How many people are 'faking' it?

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Stayforthedip
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How many people are 'faking' it?

Post by Stayforthedip » 24 Feb 2017, 14:20

I have been back and forth on how/what I believe for the past 8 or so years. Over the past couple of years I have settled into a place of disbelief that feels fairly permanent. I am fully active though and so I think very few would ever guess how I really think/feel. I recently had a very honest conversation with a family member and found out they feel basically the same as I do. In fact, this person maybe even believes less as they basically feel like an atheist now. I would consider myself more of a Mormon agnostic. I like to leave room for the chance that I am wrong about it all! But again, no one would guess this about me or this family member. They are active as can be, was recently an auxiliary prez, wears garments, etc.

This made me wonder...how many people are church are totally non-believing but for whatever reason keep up the show? What if we are all doing it? If we were all 100% honest at church, how many would bear testimony of just being there for the friends and help moving in? What if we all feel like this, but feel like we can't tell anyone? How can we stop the charade?!

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LookingHard
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Re: How many people are 'faking' it?

Post by LookingHard » 24 Feb 2017, 16:12

That is a question I also think about. I don't think there is a way to really measure it and I don't see it as a binary. It isn't like you are a TBM with an industrial strength shelving unit OR you are a non-believer (or would that be a lama in lambs clothes?) So I think there is a spectrum and even some that fear their doubts (worried if they didn't push everything onto the shelf) will be doing EVERYTHING "right" for fear if they take the sacrament with their left hand that it will lead them to their downfall. I guess I am proof of that as I have taken the sacrament with my left hand many times!

My gut feel there are many more than most TBM's think there are, and possibly less than what many ex-mo's think (want to think).

I guess this is one of the questions I will have to put on my shelf. Wait - that broke a long time ago and my wife has been on me to get that fixed for quite a while. :-)

ydeve
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Re: How many people are 'faking' it?

Post by ydeve » 24 Feb 2017, 21:28

LookingHard wrote:That is a question I also think about. I don't think there is a way to really measure it and I don't see it as a binary. It isn't like you are a TBM with an industrial strength shelving unit OR you are a non-believer (or would that be a lama in lambs clothes?)
It really isn't a binary. There are plenty of people who you'd peg as TBM but aren't, as you described, except they don't consider themselves to be "faking it". We like to think that people fall into neat categories, but reality is a wide spectrum. There are those who can be authentically orthoprax but not orthodox, as well as those whose unorthopraxy isn't very visible. I think if everyone at church went up and bore a complete and honest testimony about all their beliefs, it would shock orthodox, heterodox, and ex-mormons alike, because there are so many ways of living Christ's gospel that we've never considered. Most of them would likely be the wrong path for us, but it's the right path for someone out there. We build our own faith practices (or philosophies, ways of life, however you want to phrase it), borrowing what's useful from other people and adding in parts that are unique to ourselves. God made the animals in all their varieties, and we humans were made the same way.

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DarkJedi
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Re: How many people are 'faking' it?

Post by DarkJedi » 24 Feb 2017, 21:39

ydeve wrote:
LookingHard wrote:That is a question I also think about. I don't think there is a way to really measure it and I don't see it as a binary. It isn't like you are a TBM with an industrial strength shelving unit OR you are a non-believer (or would that be a lama in lambs clothes?)
It really isn't a binary. There are plenty of people who you'd peg as TBM but aren't, as you described, except they don't consider themselves to be "faking it". We like to think that people fall into neat categories, but reality is a wide spectrum. There are those who can be authentically orthoprax but not orthodox, as well as those whose unorthopraxy isn't very visible. I think if everyone at church went up and bore a complete and honest testimony about all their beliefs, it would shock orthodox, heterodox, and ex-mormons alike, because there are so many ways of living Christ's gospel that we've never considered. Most of them would likely be the wrong path for us, but it's the right path for someone out there. We build our own faith practices (or philosophies, ways of life, however you want to phrase it), borrowing what's useful from other people and adding in parts that are unique to ourselves. God made the animals in all their varieties, and we humans were made the same way.
Very well said ydeve. I concur.
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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."

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LookingHard
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Re: How many people are 'faking' it?

Post by LookingHard » 25 Feb 2017, 07:51

+1 for ydeve's comment (said even better than I did)

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SilentDawning
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Re: How many people are 'faking' it?

Post by SilentDawning » 25 Feb 2017, 11:00

Stayforthedip wrote:I have been back and forth on how/what I believe for the past 8 or so years. Over the past couple of years I have settled into a place of disbelief that feels fairly permanent. I am fully active though and so I think very few would ever guess how I really think/feel. I recently had a very honest conversation with a family member and found out they feel basically the same as I do. In fact, this person maybe even believes less as they basically feel like an atheist now. I would consider myself more of a Mormon agnostic. I like to leave room for the chance that I am wrong about it all! But again, no one would guess this about me or this family member. They are active as can be, was recently an auxiliary prez, wears garments, etc.
I'm with you on the bold part. I have strong faith in my own fallibility! It's all about risk management...so I leave my options open at any given time to rise to the occasion.

But I wouldn't say I'm "faking it". I don't hold a TR, and have put boundaries on what I do in the church. If I have to bear testimony, I have authentic things to say about the church that sounds every bit like a testimony, and I guess it is. But it's not what you normally hear. It would not offend anyone, and it really is me. It's about how the church attracts good hearted people, how it provides strong direction for youth, and encourages strong families. There are a lot of opportunities to serve, and I can honestly say that some of my most powerful spiritual experiences have occurred in the LDS church.

So, in not holding a TR, resisting being TOO involved given my current level of commitment, and having common ground with aspects of the LDS experience (and these exclude manual thumping, leadership worship, traditional things people say) I feel I am NOT faking it at all. I am blending in with the community while being myself on those issues.

BTW I have a "calling" too -- Teacher's Council -- and I find I can be totally authentic in sharing teaching concepts with the people who attend. So, there are authentic ways of serving...

I think people get too boxed in with black and white thinking. One manifestation of such is the idea that you are either in or out. You either believe it all, or you don't. Not true. You can be a blend and still get along with people. I do it all the time now.

Sure, there are skirmishes with PH leaders when they press for more commitment, and of course, you can't share unorthodox ideas with them as they are also judges in Israel -- who knows what they will do. But you can blend in. No one is totally authentic in any situation anyway.

Some questions, not meant to be confrontational, just questions...

Do you tell your boss you think s/he is incompetent (when s/he is)?
Do you tell your spouse they are overweight and have lost their youth?
Do you tell your child they can be pretty draining emotionally at times?
Do you tell your mechanic you're never coming back ever again because he overcharged you?
Do you tell the restaurant the place is dive, the service is slow, and the food is overpriced?

Much of the time, we are filtering our statements anyway. But I empathize with this feeling like you are crossing a line in posting what you think. I no longer feel that way, instead, I feel happier because I feel I know the truth (and that doesn't mean the truth the church portrays a lot of the time, either) and am living my life consistent with it...
Last edited by SilentDawning on 25 Feb 2017, 13:09, edited 1 time in total.
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Stayforthedip
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Re: How many people are 'faking' it?

Post by Stayforthedip » 25 Feb 2017, 13:07

First, I agree that it is not binary. Although I was raised to think in very black and white terms, so that is something I have to fight against. Example: recently when I decided not to renew my temple recommend, I was feeling like this also meant I shouldn't wear my garments ever or have my calling, etc. A family member reminded me that it doesn't have to be all or nothing like that. I can do what I am comfortable with right now and now worry about that looking different than what other people are doing.

But my thinking for this post was more about how many people are in the gray camp? Are there really very many TBMs that genuinely believe it all? Discovering that someone I am very close to is basically an atheist while still appearing to be 100% TBM made me wonder more about it. I know everyone is on a different path and at different levels, but how many are in that true 100% believing camp? Not as many as I would have thought years ago, that is for sure. I was recently shocked to find out that only about 10% of people pay a full tithe. I knew not everyone would, but I would have thought that number would be way higher, like at least closer to the attendance level on Sunday.

As for your questions, Silentdawning, I see what you are saying. We don't always reveal everything we are thinking to everyone. It just makes me a little sad to think that maybe everyone at church is putting up this front so that we can fit in, when really we could all be more honest about where we are at. For example, I think of people who are Jewish--they have so many levels of practice. Some are kosher, some aren't, some attend synagogue weekly, some don't. But they all can lay full claim to their heritage and roots and feel fully Jewish. I feel like as Mormons, if we step back at all, we are suddenly "less active" and really just "less" in other Mormons eyes.

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mom3
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Re: How many people are 'faking' it?

Post by mom3 » 25 Feb 2017, 15:36

But they all can lay full claim to their heritage and roots and feel fully Jewish. I feel like as Mormons, if we step back at all, we are suddenly "less active" and really just "less" in other Mormons eyes.
Stayftd - I have heard that comment a lot. Catholics are much the same way. 2000 years from now we will be the same way. Perhaps even earlier. Enough individuals and families are faced with Faith Transition Model, that I think in 30 years we will be closer to the broad scope option.

A point of reference we use here is that we are an infant church. We haven't even crossed the 200 year mark. There are people living who knew pioneers. Not many but enough to keep the "Hold to the Rod" effort alive.

Time is our hope on that one.
"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

Curt Sunshine
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Re: How many people are 'faking' it?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 25 Feb 2017, 15:50

A LOT are not fully orthodox; quite a few are somewhat heterodox; relatively few are faking it, to the full extent of the implications in that wording.

Even back when polygamy was taught as necessary for exaltation, the LARGE majority were monogamous. I think there is an important correlary in that to our time. We just can't see it as clearly and undeniably as being a large monogamous majority with a small polygamous minority. I really do think the non-totally-orthodox outnumber the fully-orthodox - and all kinds of figures support that (especially when they include all levels of activity).
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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.

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SilentDawning
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Re: How many people are 'faking' it?

Post by SilentDawning » 25 Feb 2017, 16:09

Stayforthedip wrote: I feel like as Mormons, if we step back at all, we are suddenly "less active" and really just "less" in other Mormons eyes.
I think that's true. There are not acceptable levels of less activity. If you aren't a TR holder, you are somehow not in full, good standing. In that case, you can't do certain things in the church.

I think part of coping -- staying in the church while not being "OF" the church means accepting your new circumstances, without self-loathing. It means accepting that you do not have access to the full privileges you once had.

For me, I actually have a new kind of respect for myself given my new perspective. While I don't believe my current set of beliefs are "better" than anyone else's, it is working for me now. I am much happier now. There are many things I used to do out of duty because I believed everything. I don't do those things anymore (setting up chairs, moving people, visiting 10 families a month).

Further, I am comfortable with who I am. There will be an uncomfortable moment, when my daughter gets married in the temple when I can't go in, but I have prepared my family for that.

So, I guess there is a point where you elevate your conscience, your intimate knowledge of who you are, and what makes you happy, above the "shoulds" and cultural stigmas of the church. It takes introspection, writing about it here, journal entries, and asking yourself "What do I think about this aspect of our religion? What is truly MY opinion of this????" over and over again on specific issues. With this repeated exercise, I then reached my own opinions.

For example, I am not convinced that callings are necessarily inspired. I have my own evidence for that, but I believe it strongly. So when they come at me claiming the finger of the Lord rested on my name in the Ward directory when they prayed who should be the next leader, my own clock takes over. I look at the extent to which such a calling will make me happy and fulfilled -- as happiness is the object and design of our existence. I do my own prayer and instrospection. It makes it easier to say "no" if my conscience says "no". After saying "No", I then move forward feeling good about myself. And what I do in the church, when I do say yes, is sustainable over the long term, with quality AND my personal happiness as a result.

One thing I believe in is "co-missioning" -- where organizations (leaders) seek to find overlap with their members' personal goals. Where those two meet is commitment, trust, and motivation. So, being the filter of what the church wants me to do, to ensure congruence between my own goals, and their's is a key component of my belief system and happiness formula.

Remember "We believe in worshipping God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and grant other [people] the same privilege". That applies to people both IN, and out of the church, and if church leaders do otherwise, they deny free agency. I claim that privilege of elevating my conscience above what the church thinks. Not what I think God thinks, what the Church thinks -- they are not the same thing.

How many are faking it? Not sure, but we know that TR holders are the exception and not the norm in our church. I have heard different numbers, but it seems that at least half don't pay their tithing and aren't in the temple. I think the number is a lot more than that, frankly.

One bit of advice. One thing that has really helped me was to create new communities to which I belong, while keeping my church community (although to a much lesser extent). I started a non-profit, have a little business with 20 part-time workers in it, and have my full time work colleagues. I have put the church in its place in my life -- in a place that maximizes my own happiness.

I am being sincere when I say I am much happier now than I was throughout much of my TR-holding, traditional believing days. The church is not always a recipe for happiness. In fact, it can be bad for your health (if my experience is any indication).
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- 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."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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