James Fowler's Stages of Faith

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Brian Johnston
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Re: James Fowler's Stages of Faith

Post by Brian Johnston » 05 Jul 2010, 06:24

SilentDawning wrote:
How do you make this kind of breakthrough in thinking? You stand on the tracks, and let the train hit you. Stop resisting the symbols. Stop tearing them apart. Just let them sing to you ... and listen.
Perhaps you can expand on this -- particularly the train analogy, and also letting the symbols "sing to you", as this seems like part of the crux of the matter for you.
I don't know if it is possible to explain how this happens. It is not an intellectual, left-brained, rational experience. Religion speaks to the subconscious, the emotion, to our "soul," that place just outside of our abilities with language and even comprehension. We crave this and need it to be fully human. It is a hard-wired part of our being.

You can't read about it in a textbook. You do it, and stop trying so hard to focus on the mechanics.

I can only give examples. Here's another personal example:

On Saturday, I went in to DC to go wander around the Mall (the area with the Monuments, the Smithsonian, the Capitol Building, etc. for those not familiar). There were people setting up tents and booths for the big 4th of July celebration. I was trying to avoid the craziness of the half-million people that would be there on Sunday.

So ... I hear this music and chanting/singing as I am walking through the park there, and realize there's a big area with a Hare Krishna festival going on. They are singing, playing those cool drums, and striking little hand cymbals. As I got closer, a guy walks up to me with prayer beads and invites me to come meditate with him. I was in the mood to just chill out and explore, so this seemed like an interesting event that crossed my path. I sat down with him in the shade, took the prayer beads in my hand the way he told me. Then we started to repeat the Krishna mantra together. He gave me a leaflet with it printed on it so I could follow along until I "got it." There were 108 beads on the necklace, you move your fingers to grasp the next each time you complete a full 16 word cycle. He explained that this meditation will bring you closer to God and make you happy. It took us a good 10 minutes. That doesn't sound like a lot of time, but believe me, it seems like a lot longer when you are saying the same thing over and over again.

I think I approached this experience from a stage 5 perspective. I was interested in trying it. I did not try to tear it apart and analyze it too much. I just followed the invitation to DO it, and just open myself to see what happened. It did put me into a pretty relaxed and happy mood. I went around their tents afterward and talked to another guy about their display boards discussing reincarnation. I felt spiritual. I just let all that happen. Now to be perfectly clear, I do not identify with the Hare Krishna Hindu sect. I am not going to join their "church." Intellectually, I don't think they are now the ones with all the "right," and others are wrong. I did not feel like they were my new "tribe," and had all the "true" answers. I did not let myself pick all their details apart, and focus on the "facts" of psychology and repetitive actions (aka meditation) as a way of flattening and deconstructing my experience.

I just sat down with a very nice guy. I meditated with him, and I let the experience happen to me. I just let the symbols "sing" their song to my soul. I saw the Hare Krishna train coming, so I jumped on the tracks to let it hit me. There were no reasons or facts of history, just doing and feeling ... Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare ;)
SilentDawning wrote: <SNIP> So, as a hypothetical example, are you saying that regarding tithing, one could look at it as simply symbolic of my love for God, and pay it for that reason, not because its required for a Temple Rec, or even a basic commandment? Look at it as an expression of selflessness, and look at the ensuing lack of financial reserves it creates as an expression of of my willingness to depend on God for those things? Consistent with the Bible scripture that we shouldn't worry about our day-to-day needs too much -- as the flowers of the field and birds live day to day?
You could change the way you see it in the ways you described. You could also decide not to pay it anymore, and accept what that means, the social consequences. There are many ways to use the symbol of tithing. You could also give (some/all) of a "tithe" to charities you believe make the world a better place (the Kingdom of God).

I like to look at it as an act of letting go of control. I have strong urges to control money. I know this about myself. Heck, I could pay tithing to the Church and make that an act of letting go. I could also put it in a pile in my backyard and burn it -- releasing it to the "gods" of air and fire. That might do something similar for me personally for all I know (in the sense of a spiritual exercise).

You decide how this works for you. That's the important thing, and what I think you really, deeply want.
SilentDawning wrote:Also, if you only partially wear a garment, how do you answer the temple recommend question "do you wear your garments night and day?"
Ray already said it (which I make no secret of). I choose not to maintain a current temple recommend right now. I haven't had one in about 6 years. I am not unworthy or some type of tainted and horrible sinner. I have never been more "right with God" in my life. Life did not fall apart (for me)... In fact, I still participate in priesthood ordinances sometimes. I don't mind giving people blessings (as one example). I baptized my second youngest daughter during this time period, no problems (another example). I gave up caring about what people at Church think of me. Really. But the reality is that most people don't even know my TR status, including most leaders. It may be hard for some of us to hear :lol: , but people in general in the Church don't care as much as we have built ourselves up to think. They really aren't paying attention to us. :lol: They're way too worried about their own problems most of the time.

Stage 5 doesn't mean you go back to just believing and obeying (orthodoxy) again. You can't go back, even if our outward appearance and actions might look orthodox. It isn't at all about believing or obeying any specific teachings. Fowler Stage Theory talks about HOW we process it, how we interact with the content of our faith. Tithing or Garments are "faith content." Those are just details. To use an analogy: Faith content is like the car we own. It has a color, a shape, various features, etc. Stage Theory describes our driving style, how we drive the car we are sitting in.
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Re: James Fowler's Stages of Faith

Post by SilentDawning » 05 Jul 2010, 08:55

What I'm getting out of Ray and Brian's comments are the following.

1. Stage 5 involves not really caring about the social norms in our Church if they are part of the interference with your spirituality. I'm NOT saying you don't respect them, or that you intentionally challenge them to others, but inwardly, you don't let them cause you any angst. You view the Church as your experience, and you stop caring about how others think you should be experiencing the Church.

As an an analogy (my own, not Brian or Ray's) In the D&C it says the Church should stand independent of all other organizations on earth -- It's referring to temporal matters in my view, but the analogy can be used to say that individuals in the Church can also strive to stand independent of all other expectations or social norms that aren't necessarily doctrine -- particularly if they interefere with your spirituality.

2. For Brian, it also sounds like a willingness to experience those things that you may not necessarily agree with, without rejecting them, potentially, finding new meaning in them through the experience.

So, how would this relate to tithing, for example? I come back to redefining what full tithe is, in a way that makes sense to me and is consistent with the scriptures, and its ambiguous use of the term "interest" in the D&C. It means sitting in sacrament meeting, and when someone takes a hard line on tithing, by making unequivocal statements that it's 10% of gross and all who interpret it otherwise are going to be "burned at the second coming" -- not letting it get to me, recognize that it's another person's way of experiencing the Church, and which helps him feel closer to God, rather than an absolute truth. And that my own interpretation is equally valid, and is even better for me right now. You stop viewing that person as an adversary, or symptomatic of egocentricity on the part of the Church, and simply a different way of experiencing the gospel.

3. For Ray, it sounds like part of his transcendence above the details and practices that sometimes create angst is achieved by focusing on big principles rather than the details of practices. For example, for the principle of charity -- it's charitable to pay on something other than gross -- no one can take away the fact that you volunatrily decided to give up those funds for the good of others, or simply as an act of selflessness. And paying tithing, and perhaps even making a donation to the person who comes to the door seeking donations to UNICIF is just another way of expressing that charity. The principle of being charitable is more important than the detail of the specific practice.

(On that note, because I feel the tithing requirement a bit of burden, I rarely ever give to other causes -- is that charitable? A rhetorical question).

Now, a question remains unanswered (probably many if I sat and thought longer). Ray, can you point to a specific instance of something you found hard to accept and how you applied the principles you mentioned in your own posts above to bring your behavior to where you wanted it?
Last edited by SilentDawning on 05 Jul 2010, 10:09, edited 1 time in total.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- 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."

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Re: James Fowler's Stages of Faith

Post by Brian Johnston » 05 Jul 2010, 09:48

SilentDawning wrote:So, how would this relate to tithing, for example? I come back to redefining what full tithe is, in a way that makes sense to me and is consistent with the scriptures, and its ambiguous use of the term "interest" in the D&C. It means sitting in sacrament meeting, and when someone takes a hard line on tithing, by making unequivocal statements that it's 10% of gross and all who interpret it otherwise are going to be "burned at the second coming" -- not letting it get to me, recognize that it's another person's way of experiencing the Church, and which helps him feel closer to God, rather than an absolute truth. And that my own interpretation is equally valid, and is even better for me right now. You stop viewing that person as an adversary, or symptomatic of egocentricity on the part of the Church, and simply a different way of experiencing the gospel.
BINGO! It's not just about being different. And certainly doesn't require us to fight against others' experiences. A huge huge step is exactly what you described. You are not bothered by someone else working the symbols differently (or indeed in an orthodox manner). They may very well think you are going to burn in hell for not paying tithing as 10% on gross revenues (well ... in Mormonism everyone gets a consolation prize, even if it's a second or third place trophy).

That doesn't matter much in Stage 5 thinking. In Stage 3 thinking this is disturbing because you think you believe what everyone believes (at least everyone who really gets it in your tribe, the righteous people). They are bringing into question what everyone believes. You didn't think it was like that? You will feel a tug to fall in line with them, especially if they are a group authority figure. You will want to find the answer from your group, or search out group authorities for the right answer.

In Stage 4 thinking, it disturbs you because they are wrong, and YOU have figured out the truth -- not your group, but you as your own authority, you figured this out through careful reasoning and looking at the "facts." They are wrong, and you are right. That bothers us in stage 4-style thinking. We can't both be right. Logic clearly dictates ... that the facts must prove one of us, if only we dig deep enough and break it all down into rational steps and facts.

In Stage 5 perspective, that person might still be irritating, but only because they are an annoying person. LOL! Not because you need to somehow figure out which of you is right. They are just being an insensitive butthead. They're off on their own trip though, so ... maybe it's working for them? *shrug*
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Re: James Fowler's Stages of Faith

Post by Ray DeGraw » 05 Jul 2010, 10:15

I have extended family in town for the weekend, so I can't comment much here for a bit. I will get back to your questions as soon as I can, SD. Until then, I only can echo Brian.
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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Re: James Fowler's Stages of Faith

Post by HiJolly » 06 Jul 2010, 16:52

I'm late to the party, sorry. I'd like to contribute some of my experience on this.
SilentDawning wrote:By now, I've listened to the first and second podcasts on the Stages of Faith. I still feel kind of baffled by level 5, and how to get there.

That makes sense, SD. I've been reading your posts, which have been very enjoyable. I *like* your online persona. I can feel your stage 3 - stage 4 transitional struggle, centering now in stage 4. It's clear you are not in stage 5 (hardly ever) as you touch upon the state of being "stage 5" and declare it to be foreign, incomprehensible, even 'phoney' (my word). How to get there with integrity is the crux. The other comments on this are right on. You'll have to change within. The misery of stage 4 will motivate you to get there, and I personally think you will, in time. I don't think you'll get stuck in stage 4, though as your choice, it certainly could happen.
SilentDawning wrote:Here are the some of the thoughts I'm having.

1. Level 4 is a bothersome phase. I feel like a hypocrite as I go through the motions while having severe reservations. I feel kind of trapped because I've built a whole Mormon life around me with kids that believe the Church, a wife who is a level #3 person, non-member family who is always watching my commitment. I know that if they weren't in my life, and I was single, I'd be less active right now. I'm not really being authentic in my life. I'd like to BE again, and I don't feel I can. It's a terribly counterfeit state to be in, and one I'd like to get out of it.

I was very lucky (or, 'blessed') when I transitioned from 3 to 5. I spent maybe 4 or 5 weeks over a 3 month period in stage 4. I think it was so brief because I had (1) studied myth and symbolism for years previous to this; and (2) experienced God within myself for many years, off and on, in what became undeniable ways. I actually was forced into stage 4 by the Holy Ghost, when I failed to go there on my own. I was internally reborn as I emerged into stage 5. Today, I spend about 19% of my time in stage 3 LDS, 1% in stage 4 and 80% in stage 5 LDS. Roughly. :lol:
SilentDawning wrote:2. I'm also bothered by the fact that Level 5 is a phase where you're thinking way outside the box -- and that tends to lead to labels of heresy. Hawkgrrrl indicated that Christ as a level 5 when it comes to Judaism, and then a Level 6. The problem is that if we all progressed in that way, we'd be a Church of people bucking the status quo. And that's not allowed in the Church. And Level 6-ers often end up being assassinated or martyred. in our Church, disciplined. I don't see progression to Level 6 as even desireable or practical for many of us.

Oh, yes, I am a heretic. But very, very few people ever get even a hint of it. Basically, only those deeply needing something within their souls. Like last year whilst teaching GD to the adults, I said some fairly non-standard things about the afterlife and specifically judgment. A sister in the room needed it, and she was fed. The rest didn't even hardly notice. After class, she could hardly even speak through her tears.

But "bucking the status quo" is not the way of it. I know within myself, by the witness of the Holy Ghost, things that are not to be shared until I 'feel' within myself that I need to do so. And it's OK, because in reality we all get what we need, when we are ready to receive it. To hear it said thus is a hard thing for most people. Remember Laman & Lemuel saying "you have said hard things to us"? But when we are ready, it comes.

I do fear transitioning to stage 6, I'll admit it. As long as I fear it, I will not go. My life was spared disruption through stage 4, but I don't think there's any way anyone within my circle of influence would be spared if I went fully into stage 6. Yikes. Then again, it is quite likely that I simply don't understand what it would be like, yet, to be there. That makes a lot of sense to me. I'm sure I don't comprehend being stage 6.
SilentDawning wrote:3. To me, level 5 is just another form of rationalization like you see among Level 3 people. But it requires a higher level of intelligence and creativity.

It requires Faith, Hope and Charity. I'm still learning this. It becomes OK to receive revelation and not understand it. For me and for others. God is in charge, and when I need it, I'll have it. But it's hard, and it's impossible in stage 4. Financial thinking is a good example. We must learn to fully rely on God, not money. Money is nothing to the stage 6 person, and in stage 5 I'm learning that it must not be a crutch or security blanket. That is hard too. Is it God, or is it Mammon? Can't we just strike a balance? Heh.
SilentDawning wrote:4. To me, it's not clear what I have to do to get out of Level 4. The second podcast said to pray. The StayLDS article suggests in a few places to just stay in the Church and modify your behavior so the Church is something you can still live with...(and at points, even seems to encourage lukewarm behavior). The former seems like a return to level 3 thinking and behavior, and the latter seems like accepting that it's OK to be a half-miler (perhaps the latter has nothing to do with the stages of faith, and I'm onto a different topic there).

Can you honestly embrace the Muslim who is seeking Allah's will as a spiritual brother? Can you respect and reverence the sacrifice of a Hindu to his many Gods, as an act of love of God, *your* God? Can you appreciate the rapture of a pentecostal Christian as they writhe in ecstasy of the spirit? I remember one of the transitions I had to make was to truly appreciate and love others as they worshiped their 'God', no matter how foreign that worship was to me. Santeria, Voodoo or Thelema included. Not that I had to want to follow their ways of worship, but rather that I had to respect the fact that so many of them are totally as sincere in what they do, as I am in what I do. And that sincerity is the thing. I am sure that transition within myself was idiosyncratic to myself, to my need for growth.

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Re: James Fowler's Stages of Faith

Post by GBSmith » 06 Jul 2010, 21:52

I've listened to the posts, bought the book, but basically came to the conclusion that when it doesn't make sense anymore, you move on. You take what's good, leave what isn't, and realize that today's the only day you've got.

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Re: James Fowler's Stages of Faith

Post by Brian Johnston » 07 Jul 2010, 08:17

HiJolly wrote:I was very lucky (or, 'blessed') when I transitioned from 3 to 5. I spent maybe 4 or 5 weeks over a 3 month period in stage 4. I think it was so brief because I had (1) studied myth and symbolism for years previous to this; and (2) experienced God within myself for many years, off and on, in what became undeniable ways.
I don't mean to question your specific experience HiJolly, but I would like to use it as an example of an observation of this type of perception I have seen people express -- the notion of rapidly transitioning from Stage 3 all the way through to Stage 5 completely in a matter of a few weeks or months.

I have doubts, in general, about this being a real transition through the stages. It is far too rapid. What I think it really indicates, when people express this, is a rapid resolution of the cognitive dissonance, or a high tolerance or comfort level in transitioning faith content. I think it is often accompanied, as you gave your personal example, in a person's basic personality (being blessed with a natural openness to one's emotions and to spirituality) AND also a history of interest and study of other faith's symbols and metaphors. Universalism is a soothing cure for a crisis in our specifics when they fall apart and demythologize before our eyes.

I have a feeling that a perceived rapid transition from Stage 3 to Stage 5, if we really look back, included a prolonged period of Stage 4 thinking comfortably WITHIN the context of our LDS faith content. Stage 4 does not equal not believing. I also spent a very short period of a couple of months in serious cognitive dissonance. But as I look back, I think I was really Stage 4 within Mormonism for a good 20+ years, since I was a teenager, having mostly pulled that sense of authority of truth into myself and away from my group. I spent decades deconstructing my world, both religion and my social context. Religiously, I was still fully within Mormonism, like I continue to be. But I thought that *I* had the right answers, and I loved to argue with people that did not. Socially, I have never fit well into my context, so that was much easier to see.

Even with my strong sense of universalism today, and extreme comfort with different symbols and content, I still catch myself doing knee-jerk deconstruction as I encounter things. It isn't hostile, angry or rebellious, so it doesn't look like cognitive dissonance, but it is still very Stage 4-like.

Most of the conversations here at StayLDS, IMO, are largely Stage 4 conversations, where we talk about how things happen, why they happen, how they got to be the way they are, and why we are right :lol: BUT the controlled tone of our conversations open up a parting in the veil to see glimpses of a Stage 5 within a Mormon content. To me, Stage 5 is more about the doing and living, experiencing without thinking so much about it.

FWIW, the same thing could happen if someone switched content and dove into the waters of another group's symbols. But we focus on how to use LDS material here.
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Re: James Fowler's Stages of Faith

Post by HiJolly » 07 Jul 2010, 09:24

Brian Johnston wrote:
HiJolly wrote:I was very lucky (or, 'blessed') when I transitioned from 3 to 5. I spent maybe 4 or 5 weeks over a 3 month period in stage 4. I think it was so brief because I had (1) studied myth and symbolism for years previous to this; and (2) experienced God within myself for many years, off and on, in what became undeniable ways.
I don't mean to question your specific experience HiJolly, but I would like to use it as an example of an observation of this type of perception I have seen people express -- the notion of rapidly transitioning from Stage 3 all the way through to Stage 5 completely in a matter of a few weeks or months.

I have doubts, in general, about this being a real transition through the stages. It is far too rapid. What I think it really indicates, when people express this, is a rapid resolution of the cognitive dissonance, or a high tolerance or comfort level in transitioning faith content. I think it is often accompanied, as you gave your personal example, in a person's basic personality (being blessed with a natural openness to one's emotions and to spirituality) AND also a history of interest and study of other faith's symbols and metaphors. Universalism is a soothing cure for a crisis in our specifics when they fall apart and demythologize before our eyes.

I have a feeling that a perceived rapid transition from Stage 3 to Stage 5, if we really look back, included a prolonged period of Stage 4 thinking comfortably WITHIN the context of our LDS faith content. Stage 4 does not equal not believing. I also spent a very short period of a couple of months in serious cognitive dissonance. But as I look back, I think I was really Stage 4 within Mormonism for a good 20+ years, since I was a teenager, having mostly pulled that sense of authority of truth into myself and away from my group. I spent decades deconstructing my world, both religion and my social context. Religiously, I was still fully within Mormonism, like I continue to be. But I thought that *I* had the right answers, and I loved to argue with people that did not. Socially, I have never fit well into my context, so that was much easier to see.
I see what you mean. I suppose that's probably applicable to me also. I first began seeing 'problems' back in the early 80's. My surrender to reality came much later.


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Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
-- The Stoic Epictetus

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Re: James Fowler's Stages of Faith

Post by SilentDawning » 07 Jul 2010, 09:39

Can you honestly embrace the Muslim who is seeking Allah's will as a spiritual brother? Can you respect and reverence the sacrifice of a Hindu to his many Gods, as an act of love of God, *your* God? Can you appreciate the rapture of a pentecostal Christian as they writhe in ecstasy of the spirit? I remember one of the transitions I had to make was to truly appreciate and love others as they worshiped their 'God', no matter how foreign that worship was to me. Santeria, Voodoo or Thelema included. Not that I had to want to follow their ways of worship, but rather that I had to respect the fact that so many of them are totally as sincere in what they do, as I am in what I do. And that sincerity is the thing. I am sure that transition within myself was idiosyncratic to myself, to my need for growth.

HiJolly
I don't have trouble accepting any of their experiences. I'm actually friends with someone who is a minister in a historically antagonistic faith and I accept that he's had spiritual experiences that lead him to believe he's in the truth. In fact, it's exactly this kind of acceptance that puts me into Stage 4 because how can EVERYONE be right when their doctrine conflicts? Is truth fluid and not fixed? It calls into question the "one true Church" concept when you start accepting that everyone can have revelation they belong to the right Church....could it be that God, the purveyor of all truth, immoveable and unchanging, intentionally points us to which set of "untruths" we need to accept because they match our overall commitment and readiness for spirituality? Broad based Christian, born again religions for people who are truth-seekers, complete with a band and entertaining speakers for the newbies to spirituality, progressing to Mormonism for the people who want to truly sacrifice and forget themselves in service to others, never saying "no" to a calling and laying down their agency in obedience within an organization we're allowed to believe comes from God?

I have trouble accepting that if you've hit Stage 5 that you don't care about money anymore, though -- that you rely entirely on God. (Please don't everyone read carelessness into that statement about money!!!). I'm embarking on my own definition of tithing consistent with the scriptures that I think it s level 5 attitude where I feel wholehearted and right about that definition given all the historical research I've done, as well as considering the conflicting commandments of paying tithing, fast offerings, mission funds, being self-reliant, getting out of debt, giving to the budget and other funds etcetera. I can't do all of them at the same time and still feel at peace. There isn't enough to go around!

And it IS important -- the concept of money. Without it you lose options, freedom, flexibility etcetera. I know that Ghandi and Jesus didn't seem to care about it very much, but I know Christ had a short window to live and he knew it. Ghandi -- I'm not so sure how he survived without caring too much about it, but in the end, he needed it to meet his needs. It IS important, no question, and having enough to meet your needs is important to life on this earth....

By the way, thanks for any complements in your post above.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- 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."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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Re: James Fowler's Stages of Faith

Post by cwald » 07 Jul 2010, 10:19

SilentDawning wrote:I have trouble accepting that if you've hit Stage 5 that you don't care about money anymore, though -- that you rely entirely on God. ...And it IS important -- the concept of money. Without it you lose options, freedom, flexibility etcetera. I know that Ghandi and Jesus didn't seem to care about it very much, but I know Christ had a short window to live and he knew it. Ghandi -- I'm not so sure how he survived without caring too much about it, but in the end, he needed it to meet his needs. It IS important, no question, and having enough to meet your needs is important to life on this earth....
Jesus and Ghandi are stage 6, not stage 5. I don't understand stage 6 at all.


From what I know of stage 5 and from the post I read, I dont think stage 5ers "don't care about money anymore." I don't think that was the message about stage 5. I think one can have stage 5 thinking, AND still have reservations about where their tithing is going. I'm a classic stage 4 - but I do get glimpses of stage 5 thought --- example, I no longer pay a "honest tithe" to the LDS church (stage 4). However, I believe in the concept of "tithing" and now I give more than 10% of my "increase" to local groups like the CV Boosters, 4-H, FFA, little league, Santa's Helpers etc. I think that is stage 5 thinking?
  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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