues about controversial topics in the church.
A Thoughtful Faith Neutral Dr. Gina Colvin. Interviews and discussions about Mormonism and other religions. Focused on exploring "the other side of extreme orthodoxy."
Marriage on a Tightrope Neutral Mormon Discussions. A podcast, website and Facebook group dedicated to helping people navigate mixed-faith marriages.

Miscellaneous resources

Rating Description
Tabernacles of Clay: Sexuality and Gender in Modern Mormonism Neutral Taylor G. Petrey. A scholarly history of gender theory in Mormonism, including Post-World War II shifts of attitude within the church about gender and sexual identity.
Mormonism and White Supremacy: American Religion and The Problem of Racial Innocence Neutral / Faithful Joanna Brooks. A scholarly history of racial relations in the church including an in-depth study of the priesthood ban.
By Common Consent Neutral / Faithful A blog with multiple authors that covers various aspects of modern Mormonism, dependably providing a progressive and nuanced perspective.
Religion News Service: Latter-day Saints Neutral / Faithful An independent newspaper that often has news and opinion pieces about Mormonism written by a Latter-day Saint journalist.
Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought Faithful A journal of articles, essays, poetry, fiction, etc. written by and for Latter-day Saints. The "New Yorker for Mormons."
Wikipedia: James W. Fowler (Stages of Faith) Neutral An overview of six "stages of faith" as described by theologian James W. Fowler, which apply theories of human cognitive development to the realm of faith transition and growth.
Navigating Mormon Faith Crisis: A Simple Developmental Map Faithful Thomas Wirthlin McConkie. The author, a Mormon mystic of sorts, describes a variation of Fowler's stages of faith that applies more specifically to Mormonism. His six archetypes of believers help to cast faith transition in a progressive light.
Stay LDS / Mormon Neutral A blog and forum for people who want to remain involved with the church even after their beliefs have shifted significantly.
Psychology Today - Find a Therapist Neutral An international search engine for licensed therapists based on your location. Therapist listings include professional credentials, a brief introduction, a list of areas of expertise, and sometimes religious affiliation. Therapists with a specialty in faith transition can be found in many parts of the world.
FairMormon Faithful The most comprehensive source for Mormon apologetics, providing faithful scholarly responses to the church's historical and doctrinal controversies. Because its purpose is primarily to defend the faith, not to acknowledge shortcomings or imperfections in the church, some members feel that its apologetics come across as disingenous or far-fetched.
Philosophy: The Basics Neutral Nigel Warburton. A neutral and simple introduction to Western philosophy, including several arguments for and against the existence of God.

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