Request for faith crisis analogies

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Request for faith crisis analogies

Post by hawkgrrrl » 21 Dec 2016, 10:53

Orson - Charles Taylor would, I believe, agree with what you said. He talked a lot about exchanging one closed loop belief system for another, and that this is a real issue because doubt & faith co-exist.

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mom3
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Re: Request for faith crisis analogies

Post by mom3 » 21 Dec 2016, 12:22

Orson and Hawkgrrl - Having not read Charles Taylor's work but just an observation from faith crisis that have happened close to me and to some degree mine, is that many people just moved across the street. When they were LDS believers they were devout, dedicated, vocal people. Then when the shift happened many of them took those same values and just walked to the other side of the road and are now using them towards the group they just left. Which makes me wonder if they will shift again.

I also perceive ego being involved too. All my life people have left the church. My grandfather was the first one, but I never knew it until I was a late teen. I had always assumed he wasn't a member. His feelings got hurt, he left church and never returned. He didn't brood, broadcast, pontificate or discuss it. There were no secret efforts to convince us to abandon the religion. He just went about his life. Over the years I have seen that replayed by others. This causes me to wonder about faith crisis - are we really having a faith crisis or a life crisis? Did we define ourselves by our religion, when the definition slipped, so did our identity. Then we were hurt, shamed, and so on. It is that shame, hurt, blame that causes the war. I don't know. Just conjectures or wonderments.

The farther I go on the road the less cut and dried things become.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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Reuben
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Re: Request for faith crisis analogies

Post by Reuben » 03 Feb 2017, 11:05

nibbler wrote:
On Own Now wrote:Along those lines, we all have a strong tendency to project our experience onto a huge screen that we think reflects universal truths. So, if I start talking about what a faith crisis is, or how a faith transition unfolds, I am only really qualified to talk about one person, and that, just barely.
I agree and I find myself wondering whether the real value in coming up with analogies is that it helps us unpack a radical change that we've undergone. There's no one analogy that works for all cases but there's the story we tell others, a story we tell ourselves, to help us make sense of it all.
That's the conclusion I'm coming to as well. How I explain this to others is necessarily different, for many reasons. One reason, stated already, is that others mostly can't understand unless they've been through it. Another, which is clear now that I look over this thread, is that these analogies are too easily perceived as threatening or demeaning.

I'll carry on trying to understand myself with wild abandon, though. Here's an analogy I came up with to try to explain (to myself of course) why going to Church is hard now: it's like I've learned that my dad is actually dead, while all of my grown siblings insist that he's alive and well. Going to Church is like going to a family reunion where they've propped up a life-sized cardboard cutout of our dad in the living room.

"Isn't it great that Dad can be here with us?"

"Here, have a steak. It's from Dad."

"Why don't you get Dad a drink? Just hold the bottle up to his lips and tip... yeah, like that."

"Are you feeling okay? Well, of course you should. Dad's here! You should spend some quality time with him before you go."

I could immerse myself in the absurdity of it all, and eventually find a non-literal way to get something out of the experience, but I'm still coming to terms with the fact that he's gone. I get no space or time to grieve. I have to pretend he's alive and that I'm happy about it, because the last sibling who insisted that he was as three-dimensional as a slice of deli ham was invited to leave, permanently. Surely it's not just me hurting and pretending, but how can I find out who the others are without outing myself?
My intro

Love before dogma. Truth before loyalty. Knowledge before certainty.

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FaithfulSkeptic
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Re: Request for faith crisis analogies

Post by FaithfulSkeptic » 03 Feb 2017, 15:56

Reuben wrote:Here's an analogy I came up with to try to explain (to myself of course) why going to Church is hard now: it's like I've learned that my dad is actually dead, while all of my grown siblings insist that he's alive and well. Going to Church is like going to a family reunion where they've propped up a life-sized cardboard cutout of our dad in the living room.

"Isn't it great that Dad can be here with us?"

"Here, have a steak. It's from Dad."

"Why don't you get Dad a drink? Just hold the bottle up to his lips and tip... yeah, like that."

"Are you feeling okay? Well, of course you should. Dad's here! You should spend some quality time with him before you go."
Love this analogy!
I know of no sign on the doors of our meetinghouses that says, “Your testimony must be this tall to enter.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf, October 2014

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BeJoyful
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Re: Request for faith crisis analogies

Post by BeJoyful » 09 Jan 2018, 10:36


Reuben wrote:Or, does anybody want to take a crack at another one?
Reviving this old thread, but I've had this analogy running through my head since this whole thing started, and it's how I explained my faith crisis/transition to my husband. It didn't resonate as much with him but it works really well for me:

I'm in a museum. I arrive at large stained glass window- floor to ceiling in a beautiful mosaic with a hundred colors, depicting a nature scene-a jungle. It's stunning.

The museum tour guide says to me, "This is the most beautiful thing we have here. This is truth." I trust them because hey, they're the tour guide, and the window is so stunning that they must be right- this is truth.
Some people could stand back and enjoy this window and be completely content.
Some walk away because they're not interested in stained glass or nature scenes.
Some want to explain exactly how each piece fits together and prove that it's the best stained glass window there is.

As I stand at the window, I look closer at a depiction of two giraffes, something doesn't look quite right. I reach forward and touch the window- and the image falters- it's only a projection, and I can see that just behind the image is the nature scene itself, alive and moving changing.

I'm stunned- I stood so long at what I thought was a window and I'm confused that what I've been staring at all along was not a window at all, but something constructed completely different. Why did the tour guide not say that the window wasn't a window? Does he know?

I step back and try to look at it again, but it doesn't feel the same. I can see the inconsistencies like the giraffes that don't add up. Mad, hurt, irritated, confused, I almost walk away. But then I think, what if... there's still truth? Behind the image?
So I step through.

In the jungle, I see the animals and plants depicted in the stained glass.
Some are so incredible that the stained glass could never have done them justice. Some look completely different- the birds are not the same breed, what I thought was a duck is actually a platypus.
I approach the 2 giraffes to find that they're not giraffes at all- from another angle, they look like an elephant- is that even possible?
The whole scene is overwhelming- it would be so much easier to go back the way I came and find a different exhibit to look at. But I'm curious, and this jungle is beautiful.
It's a little scary it disappointing at times, but in general it's beautiful, and I like being here.

Image

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AmyJ
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Re: Request for faith crisis analogies

Post by AmyJ » 09 Jan 2018, 13:25

In social psychology, ‘’’Shattered Assumptions Theory’’’ proposes that the experiencing of traumatic events can change how one views themselves and the world. Specifically, the theory–developed by Ronnie Janoff-Bulman in 1992–concerns the effect that negative events have on three inherent assumptions: overall benevolence of the world, meaningfulness of the world, and self worthiness. These assumptions act as schemas to constitute our “assumptive world”, defined as “a strongly held set of assumptions about the world and the self which is confidently maintained and used as a means of recognizing, planning, and acting" by M. Parkes. Janoff-Bulman emphasized the assumptive world as an abstract yet accessible set of ideas, whilst being unarticulated.
Roy wrote:
15 Dec 2016, 13:24
Most people that have happy childhoods tend to have these 3 assumptions to some extent. The parents of these kids are successful in establishing secure homes of purpose, stability, and worth. The world is just, the world has purpose, and I matter.
My Faith Transition was a consequence of this "Shattered Assumptions Theory". The first part was when our family, responsibilities, and hormones hit critical mass and I wound up dealing with anxiety as a more permanent house guest then previously. I felt "broken", "incompetant", and "over my head". I talked to people, talked to counselors, got medicine from doctors, and made positive lifestyle choices, so eventually things got better. And then... circumstances changed and enlightenment occured when I realized that I could add an Asperger's Autism to my dossiere.

By Adding this description to my narrative, I started a General Identity Transition, which bred a Faith Transition. I learned that the world is not as just as I thought it was, the purposes of the world are pretty baffling (and I am allowed to admit that to myself and include in my narrative), and I matter (only because I am good enough at masking how different I really am, working hard, working smart and finding my niche well enough to survive).

NOTE: All 3 principles are still in flux - sometimes hourly. I was blessed with parents that taught me how to do my part to matter out in the world, and to believe that I matter no matter what.
Roy wrote:
15 Dec 2016, 13:24
The good news is that the church can be a beautiful place for a childhood where these assumptions are intertwined and given extra weight with church doctrine. God is our father that loves us and protects us. We are His children and as such are inherently worthy or of divine origin. He has designed this world as a sort of learning exercise to bring us to our full potential. God rules this world in justice. Those that are righteous will be rewarded/blessed. Those that are wicked will be punished. If I follow the rules and am obedient, I will be loved, protected, rewarded, blessed, and ultimately exalted.
Right now, the verdict is still out for most of those things. Individual mileage will vary.
Roy wrote:
15 Dec 2016, 13:24
Some people's lives play out in such a way that these assumptions hold true throughout. Things go more or less as planned and they are comforted and feel security in these assumptions. Unfortunately, sometimes something traumatic happens that shatters these assumptions and leaves the survivors broken and bewildered.
What is funny is that my family's reverse trek is held up as a "success story" where God's hand was visible to us, and we grew greatly. In the last 3 years I have learned to plan less, and enjoy comfort/security as it comes a long (which is the opposite of what it theoretically is supposed to look like).

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LookingHard
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Re: Request for faith crisis analogies

Post by LookingHard » 09 Jan 2018, 13:37

BeJoyful - That was quite good. It almost seemed like "and then the alarm clock woke me" :-)

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Beefster
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Re: Request for faith crisis analogies

Post by Beefster » 22 Jan 2018, 18:57

I don't know if I have an analogy per se, but this is kind of what it has been like to me, in a nutshell: It's as if everything I've ever known suddenly feels foreign to me. It's almost like you got hit by the tower of babel effect, but you still speak the same language. Like you know what they're saying, but it doesn't make sense anymore.

Or maybe it's a bit like a computer screen. When you first see it, you see whole pixels rather than the red, green, and blue subpixels. Suppose you've been raised and conditioned to believe that the white pixels truly are white and that yellow is yellow, etc... Then one day, a bit of your spit lands on the screen and you notice there is a rainbow effect. You show it to your friends who simply write it off as "oh yeah, the water droplet just acts like a prism." The average "true believer" would probably be satisfied with this answer and perhaps you even write it off. But then one day, a water droplet lands on a flashlight and you realize, "why does this make the rainbow on my computer screen, but not a flashlight? They're both white." You ask around and most people just kind of shrug it off. This bothers you. So you decide to look at the monitor with a magnifying glass and are then able to see the subpixels. Your entire worldview has shattered. You can't go back to believing in a single magical pixel, yet nobody else seems willing to accept the idea. You go to conferences and hear people talking about the magically changing pixels and it just drives you bonkers. I mean, they're still correct in a sense, but you know the truth behind it.

Of course, most TBMs would find that idea offensive and would not want to be labeled as naive and dogmatic, but let's be real here, many of us here feel that is the case.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Often I hear doubt being presented as the opposite of faith but I think certainty does a better job of filling that role. Doubts can help faith grow, certainty almost always makes faith shrink. --nibbler

AmyJ
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Re: Request for faith crisis analogies

Post by AmyJ » 23 Jan 2018, 06:26

Beefster wrote:
22 Jan 2018, 18:57
I don't know if I have an analogy per se, but this is kind of what it has been like to me, in a nutshell: It's as if everything I've ever known suddenly feels foreign to me. It's almost like you got hit by the tower of babel effect, but you still speak the same language. Like you know what they're saying, but it doesn't make sense anymore.
Yup. And when you bring up the idea to others of what you might be experiencing - you are told to a) pray more, b) read your scriptures more, c) stop making it about you and that you "want" to break the commandments, and d) looked at suspiciously and with fear - what is she going to believe/do next...

It is very lonely at times rebuilding my faith house plank by plank while pretending that the original house is still standing all shiny and bright. There are still parts that are shiny and bright though - and I don't know which planks I will be replacing until I see it needs to be done.

I am striving not to "contaminate" others with my beliefs while going slowly and charitably. I trust that if I really need to know something, God will inspire someone to tell me, and other than that - part of the mortal process is the struggle of figuring it out for yourself. God helped Nephi build a boat in the Book of Mormon by giving him general directions and starting points - Nephi still had to build the boat slab by slab, and make the tools to shape the slabs first.

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