I've decided I will be opening up to my bishop

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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DarkJedi
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Re: I've decided I will be opening up to my bishop

Post by DarkJedi » 25 Mar 2018, 15:37

Well said, Mom. I've actually tired of telling people what you said about every one of them going wrong - but it has been my experience as well. Some are much worse than others, but they do all go badly.
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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Beefster
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Re: I've decided I will be opening up to my bishop

Post by Beefster » 25 Mar 2018, 15:56

So I'm actually going to be backing out of telling my bishop. It's not that I'm getting cold feet, but that I feel I need to engage with the church just a little longer and that it simply isn't the time. I'm still going to ask to be released.

What changed my mind: the former EQP was handing out wedding invitations after church and gave me one on my way out of the building. He always appreciated my semi-heterodox statements and loved the talk I gave. I may not know him well, but I feel I may be able to trust him with my faith crisis as a frienquaintance. Anyway, I think it might be best for me to push back my "decision day" to the day of their reception. (I would go to their sealing, but it's in Spokane and I probably wouldn't be invited anyway cause I'm not that close to either of them. I'd love to go visit my mission and all, but I don't get paid time off with my current job, so it's not going to happen.)

I need to open up to my parents. I know they will be sad/disappointed and possibly even angry, but I can't live like this anymore. I have been acting very strangely because of feeling like I need to hide my FC from them. They they probably won't be able to help, but I can't be authentic with them because I have to hide my doubts from them. The church comes up a lot in my conversations with them, so I have to dodge questions. I've vocalized many of my concerns somewhat, but it has been more of a "I don't think the church should do X this way" or "I wish the church did Y".
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

Roy
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Re: I've decided I will be opening up to my bishop

Post by Roy » 25 Mar 2018, 15:57

DarkJedi wrote:
25 Mar 2018, 12:08
I actually do see bishops, etc. as representing the church organization. I do not see them representing the gospel or God. Either way, as you say I don't see them as having any real influence. I once shocked a bishop by telling him he only had as much influence as I let him have - just like Satan.
I suppose I should qualify my statement. I might be inclined to seek an apology, or acknowledgement, or validation from the church. I do not believe a bishop could give that to me. If the bishop was amazing acknowledged and validated all of my concerns over the messiness and even somewhat deceptive practices of the organizational church even going as far as to apologize for the hurt of my experiences - does that mean that the church acknowledged, validated, and apologized. I do not believe that it does.

To say it another way, when the bishop is following the church handbook, sitting in disciplinary counsel, performing tithing settlement, worthiness interviews, etc. then the bishop is acting as a church representative. When he deviates from the stated directives and policy then I believe he is acting on his own accord and not as the church representative.

Therefore I believe that the answer to whether a bishop represents the church is yes, no, and it depends.

I think of what I might like to get out of a "all cards on the table" meeting with my bishop. I feel that my bishop just does not have the authority give me what I might like to have - like an apology. But he does have the authority to deny me church privileges. :sick:
"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

Curt Sunshine
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Re: I've decided I will be opening up to my bishop

Post by Curt Sunshine » 25 Mar 2018, 16:44

If my coming out makes it hard for me to return should I decide to do so, it rests on their shoulders, not mine.


No. You are responsible for your actions and, to a degree, the reactions you can assume reasonably. Of course, ultimately, others are responsible for their own actions, but if, for example, you push someone into a corner, you have to expect them to fight to get out of it - or if you flirt openly with another man's wife, you have to expect he might become aggressive - or if you slap someone else's child, you have to expect they might take a swing at you or call the cops - and on and on and on. How they react is every bit as much on you as it is on them - and, sometimes, it is mostly or completely on you, IF you reasonably can expect their reaction.

You staying or leaving or leaving and then returning does not rest on their shoulders. It rests squarely on yours.

That might sound harsh at first, but it is important to understand. It is the Book of Mormon concept of being an agent unto yourself, and it is critical to personal peace and confidence in this journey.
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

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mom3
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Re: I've decided I will be opening up to my bishop

Post by mom3 » 25 Mar 2018, 18:35

Authentic is an interesting word. Every person is multi faceted. Our better sides and our worst side make us up. The two don't perform simultaneously. To be authentic you have to show all of you. Not just the hurt side.

I used to marvel at my mom when I was a kid. She could be so mad at me, and totally friendly to the neighbor. If she was mad at me, I expected her to be the same to the neighbor. Not until I was older did I understand. The neighbor hadn't done anything. Was my mom being duplicitous? No. As a kid I thought she was. Like her happiness was hypocritical.

When faith transition people come out, we are usually still at a very raw point. We can barely separate the hurt in our heart from anything else. Every movie, song, even sunny day is effected by our pain. This carries over into our human relations. Your parent's didn't cause this. They won't understand or even perceive the world you see. All it will feel like is a stab in the heart.

I am not asking you to lie or anything, but think very carefully. Every one of us here, walks the same tight rope. Many of us have spouses we yearn to have feel our pain. We have to choose. You have the luxury of sharing your pain gently.

If it is so important to you, perhaps give them the book Planted by Patrick Mason or The God Who Weeps by the Givens. Let them have time to consider a paradox change, without you being that person.

I was the believing spouse who got the come out to. It hurt like the biggest betrayal life could offer. We spent years battling, strained, struggling to war through it. Both of our pains were real - but on opposite ends of the spectrum. Someone had to release the hold on their pain first. As Curt pointed out the only life you are in charge of is yours. If you hurt them - you can't fix it. No way, no how. I get your desire - but take long walks, write out your pain on paper with a pen, then throw it out, take up gym time, start a new hobby. Give this 6 more months. You owe it to all of 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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Beefster
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Re: I've decided I will be opening up to my bishop

Post by Beefster » 25 Mar 2018, 20:38

For me, authenticity and engaging with the church really just means I won't pretend I'm in the boat if I'm not. I have to have a minimum common belief to feel right about being in the church. It's nice that I'm single because I can engage on my own terms.
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

university
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Re: I've decided I will be opening up to my bishop

Post by university » 25 Mar 2018, 21:04

Hi Beefster,

As a YSA who is now an inactive non-believer some of TBM theology, I thought I'd comment:

First of all, I feel like I've been in a similar place. There was a time when I realized that keeping my struggles to myself was stifling me and my intimate relationships with other people. From my perspective, I get the sense from your posts that not sharing your current thoughts and feelings about the Church are putting you in a similar place. I think you know best about this, and putting yourself in spaces, or opening up a little bit with people, will allow you to feel a little less stifled and grow spiritually, and better yet, help you find out what you want for your life right now (spiritually speaking). However, I will say what is kind of a motto with this site: go slow.

Like others on this thread, I strongly encourage you not to "come clean" with a letter or even try to full-on explain all the reasons you're at where you're at. Can I ask what you hope to get from this?

I know that it might feel empowering in theory--it sounds great to finally just lay out who you are and where you're at and why---and it may even give you temporary relief--but there are long term consequences to this that will be overwhelmingly unhelpful. Besides what others have mentioned, you are inviting others to judge very personal and powerful aspects of your story. When you throw it all out there to a TBM, it’s likely you are hitting them with issues you have spent significant amount of time mulling over, when they might have ever thought of/heard of or are that bothered by. Additionally, these questions already have significant emotional meaning to you, when they don’t to others. This is a recipe for misunderstanding and clashing, imo.

If church participation is stressing you too much for you to handle, then disengage a little. This does not have to be all-or-nothing and just from my experience, I don’t think putting a timetable on when you have to decide if you’re leaving is going to help with the pressure you’re feeling right now. I think that ups the stakes and puts you under more pressure, especially when you’re backing away from living a very active life in the Church to leaving cold turkey.

Also, I’m just going to come out and say from my experience, I don't know if it's really possible to fully "leave" Mormonism if that's how you've grown up. Even if you do ultimately decide to "leave" the Church, your family will be in it and you cannot completely cut off the Church's influence in your life without cutting out them. It’s up to you to find the appropriate balance. It’s much different than the Church's illustration that you are either in, out, or a fence-sitter, the reality is that it flows. There are so many different "activity" statuses that fit different belief systems in the Church. So please, don’t burn bridges. As always, I’m only speaking from my experience. You know your situation and yourself better than any of us do.

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mom3
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Re: I've decided I will be opening up to my bishop

Post by mom3 » 25 Mar 2018, 23:56

Nicely written and shared University.
"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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