How Questioning Strengthened My Faith Instead of My Doubt

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SamBee
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How Questioning Strengthened My Faith Instead of My Doubt

Post by SamBee » 12 Feb 2018, 05:44

DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Mr. Sneelock
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Re: How Questioning Strengthened My Faith Instead of My Doubt

Post by Mr. Sneelock » 13 Feb 2018, 10:33

I can appreciate the approach of choosing to focus on and seek after the things that bring peace into one's life. I'm glad that the author has been able to find happiness.

I bristle, however, at the argument that feeling negative emotion upon learning information is a sign that the information is false. The author writes about feeling emotional distress after investigating the history of the church then interprets this as evidence of "bitter fruit" for doubting. My question to her would be, "What would you tell an investigator who is in emotional turmoil over the idea of giving up his or her religious traditions and beliefs to join the LDS Church?" "Would you interpret this emotional turmoil as a sign that he or she should stop investigating the church and remain in his or her current religious tradition?"

I just wish there wasn't such an automatic tendency to fear and demonize questions and doubting within the church. More honesty and empathy would go such a long way toward helping members navigate doubt without becoming bitter or ashamed.
. . . beauty for ashes . . .

Roy
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Re: How Questioning Strengthened My Faith Instead of My Doubt

Post by Roy » 13 Feb 2018, 10:37

DarkJedi wrote:
11 Feb 2018, 14:05
Here's another goody that was on that same page. https://www.lds.org/blog/how-questionin ... s?lang=eng I also give kudos to LDS.org for reposting this one, especially since the word doubt can have such a negative connotation in the church.
I like this one less.

She had questions and doubts until one day a friend asked her what she did know a.k.a. her testimony. She had a testimony of all the major points from Jesus, to JS, to modern day prophet. For me it would have been more helpful if she felt she had a testimony of some things and not of others. Richard Bushman has said that he is saddened when people lose faith in the LDS church and also lose faith in God and Christ. According to him, if doubters can manage belief in Christ then they are in pretty good shape. Conversely, this blogger seems to be saying "Forget all those unsettling earthly facts - just fall back on your childhood testimony."

I liked the part of the policy of exclusion less than the first part. Partly because I feel passionate about it, partly because she heavily references Sheri Dew and I am less forgiving of church leaders than regular folk bloggers
[Sheri Dew] describes feelings similar to mine: “When the policy was announced that the children of gay parents might not be eligible for baptism at the traditional age of eight, I was confused. I did not question the Brethren or doubt their inspiration, but neither did I understand the doctrinal basis for the policy. And my heart went out to friends with children or grandchildren in this situation.”

She continues: “So I asked the Lord to teach me. I prayed, searched the scriptures, studied the teachings of prophets, and pondered this question in the temple. This went on for months. Then one day a colleague made a statement as part of a presentation that sparked a new thought for me, and in that moment the Spirit illuminated at least part of the doctrine in my heart and mind. I consider that answer personal revelation and not something I should repeat” (Worth the Wrestle [2017], 22–23).
Sister Dew states that she did not doubt or question the brethren but she did not understand the doctrinal basis for the policy. Doctrinal basis? Does a policy need a doctrinal basis? A policy can be smart and even inspired without it being doctrine. Then Sister Dew set about looking for ways to justify her forgone conclusion - that the policy was doctrinally based. Finally she found something "doctrinal" that would work but she considers it personal revelation and will not reveal it. Secret doctrine?

I actually feel like maybe the church has learned a lesson here. There were lots of doctrinal speculations for the priesthood ban that the church has now disavowed. Maybe it is better not to stake out a doctrinal position.

The blogger/author continues:
At first I was disappointed she didn’t provide the answer. Then I realized Sheri Dew’s answer would not be the same as mine. We all understand in different ways, and the Lord responds accordingly.
So Sister Dew suggests that there is a doctrinal basis for the policy that was revealed at least in part to her mind and heart by the spirit. Then the blogger indicates that the answers that we receive for the "doctrinal basis" of a global policy of the church are personal and may be contradictory? This sounds to me to be very similar to "Whatever you have to tell yourself to make peace with it." :roll:

So yes, I am not a fan. Perhaps you can illuminate me on your perspective.
"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

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SamBee
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Re: How Questioning Strengthened My Faith Instead of My Doubt

Post by SamBee » 13 Feb 2018, 10:38

Mr. Sneelock wrote:
13 Feb 2018, 10:33

I just wish there wasn't such an automatic tendency to fear and demonize questions and doubting within the church. More honesty and empathy would go such a long way toward helping members navigate doubt without becoming bitter or ashamed.
Agreed. I think many members have it, but this Peter Perfect image that the church puts out makes many such thoughts within themselves are weird.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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dande48
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Re: How Questioning Strengthened My Faith Instead of My Doubt

Post by dande48 » 13 Feb 2018, 11:23

Roy wrote:
13 Feb 2018, 10:37
So Sister Dew suggests that there is a doctrinal basis for the policy that was revealed at least in part to her mind and heart by the spirit. Then the blogger indicates that the answers that we receive for the "doctrinal basis" of a global policy of the church are personal and may be contradictory? This sounds to me to be very similar to "Whatever you have to tell yourself to make peace with it." :roll:
It reeks of Cognitive Dissonance, that's for sure.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

AmyJ
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Re: How Questioning Strengthened My Faith Instead of My Doubt

Post by AmyJ » 13 Feb 2018, 13:23

I think that what bothers me is the "Obedience = Happiness" model applied in this circumstance.

"Obedience" can equal "Happiness" in some instances in the sense that some risks are averted. And "Obedience" is convenient at times - at least from an organizational perspective. I find myself wanting my daughter to be more obedient because it would make my life easier - and then realize that what I really am seeking isn't so much obedience as it a mixture of a) trust (I do know a few things about stuff and that the pain I inflict on her by making her clean her room is mitigated by how nice it feels at the end for everyone), b) respect, and c) communication [so that we can reset expectations if needed]. And yes, obedience is useful in some things.

One of the Primary General Authorities in the last few years mentioned that we need to be teaching/talking to our children principles they need to know about roughly 5 years before they would be expected to encounter them (at their developmental level - very important)....
So my daughter and I talk very broadly about boys (and how they bring babies sooner or later), and drugs, and alcohol. I talk about our genetic history and how it is a bad idea for us as individuals to drink alcoholic beverages even though we are in a culture that can handle it better (rural mid west) and our peers will make those choices - and aren't bad people for it. That we don't have to do everything our peers do - but we do have to think about everything we do [very tricky for a "Now" focused person] and make the most effective choices we can while being respectful of their choices.

SIDE NOTE: I made a very passionate/forceful request to my husband that when we are disciplining our children we say "You made a bad choice" instead of "You are a bad girl" as a matter of principle.
I do this because I feel strongly that the voice that my daughters adopt into their head should be telling them they are divine beings who made lousy choices instead of worthless beings. I want them to tell themselves 20 years from now "You know, that was a bad choice. But it was only a bad choice. I can face the consequences of that choice, learn from it and move on to make better choices. My worth is not determined by my actions."

Roy
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Re: How Questioning Strengthened My Faith Instead of My Doubt

Post by Roy » 13 Feb 2018, 15:07

I was looking at the blog post author and wondering who this individual was.
Laurie Campbell has quite the collection of life experiences, challenges, and mistakes. She has lived a life outside the gospel and within, having now determined, with absolute certainty, she likes it better within.
What does it mean to live life "outside the gospel"? I wondered

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/765 ... h-LDS.html

Once again, I am not a fan of the things that Laurie says on this subject (of same sex attraction and mixed orientation marriages). However, similar to the weed family, I feel that I can cut her some slack because she has been through much anguish.

My main objection is that I believe that the focus of her outreach might be offering false hope to many of those that so desperately want it.
"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

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SamBee
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Re: How Questioning Strengthened My Faith Instead of My Doubt

Post by SamBee » 14 Feb 2018, 05:14

dande48 wrote:
13 Feb 2018, 11:23
Roy wrote:
13 Feb 2018, 10:37
So Sister Dew suggests that there is a doctrinal basis for the policy that was revealed at least in part to her mind and heart by the spirit. Then the blogger indicates that the answers that we receive for the "doctrinal basis" of a global policy of the church are personal and may be contradictory? This sounds to me to be very similar to "Whatever you have to tell yourself to make peace with it." :roll:
It reeks of Cognitive Dissonance, that's for sure.
I agree. I can't stand the policy and you will notice the church itself had to backpeddle by issuing a clarification after the fact! That alone suggests it is not inspired!

So how do I deal with it? Well, I don't. I try and ignore it (which is cowardly), and focus on the positive aspects of the church instead.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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nibbler
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Re: How Questioning Strengthened My Faith Instead of My Doubt

Post by nibbler » 15 Feb 2018, 07:05

AmyJ wrote:
13 Feb 2018, 13:23
SIDE NOTE: I made a very passionate/forceful request to my husband that when we are disciplining our children we say "You made a bad choice" instead of "You are a bad girl" as a matter of principle.
I do this because I feel strongly that the voice that my daughters adopt into their head should be telling them they are divine beings who made lousy choices instead of worthless beings. I want them to tell themselves 20 years from now "You know, that was a bad choice. But it was only a bad choice. I can face the consequences of that choice, learn from it and move on to make better choices. My worth is not determined by my actions."
I'm never going to win parent of the year but I was thinking that there could be another layer you could add to this.

You could ask them whether they though the decision they made was a good decision or a bad decision instead of telling them it was a bad decision. That gets them reflecting on their own behaviors and how they use their agency. It helps them make judgments of their own behavior rather than always defaulting to accepting judgments others make of their behavior.

E.g. The bishop says I made a bad decision because I drank some herbal tea but I don't think it was a bad decision.

There's a time and a place for everything and there's certainly a time for clear communication, "that was a bad decision," but there are occasional moments where there's an opportunity for a child to learn for themselves through personal evaluation.

And of course you can't ask the question "Was that a good decision?" only after they do something bad. That will quickly devolve into, "I must have done something bad, otherwise they wouldn't be asking." So you might ask the question to get a child to reflect on the good choices they make as well. We can learn from our mistakes and successes. Good and bad experiences are teaching moments. Etc.

But take with a grain of salt. I'm a terrible parent.
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold
-Jesus

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nibbler
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Re: How Questioning Strengthened My Faith Instead of My Doubt

Post by nibbler » 15 Feb 2018, 07:12

Roy wrote:
13 Feb 2018, 10:37
Finally she found something "doctrinal" that would work but she considers it personal revelation and will not reveal it. Secret doctrine?
I'm guessing that what drives a lot of the "it's not secret, it's sacred" thoughts is the fear that if, in this case, Dew were to tell everyone what she had discovered that justifies the policy to her then it would open her position up to criticism. I don't think any of us enjoy that.

E.g.
You're misinterpreting that scripture or taking it completely out of context.
That conclusion is wrong because it contradicts doctrine xyz.
But leader SoAndSo said...
But the science says...
etc.

I think that's why we don't like to be open with these sorts of things. Doing so is often an invitation to have the answer that works for us be nitpicked to death.

And it's not just a desire to avoid the discussion with "antis," I think the fear also stems from the believing community. I think it's why much of our Sunday school discussions are so stale. People would rather remain silent than have their beliefs constantly correlated and corrected.
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold
-Jesus

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