Posted by: Jay | January 15, 2008

What is a New Order Mormon anyway?

This is a definition taken directly from

New Order Mormons are those who no longer believe some (or much) of the dogma or doctrines of the LDS Church, but who want to maintain membership for cultural, social, or even spiritual reasons. New Order Mormons recognize both good and bad in the Church, and have determined that the Church does not have to be perfect in order to remain useful. New Order Mormons seek the middle way to be Mormon.

At the suggestion of a fellow blogger, I recently became a registered member of  I’ve only started posting there, but I’m already hooked.  I love the conversations and the open-mindedness of the other members.  It is heartening to meet others that are climbing the mountain of doubt and finding the foot holds to hang on (I know a little dramatic, sometimes I do that).  Seriously though if there is anyone that wants a place to talk openly about the Church and how to fit in without being a TBM  (other than this blog) this is the place for you, check it out!

Has anyone else had good experiences there?  Tell me about it.



  1. Jay, you had me exploring this website for the first time.

    I think that any LDS town seriously reflects this type of community as well.

    The ones without the strong testimonies.

    But I have some fine friends in this category.

  2. Glad to hear it. I only joined this week and I already feel like I have some good friends.

  3. Glad you joined NOM! What I love about it there is that meanness or nastiness is not allowed. You can vent and question in a friendly and safe place.

    The thing that I heard John Dehlin ask someone was: if we can’t ask these serious questions of our leaders or have thoughtful discussions about these questions at church, who can we ask?

    I came into my questions with a strong and deep testimony of the gospel. I KNEW it was true. But now that I’ve been exposed to things in church history and have thought about things in a different way, I fear that I can’t talk to my bishop about these things. I fear the backlash and judgment.

    Anyway – I hope you like it there as much as I do.

  4. What’s your thoughts on the charge that NOM lack intellectual integrity? On the LDS church’s terms, by being a member you are acknowledging that it’s dogma, doctrines and histories are true.

    So doesn’t it come with some intellectual (or at least unstated) dishonesty? At some point, be it a temple interview, a temple oath, or a simple sustaining of the leaders means you have to publicly lie.

    Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the moderation and temperance NOM are introducing to the LDS faith, but I don’t see how it’s a real option. The more sustainable option in my view would be to join the CoC.

  5. Tim

    I’m not even sure that I am a NOM. I know that I enjoy their conversations and questioning. I think I’m somewhere in between becoming a NOM and being a TBM (though closer to a NOM). Maybe the fact that I enjoy the site means I am closer to being NOM than I think.

    Anyway, I don’t think that just because someone says they are Mormon means they have to believe everything the LDS Church teaches. I still do believe more than I don’t believe, its just the things I’m not sure about are really big (i.e. BOM, JS). I guess what I feel is the most important is what I personally believe. I believe in Christ and God.

    I’m not sure how many NOMs have a temple recommend or even want one for that matter (that would be a great topic to discuss). It seems to me that NOMs are much more honest with themselves than most LDS members and I find it hard to believe they would lie in a temple recommend interview. Temple recommend interviews are not required so you can remain a member and never go in for one, thus avoiding uncomfortable questions. When it comes to church I imagine they try to be sensitive about how they introduce information or they just don’t say anything at all. This is all guesswork on my part, but I don’t think it is intellectually dishonest if you don’t believe and still choose to associate yourself with the LDS faith. I know what I believe and so does God and that is good enough for me.


    I do like it. When did you first start listening to John Dehlin? His podcast is what first exposed me to the many issues. I continue to listen to them whenever he posts a new one. When did your DH and you start to learn about Church history? I know that if it wasn’t for John’s sincere attitude I would probably never have listened to his podcasts. He didn’t attack the Church, just asked hard questions and shared his experiences. This allowed me to explore things without feeling like I was following an anti-Mormon. The few times when he did say something I found offensive I emailed him and to my surprise he responded in a helpful way. I get the same vibe from the people at

    I’ve already talk to my Bishop and it helped a lot. I only told him generally that my testimony was gone and I was working on it. He ask if there was anything I wanted to discuss with him, but since I knew he couldn’t give me satisfactory answers I said no. I had to tell him because I asked to be released from the Elders Qurom Presidency and he wanted to know why. He thought someone had offended me, so I let him know that no one had offended me and that it was just a personal thing. I now feel a lot better knowing that I don’t have to worry about slipping up or saying something I shouldn’t because he knows (probably along with the other leaders of the ward) that I’m “struggling”. It also helps to avoid unwanted callings or calls to talk in Sacrament meeting. It saves a lot of trouble. I don’t have to keep saying no and trying to explain myself. However, I completely understand that you don’t feel comfortable telling him.

  6. DH had questions first and after many rocky months, I told him that I’d like to know how he came to have these questions. The first thing he had me listen to was a Sunstone symposium (I can’t remember the name). It’s three couples – 1/2 of each couple is a TBM and the other 1/2 is somewhere between NOM and agnostic (John Dehlin is one of the men). That was a few months ago that I listened to that. Since then, I’ve just been reading and studying and praying, trying to figure everything out.

    I’m still trying to decipher all the information that I’ve read – what’s true, what’s someone’s opinion, what is fact….it’s so confusing.

    I realized that I can ask questions and still love many things about the church. I’m not anti, bitter, or angry. Just confused. It’s confusing to know that everything that I’ve been taught has been white-washed. It’s all watered down.

    I won’t talk to my bishop about this because I don’t want to become a subject for Ward Council. I know from experience what goes on there and I don’t want to be talked about or judged. I don’t want to be a project. Really, I’d like to just sort of disappear for a while til I figure everything out.

    Tim – As for NOM members lacking intellectual integrity? Well, I guess all I can say about that is try not to judge people. None of us know what it’s like to be someone else. (Not that I’m perfect in not judging people – I do my fair share.) And we are not all the same there. Some people get recommends to be able to go to weddings. Some people don’t go to the temple at all. Some people give a faith-promoting version of themselves at church, some are totally honest and open with some people about how they feel. As with everyone on the planet – I think we are all trying to do the best we can with what information we have.

    As for me – I’m just trying my best to get through this experience by getting closer to God and not come out a hypocrite. I feel like I have to live this way (pretending to be a TBM) for my family (parents, siblings, in-laws, etc) and that I don’t really have the freedom to worship God how I feel is best.

  7. I’m still trying to decipher all the information that I’ve read – what’s true, what’s someone’s opinion, what is fact….it’s so confusing.

    I know exactly what you mean. It takes a lot of thought, time and prayer.

    I won’t talk to my bishop about this because I don’t want to become a subject for Ward Council. I know from experience what goes on there and I don’t want to be talked about or judged. I don’t want to be a project.

    I understand. From my perspective, I just don’t care what people think. If they think I’m an apostate then maybe it will inspire them to ask questions and I can actually have a conversation about the issues. I’m not sure how many people in the ward are aware that I’m questioning my testimony, but I think its good that they do know.

    I have been longing to go to a Sunstone symposia. Eventually, I will make the trip. I’d like to get the magazine also. However, right now I can’t justify the cost to my wife. So for now I rely on podcasts, books and blogging for my information. It think I’ve listened to almost every Mormon podcast out there. Out of all of them Mormon Stories is the best. I’ve even recommended it to people. I mostly tell them it deals with controversial subjects in Mormon history and don’t say anything about it being the beginning of my doubting heart. I figure if they actually go there and listen to them, they can make up their own mind.

  8. Hi guys,

    I hope you understand where I’m coming from on this. I’m not trying to judge anyone, but I do think it’s important to judge ideas and patterns of thought. I appreciate you trying to help me understand.

    Jay, you say that you’re not sure about Joseph Smith but you’re still with God and Christ (i’m with you there). My question is, if you don’t think Joseph Smith is a prophet (ergo a false prophet), how can you buy into his church/organization/worldview/doctrines and still maintain that you’re following Christ? The New Testament alone makes it quite clear that false prophets can’t be tolerated alongside Jesus. There’s a mental disconnect there that you can perhaps piece together for me. How can true worship of Christ have anything to do with a false prophet (or an organization which continues to prop up a false prophet)?

    Here again, I can understand if you like your community, style of worship, etc. how the CoC would make sense but I don’t get holding tight to the LDS church. Thanks!

  9. Ok, some people have mentioned the CoC, and I want to say something. The CoC is in a state of flux right now, and has been for a long time. It is the religion of my fathers, grandfathers, and their grandfathers, so I returned to it. There was really no where else to go. The CoC is leaning dangerously towards liberal protestantism, in my opinion. It is not the same church I left in 1986. However, the grassroots are still pretty much RLDS. When the older generation dies out, the CoC will be much more “Protestant” I think. They are not really passing on the older RLDS traditions. It really makes my blood boil when Evangelicals talk about “intellectual integrity” and say LDS should abandon their church because “Joseph Smith was a false prophet.” And go where? To me, attending church every Sunday with a bunch of habitual, unrepentant fornicators who wanted me to lower my standards and violate my covenants towards our Lord was NOT LIVING A LIFE OF SPIRITUAL INTEGRITY.
    Of course, the CoC would welcome any New Order Mormon, or any other LDS who wished to make their church home with us, but all such people need to understand exactly what is going on, exactly what the CoC is, and what it is not, and that it is NOT the same as the RLDS church of old.

  10. Just an aside – I’m not sure that John Dehlin is one of the couples on that Sunstone Symposium recording. He did post about it here though:

  11. test…

  12. Lisa,

    You’re going to have to tell me how you know me before you accuse me and the people I go to church with of being a unrepentant sinners, fornicators, and covenant breakers.

    I’ve told you time and time again that I agree with anyone who decides not to attend a church with people like that. But just because you attended A Protestant church like that does not mean ALL Protestant churches are like that. Protestant churches are by no means monolithic in their cultures, doctrine or practices.

    For well over a year you have borne a grudge against your former church and cast it over all Protestants. I can guarantee your anger is hurting you more than it’s hurting anyone else. I’d like to suggest that forgiveness is the only path of freedom available to you.

  13. My question is, if you don’t think Joseph Smith is a prophet (ergo a false prophet), how can you buy into his church/organization/worldview/doctrines and still maintain that you’re following Christ?

    I don’t know that I’m at the point where I can claim Joseph Smith was a false prophet. I probably hesitating because I want to believe he was a true prophet.

    I think perhaps what Christians typically think of as a prophet is not accurate. Our expectations are too high. We forget that prophets are human too (we get a little taste of this in the OT).

    I really don’t have a huge problem with most of Joseph Smith’s ideas. In fact, it is mostly later prophets that I have the biggest problems with (e.g. Brigham Young, Joseph F. Smith). I am willing to admit, however, that the few things I am concerned about are enough to make me wonder if JS was a prophet or just a really talented con man.

    Until I make that decision, I have to trust in the core teachings of Christ. JS taught these (along with other things). So I don’t see any problem with being a questioning Mormon while claiming to follow Christ, for now anyway.

  14. Tim,

    I didn’t say that all Protestants were unrepentant sinners, fornicators, and covenant breakers. From my perspective as a new convert, single Christian woman who was searching for a husband, there just was a huge problem finding men who would be “worthy” in the LDS sense of the word due to habitual, unrepentant, fornication. I truly believe in the saying, “Bad company corrupts good morals.” There have been a couple of books written now about the problem of marriage formation in the Evangelical church, and fornication is acknowledged to be a problem among unmarried Evangelicals–some studies show the percentage of single Christians who have engaged in premarital sex to be as high as 80%. Now before you go accusing the LDS of committing the same sins, I acknowledge that yes, you are right. We are all sinners! It’s just that, after twenty years or so, I have decided to associate with sinners from my own CoC denomination. People like the anti-Mormons (and I’m not accusing you of being an anti-Mormon) will tell you that the grave errors in the LDS church are so wrong that all Christians who want to follow Christ have to immediately separate themselves from the LDS church, if they truly love Christ. I don’t agree. I’m not going to bore everyone with the exceedingly long list of Protestant denominations that I went through in order to try to find a place where I “fit in” In short, Tim, it wasn’t just one church. It was twenty years of trying to find a place to belong, and I tried both mainline and Evangelical more than once. I hung on for so long because I really believed the Bible to be true. (I still do, but it is more of a Mainline view, not an Evangelical one) and I really believed that salvation is by grace, through faith alone. I didn’t want to give this up. I still don’t.
    I would also like to say that my daughter attends an Episcopal church school, and that this is by my choice, and that I plan on supporting their teachings. I have agreed to let my husband raise our daughter in the United Methodist Church as well. And, for the last ten years, I have been a financial supporter of the Evangelical Christian charity, World Vision. I have even posted of this on your blog. Despite my feelings against Evangelicals, I have sacrificed to support seven children using WV, and I highly enourage others to sponsor children with World Vision.
    As far as forgiveness is concerned, I agree with you. It’s kind of like the battered wife, whose husband has beaten the stuffing out of her. They’re divorced but now he’s out trying to woo some other woman. So, she should just forgive him, right?
    My opinion is, New Order Mormons are on the right track, they know what they know, and shouldn’t be made to feel like they somehow don’t have integrity just because they choose to remain in the church. Leaving the LDS church, while it does solve one set of problems, will almost certainly lead to another set of problems.

  15. Jay, you’re right. My question is not well suited to you, a questioner, but rather to someone else who has made up their mind on the matter.

    Was it GBH or JFS who said that Joseph Smith was either a con man or a prophet of God, there is no middle ground? I agree with that and that’s what I’m trying to reflect back in the discussion.

  16. I believe it was GBH. On I ask the question, “Can a NOM get a temple recommend?”. There were several great answers. One of the temple recommend questions is if you believe Joseph Smith was a prophet and that GBH is the current prophet (or something like that). One NOM said that they consider them prophets, but also consider other people outside the LDS Church prophets also. Apparently, this person has widened their definition of what a prophet is and is able to answer the question honestly without being denied entrance into the temple.

  17. What a nice place! I suppose I ought to come right out and say that I was a Mormon and am considered an anti-Mormon by my Mormon friends but I still consider them friends.

    I don’t know if this an appropriate place to say this but, while I do think that eventually those who wish to follow Christ must come out, nevertheless, how that journey is made is different for different people and it is great that a place like this exists on that “pilgrimage”.

    Because I feel this way I struggle with two thing:

    I struggle with Mormons who immediately cry persecution when what is offered is concerned and constructive criticism. Not only because of my religious sensibilities but because it offends my sense of reason. It just doesn’t make sense and seems, forgive me, rather evasive. And with Mormons who treat other Mormons in the same way when they have questions and harbour doubts of any kind.

    I also struggle with Christians who don’t understand that everyone is made in the image of God and we need to recognise that. This means that we cannot simply “accuse” and denigrate Mormons the way some do and expect God to be pleased about it.

    I know what it is like to have my honestly held Mormon doubts held against me by my fellow Mormons instead of sensitively handled and I know what it is like to feel the suspicion and rejection of some Christians who just wanted to “deliver” me but hadn’t a clue what I was going through.

    Thankfully, God brought me through it all and things are different now. This is a good place and I wish you well.

  18. Thanks, Mike. While I think it would be sad to leave the LDS faith, I understand why some people do and I don’t judge them for it. It is a very personal decision and I know many people that don’t take it lightly. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you continue to comment. I think it is important to openly discuss things. It helps everyone to come decide what they personally believe to hear different points of view.

  19. Tim wrote:
    “Was it GBH or JFS who said that Joseph Smith was either a con man or a prophet of God, there is no middle ground? I agree with that and that’s what I’m trying to reflect back in the discussion.”

    As noted, it was President Hinckley who made the statement most recently. I suppose it’s possible that President Joseph Fielding Smith could have made similar statements.

    I don’t believe that the dichotomy is a good one. I think there may be a lot of room for alternatives between the two extremes. IMHO there is a good deal of middle ground and it has always been there. I believe I understand President Hinckley’s motivation for saying it, but I don’t believe it was correct.

    I think a number of people both in and outside the institutional church tend to view the matter in black and white terms when reality includes shades of gray. For me, it doesn’t follow that because a story is not absolutely or completely true that it must be completely false.

  20. Very well put. It’s that black and white way of thinking that causes many people to leave the Church. Overcoming that way of thinking is one of the hardest things I struggle with. It is so much easier to think when the prophet speaks what comes out is doctrine from God (many members take GBH’s Larry King interview as doctrine).

    Making yourself responsible for your salvation is a much scarier place to be. To come to a knowledge that you are responsible for knowing what is right and wrong and not a prophet is terribly frightening. I think most members “know” this already, but it doesn’t really get put into action. They still think that everything GBH or any other prophet has said is straight from God himself. I think most of these type of people have not really looked into what past prophets taught or even what GBH has said in the many interviews he’s given. I think his playing down (that’s the nicest way I know how to say it) of what many members regard as doctrine would surprise much of the LDS membership.

  21. I have always thought such absolutist thinking isn’t very helpful. With even a tiny bit of knowledge of church history that dichotomy present major problems- or I guess solves them all, depending on how you look at it . Joseph Smith was definitely not very prophetic when he went to Boston(? I think it was) to get the buried money he thought was there, or when he started the bank (or bank-like institution) in Kirtland or several other projects, that I can’t remember the specifics of right off the top of my head (like I said tiny bit). So was he being a “con man” in those instances? I don’t think so. I certainly can’t give any evidence of his intensions I don’t think anyone can.

    I suppose it really all comes down to belief (I try really hard not to listen on Fast Sunday) as with everything else in life. I think maybe “evidence” can be very deceiving anyway. Like the Rodney King beating tapes or maybe not like them- I don’t really know but obviously what so outraged all of us when we say them on TV somehow was something different once they were shown in court with all the additional information given there. Maybe we just don’t have all the additional information on every one of the disturbing elements of Church history or doctrines or leadership decisions or origins of scriptures or whatever. I think you are right that the main thing would be making sure any time we spend thinking/talking/praying about these things is truly making us better people and stretching our relationship with God. I am positive if that goal is clearly maintained and honestly evaluated that he could be nothing but happy with the effort.

  22. Just to say thanks Jay for your kind words of welcome. I am rather used to more “robust” forums where things can get heated, and while this is not a real problem for me, it is nice to be somewhere where the pace is more real, the exchanges more civilised and the posts more thoughtful. Maybe I will look in occassionaly and enjoy the company. Thanks again.

  23. I hope you do!

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