I need of advice (Atheism and being LDS)

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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Jorsen
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Joined: 24 Sep 2014, 18:57

I need of advice (Atheism and being LDS)

Post by Jorsen » 05 Jan 2015, 22:41

Greetings all,

I am in a very strange place right now...

My sister who is 17 years older than me (I am 32) who is not LDS but is a rather strong minded bible thumper was really hitting me hard in conversation recently. It made me so reactive that I finally argued much of what I had read that argues discrediting christianity in general.

Needless to say she wants nothing to do with me and has ceased and eliminated all contact.

In the process I let it be known that atheism is where I am at currently in social media. It has been a group of mixed reactions to say the least.

But despite this, I am still interested in going to church occasionally and I am not quite sure what to make of it.

I guess you could say I have an atheist mind and a LDS heart. Does that make sense at all? I am not sure how else to put it.

What is terrible and enlightening at the same time is all of my research in seeking after the truth has brought more questions than answers. In the end I have concluded so far that proving a particular religion to be more correct than others is nigh impossible.

To add more complications to the issue I am going through a divorce...and my soon to be ex-wife is suddenly reactivating herself in church and the local ward that I've moved into wants nothing more than to talk 'reunification' so I haven't been attending even though I've wanted to.

I guess you could say i've been thinking of attending my local ward anyway and taking of the sacrament and praying. What is weird is there is a part of me in my heart that believes...almost like my inner child...but the adult side of me...says its all crap. Does that seem to make any sense at all?

I'm really struggling these days...depression is surely around from time to time...but who wouldn't be? I am in a strange place...I love so much of the church...yet I don't really believe in hellfire or gays being evil. I am a pro science atheist with a humanist heart that desires to love and serve others.

I miss church...yet I am darkened over the fact I don't see how I can make it fit without hating so much of myself that is not traditional.

I am a convert in Florida so I am nowhere near Utah...none of my family are members outside of my estranged wife and my step son. We have two kids together and two from her previous marriage...I love them all so much as my own...wanting to be a good example to them.

I apologize for this being so unfocused...a bit of free writing and desperation and fatigue all mixed together into one. I am up for any advice or suggestions on how on earth to deal with this reality of being an atheist minded lds heart filled human being.

Thanks all,

-Jorsen

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Heber13
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Re: I need of advice (Atheism and being LDS)

Post by Heber13 » 06 Jan 2015, 12:05

Jorsen,
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for sharing your feelings and your situation. These things can be hard. I hope you find support from this group as we reach out and share our stories and advice with each other.

My first thought when reading your post is that you have lots going on. It is important to try to compartmentalize some of them, and not conflate issues, which complicates things and makes it hard to look for solutions or next steps, one at a time.

Your divorce will be hard. Your relationships with others may fit in and around those circumstances. And your faith and belief is personal for you only. These things all may be going on at once for you, so prioritize what you need in your life now to help you find peace.

I think you can have your doubts, or your belief in an atheistic way, and still find value in attending church and looking for value teachings and service opportunities. You may just need to adjust your thoughts or language to make it work. It can be done. For example, others at church speak of an anthropomorphic god that loves us, and we love each other as children of God. You can translate that to loving your neighbor, regardless of whether you feel there is a God running the universe or not. That's one approach...fit the church experience into your personal faith, and own your religion.

It is not necessarily dishonest or hypocritical, if you are studying and sincerely seeking. And you never know if someday you change your mind on your beliefs. You're allowed to do that.

Welcome to the group. I wish you peace, my friend.
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."

Curt Sunshine
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Re: I need of advice (Atheism and being LDS)

Post by Curt Sunshine » 06 Jan 2015, 12:45

I have almost no time right now, but I want to welcome you to this forum. You definitely will find understanding and acceptance here.
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

Roadrunner
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Re: I need of advice (Atheism and being LDS)

Post by Roadrunner » 06 Jan 2015, 13:14

Jorsen,
Welcome. I feel for you and wish you well. Hopefully you'll find something helpful here.

Somewhat similar to you, and depending on the day, I consider myself agnostic and/or deist. I believe that God, if He exists, does not take an active role in our lives. Sometimes this depresses me because I have family I love dearly and want to live with forever. My logical side doesn't believe forever families will happen.

However I believe the positive aspects of the church including ward support, church networking, and service opportunities outweigh the negative aspects.

I am super active in the church, and I try to be authentic in what I say and do, but I lean heavily on "hope" rather than "faith" or the "knowledge" we hear about in every testimony meeting. Rather than believing that I will live with my wife again, I hope it's true. It's the best I can do.

Sometimes I find agnosticism liberating. I do not look for blessings in the afterlife and I make decisions about what the right thing is in the present, rather than some afterlife. And paradoxically, I don't fear death as much. While there's no happy forever awaiting me, there's no eternal hell either. And it cuts down on the guilt tremendously.

Again, welcome.

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DarkJedi
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Re: I need of advice (Atheism and being LDS)

Post by DarkJedi » 06 Jan 2015, 14:13

Welcome to the forum. You are not alone, there are others here who feel as you do.

Like Roadrunner, I have a deist view of God, but some days I wonder if there really is a God. You don't have to believe everything to be an active participant in the church. Granted you'll be better off keeping your doubts to yourself for the most part, it is possible to do as Heber said and make your own private religion within the church. Take what you like, ignore what you don't (and yes, sometimes that's difficult). And, as has been said, even if you don't believe the church is the one true church (or true in any way at all), the ideas of loving our neighbors and doing good are pretty much universal and the church does those things.
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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LookingHard
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Re: I need of advice (Atheism and being LDS)

Post by LookingHard » 06 Jan 2015, 14:18

Welcome! Don't worry about having the best written description of your issues. Spew them out and we will see if we can help.

I would mention quickly that I think on http://mormondiscussionpodcast.org/ just released a podcast of an interview with an Atheist active Mormon. I found it interesting. I just looked to get the URL and I just realized I am a paying podcast member, so I get some podcasts earlier than when they are released. So it should be released in the next month or so.

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MockingJay
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Re: I need of advice (Atheism and being LDS)

Post by MockingJay » 06 Jan 2015, 17:51

Sorry to read of your troubles. Aside from the other issues, I hope you'll take time to care for yourself and do some things that make you smile. I also hope you can reconcile with your sister. Life's too short.

You absolutely can be atheist and continue to go to church. It's your choice and no one else's business. I waver between agnostic and atheist myself and I'm active in church. Only a few family memebers know it though. I've heard it helps some people to think of the church as a club or a charitable organization they belong to instead of the one true church of God on earth. I know that's no always easy, but I say be the kind of member that makes you happy and still allows you to serve others in the way you want to.

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Gerald
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Re: I need of advice (Atheism and being LDS)

Post by Gerald » 07 Jan 2015, 04:20

So sorry to hear about some of your challenges! I'm not sure what the best way to reconcile your atheism and your Mormonism is but you might check out some of the articles at this site: http://www.sofn.org.uk/

The members of this group take a kind of "nonrealistic" approach to religion that might resonate with you.

Welcome to the board!
So through the dusk of dead, blank-legended And unremunerative years we search to get where life begins, and still we groan because we do not find the living spark where no spark ever was; and thus we die, still searching, like poor old astronomers who totter off to bed and go to sleep, to dream of untriangulated stars.
---Edwin Arlington Robinson---

Ann
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Re: I need of advice (Atheism and being LDS)

Post by Ann » 08 Jan 2015, 03:07

Jorsen wrote:
I guess you could say i've been thinking of attending my local ward anyway and taking of the sacrament and praying. What is weird is there is a part of me in my heart that believes...almost like my inner child...but the adult side of me...says its all crap. Does that seem to make any sense at all?
Hi, Jorsen - Glad you're here. I think a lot of people here feel torn like you. I hope you'll attend church if you really want to and that it'll be peaceful and supportive for you.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

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Heber13
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Re: I need of advice (Atheism and being LDS)

Post by Heber13 » 08 Jan 2015, 08:28

Sometimes that inner child is telling us something that we should not dismiss.
Mosiah 3:19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
I think the scriptures remind us that listening to that inner child is valuable.
1 Cor 13: 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
And yet the scriptures teach us that we no longer think as a child does.

But perhaps there is a way to take these teachings and remind ourselves that the inner child is telling us something about ourselves, and we should not ignore it, but accept we see through the glass darkly, and apply the humility and purity of the child into the adult world we now live.

Charity, being the greatest.
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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