I wrote this when I was trying to figure out of my own disaffection. It helped to see some of the problems more clearly:

Many organizations, primarily religious and political, tend to go through similar ‘authority’ cycles:

  • Some want to be seen as ultra-loyal and promote absolute obedience.
  • This leads to a more unwelcoming environment for questioning.
  • Then people are more likely to ignore or overlook problems.
  • Many dismiss truths because they are not faith promoting.
  • This opens up the possibility for abuses of position.
  • As well as unequal treatment based on family ties, extreme loyalty, etc.

There is also a cycle of ‘worthiness’ requirements that often seems to happen:

  • People earnestly and zealously want to meet all of the requirements.
  • Others look down on those who do not come up to their standard of worthiness.
  • Levels of perfection are promoted which few (if any) really live up to.
  • This leads to a lot of prying, guilt, pretense and dishonesty.
  • The pain, discomfort, and shame associated with repentance increases.
  • Cliques form of those who claim to be the chosen within the group.
  • People are excluded but often still want to be part of the group, but may not feel worthy.

To anyone who has read Animal Farm, 1984, Brave New World or Fahrenheit 451, these concepts are eerily familiar.

Mormonism in general suffers from a sort of Pharisaic legalism. White shirts seem to matter more than a good heart, [whereas men with questionable business morals (but financial success) are given local leadership]. Gnats are strained at and camels are swallowed. …

Yet for a while I made excuses because of the fallibility of people, probably because it didn’t impact me personally. When the day came that it did affect me I still made excuses and presumed they must know better than me. I’ve since realized that the foundations and beliefs of Mormonism encourage these problems – it practically relies on them to function (or dysfunction).