Help me find meaning...

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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Re: Help me find meaning...

Post by nibbler » 06 Apr 2017, 09:06

Yeah, some days are most definitely better than others.
The time to relax is when you don't have time for it. - Sydney J. Harris

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Re: Help me find meaning...

Post by Roy » 06 Apr 2017, 13:17

DoubtingTom wrote:
05 Apr 2017, 10:53
If I have to deconstruct everything and reform it in an unorthodox framework in order to find meaning, wouldn't I be better off finding a new philosophy that doesn't require so much mental contortion?
I compare my old paradigm to a puzzle and my new paradigm to a mosaic.

In my old paradigm there was a master plan. Some of the specifics might be murky but the grand outlines are clear. I place my puzzle pieces according to the approved pattern. There are some pieces that do not seem to fit. Perhaps they do not belong to my puzzle and fell in by mistake. Perhaps they belong to a part of the puzzle that has not been fully revealed or clarified yet. It is best to place these pieces of to the side or perhaps on a shelf for further examination at a latter time. ("latter" was a simple spelling mistake but I think I like it :mrgreen: )

Some major advantages to this approach are feelings of confidence, belonging, and certainty.

My new paradigm is closer to a mosaic. Oh, this piece is shiny. I like it. I will make it the centerpiece of my artful expression. This other piece gives me the willies. I will mentally discard it. I will make my life song out of this mosaic of pieces. I will build it as an act of faith and devotion to what inspires me.

Some major advantages to this later approach are personalization and adaptability. Because it is unique to you it is not really expected or even desired that everyone would believe the same ("Hey, stop copying my mosaic!"). Because it is not based on a master plan it is much more flexible to new information or changing circumstances in an uncertain world.

For another metaphor dealing with the same themes please see the classic, "What the church means to people like me" by Richard Poll. ... 04_109.pdf
"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

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Re: Help me find meaning...

Post by Ebowalker » 07 May 2017, 07:45

dande48 wrote:
05 Apr 2017, 09:51
Hi Tom,

Just because something isn't true, doesn't mean it isn't good or beautiful. The Church, at least in part, is beautiful and good. Try to wrap your mind around the notion "The Church isn't true." What value does it still provide? Does it make people happy? Does it inspire people to do good, and develop virtue? Can it still cause a TBM to live a happy and fulfilling life? Can a non-believer like myself still be inspired by it?

Another source that really helped give me perspective is the blog at It's purpose is to help members like us come to terms with the more troubling aspects of the LDS Church, and take on a new paradigm focused on "goodness" rather than "absolute truth".
Thank you so much for this thought, it made my day better.

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Re: Help me find meaning...

Post by Orson » 11 May 2017, 08:54

Among the good ideas already shared, and because I don't have time to write a book length reply...

One thing I consider often is the idea that our purpose on earth may be boiled down to personal growth. If we take that seriously we are constantly putting events of life into perspective, asking "how does this contribute to my growth?" "How can I use this to become a better person?"

Opposition can aid growth. I can find different types of opposition during my 3 hours in church.

Eugene England's essay: Why the Church Is As True as the Gospel ... the-gospel

I really appreciate the question and have a couple thoughts to add. Mormon Matters podcast has been a big help to me, listening to different ideas and framings of church topics. If you have time in your day during a commute or whatever, pick a couple episodes that look interesting to you.

They often speak from a foundation of personal spiritual experience, don't get hung up on this. I have learned the idea is to give huge leeway to the term. In my own experience I may say I didn't know how to have a spiritual experience until I lost belief in God. Ironically that loss opened me up to new possibilities, and in that openness I had the most profound spiritual experience of my life. As I allowed the shackles to fall off my own image of God the most incredible concept of love and human connection began to sprout in my heart. I like to use the common language: "God began to reveal himself to me." Be open to what will come to you, live with a curiosity and a sense of wonder.
My avatar - both physical and spiritual.

I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.

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Re: Help me find meaning...

Post by SunbeltRed » 31 May 2017, 07:45

Caveat: I no longer attend (I guess I'm now inactive)

I have really found a lot to like in Noah Rasheta's approach (Secular Buddhism). I have friends who are in similar positions to you (still attend but are having to create their own meaning) who have also found a good approach and a way to forge some meaningful through what Noah shares. The quote on his website from the Dalai Lama is a great place to start:
"Do not try to use what you learn from Buddhism TO BE A BUDDHIST use it to be a better whatever-you-already-are."

- Dalai Lama
Best of luck -


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Re: Help me find meaning...

Post by Heber13 » 04 Jun 2017, 21:13

SBR, that quote is so deep on so many levels. Thank you. I needed to read that today.

Orson, I love how you expressed that experience. It sounds very much like things Christ taught about losing yourself in order to find yourself. We have to be open to what our experiences in this life are teaching us, not try to cram them into a box someone else has framed for spirituality.

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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