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

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
Curt Sunshine
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Re: Where I'm at...not sure what to do next

Post by Curt Sunshine » 09 Jun 2014, 16:15

My blunt answer first:

That picture does NOT show them shaking hands using a temple sign. It doesn't. Period. There is NO objective reason why anyone should leave the LDS Church because of that picture. Period. I think (hope) you understand that, but it needs to be said directly, because . . .

One of the absolute worst things about a faith crisis is the hyper-sensitivity that turns innocuous things like that picture into an issue when it isn't. When it continues, it becomes almost a paranoia. I've seen it happen, and it's absolutely ugly in the end.

Now, my advice:

Recognize your reaction for what it is: a sign that you haven't developed your own sense of how to participate at church on your own terms, for your own reasons - and a lack of full acceptance of attendance that is largely for others (your family). You have to come to terms with that, to an acceptable degree, or other irrational things (like the picture) will continue to throw you for a loop.

So, keep working on understanding and articulating what you actually do believe. Rebuild your own, personal, individual faith - the things you feel you can say you know (even if they only are principles), the things you can say you hope, the things you can say you want to believe, the things you can say you don't believe, etc. That, more than anything else, is the key: finding and owning your own faith and the peace such a journey brings.
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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Orson
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Re: Where I'm at...not sure what to do next

Post by Orson » 09 Jun 2014, 23:59

jhp33 wrote:... my shelf has grown way to heavy for me to intellectually accept that the church is what it claims to be.
I have grown into the idea that the church is what it is, people/members make claims but the church just is. We know that even top leaders have said things that have proven unfruitful. As I want to retain my home in the church I learn to accept what the church is, what it may prove to be, and not worry much about what people may say/claim.

I used to worry about my association, or what outsiders may assume about my personal beliefs when I claim my membership - but in the end I realized I am who I am, I believe what I believe, and no "box" that anyone may want to throw me in can change my true identity.
jhp33 wrote:Should I keep trying and just ignore the part of me that finds everything so disingenuous?
Don't ignore, reinterpret. Separate the parts that don't resonate from the parts that do. Don't worry if what you find to be the core does not align with what everyone else in the church calls the core, or if what they think is most important holds little significance for you. Just be, allow, and look for personal growth. My thoughts anyway.
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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.

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

Post by NewLight » 10 Jun 2014, 04:53

I know it is very difficult to reach the point where you are at, but about the worst thing you can do is to lose your train of thought and act completely on emotional impulse. The only thing that comes of that is regret. It's kind of like being so frustrated at work that you walk into the office of your boss, start throwing things around and yell, “I quit!” with no plan in place for how you are going to support yourself and family.

The truth of the matter is that you have now become a new kind of “investigator” but in a different setting – one in which you know how the church is trying to present itself and not quite making it to the mark. Plenty of people never see that, which I personally feel is unfortunate. There is a lot of wisdom that can come out of a faith crisis even though it is a hard experience.

My advice would be to take it slow and use a balanced approach to researching and understanding the whats and whys of the church as you define your own beliefs about it. Don't just read from negative sources as you try to find out where you fit in. There are many faithful members who question and have written about their experiences who keep towing the line on their terms and quite frankly, the church needs all of us who fit into that category to progress. I would add ANY church or organization needs people who question what is going on or progress doesn't happen.

I've heard the phrase “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” in the context of going through a faith crisis and that is what acting impulsively does. You can reach a point where you focus on the good of the church and drop what you feel is not appropriate. Many people successfully do that – this site caters to a number of them.
Good luck working it out and may God bless.

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

Post by DarkJedi » 10 Jun 2014, 05:01

NewLight wrote:I've heard the phrase “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” in the context of going through a faith crisis and that is what acting impulsively does. You can reach a point where you focus on the good of the church and drop what you feel is not appropriate. Many people successfully do that – this site caters to a number of them.
Good luck working it out and may God bless.
AKA "don't dump all at once." (Don't dump all at once can also mean don't tell someone - like a spouse - everything about your doubts at once because it's likely too much for them to handle.)
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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Re: Where I'm at...not sure what to do next

Post by jhp33 » 10 Jun 2014, 06:25

Ray DeGraw wrote:My blunt answer first:

That picture does NOT show them shaking hands using a temple sign. It doesn't. Period. There is NO objective reason why anyone should leave the LDS Church because of that picture. Period. I think (hope) you understand that
I understand that picture in and of itself doesn't prove anything. But when you combine it with the video of Pres. Hinckley and Dick Cheney, and the picture I found of JFK and David O. McKay (http://www.fatimamovement.com/images/00 ... dshake.jpg) (CLEARLY doing one of the temple tokens, whether intentional or not) it starts to move from "just a coincidence" into "is something weird going on here?

All that being said, I think I was pretty clear that I'm not using this as a reason for leaving the church. It, combined with my wife's reaction, effectively ripped the scab off the wound that was beginning to heal around my distrust with the truth claims of the church.

That, combined with reading parts of In Sacred Loneliness and Rough Stone Rolling, combined with my fervent prayers asking God to tell me if the church is NOT true have me feeling lately like I am on my way out the door.

In what sense? I'm not sure. I don't think it's possible for me to leave the church altogether, nor do I necessarily want to. I really enjoy cultural Mormonism. So I'm not sure what my next step is.

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

Post by DarkJedi » 10 Jun 2014, 07:46

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."

My Introduction

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

Post by Orson » 10 Jun 2014, 10:04

jhp33 wrote:... combined with my fervent prayers asking God to tell me if the church is NOT true have me feeling lately like I am on my way out the door.
FWIW I think someone can get a genuine answer that the church is wrong or false or harmful, depending on their personal focus and definitions -- one can also get an answer that it is good, uplifting, and beneficial ...depending on their focus. It is ultimately up to you what you will focus on and what seeds you will let grow in your soul. There is good and bad in everything, this is the human condition.

On another note: I look at this picture of JFK and DOM and I see nothing other than a handshake. Sure you could say Pres. McKay let his hand go to a familiar position, I wouldn't read anything else into it, and personally I think it takes an active imagination to make it into something more.
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.

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

Post by jhp33 » 10 Jun 2014, 10:46

Orson wrote: personally I think it takes an active imagination to make it into something more.
Personally, it couldn't be more clear that both people in that photo are engaged in an unusual handshake (look at the position of JFK's thumb) that seems in every way to resemble that of a temple handshake.

But I guess that's what all this comes down to. How do we interpret the things all around us? And how do we use those interpretations to guide our decisions?

Orson wrote:
FWIW I think someone can get a genuine answer that the church is wrong or false or harmful, depending on their personal focus and definitions -- one can also get an answer that it is good, uplifting, and beneficial ...depending on their focus. It is ultimately up to you what you will focus on and what seeds you will let grow in your soul. There is good and bad in everything, this is the human condition.
That's actually the very reason why I am doing it. I want to be able to tell people that I have prayed about it and received the same kind of answers I received before my mission when I prayed to know if the church was true.

Our perspective shapes our answers just as much as our answers shape our perspective.

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

Post by DarkJedi » 10 Jun 2014, 10:53

jhp33 wrote:Our perspective shapes our answers just as much as our answers shape our perspective.
I totally agree - if you get any answer at all you're most likely to get the answer you want.
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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Orson
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Re: Where I'm at...not sure what to do next

Post by Orson » 10 Jun 2014, 12:31

DarkJedi wrote:
jhp33 wrote:Our perspective shapes our answers just as much as our answers shape our perspective.
I totally agree - if you get any answer at all you're most likely to get the answer you want.
To a point yes. There are also considerations such as "what do I want in the moment" vs. "what do I want long-term?" We may think we want one thing but after careful contemplation we realize the more responsible or (fill in the blank) decision is something else.
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.

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