Date: March 23, 2013 02:44PM
(This was actually a reply to another thread but thought I'd re-post it as its own thread)
I think I was at least partially responsible for approximately 10 friends and my entire family (parents & siblings).
I may have lucked out but some things to note that I think helped me was:
1) I never came across as angry or bitter. I was always nice, friendly and self assured (but not arrogant or condescending)
2) They all knew I was a "good" Mormon so they were all very curious as to why I left when it wasn't because of being offended or sinning.
3) I did my research. I studied up on all the issues both pro & anti. I was able to intelligently convey to them the historical/doctrinal problems with Mormonisim that they weren't aware of.
4) I made it clear to them to them that it wasn't me trying to find an excuse to leave the church but my SINCERE desire for absolute truth which led me out. I started out reading anti books on my mission so that I would know how to DEFEND the church, but I gradually realized that most of the stuff was actually true and that the church couldn't really be defended. My eyes gradually were opened to the fact that the church may not be what it claimed to be.
5) I NEVER ARGUED with them about the issues with the church. I would share the information I learned, give my opinion, but never got in any kind of heated debate or let emotions get in the way. If they came up with some rebuttal, I would give mine and just say "I guess this is just how I see it." If they engage me long enough just the info I provide to them would begin to sink in even if they wouldn't admit it the time. Deep down they knew the things I was saying about the church couldn't be defended. I never "railed" against the church. I explained what things "bothered" me and made me "question" things, but I never came off as "attacking" the church. I would never use the word "cult." I would never call the leaders of the church names. I never used words like "evil." For example I would say something something like,
"I was very troubled by the fact that Joseph Smith would marry young girls and wives of other men. It just doesn't make sense TO ME why God would command this or tolerate it. I PERSONALLY don't believe this is something God would sanction."
instead of saying,
"Joseph Smith was a lying two timing adulterer and pedophile!"
In talking with Mormons, you have to start out slowly with them. You have to soften your words. Be careful not to put them on the defensive. Do NOT make it so they feel like they have to defend the church.
Once they start to grasp the magnitude of the problems, THEN you can start "telling it like it is." You just have to be careful to not come across as too "anti."
6) I never forced my beliefs or knowledge about the church on them. If they wanted to talk, I would share it with them, but I wouldn't "force my anti-Mormonism" on them. I was open and honest about what I believed, but only when they brought it up.
As many posters here have stated before, Mormons generally have to be "ready" for the truth. Many of my friends or family were active TBM's but they were struggling internally with some aspect of Mormonism, so they were more open to talking about the church and it ended up being easier for them to transition out (than say other more entrenched Mormons).
For the entrenched Mormons (I was actually one of them), they have to have the willingness to FULLY study the historical/doctrinal issues. Sharing with them, in just conversation, some "tidbits" of truth probably won't budge them, if they are hardcore. They would need to actually take the TIME and sit down and do some research and read about ALL the problems about the church. However most uber TBM's will get scared after a few pages and stop researching. Just a couple anti-Mormon arguments will merely put a dent in their armor, but if they are ACTUALLY willing to sit down and read a book like The Changing World of Mormonism by the Tanners, then I'd say they actually have very high probability of de-converting.