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My strategy moving forward

Posted: 18 Apr 2018, 16:17
by longbottom
I am realizing more and more that, in order to exist in the "gray area" or Mormonism, I need to have a solid strategy in place, a "business plan" of sorts, for maintaining activity in the church while having such a new understanding of things now. First of all, specifically after what I've learned in this forum, I'm going to TAKE IT SLOW. I fully expect that this can be a years-long process for many, and my TBM wife, our family and our happiness is my main concern. It is SO IMPORTANT not to make hasty decisions when your world is crashing down! I also understand that change can happen much faster than expected, so I literally take it one day at a time.

So here's my strategy: Most important, I need to be able to be as authentic as I can be with my wife. This is proving to require a masterful balance of knowing what to reveal and when to reveal it. She is not ignorant about the shortcomings of the church and its people, but she is very TBM. I opened up and talked to her (I prepared notes in advance so I wouldn't lose focus) about a couple things last night. She is well aware that I am emerging from a recent serious crisis of faith, and I have been open to her about me wanting to make sure I choose the church with my eyes wide open - my need to understand the historical and doctrinal issues of the church, because I NEEDED to know the truth, no more guessing. She trusts that my search is sincere but is definitely worried because I'm sure she feels like I'm in dangerous territory (and she is undoubtedly right).

I started by telling her earlier in the day that I wanted to have a conversation with her, but that it was all very good things, and that she didn't have to "brace herself" for anything. Later, I started by telling her how much I love the church and have no intention of leaving it. It does an unbelievable amount of good in the world. I want to go to the temple with her to pray about the things I want to discuss tonight. I boiled it down to my coming to the conclusion that the vast majority of active LDS members do not live the gospel as it was truly intended. SHE AGREED. We have 2 adult daughters who are not active and I voiced my daughter's main concern to my wife: "The problem with active Mormons is that every relationship, every friendship or acquaintance, almost every conversation with someone else is based upon the frame of reference of 'Is this person an active member of the LDS church?'". For those, especially youth, who have vocal doubts or who leave the church, be design, usually feel DEVALUED by active members. That's because church culture has made this so, and church leadership encourage the behavior. This, I concluded, is fundamentally wrong and most members have it ALL WRONG when it comes to the actual reasons people leave the church, which I am so grateful to know now. She agreed again, with some TBM feel-good's thrown in. Fortunately, the spirit of the conversation allowed me to know that it was ok to bring these things up with her because she was generally agreeing with me all along.

I'm out of time for now...part 2 later, how it ended and my ongoing strategy.

Re: My strategy moving forward

Posted: 19 Apr 2018, 05:43
by AmyJ
Yay for Strategies and Success Stories! :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

I agree with the social assessment. I am striving to make sure that my social relationships are balanced properly so that if/when my transition becomes more common I am not socially out of luck...

Am I allowed to envy your openness with your spouse (in a good way)? :lol: :P

Re: My strategy moving forward

Posted: 19 Apr 2018, 09:06
by Roy
Sounds wonderful!

I do agree that LDS can be very clannish and insular. I loved that my DD had girls from various Christian churches, a Muslim, and a Buddhist at her birthday party. We are a very active family in the local community and our children are involved in various programs. I found it interesting that of all the invitations we gave out the response rate among the LDS was significantly higher (more than double) the response rate of other people.

I theorize that with that clannishness comes tight-knit, "close ranks" type social community. When someone from your LDS community invites you to their daughter's party you make a bigger effort to send your kids or explain that they have another commitment. Just ignoring the invitation is less accepted. One family even made arrangements to send a gift even though their children could not attend.

I guess my point is that there are both pros and cons to the LDS way of doing things. My stay LDS "business plan" is to maximize the pros while attempting to minimize the cons (which for me means managing my relationship with the church in a way that I feel to be sustainable.)

Re: My strategy moving forward

Posted: 19 Apr 2018, 12:37
by SilentDawning
I like the way you approached it -- you love the church, it does a lot of good, you plan to do the temple thing, but here are your concerns. Not really anti-TBM.

I like the idea of taking it slow. No one is in a rush to serve the pants off you in the church, I've learned that, or to meet your needs when you have doubts. So, don't rush the process of getting there. And the church will always be there. If you don't talk openly locally, no one will ever know your concerns, and you can just interact with people. Think about the triggers that cause you uncomfortableness, and deal with them at your leisure. I think people feel like they have a faith crisis, so they have to deal with it all at once -- that's not the case..

Re: My strategy moving forward

Posted: 23 Apr 2018, 15:51
by longbottom
Guys, I’m so sorry I haven’t posted part two yet, but we happen to be selling our home right now and I just can’t seem to get away from that. I do have a lot more to share, and have tried to keep up on the discussions that have been going on here. But one question: is it common to go back and forth in how you feel about the church, like, all the time? I know that I have foundational issues, but I keep going back-and-forth in my long-term strategy about whether I just want to stay LDS or leave. Maybe it doesn’t matter right now. Just for reference, I am a CEO who is well known to be LDS, and most of my friends and family are LDS. The complications with me leaving, I can’t even wrap my head around. It’s just a tough ride. Period.

Re: My strategy moving forward

Posted: 23 Apr 2018, 19:32
by Curt Sunshine
Yes, back-and-forth emotions are common. Go slowly and tackle things one step at a time. You will find a proper balance if you are patient.

Re: My strategy moving forward

Posted: 23 Apr 2018, 19:37
by LookingHard
Yes! I can't how many times I went back and forth between "I can do this" and "I can't do this".

My change in belief isn't a line, it meanders quite a bit.

And on different levels this is true. Other than a few topics I can now see that the church has a lot of "good" in it.

I used to kind of get ticked at myself because I couldn't figure it out / make up my mind. I am fine now with going with the flow a bit more and experiencing it all instead of feeling I need to be sure I am 100% correct.

Re: My strategy moving forward

Posted: 24 Apr 2018, 09:08
by Roy
People that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
There was a time when I misapplied this quote to the stages of grief. I was determined to do each step fully, to learn everything that I had to experience in that particular stage so that I could move on fully resolved and never look back. That was just how I was accustomed to solving problems. Like a formula - you keep getting the wrong result until you place all the numbers in the correct sequence. Then, like magic the door unlocks and you pass through on to the next stage.

My grief support group helped me to see that "grief work" does not quite work that way. Years later there can be a trigger that may return you to an earlier stage for a few hours, a day, or a week. It seems that part of the final stage of grief - "Acceptance" - is to accept yourself, accept your bad days along with your good days, and to accept your own non-linear path without blame or recriminations.