The Source of My Discomfort

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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Beefster
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Joined: 04 Aug 2017, 18:38

The Source of My Discomfort

Post by Beefster » 18 Mar 2018, 15:55

Church has recently become increasingly uncomfortable for me. I confirmed that the discomfort is caused by having to conceal my beliefs and hide behind a TBM mask. I found this out in Gospel Principles today when I stated that I believe that the Adam and Eve story is not literal. Damn that felt good.

I don't think I can thrive as a NOM. Not only do I not have sufficient social support from the church to justify participating without believing, but doing so requires putting on a mask every time I want to interact with members, which is exhausting and uncomfortable to me.

I'm not anchored to a family, so it's becoming increasingly clear that leaving the church for an indeterminate amount of time is the right path for me at this point. I admit that I may be wrong here, but this is why I am taking things slow and will give God every opportunity I can to steer me in another direction.

I will be watching GC with my best friend (who will be visiting me without his parents' knowledge - his mom is a helicopter parent who is a bit paranoid about travel) and will simply have one question to look for answers to: "If this is really God's church, why are there so many problems with it that I find deeply troubling?"
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

WholesomeRecreation
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Joined: 15 Jan 2018, 17:03

Re: The Source of My Discomfort

Post by WholesomeRecreation » 18 Mar 2018, 17:25

Thought provoking to see this. I had what I considered a good day at church today because I caught up with an old friend, enjoyed some of the sacrament meeting talks (on service), teacher training was a decent discussion, and in YM's I helped the youth set some goals. In my TBM day's it would have been nearly the perfect Sunday. Yet when I came home, I was surprised to feel completely wound up inside and needed to go for a walk, alone, to decompress. I wonder if it's similar- I have to guard my comments so that I can participate and try to be authentic, and yet the entire time I'm guarding all my words- maybe I just find it mentally exhausting... Not sure the cause yet.

I'm anchored by family so I'm not giving up yet, though...

Dkormond
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Re: The Source of My Discomfort

Post by Dkormond » 18 Mar 2018, 17:56

WholesomeRecreation wrote:Thought provoking to see this. I had what I considered a good day at church today because I caught up with an old friend, enjoyed some of the sacrament meeting talks (on service), teacher training was a decent discussion, and in YM's I helped the youth set some goals. In my TBM day's it would have been nearly the perfect Sunday. Yet when I came home, I was surprised to feel completely wound up inside and needed to go for a walk, alone, to decompress. I wonder if it's similar- I have to guard my comments so that I can participate and try to be authentic, and yet the entire time I'm guarding all my words- maybe I just find it mentally exhausting... Not sure the cause yet.

I'm anchored by family so I'm not giving up yet, though...
I had to walk out today in SS. The lesson was on marrying out of the covenant. I wanted to vomit when someone stated that marrying in the temple created a marriage to Heavenly Father. Give me a freaking break! I didn’t marry God I married my spouse, and any insinuation otherwise makes me sick. I find the whole notion of not marrying people outside the church isolationist and contrary to what Christ taught. Excuse me! Christ sent the gospel to all nations, Jew and Gentile. We are not the ancient Jews and if you think a temple marriage creates harmony you’re waaaay off. Honest open love between two people creates harmony God can bless that, but you don’t marry God. Sorry for the rant. I agree with all you have said. I want to scream out the truth, but I can’t.


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dande48
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Re: The Source of My Discomfort

Post by dande48 » 18 Mar 2018, 19:52

I've developed a habit, unfortunately, of not getting enough sleep Saturday night. I stress quite a bit about having to go to church the next morning, and a lot of that is the accumulation of bad expereinces, and the history of lessons and testimonies which seem to condemn me... and I feel like I'm too often setting myself up for "Church Failure". I expect a generally negative experience, and I end up psyching myself out, which snowballs into behaviors (sleep and diet), which make things worse.

The talks we had in Church bothered me a lot more than they should. The first was a missionary, testifying of the importance of obedience to your church leaders (his mission president). The second was on a guy who testifies on how we died and went to the spirit world, and came back. It was riddled with all kinds of... untraditional doctrine. And he said he was writing it down as scripture for future generations. The last man who spoke was a SP rep, who's main subject was "lift where you stand", do your home teaching, magnify your calling, etc (I turned down a calling and HT assignment, due to my lack of belief).

There's a lot of reasons why it rubbed me the wrong way. But the BIGGEST reasons I'm sure, was the vicious cycle I've gotten into of not physically taking care of myself the night before, and psyching myself out.

Beefster, if I didn't have a family who loved and truly believed in the gospel, I'd be tempted to do the same. I hope you can still take a few positive lessons with you, even if you disagree with the Church as a whole. Best wishes to you upon your journey.
"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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Beefster
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Re: The Source of My Discomfort

Post by Beefster » 18 Mar 2018, 21:58

I have my parents and siblings, but it's not quite the same as a wife and kids being thrown into the mix. I do wonder sometimes if this is something I want to do because it's easy or because I believe it will make me happier. But when I really take the time to think about it, it's clear that it is not the easier path. The easy path would be to stay in the church, but I could never feel right doing it unless I can manage to reconstruct my faith in a way that works for me. Maybe I'm a little shortsighted, but I just can't see that happening right now. Maybe it will someday, but right now, it's looking like it's my best course of action for my own wellbeing.

The decision is not yet final. I will not act on it until after conference. Something could happen in the next 2 weeks that changes my mind. I don't know what God has in mind for me, but I have been praying frequently for him to stop me if I really am making a mistake. I have been praying for others to have the gift of discernment to recognize my faith crisis and know what to say to change my mind. I have been praying for my heart to be softened. I may not be "putting in the work" as far as scripture reading goes, but in nearly every other aspect, it's something I take very seriously and something I work very hard toward resolving. Leaving the church may just by my only resolution right now and I am okay with that.

Thanks for the love and your best wishes. I really appreciate all the support I've gotten from everyone here up to this point. :smile: It may not be the same as in-person support, but I don't know what I would have done without it.
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

WholesomeRecreation
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Re: The Source of My Discomfort

Post by WholesomeRecreation » 20 Mar 2018, 19:11

Beefster wrote:
18 Mar 2018, 21:58
do wonder sometimes if this is something I want to do because it's easy or because I believe it will make me happier. But when I really take the time to think about it, it's clear that it is not the easier path. The easy path would be to stay in the church, but I could never feel right doing it unless I can manage to reconstruct my faith in a way that works for me.
I think you hit the nail on the head. I don't think any of us are looking for an easy path. I think we are looking for an authentic, fulfilling life and unfortunately the church no longer provides that. For me the easy thing would have been to never tell my wife and play along, and yet I would have been miserable. Instead I enjoy internal peace (no cognitive dissonance) and authenticity but the price for that is patience and support for a TBM-ish wife who is saddened and dealing with a calling that I have mixed feelings on.

AmyJ
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Re: The Source of My Discomfort

Post by AmyJ » 21 Mar 2018, 08:24

WholesomeRecreation wrote:
20 Mar 2018, 19:11
I don't think any of us are looking for an easy path. I think we are looking for an authentic, fulfilling life and unfortunately the church no longer provides that.
Or our illusion that the church as a social institution and organization provided it was complete and that it was a symbiotic relationship. Unfortunately, Stage 4 is not confined to the deconstruction of strictly theological beliefs. From my experience, my Stage 4 has been a complete deconstruction of my life narrative - with the church and doctrinal beliefs playing a hefty, but not the starring role.
WholesomeRecreation wrote:
20 Mar 2018, 19:11
For me the easy thing would have been to never tell my wife and play along, and yet I would have been miserable. Instead I enjoy internal peace (no cognitive dissonance) and authenticity but the price for that is patience and support for a TBM-ish wife who is saddened and dealing with a calling that I have mixed feelings on.
I don't have an easy path either way. I think I am OK with that because I did not expect an easy path.

I have told my husband some things, but I don't need to confide in him if it will only bring sorrow. I don't currently hold a calling, but I oversee the nursery when we are at church for all 3 hours. If they ask me to accept the calling I plan to say "No" - but that I will plan on tending the nursery children whenever we are at church for all 3 hours. If she does not see me at church, she will know to find someone else. If I have to leave after Sacrament, I will let her know before I leave (as soon as I know).

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SamBee
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Re: The Source of My Discomfort

Post by SamBee » 21 Mar 2018, 13:12

Literal or not literal, the story of Adam and Eve is best appreciated as metaphorical or a parable. It is a story about life and childhood.

Adam and Eve mean Man and Woman.

The film in the endowment is clearly not meant to be understood literally either.
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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Beefster
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Re: The Source of My Discomfort

Post by Beefster » 22 Mar 2018, 17:14

Beefster wrote:
18 Mar 2018, 15:55
I will be watching GC with my best friend (who will be visiting me without his parents' knowledge - his mom is a helicopter parent who is a bit paranoid about travel) and will simply have one question to look for answers to: "If this is really God's church, why are there so many problems with it that I find deeply troubling?"
I think I might need to revise this question or add another: "Is is possible for me to be authentic as a NOM? If so, how?" If the lack of authenticity is really the source of my discomfort and pain, then it's authentic or bust for me.

I've been feeling somewhat more okay in the last couple of days, but my objections are still there intellectually, so I don't really expect the feelings to last. There's only so much I can shrug off. I can shrug off a lot of things, but not truth claims or teachings that conflict with my understanding and relationship with God.
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

AmyJ
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Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: The Source of My Discomfort

Post by AmyJ » 23 Mar 2018, 05:29

Beefster wrote:
22 Mar 2018, 17:14
I think I might need to revise this question or add another: "Is is possible for me to be authentic as a NOM? If so, how?" If the lack of authenticity is really the source of my discomfort and pain, then it's authentic or bust for me.
In order to answer the question, you need to be able to define what "authentic" means to you.

I guess another way of looking at it is comparing being authentic to going to the beach and getting into the water. There are a lot of people who love going to the beach who never set foot in the waves - they build sand castles and run alongside the waves, and sunbathe. Are they having an "authentic" beach experience even though they have not set foot in water? Others go out to their knees, or waist and they are good. Still others are more interested in skimming alongside the top riding the waves or body-boarding. These people are getting into the water, but their main goal is not to stay in the water - but ride it back to the shore. Is their experience more or less "authentic" because they are in the water, but aren't staying in the water the entire time?

Part of "authenticity" may include meaning - which you may or may not get from the teachings and from the social circle of your ward/branch.

As near as I can tell, an important part of Stage 4 is breaking down what "being authentic" means to you, and looking at your life in pursuit of that.
Beefster wrote:
22 Mar 2018, 17:14
I've been feeling somewhat more okay in the last couple of days, but my objections are still there intellectually, so I don't really expect the feelings to last. There's only so much I can shrug off. I can shrug off a lot of things, but not truth claims or teachings that conflict with my understanding and relationship with God.
What takes the sting away from truth claims/teachings is I recognize that those are an important part of the collective (Stage 3) narrative. I step back to detach myself from the collective narrative to form my own narrative. That is a part of what happens in Stage 4. To me, part of being authentic is very much a "live and let live" philosophy.

Because God is defined in general by people in more black/white terms, the truth claims and teachings are going to reflect that. Intellectually I can understand how they got there, and I can choose to show respect for those narratives. Intellectually, I "don't know[believe] what I know[believe] in the now" - and am not 100% sure of my perceptions anyways, so I don't rock the boat and I just observe. Yes, there are a lot of details taught as truth that might merely be hedge laws or culture. I can be authentic to myself by not changing my newfound points of view just because everyone else is and presenting my opinion in common language and on common ground and in my decisions.

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