Understanding a Faith Crisis...

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Minyan Man
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Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Understanding a Faith Crisis...

Post by Minyan Man » 05 Aug 2019, 12:19

I subscribe to the web site: LDS Living.com Today they had an article titled: Understanding a Faith Crisis: For those who have never had one.
Follow the link:
http://www.ldsliving.com/Understanding- ... dium=email

It was written by: Ian Calk. (Has anyone heard of him?) It is rather general but good to review.
Some points that he made are:
- It is very likely that the thing that broke one person's "shelf"- may not bother you at all, but telling them that won't help. To them, it will
feel trivializing and invalidating, and they will walk away from the conversation unwilling to be open with their concerns and feeling
like you don't get it.

-Before he had his own FC, he assumed there were a handful of reasons people had faith crises: they were lazy, offended, or wanted to sin.

-One of the most difficult paradoxes to understand about faith crises is that they often happen to the most devout.

His conclusion was:
1. There is no deadline to figure things out.
2. You are allowed to change your mind at any time.
3. You are allowed to say "I don't know".

Read it & tell us what you think. I'm curious.

AmyJ
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Re: Understanding a Faith Crisis...

Post by AmyJ » 06 Aug 2019, 06:48

Thanks for posting this.

It is a decent overview.

The main thought I have is that the points that he came up with are the points that I use to define my boundaries with others. To me, this means that I wound up internalizing them as part of my operating system objectives. So, they resonated with me because they felt very familiar.
NOTE: I wound up internalizing another rule: Expect a truth to contain an enormous paradox if it is a true truth. This is kinda like the yin-yang symbol, but the abstract version. The primary paradox in my faith transition has been accepting that it is both possible and probable that God can be un-involved in the majority of everyday living, but intimately understand and relate to humans - be with us.

I was thinking about seeing if I could base a Relief Society lesson off of this -but then I realized it would be a non-starter.

Here's the thing - he shifts from talking to people in a non-faith transition state to tips for people in a transition state without a clean transition.
That puts me on the defensive because those points are points I use to govern my life - and I have gotten some slack for it. BUT, he does not include the points about tact and thinking responsibly about the faith of others while talking to the faith transition people like me.

Net result for the non-faith transition person = Some information transitioning into hard to believe or accept statements counter to their worldview = Defensiveness and shut down.

nibbler
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Re: Understanding a Faith Crisis...

Post by nibbler » 06 Aug 2019, 07:57

I see a lot of this being a battle of perspectives. One person's doubt is another person's belief and vice versa.

From the more orthodox side we hear messages that cast doubt in a negative light and urge people to believe.

From the person experiencing the faith crisis:
  • A broken shelf.
  • A ship with a hole taking on water.
  • A ship that wrecked.
  • A crisis.
Those don't sound like positive things to nearly anyone, which may be one (of many) reason why orthodox believers view doubts in a negative light. It appears to be this negative thing that happens to people.

From the doubting perspective, no one wants all of their peers viewing them as this broken thing that must be fixed (become a project)... but the language we often use invites that sort of reaction.

The orthodox perspective may conclude that there are things we should be doing to prevent a "negative" outcome: shelves can be fortified, regular maintenance could have found and fixed the hole in the boat, a ship could have been steered more carefully to avoid a collision. I think that's where ideas like being more diligent with praying, reading scriptures, and attending the temple come from.

From the orthodox perspective, "fixing" might mean putting things back exactly the way they were before; being orthodox again, "believing." Broken ships can be made seaworthy again. From the crisis perspective "fixing" might mean finding a way to process the more acute stages of pain, anger, etc. It may mean transforming into or believing something different, nuancing. It may also take the form of transitioning to something or somewhere else.

That can be a tough transition when coming from a community that wholeheartedly believes that one will die without access to the community vine.

I know the dark night of the soul. I also know that with time I can look back and see that a faith crisis was a net positive in my life. I wonder how much the landscape would change if we had more and more stories about the positive outcomes of a faith crisis. What if doubts became stepping stones that opened our hearts and minds to revelation from god as opposed to things that cut us off from our communities and families?

I suppose that's the challenge though. From the orthodox perspective, anything less than remaining orthodox (the same) can be interpreted as a net negative.

Minyan Man
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Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: Understanding a Faith Crisis...

Post by Minyan Man » 06 Aug 2019, 08:47

nibbler wrote:
06 Aug 2019, 07:57
From the doubting perspective, no one wants all of their peers viewing them as this broken thing that must be fixed (become a project)... but the language we often use invites that sort of reaction.

The orthodox perspective may conclude that there are things we should be doing to prevent a "negative" outcome: shelves can be fortified, regular maintenance could have found and fixed the hole in the boat, a ship could have been steered more carefully to avoid a collision. I think that's where ideas like being more diligent with praying, reading scriptures, and attending the temple come from.

From the orthodox perspective, "fixing" might mean putting things back exactly the way they were before; being orthodox again, "believing." Broken ships can be made seaworthy again. From the crisis perspective "fixing" might mean finding a way to process the more acute stages of pain, anger, etc. It may mean transforming into or believing something different, nuancing. It may also take the form of transitioning to something or somewhere else.
It seems sometime from an orthodox church standpoint the position is: once broken, always broken.

I find it interesting that no one has ever come up to me and said: tell me about your FC. What happened? What was the key for coming back?
(Now that I think about it, there have been one or two.) No one in a leadership position.

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LookingHard
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Re: Understanding a Faith Crisis...

Post by LookingHard » 06 Aug 2019, 08:57

I am SO excited for a book arriving tomorrow - Bridges: Ministering to Those Who Question by David B Ostler.

I will be reading it over the next week and will give some feedback here on it. You can listen to him on "MormonLand" podcast to get a feel for him and his message. He has some mormon cred - active believing former SP and MP and took an assignment to "figure out why people were leaving" and he is a rather loving person from what I can see.

Roy
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Re: Understanding a Faith Crisis...

Post by Roy » 08 Aug 2019, 10:43

Two things about describing a faith crisis using negative terminology:

1) It felt negative and extremely disorienting. I later read about the concept of an "assumptive world collapse" and found that to be quite accurate to what I was experiencing. The mental structures that I had built in my own mind to order, process, and understand the world and my place in it had fallen. I lost how I had framed, identified, valued, and understood my own self.

2) I tend to still use negative language to describe my state with my bishop because I do not want to challenge his assumptions OR his authority. As long as I do not pay tithing or hold a TR then I am broken. To describe myself as not broken would seem like an act of defiance. "No thanks Bishop, I am just not interested in that." :o :o :o Instead I use words such as "struggle" and "delicate faith". My goal is to not raise red flags and to maintain the status quo. I have my faith issues but I am not a threat. I have a good heart but a weak and sputtering faith. I request space and permission to continue to associate with the community while I work through my issues.

Outside of a faith or religion context, I do believe that the new assumptive world that I have created to replace the old one is much more adaptive and less likely to suffer a catastrophic failure and collapse. In that way, It could be seen as an improvement upon my old assumptive world.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Havefaith
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Re: Understanding a Faith Crisis...

Post by Havefaith » 09 Aug 2019, 20:23

I think that was a great artcle. The part i liked the best was at the end where he said that the best thing you can do for someone in a faith crisis is show unconditional love that is not predicated on the persons church status. That is so true. We belive in agency snd by loving unconditionally shows that.

Minyan Man
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Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: Understanding a Faith Crisis...

Post by Minyan Man » 09 Aug 2019, 20:44

A lot of members in our ward have shown unconditional love & support on our return to activity.
Others have ignored us. Not exactly a shun. I think they are afraid to say or ask something.
Most do not ask us things like:
- Where were you?
- What happened?
- or, We missed you.

Has anyone on this board ever been asked about your FC by family, friends or members?
Have they tried to be supportive?
Have they tried to understand what happened?
Did they show empathy & compassion?

Having gone through this experience, I hope that we are more sensitive to others going through this process.
Our little contributions is: during Sacrament meeting, we sit it the back of the chapel & look for new faces.

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LookingHard
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Re: Understanding a Faith Crisis...

Post by LookingHard » 12 Aug 2019, 18:10

I have read the David Ostler book and it is GREAT. It needs to get into every church leaders hand.

If you want a preview he has done 3 interviews that I know of on podcasts: Leading Saints, MormonLand (SLTrib), A thoughtful faith podcast, and Greg Kofford Books Authorcast.

Mordimor
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Re: Understanding a Faith Crisis...

Post by Mordimor » 29 Aug 2019, 22:13

Minyan Man wrote:
09 Aug 2019, 20:44
Has anyone on this board ever been asked about your FC by family, friends or members?
Have they tried to be supportive?
Have they tried to understand what happened?
My FC started right after the birth of my third child and co-existed with postpartum depression/anxiety. My SIL asked if we wanted to do a group temple date, I was honest about the fact that it wouldn’t work for me and that I was struggling. She was really awesome about it. I don’t think that my FC ever made it to my FIL because it would become a topic of discussion at that point. I have some friends in our ward that get that we (husband and I) are struggling with the orthodox requirements of church. They’ve been great. Then again two of them are trained as professional therapists. Maybe I just got lucky. But let’s be honest here, they also don’t know or understand all of my concerns or “stuck points” with the church.

It would be my hope that we can be accommodating and loving to those that are orthodox in their approach. That they too can feel the love and benefits from belonging.

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