School of Behavioral Sciences
Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)
Richard L. Green
crisis of faith, religion, spiritual, apostacy, family, beliefs, dogma, Internet
Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences
Critchlow, Kent Taylor, "Should I Stay or Should I Go? Exploring the Crisis of Faith Process of Former Members of the CJLDS within the United States" (2022). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4026.
Christians are experiencing a crisis of religious faith throughout the United States at an alarming rate, especially among millennials. For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, there were 20 primary and secondary reasons that created a crisis of religious faith and there were 13 reasons that motivated each participant to eventually abandon their Church membership. Over 80% of the reasons why the participants left the Church were directly and indirectly tied to the Prophet Joseph Smith and to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. The use of the Internet played a significant role in expediting a person’s crisis of religious faith. Of the 13 participants in this study, nine were self-described as an atheist or being agnostic; three as a spiritualist, but not religious; and one was self-described as a Deist. In all cases, each participant felt suspicious and resentful of religions in general, and they had no desire to seek out a differing religious denomination, a phenomenon not previously documented in prior research studies. When a participant experienced a crisis of religious faith, each individual went through a transitional phase that was highlighted by Six-Stages of Religious Transition that went from questioning and then doubting Church dogma to leaving the Church by forming a new identity through self-determination with the goal of reaching a state of sovereignty or autonomy by becoming agents unto themselves. The average length of time from first questioning and doubting Church dogma to eventually leaving the Church was 6.5 years.