Seeing so many of our bright and talented members become disaffected with the Church is sad. Certainly, this is true with gay members who are intentionally made to feel unwelcome.
But, it also true with many others who are learning to know themselves and need some space to grow and experiment. The Lord said we are to “learn by our own experience” and the Book of Mormon teaches about experimenting with the Word to learn for ourselves.
Sometimes I think the Mormon community expects perfection from birth to death – at least in appearance, although at the same time we acknowledge that perfection is not possible in this life…but you still better put on the near perfect appearance or folks might talk.
It seems to me the much more natural/normal way of life is to do exactly as we teach… but don’t really believe… and that is to experiment and learn for yourself. For some, if not most, it probably includes some time away from the Church.
So why is it that we look with such distain on the “inactive”? They actually may be progressing much faster than we suspect.
Do we actually make it more difficult for those who take some time off to come back because we make such a big deal about it? Wouldn’t it be easier for everyone if we just let folks learn at their own pace and come and go as they choose without making a display of everyone who leaves or who comes back?