Cultural Mormon is a term describing someone who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, usually born into the Church, but who does not believe all or part of its doctrine, or one who does not follow all of its practices.
Cultural Mormons do not necessarily hold "anti-Mormon" sentiments and they often support the goals of the Church and find value in some of its teachings and practices. Many remain members of the Church for life. However, other Cultural Mormons consider their status to be temporary, as they work towards leaving the Church.
Cultural Mormons can fall into three different categories:
Many practicing cultural Mormons and Jack Mormons may keep their doubts a secret, and maintain a facade of believing in the doctrines. This is usually done to prevent conflicts within their families. One such group is the New Order Mormons, an Internet community whose members may belong to any of the above categories.
The Church expects its members to adhere to belief in its basic doctrines. Those lacking in belief are encouraged to repent, fast, pray, and seek guidance within the church to strengthen their testimony. Those who express a lack of belief to their bishop may continue to be members of the Church, though they will usually be denied a Temple recommend; the first three questions members are required to answer affirmatively to be issued a temple recommend concern whether their personal beliefs are in line with the teachings of the Church. The Church expects members who lack belief in church teachings to refrain from disseminating expressions of doubt or disparaging comments on church teachings, history or leadership, to remain in good standing. If they try to convince others to abandon their belief in the Church's doctrines, they can be subject to church discipline, which may include disfellowship or excommunication.
Practicing Cultural Mormon is a term used for Mormons who no longer believe some (or many) of the doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but who maintain membership and church activity for cultural and social reasons.
The Practicing Cultural Mormons do not necessarily hold anti-Mormon sentiments and, like the "Jack Mormon", they often support the goals of the Church, and consider themselves "Cultural Mormons". Many remain members of the Church for life. Other Practicing Cultural Mormons consider their status to be temporary, as they work towards leaving the Church.
A common reason for retained membership and activity in the Church is to promote family harmony and maintain friendships in the LDS community. Others value "much of the work the Church does: the service rendered, the correct principles taught. They appreciate the lessons and the love they have received in the course of long church membership.
The Church does not consider disbelief in its doctrines to be grounds for disciplinary action. Church leaders teach that doubts can be resolved by "instruction, study, and prayer, which result in increased testimony, which drives out further doubts. However, disbelief in certain core doctrines (such as the role of Jesus Christ as Savior and Redeemer, or the leaders of the Church as prophets, seers, and revelators) can prevent a Cultural Mormon from participating in certain activities, such as priesthood ordinances and temple worship. Thus some members choose to keep their doubts a secret in order to continue to participate in such activities, or to avoid conflict with family and friends. In addition, disciplinary action may be taken when a member publicly opposes Church doctrines (e.g. Grant Palmer).
Because of the fear that divulging their unorthodox beliefs will result in stigmatization and increased attention, some Practicing Cultural Mormons prefer anonymity. Many therefore participate in Internet communities, where they can discuss their issues anonymously. One such group refers to itself as the New Order Mormons, a name patterned on the term New Order Amish (Amish who maintain cultural ties to their religion while not accepting some of its core tenets).
Humanistic Mormonism is a movement of Free Thinkers, Cultural Mormons, Disfellowshipped or Independents people related to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other Latter Day Saint groups that emphasize Mormon culture and history, but do not demand belief in a supernatural god, or the historicity of the Bible or the Book of Mormon. It is based on Humanism and can be summarized in some points.