Why do you stay?

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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mom3
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Joined: 02 Apr 2011, 14:11

Re: Why do you stay?

Post by mom3 » 26 Jul 2018, 20:59

I am a churcher. I think religion, run well, (any religion) can be a source of good. I tried on different churches through out the massive transition part. In each one I found positives and negatives. Eventually it was smoother to stay with the community of my upbringing then to change. Do I wish we could incorporate some of their stuff in ours - Yes. I wish we would change stuff on our own, too.

I am here because I chose it. No one else in my family (living at home) attends. It's my deal and I am comfortable.
"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

VioletFire
Posts: 15
Joined: 17 Apr 2018, 13:01

Re: Why do you stay?

Post by VioletFire » 26 Sep 2018, 19:24

Thanks for all the replies. I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to respond but I have been lurking here reading the replies and many of the other posts.
Heber13 wrote:My wife is not TBM, and we both stay. We are both remarried after failed temple sealings, and learned a lot through those experiences. Our kids get benefits from church as we keep them involved...having good mormon friends and activities is a good thing, good standards while dating and going through high school is of benefit. We get good things from it as a family. It is good to be reminded of good lessons and find opportunities to connect with others and serve others and think about God in our lives.
Thanks for your reply Heber. Do your children know that you guys are not TBM? How do you talk to them about it? Do you live all the standards still? I think this is my biggest concern. I don't care about alcohol or coffee or anything, but man getting into some gym shorts at night without garments on sure does make me happy.
AmyJ wrote:I stay because of family and community (it's complicated). I stay because I haven't found anything else to "trade up" for. I stay because leadership roulette has played out in my favor and the upper leadership hasn't tried to shove me out the door, but rather has cultivated an environment where we work together to communicate and find balance..
I think I am mostly staying because of family and community right now. And I totally agree that I haven't found anything to trade up for. I just don't know how I feel about my children being told about stories glorifying people like Brigham Young. I got back and forth a lot.
dande48 wrote: I attend Church and all the ward activities. I contribute in class where I can, and am careful not to toss around any heresy. I chose not to hold a TR or calling, and I don't clean the Church.
I am leaning more and more to not holding a TR if I stay. As time passes I wear my garments less. They are very uncomfortable and hot. I don't even care about the modesty thing-- they are just so dang uncomfortable! We went on vacation recently and I didn't wear them at all. It was so freeing. I felt like I could enjoy my time outdoors so much more. I was way more present and in the moment because I didn't feel like I was sweating to death. It was such an amazing feeling. I wish I could feel that free here. Do you have children? How do you broach the subject with them?

I'm ok with helping out with activities or whatnot, but I don't feel like I'm in a position to teach any longer or to have a calling that commits me to being there every sunday.
dande48 wrote:There's this episode of Rick and Morty (S02 E05, around the 12:20 mark), which really stuck out to me. To summarize the plot: A giant alien "head" visits earth. As part of their reality TV series, they subjugate the "lesser races" to participate in an "American Idol"-like competition. The main protagonist, Rick, knows what's going on, but the rest of the populace does not. Because the head is so giant, its enormous gravity causes all sorts of natural disasters. Combined with a number of misinterpretations with what the giant head says (it speaks to and judges Rick's "Get Schwifty" performance, but the whole world, oblivious, can hear it), a cult forms around worshiping the giant head. The Smith family joins this cult, especially when they see the positive influence it has on their daughter, Summer Smith. She gets good grades, as much improved morals, isn't getting pregnant, is super respectful toward her parents. BUUUTTT... the cult also has some negative aspects. For example, it sacrifices the "sinners" (ranging from goths, to people who talk during movies), to the Great Head in the Sky, by strapping them to a bunch of balloons and letting them drift away.
Haha I have seen this episode actually. Thanks for sharing this anecdote. This is a very true statement, and it actually makes me wonder I'm staying at all. I don't want my children being taught that Mom and Dad are sinners because we don't go to church every week and don't wear garments. I am starting to wonder if down the line a non denominational church would be better for us. I do enjoy my community and neighbors though and not being out the "outs" with all our TBM family. I definitely don't expect too much and love your "just friends" analogy. I think I'd be okay with a more casual relationship with the church and staying but not sure how it'd effect our children. I think my husband is really nervous about that.
Roy wrote:DW and I have had this discussion often. She was worried about confusing the children by exposing them to different ways of doing things. Ultimately, I feel that indoctrinating them in black and white terms may be the bigger disservice. I want my children to be positive, productive, flexible, and respectful. I want them to know that drinking beer does not disqualify someone from being a good person. I also want them to know that an individual being kind of judgey about other people drinking beer does not disqualify them from being a good person.
How do you discuss church with your kids? Do they feel torn by what their parents do and what they are taught? I've also thought about staying in the church casually but maybe attending different churches occasionally so they can understand people believe different things, but I wonder if that would just confuse them more. I read an article recently that talked about when children see their religious parents teaching things but not acting on those things then their kids are more likely to be athiest.
Roy wrote:It is more than just my wife that tethers me to the church. In fact, sometimes after a frustrating event DW is tempted to stop going to the LDS church that we might more fully participate in a different church where we have friends. I tend to talk her down from these impulses as I know that she would regret and mourn the loss of some of our LDS specific benefits eventually. My kids, my parents, my in-laws, uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, and nephews are all part of the LDS heritage tapestry. I am not particularly anxious to sever myself from that sense of belonging.
This here is probably my biggest reason for staying. It's such an interesting line to balance though. It's also all I've ever known.

Also Heber13 wrote about his son being reached out to, and I do agree it is nice having that safety net of people. It's nice to know wherever you go there is a group of people you can belong with.

There's a lot of pros and cons to staying. For now we are definitely staying, but more as casual friends. I think we are going to have to get more of a game plan as the kids get older and start understanding things better. Man oh man do I hope two hour church happens because I think that would help the ward to consider us more active haha.

Roy
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Re: Why do you stay?

Post by Roy » 27 Sep 2018, 09:54

VioletFire wrote:
26 Sep 2018, 19:24
"just friends" analogy.
I too like this analogy. It is all about setting and maintaining boundaries. I feel that giving all that the church asks for after my FC would not be sustainable for me (it would cause me to become angry and bitter). Therefore I reduce the church footprint in my life to more sustainable levels. As I reduce my involvement/contributions in the church some of the benefits also reduce. Eventually I find a sustainable equilibrium. For me personally that balance involves me not paying tithing but DW paying, attending church maybe once per month and working the remaining Sundays, not holding a TR, working together with my wife as Cub Scout Bear den leaders (Wednesday nights) and between the two of us basically holding the cub scout program together.
VioletFire wrote:
26 Sep 2018, 19:24
How do you discuss church with your kids? Do they feel torn by what their parents do and what they are taught? I've also thought about staying in the church casually but maybe attending different churches occasionally so they can understand people believe different things, but I wonder if that would just confuse them more. I read an article recently that talked about when children see their religious parents teaching things but not acting on those things then their kids are more likely to be athiest.

We have had many conversations with the kids. When they ask a question about heaven or hell I tell them that different people believe different things. We have a faith tradition that has some good thoughts and principles. I do not feel that I teach things but then not act on them. We belong to a faith with some very dogmatic ideas that we may not agree with. We discuss how to interact with such a community without being disrespectful.

I do believe that inherent in my approach is that many people fervently believe and teach things about God that may not be true. This I believe opens the door to people claiming evidence for what they believe about God that does not withstand scrutiny. That in turn may lead to a disbelief in God. I do not know if my children would be better off being given only one black and white worldview over the more flexible but less certain worldview I am providing. I hope that I am giving my children enough tools and space that they can take an active role in charting their course and choosing their path. If they become atheists, I hope that they are happy, well adjusted, service and civic minded, and moral atheists - fully respectful and even appreciative of others from different backgrounds and with different perspectives.
"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

VioletFire
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Joined: 17 Apr 2018, 13:01

Re: Why do you stay?

Post by VioletFire » 30 Sep 2018, 18:48

Roy wrote:
27 Sep 2018, 09:54
We have had many conversations with the kids. When they ask a question about heaven or hell I tell them that different people believe different things. We have a faith tradition that has some good thoughts and principles. I do not feel that I teach things but then not act on them. We belong to a faith with some very dogmatic ideas that we may not agree with. We discuss how to interact with such a community without being disrespectful.

I do believe that inherent in my approach is that many people fervently believe and teach things about God that may not be true. This I believe opens the door to people claiming evidence for what they believe about God that does not withstand scrutiny. That in turn may lead to a disbelief in God. I do not know if my children would be better off being given only one black and white worldview over the more flexible but less certain worldview I am providing. I hope that I am giving my children enough tools and space that they can take an active role in charting their course and choosing their path. If they become atheists, I hope that they are happy, well adjusted, service and civic minded, and moral atheists - fully respectful and even appreciative of others from different backgrounds and with different perspectives.
Thanks, this is really helpful. This is an interesting journey for our family. I'd love for my kids to have a relationship with God, but really as long as they are happy, moral people that are self-sufficient then I'm happy.

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Heber13
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Re: Why do you stay?

Post by Heber13 » 06 Oct 2018, 08:06

Do your children know that you guys are not TBM? How do you talk to them about it? Do you live all the standards still? I think this is my biggest concern. I don't care about alcohol or coffee or anything, but man getting into some gym shorts at night without garments on sure does make me happy.
We don't talk about it directly, not even among my wife and I...more just live the way we do and talk openly about things that bug us but things we love.

We skip a lot when there is something better to do with our time, and go when there is not.

We talk about issues enough our kids know we have loose standards and don't take it too serious.

Periodically I drop statements like..."I never covenanted to wear garments all day and night...but throughout my life which I do. I just take a break from it sometimes too."

I agree...wearing gym shorts at night is nice.

If you find that stuff "so nice" and feels good, give yourself permission to do things that help you mentally and spiritually to feel good.

It's your season to have good things in life and not live in fear.

If you talk about things with kids in a positive way about it being good for you, not a critical way if how "wrong" the church is, they are more likely to support you, or they should.

I find, even if my kids disagree, bit they see me happy, they are fine with it. We eat out, we skip, they know there are times I don't wear G's.....it's all moderation and balance and healthy...not extreme Orthodox to extreme heretic. It's middle ground and wise. They pick up on that after a while. Then, when something in the church changes...they rush to me to talk, knowing I'm not gonna lecture them about defending the church, but I'm open minded.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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Rumin8
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Re: Why do you stay?

Post by Rumin8 » 09 Oct 2018, 10:58

I ask myself this question at least every day, and the answer isn't always the same.

I stay because it's what my wife and family expect of me. I stay because it seems easier than leaving. I stay because there are MANY things I do really like about the church. I stay because I like the standards required of my teenage children. I stay because it's where most of my social activities originate (the people I interact with, not specific church activities). I stay because it seems to be imprinted on my 5th generation pioneer heritage DNA. I stay because, what else would be better?

I pay tithing on approximate net, even though it bothers me a great deal. I work in real estate. I have friends who work in various roles in the church's Real Estate departments. I have some small knowledge of how active the church is in this regard. I think tithing is more about obedience now, then an actual need for money. My opinion only, I have no "facts." I do have a strong belief in fast offerings. I'm planning on decreasing my tithing and increasing my FO donations soon. I've seen how these funds are used, and they do a lot of good for a lot of people.

I regularly consume certain items explicitly prohibited by our church in its orthodox interpretation of the WoW. I avoid all sodas and other sugary drinks as well as other sugary treats and try to eat a balanced diet. The WoW is all about moderation for me.

I wear garments most days, but sporadically at night. It is much easier to wear them in the winter when I'm not constantly adjusting my shorts to make sure my religion is not showing. I don't wear garments if I know I'm going to get hot and sweaty.

I attend SM most weeks. I do not attend SS, and attend EQ about once a month. I usually do not attend church when I travel. That's part of my vacation, usually.

I have no plans to ever leave the church completely. I don't understand, in most cases, the need to completely abandon the church. I do have plans some day to lower my regular commitment to it. There is too much to love and appreciate to leave it completely behind. That all said, I do try to respect other peoples decisions regarding the church. Everyone is different, and I expect that everyone has valid reasons for doing what they do.

For me it comes down to two things:
1) Love God
2) Love Others and treat them how I want to be treated

The rest is just details.
"Moderation in all things, especially moderation." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Be excellent to each other." - Abraham Lincoln to Bill & Ted

Roy
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Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Why do you stay?

Post by Roy » 09 Oct 2018, 13:07

Rumin8 wrote:
09 Oct 2018, 10:58
I do have plans some day to lower my regular commitment to it.
I am just thinking on this concept. In my formative years the church was my cradle. As a young adult it was my "match-maker". As a middle-aged family man it is a support structure I lean on to help raise my children. We serve in callings (cub scouts and activity days) that directly influence my children and we strive to help those programs deliver quality experiences. Part of our motivation for participating in the church has been for our children to have shared experiences and milestones with their cousins. I have considered that when the children are grown DW and I may not really need the church anymore. Time will tell. Perhaps in retirement or after the death of a spouse the social conections of the church will become even more important. Perhaps as I approach death and grapple with my mortality the doctrines of eternal families or my desire to leave something of a legacy for my grandchildren will become increasingly urgent. I suppose the church will always be there and I will know where to find it if I need it.
"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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Rumin8
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Joined: 25 Mar 2018, 14:00

Re: Why do you stay?

Post by Rumin8 » 09 Oct 2018, 14:37

Roy wrote:
09 Oct 2018, 13:07
I am just thinking on this concept. In my formative years the church was my cradle. As a young adult it was my "match-maker". As a middle-aged family man it is a support structure I lean on to help raise my children. We serve in callings (cub scouts and activity days) that directly influence my children and we strive to help those programs deliver quality experiences. Part of our motivation for participating in the church has been for our children to have shared experiences and milestones with their cousins. I have considered that when the children are grown DW and I may not really need the church anymore. Time will tell. Perhaps in retirement or after the death of a spouse the social conections of the church will become even more important. Perhaps as I approach death and grapple with my mortality the doctrines of eternal families or my desire to leave something of a legacy for my grandchildren will become increasingly urgent. I suppose the church will always be there and I will know where to find it if I need it.
Yes, almost exactly my thinking! Very eloquently stated.

My wife has asked me a number of times if she wasn't around if I would still go to church. I don't know the answer to that question. Probably I would go less often. I am much happier when I feel I have real choices. I don't feel like I've every had legitimate choices when it comes to my membership in the church. Or rather, that I have been willing to accept the consequences of those choices.
"Moderation in all things, especially moderation." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Be excellent to each other." - Abraham Lincoln to Bill & Ted

AmyJ
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Re: Why do you stay?

Post by AmyJ » 10 Oct 2018, 07:40

Rumin8 wrote:
09 Oct 2018, 14:37
My wife has asked me a number of times if she wasn't around if I would still go to church. I don't know the answer to that question. Probably I would go less often. I am much happier when I feel I have real choices. I don't feel like I've every had legitimate choices when it comes to my membership in the church. Or rather, that I have been willing to accept the consequences of those choices.
I don't know either if I would still go to church if my husband stopped going. On the one hand, I could be elsewhere more easily and maybe enhance my spiritual community. On the other hand, my husband deals with chronic health problems (we are in our late 30's) that keep him from church for long stretches of time and I still get up, get our 2 children up and ready for church.

At this point I am in a more non-conformist, anti-authoritarian phase of being which I try to make peace with and find balance for. In learning to accept responsibility for my choices (because God's commandments no longer motivate me and I don't believe in Satan) has prompted lots of thinking and different paths to take.

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Heber13
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Re: Why do you stay?

Post by Heber13 » 11 Oct 2018, 12:17

AmyJ wrote:
10 Oct 2018, 07:40
In learning to accept responsibility for my choices (because God's commandments no longer motivate me and I don't believe in Satan) has prompted lots of thinking and different paths to take.
I like the way you phrased that.

This is where some people can make choices to stay. The problems may or may not be there individually, but one can choose what they mean or what value there is to find or what motivates us personally.

It may no longer be the fear the Santa Clause will put us on the naughty list and only give us coal, but we can tell ourselves the spirit of christmas is more than commercialized profits for retailers, or even the choice to reject christmas all together ... and actually focus on the spirit of love in any of those phases.

The holiday doesn't change...but we change as we determine what story applies to us, and what we benefit from.

Similarly, the church doesn't change...but we change as we go through phases of our life...and can choose to stay or leave as we let go of some prior held beliefs or fears and move towards love in any way that helps us (love of our family members who believe, love for ourselves to be around others who see it differently, or anything else good from staying in the church).

That is not to suggest I "fake it" ... simply...it means something different to me now than it did before. Staying becomes a good option for me with my new views, not in spite of them.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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