Where I'm at...not sure what to do next

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
jhp33
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Joined: 06 Jan 2014, 10:09

Where I'm at...not sure what to do next

Post by jhp33 » 09 Jun 2014, 06:46

For the past 6 months, I've been wrestling with the truth claims of the church, but with a firm desire to stay in the church in order to support my wife and family. I have told my wife several times that if it weren't for her and the kids, I likely would have left the church by now.

Lately, my outlook has waned quite a bit. I had effectively shelved most of my concerns, trying to adopt a sort of Givens-ian viewpoint on the church (serious doubt must exist about the truth claims of the church in order to generate true faith) but it seems to me that my shelf has grown way to heavy for me to intellectually accept that the church is what it claims to be.

This weekend, I came across some church information that troubled me quite a lot. I shared it with a friend of mine via text who is going through the same things. She was on my phone over the weekend and saw my texts with my friend and asked what the deal was with it. Up until now, she has been mostly TBM, but very accepting of my views and struggles.

This new information sent her into a bit of a tailspin. She spent all of Saturday and Sunday not really sure how to process it. She actually started talking in terms of "what if we left the church."

Then we got home from church on Sunday and I asked her how she felt after being at church. She said "I want to keep going."

Up until now, I have been able to stomach going to church because I believe it's good for my family in the long run. I have been able to picture myself being a middle-of-the-road Mormon, still being able to technically answer the temple recommend questions so eventually I can baptize our kids and all that stuff.

But now, I'm not so sure. I feel like my paradigm has changed and part of me wants to literally separate myself from a church that I am starting to believe is not only not what it says it is, but quite the opposite.

I don't know how to handle this situation. I don't think I want to be a part of the church anymore, yet I can't envision how life would work outside of it, especially if I'm all alone outside of it, while my wife and kids are inside of it.

Should I keep trying and just ignore the part of me that finds everything so disingenuous?

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DarkJedi
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Re: Where I'm at...not sure what to do next

Post by DarkJedi » 09 Jun 2014, 07:55

I'm sorry you're going through a rough time. I think many of us have our ups and downs like this - I certainly do.

I don't think you should ignore anything - I think it just festers if you try to do that. I'm really curious to know what it is that sent you and your wife into this tailspin (if you don't want to say publicly, I'll keep it to myself if you pm). Whatever it is, and whatever the other issues are, you know what to do because you've been doing it at least to some extent - you need to come to your own understanding and middle ground.

I tried the not going to church thing while my wife and kids did go, and while I did it for years it didn't really work. I actually used to yearn for the church I thought it was before my faith crisis, but I have finally come to terms with the fact that that church does not exist and I have to work within what does exist. I really do like the part that exists, for the most part, it's just different than what I thought before. Frankly, I don't think the church is here for God, it's here for us but that not all of us need it especially after a time of learning that which we need to learn (and church is not the only place to learn this). I see my place in the church as helping others learn what they need to learn - but in their own time and their own way. They probably already know it, but know they know it.

The gospel and the church are not the same, and the gospel (what we really need to know) is really very simple. Continue to take it slow, and focus on what you do believe.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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jhp33
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Joined: 06 Jan 2014, 10:09

Re: Where I'm at...not sure what to do next

Post by jhp33 » 09 Jun 2014, 08:09

DarkJedi wrote:
I don't think you should ignore anything - I think it just festers if you try to do that. I'm really curious to know what it is that sent you and your wife into this tailspin (if you don't want to say publicly, I'll keep it to myself if you pm).
I don't mind talking about it. I feel like on one hand it's silly and conspiracy theory-ish, on the other hand it's very disturbing. I keep going back and forth on which I think it is. But the fact that it troubled my wife so much is what really threw me for a loop.

There is a photo of George W Bush shaking Pres Monson's hand in what looks to be at least a variation of one of the temple signs/tokens. That sent me down the rabbit hole of Google, where I found similar photos with other past presidents of the church doing similar things. One photo is one thing. Three makes me think there's something else going on and picks at the scab I had finally started to form over the wound of feeling like the church is very much not what it claims to be.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Where I'm at...not sure what to do next

Post by DarkJedi » 09 Jun 2014, 11:44

I hadn't heard, or seen, this before so I had to do some research and I think I found what you're referring to (there is one apparently orthodox guy who has them gathered in one place, actually).

I'm just throwing this out there. I have caught myself doing the same thing, many, many times, and I catch other people doing it - members and non-members. For me it is a natural position in shaking hands, maybe because I have long fingers.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

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Forgotten_Charity
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Re: Where I'm at...not sure what to do next

Post by Forgotten_Charity » 09 Jun 2014, 12:07

That's because most presidents have through various "clubs" skull and bones, free masons etc. and there hand shake is very similar if not impossible to tell apart(especially at a distance). So they to people in 2 different "clubs" that share similar handshakes. I myself am actually more curious as to why a secret handshake belonging to a tribe is so "special". But many people seem to think so. Likewise from one power player(high profile public figure) to another it appears they are just exchanging there brotherly pride in their respective clubs. I see it all the time at high society CEO events and exclusive golf club resort meetings taking place between high profile people. As a way to join comradely between high profile people of different "clubs" or tribes.

There's a presidential version of this where they secretly pass a coin in a handshake called a "challenge coin".

Fraternity bonding from different clubs.

jhp33
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Re: Where I'm at...not sure what to do next

Post by jhp33 » 09 Jun 2014, 12:17

The weird handshake thing isn't the real issue, it just served as a catalyst for me and all of the negative things I feel about the church and its orthodoxy and it not being "what it claims to be."

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Forgotten_Charity
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Re: Where I'm at...not sure what to do next

Post by Forgotten_Charity » 09 Jun 2014, 13:15

jhp33 wrote:The weird handshake thing isn't the real issue, it just served as a catalyst for me and all of the negative things I feel about the church and its orthodoxy and it not being "what it claims to be."
Ya, tipping points. While I am very active in the church and serve as much as I can. I have a huge dislike for enforced orthodoxy or conditioning in any tribe. But the truth is the church is just one of many multinational orgs. Extensive research into such orgs, past history or public relations issues and the actual facts don't coincide well. It can be the truth from a point of view that neglects some or various facts into various orgs, but the whole reason for PR isn't go get facts straight. It's to address public issues while maintaining a clean appearance. It doesn't make them evil or bad but it does make it clear the first priority of image is número uno in presenting a story.
That's true of all Fortune 500 companies I and other researchers spent researching. Some more them others.

It doesn't make it comfortable, but business gets mixed with self sustaining and the rules and regulation and ever increasing growth follow after that. It's just the nature of business. There is other now goals a business can have but for a huge mutli-national risk aren't worth taking(Hollywood, music industry, sports etc are good examples).

That means an established qou, an official version of a corporate background and thief mission. While it can and often is true, gone is any mess, any talk about the first priority in public of business.

In that sense yes, the church isn't everything that it claims, that's cooperate suicide. However things are changing thanks to what people find acceptable in newer generations. And new tribes forming designed to present hidden information in various sectors like dark money of various orgs and free access to information being promoted again by newer generations.
Previous generations felt that the "higher ups" could be trusted to make the big decisions for their lives.
History doesn't point to that however. And younger generations are learning to follow their own voice before seeking another more so then past.

Sorry for broadening the topic but in context of research and resources that are now available but not in major networks.

I will write high b brown on this one.
I should like to awaken in everyone a desire to investigate, to make an independent study of religion, and to know for themselves whether or not the teachings of the Mormon church are true. I should like to see everyone prepared to defend the religion of his or her parents, not because it was the religion of our fathers and mothers but because they have found it to be the true religion. If one approaches it with an open mind, with a desire to know the truth, and if one questions with a sincere heart what one hears from time to time, he or she will be on the road to growth and service. There are altogether too many people in the world who are willing to accept as true whatever is printed in a book or delivered from a pulpit. Their faith never goes below the surface soil of authority. I plead with everyone I meet that they may drive their faith down through that soil and get hold of the solid truth, that they may be able to withstand the winds and storm of indecision and of doubt, of opposition and persecution. Then, and only then, will we be able to defend our religion successfully. When I speak of defending our religion, I do not mean such defense as an army makes on the battlefield but the defense of a clean and upright and virtuous life lived in harmony with an intelligent belief and understanding of the gospel.

We should continue to become acquainted with human experience through history and philosophy, science and poetry, art and religion... One of the most important things in the world is freedom of the mind; from this all other freedoms spring. Such freedom is necessarily dangerous, for one cannot think right without running the risk of thinking wrong, but generally more thinking is the antidote for the evils that spring from wrong thinking. More thinking is required, and we should all exercise our God-given right to think and be unafraid to express our opinions, with proper respect for those to whom we talk and proper acknowledgment of our own shortcomings.

We must preserve freedom of the mind in the church and resist all efforts to suppress it. The church is not so much concerned with whether the thoughts of its members are orthodox or heterodox as it is that they shall have thoughts. One may memorize much without learning anything. In this age of speed there seems to be little time for meditation.

And while all members should respect, support, and heed the teachings of the authorities of the church, no one should accept a statement and base his or her testimony upon it, no matter who makes it, until he or she has, under mature examination, found it to be true and worthwhile; then one's logical deductions may be confirmed by the spirit of revelation to his or her spirit, because real conversion must come from within...]
Now you don't hear that in Sunday school, but things like this are the reason I stay LDS and also love it. Not because if what I learned being taught, but what I learned doing my own investigation. I love things like this. But orthodoxy demands compliance so things like this don't get repeated sadly. But things like this are why I personally stay LDS. There is a lot of rich context that we can actually verify in that statement that is so true. Numerous research, studies, and have bore these statements out. And there is lots of this if you go digging and researching. You may not hear it on Sunday school but there is so much that can be verified like this that is good and true. It just takes personal time and investigation. There are lots if stuff wrong as well. I tend not to fixate on it and focus on what I do like which just happens to be the same way marriage.
Hugh b brown is right. Throwing the blind trust into anyone without doing your own research and experience to verify lands you into a imaginary world view until you accidentally but predictably fall if a cliff for placing way to much trust in someone regardless of what authority or person they are. Loving life is about finding out what you stand for and what's true through your own investigation. Finding your own voice coming unto Christ not others.
Last edited by Forgotten_Charity on 09 Jun 2014, 15:59, edited 1 time in total.

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nibbler
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Re: Where I'm at...not sure what to do next

Post by nibbler » 09 Jun 2014, 13:38

jhp33 wrote:But now, I'm not so sure. I feel like my paradigm has changed and part of me wants to literally separate myself from a church that I am starting to believe is not only not what it says it is, but quite the opposite.
I can sympathize. I compare this period of my life with Jesus' time in the wilderness.

Jesus' period in the wilderness occurred some time after his baptism. My FC was after my baptism and after being truly dedicated to the church.

The spirit "drove" Jesus into the wilderness. I often felt driven towards a FC. Other gospels say that the spirit led him to the wilderness. As strange as it sounds I feel like my FC carried me to a better place... maybe the spirit wanted me to be in the wilderness to similarly learn important lessons.

The rub for me is that Jesus eventually left the wilderness and went back to Galilee:
And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee
He started his mortal ministry after returning.

I may be reading far too much into the short narrative but I try to find my path by drawing similarities to Jesus' time in the wilderness. I very much feel like I am in the wilderness but not in a physical sense. It took Jesus 40 days of fasting before he returned and he was perfect; that tells me that the journey will not be easy and it will not be quick. I have to commit to the long haul. What really concerns me is whether I'm 100% satisfied with being in the wilderness (it's not a bad place) or will I make an attempt to return. Can I finally learn the lessons I was meant to learn in the wilderness and take those lessons back to my community to effect change, whatever the cost? I don't know that I could ever do that, but even that is just another doubt to conquer.

From time to time I try to think of Jesus as someone that possibly saw through the orthodoxy of his time and tried to use it as a common language to take his people some place better. If he truly knows how to succor me he must have had to deal with similar doubts in similar circumstances and he must have found a way forward despite them. That's the path I'm searching.

So I'd say take it slow. You don't want to move through the wilderness so fast that you miss the best path forward. The wilderness has important lessons to teach us that can't be rushed.
Last edited by nibbler on 09 Jun 2014, 13:57, edited 1 time in total.
If one dream dies, dream another dream. If you get knocked down, get back up and go again.
― Joel Osteen

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DarkJedi
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Re: Where I'm at...not sure what to do next

Post by DarkJedi » 09 Jun 2014, 13:42

Yeah, I get the catalyst thing - that happens to me sometimes, too, where the thing itself is pretty minor and inconsequential but brings up all this other stuff. All I can say at this point is that I know the prophets aren't perfect and I know the church (as in the people that make up the church) is also not perfect and I don't expect them to be. (I do have my doubts about the church as an institution being perfect, also, but that's something else altogether.) These guys are just doing what they think is right and they're just trying to be right in God's eyes, just like the rest of us.

I believe we're expected to love our neighbors and in doing so love God, and I think we're supposed to believe in Jesus Christ, especially that he offered an atonement and was resurrected. Beyond that it's all up in the air and pretty open to interpretation.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

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DarkJedi
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Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Where I'm at...not sure what to do next

Post by DarkJedi » 09 Jun 2014, 13:52

nibbler wrote: I compare this period of my life with Jesus' time in the wilderness....

...I may be reading far too much into the short narrative but I try to find my path by drawing similarities to Jesus' time in the wilderness. I very much feel like I am in the wilderness but not in a physical sense. It took Jesus 40 days of fasting before he returned and he was perfect; that tells me that the journey will not be easy and it will not be quick. I have to commit to the long haul. What really concerns me is whether I'm 100% satisfied with being in the wilderness (it's not a bad place) or ?will I make an attempt to return. Can I finally learn the lessons I was meant to learn in the wilderness and take those lessons back to my community to effect change, whatever the cost? I don't know that I could ever do that, but even that is just another doubt to conquer.

From time to time I try to think of Jesus as someone that possibly saw through the orthodoxy of his time and tried to use it as a common language to take his people some place better. If he truly knows how to succor me he must have had to deal with similar doubts in similar circumstances and he must have found a way forward despite them. That's the path I'm searching.

So I'd say take it slow. You don't want to move through the wilderness so fast that you miss the best path forward. The wilderness has important lessons to teach us that can't be rushed.
*Like* I, too, have thought about myself being in the wilderness or a sort of exile (perhaps self imposed) in a way. I often described myself in the beginning of my FC as "lost" but not in the sense I couldn't come back, I just didn't know where I was or where I was supposed to go - like wandering in the wilderness. In retrospect, I have learned much in the wilderness, and while my path is still far from clear, I appreciate that which I have experienced as making me stronger in some ways. My faith and beliefs are definitely different than they used to be, and while it may not be apparent to others (some would consider me a heretic or even apostate if they knew my true feelings), I can see my faith as stronger in many ways than it used to be - partly because I "know" lots less than I used to.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

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