Nonsense. I don't think everything about TSCC is bad. For example, sermons and studies taught me to value Truth in my life (no joke). If it hadn't been for the church, I might never have left the church (okay, that one was a joke).
I had exactly the same experience. It's one of the great ironies of my life (so far).
In a way this isn't so surprising. The founders of Mormonism may have had a problem with telling the truth but all the poor fools who feel for the con only did so because it was specifically designed to fit the truth they were looking for to begin with. Before all of this there was a whole lot of folks who believed that "the truth was out there," that it was attainable by the human mind, and that god-willing there is nothing more precious in the world.
That what you call a some big-ass shoes to fill.
I'm naturally pretty idealistic (I think), but I think I'm even moreso from some of the mormon stuff that really resonnated with me when I was growing up. The stuff about "Truth" in the D&C really really smashed me when I was a teenager in seminary; and the "seeking after" stuff in AOF 13; and then on my mission I found that J.S. quote (paraphrasing): fundamental principle of mormonism is to seek out and embrace all truth let it come from whence it may; and then the stuff in 3 Nephi about all truth being compounded into one great whole; then the temple ceremony's stuff about the garment markings and truth; and the King Follet discourse about learning everything to become like god...That symbolism really sunk in and to this day is at the core of who I am. I think it's partly behind my values as a scholar and teacher, as well. And it's definitely part of my politics. Add to that my ENFP personality and you have a passionate (and impatient) idealist.
But like GD said, it's also what led me to finally admit I didn't believe in the church shortly after my mission. And then to spend a couple years trying to make my experience of the church fit the ideals.
Yes, it was in large part the Church that instilled in me a belief in seeking out the truth and not fearing truth. Evidently, Howard Hunter was the last GA who believed in not fearing truth, and he was bulldozed by Pakcer, Hinckley, and Mark Petersen (if Arrington is to be believed).
The Church also instilled in me a belief in egalitarianism, as "God is no respecter of men." I'm always "meh" when there's a movie being filmed and coworkers go rushing to look at tthe movie stars. I get irritated when the entire Interstate is closed between the airport and the city center whenever a POTUS comes to town. Let him sit in the damn traffic like everybody else (I do get the security concerns, however). Funny how the Church is obsessive about rank, titles, seniority, and all those other tihings that go along with being respecters of men. However, in my childhood ward, everybody was on a first-name basis, and even the kids called the adults by their first names. That was pretty egalitarian.