Bargaining - FC 5 Stages of Grief

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
Roy
Posts: 4558
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Bargaining - FC 5 Stages of Grief

Post by Roy » 25 Jan 2018, 10:50

Beefster,

Regarding parents, for me it would be important to show my parents that I was not acting irresponsibly. IF I was studying hard, getting good grades, not partying, holding down a part time job or internship, and trying to remain meaningfully connected to my community and faith tradition - THEN I would hope that my parents could cut me some slack for not attending every Sunday or not accepting just any calling and/or taking some responsibility for charting my own direction and path in regards to faith.

I would want to fight the narrative that I was just going through a phase or being a rebellious young person.
"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

university
Posts: 145
Joined: 15 Mar 2014, 17:19

Re: Bargaining - FC 5 Stages of Grief

Post by university » 25 Jan 2018, 17:55

Hi Beefster,
I've actually taken a step away from this site and from the Church, although I do still lurk the boards. I wanted to drop in and write a response because I can hear a lot of what I went through in your posts. I joined this forum I was a YA in college, and it's been a few years since I had my initial "faith crisis." I joined this community sometime after, and it helped calm me and slow down, a lot. When I was starting to understand the terrifying reality that it was possible my frustrations with the Church might never resolve themselves, I was scared that my mom would find out about me. It had a freezing point on me, spiritually, as at one point, I was afraid that my growing disaffection would literally kill her. So I was dealing with a lot of stress and pressure. I was so terrified I couldn't work through my own journey because my fears were always hanging over me.

It took time. I don't regret going slow, both for me trying to make the Church work/coming to terms with my feelings, and for slowly showing that I wasn't as TBM anymore (even though I kept things pretty close to the chest). It was the right thing for me and us. I remember one evening I almost spilled my guts to her, but I held back, and I'm glad I did. Even after I became more certain she'd survive my faith transition, or crisis, or whatever you'd want to call it, knowing the pain it would cause her and the strain it would put on our relationship still froze me, spiritually. I really love my mom, and I can sense the care you have for your parents, in your posts, as well.

I can't say that I'm fully, 100% out in the open with her about things now. There wasn't just one "coming out" moment for me and I'm glad I didn't do it that way. But I will say, for me, eventually my mom and I got to a place in our relationship where I could be more transparent. Once I stopped living in secrecy, and near obsessing about my relationship with my mom and how my lack of orthodoxy would hurt her, I could grow. I literally felt the weight lift off me. Also, I can't make any promises to you, but when she was ready, my mom really surprised me :)

I guess my point is, I'm not here to lead you away from the Church. You need to do what you ultimately want to choose for your life. However, I don't think your parents is a good reason for you to continue to stay in a very frustrating situation. In my experience, it took me a lot of time, but I eventually had to move away from lettings fears associated with my mom prevent me from exploring my spirituality on my terms. I'm not trying to tell you what to do, but I think it would be a shame to live your life doing things that stifle you because of your parents. I think everyone who goes through a faith crisis has a very personal, unique experience, but I think there some differences between members who want to stay for spouses and children, and those who more exclusively feel the pressure from parents. I think, whatever happens, whether you disengage, come back, make the Church work, renew your enthusiasm for the Church, whatever, it should be because of what you want and not because of fear. Of course, only you know and can set the pace and transparency for this. Good luck and wishing you peace on your journey!

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Beefster
Posts: 369
Joined: 04 Aug 2017, 18:38

Re: Bargaining - FC 5 Stages of Grief

Post by Beefster » 25 Jan 2018, 23:09

Thanks, university. It's good to hear something from someone who has been through a similar situation.

I think a lot of the reason I have a hard time staying engaged with the church in the face of "losing my faith" (I would prefer some other term that is more positive, but this is good enough to communicate what I mean) is that I can't bring myself to stay attached to it for social reasons. Just as when I was TBM, I would have never left the church over social reasons, I very much dislike the idea of staying for social reasons. I don't have a wife or kids to keep me "anchored" to the church, so the only thing that can keep me in is if it is consistent with my life goals. I'm not yet sure if it still is.

I also have a hard time with keeping up an act or putting on a face. I don't feel I have a lot of freedom to be myself within the church. It's not quite doing a dog and pony show, but I definitely do not like having to withhold the fullness of my personality. I wish I didn't have to put on a filter either, but I have a certain level of tact and respect for others.

But if I can find a way to reconcile my feelings and unorthodox beliefs with some level of engagement with the church and be willing to pay the price of withholding some authenticity for whatever benefit I get from church engagement, I'm set. I just haven't figured out what I really get out of the church. Sometimes, I feel like the church gets more out of me (in the sense of what I bring into discussions, not in tithing) than I get out of it. And that might be okay if it weren't so exhausting for something that is only occasionally fulfilling- and usually only a little bit when it is. Maybe I'm downplaying things. I dunno. At any rate, this all feels like an insurmountable task. I just hope that it isn't. Though perhaps that hope is merely motivated by my reluctance to do something that I believe will devastate my mom emotionally.

One thing I know for sure right now is that if I do end up leaving the church, I will not be getting my name removed because I don't see parting with the church as necessarily permanent. I plan on being amiable toward ward members and missionaries who try to "rescue" me- maybe even let them home teach me (as long as they're not too pushy)- and be real with them. Probably more candid than I am now, though maybe not at first. Irony is if I go inactive, it's possible people might actually home teach me. :P Perhaps I'm premature in this, but I've even set hypothetical boundaries for myself if and when the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity are no longer binding. Stuff like "never drink alone" and considering the possibility of pregnancy before having sex and placing caveats around that. I am not going to throw caution to the wind and will have a certain level of respect for what the church has helped me become. I do not regret, nor will I ever, a day of being active LDS, regardless of whether I am in or out.
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

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