DFUGeneral Conference will be held in just over 2 weeks from now.  I just realized this means it will be the 5 year anniversary of the somewhat famous talk, “Come Join with Us” by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf.  Some parts of the talk are at par for a talk from President Uchtdorf – that is to say quite good.  He starts of making a bit of a joke at just how much time is required of an active member of the church.  He can make Mormons laugh at how outsider would probably look at this with shock and amazement.  Of course that isn’t what is most remembered from this talk.  There were several very notable things said that I don’t recall ever hearing myself in a conference setting – let along any other church meeting.

The first item was that some people leave the church not for the reasons always given (being offended, lazy, or sinful), but there were many reasons and often it was after years of struggle.  He said:

“We honor their right to worship almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience.”

The second notable item was insinuated to be one of the reasons people left.  President Uchtdorf said that mistakes were made.

“There have been some things said and done that could cause people to questions”

“And to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the church have simply made mistakes.  There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.”

He of course then goes on to say the most quoted line: [1]

“Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith”

This talk was very impactful to me.  I was in the emotional turmoil of a fresh faith crisis.  I was glad to hear a bit of validation that there can be some really hard things in church history.  I really appreciated the honesty about this.  I felt President Uchtdorf somewhat said, “those that have left have some reasons to be troubled.”  I disagree with calling the LDS church a cult, but when I go through the B.I.T.E. model I am uncomfortable with many things do describe the lived LDS experience.  This really felt like me an attempt to remove one of those check marks – that being, “A cult will not let you leave with your integrity.”  It felt like President Uchtdorf was saying, “if someone leaves, respect their decision.”

I went away from conference feeling very upbeat and validated.  It motivated me to, “try a bit harder to make it work” and I felt like the church was moving to meet those like me somewhere near half way.

I can’t say I still have that optimism.  I wonder if he could give such a talk like this today.

What do you think the legacy and impact of this talk is now going forward?

[1] This quote seems to have been in use by Christian apologist for years before this talk.