How much longer can I fake this?

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
Post Reply
User avatar
Just A Girl
Posts: 18
Joined: 11 Aug 2014, 21:14

How much longer can I fake this?

Post by Just A Girl » 16 Apr 2015, 19:42

I really like this site, because it shows me that there are members who are like me. It makes me feel as though I'm not alone in my struggles, and it makes it look like maybe someday I'll be able to get out of this rut.

Regarding my faith in the LDS church, things are getting worse and worse for me. I'm not agnostic or an atheist- I do believe in God, and Jesus, and the Holy Ghost. But I just keep having problems with other aspects of the church, and it just gets harder and harder for me to want to be a part of it.

The big reason I keep going is because I feel that if I decided to leave, I would be a disappointment to my parents, the rest of my family, and my friends. They're all TBMs and they all love the church. But I'm just not like them in that way. I don't want them to know how I feel, because I feel like they would just tell me that I'm wrong, and that things will get better. I don't think they would stop being my friend- at least I hope not, but I really wouldn't want them to think of me differently. None of them know how I feel. Only one person knows, and it's because he's the only person who thinks like I do. He's found happiness in the church, despite its imperfections. I want to be able to find that for myself, but it really is difficult.

I grew up in the church. I basically didn't have a choice to live this life. And now people just expect me to keep living it this way. If I were to change, people would think differently about me, even though I'm exactly the same person I've always been. And my parents would feel like they failed me, when really, all I've done is grow up and start thinking for myself. They have been fantastic influences in my life, and I would hate for them to think otherwise.

One thing that complicates things further is simply my personality. I hate being told what to do. I always have hated it. Yes, I can be quite stubborn :) So, a lot of the times when someone tries to boss me around, I resist. Depending on what I'm being told to do, sometimes, I'll do the exact opposite. I suppose that, in a sense, I feel that I'm being told what to do and "bossed around" by fellow members. That being said, what I'm being taught at church isn't the reason for many of my opposing views on things- I'm also just an extremely liberal person. What I mean is, for an example, when a friend got upset at me for posting a picture of myself in a tank top on Facebook because it was "immodest" (this really happened... I mean, what?!). So I go and post more pictures like that, and now I wear tank tops almost every day in the summertime... But I digress. There are several disagreements that I've had with the church throughout my life. It's hard to go each week to a place where I'm told that I'm wrong about this and I'm wrong about that. I hate sitting there and taking it.

I guess I'm just tired of pretending for everyone else's sake. If I go to church, I want to go because I have my own testimony- not because I'm expected to go by everyone around me.

One last thing- I know I may sound like I hate everything about the church, but I promise, I don't. If there are people that find peace and joy in going, then good for them. For me, it's simply tiresome to go somewhere and listen to people bash on my own personal beliefs (of course they don't mean to). Here's what I would compare my feelings to- say that you joined some club (dance, sports, etc.), but you ended up not really enjoying it. It's not terrible, but you're just not passionate about it, and sometimes you really don't want to go because it's not something you look forward to. Or maybe you get frustrated by it because you're not crazy about it. Because it's not that great, you decide to quit and find something you like better. There's an analogy for you ;)

Anyways. If you don't mind sharing, have you ever been in this rut? What made you keep trying? Thank you for reading this long post, I really appreciate it.
My Introduction:
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6060

I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination. -Jimmy Dean

User avatar
DarkJedi
Posts: 6732
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: How much longer can I fake this?

Post by DarkJedi » 16 Apr 2015, 19:56

I suppose you could say I've been in your rut - and in some ways I still am. I didn't go to church for 10 years - how's that for a rut?

I think part of what you need to do is quit worrying about what other people think. Even when you wear tank tops because someone you know doesn't like it you're doing it because of what they think.

It's not taboo for you to read Pres. Uchtdorf's priesthood session talk from last conference. Be genuine, look like the car that needs repair, not the one that looks like it doesn't need repair but does.

The church really does teach the basic principles of the gospel - with lots of other stuff. You believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost - look for them in the church. If the speakers/teachers aren't talking about them, write your own talk or make your own lesson.
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

Dax
Posts: 218
Joined: 19 Jul 2012, 09:08

Re: How much longer can I fake this?

Post by Dax » 16 Apr 2015, 20:09

I have found peace in accepting that I will not do what I do not believe and will do with all my heart the things I do believe about the church/gospel. Cryptic yes. It is a basic shift from doing or not doing things of the church from a place of fear. I now try to interact with the church from a true personal desire to live the gospel and gods plan for me and in helping others along the way. This shift has removed much of the check list of do's and dont's of church and has led to me studying and trying to follow Christ. I do not make certain ward members feel safe because I don't attend church for their approval which makes me much harder to control. Not that I'm out swapping husbands or getting drunk as I feel regardless of my religious choice those things would remove me from moving closer to Christ. It is a harder road but has helped me seperate more of the church vs the gospel. Good luck. You will find your way.

User avatar
hawkgrrrl
Site Admin
Posts: 3514
Joined: 22 Oct 2008, 16:27

Re: How much longer can I fake this?

Post by hawkgrrrl » 16 Apr 2015, 20:39

I agree with what others have said here. Only care what others think insofar as it keeps you from committing actual crimes. That kind of social pressure is probably good. At church? Forget that. Just be who you are. I think Dark Jedi's advice is great. Listen for what is uplifting, and be a cultural anthropologist about the rest. Also, you probably haven't figured out 100% of life. I am often curious when someone disagrees with me. You should always ask yourself why do they see it that way? If your answer is that they are stupid, lazy or bad, I suspect there could be more to the story (not to discount a human's right to be stupid, bad or lazy). So if they are "bashing" things I believe, I often am more curious about what's going on with them. First of all, why are they bashing anything at church? This should be about living the gospel, not being right or superior. Those who "bash" others are usually insecure. Why is that person insecure? What am I insecure about? These are the thoughts I think about during church from time to time.

User avatar
West
Posts: 215
Joined: 26 Aug 2014, 14:42

Re: How much longer can I fake this?

Post by West » 17 Apr 2015, 01:26

You sound somewhat like my sister. The more someone tells her or even hints to her that one of her choices is a bad idea, she digs in her heels and refuses to budge. In her most recent case it was marriage rather than tank tops, but what can you do. :roll:

Seriously, train yourself to not care about what other people think so much. I have that issue myself, and I'm sure most everyone does to some degree, but I've worked on it and have turned out some great experiences as a result. It's a difficult thing to do, and sometimes it may be necessary to keep up certain relationships, but there's always a point where it's more unhealthy to live up to other people's expectations rather than changing things around and living up to your own needs if that makes sense.

Like Dax mentioned, post-FC I don't attend Church for approval. I sometimes go because I don't want to deal with my parents asking me why I didn't go, but that's usually a lesser reason to my just wanting to go so I have some time to myself at the back of the meeting hall to sort of just focus on things and sing the hymns when they come up (I do love singing).

And like hawkgrrrl mentioned, it's good to try to train yourself to see situations from multiple viewpoints and accept that everyone sees things from a different angle, because no one can be standing in the exact same place at the exact same time. I listen a lot to things I definitely don't agree with and may otherwise find hurtful in Church meetings; but oftentimes when I look at people's past experiences, I can see where they're coming from, and that even though what they say and believe is or can be hurtful, I don't let it affect me and instead just take it as another example of how everyone in the Church believes something slightly different, no matter what anyone tells you.
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

nibbler
Posts: 4151
Joined: 14 Nov 2013, 07:34
Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: How much longer can I fake this?

Post by nibbler » 17 Apr 2015, 04:56

I get what you mean. Some time ago our SP set a goal for each member in the stake and thereafter a goodly portion of each meeting was dedicated to reminding people about the goal and motivating them to meet, or even exceed the stated goal. I just remember thinking, "Wait a sec. I never agreed to this. This isn't my goal." That was my answer and I was completely fine with it. All the little asides during church meetings to remind people about the goal started to go in one ear and out the other. Sure, I'd rather make a more productive use of my time but that was a portion of the day I just had to muscle through. The goal was important for many people, can't not talk about it to accommodate just me.
Just A Girl wrote:Here's what I would compare my feelings to- say that you joined some club (dance, sports, etc.), but you ended up not really enjoying it. It's not terrible, but you're just not passionate about it, and sometimes you really don't want to go because it's not something you look forward to. Or maybe you get frustrated by it because you're not crazy about it. Because it's not that great, you decide to quit and find something you like better. There's an analogy for you ;)
Oh, you mean the only club in town that has all the music. Other clubs come close, they have lots of good music, just not all the music. ;) :angel:

Just A Girl wrote:Anyways. If you don't mind sharing, have you ever been in this rut? What made you keep trying?
Yes, I'm in a rut of my own at the moment. A slightly different rut but a rut all the same.

What makes me keep trying? Shrugs. Maybe it's that hope that after 10 years things will work out for me like they did for DJ. ;) Maybe it's that same stubbornness that you referred to - people in my shoes typically leave so I'm going to do the opposite. ;)

But seriously, I keep trying because I haven't figured it out yet. It's still a mystery and a puzzle to me. Also, maybe there's someone at church that doesn't respond well to the more traditional approaches, maybe I'm the heretic that can reach them and help them out of a rut... maybe I'm the person in the rut waiting for someone to come along and lift me out. Either way I probably need to stick around a little longer.

Ann
Posts: 2573
Joined: 09 Sep 2012, 02:17

Re: How much longer can I fake this?

Post by Ann » 17 Apr 2015, 14:34

Just A Girl wrote:I grew up in the church. I basically didn't have a choice to live this life.
Sometimes it helps me to remember that this is the human condition. Everyone on the planet was born into something not of their choosing.
If I were to change, people would think differently about me, even though I'm exactly the same person I've always been.
The pressure to conform in order to belong is huge. I assume I'm twice your age and I'm scared to death to speak my mind sometimes for fear of losing my friends.
And my parents would feel like they failed me, when really, all I've done is grow up and start thinking for myself. They have been fantastic influences in my life, and I would hate for them to think otherwise.
So I try to be a real grown-up, as opposed to an adolescent. I'm grateful for my parents and all the wonderful LDS people in my life. My mom knows that I'm different now, but I maintain all the common ground I can. I ventured out of my hidey-hole this week and made a Facebook comment that might have taken people by surprise. Part of me is apprehensive, but I did my calling this week, interacted normally, went and got stuff for a service project, etc., etc. Yes I made that comment, and yes, see? I'm still me.
"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

User avatar
hawkgrrrl
Site Admin
Posts: 3514
Joined: 22 Oct 2008, 16:27

Re: How much longer can I fake this?

Post by hawkgrrrl » 17 Apr 2015, 16:05

And my parents would feel like they failed me, when really, all I've done is grow up and start thinking for myself. They have been fantastic influences in my life, and I would hate for them to think otherwise.
I think we don't realize until we become parents that parents are also still growing up and every stage of life is new to parents as well. For the first time ever, I have to learn how to parent an increasingly independent adult. That's not the same thing as parenting a financially and emotionally dependent teenager. All the successes are different now, and the rewards of parenting are also different. It's just not the same.

User avatar
SilentDawning
Posts: 7229
Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: How much longer can I fake this?

Post by SilentDawning » 18 Apr 2015, 05:02

hawkgrrrl wrote:I agree with what others have said here. Only care what others think insofar as it keeps you from committing actual crimes.
That was my initial thought when I read your post. As a chronic "carer about what others think" through most of my life, I had to cross a threshold where I no longer cared as much if people respected me as one of the upstanding members of the Ward. I found there are no consequences to being unorthodox -- provided you no longer care about having leadership callings or other privileges that orthodox members bestow on the other orthodox members.

And I have grown more and more open about what I think. The day will likely come when I tell our bishop, who appears me to want me to work with him fairly closely that:

1) I have a different philosophy of volunteerism than the church, which is growing more and more incompatible with my time dedicated to service.

2) That I am happier with only a bit of church in my life, and not as much as the orthodox member has in their life.

3) That I see the primary benefit of the church as providing values training for my children, as well as a circle of friends with good values.

4) That I find church service monotonous and that I am no longer growing in it; I need new challenges, and those are outside the church.

One thing I would look at is why you go and do more of what people tell you not to do. I don't do that...I usually either modify my behavior if I think they have a point (and I have to agree, internally, with them -- authentically) or continue doing what I've always been doing. If I have a really good picture and I'm in a tank top, I'd post it, but I wouldn't post more tank top pictures just because someone objected to it. In the latter case, they are controlling my behavior.

Hope that helps...
"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

Roy
Posts: 5779
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: How much longer can I fake this?

Post by Roy » 20 Apr 2015, 13:23

My overall thought in reading your post was that gaining some distance to figure things out and be your own person is part of growing up.

I get the impression that you are fairly young. I believe that as you age you with have a greater degree of self determination to choose your job, school, spouse, location, friends, church, beliefs, ....

You still do not get to choose your childhood family or the heritage that comes with that but you can make choices in how to handle that. I love my family AND I live far enough away that they are not second guessing all my choices. They get that I see the gospel somewhat differently but they also know that I am a good person (and involved in the church to some degree). I do not post stuff on Facebook that would raise red flags. I am not comfortable with that level of detail as a window into my life.

In general I believe that self determination is much more fulfilling than doing what is expected of you.

Good luck! It gets better!
"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

Post Reply