Flunking Sainthood

Flunking Sainthood

Ask a Mormon: FAQ

Today on Rachel Held Evans’s blog, I attempt to answer her readers’ top questions about Mormonism. You can also check out prior interviews in her “Ask” series, in which she’s talked to an atheist, a Catholic, and an Orthodox Jew.

It’s always touchy to try to represent my religion when I am just one person among fourteen million. I want to do so honestly, warts and all, while also pointing out that I’m on the left side of the Mormon continuum. I hope the Q&A points to the wide range of opinions that exists within Mormondom. I’m grateful for the opportunity. –JKR

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment mofembot

    Jana, both you and Joanna Brooks refer to the LDS church as having a membership of 14+ million (and in Joanna’s case, she recently wrote “14 million strong”). I realize that 14+ million is the number that the LDS church reports on its rolls, but wouldn’t it be more accurate to state something along the lines of “an official membership of 14 million, of which about 7 million participate” (or whatever the percentage of active LDS may be)?

    This would be a much more fair approach with respect to those of us who have not resigned for various reasons, yet who have not darkened the doors of the church for years (except perhaps for funerals), again for various reasons. Until and unless the time arrives when I do ask for my name to be removed (after my parents have passed on, for example), I would prefer not to be part of perpetuating such a misleadingly monolithic statistic.

    I enjoyed reading your answers on RHE’s blog.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment chris

    As one who has disageed with some of the things you’ve said on your blog, and who could point out 1 or 2 disagreements on that post, I think you did a great job answering their questions.

    I felt a strong feeling from the spirit of the love God has for you as I was reading your responses.

    I hope you don’t ever feel personally attacked when people disagree with what you write there or here.

  • Jana Riess

    Mofembot, that’s a good point. It’s tough to get statistics about the actual number of Mormons who are not just on the rolls but are active in the Church — as you can imagine, the Church PR department is not exactly out in the streets yelling that information. In some nations it seems to be as low as twenty percent.

    Chris, thank you for that comment. It’s always nice when people who don’t agree with me can at least give me the benefit of the doubt for trying to speak in love! And I try to do the same for them. I don’t feel personally attacked at all by those kinds of comments. (However, I do get a fair share of emails and notes that certainly fall into the attack category. On my more charitable days I can imagine that these people must be well-intentioned. My mother, who is not Mormon, told me with all seriousness after I started blogging that “Mormons are really mean.” She did not take kindly to what people online were saying about her daughter!)

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