What is an ExMormon
Although the term exMormon refers to those who have left The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members are sometimes called Mormons, the term generally has a more specific meaning in common usage. It refers to those who left the Church and then conducted an intense battle against the church.
ExMormon tactics often involve searching the internet and books for arguments they can use to try to prove the Church is false, and that therefore, they made a good choice. Generally, these arguments developed in the first days of the Church and have long since been discounted by responsible researchers. Many of them demonstrate a double standard in which the person spreading the stories holds the Book of Mormon to a higher standard than he holds the Bible, expecting, for instance, that every noun in the Book of Mormon must be scientifically verifiable, even though the Bible cannot be scientifically proven in every case. Some arguments, of course, are simply due to taking material out of context or misrepresenting it. Others are the result of words that are sometimes used differently by Mormons than by other faith groups.
ExMormons who became Anti-Mormons are in the minority. Most people who leave do so responsibly and quietly, simply moving on to the next thing they want to try. Those who find themselves unwilling or unable to accept the choice they made and move on often have unresolved issues. Some had a falling out with another church member and decided to hold the Church responsible. Others received counsel from a leader they didn’t like or were unwilling to give up serious sins. Often these people expect the Church (and therefore God) to do all the changing, rather than to do the hard work of changing themselves.
With regards to Exmormons, It’s sometimes said that the reason people fall out of the Church is the same reason they fall out of bed—they weren’t in it far enough. The Mormons teach members, both those who convert at a later age and those who were born into a Mormon family, to gain their own testimony. It isn’t enough to belong out of tradition or habit or socialization. To be a Mormon, one must go to the only source of truth. This means to study it out and then to approach God in prayer to know if The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the restored church of Jesus Christ. This answer often comes gradually over time, and therefore requires a sustained commitment to know what is true. A person must approach God with the faith to believe He will answer them and that He will tell them the truth. For this reason, developing faith is the first step in the process.
Sometimes a person will join the Church without a full testimony. This is acceptable, if they feel God wants them to join, but they must continue the process of gaining a testimony. Only when a testimony comes directly from God can a person have the sure knowledge that keeps him in the Church for life. Men can mislead, but God never will. Mormon Missionaries and teachers instruct even children to seek after that personal witness, rather than trusting the words of others.
When a person has a testimony that comes from God, not man, he understands that truth is absolute. God has an obligation to teach truth and to hold men and women accountable to the truth they know. He cannot and will not alter truth to please men, nor is He obligated to give us permission to sample all the sins of the world with approval. While it is true we have agency and can decide for ourselves how to live, we are also accountable for the choices we make and must cope with the temporal and eternal consequences.
Russell M Nelson said,
Unchanging principles are so because they come from our unchanging Heavenly Father. Try as they might, no parliament or congress could ever repeal the law of earth’s gravity or amend the Ten Commandments. Those laws are constant. All laws of nature and of God are part of the everlasting gospel. Thus, there are many unchanging principles.” (See Russell M. Nelson, “Constancy amid Change,” Ensign, Nov 1993, 33.)
It might seem to some that the Church ought to be keeping up with the times and not try to tell people how to live their lives. However, God is our Father, and like every good father, it is his sacred duty to teach His children how to live their lives so as to have the best possible eternity. He cannot change truth.
Satan, however, finds that longing to make the world conform to our own selfish desires helpful to his cause, and it is Satan who plants anger and hatred into the hearts of man. Although he cannot destroy the church of God, he can destroy individuals by filling them with constant anger, because this makes them unable to feel the Holy Ghost prompting them. Anger and unkind acts are damaging to a person’s eternal progression, and so members and leaders of the Church pray for a softening of the heart.
In 1985, at Christmas time, the leaders of the church prepared a special invitation to those who had left the Church. It read in part:
We are aware of some who are inactive, of others who have become critical and are prone to find fault, and of those who have been disfellowshipped or excommunicated because of serious transgressions.
To all such we reach out in love. We are anxious to forgive in the spirit of Him who said: “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” (D&C 64:10.)
We encourage Church members to forgive those who may have wronged them. To those who have ceased activity and to those who have become critical, we say, “Come back. Come back and feast at the table of the Lord, and taste again the sweet and satisfying fruits of fellowship with the Saints.”
We are confident that many have longed to return, but have felt awkward about doing so. We assure you that you will find open arms to receive you and willing hands to assist you. (See News of the Church,” Ensign, Mar 1986, 82–88.)
A testimony of the Church that has been misplaced can be found again, and there are many prepared to assist with the search for it, even though the most important part must be done by the person who is looking for his lost testimony. An Exmormon who left because he never had a testimony can be guided lovingly toward gaining one for the first time. No level of anti-Mormon behavior need ever keep someone from seeking to return home. God forgives enthusiastically the sincerely repentant child.