I desperately need advice!

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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Ilovechrist77
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Joined: 08 Nov 2011, 21:42

I desperately need advice!

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 18 May 2019, 18:05

Forgive me, but this is long. So here goes..
Something has been on my mind lately. I've been inactive from church more often than not, partly because of not being able to afford to buy a car to drive myself to church and also because with of my dad's health my parents normally aren't active. And because of me not agreeing with people needing to be married in the temple in this life or have in done by proxy in order gain exaltation, over-emphasis of temple worship even though the ordinances are just supposed to teach you that being filled and knowing God is what gives you exaltation. With that and other things I just can't live with trying to live my life as a traditional member and deep down feeling and being a non-traditional member. There are pros and cons of the church, although the cons are starting to stress me out too much, especially the toxic parts of the culture and too much confidence in the church leaders/prophets that they are doing and teaching what God wants when too often they may not be doing that. It used to be taught that the church prophets saw Jesus Christ and spoke to Him literally just like the prophets in Book of Mormon and in the Bible did and to trust God more than anything. In this day and age, they now teach a literal witness of Christ isn't necessary, but just being called by leadership. They do teach to trust in God, but too often they teach if God tells you something from what they say it isn't God speaking. Or if that is God speaking, just keep quiet. Sigh. It doesn't help when I have problems with OCD which can make easy for me to go back to having religious scrupulosity. Some of the toxic parts of church doctrine, leadership roulette, and culture add to that, even if many people think I'm wrong. Leadership roulette could have kept my bishop from allowing me to serve my mission if I was honest about masturbating. I was honest at first about that. My bishop wouldn't sign my temple recommend unless I fully repent. He had me read The Miracle of Forgiveness. Yikes! That book didn't help my religious scrupulosity which was developing. I tried, but I slipped up. I shared that with him, but he didn't believe I was temple worthy. Sigh.
Long story I've been pondering about what to do. I've been thinking about either resigning from the church or just stay being inactive. If I resign I know I'll sadden my family and many other people and in some ways I'll feel like I've let the Lord down. Just taking a break normally doesn't gain the same reaction from people, but just taking a break can be hard too if you don't want the ward to worry about you. I've prayed about it, studied scriptures (Even though I believed the prophets were wrong about some things too. At least they say to trust God more than anything. And, of course, Christ said in the scriptures to trust Him.) and I've received a strong impression I shouldn't resign, but how do I deal with this strong feeling that something will crack inside me if I try to keep living this double life. I've just so confused to know what to do.

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mom3
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Re: I desperately need advice!

Post by mom3 » 18 May 2019, 21:19

My vote - remain inactive. Initially you may get some extra attention and questions, but it sounds like you've been mostly inactive enough and no one has bothered you.

Resigning can be a whole other ordeal with family and such. If you are already stressed about it, just keep your name on the records and let them have some peace.

Go on with your life. Try to live it with a happy heart. Be good in the Golden Rule kind of way. Time will heal it. It maybe long time, but time will do it.

Thanks for dropping back in. I have missed seeing 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

Curt Sunshine
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Re: I desperately need advice!

Post by Curt Sunshine » 18 May 2019, 22:19

What mom3 said. Literally, every word she said.

Resigning appears to have no real upside right now, and it almost surely has a huge downside. It also is incredibly hard to rescind a resignation in the future if things change for you.

God bless you. May there be a road.
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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DarkJedi
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Re: I desperately need advice!

Post by DarkJedi » 19 May 2019, 03:28

Agree with Mom and Curt, as Curt said, literally every word. May you find the peace you seek.
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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SilentDawning
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Re: I desperately need advice!

Post by SilentDawning » 19 May 2019, 07:59

Ilovechrist77 wrote:
18 May 2019, 18:05
Forgive me, but this is long. So here goes..
Long? Just read some of my posts and then you'll redefine your definition of long!!!
I've been thinking about either resigning from the church or just stay being inactive. If I resign I know I'll sadden my family and many other people and in some ways I'll feel like I've let the Lord down. Just taking a break normally doesn't gain the same reaction from people, but just taking a break can be hard too if you don't want the ward to worry about you. I've prayed about it, studied scriptures (Even though I believed the prophets were wrong about some things too. At least they say to trust God more than anything. And, of course, Christ said in the scriptures to trust Him.) and I've received a strong impression I shouldn't resign, but how do I deal with this strong feeling that something will crack inside me if I try to keep living this double life. I've just so confused to know what to do.
I rarely advocate name removal. First, it's very hard to reverse it if you change your mind. Second, you should have great faith in the fallibility of your own beliefs. I realize now that I walk around in an artificial bubble of opinion spawned by my life experiences, or lack thereof. While I consider your opinions and my own opinions about the church valid at any give time, I also think we should be open to the fact that we could be wrong. Do we really know that the opinions we hold are true? I don't know for sure, although for now, they bring me the most peace.

If I were you, I would post, one by one, those thorns in your LDS experience here. Specific micro-conflicts between your opinion of church beliefs and your own. Let us discuss them with you with a goal of helping you feel at peace with the tension between orthodoxy and unorthodoxy. I am there now. Although it was hard at first. I still have flareups. But I know they can be resolved.

Also, don't underestimate the power and need for family relationships. After the church members move or you fall off your radar, your family members will be all you have. I wouldn't do anything to disturb those relationships. In fact, I'd be working toward ways of being as active as your peace allows, without surrendering your personal peace and happiness. This will help your family relationships.

Just my advice....I would love to see, after my post, that you have posted a single conflict between your personal beliefs and church policy/culture/doctrine that bothers you. Let's all discuss it and help you find a middle path that reduces the angst and actually increases joy....
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

Roy
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Re: I desperately need advice!

Post by Roy » 20 May 2019, 10:38

I agree with the advice that has been posted not to resign. I am sure that sometimes to resign is the correct answer. However, it does have a cost.

For me personally to resign would be seen as something altogether abhorrent to my extended family. My in-laws might have reservations about letting their kids play with my kids after that.

What are the costs of maintaining your name on the ward list as an inactive? Periodic activation efforts? I feel that as long as you are polite but firm you can keep those on the less intrusive side.

Another option that would be something less than having your name removed is to be put on a "Do not contact" list. This may raise some questions and may not work 100% but at least it would be less permanent than having your name removed.

Perhaps my favorite option would be to find a job with work on Sundays. That way you can miss church indefinately and always have the job as a handy excuse.
"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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Ilovechrist77
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Re: I desperately need advice!

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 20 May 2019, 17:16

Thanks, everyone, for comments and advice. Mom3, I like your comments, especially this part,
Thanks for dropping back in. I have missed seeing you.
That's very kind. I've prayed about it and I get the impression, so I think I'll be staying in the church. I don't my ward that much at all. I'm grown up with many of the people in my ward that I like very much, the whole bishopric included, so the ward not so bad. The thing I hate about the ward is the fact it's in a small college town in Illinois (I'm just the next town over from Kevin Kloosterman's ward.) too many members tend to come there for school and then leave when it's over and the fact there aren't many singles there period.

SilentDawning, I'll put up another that mentioned those things in a moment.

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Daughter1
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Re: I desperately need advice!

Post by Daughter1 » 20 May 2019, 18:21

Hi Love! I'm not going to address your main question, because it's already been answered great. But I have some thought on how to stay inactive without the annoying reactivation efforts. I'm "on a break" right now, and I've found a pretty decent balance that has mostly kept me from being on the receiving end of those activities. This advice is all things I've tried and have developed from input from others, including some people here.

For context, I was a member of the RS presidency until January when I requested release, so I was going from "fully active, apparently TBM" to inactive more or less overnight.

I started by staying active and involved, but not coming to the full block every week. I genuinely had a lot going on in my personal life, and explained this to the people I spent the most time with (RS president). When I asked for release, I very specifically said that I wanted to keep a calling, but one that I could fulfill without attending church every week. A friend of mine simply told her bishop that she couldn't have a calling at the moment at all. Then I immediately dropped down to only attending sacrament meeting. I have attended one RS lesson since January. And have attended sacrament meeting 3 or 4 times only. I didn't go at all last month, and yesterday I literally only went to take the sacrament and then left - along with several other people, which made me laugh. I'm going enough to officially be "active," (a friend who was a temple worker recently told me the requirement is once every 3 months) but not much more.

I know who my ministering sister is, and one of the sister I'm supposed to minister to. They are both personal friends and I stay in touch with both of them. One is fairly orthodox, but aware of some of the cultural issues. The other is following all the lists, but is pretty non-orthodox. If either of them ask about my activity, I wouldn't hesitate to explain that I need a break and some of the "easier" reasons why. I do not make any effort to keep in touch with anyone else. But with those two, there is enough of a connection that no one else feels like they need to come and find me. I have invited both of them to outside activities since going on my break - including a Sunday night performance of Wicked last night with one of them (the one who also has wine on occasion). The more traditional sister does text me from time to time saying she misses me. Since I know she really does, I don't feel pestered or harassed by it. I'm actually very touched that she cares. I do think that my friend who went to Wicked with me is largely to thank. She's still a member of the RS presidency, so she can say she sees me and no one worries I need more support. :)

tl;dr - my formula for stepping away without being chased down: attend just enough to keep off the formal lists, keep in touch with people you actually care about who actually care about you and who attend more than you do. I'm almost 6 months in and have not gotten much in the way of "reactivation" attempts.
I don't think there could ever be just one single philosophy or one single religion. Since there are so many different types of people, with a range of tendencies and inclinations, it is quite fitting that there are differences between religions. And the fact that there are so many different descriptions of the religious path shows how rich religion is. - HH the XIV Dalai Lama

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