I’ve been watching what I’d call an “exmormon movement” happening on the Internet for the last few years, and just wanted to jot down my thoughts and opinions as to what is going on and why it’s happening.
In my opinion the transition from Mormon to Exmormon is one of moving rapidly from one absolute position to a position opposite to the position held when Mormon. Here are a few examples: group think to passionate individuality, theist to atheist, teetotaler to alcohol consumer etc. What I want to focus on the most though is the issue of moving from group thinking toward individual thinking. It appears to me that exmormons are passionate about defending their individual space and rights and newly found code of ethics because of offenses to their individuality suffered as Mormons [such as having to wear white shirts to LDS services or temple garments]. What I want to focus on is the issue of individuality and how it effects exmormons as they leave the LDS Church.
A swing can be noticed from group think to passionate individualism. Mormonism [I think most would agree] is a culture which strives for conformity [see temple garments if you think otherwise]. What I’ve noticed about exmormons is that they are passionate about expressing their individuality. This phenomenon [particularly on the Internet] can best be seen by the splintering exmormon movement. For every exmormon you can just about find a unique set of beliefs and each will define themselves differently. Exmormon, Antimormon, New Order Mormon, Cafeteria Mormon, Post Mormon, etc etc etc. Groups of people who have something in common, leaving the Mormon church, but who upon leaving find themselves disagreeing with exmormons about how to proceed after leaving the Church. Exmormons find themselves out and about, untethered to any moral system and thus go about finding something new or creating a new life view.
Mormon culture is best marked by conformity and following the status quo, and in my opinion exmormons first and foremost want to break out of following Mormon cultural mores and rules. For example look at how many exmormons [on large boards such as Recovery from Mormonism] revel in alcohol consumption [to the point of weekly threads celebrating the fact.] I think this behavior is as much about offending things they formerly held sacred [perhaps in an attempt to break out of the group think they had previously participated in] as much as it is about knocking back a few cold ones.
Beyond that look at exmormon activity on the Internet. It is all about staking out individual space and protecting turf. Take a look at message boards alone. Boards for debate, boards for recovery from Mormonism, boards for post mormons, boards for new order mormons who want to find some new way within the Church. And the exmormons who appear on these boards argue with each other over how to define the newly ex-church members, how to treat the church, etc etc etc. Members who are passionately anti everything Mormon. People who want to build bridges. People who want to convert Mormons. People who want to rant about Mormons. People who want to talk about everything except Mormonism, but with people who are exmormons. On and on and on and on. Once again splintering off from each other as they split themselves away from the Mormon Church. Not everyone is unique, and people will find people like themselves who hold roughly the same believes and feelings toward the Mormon church.
Just a thought~
Edit from feedback: I think exmormons want to protect and stake out their individuality doubly because mormons refuse to recognize their individuality. Mormons are more likely to lump exmormons together simply as people who want to attack the church [or people who left the Church in order to sin]. They don’t want to recognize that exmormons are not a homogenous group who think and feel the same but are individuals who leave the church for different reasons and define themselves differently from other exmormons. Thus exmormons are doubly moved to stake out their little patch of individuality due to the stigma they feel as exmormons from mormons