Letting Go

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
JAC
Posts: 33
Joined: 17 Dec 2014, 13:57

Letting Go

Post by JAC » 08 May 2018, 10:07

I had an unexpected experience last week that I have to share. Thus far I haven't told anyone, so I'm turning to this group knowing you guys are safe to share this with. I've lurked on this site for several years and am grateful for all your perspectives. Thanks to all of you that post regularly.

My faith transition began over four years ago (read my intro) and it propelled me to become a much better person. I made many positive changes in my life to be a better mormon so that God would give me a tesimony of the church. I became temple worthy and began attending the temple weekly in hopes that he'd show me it was true. I have since found myself in a position in the church that has garnered a lot of respect and trust from the members of my ward and stake. In public and in secret I have been the model Mormon.

My testimony of Jesus Christ has grown immensly over the past four years, but unfortunately my testimony of the church has not. I love the church and want it to be what it claims to be and I have clung to and defended it despite my doubts. I had chosen to believe it was true.

Last week I was praying on my way to work and I finally said out loud to God that I am pretty sure the church is not true. It was strange saying those words out loud and finally admitting what I've felt in my heart over the years. Since that experience I have felt like a large burden has been removed from my shoulders. I feel like I finally let go of something that had been holding me back. I feel free. I had finally chosen to believe it was NOT true.

Since then I have been in a perpetual good mood. My wife has commented on how chipper I've been. I didn't realize how badly the cognitive dissonance had been dragging me down until now.

This whole experience is still so surreal for me. I'm a life long member that has always been active in the church and I never thought I would find myself in this situation. My life has always revolved around the church and I am now left to ponder where to go from here. Leaving the church does not seem like the best course of action right now, if ever. I still love the church and the members I associate with. Leaving would cause a huge rift in most of the relationships I have, including my marriage.

However, staying in the church will require me to live a double life, which I don't much care to do. On the surface I'd be a TBM, but secretly I wouldn't believe. Also, I have to wonder if I am doing my children a diservice to allow them to grow up believing in something that isn't true.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. What advice do you guys have for me?

EDIT: I realized after the fact that my introduction post doesn't exist on staylds. I'm pretty sure I had posted one a few years ago. Was it deleted, or am I mistaken? Either way, I feel bad that it isn't there. I'll post one in the near future.

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LDS_Scoutmaster
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Re: Letting Go

Post by LDS_Scoutmaster » 08 May 2018, 11:09

Thanks for sharing JAC!

I think you can find a way to be honest in the church and still feel the way you do about what truth is.

In one sense the great thing about the church is you can believe what you want to believe once you get past the cultural expectations. There are somethings that may have to change and that depends on leadership that you have to deal with. If I want to believe that the holy ghost is my heavenly mother, I can. If I want to believe that the book of Mormon is a non historical book, I can.

I am an agnostic when it comes to 90% of what the church teaches. I find a huge value in what belonging to a tribe offers for me and my family, and many of the things the church promotes as their own doctrine are beautiful.

Let your spouse in on your views slowly, it can be quite a shock to hear that they perceived one thing about you, only to find that perception shatter.
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6311&start=70#p121051 My last talk

We are all imperfect beings, dealing with other imperfect beings, and we're doing it imperfectly.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Letting Go

Post by DarkJedi » 08 May 2018, 11:25

Letting go, especially letting go of guilt and stress, has great value. And it can be done as you indicate.

So you don't believe the church is true and the only choices are therefore are stay or leave. The thing is, it doesn't have to be one or the other, it's not all black and white. Not only do I not believe the church is true (or at least not any more or less true than any other church), I don't even know what the heck that means. There's not just orthodox or unorthodox, there's also heterodox and within those doxes (and other doxes there might be) there are many, many shades of doxy. I kind of like the black and white TV analogy, but it really only works for those of us old enough to remember it because even if you do watch Andy Griffith on TV Land it's not enough. But nothing was really black or white (especially white) on black and white TV - everything was really gray of differing shades. While I think those of us who have been through a faith crisis can actually see the color, the reality of the world for most people is they don't see the color - just the gray that they think is black or white.

I've have been enjoying reading Fiona and Terryl Givens The Christ Who Heals. The church of Joseph Smith's day encouraged thinking outside the box and encouraged individuality. There are pockets of the church that are like that today, and there are more members than we think who are open to such thinking and individuality.

Just because I don't believe the church is true doesn't mean I have to broadcast that from the pulpit or say anything to anybody at all - they have their beliefs, I have mine (the 11th AoF doesn't specify that it's only about non-members and in fact it says "all men"). Together we can talk about what we mutually believe - God lives, Jesus is the Christ, etc. You're not being inauthentic if you don't tell someone who you think is fat and stupid that they're fat and stupid.
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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LookingHard
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Re: Letting Go

Post by LookingHard » 08 May 2018, 11:26

I too have had that peace after the dark night of the soul. It is a great relief. It lasted for a while, then I decided I need to take a different path than you are choosing. Rather than "how do I stay?" my question is, "how do I backout of full activity?"

As far as my kids (mine are mostly out of the house), I look at it that the church does do some things good. As a parent I can have a few comments and give my kids room to think for themselves. I told each of my kids about the Nov 2015 policy and I told them I think it was a huge mistake. Get comfortable being a cafeteria Mormon and be able to say, "I don't feel that I feel God would say that" and make it almost a casual comment.

It isn't an easy road to walk, but some have figured out how to do it. I might suggest you listen to a bunch of Dan Witherspoon on his Mormon Matters podcast.

Roy
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Re: Letting Go

Post by Roy » 08 May 2018, 14:11

JAC wrote:
08 May 2018, 10:07
However, staying in the church will require me to live a double life, which I don't much care to do. On the surface I'd be a TBM, but secretly I wouldn't believe.
Sustainability and boundaries are the buzzwords that I live by.

Sustainability -

What are the minimum outputs that I can expect from the church? Things like civility, youth programs, a fairly comfortable and safe ward building, an environment where my children do not feel bullied or harassed. etc.

This also helps prevent me from feeling betrayed or taken advantage of by the church because my minimum expectations are pretty basic and achievable by all but the most hostile and toxic of wards. Most wards will do provide more than my expected minimum and that overage is gravy.

What are the inputs that I feel that I can continue to give for the foreseeable future even if the church does nothing more than the expected minimums?

Boundaries -

The difference between what the church asks or expects and what I am prepared to give are my boundaries. For me this includes attending church but not every Sunday, it includes accepting a calling but not every calling, it includes giving a charitable contribution but not 10%.

Because my path of sustainability will be seen as less than committed by many of my church fellows I must employ additional boundaries to insulate myself from their disapproval. The opinions of others are none of my business. Should they try to impose their opinions, as sometimes happens, then I employ a number of deflecting mechanisms. One of my favorite is to smile sincerely, thank them for their concern and shake their hand.

These twin principles of sustainability and boundary setting allow me to enjoy a degree of autonomy in my relationship with Mormonism.
"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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dande48
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Re: Letting Go

Post by dande48 » 08 May 2018, 16:04

There's a long road ahead, Samurai Jac. But I think it's in good direction.

Here's my thoughts:
-Don't remove your name from the records of the Church, if you can bare it. Keep options open.
-Permit yourself to change your mind. There is no shame in being wrong, only on insisting you were right when you know otherwise.
-Since you believe in Christ, but don't believe in the Church, you need to figure out what He'd have you do. Not sure if you're drawn to other denominations, but TBH, they're all trying to figure things out just like the LDS. "Truthfulness" shouldn't matter as much anymore, as goodness and usefulness. Maybe the LDS Church can bring the most goodness to your life and the life of your family. Or maybe not.
-Don't exchange one master for another.
-Set your own terms, and don't let local leaders bully you.
-Be extra kind and empathetic towards your wife. It'll shatter her world. Make sure she knows you love her, and are committed to her through and through.
Last edited by dande48 on 09 May 2018, 06:38, edited 1 time in total.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Letting Go

Post by Curt Sunshine » 08 May 2018, 22:10

I am fully active. I serve in a Bishopric right now. I am a temple worker - and I was a temple coordinator before my schedule made it impossible to continue doing that. I see quite a few things differently than most members, but there are FAR more unorthodox members than most people realize, and most of them don't live a double life in the way you appear to mean it.

I don't live a double life. I am me. I speak Mormonese, and Inlive a Mormon life. In all of that, I am true to me.

How that will look for you might be different than how it looks for me - but life isn't black or white, all or nothing, completely transparent or hypocritical.

If anything, your recent experience can teach you that - if you let it.
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: Letting Go

Post by mom3 » 08 May 2018, 22:34

Here's my thoughts:
-Don't remove your name from the records of the Church, if you can bare it. Keep options open.
-Permit yourself to change your mind. There is no shame in being wrong, only on insisting you were right when you know otherwise.
-Since you believe in Christ, but don't believe in the Church, you need to figure out what He'd have you do. Not sure if you're drawn to other denominations, but TBH, they're all trying to figure things out just like the LDS. "Truthfulness" shouldn't matter as much anymore, as goodness and usefulness. Maybe the LDS Church can bring the goodness to your life and the life of your family. Or maybe not.
-Don't exchange one master for another.
-Set your own terms, and don't let local leaders bully you.
-Be extra kind and empathetic towards your wife. It'll shatter her world. Make sure she knows you love her, and are committed to her through and through.
This.

Side note - What is true about the church? Was it true in Joseph's time? Brigham's time? 1975?

I say things like, 'I love this church" or "In our story we ..." or "Our religion ...." When it comes to following the prophet I am selective. Using Paul's admonition to seek after good things, I try to do that. Even with stuff I don't like.

This is a fantastic time to try on some new moccasins. You might find you enjoy them.

Congratulations on feeling peace.
"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

JAC
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Joined: 17 Dec 2014, 13:57

Re: Letting Go

Post by JAC » 09 May 2018, 11:20

LookingHard wrote:
08 May 2018, 11:26
I too have had that peace after the dark night of the soul. It is a great relief.
I am familiar with Fowlers stages of faith and your comment made me ask the question: Have I moved into the fifth stage? I guess time will tell.

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LookingHard
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Re: Letting Go

Post by LookingHard » 09 May 2018, 18:56

JAC wrote:
09 May 2018, 11:20
LookingHard wrote:
08 May 2018, 11:26
I too have had that peace after the dark night of the soul. It is a great relief.
I am familiar with Fowlers stages of faith and your comment made me ask the question: Have I moved into the fifth stage? I guess time will tell.
I have found the stages are not like opening a door, moving into another room, then closing the door. For me it is much more like waves. I feel peace for a while and assume I am so great because I am sure I am solidly in stage 5 (pat myself on the back), then a wave crashes down on me and everything is all a jumbled mess for a while. Then I finally surface and I go through it again. I just wish I had a surfboard and this might be fun instead of gut wrenching.

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