Meet with An Area Authority?

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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mackay11
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Re: Meet with An Area Authority?

Post by mackay11 » 07 May 2014, 20:34

Personally I would take this opportunity. Be aware that there is always a chance that it won't stay 100% confidential. It might, but just bear in mind it might not.

And if you do it, can I suggest you do the decent thing and not record it? I know you hadn't suggested you would, but just saying.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Meet with An Area Authority?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 08 May 2014, 06:39

And if you do it, can I suggest you do the decent thing and not record it?


This.
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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Deepthinker
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Re: Meet with An Area Authority?

Post by Deepthinker » 08 May 2014, 07:20

Ray DeGraw wrote:I would meet with him, but it would be without any expectations whatsoever about specific results. Any negative would be accepted, while any positive would be a nice surprise.

I also would NOT make it about any particular issue. I really don't see closure occurring with regard to any specific topic. Rather, I would make it about the overall concept of supporting members who see things differently than the majority and not making those members feel like they have to leave the Church if they have a different view.

I am glad to hear about the response. This sort of opportunity is important and ought not be ignored.

I hope it goes well. If not, we are here to commiserate :D - or to say, "I told you so." :silent: :lol:
Thanks Ray, I'm going to go with only the expectation to receive his advice about how to stay LDS with doubt or different views from the majority of members. I've already explained to him that it is not my intent to bring up specific issues.

It is all confirmed for Saturday morning with him at his office.

I'm very nervous about this (being an introvert) but I agree, that this opportunity shouldn't be ignored. I will definitely let everyone know how it turns out.

I have a feeling that it will be a good experience, but maybe that is just hope talking.
My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4599e

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Deepthinker
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Re: Meet with An Area Authority?

Post by Deepthinker » 08 May 2014, 07:31

Ann wrote:I have no idea what you wrote to him about, but I hope you meet and look forward to hearing about it. He sounds sincere and trustworthy. It sounds like he won't be anxious to get into specific issues since he offered to talk about helpful "principles." I would love the chance to let my guard down and talk with a real human being about my faith.
Thanks Ann. Here is a summary of what I wrote to him:
  • Apologized for sending an anonymous email, and hoped he would understand.
    Explained a brief background about my faith crisis.
    That I know I should talk to my Bishop, but was unsure he would understand.
    That I trust him, that I want to stay LDS, that I continue to read the scriptures and pray.
    I have a testimony of God and Christ, but doubts about some LDS church teachings.
    I've tried to be open and honest with my wife without sharing everything.
    That it is difficult and painful for me to go through this feeling alone, not being able to share with my family.
    I quoted Pres Uchtdorf's talk about "Come, Join with Us!" and that I wanted to feel that accepted.
    I asked for his advice/counsel/support regarding my situation.
He is a very sincere and trustworthy person. IMHO, he is the most Christ-like person I have ever had the opportunity to know in person.
Last edited by Deepthinker on 08 May 2014, 07:36, edited 1 time in total.
My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4599e

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Deepthinker
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Re: Meet with An Area Authority?

Post by Deepthinker » 08 May 2014, 07:33

mackay11 wrote:Personally I would take this opportunity. Be aware that there is always a chance that it won't stay 100% confidential. It might, but just bear in mind it might not.

And if you do it, can I suggest you do the decent thing and not record it? I know you hadn't suggested you would, but just saying.
Yes, I'm aware of how things could turn out, but I'm still willing to meet because I don't want to lose such a great opportunity.

Recording the conversation never even crossed my mind, I have no plan to do that.
My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4599e

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Deepthinker
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Re: Meet with An Area Authority?

Post by Deepthinker » 08 May 2014, 07:35

SilentDawning wrote:I give him credit for writing you back and wanting to meet with you. Kudos to the GA!

HOwever, I would personally not meet with him personally, although I might consider some limited correspondence via email.

My reasons are thus:

1. You will likely get unsatisfying TBM answers.
2. You run the strong risk of a referral to your SP or Bishop, even if he assures confidentiality. The chain of command is very strong in the church.
3. YOu want to leave your options open in case something happens and you want full integration with the church again.

That is my advice. I do appreciate the fact that he cares though. And he's probably a busy, high achieving person.

Good luck.
Thanks SD. I understand, and I do have those fears. My desire to not pass up the opportunity is outweighing my fears right now.

I do know him personally. He was my Bishop for a few years, so I feel comfortable talking to him, which is helping to calm my fears as well.
My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4599e

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Deepthinker
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Re: Meet with An Area Authority?

Post by Deepthinker » 12 May 2014, 08:22

Sorry for not posting an update earlier. I wanted to; it has just been a busy Mother’s Day weekend. I did meet with the Area Authority on Saturday. We met for almost 2 hours.

While I don’t want to diminish the helpful advice he gave me and some of the insight I received, the biggest help to me was just being able to release the pressure I had bottled up with not sharing my doubt with anyone in person. It was wonderful to talk with someone who understood what I was going through, did not judge me, and only wanted to help me. I feel like I needed this release and I needed a sounding board to work through some things in my own mind.

He told me where to park discreetly, and which door to go to that once I reached I could call him and he would come let me in. He has maintained the confidentially we discussed, which I appreciate.
We each shared some very personal things, which I will not share here, and which I told him I would not share.

I did tell him about StayLDS.com and that I most likely would not be meeting with him if it wasn't for the support I receive on this site. So, thank you to everyone. I can’t express that enough.

I did ask for his permission to share some of the things we discussed. I will try to summarize these and keep in mind some of this was his advice and some of it was insight I gained as we discussed. While much of this advice is something I’m sure many of you have heard, it became personal to me, and he was able to provide insight that struck me with more importance and applicability to my situation. So, here goes.

Ambiguity about why things happened within the church’s past is OK. We talked about my tendency to want to have all the answers.

With that, we talked about how digging into the answers some people give, such as apologists, can be an addictive habit. I realized that I need to stop looking for answers from apologists.

I thought about the mental gymnastics some apologists expect one’s faith to perform, which can only leave the bones of one’s faith seriously broken. Faith was never meant to perform that way.

We discussed the “shelf” metaphor and how mine broke. He had not heard that metaphor before, but he did say he just doesn't really visit his shelf. The ambiguity is OK with him and is something he would expect there to be.

I told him that the desire to believe has never left me and that I feel happy living the Gospel. We discussed that that is basically my testimony, the feelings I have living the Gospel attest to the truthfulness of it for me, and that the LDS faith is my spiritual identity.

I told him that I wanted to help others struggling, and that having a group that could meet together would be beneficial. He agreed that it would.

We discussed doubt and how doubt can make faith stronger. I told him that is my goal, to use my faith crisis as a positive learning and growing experience.

He was impressed with where I am right now in rebuilding my faith. He appreciated that I had reached out to him and that he thought it was the right thing for me to do.

There were many other things we discussed; those are the main ones I felt like I could share.

We are scheduled to meet again in a few weeks.
My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4599e

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kinglamoni
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Re: Meet with An Area Authority?

Post by kinglamoni » 12 May 2014, 08:41

Thanks for the update deepthinker. I am glad it was a good experience for you.

With all the "Ambiguity" how does this Area Authority know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is true? Or does he not "KNOW" the truth of it but believes it is true?

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Meet with An Area Authority?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 12 May 2014, 08:50

I do not expect anyone to say they know beyond a shadow of a doubt. If someone feels that way, fine - but, frankly, I wouldn't ever go there with someone who has talked about accepting ambiguity. I think he has answered that question already, and I applaud him for it.

It sounds like it was a great discussion. I hope more and more leaders feel that way, and I can see it happening. It gives me hope for the future.
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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nibbler
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Re: Meet with An Area Authority?

Post by nibbler » 12 May 2014, 09:19

Cool. Thanks for reporting back.
Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
― Jesus

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