How to be Genuine as a Non-literal believer...

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Beefster
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How to be Genuine as a Non-literal believer...

Post by Beefster » 19 Nov 2017, 10:07

I've realized this week that the church is my best chance at friendship and romance. I feel valued and appreciated in my ward. While I don't have a whole lot of friends yet, I can definitely make them eventually. My attempts at making nonmember friends have been dead ends thus far- most notably joining a paid membership singles club where few people are my age (most are in their 30s) I signed an 18-month contract, but I hope I can wiggle my way out, through some sort of loophole if necessary.

I have always hated the idea of belonging to a church I don't believe in and that's essentially the situation I'm finding myself in right now. It's going to drive me insane to try to keep the act up for too long, so that's not a permanent solution. I'm going to have to learn how to be genuine about it without drawing attention from the pharisees... or something like that. I really don't care if I'm unpopular as long as some people care about me and people aren't constantly trying to fix me.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: How to be Genuine as a Non-literal believer...

Post by Curt Sunshine » 19 Nov 2017, 12:13

There are a LOT of members who attend quietly, every week, are active on their own terms, within parameters they set, and are nowhere close to orthodox. Some hold temple recommends; some do not. Some pay tithing; some do not. Some hold callings (even leadership callings); some do not. Some give talks in Sacrament Meeting; some do not.

We have this all-in or all-out view sometimes, but, even in that mindset, we forget that "all" still is subjective. In reality, it always is "all-in to whatever extent each person can / wants to be". Our scriptures include MANY statements about, in essence, not running faster than our strength - and not being commanded in all things - and worshiping according to the dictates of our own consciences - and being agents unto ourselves - and on and on and on. Accepting that personal liberty isn't easy, but it is rewarding.

It isn't this simple, but, ultimately, you just need to show up, smile, serve, and speak Mormonese.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

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.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

DancingCarrot
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Re: How to be Genuine as a Non-literal believer...

Post by DancingCarrot » 19 Nov 2017, 12:51

Beefster wrote: . It's going to drive me insane to try to keep the act up for too long, so that's not a permanent solution. I'm going to have to learn how to be genuine about it without drawing attention from the pharisees... or something like that. I really don't care if I'm unpopular as long as some people care about me and people aren't constantly trying to fix me.
Everyone dislikes having to pretend to be someone they’re not, especially in places and around people they frequent regularly. My answer: stop acting. You’re not doing yourself or anyone else any favors by pretending to be someone you aren’t.

With that said, it also does sound like you’re still somewhat antagonistic or defensive towards people you perceive to be “Pharisees”, or perhaps “too” orthodox. It’s completely normal and good to want to be around people who support and value you, who you can reciprocate the relationship. However, if you’re only identifying people as Pharisees as those who don’t believe precisely as you do, then I’m not sure who’s left to befriend.

There are lots of different people all over the place. Making acquaintances usually doesn’t take too long. Making deep friendships depends on a lot of variables outside of your control, and takes a long time.



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It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. -Dumbledore

Roll away your stone, I'll roll away mine. Together we can see what we will find. -Mumford & Sons

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SilentDawning
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Re: How to be Genuine as a Non-literal believer...

Post by SilentDawning » 19 Nov 2017, 19:51

It's partly compartmenalization. I have just shut off my receptors to the whole dogma/doctrine/etcetera. I am mentally absent from much of the meeting content. The objectionable stuff that comes up sometimes is hard to ignore, so I will get up and leave and go to the bathroom or read in a room.

I participate in my little calling, helping others improve, and then go home. I focus more on the people and their talents and personalities. And then, having many outside interests also helps.
"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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DarkJedi
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Re: How to be Genuine as a Non-literal believer...

Post by DarkJedi » 20 Nov 2017, 07:13

I'm pretty much like SD. I have learned to shut out most of the dogma, tradition, culture, etc., because from my point of view it's just not true. If it starts to be too much I distract myself using my phone/tablet (usually reading scriptures, GC talks I like, researching topics of interest, and sometimes even visiting here). That's easier to do in SM than other classes. In PH I'm fairly successful at gently pushing back and often find allies (this worked very well yesterday when the topic of what others believe came up). I also distract myself there, and I have been known to leave - I try to be one of the first there and get a seat near the door.

We had a great SM talk yesterday from one of my favorite people int he ward, another free thinker. I was complimenting him afterward when another more orthodox member came up and also complimented him but said he (the guy giving the compliment) sees the Bible much more literally than the speaker. The speaker responded that it was perfectly fine, and they could disagree without being disagreeable. I interjected that it really didn't matter that one was more literal than the other because the moral of the story is the same, on which we all agreed.

I've said this here many times - being genuine or authentic doesn't mean one has to be totally and bluntly honest. I don't tell people I think are ugly and stupid that they're ugly and stupid. I likewise don't tell people who clearly don't understand a gospel principle such as grace as well as I do that they're wrong - I usually don't say anything at all or I gently express my opinion on the matter. This doesn't mean that I think we have to keep our mouths shut all the time, but sometimes we do need to shut our ears. And sometimes we have to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

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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Heber13
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Re: How to be Genuine as a Non-literal believer...

Post by Heber13 » 20 Nov 2017, 12:43

DarkJedi wrote:
20 Nov 2017, 07:13

I've said this here many times - being genuine or authentic doesn't mean one has to be totally and bluntly honest. I don't tell people I think are ugly and stupid that they're ugly and stupid. I likewise don't tell people who clearly don't understand a gospel principle such as grace as well as I do that they're wrong - I usually don't say anything at all or I gently express my opinion on the matter. This doesn't mean that I think we have to keep our mouths shut all the time, but sometimes we do need to shut our ears. And sometimes we have to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.
I agree with this...and that attitude is actually very genuine and kind. More genuine than blasting others with no filter on thoughts.

When I start to think how little I really think we know anything for sure...it makes it much easier for me to be at church just accepting what is going on, and others (whether they know it or not) don't know much more than me. We're all just genuinely doing our best. Perhaps we are all equally wrong about so much of it.

Bottom line....do I genuinely love others? That's all that matters.
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."

Roy
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Re: How to be Genuine as a Non-literal believer...

Post by Roy » 21 Nov 2017, 11:11

I also like the anthropologist approach. Pretend that you are deeply imbedded in a subculture of Amazonian Pigmies and they are doing a ritual. Would you find it offensive that these people believe that the ritual affects the weather or the harvest or the hunt or fertility? Would you try to stop the ritual and teach these good people the error of their ways?

Not so terribly different with LDS. We live among good people that have built their lives around the heritage and legacy that was given to them. It tends to make them good family centered folk, industrious, helpful, and moral. Just the kind of people that you might want your kids to hang out with. They also have some strange quirks. Anthropologists study groups of people, try to understand them, and appreciate their ways.

The second part for me is the build on common beliefs. I can teach a lesson about Job and say "What lessons can we learn from the story of Job?" or "The scriptures tell us ..." or even "Job cried out" and not be dishonest about my beliefs.

My comments will tend to come from a different direction than the orthodox. It is therefore more important that I not be confrontational, that I not comment all the time about everything, that I really do try to contribute something valuable to the lesson and not just try to contradict.
"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

AmyJ
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Re: How to be Genuine as a Non-literal believer...

Post by AmyJ » 21 Nov 2017, 12:20

Roy wrote:
21 Nov 2017, 11:11
My comments will tend to come from a different direction than the orthodox. It is therefore more important that I not be confrontational, that I not comment all the time about everything, that I really do try to contribute something valuable to the lesson and not just try to contradict.
This :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

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SilentDawning
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Re: How to be Genuine as a Non-literal believer...

Post by SilentDawning » 28 Nov 2017, 08:11

DarkJedi wrote:
20 Nov 2017, 07:13
I've said this here many times - being genuine or authentic doesn't mean one has to be totally and bluntly honest. I don't tell people I think are ugly and stupid that they're ugly and stupid.
Exactly -- I have long said this -- that being authentic doesn't mean you turn off your sensitivity filters. At work, do you tell your incompetent boss you think s/he is incompetent? Or do you show discretion and gentility and move on? That's how I see it in my relationship with church members.

At the same time, finding creative of ways of sharing unorthodoxy can be very therapeutic. I met with our new SS President the other day and he said before he starts doing the "extra" things I suggested we start doing as part of the SS "Presidency", he needs to get the basics down -- make sure people are showing up for classes.

I then went into how the savior said "the poor you will always have with you" -- when someone asked about money being spent on oil for annointing his feet. I said we shouldn't let the lack of commitment of members, or investing heavily in programs or fixing problems that historically, have only shown marginal improvement from such efforts. Teachers showing up for classes, hometeaching, or pushing theBishopric to move faster than they are willing are examples. These low-return initiatives should nto be allowed to interfere with developing our strengths and improving as a teaching organization. In fact, investing where our strengths are yields way more return per calorie invested than pointing them at weak areas, beyond a certain point. I had more examples, but I think he got the point.

In other words, don't let excellence in new initiatives die on the altar of mediocrity caused by systemic problem (like the wrong people in the wrong callings). He had just been released as EQP so I shared with him how as HPGL I once abandoned HT as a strategic priority, and focused on quorum-initiated/member-driven activities/passions within our overall church mission. How it was a phenomenal experience for the quorum, people started coming, visitors commented on how great the quorum us...etcetera.

In the course of that discussion I was able to share my angst about home teaching but in a way that was productive. I was able to share some of the chronically ineffective programs we have, and suggest a better, newer way (in my view). That was thereapeutic and not at all orthodox either.

And it was perceived as being positive in terms of my wanting to improve the Sunday experience. So, it wasn't as if I was anti-mormon or necessarily disloyal, So, I see unorthodoxy as a kind of fuel for doing good in those areas where as a church, the leaders are currently not focusing or may even be blinded by tradition and policy. Talk about engaging!

To me, that is a form of authenticity people can consider. Use your angst to fuel your engagement....there is a process to it (like saying No to callings in which you can't be authentic, but for me, it has worked very well.
"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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Heber13
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Re: How to be Genuine as a Non-literal believer...

Post by Heber13 » 28 Nov 2017, 12:35

SilentDawning wrote:
28 Nov 2017, 08:11
In the course of that discussion I was able to share my angst about home teaching but in a way that was productive. I was able to share some of the chronically ineffective programs we have, and suggest a better, newer way (in my view). That was thereapeutic and not at all orthodox either.

And it was perceived as being positive in terms of my wanting to improve the Sunday experience. So, it wasn't as if I was anti-mormon or necessarily disloyal, So, I see unorthodoxy as a kind of fuel for doing good in those areas where as a church, the leaders are currently not focusing or may even be blinded by tradition and policy. Talk about engaging!

To me, that is a form of authenticity people can consider. Use your angst to fuel your engagement....there is a process to it (like saying No to callings in which you can't be authentic, but for me, it has worked very well.
I agree. I also have shared those types of feelings in priesthood...things a little critical about the church programs and stuff...and get the comments back of people not attacking me, but more saying "ya...no duh...we all know it is not 100% effective and perfectly being practiced...home teaching is a constant struggle"....I think the discussion usually turns to "what should we do about it" more than just acknowledging the ineffective practices.

Usually you can share these feelings if you are moving towards a solution or how to improve it, not just complaining or tearing it down.
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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