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Why "Liberal"?
Why "Mormon"?
Why "Spirituality"?
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A Spirit of Discernment
Faith, Not Doubt
Does Historicity Matter?
Only One True Church?
A Place for Liberals?
Staying in the Church
Living outside the Church

Staying in the Church

If you choose, as a liberal, to remain active in the LDS Church, be sure you stay for the right reason. Staying in the church for the sake of family, or because staying seems easier than the alternatives, will not provide you with as strong a foundation as if you stay because you have a testimony that God wants you to stay. Once you have such a testimony, these suggestions may help you cope with the continuing challenges:

Let people get to know you. Ward members' reactions to the discovery that you have liberal views will be affected by the quality of their relationship with you. People will probably react more positively if they already know you as a good neighbor, a caring visiting teacher or home teacher, a helpful volunteer at church, and so on.

Highlight common ground. As you interact with other church members, speak more about the beliefs and values you have in common than about those where you differ. When you comment in church classes or give talks, ask the Spirit to give you words that will not create misunderstanding and that will be edifying for your listeners (D&C 50:21-23). The principle of highlighting common ground can also be applied to interviews with church leaders. Be sure your local leaders see that you have a testimony of gospel principles, even if you also subscribe to beliefs or practices they may perceive as unorthodox.

Avoid problematic church callings. Respectfully decline callings that could put you in a position of feeling pressured to sacrifice your personal integrity for the sake of conformity. Teaching and leadership positions might put you at risk of this, for instance. If you are asked to accept such a calling, take time to pray about it. If the Spirit cautions you against accepting, explain that you feel strongly the calling wouldn't be right for you, and offer to serve in some other way.

Build a supportive network. Pray to be led to people who can support you, and whom you can support, in the practice of liberal Mormon spirituality. You may have to look beyond your family for support, and you will probably have to look beyond your ward—perhaps at organizations like Sunstone or online. Your network might even be a textual community, composed of authors, living or dead, whose approach to spirituality resonates with you but whom you know only through their writings.

Stay close to the Spirit. Being a liberal in a conservative church can be lonely, but the Spirit is a source of companionship and support. Pray for greater charity and patience in your relationships with other church members. If LDS church activity isn't enough to satisfy all your spiritual needs, supplement your spiritual life with practices that do. Keeping "spiritually fit" will be especially important if you lack a strong support network or if you are eventually subjected to church discipline.

This website is an independent effort to discern the Spirit's voice in LDS teaching. The site is not sponsored by the LDS Church. Quotations from the teachings of any individual should not be taken to imply that the individual does or would endorse this website or other statements made here.