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One of the first columns I ever wrote about LDS culture was "Five Kinds of Mormons," followed almost immediately by "Five Kinds of Non-Mormons." The idea was to give people some idea of who they were dealing with in these contexts.

This was back in the early '90s, and both columns took off like rockets. I still occasionally see yellowed copies of "Five Kinds of Mormons" hanging on refrigerators and in office cubicles.

Five Kinds of Ex-Mormons is the logical next step. Originally it seemed like they were just a category of Non-Mormon, but thanks to the internet and thousands of emails received over the years, it's now apparent that they have their own psychological types.

So, in the interest of fairness, there are only five kinds of ex-Mormons in the entire world.

By ex-Mormon I mean Mormons who have officially (and loudly) resigned from the church, Mormons "of record" who never considered themselves members anyway, and Mormons who simply walked away from something that no longer worked for them.

NOTE: If you find yourself in one of the following categories, please realize that you aren't necessarily locked there. Like the other two kinds of Mormons, research has proven that it's possible to shift from one type of ex to another based on moods, meds and other Mormons.

Blissed-ex • This first type of ex-Mormon refers to members who were never really Mormon in the first place. We're talking members of record who were born Mormon, or made Mormon before they had an adult say in the matter, or were baptized in order to play baseball with some dimly remembered Americans in white shirts.

Blissed-Ex comes from the feeling of not knowing — whether good or bad — what they're missing.

Kleen-ex • This is the next-best kind of ex-Mormon. They simply just left and got away clean. They have healthy relationships with friends and loved ones who remained Mormon, and are fine talking about the church in a respectful and reasonable way.

No big deal. They just don't believe the doctrine or need the social interaction. But they're willing to let bygones be gone as long as long as still-Mormons are.

Kleen-exes get along fine with neighbor Mormons, are generally polite to missionaries who knock on their door, and don't see the point in turning into a jerk about something that doesn't really matter anymore.

Spand-ex • Things get a little trickier with ex-Mormons in this category. Although gone, they still feel oppressed enough to push back. Sometimes it's necessary, given how zealous uber-Mormons can be in saving Spand-Exes from themselves.

Sometimes they just need to set some boundaries, as in, "Look, I don't want to talk about it, OK? We'll come over and visit AFTER the baptism."

Caution is advised here. This is the tipping point. Without due care, it can turn into a full-on fight, as in, "No, we're not coming over if we have to look at that picture of Joseph Smith."

Con-ex • The church has lied and can't be forgiven. Like the newly divorced, these ex-Mormons have a hard time letting go without having the final say in a situation where they feel conned.

The only problem here is that they'll never get a final say when surrounded by so many Mormons. That doesn't stop them from seizing the slightest pretext to talk about it, though.

You might be in a group discussion about the right kind of fly to use on trout in the Provo River, and this type of ex will casually interject with, "Speaking of things involving water, did you know that the church is baptizing Neanderthals for the dead now?"

Gas-ex • Full-on, hardcore raving ex-Mormons. So consumed by outrage over whatever the church has done to them, they've turned fighting it into a cottage industry or even a full-time job with "web shites" and flog blogs.

"Has anyone else noticed the egregious missing comma in the Proclamation on the Family?"

When it comes to fighting the Great Mormon Evil, no amount of energy/time/money is too much to dedicate to the cause for Gas-Exes. So much so that for all practical purposes, they're still Mormon.

Robert Kirby can be reached at or