"The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: "The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

Post by hawkgrrrl » 30 Sep 2009, 14:47

is it always God's goal for an individual to continue in the LDS faith? What if trying to stay hurts a person's spirituality more than going somewhere else for spirituality?
A couple of thoughts:
- I don't think God has goals. People sometimes conflate God with man or earth with eternity. If you believe in LDS scripture, he refers to his "work" and "his glory" being to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Those are spiritual goals, not religious ones. Religious goals are things like church attendance, how much tithing is paid, temple recommend holders, etc. Spiritual goals are things humans can neither see nor measure - the yardstick of our souls against our potential.
- There are probably some for whom staying LDS is more damaging than leaving. I absolutely believe that is the case. The environment may be toxic for some, or they may be toxic to Mormonism. Perhaps they need to get out before they can deal with it. Or maybe they can never deal with it. Personally, I think there is a real risk to get stuck in Stage 4 in leaving. I think it's more powerful to get over stuff and to find one's own reserves. There is more spiritual power in working through stuff than in not working through stuff. It's possible to work through things and leave, but what you are leaving (the stuff that bugs you) is not really part of you anyway. Disaffection is making it more important than it is.
- Religions are not the source of spirituality. They only help (or don't help) you tap into your own spiritual reserves, to help you achieve your human potential, to help you get closer to God. Humans are inherently spiritual. Religions are human organizations to achieve those aims, presumably with inspiration as well, but every religion has flaws. Trying to find one without flaws is to find one with no people in it at all.

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Orson
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Re: "The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

Post by Orson » 30 Sep 2009, 14:53

MisterCurie wrote:What if trying to stay hurts a person's spirituality more than going somewhere else for spirituality?
I don't think anyone here will try to tell you that the LDS church is the one and only place for spiritual nourishment. We simply enjoy our association here when we have chosen it as OUR personal way, or among our personal ways.

I get the impression you already have an answer in your heart as you ask the question. We will validate it for you - but do you really need us to? What feels right to you IS right for you. Go with it.

My bishop once said he didn't think anyone could do wrong and feel right about it (or do right and feel wrong about it). I think I agree with that.
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I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.

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MisterCurie
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Re: "The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

Post by MisterCurie » 30 Sep 2009, 15:37

Orson wrote:I get the impression you already have an answer in your heart as you ask the question. We will validate it for you - but do you really need us to? What feels right to you IS right for you. Go with it.
I disagree that I have an answer yet. I was TBM just 6 weeks ago, I'm still gathering information. I just need to know what the options are. I realize the options are as numerous and I am willing to believe they are. However, maybe I belong at NOM more than here, for the time being.

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Orson
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Re: "The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

Post by Orson » 30 Sep 2009, 16:39

MisterCurie wrote:
Orson wrote:I get the impression you already have an answer in your heart as you ask the question. We will validate it for you - but do you really need us to? What feels right to you IS right for you. Go with it.
I disagree that I have an answer yet. I was TBM just 6 weeks ago, I'm still gathering information. I just need to know what the options are. I realize the options are as numerous and I am willing to believe they are. However, maybe I belong at NOM more than here, for the time being.
I apologize if in my mind I put you ahead of where you actually are, I was simply trying to boost your independence. I don't think anyone has authoritative answers. I know it's a difficult time, I hope you'll spend time with us even if you want to explore points of view at NOM.
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MisterCurie
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Re: "The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

Post by MisterCurie » 30 Sep 2009, 18:08

Orson wrote:I apologize if in my mind I put you ahead of where you actually are, I was simply trying to boost your independence. I don't think anyone has authoritative answers. I know it's a difficult time, I hope you'll spend time with us even if you want to explore points of view at NOM.
No offense taken. Perhaps you see more clearly than I do. Your post helped me realize that I am progressing from where I was 6 weeks ago and I think that I am entering an angry phase. I know that StayLDS is for people who have largely overcome their anger and have decided to stay LDS. I really appreciate this forum. I love the openness, non-judgemental character, fellowship, and serious intellectual striving that I find here. I intend to stick around, but I think some posts will probably be more appropriate for NOM and others may be more appropriate for StayLDS. I'm also on FacesEast, but there are definately some posts that don't belong there that I have posted here, I anticipate it will be similar with NOM.

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Orson
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Re: "The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

Post by Orson » 30 Sep 2009, 18:15

Fair enough MisterC, I think you have the right idea. I've always enjoyed your questions and comments here. I think you have a good head on your shoulders, and a good heart to share.
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Curt Sunshine
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Re: "The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

Post by Curt Sunshine » 30 Sep 2009, 20:10

I think it is important to consider the "restoration" aspect - the condition of the world concerning an eternal perspective prior to Joseph establishing the endowment.

I think there is GREAT power in the idea of becoming like God. Sure, it is a two-edged sword that can lead to problems with perfectionism and judgmentalism and other things when fanaticism sets in, but that simply points to the foundational need for "opposition in all things".

The easiest way for me to think of "the endowment" is a gift that allows people to experience a radical shift in perspective - but that can ONLY be accomplished, imo, if people learn to see the presentation figuratively and symbolically. I like to phrase it in terms of a grand morality play - with the incredible casting that allows ME to be the central actor in the play and the incredible screenwriting that allows ME to improvise and roam around the stage each time it plays out around me.

I can't really explain that adequately, but I liken it to Nephi asking about his father's vision and getting transported mentally / spiritually into his own vision that, really, was RADICALLY different than Lehi's. He wanted to understand the things of God, but he conflated that with the things of Lehi's experience with God - so the Lord showed him something totally different that was his own experience with God.

When I sit in an endowment session, my "focus" is on what God will show me for the next couple of hours. The atmosphere / setting / imagery / etc. of the "play" puts me in the mood to open my mind and heart and "reach out" for what is floating around me at the moment. I don't really listen much to the actual words of the presentation anymore; rather, I send out feelers and see what gift I am given that day - what understanding with which I am endowed during that short time.

I'm not trying to memorize words anymore, like I did when I was younger; I'm trying to experience God.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Re: "The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

Post by overit » 30 Sep 2009, 21:19

I love this last post. This is one of the most important things that keeps me in the church despite my conflicts. No matter what doubts I have, I can never deny the feeling of peace I experience in the temple, and this has come from just allowing myself to experience the rituals without the internal banter of validity and historical significance (which I have considered when I am outside of the temple). And, not being able to have access to the temple has been my lifeline to church activity-however tentative at this point.

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Brian Johnston
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Re: "The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

Post by Brian Johnston » 01 Oct 2009, 08:14

is it always God's goal for an individual to continue in the LDS faith? What if trying to stay hurts a person's spirituality more than going somewhere else for spirituality?
I really feel for you. 6 weeks is not long. You will be angry at times. You will be upset and disillusioned. You will feel foolish or that you were somehow tricked perhaps. The whole world and all you depended on is being ripped out from under you. It takes time to take it all in and process everything. I totally know about that uncontrolled frenzy to collect all the information and figure out what the FREAK is going on, staying up late nights reading websites and books, and for me it was a lot of arguments with my wife who wanted to dump it all and run. We still have issues with the kids. She doesn't want our youngest of 6 to be baptized.

I don't know about God's goals anymore except in general concepts, so I am not sure how to answer that directly. FWIW my wife left the Church and it did make her more peaceful and happy. She will probably never return. People go different directions as they pass through their "crisis of faith." It seems many are attracted to Buddhism or forms of less-organized spirituality. My ex-brother-in-law considers returning to Catholicism sometimes. He was a convert and later left the LDS Church. StayLDS focuses on people who decide they want to try and make Mormonism work. It's just one path. We obviously promote that here, since it is the focus of the site. We explore ways to use Mormonism by approaching it from new perspectives.

This process happens to people in other organized religions too. I am good friends with a lady who started out Catholic. She drifted to being a Pagan as an adult, and was even married in a Pagan ceremony with her first husband. She goes to a non-denominational, rock concert style worship, Christian church now. She was trying to explain to my wife (who is deep in a Stage 4 type of view these days), why she enjoys being active in her church, even though according to my wife she knows it's all "a lie." (the story of the Bible, Jesus etc -- my wife's words). Our friend listed off all these profound, personal experiences she had at this church. Then at the end, she was insightful to point out: "notice that after all these stories, I never mentioned God, Jesus or any church doctrine, even though I am attending a Christian church."

So there is an example of someone who went through all these doubts (which had nothing to do with Mormonism), she still lives with the doubt, but finds great satisfaction participating in a mainstream Christian, Bible-based church.
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

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MisterCurie
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Re: "The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

Post by MisterCurie » 01 Oct 2009, 09:10

Thanks, Valoel. I appreciate the support.

I realize that I need to let things play out a bit more naturally and just accept that I will get disillusioned and angry. It's nice to think about Fowler's stages to realize that I don't have to stay angry, but I also realize that I need to accept my emotions and trust that I will move through stages of grief, etc. As was the advice for moving slowly into Stage 4 (although 6 weeks is not slow by any means, is it?), I also need to accept that I will move slowly through stage 4. And NOM may be a better place for dealing with some of the stages of grief until I reach acceptance.

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