How to ask in faith without feeling jerked around

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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dande48
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Re: How to ask in faith without feeling jerked around

Post by dande48 » 09 Feb 2018, 08:30

squarepeg wrote:
08 Feb 2018, 21:28
Do you think his definition of faith can be reconciled with the LDS definition, "if ye have faith, ye hope for things which are not seen which are true"? I feel like it can't! I also never could make sense out of that verse in Alma 32. If the things are "not seen" then how do we know they ARE true? It's like we are presupposing truths arbitrarily, not with an open mind, but based solely on what we HOPE is true.
A few thoughts. To re-frame it a little, I believe the LDS take faith to mean the decisive action you take geared towards a belief (which may or may not be true). But IF it is true, the rewards will pay off. "Faith is knowing the sun will rise...". "Faith is trusting in God above". You take actions as if those things were true, without really knowing. But just recently Televangelist Gloria Copeland encouraged said you don't need a flu shot if you "inoculate yourselves with the word of God". I remember Robert Tilton also made fantastical claims, stating that if you sent him your life's savings, God would cure you of any ailment. And there were several HUGE legal battles, where the children of the deceased sued Robert Tilton for convincing their parents to forgo life saving treatment, take out costly second mortgages, and ultimately ended up dying for their faith.

So faith only works if you act in accordance with a belief that turns out to be true. Alan Watts was referring to the Latin roots of "faith" (trust) and the old English roots of "lief", meaning "to prefer". Hence, belief is a a "knowledge preference" (confirmation bias), while faith is a trust. To have faith in God means to let go of our "knowledge preference" of Him. Does God exist? Does God have a body? Does God love us? We don't know these things. And that's alright. If there is a loving God in heaven, we'll know soon enough. If not, good is still good, life still has joy and meaning.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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dande48
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Re: How to ask in faith without feeling jerked around

Post by dande48 » 09 Feb 2018, 11:37

One more thing came to mind on my lunch break. Have you ever heard of the term "Wu Wei"? It's a Daoist term, first described by Lao Tzu in the 6th century. It translates to "not making an effort", but not in a slothful sense. Rather, it's the "intentional surrender of the will based on a wise recognition of the need, at points, to accede to, rather than protest against, the demands of reality."

Going back to faith, in term of Wu Wei, I think it might be useful to define it as "not knowing, and being okay with that".
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

squarepeg
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Re: How to ask in faith without feeling jerked around

Post by squarepeg » 23 Feb 2018, 09:14

nibbler wrote:
09 Feb 2018, 05:44

This is also where I see the "body of Christ" come into play. Alone, none of us can handle it all, we aren't perfect, but we can come together and when you sum up everyone's collective strengths and experiences you can say that we've suffered all that people can suffer and that means there's someone in the group that can succor us... or maybe by suffering we become that person for someone else.
I love this perspective on the "Body of Christ" concept. Thank you.

AmyJ wrote:
09 Feb 2018, 06:17

The principle that saved my sanity I learned here - I am not expected to "see" perfectly - in fact, I am expected to "see" darkly. The fact that I know see that I don't see everything clearly is a boon that was granted to me at the tender age of 28 (plus a few years). It also gives me the freedom to experiment to see what I do "see" and what works for me.
I can relate to this 100%. I sometimes feel lonely, though, when in a group of TBMs who all feel that they see perfectly and believe we have the fullness of the Gospel, while I'm alone in feeling that it's still and always will be a work in progress.

On Own Now wrote:
09 Feb 2018, 08:10

There is a thought among some modern scholars that the new testament concept of salvation which has traditionally been translated from Koine Greek into being saved by "faith in Christ" should instead have been translated to read that we are saved by the "faith OF Christ"... in other words, the way he handled it is what gives us power.
That's really interesting. I kinda like both interpretations.

dande48 wrote:
09 Feb 2018, 08:30

So faith only works if you act in accordance with a belief that turns out to be true.
Exactly. I just interpret the Book of Mormon definition to mean that if you have faith in something that isn't true, you don't actually have faith. Obviously people do have faith in untruths, or else nobody would send money to the scam artist televangelists, etc. So there is risk involved in having faith, because we don't know ahead of time whether our faith is in something true.

dande48 wrote:
09 Feb 2018, 11:37
Have you ever heard of the term "Wu Wei"? It's a Daoist term, first described by Lao Tzu in the 6th century. It translates to "not making an effort", but not in a slothful sense. Rather, it's the "intentional surrender of the will based on a wise recognition of the need, at points, to accede to, rather than protest against, the demands of reality."

Going back to faith, in term of Wu Wei, I think it might be useful to define it as "not knowing, and being okay with that".
I love that. This is what I do with certain of US government leaders who shall remain nameless. I try to use the spirit to discern when to protest and when to just let things be, because my energies need to be preserved or used elsewhere. I have a ton of room for improvement with that kind of discernment, however.

I apologize to everyone for the delayed reply on my part. I'm having brain surgery in a few days and have been overwhelmed with preparations for that over the past two weeks, arranging help with the kids, etc... :crazy: I so greatly appreciate everyone's thoughts.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: How to ask in faith without feeling jerked around

Post by Curt Sunshine » 23 Feb 2018, 11:37

Just to say it, faith is not believing the sun will rise. That is knowledge, since the sun has risen every day of every person's life, even if clouds obscured our view of it. Similarly, it is knowledge that says a light will go on when you flip a light switch. When it doesn't, knowledge explains why it didn't happen (the light burned out).

That is an important, even critical distinction, whenever faith is discussed. Even our youngest children in primary could grasp it if we taught it correctly.
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

squarepeg
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Re: How to ask in faith without feeling jerked around

Post by squarepeg » 23 Feb 2018, 11:55

Curt Sunshine wrote:
23 Feb 2018, 11:37
Just to say it, faith is not believing the sun will rise. That is knowledge, since the sun has risen every day of every person's life, even if clouds obscured our view of it. Similarly, it is knowledge that says a light will go on when you flip a light switch. When it doesn't, knowledge explains why it didn't happen (the light burned out).

That is an important, even critical distinction, whenever faith is discussed. Even our youngest children in primary could grasp it if we taught it correctly.
It seems like faith rather than knowledge to me, trusting that the sun will rise. Just because it has risen every day of my life until now doesn't mean it will do so tomorrow. The likelihood of it rising tomorrow is high but by no means known or certain. Same goes for the light switch: probability of it turning on the light is high but the outcome is not certain, so we can't know with certainty the outcome ahead of time.

I had faith all my life that a God-type being cared for me personally, because that had always seemed to be the case. Because it had always been the case, the probability of it continuing to be the case in the future seemed high and my faith seemed justified. Then I had an experience where I went for over a year of doing all that I understood was required and yet feeling no divine presence at all. So now my faith in that concept of God listening to my prayers or being "there" for me, is pretty weak, because in my mind the statistical likelihood of God being there for me tomorrow or the next day has decreased significantly.

I don't think that my faith is universally based on perceived statistical probabilities, but for certain constructs, it's hard for me not to allow my faith to be partially determined by my past experience.

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Re: How to ask in faith without feeling jerked around

Post by Curt Sunshine » 23 Feb 2018, 12:09

I don't want to derail this thread, so I simply will say that we both KNOW the sun will rise tomorrow. It is scientific fact. If we don't see it because of cloud coverage, we still know it rose. That might not have been true thousands of years ago, but it is true now. Also, if it doesn't rise tomorrow, we won't know it, because we will be dead.

The same goes for flipping a light switch. If the light doesn't go on, we know why - and we take action to fix the factual problem. We don't pray for the light to go on; we buy a lightbulb.

I am NOT trying to say anything other than it is important to use examples of real faith, not knowledge, when we create analogies to faith. What you shared in your last comment did exactly that - use a good example of what faith really is: belief in something experienced spiritually but not seen or provable physically.
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

AmyJ
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Re: How to ask in faith without feeling jerked around

Post by AmyJ » 23 Feb 2018, 12:21

squarepeg wrote:
23 Feb 2018, 09:14
AmyJ wrote:
09 Feb 2018, 06:17

The principle that saved my sanity I learned here - I am not expected to "see" perfectly - in fact, I am expected to "see" darkly. The fact that I know see that I don't see everything clearly is a boon that was granted to me at the tender age of 28 (plus a few years). It also gives me the freedom to experiment to see what I do "see" and what works for me.
I can relate to this 100%. I sometimes feel lonely, though, when in a group of TBMs who all feel that they see perfectly and believe we have the fullness of the Gospel, while I'm alone in feeling that it's still and always will be a work in progress.
Yup.

I mentally tell myself with the more extreme ones that a) they are talking themselves into it and we are the audience, or b) that is a part of their faith narrative they feel like sharing. Neither of those views means that I have to adopt it as my own. It also means that I have the responsibility as a divergent thinker to choose my words carefully - both in terms of accidently setting them off into a crises of their own, but also for my social self preservation.

I have been known to mentally chant "It's not that simple." over in my head a few times while they do their thing...

Roy
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Re: How to ask in faith without feeling jerked around

Post by Roy » 25 Feb 2018, 12:13

squarepeg wrote:
23 Feb 2018, 11:55
I had faith all my life that a God-type being cared for me personally, because that had always seemed to be the case. Because it had always been the case, the probability of it continuing to be the case in the future seemed high and my faith seemed justified. Then I had an experience where I went for over a year of doing all that I understood was required and yet feeling no divine presence at all. So now my faith in that concept of God listening to my prayers or being "there" for me, is pretty weak, because in my mind the statistical likelihood of God being there for me tomorrow or the next day has decreased significantly.
Just world hypothesis supposes that good things will happen to good people and bad things to bad people. It is likely to be held by people who have enjoyed healthy, happy, moderately sheltered childhoods.

People that experience hard childhoods would have a difficult time with this hypothesis. It does not match their lived experience.

As much as I was unprepared for the tragedy and hardship that befell our little family, I cannot blame my parents for giving me a childhood of relative safety, security, and love. We should all be so lucky.
"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 ask in faith without feeling jerked around

Post by AmyJ » 26 Feb 2018, 07:39

Roy wrote:
25 Feb 2018, 12:13
Just world hypothesis supposes that good things will happen to good people and bad things to bad people. It is likely to be held by people who have enjoyed healthy, happy, moderately sheltered childhoods.

People that experience hard childhoods would have a difficult time with this hypothesis. It does not match their lived experience.

As much as I was unprepared for the tragedy and hardship that befell our little family, I cannot blame my parents for giving me a childhood of relative safety, security, and love. We should all be so lucky.
I had an unconventional childhood --> I think some experiences were more extreme, and in some ways it made some things easier.

A) My parents were both only children of alcoholics who converted to the church. They also had 9 children.
B) My father was an agnostic as a teenager, and served a mission when he was 19. He was thrown out of his house for joining the church. My parents met about 2 months after my dad got back and my mom was not a member, but hanging out with member friends. They waited the year after my mom was baptized for my mother to be ready to go to the temple before they got married - even against their YSA bishop's advice because my father believed that they needed to be married in the temple - enough to make it worth the delay. They actually eloped to the temple in the next state over after the year was up. They are 38 years into being married.
C) The 3rd child born had a rare genetic defect flare up and wound up having 5 open heart surgeries. Growing up, there are 3 separate instances where she should not have survived the night. My sister was writing medical history as it were. She is still alive and mostly stable. Her heart functions as well as a 70 year old female's even though she is in her late 20's, so it is any guess what will happen next. She has undergone multiple instances of oxygen deprivation to her brain, so is mentally impaired. Had her heart worked properly from the start, she would have been very, very smart.
D) I grew up as the 3rd parent in a lot of ways, worrying about things my peers were not. But peer pressure was not a huge issue because I really didn't have peers to be pressured by. It was also easy to put my square peg in a round hole issue up to my family situation.
E) Part of our family narrative was that if you were living a righteous life, you should expect increased challenges because you were up to it. More or less the gospel of Job. There was a lot of "it is useless to compare your circumstances against others because the challenges you face are tailored for you, and the challenges they face (or lack thereof) are tailored for them. It is very likely that the things they struggle with are odd-jobs level easy for you and vice versa."

Roy
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Re: How to ask in faith without feeling jerked around

Post by Roy » 26 Feb 2018, 09:17

AmyJ wrote:
26 Feb 2018, 07:39
"it is useless to compare your circumstances against others because the challenges you face are tailored for you, and the challenges they face (or lack thereof) are tailored for them. It is very likely that the things they struggle with are odd-jobs level easy for you and vice versa."
I call this the "currant bush" theory because of the iconic talk by Elder Hugh B. Brown. It honestly appears to be a fairly stable paradigm to make sense of bad things happening to good people. It is mostly consistent with broader LDS doctrines and has been taught repeatedly from the pulpit.

I like to point out that this theory is not the only one in town. It appears to coexist with the idea of agency (bad people do things and God does not stop them out of respect for agency) and the randomness of a fallen world (why do people get sick or have birth defects? the random luck of the fallen world system of course).

In his powerful talk "tragedy or destiny" SWK states "Answer, if you can. I cannot, for though I know God has a major role in our lives, I do not know how much he causes to happen and how much he merely permits." I fully respect that SWK declined to endorse just one theory and therefore made room for multiple to co-exist.
"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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