Hypothesis: Purely Intellectual Faith Crises aren't crises

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Re: Hypothesis: Purely Intellectual Faith Crises aren't crises

Post by SilentDawning » 19 Apr 2018, 06:32

I don't see it as a faith crisis in my case. It was a commitment crisis. I realized a long time ago that I won't ever really know for sure which religion is correct. I relied on spiritual feelings that directed me to the LDS church as a place that I could thrive for a good portion of my life. At least until about 5 years into my marriage. So I don't rely on my intellect to sort out the truth. There is no way intellect can pierce the veil. What is beyond it is a carefully guided secret by God himself.

After that five years into my marriage, I stopped thriving. And the emotional weight of the experience (behavior of people, primarily) made it so I no longer felt engaged. Most of all, it no longer seemed WORTH the financial and time/stress burden being a member in good standing requires. The tithing, the time consuming, repetitive, conscription model of service, the lack of results in activation endeavors, the lay ministry that doesn't often have time to care one iota about releasing you when you've had enough, their lack of ability to help you, and the prioritization of temporal concerns over spiritual, mission-related opportunities to serve members, deflated my enthusiasm. Further, the sense of belonging I once felt in the church dissipated. I realized my standing in the community was extremely conditional on towing the line -- and the full line -- not a partial commitment. And anything less than that was criticized behind closed doors by the leadership, while they were nice to me in person. It's hard to engage with, or trust an organization whose leaders behave that way -- particularly when we are supposed to be a church of love.

It seems the threshold for acceptance is a lot higher in our church than in other "communities" I have belonged to, and it doesn't take much to put you into the out-group.

My crisis isn't intellectual, that is for sure.

As I've said before, I am somewhat thankful for my commitment crisis. The repeated negative experiences I've had with member and leadership abuse have "opened my eyes". I feel they helped me eat from the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And I know the truth now about the church. I have seen through the whitewashing, see that our leaders are extremely fallible and often blinded by their perception that existing policy is revelation I see that our church is a lot like any other temporal organization, except it has this veneer of doctrine that makes people behave with self-sacrifice toward it. I see our church is capable of attracting large sums of money from its members (imagine if a company could get 10% of the annual income of 1/3 of its registered customers!!!), and provides the mere use of appreciating buildings and opportunities to serve in return. Being fair, they do reduce college education costs for members for the few who can get into BYU. I grant taht. And the higher up you go, these opportunities are considered obligations, not volunteer service.

My life is less stressful and unpleasant now that I have realized the church was not what I thought it was. I still have a testimony I should be a member, and contribute, but not in the same, textbook way in the past. And that has made a big difference in my overall joy and happiness.

So, yes, this was emotional, but it was also related to simple effort. It ended up being a cost benefit analysis, and the costs of full membership seemed to outweight the benefits when I stopped believing the outcomes the church seems to say we receive in the next life. I'm not sure they know for sure, even though they say they do (just like I did for years, saying "I know"). Once that dissipates, you see the church world much differently!
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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