I need help.

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
metalrain
Posts: 50
Joined: 12 Feb 2015, 00:56

Re: I need help.

Post by metalrain » 16 Feb 2015, 17:29

Hi guys, I'm back. Such an awesome weekend- did so many rad things.

I'm not sure how the forum works in the sense of "support", can I ask/reason my questions and doubts in this section?

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DarkJedi
Posts: 7219
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: I need help.

Post by DarkJedi » 16 Feb 2015, 18:01

Glad you had a nice getaway. Feel free to post your questions, thoughts, doubts, or whatever here. All we ask is that they are presented in a respectful manner.
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

Curt Sunshine
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Posts: 16831
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: I need help.

Post by Curt Sunshine » 16 Feb 2015, 18:39

Fire away - just try to keep things to one or two things at a time. The shotgun approach is hard to manage. :D
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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LookingHard
Posts: 2949
Joined: 20 Oct 2014, 12:11

Re: I need help.

Post by LookingHard » 16 Feb 2015, 18:45

I am somewhat new here, but I can tell you that most anything goes as long as you are not attacking.

Don't expect Sunday School answers though :-)

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SunbeltRed
Posts: 349
Joined: 20 Jun 2014, 11:07

Re: I need help.

Post by SunbeltRed » 16 Feb 2015, 20:37

Hey meatlrain,

Just wanted to say welcome. Your story sounds familiar to many others.

The advice you have received is sound. I do empathize with your obsession comments; I have been obsessed for a while. It has started to subside, but I'm not sure it ever will entirely.

However, I have put some things back on the new shelf (Had to build a new one when the old one crashed but the questions and concerns are different).

I have also started to read and explore ideas outside of Mormonism. I still attend and fulfill my calling, however from an intellectual perspective I am on a different path at the moment.

I guess my point is that the obsessive stage will get better at some point. Embrace it for now, just don't get too caught up in the negativity if possible.

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DarkJedi
Posts: 7219
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: I need help.

Post by DarkJedi » 17 Feb 2015, 05:38

The obsessive thing is something I don't think I experienced. Just saying, I'm having a hard time relating to it. I experienced a lot of things, including anger that is still there from time to time, but I can't say I was ever obsessed with anything about my faith crisis.
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

metalrain
Posts: 50
Joined: 12 Feb 2015, 00:56

Re: I need help.

Post by metalrain » 17 Feb 2015, 11:45

I think the thing I'm having the hardest time with is Joseph Smith. And I think a majority of it was due to the stories and information I was told at church vs. what the history says. How have you guys worked through things like the seer stone vs. urim & thummim, polyandry, book of abraham & etc?

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LookingHard
Posts: 2949
Joined: 20 Oct 2014, 12:11

Re: I need help.

Post by LookingHard » 17 Feb 2015, 12:21

metalrain wrote:I think the thing I'm having the hardest time with is Joseph Smith. And I think a majority of it was due to the stories and information I was told at church vs. what the history says. How have you guys worked through things like the seer stone vs. urim & thummim, polyandry, book of abraham & etc?
You mean like the church paints him as one slight shade off from the purest white you could even imaging, but then you start reading about all the "dirt" on him. I am at a point where I consider him a DEEPLY flawed man (he repeatedly admits this, but you don't see that in most SS lessons), but I am trying to see if I can still hold him as a prophet even with those glaring faults.

I partially come away thinking, if JS was able to do that as a prophet - then there is a chance I am not as damned as I think I was. I have not slept around with other people's wives or did some of what he allegedly did. IMO There is NO way JS could get away with all he did in today's church (with the caveat of the Lord pouring his spirit out to everyone that came within 50 feet of him). They would have kicked him out ASAP.

But the hard time I have with that is then coming back to the strictness and OBEY OBEY OBEY of today's church along with the, "the Q12 and 1st Pres will NEVER EVER say anything wrong." My assumption is that at every conference something not prompted of the spirit is said to test to see if those listening will check back with God if it was right or not. A bit of an odd game of "simon says" or "mother may I?".

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On Own Now
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Joined: 18 Jan 2012, 12:45

Re: I need help.

Post by On Own Now » 17 Feb 2015, 12:27

metalrain wrote:I think the thing I'm having the hardest time with is Joseph Smith. And I think a majority of it was due to the stories and information I was told at church vs. what the history says. How have you guys worked through things like the seer stone vs. urim & thummim, polyandry, book of abraham & etc?
metalrain, understand first that I am an atheist, so I believe JS was not a prophet in the same way that I believe that there was no God or Jesus for him to channel.

Having gotten that out on the table, let me make an observation:

"the history" is an impossible quagmire. I believe it is safe to say that we will never understand what was going on there. Every item of analysis has bias, either of the analyst or of the source data used. We know some facts, but it's difficult to place them into context. We know that JS had multiple wives, but we don't have a clear picture of what that even meant. Usually, we fall into the trap of projecting our understanding of marriage onto those relationships, but I think it's probable that his marriages (outside of with Emma) had little or no correlation with our marriages today, or even with polygamous marriages of BY or of modern polygamists. I'm not saying that it wasn't bad, but rather that we can't really understand it. IMO it was wrong and led to a lot of heartbreak in the Church, but we can only guess at what was going on in his mind. Those who have a bias toward belief will guess "God" and those who have a bias away from belief will guess "Sex". My point is that there is no "the history" that we can use to measure our understanding of JS against. It's an interpretive dance we are both watching. I see a lion stalking a gazelle, while you see a lady looking for her glasses.
- - -
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ― Carl Jung
- - -
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." ― Romans 14:13
- - -

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DarkJedi
Posts: 7219
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: I need help.

Post by DarkJedi » 17 Feb 2015, 13:52

First let me say that I never really had a problem with history per se. It is what it is. However, like many who have gone through a faith crisis and/or transition I can relate to being taught something which I later discover to be patently untrue or at least far different than what I was taught. Yes, it does bother me that videos show Joseph Smith sitting at a table with a finger on the plates while "translating" when it is now very clear that's not how it generally happened. The essays help me with this, I assume you have read them.

So, despite that I know JS didn't sit at a table with the plates but rather stuck his head in a hat with a stone in it, can I believe he translated the Book of Mormon by the "gift and power of God?" Sure, it really makes no difference if he did it in the way depicted in the movies and countless Sunday School and Primary classes or with is head in the hat. The real decision is whether or not he did it. I frankly don't know. I believe the BoM is a good book and that it teaches gospel principles - but I suppose I could say the same for Dickens "A Christmas Carol" (which I recently referenced in a talk). I do not have a testimony that it is the actual history of ancient peoples that inhabited the Americas, nor do I have a testimony of much else about it. It could be what Joseph said it is or he could have made it up or it could be something in between. While I was apparently asked if I believe the BoM is the word of God 34 years ago in a baptismal interview, I don't recall that nor do I recall being asked that since - including in my most recent temple recommend interview. For my own understanding I simply ignore anything taught in the book that is not in line with what is taught in the Bible, and view it as a big parable. FWIW, I also don't take the Bible literally.

Like LH, I have also come to an understanding that Joesph Smith was a deeply flawed man, and even though other prophets are also flawed (yes, I think church curriculum does try to hide that OT prophets had flaws, too) I also recognize that if Joseph Smith and they could do all of this and still be a prophet and still be promised exaltation, then there is hope for me - and pretty much everybody else. This idea increases my faith in grace.

Like the priesthood ban, I don't believe polygamy was ever the plan of God in this dispensation. I don't know why Joseph believed in it (or how much he did, actually) but I also don't buy the angel and the sword story. While I understand that because of whitewashed history many members did not know of Joseph's polygamy, I did - but I did not know about polyandry and marrying teenage girls. Again, he was far from perfect - farther than I am from perfect - and that gives me hope.

The Book of Abraham is a sticky one. I have not believed Joseph's story since my mission over 30 years ago, and evidence has only mounted since then. I can say that it is similar to the Book of Mormon in some respects but I do not view it on the same level as the BoM, partly because it teaches things that are not expressly taught in either the Bible of BoM. I do not consider it scripture, I do not read it, I do not quote from it, and I ignore any references to it in anything said or read. I don't mean to be offensive in that statement, but if you want to know how I feel and how I deal with, that's it. It is non grata.

All of that said, just because that's how I have come to terms with these things doesn't mean that's how you need to come to terms with them. Others here have other ways they deal with these issues. One of the great values I find in this site is being able to read other perspectives on any given issue, and this has often helped my to form my own thoughts and coping mechanisms.
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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