Root of my faith crisis - trust

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Beefster
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Root of my faith crisis - trust

Post by Beefster » 07 Apr 2018, 07:48

I had a long talk with my mostly orthodox best friend last night which helped me come to the conclusion that the root problem in my FC is that I no longer know who or what to trust.

I suspect this is a common thread in many, if not all, faith crises. Once your shelf breaks, so does all your trust of anything and everything. This leads to people closeting their doubts for fear of how loved ones and leaders might react (a history of families being torn apart by doubting family members and leaders applying harsh judgement certainly do not help this) which is probably more damaging than anything else. The whole "doubt your doubts" thing is well-intentioned, but unfortunately I think it also leads to preventing open discussion of doubts because it implies that the right thing to do is to dismiss your doubts as invalid. I don't think this is the intended message, but it's perhaps how it gets interpreted. Point is there is no safe space within the church to discuss doubts.

But my trust issues actually go both ways. I feel not only that the church is unworthy of my trust, but also that they never really trusted me with anything meaningful. This is at the root of my "marginalized singles" concern. Their mistrust of rank-and-file members is perhaps what drives them to hide their finances and whitewash history. They don't trust us with the truth. This, in turn, creates more trust issues.

Even if I stay, I don't think that trust can ever be fully restored. Even if they start disclosing their finances, the toothpaste is already out of the tube. Even if they discontinued correlation tomorrow, the damage of mistrust has already been done.

Who and what can I trust? I don't know.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Sometimes our journeys take us to unexpected places. That is a truly beautiful thing.

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LookingHard
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Re: Root of my faith crisis - trust

Post by LookingHard » 07 Apr 2018, 08:00

That certainly resonates with me. There are many that the main issue is that their trust has been lost with especially top church leaders. Patrick Mason has talked about this if I remember correctly in his book "Planted".

And with the last 2 weeks, I have moved from not trusting them to where I am trusting that they will always choose protecting what they see as the good name of the church over anything else - even ethics. There are those that will come to the church's defense saying any organization will protect itself. But to me it is "at what cost"? The church is stepping WAY over what I view as ethically defending the church. I actually think it would be better that they do what most corporations do when they screw up. They admit, take ownership, consider then implement changes. To be dragged into every little step forward is just a PR nightmare and makes the church look very defensive - which makes many wonder, "what else are they hiding?"

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DarkJedi
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Re: Root of my faith crisis - trust

Post by DarkJedi » 07 Apr 2018, 08:03

I agree that trust is a part of most faith crises because almost all of us here feel as though we had been duped at some level. And it is something I still struggle with.

And you also also correct that there is no safe place in the church to discuss doubts, questions, or other concerns. Although there are sometimes members or leaders who are open to such discussions, having an open group discussion is discouraged and often discouraging.

Just a little soapbox of mine: doubt your doubts is taken out of context and is the tiniest of soundbites. It is a fragment of the sentence it is in and a small part of that section of the talk which included at least two paragraphs, more if you look at the entire section as one part (and in the written talk it comes under the section heading "There Is Room For You" which includes several paragraphs). The first word of the very sentence in which it appears is "therefore...."
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: Root of my faith crisis - trust

Post by Beefster » 07 Apr 2018, 08:11

So it definitely wasn't DFU's intention! If only people would consider the importance of context.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Sometimes our journeys take us to unexpected places. That is a truly beautiful thing.

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dande48
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Re: Root of my faith crisis - trust

Post by dande48 » 07 Apr 2018, 10:45

I've got major trust issues with the Church... and really anyone else who claims revelation from or to speak for God. It feels dangerous. What has helped me, is to learn to trust individuals. Not organizations, not institutions, not positions of authority... just individual people, and individual principles, each judged on their own merit.
LookingHard wrote:
07 Apr 2018, 08:00
I am trusting that they will always choose protecting what they see as the good name of the church over anything else - even ethics.
VERY true. But I think they do this ultimately for the right reasons; they want the wellbeing and happiness of the human race, and the Church's authority is a strong beadrock. If the good name of the Church is besmirched, they will do anything to repair the damage, even at the cost of a few lives here or there. And as AWFUL as that sounds, that is true for just about every corperate, political, or even religious practice out there. There will ALWAYS be casualties. Ethical behavior is all about keeping those casualties down to a minimum.

It's like the classic Trolly problem.
There is a runaway trolley barreling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. However, you notice that there is one person tied up on the side track. You have two options:

Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track.
Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person.

Which is the most ethical choice?
Either way, someone is going to die, and it is going to be all your fault. Another example is the the whole justice and mercy system for dealing with serious sins in the Church. If you're too merciful, less people will follow the commandments. If you're too strict, many of those who have committed a serious sin will be too afraid and too ashamed to repent. You need to find a balance to help the most people, but whatever it is, there are going to be those who are lost from too little mercy, and those lost from too little justice. ALL of the ethical problems with the Church, including their preference for their own reputation, boil down to that fact.
"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."
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LookingHard
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Re: Root of my faith crisis - trust

Post by LookingHard » 07 Apr 2018, 15:42

dande48 - I get the parallels of the analogy, but it sure seems to me like innocent victims are being PUSHED onto the tracks a bit more than just the church leadership deciding which portion of people get hurt. They could be doing MUCH better than leaking character assassinations of the MTC victim that included confessionals. To me they are taking action.

I do think your trolley example is applicable to the top leaders of the church deciding "how much history to we admit was wrong?". I think Bushman has it right when he says:
I think that for the Church to remain strong it has to reconstruct its narrative. The dominant narrative is not true; it can’t be sustained. The Church has to absorb all this new information or it will be on very shaky grounds and that’s what it is trying to do and it will be a strain for a lot of people, older people especially. But I think it has to change.
In a matter of weeks they could have a website up that comes clean on the major issues covered up in church history and communicate to the church membership they should read this. I assume they don't want to do this as they will cause many to leave.

Plus there are people leaving now because the church is too anti-LGBQ AND there are people leaving the church and going to splinter groups (such as following Denver Snuffer). This has been going on since the church started. I just feel I was taught, "do what is right let the consequence follow" and I guess I believed it. There is that saying that some people leave the church not because they don't believe enough, but they believe too much. Maybe that is me - I bought what the church leaders told me. But that is victim blaming. I give that the finger now.

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LookingHard
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Re: Root of my faith crisis - trust

Post by LookingHard » 07 Apr 2018, 15:50

FYI - my bit of :twisted: is not directed at you. In fact I really enjoy your comments and they are a great part of the site.

I have to admit I am quite upset, both over the Bishop MTC mess and other local items that the church is really frustrating me. And about 6 months ago I was feeling the turbulence was calming down. Maybe that is a sign that it is time for me to move on.

But I wanted to make sure you didn't feel attacked.

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dande48
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Re: Root of my faith crisis - trust

Post by dande48 » 07 Apr 2018, 18:46

Offense never taken, LH. ;) I see where you're coming from, and feel much the same way. I am none to pleased with how they handled the MTC situation, and many others (including myself). Just playing the Devil's Advocate.
LookingHard wrote:
07 Apr 2018, 15:42
...it sure seems to me like innocent victims are being PUSHED onto the tracks
That was part two of the trolly problem. You're on a bridge overlook, above the trolly tracks, next to a really fat man. The trolly is barrelling towards the five victims, but you're confident the fat man's weight would be more than enough to stop the trolly. Do you push the fat man? One thing I like about the whole "Trolly Senario" in ethics, is how much in can expand and contract to answer some very difficult questions. For example, if one of the victims is someone you know, does the answer change? Change it to an office, management, PR senario. Would you through two other subordinates "under the trolly" to save your own career? It's not just the three of you involved, it's your families well-being as well.

Objectively, I think we can all agree that Christ was the greatest religious leader who ever lived (or at the very least, one of). But from a secular standpoint, He was one of the biggest losers. He only got three years of preaching about goodness and kindness, just to be betrayed, abandoned, and crucified. Most good, ethical leaders fail in much the same way. Same with most good organizations. Sometimes survival and ethics clash. What route do you choose? You can't do much good if you're dead.

The Church's survival is dependant on its reputation. Slandering the MTC victim, blatantly ignoring Church History, excommunicating practicing homosexuals, failing to admit fault, hiding their finances... all of this seems VERY unethical. And for you or me, it's relatively easy to say they should do the right thing. A lot of us would give our lives to do the right thing. But the Church deals with millions, maybe even billions of souls who are all on the line. I wouldn't be willing to push a fat man onto the "trolly tracks" to save five. But might be willing to push 1 million onto the tracks to save 5 million.
"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."
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nibbler
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Re: Root of my faith crisis - trust

Post by nibbler » 07 Apr 2018, 18:59

Yes, a faith crisis resulted in me trusting church leaders less. That meant I had to place more trust in myself.

Pre FC I placed far too much trust in church leaders/man and not enough (if any) in myself. Post FC I may have swung the opposite direction, placing too much trust in myself/man, and not enough (if any) in church leaders.

There's a balance in there somewhere. My thing where I say, "no god is an island" and convince myself that means something. Why discount any source out of hand, even if that source is ourselves? The bottom line is that we are a part of the universe that surrounds us, we can't exist independent from it, but I suppose that doesn't answer the question of who or what to trust.

Oh no, here I go...

First I suppose we need to answer the question: Trust with what?
  • What to believe?
  • Personal safety?
  • With our money/time?
  • With our most intimate versions of ourselves?
  • etc.

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Beefster
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Re: Root of my faith crisis - trust

Post by Beefster » 08 Apr 2018, 08:40

LookingHard wrote:
07 Apr 2018, 15:42
dande48 - I get the parallels of the analogy, but it sure seems to me like innocent victims are being PUSHED onto the tracks a bit more than just the church leadership deciding which portion of people get hurt. They could be doing MUCH better than leaking character assassinations of the MTC victim that included confessionals. To me they are taking action.

I do think your trolley example is applicable to the top leaders of the church deciding "how much history to we admit was wrong?". I think Bushman has it right when he says:
I think that for the Church to remain strong it has to reconstruct its narrative. The dominant narrative is not true; it can’t be sustained. The Church has to absorb all this new information or it will be on very shaky grounds and that’s what it is trying to do and it will be a strain for a lot of people, older people especially. But I think it has to change.
In a matter of weeks they could have a website up that comes clean on the major issues covered up in church history and communicate to the church membership they should read this. I assume they don't want to do this as they will cause many to leave.

Plus there are people leaving now because the church is too anti-LGBQ AND there are people leaving the church and going to splinter groups (such as following Denver Snuffer). This has been going on since the church started. I just feel I was taught, "do what is right let the consequence follow" and I guess I believed it. There is that saying that some people leave the church not because they don't believe enough, but they believe too much. Maybe that is me - I bought what the church leaders told me. But that is victim blaming. I give that the finger now.
There is actually a variant of the trolley scenario where the trolley is barreling down the tracks without working brakes and you can push a fat guy off a bridge onto the tracks to slow down the train just enough to save the lives of the people on the trolley car. Most people, understandably, are not willing to push the fat guy onto the tracks even though it saves lives.

My friend tells me that character assassinations of the victim are common practice for lawyers. That doesn't make it right and such a justification would be an appeal to normalcy. It says something about the practice of law as a whole and it still speaks badly on the church to not stand firm against something so unethical, no matter how common it is.

I think all sexual abuse accusations should be taken seriously and that the overwhelming majority of them are legitimate, especially the first accusation when there are many. Something can be said about people confusing regret for rape and people chiming in with false accusations to get attention, but both are probably less common than conservatives make them out to be.

The church can rebuild trust by trusting us with challenging information, including history and financial audits. They can trust us by giving wards and stakes more autonomy (which would help with international relations). They can show they trust us by listening to our ideas and objections instead of flippantly dismissing them because they're "led by revelation" and "when the prophet speaks, the debate is over." If it really is the "one true church", they should have no fear over difficult information; there is no lie to be caught in. Abinadi, Alma&Amulek, and other prophets were brought before lawyers trying to get them to cross their words, yet they never could because they had a truth that was logically consistent. It's only when you have no leg to stand on when you start having to avoid the lawyers and hard questions. And yet that's what I see: church leaders avoiding hard questions and making concerted efforts for targeted PR.

The new ministering program is a step in the right direction. So were the Joseph Smith Papers and the gospel topics essays. The problem with these is that it is doing too little too late. It might help to inoculate from future disaffection, but only in small part.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Sometimes our journeys take us to unexpected places. That is a truly beautiful thing.

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