I need help.

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
Roy
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Re: I need help.

Post by Roy » 12 Feb 2015, 16:32

metalrain wrote:My mom knows I'm doubting. She knows the issues I'm doubting. She has never been the most active but she believes the church is good, as do I. However my grandparents were basically my other parent, and are very TBM. I was home over the break and didn't want to go to church my last day home and my grandpa gave me a chastising scripture as I got on the plane (out of love and concern, of course). I love them as much as I love my mom and I'm afraid of hurting them. I'm their oldest grandchild, first to go on a mission, etc. I've never rebelled and always been the "perfect" grandchild. I feel like me falling away would destroy them and cut years off their lives.
I just want to point out that it isn't an all or nothing proposition. You can stay in the church on your own terms. I believe some things about the church and doubt others. I am willing to serve and contribute to the church in some capacities and not others. I choose to conform to certain expected LDS behaviors and not others (i.e. I follow the WoW, wear garments, go to church but I also watch rated "R" movies, work on sundays in a casino, and drink soda).

Right now it feels that you must be "all in" or bail and there will be plenty of people that will try to tell you that. Don't believe them. This is your life and your journey.

P.S. Whatever you do wait until after you graduate. BYU offered a great education and you don't want to put that at risk... especially so close to graduation.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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Holy Cow
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Re: I need help.

Post by Holy Cow » 12 Feb 2015, 16:45

metalrain wrote:How is that fair when other people in other religions and faiths have spiritual experiences and sacred texts, and in many cases share testimony just like I used to?
I think one of the things that I've learned is that we don't have an exclusive monopoly on the spirit or spiritual experiences, just because we're LDS. Anybody can feel the spirit and be just as close to God as anybody else, regardless of which religion they belong too; Catholic, Baptist, Mormon, Buddhist, JW, you name it. One of the positive outcomes of my FC is that it has made me a more open and tolerant person, and I think that's a step in the right direction.
My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6139

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LookingHard
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Re: I need help.

Post by LookingHard » 12 Feb 2015, 16:55

I have glanced at the responses and of course they are all good.

My points are
Take it slow. I am sure you desperately want the emotional turmoil to end. You have to work through it. Often people just jump ship quickly and end up staying in a stage of anger and "I can't believe I was so stupid" mode. That isn't all that healthy or mature. If the "church is true" it will be so in a year from now and if it isn't true it won't be in a year.

Be patient with your friends. When they preach at you, show them nothing but love. When/if your Grandpa give you a lecture, respond with something like, "Thank you for caring/loving me so much you are willing to tell me when you feel I am doing something wrong. I appreciate that and I have to tell you that I AM trying to work through these issues. I give you my word." Fighting fire with fire will only burn the bridge between you, but you can let them know you are standing on a different part of the bridge.

Sorry you had to do this at BYU, but also realize that some of us are going through this and can't even talk with our spouse about it. Also be glad you are encountering this earlier in life. Some books on this say that the older you are, the harder you fall.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: I need help.

Post by Curt Sunshine » 12 Feb 2015, 17:01

Since I have little time right now, I will stress one thing:

All of us are flawed people doing the best we can in a flawed life within a flawed institution.

Embrace that simple fact. It can bring charity, and that is critical to long-term peace.
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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SilentDawning
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Re: I need help.

Post by SilentDawning » 12 Feb 2015, 21:30

How could I have had such spiritual experiences when the doubts I am having are all related to the foundation of the church?
I have a theory on that. I too felt the overwhelming spirituality when I prayed about whether the church is true. But there came a point in my life when the church stopped "working" for me.

As I learned more and more about the anomalies and experienced leadership abuse things changed. I found that in spite of the myths I heard at church -- that no one is paid, when GA's are in fact paid. That Mountain Meadows Massacre did occur, that JS had many wives that were married to other men, Fannie Alger, the Priesthood ban repudiation, etcetera, I found it hard to reconcile these facts with my testimony.

I now believe that at that point in my life -- when I got my testimony -- the LDS church was the best place I could be. I needed, and wanted the structure, I wanted the service, and admired the organization and emphasis on execution in the church, and I loved the Book of Mormon and concept of a pre-mortal life. I had engaged with it, and saw no other alternatives that were attractive to me. It would produce net good in my life (and did for many years), so after repeated prayers about it, God said "OK". The net good it would create for me was positive, and there were no other alternatives in which I was interested, so he allowed me to do it and gave me the testimony I wanted. I also believe that after the discussions, I would probably not have committed to any other religion, as even today, they all seem inferior to me.

If I can draw an analogy. I want to found a non-profit that improves a community I am part of. There is an existing group of people who work hard for the community, and have a lot of talent and relationships, as well as achievements in community improvement. I have joined them and gained some credibility with them, and influence. However, the person most likely to be president of this non-profit from this group is a bit of a controversial figure in the community. A lot of people see her as divisive, and she has, in fact, created disunity and polarization among a fairly large group of people through some of her behavior.

In my view, she is not the "perfect face" to head up this non-profit. At the same time, she has A LOT of influence with local business people, and many of the HOA presidents. Also, she knows me, I know her, and she and her friends WANT to get more formal in their organization. They also have a large social media reach they have built up over the last few years -- it is quite an accomplishment.

To find a different set of people to help me found this non-profit would be a lot of work and I had to do that, I would probably not pursue the idea of a formal non-profit. I think it's impractical because success with people in business and non-profit contexts depends on relationships. relationships, relationships, relationships. I would rather have a different president, but taken with the difficulty of finding a different group of people with the social media reach, and desire to found the non-profit, I decided to work with her and propose, to this group, to formalize themselves into a legal non-profit. So, in spite of the weaknesses of this lady, there is net good, and so I think I will help them found this non-profit with her as president of the board of directors.

I wonder if God looked at my question about Mormonism the same way. He knew it wasn't perfect for me-- and maybe not for my whole life. But at that time, it was good for me and had enough positives that he would give me a testimony in spite of the warts the church sports. I was connected to a Mormon who got me the discussions. attended church, admired the church, and even wanted to serve a mission before I even had a testimony (in concept). So, God saw the pieces were in place, that other churches were not palatable to me, so he looked at the net good, and said "Sure -- go for it -- this will bless your life for a long time, and is the best alternative for you right now, in spite of its weaknesses".

I also think God cares less about the truth than we think. I think he cares more about the impact your beliefs have on your personal growth and character, and if that means encouraging you to believe something that is for your good, he will do it through the HOly Ghost, even if you end up believing things that are false, and perhaps even in the long run, are inconsequential when compared to the net good those beliefs bring to your life. Half of what we tell ourselves are falsehoods anyway -- to preserve our inner peace.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- 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."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

university
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Re: I need help.

Post by university » 12 Feb 2015, 22:50

Welcome to the site. I think you'll find a lot of people here that can relate to your experience. I am in a similar situation: at university, surrounded by other members of the church (although not at a BYU Uni) and questioning what to do.
metalrain wrote: I'm having the hardest time reconciling my spiritual experiences, and feelings, with the knowledge, and information I've learned. How could I have had such spiritual experiences when the doubts I am having are all related to the foundation of the church?


I empathize. I've had a spiritual experience that I can't reconcile with some of my other thoughts and feelings about the church. For many of my other spiritual experiences I can reason out a little bit more. But not this one, not really. I can't explain what this spiritual experience meant or even was. Maybe one day I will be able to.

I started seriously questioning about 4 years ago, with my doubts getting progressively more serious as time went on. At times the memory of this spiritual experience greatly stresses me because then I get to worrying what will happen to my life if the TBM way of thinking is correct. But in hindsight, I'm glad I've had this spiritual experience because it's tempered my long-term reactions to my faith crisis ( and has given me a complex perspective on these issues that is accommodating and accepting to multiple view points). This experience was also a sacred and special moment to me when it happened, and I can be grateful for that. Also, in the end, it was my experience, not the church's, if that makes sense? This spiritual experience that I can't excuse away is something sacred between me and God. I can't explain it now. Maybe it does have implications for the church. Maybe I will one day be able to wrap my head around it better. Maybe I never will. But that's okay for now. I know this probably doesn't help you now. But that's my experience.
metalrain wrote:My mom knows I'm doubting. She knows the issues I'm doubting. She has never been the most active but she believes the church is good, as do I. However my grandparents were basically my other parent, and are very TBM. I was home over the break and didn't want to go to church my last day home and my grandpa gave me a chastising scripture as I got on the plane (out of love and concern, of course). I love them as much as I love my mom and I'm afraid of hurting them. I'm their oldest grandchild, first to go on a mission, etc. I've never rebelled and always been the "perfect" grandchild. I feel like me falling away would destroy them and cut years off their lives.
Again, I have empathy for you. I am in a similar situation. It's hard. You caring about their feelings shows love and concern. As you go into this, remember you're worth.

I don't have many words of wisdom. I don't post on this site a lot and usually when I do it's when I'm in a state of stress. But I will say this: you are not a bad person for wanting to know the truth. The Church has encouraged you to seek for answers and I think the honest pursuit of knowledge is an honorable endeavor. However, if all this searching is hurting you significantly, it's okay to ease off and take it slow or take a step back. I understand it's hard to feel like things are out of control right now and the desire to want to figure things out all at once. Unfortunately, I don't think life works that way. Perhaps it does for some. I don't know if "the answers" are always meant to come the way that our culture teaches them to. The church happily recites the official version of the First Vision as an example of solution to questions. It didn't take Joseph long to get his answer. What the church doesn't as easily refer to is Brigham Young's two-year examining of the Book of Mormon (the irony of me saying this is my questions about both of those men).

As I've said before, it's been years for me. I know I'll never go back to how I believed before. That's okay. What I can say is that I feel so much better now than I did when this all started. About your situation: you are in an environment that, in my opinion, makes things even more difficult for a faith crisis (not that there's an easy environment at all, I think in any environment a faith crisis can be devastating). There's a lot of pressure in BYU town associated with faith from societal and external sources. Maybe getting away from all that pressure (eventually) will help you better adjust to these new revelations and knowledge without so much pressure. For now, don't hesitate to vent and express yourself here. This community is welcoming and willing to lend an ear (and virtual hug).

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West
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Re: I need help.

Post by West » 13 Feb 2015, 01:21

I have a long drive tomorrow, so I only glanced briefly through the replies to the thread after reading the initial post, so quick reply here!

Welcome to the site, metalrain. You've been given a lot of solid advice already. Your story reminds me a lot of my own--hah, I'm about the same age, actually--except I'm post-university and pre-mission. My FC was actually triggered while doing initial preparations to go on my mission some months ago. After several months of soul-searching and rebuilding my belief system and faith from scratch with some really great support of non-LDS but very spiritual friends, I'm in a place where I'm actually comfortable on my decision to continue with a mission. Not saying that to brag. Just letting you know it's not wholly impossible to be where you are now and still identify as LDS. Of course, I adapt incredibly fast to new situations, so I'm a weird one. ;)
nibbler wrote:I could only begin to find balance again once I worked through the obsession phase. In other words, my experience is that the obsession phase couldn't be skipped or even hurried.
I found this to be true for my situation as well. My work suffered for quite a stretch because I was so obsessed with reading things that I even did it at the office in the face of looming deadlines. I wished very desperately to just be able to turn off my brain and go back to a feeling of peace. And it did come back, eventually, after I'd worked through my obsession phase, and mostly after I came here and saw how so many other people were reconciling their spirituality and their knowledge. My peace is much different than it was before, of course, but it's even better than before, because in the end of it all, the beliefs I have now are my own, and I know it. Some of those beliefs come from the Gospel, and others from the spiritual experiences, both positive and negative, that have witnessed to me there is much more going on in this world than we are aware of.

Ultimately, the decision to StayLDS will be yours in the end. But the advice I wish to emphasize from others is to take it slow. Find peace with the LDS faith before you leave it behind, if you do. That might seem impossible with where you are now. But it is very possible. Tackle one problem at a time. Ask the community here for support. We are all hear to listen and share and offer advice whether in public threads or through private messages. Know that after coming from a fairly black-and-white culture, it's going to be very difficult and against your nature to see things comfortably in gray, and that's OK.

Go slow. Be patient. The end of one thing is always the beginning of another. :)
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. -Albert Einstein

And God said 'Love Your Enemy,' and I obeyed him and loved myself. -Kahlil Gibran

Ann
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Re: I need help.

Post by Ann » 13 Feb 2015, 02:29

Hi, metalrain - I'm glad you're here and there's not much I can add. The people here helped me so much. Especially in my obsessive phase, reading through old threads or being a fly on the wall for current ones was therapeutic. Eventually I realized that life was still good, that I could still feel God's love, that I still had occasional flashes of inspiration, that I didn't have to believe anything I didn't believe and that I could set boundaries between me and the institutional church.

It's scary to be that "perfect" (I took you to mean reliable, predictable, hitting all the right marks) Mormon person who isn't sure they'll stay one, but if someone offered me time-travel back I wouldn't take it. I don't wonder about my past spiritual experiences, what they were or what they mean, because these past couple of years have changed me so much that they don't fit anymore. From the outside, not much has changed, but I kind of feel like one of those temples that they gutted and rebuilt. There's a lot going on inside.

Good luck with the school wrap up and I hope you're feeling better physically soon, too. As things stand now, what are your plans after graduation?
"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

metalrain
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Re: I need help.

Post by metalrain » 13 Feb 2015, 02:35

Hi everyone,

West, University, I read your threads while my account was being approved. I empathize very much with both of you. Everyone else, a lot of great advice- the whole spectrum!

As of right now, I think my spiritual experiences and somehow the faith I've developed over the years is keeping me in- although removed for the time being.

There have been a lot of great replies- today I've taken a step back and am trying to not be so consumed by this. I'm going on a trip tomorrow and am going to be avoiding everything for the time being and enjoying some of the beauty the world has.

See you on Monday or Tuesday!

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Heber13
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Re: I need help.

Post by Heber13 » 13 Feb 2015, 10:15

metalrain wrote:There have been a lot of great replies- today I've taken a step back and am trying to not be so consumed by this. I'm going on a trip tomorrow and am going to be avoiding everything for the time being and enjoying some of the beauty the world has.
Great approach!! Keep your perspective. Hold on to the good things you like and give yourself time to digest the new stuff.

Anxioius to hear more from you after the weekend.
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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