There and back again

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
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mercyngrace
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Joined: 18 Jan 2011, 12:26

There and back again

Post by mercyngrace » 19 Jan 2011, 21:29

After a bit of lurking, I decided to join in the conversation. I hope no one minds. ;)

As the thread title suggests, I've been around the block on issues of faith more than once. I've had intellectual crises over historical issues that I was able to reconcile to my satisfaction over time. I've had struggles with adversity to the point that I questioned the existence of God. I've been at the point where I decided to attend church purely because it was a positive influence on my children. I've endured intentional offenses and unintentional persecution. When it comes to finding a way to stay LDS, I've been there, done that, and got a drawer full of t-shirts.

Through all of these experiences, my faith in the gospel has actually matured immeasurably. My view of the church as an institution has radically shifted and I've completely abandoned religiosity for spirituality without impacting my ability to hold a TR. The great irony is that I am closer to my God, better acquainted with the doctrines of the church, and more Mormon than ever, all while feeling increasingly marginalized by the community that has always been my entire world.

I've been in something of a cultural free fall for a while and I'm just looking for a soft place to land.
Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. ~ Luke 7:47

Curt Sunshine
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Re: There and back again

Post by Curt Sunshine » 19 Jan 2011, 22:31

Welcome. I'm looking forward to getting to know you better - and to learning more about your perspective.
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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SilentDawning
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Re: There and back again

Post by SilentDawning » 20 Jan 2011, 06:28

mercyngrace wrote:After a bit of lurking, I decided to join in the conversation. I hope no one minds. ;)

As the thread title suggests, I've been around the block on issues of faith more than once. I've had intellectual crises over historical issues that I was able to reconcile to my satisfaction over time. I've had struggles with adversity to the point that I questioned the existence of God. I've been at the point where I decided to attend church purely because it was a positive influence on my children. I've endured intentional offenses and unintentional persecution. When it comes to finding a way to stay LDS, I've been there, done that, and got a drawer full of t-shirts.

Through all of these experiences, my faith in the gospel has actually matured immeasurably. My view of the church as an institution has radically shifted and I've completely abandoned religiosity for spirituality without impacting my ability to hold a TR. The great irony is that I am closer to my God, better acquainted with the doctrines of the church, and more Mormon than ever, all while feeling increasingly marginalized by the community that has always been my entire world.

I've been in something of a cultural free fall for a while and I'm just looking for a soft place to land.
I echo what Ray said. I'm fascinated in your story, and would love to learn how you've managed to survive -- what attitudes you hold, etcetera. Please tell.

Love the drawer full of t-shirts. I have my own set, focusing on intentional and unintentional offences and am still surviving. Please post often and deeply -- I think I can learn a lot from your perspective!!!
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- 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."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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Brian Johnston
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Re: There and back again

Post by Brian Johnston » 20 Jan 2011, 07:58

mercyngrace wrote:I've been in something of a cultural free fall for a while and I'm just looking for a soft place to land.
Hehe. We're all Mormon stunt professionals here. Look for the big air bag with the bullseye on it. That's where you can land from your jump. It's between the forums building and the website building. Of course, refreshments are always being served in the cultural hall. Please take a ward bulletin as you come into the chapel.
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

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mercyngrace
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Re: There and back again

Post by mercyngrace » 20 Jan 2011, 09:25

Thanks for putting out the welcome mat :)

I'm not sure I could actually descibe all the ups and downs I've experienced. It's taken half a life to live them, it'd surely take a good bit of time to recount them. I'll probably just end up sharing tidbits in the course of conversation rather than trying to write a book, which is what it might require. LOL.

I've definitely been through a massive and unexpected paradigm shift which has allowed me to sift wheat and chaff in terms of LDS culture and many of the not-quite-accurate doctrinal understandings that I once held. I'm sure there is more I have to let go and much more I have to learn to accept but I'm okay with that. And I've come to fully embrace the words of Joseph Smith, "One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may." I don't reject truth for being non-mormon or accept it just because a mormon said it.

I don't take offense anymore and I try not to give it, though I surely fail on a regular basis. I'm not frantic to be perfect anymore so other people's judgments are insignificant. And I don't judge others because I've learned the hard way that doing so is beyond my ability. How can you criticize the stumblings of anyone who is looking through a glass darkly? I guess I've developed faith in the process of salvation which means that "all these things" really are for our benefit and experience. For example, one of the critical doctrines of Mormonism is that all but sons of perdition will be redeemed and it's virtually impossible to become a SOP - that truth alone brings untold peace of mind. It's like being in a test tube full of boiling water. You feel like you're in the depths of hell while bubbles are bursting all around you but once you realize there is a perfect scientist controlling the experiment and that a grand transformational outcome awaits, explosions of steam start to feel like a bubble bath.

Another thing that changed for me is that I stopped expecting miracles that I designed and started accepting the miracles that God performed. More than once I followed the standard methods for getting what I want out of God. Praying, fasting, attending the temple, living the commandments, and having blinding faith did nothing to change the circumstances. Where was this God of Miracles? And yet I couldn't deny the unseen hand that was giving me nudges toward understanding and flashes of insight and wisdom that could have been acquired no other way but through my adversities. It turned out that I was the miracle. Or rather, the changes wrought in my heart.

As for what I've been through.... some stories are still too hard to tell. But I have faith that some day, I will tell them and that when I do, I will be smiling.
Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. ~ Luke 7:47

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observant
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Re: There and back again

Post by observant » 20 Jan 2011, 11:33

Hi, M&G, I know you from MADB! Welcome. It's really nice here. You are going to love it.
"Some think it's holding on that makes one strong; sometimes it's letting go. "~Sylvia Robinson

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canadiangirl
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Re: There and back again

Post by canadiangirl » 20 Jan 2011, 11:38

Mercyngrace,

Welcome!!! I'm very excited to hear your perspective on things. You seem to be well established in a Stage 5 faith. (See threads on Fowler's Stages of Faith)

You said, "The great irony is that I am closer to my God, better acquainted with the doctrines of the church, and more Mormon than ever, all while feeling increasingly marginalized by the community that has always been my entire world. "

Would you explain this statement a little more? I'm curious about the "more Mormon than ever" part. What does that look like for a person well established in Stage 5?

Sincerely,
CG

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Orson
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Re: There and back again

Post by Orson » 20 Jan 2011, 12:39

mercyngrace wrote:I've come to fully embrace the words of Joseph Smith, "One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may." I don't reject truth for being non-mormon or accept it just because a mormon said it.

Welcome! I love this, and echo the message!!

My religion is to seek out truth, "come from whence it may." My doctrine is truth, even though I understand precious little about what that actually is.
My avatar - both physical and spiritual.

I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.

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mercyngrace
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Re: There and back again

Post by mercyngrace » 20 Jan 2011, 12:40

Observant,
Cool :) PM me who you are if you're willing. It'd be nice to know who I'm talking to (well, sort of...)

Canadiangirl,
What I meant by that statement was that I feel like I've gotten closer to what the real core of the gospel is and stripped away the periphery. Just like the children of Israel, we've built up a lot of traditions to protect ourselves, to distinguish ourselves, and to explain away the things we don't understand. I've let those things go and found almost paradoxically that the gospel and LDS theology makes more sense to me than ever before. I'm seeing it through a whole new light and it works for me in a way I couldn't have ever imagined. I'm more mormon because I'm living the principles of the gospel out of desire rather than desperation and because I am letting God teach me through my experiences rather than trying to understand my life experiences through the black and white lens of dogmatism. At it's core, Mormonism is Christianity with an eternal perspective and a long range goal. I'm 100% down with that.

MnG

Edit: I should add that I've read the various summaries of Fowler's stages and I haven't given much thought as to where I fall. My spiritual journey just is what it is. That sounds odd coming from me as I tend toward introspection but in this instance it seems most appropriate.
Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. ~ Luke 7:47

Curt Sunshine
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Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: There and back again

Post by Curt Sunshine » 20 Jan 2011, 13:25

CG, fwiw, I'm "as Mormon as I've ever been" - and I think I really understand m&g's description.

I refer to "pure Mormonism" and the clash between it and the culture that grew up largely as a result of entrenched isolation for multiple generations. I see that culture breaking apart gradually as more and more of the Church lives outside the US West Inter-Mountain corridor - and as Pres. Uchtdorf serves in the FP - and as the Quorums of the Seventy continue to expand and include more and more non-Americans - etc., but I have avoided the isolation to a large degree simply because I am very nice (generally) and I refuse to be isolated.
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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