(A note of explanation: in an online discussion, some were criticizing those who have left the LCMS to become Roman Catholic or a variety of Eastern Orthodoxy. This is my response).
And perhaps there are those who are weary of church being a place to fight. And perhaps those same people have realized that leaving the LCMS is not the same as leaving the church.
It should be pointed out that -- regardless of what some wish to say -- the LCMS is a heterodox church body, in which there is no unity in worship. In which those on the clergy roster can believe whatever they wish, and there will be no consequences. I bring up the tiresome examples of Paul Bretscher and Ted Strelow. It was known for many years what Bretscher believed and taught, and no one did anything until finally in 2003 -- after some 30 years of open, published heresy. And I had the unpleasant task of listening to Tim Fangmeier (on the evening of Dec. 14, 1998, in the adult classroom at Redeemer Lutheran Church, in Burlington, NC, to be specific), then "Mission and Ministry" coordinator for the SED, argue that Bretscher's unitarian poodle Ted Strelow, who -- just incidentally -- denies that Christ is God, denies that the Bible is the word of God, and teaches that we work our way to Heaven -- that Strelow should be allowed to remain on the LCMS clergy roster because his family was "third generation LCMS"[!]
Perhaps those leaving the LCMS are just weary of dealing with the constant, non-stop bilge of the LCMS, and suspect that it will not change for the better, but rather for the worse. Those who leave for the "old and venerable" might be doing so out of conviction, rather than some supposed seeking refuge.
The reality is that the LCMS is fraught with errors: of doctrine, of worship, and of practice. Perhaps it is less festooned with error than Rome or Constantinople, but in that case, we're just arguing numbers, and that's hardly the unity that supposedly is at the heart of the LCMS. The LCMS no longer tolerates error; it celebrates error. Our triumphalism over against other erring Christians is hardly becoming. I suspect that many who leave the LCMS do so because seeing it is pointless to stay and fight with people who no longer recognize what makes them Lutheran (i.e., confessional subscription). So these folks leave. They leave for a place that -- while imperfect, like the LCMS -- is a movement away from being one of the whining people who increasingly spend time grumbling about the LCMS's errors. The "leaders" in the LCMS no longer care about what the synod's Lutheran minority believes. As long as people stay -- and pay -- they will happily tolerate our whining. The only thing these people understand -- given their propensities -- is money. Leave, stop paying, and -- while they won't change -- we will thereby help to prevent them from propagating more error.
For those who think the LCMS is going to "turn around," more power to them. I would only ask that they carefully consider history, and ask themselves which religious body has EVER "turned around." If they can't think of one, perhaps it's time to consider leaving this one, too. Rome is a bad choice. So is Constantinople. But there are other choices. And because some of the choices are bad doesn't mean that the LCMS is good: only, perhaps, that it is less bad. Perhaps. It used to be said that the LCMS didn't tolerate persistent error. That hasn't been true for a very long time. Pretending that it is true doesn't change anything.