Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles recently spoke at a devotional in Tempe, Arizona. He had some harsh words for those who choose to leave the church (https://youtu.be/MacLy_mvVIs?t=2m12s):

Don’t you dare bail. I’m so furious with people who leave this church. I don’t know whether furious is a good apostolic word. (Crowd laughter). But I am. And I say, what on earth kind of conviction is that? What kind of paddy-cake, taffy-pulled experience is that? As if none of this ever mattered, as if nothing in our contemporary life mattered? As if this is all supposed to be just exactly the way I want it and answered every one of my questions and pursue this and occupy that, decide this, and then maybe I’ll be a Latter-day Saint. Well, there is too much Irish in me for that.


Leaving the church can be a sticky situation.

I don’t have Elder Holland handy to explain all of those references, but I think I recognize some:

“what on earth kind of conviction is that?” You must have never had a testimony.
“As if none of this ever mattered” You never really cared for the church.
“As if this is all supposed to be just exactly the way I want it” Progressive Mormons just want it their way or no way at all.
“answered every one of my questions” Hey Jeremy Runnels, I’m talking to you! And no, I’m not going to answer any of your questions. Good riddance.
“persue this and occupy that, decide this” Those Ordain Women folks are really annoying when they wait on temple square, hoping someone from my office will come and take their letters back to us church leaders. No, we’re not going to decide to listen to your demands.
“and then maybe I’ll be a Latter-day Saint” People who leave the church want all of their demands met, and even then they will still not be happy.

Contrast this with a talk given by President Dieter Uchtdorf in 2013 General Conference:

The search for truth has led millions of people to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, there are some who leave the Church they once loved. One might ask, “If the gospel is so wonderful, why would anyone leave?” Sometimes we assume it is because they have been offended or lazy or sinful. Actually, it is not that simple. In fact, there is not just one reason that applies to the variety of situations.

Some of our dear members struggle for years with the question whether they should separate themselves from the Church.

In this Church that honors personal agency so strongly, that was restored by a young man who asked questions and sought answers, we respect those who honestly search for truth. It may break our hearts when their journey takes them away from the Church we love and the truth we have found, but we honor their right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience, just as we claim that privilege for ourselves.

One leader is saying people leave because they’re weak and don’t care enough to stay, and the other leader is trying to help members understand there is no one reason people leave. One leader criticizes those who ask questions, and the other honors and respects those who ask questions and are honestly searching for truth. I will leave it to you to decide which of these men is acting more compassionate and Christlike. Meanwhile, I’m going to go try to find some taffy to pull. That looks kind of fun!


Beware the Paddy-cake Taffy Pullers — 1 Comment

  1. So simple and clear. The unspoken words by leaders are so loud it hurts my ears. Your presentation of the dichotomy between the two apostles really captures a frustration felt throughout the church. But like you I side with the Uchtdorf church than the other.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *