Of course, the cynics reading this will think, "Sure the Church wants me to stay. They want another membership statistic, and they want my tithing money."
Well, there is probably some truth to that. Who can know what the intentions of the Church leaders are? Maybe some Church leaders do want to excommunicate all the doubters or non-traditional believers. And maybe some Church leaders would like to see the Church become a bigger tent, where members can pretty much believe and do whatever they want.
Some Church leaders want you to stay because they really believe in the Church, and they think that your salvation depends upon your membership in the Church and your faithfulness to it. That's a pretty good reason to want people to stay in the Church.
I don't have any inside information, but I suspect that some Church leaders do not believe that the Church is all it claims to be. And those leaders still want people to stay in the Church because, well, it's a pretty good church, and a pretty good lifestyle.
But here's how I really know that the Church really wants you, whether you have a testimony or not. They said they want you! They said they wanted you in a Mormon Stories podcast a while back (This one, to be precise.)
John Dehlin, the creator of Mormon Stories, said that he met with an Apostle. John claims that he asked the Apostle, "Do you want me and people like me in the Church?" and then tears came to the Apostle's eyes, he reached his hands towards John's and said, "Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!" Or maybe the Apostle said something like, "even if you can no more than pitch your tent door, yea, verily verily, even as in the days of King Benjamin of old, towards the Church, then... that would be swell." OK, I don't remember the exact quote and I really don't feel like listening to that whole 4 hour long podcast again to get the exact quote, but the Apostle said something along those lines.
I don't have any connections with any General Authorities or anything like that. The highest ranking Church member I've ever met with was my mission president, on my mission. But I do have some experience talking about sensitive historical issues with my local leaders. And what were their responses? They want me to stay in the Church, and they want me to regain my testimony. I don't think that I've "regained my testimony" according to their satisfaction, but we've reached a workable compromise. Basically I keep my mouth shut and everything's fine. (Laugh out loud. Seriously, though, I'm happy with where I am.) None of my local leaders have ever asked me to leave the Church. They've told me they want me to stay.
But probably more important than the way church leaders feel about you is the way that your family feels about you. After all, you see the General Authorities of the church twice a year on TV. You probably see your family everyday. Your family and friends in the church want you to stay.
And the Primary children you teach want you. And the choir you direct wants you. And the students in your Sunday School class want you. And your home teaching families want you to visit them. They like you. They like the warmth and the positive messages that you bring once a month. They like it when you offer a prayer in their home.
Doesn't it feel good to be wanted?
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