James Fowler's Stages of Faith

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: James Fowler's Stages of Faith

Post by Curt Sunshine » 27 May 2012, 20:23

Stage 6: Desires to share the truth you have discovered to make the world a better place.


Frankly, that describes lots of people in every stage. It descries the most fundamental religionists and the most extreme anarchists.

I look at Stage 6 as a complete fullness of self without an ounce of selfishness. It's always choosing the correct action no matter what - and knowing what the correct action is. It's godhood, without the omnipotence.
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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Brian Johnston
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Re: James Fowler's Stages of Faith

Post by Brian Johnston » 29 May 2012, 08:42

It's definitely not as simple as just having a desire to proselyte new views. It's represents a self-actualized mastery of religion. The people generally go viral with their ideas, but are so beyond the need to conform to others' expectations, they are often killed by the people they are trying to help see the "truth." They are too free for others to handle.

Jesus is probably the best example to cite: a Stage 6 wandering Jewish preacher. He was a master of the Jewish religion to the point of confounding the scholars and power elite of his day. People may disagree, but I consider Joseph Smith to probably have been a Stage 6 frontier protestant. His apparent total inhibition to freely combine anything and everything in his religious environment, from Protestant Christianity to Freemasonry and folk magic, it was truly audacious. Like so many "prophet" figures before him, he took it too far and was killed. People couldn't handle that level of freedom.

Even Dr. Fowler was sort of at a loss for words to describe Stage 6. There were only a handful of the thousands of his research interviewees that he even considered putting into this category. His books leaves the definition fairly open in his book, even stating that much more research needs to be done. Few people go this route.
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

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Heber13
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Re: James Fowler's Stages of Faith

Post by Heber13 » 29 May 2012, 14:24

WeightyMatters wrote:
Stage 5: Accepting the truth you have discovered and living it to the fullest. Well at the same time realizing all people have different truths they have discovered.
One clarification on this conjunctive stage is it is not about my truth, while tolerating others have their version of their truth. It is about accepting all truth from wherever it comes. It is inclusive, and completely open. It is the realization that you haven't discovered it, you are discovering it along side others as they discover it, and the colors are more robust and beautiful with trying to see the entire rainbow of truth, not black and white (which actually aren't colors but are devoid of color).
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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Brian Johnston
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Re: James Fowler's Stages of Faith

Post by Brian Johnston » 30 May 2012, 07:23

Stage 3: You become aware that other people have different stories than yours. You must build or incorporate your group's "story of stories" to explain why the world looks this way. The LDS "story of stories" is typically along these lines: We have the true truth revealed to us through our prophets. Other people just haven't has the chance for the Holy Ghost to confirm our story to them, or ... the devil and his minions have prevented or blocked people from feeling the way we do.

Stage 5: You allow yourself to become vulnerable to your group's stories again, and/or other stories.

A person thinking in Stage 3 style Christian context acknowledges perhaps that the Hari Krishnas have some form of truth that makes them good people.

vs.

A Stage 5 Christian might paint their face, put on robes and dance with them, or recite the mantra to Krishna with prayer beads 108 times, really FEELING it.
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

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Heber13
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Re: James Fowler's Stages of Faith

Post by Heber13 » 30 May 2012, 12:11

Good analogy, Brian.

I agree. I think stage 3 has a fear that dabbling in the other groups or dancing with them will risk being caught in their currents and whisked away from the story that was built up.

Stage 4 is feeling those currents pull and there are tumultuous feelings.

Stage 5 is enjoying the ride, because riding the currents helps strengthen your faith or beliefs. There is little to none "us" vs "them" in conjunctive faith.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

westfield1825
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Re: James Fowler's Stages of Faith

Post by westfield1825 » 27 Feb 2013, 06:28

I think for me the challenge of going from stage 3 to 4 and then 5 in the LDS faith is that there is no tolerance from going to stage 4 and 5, they want everyone in stage 3. One of the things that is unique to the LDS church is the belief that we have all the truth and that the matter is settled. Until recently I was in stage 3 and to be honest I want to still be in stage 3, however the evidence does not allow me to stay in stage 3 and still be honest with myself. I know that to stay with the LDS faith will require me to allow people to think I am still in stage 3, because if I start talking about stage 4 and 5 I will be treated as a heretic.

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Re: James Fowler's Stages of Faith

Post by Curt Sunshine » 27 Feb 2013, 10:54

westfield1825, I think the Church leadership would love it if every member was in Stage 5, since Stage 5 members usually don't leave - and they almost always are less of a headache than traditionalists locked in Stage 3. I mean that. It's not Stage 5 that is the issue; it's the extremes in Stage 3, and it's Stage 4 that are the issue.

I understand totally the Church leadership not wanting to push members into Stage 4. It can be cancerous and often results in people leaving - often prematurely, in the heat of the emotional moment or extended time period. My hope is the issues that often propel people into Stage 4 can be addressed openly and candidly, thus minimizing the things that will propel people into Stage 4 and allow people to move more seamlessly from Stage 3 into Stage 5 - and I see the current Church leadership trying to do that in many ways.

Fwiw, Pres. Uchtdorf seems to me to be solidly within Stage 5 - which includes a recognition of and care for those in Stage 3. Thus, his messages tend to be inclusive and balanced - focusing on attitude and the Gospel more than exclusive and rule-specific.
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 Clay » 23 Mar 2013, 21:46

I have not read Fowler s book nor listened to the podcast as of yet but it sounds a little like Scott Pecks four stages of spiritual growth in his book "The Different Drummer" Stage one: Chaotic Antisocial, a state of undeveloped spirituality. Our relationships are generally manipulative and self-serving. Stage two: Formal, institutional, we are more concerned about the forms of our religion than with its essence. The letter of the Law, we surrender all freedom of choice and judgment to church leaders. Stage Three, skeptic, individual. we may be seen by others as unbelievers but we tend to be more spiritually developed. This does no mean that all skeptics are spirituality developed many are stuck in stage one. People in stage three tend to be free thinkers and are not bothered nor ground to the earth in dogma theology, culture or historical inconsistencies. Stage Four, mystical, communal, people in stage four seek the unknown and the unknowable. They are logical and reasonable an yet still believe in "this crazy God business." The celebrate differences and actively peruse community. In talking about faith development in "A Road Less Traveled" Peck makes this observation. "To be vital, to be the best of which we are capable, our religion must be wholly personal, forged entirely through the fire of our own questioning and doubting in the crucible of our own experience of reality."

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Orson
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Re: James Fowler's Stages of Faith

Post by Orson » 25 Mar 2013, 08:19

Clay wrote:In talking about faith development in "A Road Less Traveled" Peck makes this observation. "To be vital, to be the best of which we are capable, our religion must be wholly personal, forged entirely through the fire of our own questioning and doubting in the crucible of our own experience of reality."
I love that, and it reminds me of one of my favorite scriptures - the idea that we need to lose our life in order to find it. Sometimes we need to lose our "certainty" about religion to be able to find our authentic and more powerful spirituality.
My avatar - both physical and spiritual.

I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.

rich
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Re: James Fowler's Stages of Faith

Post by rich » 05 Jul 2013, 05:31

Orson wrote:
I love that, and it reminds me of one of my favorite scriptures - the idea that we need to lose our life in order to find it. Sometimes we need to lose our "certainty" about religion to be able to find our authentic and more powerful spirituality.
Sorry to tag on to the end of an old post but I`ve just read Orsons interpretation of the "losing our life to find it " scripture. I`d never considered that reading of it before.. but it resonates. Thank you.

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