Working through the guilt

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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Meh Mormon
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Working through the guilt

Post by Meh Mormon » 22 Sep 2015, 11:41

Since I joined this board a lot has happened. I first found out about this place from my wife who was having her faith crisis. I joined just to expand my mind and find out how to help my wife deal with her issues. Well I guess it's been about 1 or 2 years now and things have changed for me. I attend church about once a month, sometimes less. If I do go, it's only to SM. I only wear my garmets when going to church or to my parents house for dinner or any other family event. I have a hard time finding any value in going to church. I think the final straw was the SM where it was basically a sales pitch for the new BYUI online program. Seriously, a SM about a church university program. No mention of Jesus or God. I am the secretary in the HPGL and the previous group leader let me do my thing without too much pressure. I basically just entered the HT results. He was released a few weeks ago and the new HPGL is the complete opposite. He phoned me to talk about how he was going to do things. We are now taking attendance in HP and phoning those who aren't there to find out why. I almost asked to be released right then and there.

So here's the main issue. I feel guilty about not going, not telling my parents that I don't really go (I'm basically the only active member in my family that lives here), not wearing garments, and I seriously have a hankering for a beer!! I used to drink many years ago, so it's just curiosity about drinking. My parents announced on Sunday that they are moving to a town 6 hours away, and all I could feel was a bit of relief. That was until they mentioned that it was their intention to stay with us whenever they come back to go to the Temple. I'm not sure what to do or how to get over this guilt.

Any suggestions??

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On Own Now
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Re: Working through the guilt

Post by On Own Now » 22 Sep 2015, 11:52

Meh Mormon,

First, a question. Within your family, not your parents' family, what's the activity level of your wife and kids?
"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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Meh Mormon
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Re: Working through the guilt

Post by Meh Mormon » 22 Sep 2015, 13:27

On Own Now wrote:Meh Mormon,

First, a question. Within your family, not your parents' family, what's the activity level of your wife and kids?
My wife is inactive and my son was never baptized. He was born when I wasn't active before. His mom and I divorced when he was 3-4 because she came out as a lesbian. I went back to the church after that and married my wife in the Temple a few years later. She went inactive about 2 years ago.

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Re: Working through the guilt

Post by mczee » 22 Sep 2015, 18:16

I'm sorry you feel this way. I send my internet hugs your way.

Minyan Man
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Re: Working through the guilt

Post by Minyan Man » 22 Sep 2015, 18:46

I have a couple suggestions:

1. Try not to focus on one (or more) talks in SM as representing who we are. We are all volunteers with a wide variety of talents.
There are some talks I remember that touched me for years ago. The others I try to forget. I know it's not easy sometimes. The most important part of the SM is taking the Sacrament not the talks.

2. Who are you close to in your family that you can talk to about your situation? My sons are probably about your age. I like to talk with them about anything. They have helped me with my life too. I think it is a big compliment to say to a parent, can we talk. If not a family member, then a friend. If it would hurt their feels or damage your relationship then I wouldn't approach them.
I suspect your parents already know you're having problems or issues.

I wish you the best. Our journey isn't always easy. For some reason, it was designed that way.

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Re: Working through the guilt

Post by Ann » 22 Sep 2015, 20:14

Meh Mormon wrote: I'm not sure what to do or how to get over this guilt.
Meh Mormon, I'm sorry you're in this distress. I remember what a comfort it was to me - when I'd hit my limit on a particular issue and tearily confessed to my husband - to hear, "That's alright. You don't have to." What if what you're doing right now is enough? At least for now. Maybe you could tell your HPGL that you're not comfortable phoning people. (Unless, of course, you do feel genuine concern for whoever's absent....)
"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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Re: Working through the guilt

Post by Heber13 » 23 Sep 2015, 08:02

Meh Mormon wrote:I'm not sure what to do or how to get over this guilt.
As Ann said, you are doing enough. You now just need to get comfortable in your skin and remember that it is all about a personal connection with God...or the universe...or peace...or goodness...or whatever you believe in. Others have a program to follow in the church and are doing it. New leaders will be enthusiastic about doing their new job and shake things up and come up with ideas (some bad, some good).

If I was told to do the phone calls, I would look for a way to do it that fit with my conscience or just not really do it. Like...calling people to be friendly and just say you wanted to get to know people more and say hi and ask if they needed anything...not call them to invite them to do anything.

I think you can manage through fears and guilt and get to the point you are OK saying no to things, or not going all the time, or doing things you feel is right for you, and believing you are OK with God, he knows your heart and what you can the widow's isn't comparable to other is just all you have to give. It is personal. And sometimes seasonal. It just may be your season to step back from it all for a while.

I think you can learn to let go of guilt about what others think. Peace comes when you just care what God thinks. If you feel guilt thinking God wants you to do more...maybe you need to study those feelings more and ask yourself what else you should be doing. Sometimes you find there are things about church that you return to, because they feel right to you...not because others pressure you to.

Also...I wouldn't offer up info or start conversations with the new HPGL. Let him ask you if he has questions...otherwise...just do your thing and let it be what it is.
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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Re: Working through the guilt

Post by SilentDawning » 23 Sep 2015, 08:26

I would get comfortable "playing the game". Family relationships, if stable, are the only constant in your life. Relationships with people at church, work, neighborhoods, etcetera are all temporary over your lifespan.

So, it sounds like you have parents whose relationship with you will deteriorate if you "come out".

I would keep going to church at the level you are comfortable with. Same with garment wearing when parents are around. I would invent reasons why you dont' want to go to the temple with them. Regarding the BYU program -- yep -- not something they should be dedicating church time to. But I wouldn't let that alone define how you see the church (and by the way, the tuition is a bargain if your children decide to go -- one time the money seems to flow from the organization to the membership rather than the other way around).

Regarding drinking -- I wouldn't go down that path. I've had the same urges lately as I've struggled with pain and and other desires for a release from day-to-day life responsibilities/escape. I think it's better not to cross the line. Also, for the example to your children. Imagine a world where your kids, in high school, refuse to drink or expose themselves to all the risks that come with it because abstinence is part of their family culture and upbringing. Believe me, it brings peace of mind to know your kids have NO INTEREST in drinking (that you are aware of). Especially with the high cost of car insurance when they start driving, and the sue-happy society in which we live.

Regarding the overzealous HPGL. I would make the phone calls and use it to educate your HPGL. Call the people who missed church and give a soft mention of how you missed them at church. And then ASK THEM if they would like phone calls like this in the future. If you leave a message, indicate that if they WANT such phone calls, to call you back.

Human nature is such that I think you will reduce your phone call list to perhaps a couple people, or less. Feed this information back to your HPGL and thus, retrain him. You could also propose sending a postcard to people who missed church with a warm statement on it -- with the postage and cost of toner/postcards etcetera -- coming out of the HPGL's budget (which in my experience is almost zero for the HPGL).

The other alternative is to pull the "line of authority/program of the church" card. Make a soft allusion to this by indicating this is the responsibility of the home teacher to contact families monthly. You don't want to engage in duplication, and you want to follow the program of the church -- home teaching.

Regarding the guilt -- listen to it, and you have decide how much of it to ascribe to your actual feelings about right and wrong, and what is imposed on your due to "shoulds" which really "shouldn't matter". Only you can decide that. For me, certain things that inspire guilt SHOULD inspire guilt -- and change. But you have to decide what those things are.

Some options...:)
"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

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Meh Mormon
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Re: Working through the guilt

Post by Meh Mormon » 24 Sep 2015, 11:34

Thanks for the responses. I plan on going to church this Sunday, even though it's F&T meeting (not a fan). I'll probably only stick around for SM, but I'll see how it goes.

Thanks again for those great responses and advice.

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