Thanks to everyone that commented in this thread. In many, many ways this thread has helped me to understand what I've been going through for several years now. The 2nd and 3rd pages really, really opened my eyes. Really too much to process and comment on at the moment, however I will say:
Thank you for that comment. With where I'm at in my life I feel like this is what my new goal should be. I've always looked for and found truth from all sources, not just the church. I think having a life before joining the church has helped in that regard... but lately I've struggled with feelings that could best be described as "does truth even exist?" The end result is that I've often felt like a stranger in a strange land. At times I want to be a self-imposed hermit, at other times I need that social interaction. I've been extremely depressed for years now, I'd like to move on.Brian Johnston wrote:You have to get to a point where you can allow religious symbols and metaphors to speak to you again, just letting them tell you their story and take you where they go without trying to force them into your paradigm of "truth." Its hard, but it is worth it.
I'm a bit confused about the definition of stage 3 and how it relates to the LDS church. In church I've always heard that we believe that there is truth in everything and that if something is true that it is inscribed into our religion by default. In reading some of the definitions of stage 3 it seems like this stage fosters in some ways an "us vs. them" mindset, which doesn't seem to jive with the truth in everything doctrine. Isn't the admonition "If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things?" Couple that with Alma and planting the seed (experimenting) to see if it is good and I don't know how we come away with the notion that you can't incorporate good from sources external to the church. In fact it seems to encourage the experimentation of "truths" from external sources and retaining all truths found to be good.
Interesting, this might be exactly what I'm going through; however, I don't like the places that route is taking me, I still want to believe. My new mantra often uttered out of desperation is "help thou my unbelief." As much as I disagree with labels maybe it would help me with my own personal progression to first know and understand better where I am currently. After all, a journey needs a starting point.cwald wrote:Maybe even better example is to leave the church in stage 4, and go back to a stage 3 that NO church is true so absolutely GOD CAN NOT EXIST.. That is stage 3 thinking.
Tolerance: I've got a live and let live attitude. Don't obey the Word of Wisdom? Don't let that stop you from coming to church. Don't go to our church but your belief system is working for you? That's fine, if you ever need us we're here, if you never need us that's okay too. I get the sense that tolerance is outside the scope of this discussion though. Everyone should be tolerant regardless.
Why I still go to church: Mostly for my family, to not be a stumbling block to them learning the good principles that the church espouses. On a personal level... I still live the commandments, I guess my activity level hinges on the church providing one of the best outlets to learn to love more and more people and to give service where I can.
I see that anger often accompanies stage 4. Maybe that's an indication that my stint into stage 4 was brief, as I've never felt hostility toward the church (for a perceived notion of being duped, etc.). I'm truly grateful for all the decisions I've made like joining the church, serving a mission, getting married in the temple, paying tithing, countless hours in church, etc., etc. That stuff has made me who I am. I wouldn't trade those decisions for anything. Anything.
I'll leave my incoherent thoughts with this:
How would a stage 4 person deal with mission work within the church? Is this possible?