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Strangers Once More: Patterns of Disaffiliation from Mormonism

Howard M. Bahr and Stan L. Albrecht
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Vol. 28, No. 2 (Jun., 1989), pp. 180-200
DOI: 10.2307/1387058
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1387058
Page Count: 21
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Strangers Once More: Patterns of Disaffiliation from Mormonism
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Abstract

Processes of disaffiliation from Mormonism are explored in this analysis of in-depth interviews with 30 former Mormons identified in statewide mail surveys of Utah. Findings are organized into several existing typologies of conversion, dropping out, and apostasy. We emphasize the distinction between marginality and apostasy, and extend Brinkerhoff's and Burke's four categories to nine, to include the analysis of defection and apostasy among persons who otherwise would be classified as "always apostate." Most disaffiliates from Mormonism were always marginal members, and the metaphor of drift applies to their experiences. Among the minority of former fervent followers, factors associated with disaffiliation include family break-up, intellectual apostasy, and the "push" of unmet needs or exclusionary practices.

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