When does the anger go away?

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canadiangirl
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When does the anger go away?

Post by canadiangirl » 30 May 2010, 21:54

I'm angry and cynical and wondering what I could do to resolve these feelings. I'm also at a point where I don't trust my feelings much anymore. I attended a fireside this evening that a few years ago would have created positive spiritual feelings within me and today all I felt was cynicism and nausea. This fireside was for youth and their parents as preparation for our ward's trip to Martin's Cove in July. I found the talks to be sensationalized propaganda. One quote that really bothered me was, "God allowed these people to suffer so that we could have a legacy of faith." There are so many things that anger me about that statement. First of all, I don't want people to suffer so that my testimony can be strengthened and I'm not sure that God allows these things to happen for that purpose. Secondly, I feel that the Martin and Willie handcart companies made some bad decisions regarding their trek and I wonder why these bad decisions are made into such grand stories of courage and faith. I heard things about how many had earned their reward in heaven for what they experienced and that we should be equally as willing to sacrifice our lives so that we can gain the faith these great pioneers so boldly expressed. I found myself thinking that I wanted to research the stories of those families that chose not to go to the Utah Valley so late in the season and read how they came to that decision and how it affected their lives. 5 more companies followed the next year and all made it relatively well. I'm just not sure the lessons my children are being taught by this experience will be beneficial to their lives. I wonder about the expectations that may be set in their minds after participating.

Can some of you share your experience with Stage 4 of Fowler's Stages of Faith and what helped you ride this wave of anger and distrust? I would really appreciate it.

Thanks

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cwald
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Re: When does the anger go away?

Post by cwald » 30 May 2010, 22:23

I've been stuck in stage 4 for over a decade. Just starting to work my way into stage 5. One day, one issue, one LDS member at a time. I don't have any magic bullet to give you. For me it's just been a matter of time. That old saying, "time heals all wounds" does have merit, but it doesn't help much in the short term. Sorry. I will bow out, and let some of the "wise" do the talking.
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

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canadiangirl
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Re: When does the anger go away?

Post by canadiangirl » 30 May 2010, 22:46

Thanks cwald,

I wish what you have said here wasn't true and a decade seems like an eternity right now. I believe you though. I think that your words are very wise. Nothing is a quick fix. I guess I just need some reassurance that it gets better or something. Your story helps.

I wanted to add that I have great compassion for the pioneers and for those who suffered so greatly in the Martin Handcart company. As I reread my post, I realized I may have let my anger override that compassion and I felt badly about it.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: When does the anger go away?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 31 May 2010, 09:29

I am going to share something that is tangential but that leaped into my mind as I read your post. I hope somehow it adds a little light and knowledge for you in your situation:

Years ago, I was asked to give a woman in my ward a blessing. I had no idea what was wrong, and she and her husband wouldn't say. She specifically asked me, not her husband, to give the blessing.

I laid my hands on her head and proceeded to "bless" her that the problem with which she was dealing would not go away in this lifetime - that she would struggle with it until the day she died. I had no intention whatsoever of saying that, but the words came out without any hesitancy. They just flowed out of my mouth. I then heard myself tell her that God was aware of her struggles, that the Atonement had paid the price of her pain and that the joy she would feel in the next life would FAR exceed the pain she felt in the here and now - that the joy would be so much greater that it would seem like the pain had never existed.

It was an experience I treasured - an amazing moment when I felt the heavens open and knew that I literally was acting as the mouthpiece of God for that woman. It was humbling and gratifying and I still remember the awe I felt as I left her house.

Years later, after we had moved away from that area, we returned on a short vacation, and I had the opportunity to talk with this woman and her husband. Out of the blue, she told me that blessing had been devastating to her - and that she still couldn't understand (after perhaps ten years) how I could "bless" her to suffer her entire life. I responded by mentioning the last half of the blessing and how I had been moved almost to tears by the expression of love and compassion and understanding from God I had felt as I spoke those words. He response floored me. She said, as nearly as I can remember:
I was so shocked by the first part that I tuned out and didn't listen to the last part. I couldn't bring myself to hear more of what seemed like a curse to me, so I quit listening altogether.


I found out then that her "problem" for which she had wanted a blessing was depression-related. For someone struggling with depression, the blessing that was given through me was perfect - if she had heard it all and felt the absolute love and understanding I felt as I spoke. However, since she tuned out the last half of the message, for ten years she had carried in her heart the pain of thinking that God, through me, had cursed her - that he didn't care enough about her to heal her in this life. She had been mad at me and God all that time, and it wasn't until I related my own perception of the event that she began to let go of that anger.

Why do I share that with you? I really don't know - except to say that it popped into my mind as I read your post. I've just spent time typing "maybe it's because . . ." scenarios and deleting them. I'm not going to try to explain or guess why. I'll leave that to you. I do think, however, that there is a lesson in there for you - but I can't give it to you, just like I couldn't give this woman what I experienced as I spoke the words of that blessing.

I believe the anger will go away whenever you stop focusing on it and recognize/acknowledge that the blessings you have been given are greater than the trials you have to face - that the loveis greater than the pain - that there is a second part of your story and that it's more important than the first part.

I hope that helps somehow.
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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SilentDawning
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Re: When does the anger go away?

Post by SilentDawning » 31 May 2010, 10:21

canadiangirl wrote:I'm angry and cynical and wondering what I could do to resolve these feelings. I'm also at a point where I don't trust my feelings much anymore. I attended a fireside this evening that a few years ago would have created positive spiritual feelings within me and today all I felt was cynicism and nausea. This fireside was for youth and their parents as preparation for our ward's trip to Martin's Cove in July. I found the talks to be sensationalized propaganda. One quote that really bothered me was, "God allowed these people to suffer so that we could have a legacy of faith." There are so many things that anger me about that statement. First of all, I don't want people to suffer so that my testimony can be strengthened and I'm not sure that God allows these things to happen for that purpose. Secondly, I feel that the Martin and Willie handcart companies made some bad decisions regarding their trek and I wonder why these bad decisions are made into such grand stories of courage and faith. I heard things about how many had earned their reward in heaven for what they experienced and that we should be equally as willing to sacrifice our lives so that we can gain the faith these great pioneers so boldly expressed. I found myself thinking that I wanted to research the stories of those families that chose not to go to the Utah Valley so late in the season and read how they came to that decision and how it affected their lives. 5 more companies followed the next year and all made it relatively well. I'm just not sure the lessons my children are being taught by this experience will be beneficial to their lives. I wonder about the expectations that may be set in their minds after participating.

Can some of you share your experience with Stage 4 of Fowler's Stages of Faith and what helped you ride this wave of anger and distrust? I would really appreciate it.

Thanks
I too am in Stage 4, but regarding different issues.

I think to get over the mistrust and cynicism one has to work at accepting their unique personality in the Church, embrace it, rwork on it, and also accept it without angst. I personally have a very hard time forgiving people who wrong me and can be very cynical if I let myself. I don't trust people who harm me for a long time, and I have trouble reconciling their behavior with the gospel. I accept that in myself and recognize this as one my unique challenges as a member. Time eventually wears away the anger, and I can be friends with the people, but it takes time to dull the edge of the knife. But accepting and acknowledging this aspect of my character helps.

Also, I would try to deal with comments like "God allowed these people to suffer so that we could have a legacy of faith." by trying to adopt the perspective of the person who said it. He probably was trying to inspire people, bring meaning to the handcart company's suffering, etcetera, and his intentions were probably good, just misdirected. He doesn't KNOW specficially that God had that purpose in mind for their suffering, he's just speculating, so don't accept what he said as necessarily inspired or doctrincal. I would simply reject the idea as inconsistent with my current schema of God, and try not to dwell on it. You have some good reasons above; reflect on those, and recognized that you simply don't agree with him...and then move on.

Sometimes people say ridiculous things in meetings, and I often put it down to a desire to look good in front of the congregation. Try to look at the people who say questionable things with a certain amount of compassion which deadens the sting of their message, recognizing it's born out their need to try to same something intelligent or hopefully inspiring, from their perspective.

Also, Gospel Principles indicates that prayer can direct our thoughts. I think regular prayer helps take the edge off our judgements, which edge causes our spirit a certain amount of pain like you're experiencing. I hate to rely on an old fall-back answer, but in the end, it helps.

Also, I think what you're doing is good -- reaching out to other people to ask for coping mechanisms. I'm doing so now hoping I'll have enthusiasm to go back to the frustrations of Church leadership, without feeling the same intense frustrations I've had in the past. I have several more coping mechanisms in my arsenal of tools to help me feel enthusiasm for Church leadership again, although I still feel somewhat unarmed and need more....so keep asking, reading, and listening to the perceptions of others. Eventually someone will say something that resonates with you and that you can begin adopting into your character and central belief system on matters like this...
"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

GBSmith
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Re: When does the anger go away?

Post by GBSmith » 31 May 2010, 10:38

People want to make sense of suffering and the example of the handcart company tragedy is no different. The thing that makes it difficult is when someone of something wants to make it into a example of God's plan for them and for us. The fact is that as far as I'm concerned God had nothing to do with it. If so Franklin D Richards wouldn't have promised them that if they proceeded in faith they'd be kept safe. Plus it's a fact that the church said and essentially taught nothing about the disaster for years because is was such an example of mismanagement and incompetence until someone decided that if they spun it a little differently they could make something faith promoting out of it. Being angry and upset over it is natural and normal because it's wrong in my opinion to make it into something it wasn't and wrong to make God responsible for the suffering as a way to make some sense of it all. Taking into account the person who was giving the talk as SilentDawning has discussed is important but in no way means you have to put up with that kind of talk because if you do then it may very well become part of the conventional wisdom out of what was none of God's doing.

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Rix
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Re: When does the anger go away?

Post by Rix » 31 May 2010, 11:35

My oblique approach to this is what has helped me get over my former codependent attitude towards issues like these. It helps me today to hear what another says and not feel the need to agree...but instead, recognize that their belief is inspiring to them, and helps them and some others listening to increase their faith and hope.

In my "past-life" I was always asking if things were literally "true." If I felt they weren't, I shut down and it became a negative experience. Today I recognize that things may be true for that person, and revel in the happiness it brings them. I try to focus on the positive of that rather than the negative of the disagreement.

I'm sure that doesn't work for many...but it does for me.

:)
Überzeugungen sind oft die gefährlichsten Feinde der Wahrheit.
[Certainty (that one is correct) is often the most dangerous enemy of the
truth.] - Friedrich Nietzsche

God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought. It's as simple as that. -- Joseph Campbell

nightwalden
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Re: When does the anger go away?

Post by nightwalden » 31 May 2010, 12:05

I love my mistrust and cynicism. I don't want to let them go. I wouldn't be me. I didn't go through the anger phase but that's not really me either. I have frustrations and I just try to manage them. It's still difficult. I hope that I'm progressing towards a more stage 5 mentality but I get a little discouraged each Sunday when I go to church and wonder to myself, "What the heck am I doing here?" But where I'm at now is way better than where I was a year or two ago.

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SilentDawning
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Re: When does the anger go away?

Post by SilentDawning » 31 May 2010, 14:12

nightwalden wrote:I love my mistrust and cynicism. I don't want to let them go. I wouldn't be me. I didn't go through the anger phase but that's not really me either. I have frustrations and I just try to manage them. It's still difficult. I hope that I'm progressing towards a more stage 5 mentality but I get a little discouraged each Sunday when I go to church and wonder to myself, "What the heck am I doing here?" But where I'm at now is way better than where I was a year or two ago.
Walden -- I was reading a book called "Getting to know the real you" by Ellsworth and Ellsworth, both LDS authors and psychologists in self-esteem.

They say that each person's spirit has to learn to love itself to be happy. To be happy, the spirit needs "payoffs", which are thought patterns that result in a sensation of goodness. When our spirit seeks the right targets for such payoffs, we generate strength of character that results in inner peace and self-esteem.

According to the authors, we can get these payoffs a number of ways. One way is to face negative situations with character. To respond kindly to that person who means offense, and walk away a gentleman, for example. The fact that "you' made that choice becomes an artifact you can look at whenever you like, and feel good about yourself for choosing positively. These are spiritual targets we should each be looking for in order to build inner peace and character, says the author.

Another way to give the spirit the "nourishment' or "payoff' it needs is through negative or cynical thinking. Negative or cynical thinking is a substitute style of thinking the authors think also provides a neurological "payoff". In thinking negatively, there is that firing of neurons or that payoff that makes the spirit feel good for a minute or two. However, its impact is not long lasting -- it's destructive in the long run. We can also get these payoffs from physical means, such as food or other materials that make our spirit feel better momentarily through our body's sensations.

So, while I recognize I have the tendency to seek payoffs from sources that don't enoble the spirit in the long run, I try not to make it worse by constantly impaling myself over it. I do accept this in myself, and try to work on getting rid of those tendencies if I can. But I don't love them in myself (OK, except maybe when I generate a really funny sarcastic comment as a result of it). But overall, I think my life would be much happier if I could erase those negative and cynical tendencies from my spirit's nourishment system.

No doubt you see this differently, and that's OK. I hope you don't see this as an attack of any kind on your outlook. I've loved my negativity and cynicism as well in the past, but I'm finding its becoming tiring to my spirit, so out of sheer fatigue, I hope to look for better targets for my mental payoffs. As Thomas Jefferson said, "Take hold of life by the smooth handle". I think focusing on positivity is one way to accomplish this.

But to our opening poster -- I think this is one way to overcome the mistrust and anger that is generated by some of the thoughts you're having. Look at the thought that is making you angry (and by the way, I think getting angry can create a temporary payoff to the spirit). Acknowledge it and say "I don't need that kind of psychologicl payoff, it's not good for me". Instead, focus on facing the situation with compassion, perspective taking, and love, and feeling the peace and self-respect that comes from facing the situation that way. After a while, you'll have a barage of experiences you can look at with peace and self-respect because you have shown such tolerance toward other people.

This will lead to improved character, and greater inner peace....
"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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Tom Haws
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Re: When does the anger go away?

Post by Tom Haws » 31 May 2010, 15:57

I think the anger goes away when you just get tired of it, so, so tired, and you start to just let go.

Tom
Tom (aka Justin Martyr/Justin Morning/Jacob Marley/Kupord Maizzed)
Higley and Guadalupe
Gilbert, Arizona
----
Sure, any religion would do. But I'm LDS.
"There are no academic issues. Everything is emotional to somebody." Ray Degraw at www.StayLDS.com

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