Children with shelves

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
Ashley
Posts: 13
Joined: 03 May 2017, 22:21

Children with shelves

Post by Ashley » 04 May 2017, 16:05

(This is sheldons daughter, wife of the son in law)

As you all know the backstory, here is the rest...
After broken shelves all around, we are picking up the pieces and are adjusting to our new reality. While science and logic broke my husbands shelf, mine was the historicity of the BoM and first visions. And as fate would have it, we have a pre-teen daughter who unbeknownst to us, had a shelf that was as rickety as they come.

So after weeks of trying to figure Out if we should stay or leave, some weeks both of us wanting to leave, some weeks only me wanting to stay. I just couldn't picture a happy or healthy way to stay active for either of us unless we continued to live authentic lives. I understand that not everyone has the freedom to do this, or even wants to do this. But for us it's going to be the only way. As my husband puts it " it's just a club to me now" Even though this club is not what we once thought it was, it's hard to walk away. And to be honest, I'm just not ready to. Many tears have been shed as we have mourned what we once thought was the true church. We still feel decieved and are still healing in many ways. Having my father to talk to has eased the blow, and in asking him why he never told me the full truth! I have learned that there is no easy way to tell anyone the truth and shatter their world, and it's just as painful to be the one who delivers it. I now understand that he didn't want that for me, he didn't want me to bear that cross.

Deciding to try and live the " middle way" out in the open, we knew that meant we had to tell our kids the truth. We sat them down, glazed over basics like " what can church do" and" what church can NOT do" we came up with some good lists. After that we told them our truth, and I was so nervous that they wouldn't understand and would cry or get mad. I just started talking and blurted out " the BoM never really happened but it's still a good book" As soon as I said that our pre-teen daughter threw both hands in the air and exclaimed " I knew I was right! I just knew if it had really happened we would have found Evidence, any evidence at all! " Let me just say that she's not your average pre-teen girl, she's a mini Sheldon in both TV form and her grandpa. In that moment I knew we did the right thing, saving her the pain of having that heavy shelf her whole life until it finally would have broken. Our younger child didn't really care and just said " well I don't like church anyways" We also told them it's like Santa, some people just want to believe and we shouldn't ruin it for them. Sheldon Jr did say that the church isn't going to be able to keep this up much longer, that people are going to find out. Hope for the next generation!

We have also told most family and friends, we keep it as vague as possible, they don't know what we believe or no longer believe, only that our beliefs have changed. Our ward is also slowly finding out because we are getting love bombed :lol: little do they know that we are not going anywhere and we will be the ones raising our hands and correcting them during their lessons. The bishop wants to meet with us, it should go well as we are sticking to our outline of ambiguity, and he was scared to hear my husbands doubts to begin with.

We will see how far this takes us, and I'm sure our lives will not always be easy now that we are out, and I'm sure some TBMs will feel threatened by us and would rather we just left. I never thought this would be our life, One thing I was always certain of was our place in the church. It's a hard pill to swallow when you realize how judgemental you had been, and it was at the churches hands.

- has anyone stayed active while telling their children the truth? or anyone " outed" in their ward? I would love to hear any advice you might have for us.

I'm trying to remember this as I heal " You either get bitter or get better. It's that simple. You either take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you."

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Sheldon
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Joined: 14 Aug 2013, 13:44

Re: Children with shelves

Post by Sheldon » 04 May 2017, 17:15

Here is the first post where I talked about my daughter's husband.

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Reuben
Posts: 323
Joined: 05 Nov 2016, 10:04

Re: Children with shelves

Post by Reuben » 04 May 2017, 17:37

First of all, welcome to the forum! It's an awesome ward.
Ashley wrote:
04 May 2017, 16:05
Having my father to talk to has eased the blow, and in asking him why he never told me the full truth! I have learned that there is no easy way to tell anyone the truth and shatter their world, and it's just as painful to be the one who delivers it. I now understand that he didn't want that for me, he didn't want me to bear that cross.
These are good reasons. Another is the backfire effect: people tend to feel attacked and will dig in when presented evidence that contradicts their core beliefs.
Ashley wrote:
04 May 2017, 16:05
We have also told most family and friends, we keep it as vague as possible, they don't know what we believe or no longer believe, only that our beliefs have changed. Our ward is also slowly finding out because we are getting love bombed :lol: little do they know that we are not going anywhere and we will be the ones raising our hands and correcting them during their lessons. The bishop wants to meet with us, it should go well as we are sticking to our outline of ambiguity, and he was scared to hear my husbands doubts to begin with.
I have experience telling an awesome bishop, but I've read an awful lot of stories from people for whom it didn't go well.

The biggest danger is a power struggle. You probably no longer recognize your bishop's spiritual and moral authority. Your bishop does, and expects you to as well. This disparity is a good thing to keep in mind, but likely not a good thing to talk about with him.

Another good thing to keep in mind is that he does have organizational authority. Too many members forget this and get defiant, stick it to the man by sticking it to the bishop, etc., initiating the power struggle themselves. (I believe my brother did this.)

I think keeping it vague is a good move. Well-meaning members will want to fix you, but if they try, it'll just drive a wedge between you and them. If they don't have enough details, they won't know where to start.

If you want to have a temple recommend, check out the sticky thread at the top of History and Doctrine Discussions.

I don't have anything especially wise to say, just that I totally get how distressing this is. Keep on keeping on. Find peace.
My intro

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

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SamBee
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Joined: 14 Mar 2010, 04:55

Re: Children with shelves

Post by SamBee » 05 May 2017, 03:18

Isn't this shelf metaphor being a bit overdone?
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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LookingHard
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Joined: 20 Oct 2014, 12:11

Re: Children with shelves

Post by LookingHard » 05 May 2017, 06:34

Welcome Ashley! Glad to have you here. I really liked your post (you take after your dad as I like his most all the time). It sounds like you have your feet under you and you and your family will do fine despite some occasional bumps.
You also helped me a bit on my quandary of what do I tell my children. They are very soon to be all out of their teens. One came to me (but not his TBM mom) and has told me he has almost nothing of a testimony left, but is still being orthopraxy and “keeping it all inside.”
I do see myself needing to come a bit more clean with my kids, but I feel I need to let my wife get a bit past the shock of me coming out to her as a non-believer first. I also want to balance that with her getting mad if she ever feels like I pushed any of the kids out of the church.
Reuben wrote:
04 May 2017, 17:37
First of all, welcome to the forum! It's an awesome ward.
Are we a ward or just a branch? :) I know we have TONS of inactive members (lurkers ;-) ) so we are just like a ward. Maybe we should all contribute to an advertising promotion and get a billboard on I15 to increase our numbers? He he he
SamBee wrote:
05 May 2017, 03:18
Isn't this shelf metaphor being a bit overdone?
For many it is exactly the way it feels. But I acknowledge for those that the analogy doesn’t fit them it probably feels like, “come on..”
My pet peeve is using the term, “mental gymnastics”. I think a better term would be, “mental contortions.” Gymnastics generally are beautiful to watch and probably good for the gymnast when they do it good. Contortions just are painful for me to watch and I can’t think it feels good for the person doing it. But I could be wrong and the contortionist enjoys being able to make their body do what they do to it.

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SamBee
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Joined: 14 Mar 2010, 04:55

Re: Children with shelves

Post by SamBee » 05 May 2017, 06:54

I see mental gymnastics as stretching and flipping and landing in hard to reach places... but I admit that it is so entrenched in language as a saying that I barely give it a second thought.

The shelf thing doesn't work for me. And I have to admit it is beginning to become overused.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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dande48
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Joined: 24 Jan 2016, 16:35

Re: Children with shelves

Post by dande48 » 05 May 2017, 08:10

Welcome Ashley! So glad to have you join us. We love Sheldon. We think he's the Cat's Pajamas.

For me, shelving is the process of ignoring doubts that arise when faced with evidence that contradicts my world view. In doing so, I trust that my world view can be maintained, while the evidence I see is either inaccurate, or incomplete. This is seen in what psychologists refer to as "Cognitive Dissonance", the "Backfire Effect", "Doublethink", "Confirmation Bias", etc.

In the Church, this is often treated as noble. We've felt what we refer to as "The Spirit", which confirms the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and by extension, the whole Church. Therefore, any evidence contrary to the truthfulness of the Church, must be either incorrect or incomplete. And so we brush our concerns aside, trusting it will all make sense in the end.

With your children, the whole faith transition process is a painful one. No one likes to have their world crash down around them. It is far easier to ignore or refute concerns, no matter how legitimate. There will always be resistance. Love them. Be kind. Show them you understand where they are coming from. Emphathize. Best of luck on your jouney. The path isn't easy, but I can promise it will be worth it.

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mom3
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Joined: 02 Apr 2011, 14:11

Re: Children with shelves

Post by mom3 » 05 May 2017, 11:47

Welcome Ashley - what a month or so you have had. And yet thank heavens for a wonderful dad. Feel free to hang out all you want here. We have all types and enjoy the conversations.

On the kid side, we have both. Two who no longer attend - just like their dad. And one very active but aware daughter. We have learned a lot from each other. I think that is the key - learning. Some seasons of this transition are intense. Other times it is calm and you think it's done, then whoosh something comes in.

My inactive daughter recently mentioned that she missed camaraderie with the church. I was shocked, she hadn't had a terrific time as a teen. But she was remembering adults who had been wonderful to her. She had served as the primary music leader after Young Women's and really loved the kids, the songs, and the adults she worked with. None of it changes the validity of the claims, but I was glad that she carries sparks of good memory too. She made need the church in the future and some good feelings help if you need to head back.

Good luck. Check back. Glad to have you.
"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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Heber13
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Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

Re: Children with shelves

Post by Heber13 » 05 May 2017, 12:08

Welcome ashley! Good to have you here and thanks for sharing your story. I look forward to learning more from your posts.
mom3 wrote:
05 May 2017, 11:47
We have learned a lot from each other. I think that is the key - learning. Some seasons of this transition are intense. Other times it is calm and you think it's done, then whoosh something comes in.
I agree with mom3.

I think we want things to be final...like the church is true and so you just stay on the straight and narrow and endure to the end...straight forward. It's a nice vision to have. Then life happens.

On the converse, sometimes we think...I don't think the church is true...so I stop going and life will be less stressful. But then life happens and we think ...
mom3 wrote:
05 May 2017, 11:47
My inactive daughter recently mentioned that she missed camaraderie with the church
...and we often don't really know what to expect without the church and what life stuff is still there to deal with.

The important thing is to figure out...what do you believe in? What do you want for your family? How do you have traditions and spirituality and rituals to bind the family together beyond just drudgery of life? What vision will the children have growing up with more truth available to them?

We often say on this forum..."trade up". So...as the family goes through the changes...can you StayLDS and find the value in the staying...so it isn't just a chore to do to keep up appearances to others, but it actually has some utility for your daily life and worth the effort? Some of that is a choice on what to do next. Discard what wasn't working for you, and trade up to something better.

I believe the "middle way" is not feigning faith...but finding new meaning on what was old and previously shattered, re-engaging with a personal and unique faith that has meaning and purpose because the prior meaning has been lost to you.

Good luck...keep us posted. Good things are ahead when you find what works best for your family's peace and happiness...in whatever way works for you.
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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Heber13
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Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

Re: Children with shelves

Post by Heber13 » 05 May 2017, 12:29

SamBee wrote:
05 May 2017, 03:18
Isn't this shelf metaphor being a bit overdone?
I think it still fits for a lot of people, since this is how our brains work for things in life. I believe it works for multiple generations. I don't think it is overused.
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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