What's after disaffection?

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
Post Reply
User avatar
epiginosko
Posts: 14
Joined: 01 Feb 2011, 10:05

What's after disaffection?

Post by epiginosko » 01 Feb 2011, 13:34

Hello all, I am a frequent contributor over at NOM as many of you are, and I thought it's about time I create an account over here as well. A little about myself:

I am in my 30's, male, divorced and re-married, living in the Seattle area with three young children (one biological and two step-children). I am active in the LDS church and have gone (and in some respects am still going) through a challenge of my faith in the claims of Mormonism and Christianity. However, I still find much value and benefit to being an active member of the church. I hold a calling, hold a TR, and try my best to live by it's teachings. I have adopted a less literal perspective on many of the claims, but I have a generally positive view of the church.

I followed my mother in converting to the LDS church when I was eleven years old. My mom, however, only remained active for a couple of years after our conversion, so I wasn't really raised in the church. I did not attend seminary as a youth, and I did not serve a mission. I had a wide variety of church experiences through friends and other family members who were non-Mormon, and I think these experiences have given me a more "universal" outlook. I re-activated in my early twenties, was married in the temple within a year after, and stayed TBM for the following ten years, serving in a Bishopric for nearly half of that time. The inner-urban ward I served in was very eclectic and comparatively liberal, and our Bishop was very tolerant and Christ-centered with a "sprit-of-the-law" approach. Serving with him was a very positive and affirming experience for me.

After my marriage fell apart, I went inactive and began to question everything that I had thought I was supposed to be. After a period of about 8 months, I felt a desire to return to the church. I missed the uplifting atmosphere that I knew, and the positive associations. I attended a new ward and set up a time to meet with the Bishop to go through the repentance process for sins which I had committed after my divorce. This was not the positive experience I was hoping for. Rather than the mercy, charity, and grace of the Savior that I had felt before, this time I felt condemnation and rebuke. Nonetheless, I pushed through it and ended up meeting a wonderful girl through a Mormon singles website who was also recently divorced and struggled with activity.

We began dating early in 2009 and were married civilly by our Bishop in Aug. of that same year. We have remained fully active, hold callings, and are very fond of our ward community. My wife desired to receive her temple endowments and be sealed to me and her children, so we have been working towards that goal. She received her endowments last September, and after appealing to the First Presidency for permission to be sealed again, we are scheduled to be sealed in April.

It was during the past year that I also started looking more closely at the history of Mormonism and early Christianity, initially in an effort to "prove" the Great Apostasy to a Christian friend. I think it's safe to say we all know what can happen once that door has been opened...

Suffice it to say, I don't know exactly where my journey will lead. I have expressed many of my questions and challenges to my wife, who is very supportive but also more "simplistic" in her views of the church. My friends at NOM have become very dear to me and have been a huge support. Now I feel that I have stood at the cross-roads long enough and am ready to continue along my journey. My decision is to stay LDS.

I feel that I have walked through the valley of doubt and have emerged somewhat. Everything I thought I knew has been challenged and has fallen down like a house of cards. Now, I am sifting through the remnants, searching for what I can still hold onto. My family, obviously. My sense of morality and honor. My desire for a spiritual connection and sense of community.

While it's hard for me to say with certainty what I KNOW anymore, I can say what I BELIEVE, HOPE FOR, and find hope in. I find hope in the message of Christ, even if I am troubled by it's history. I don't want to remain a cynic anymore, I'm done criticizing. I just want to re-build.

I am fond of saying that discovering that the Church isn't necessarily everything it claims was like the day I discovered that my dad was not a perfect man, and was perhaps even a little dishonest . At first, I felt betrayed. Then, I felt pity and disconnection. But finally, I feel a desire to reconcile. My relationship may not be exactly as it was before. But I know he's my dad. With all of his flaws, he is my dad. And I love him.
Last edited by epiginosko on 01 Feb 2011, 19:12, edited 3 times in total.
"I may not walk the straight and the narrow, but I sure as hell try to cross it as often as I can." - J. Golden Kimball

User avatar
Brian Johnston
Site Admin
Posts: 3500
Joined: 22 Oct 2008, 06:17
Location: Washington DC

Re: What's after disaffection?

Post by Brian Johnston » 01 Feb 2011, 14:07

I love your posts over at NOM. Really glad to have you here too. I know there's plenty of wisdom you can share, and I admire how thoughtful you are about your journey. Welcome!

The thing that popped into my mind reading your intro -- it's still the same church that you enjoyed before in most ways. The same people. The same opportunities. You just know a lot more now.

Like you, I've generally had a positive experience. I know that being Mormon made a big change in my life that I liked, and I'm not even all that good at being LDS :lol: . I don't know. I am not even attached to it being "true" in the sense that is so often discussed in Church. It's a good home though. I like it.

But through my journey I also learned to set boundaries and not let the baggage bother me that much. I feel very free now to just enjoy what I like, and leave the other stuff at the buffet counter. I also feel very free to make of it what I want -- not being so dependent on validation from others. I also really like watching people, and *feeling* how they engage the Gospel differently (note: I see "Gospel" in very broad, universal terms).
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

User avatar
canadiangirl
Posts: 228
Joined: 16 Apr 2010, 23:15

Re: What's after disaffection?

Post by canadiangirl » 01 Feb 2011, 14:45

Welcome epiginosko,

I too have enjoyed your posts over on NOM. I like your analogy. I can relate very well to it.

Enjoy your stay!!!!

CG

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16764
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: What's after disaffection?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 01 Feb 2011, 14:49

Welcome. I'm glad you decided to post.
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

User avatar
cwald
Posts: 3628
Joined: 10 Aug 2015, 06:39

Re: What's after disaffection?

Post by cwald » 01 Feb 2011, 17:41

Welcome. I enjoy your posts and appreciate your positive approach at NOM.
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

User avatar
Brian Johnston
Site Admin
Posts: 3500
Joined: 22 Oct 2008, 06:17
Location: Washington DC

Re: What's after disaffection?

Post by Brian Johnston » 01 Feb 2011, 17:48

I almost forgot to answer the question in the post title: "What's after disaffection?"

After we are down tearing everything down, we have a clean slab. Time to build something brand new, from the ground up. This time, it will be done consciously, thoughtfully, and it will be our very own design, not something that was handed to us by another.

What that is exactly? You have to keep walking down the path to find the surprise!

That's life seen as and adventure, and not as a high-stakes pop quiz where everyone forgot the answers.
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

User avatar
Tom Haws
Posts: 1245
Joined: 13 Jan 2009, 06:57
Location: Gilbert, Arizona, USA
Contact:

Re: What's after disaffection?

Post by Tom Haws » 01 Feb 2011, 21:30

Epiginosko, I loved that intro. And Brian, I loved this sentence: "What that is exactly? You have to keep walking down the path to find the surprise! That's life seen as an adventure...."

I have been generally away from NOM for so long I have not yet met you, but I can tell it will be a delight.
Tom (aka Justin Martyr/Justin Morning/Jacob Marley/Kupord Maizzed)
Higley and Guadalupe
Gilbert, Arizona
----
Sure, any religion would do. But I'm LDS.
"There are no academic issues. Everything is emotional to somebody." Ray Degraw at www.StayLDS.com

User avatar
Orson
Site Admin
Posts: 2252
Joined: 22 Oct 2008, 14:44

Re: What's after disaffection?

Post by Orson » 02 Feb 2011, 08:53

Welcome! Very glad to have you with us!
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.

User avatar
Heber13
Site Admin
Posts: 7188
Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

Re: What's after disaffection?

Post by Heber13 » 02 Feb 2011, 10:29

epiginosko wrote:While it's hard for me to say with certainty what I KNOW anymore, I can say what I BELIEVE, HOPE FOR, and find hope in. I find hope in the message of Christ, even if I am troubled by it's history. I don't want to remain a cynic anymore, I'm done criticizing. I just want to re-build.

I am fond of saying that discovering that the Church isn't necessarily everything it claims was like the day I discovered that my dad was not a perfect man, and was perhaps even a little dishonest . At first, I felt betrayed. Then, I felt pity and disconnection. But finally, I feel a desire to reconcile. My relationship may not be exactly as it was before. But I know he's my dad. With all of his flaws, he is my dad. And I love him.
What a great post! I especially was touched by these last 2 paragraphs.

I think you answered "What's after disaffection?" by stating "I just want to re-build". That's it, IMO.

Wendy Ulrich talked about 4 stages we go through in relationships with spouse or with the Church (1. Honeymoon, 2. Power struggles, 3. Withdrawal, 4. Renewal), and she said:
The fourth and final stage of committed relationships is about renewal. Not exactly a renewal of the honeymoon, but a more mature, realistic, and truly loving renewal. We come to accept our spouse or our parents or the Church, and we come to accept ourselves. We allow God to run the universe, and we become more content to let go of things we cannot change. ... We reinvest in the relationship, not because we have decided to risk yet one more time that we will not get hurt only to have the rug pulled out yet one more time from under us, but because we have learned that hurt can be survived, that this is a risk worth taking, and that it does not mean we cannot be happy or that we are irrational suckers or that we are doomed to failure because we take another chance on trust or because we fail or are failed again. We see ourselves and our partner more realistically, and we do not run from either vision. We recognize that we can be hurt by being betrayed or we can be hurt by not trusting, but we don't get the no-hurt choice because there isn't one, at least not until we simply choose not to read betrayal into every ecclesiastical failure, or abandonment into every unanswered prayer.
http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Conferences ... ience.html

I do not think that questions or doubts about things in the past, or offensive comments or actions by others in the present, overshadow the good feelings I have when being involved in Church, nor do I think those negative experiences are to be ignored or dismissed lightly. They all become part of the religious experience, the good, the bad, and the ugly. We grow by accepting those, working through those, and experiencing it all.

I think there is value in doing so, because you can do things like continue to have a relationship with your father, or with the church, despite the things you are aware of. And I think those relationships are worthwhile in this life.

I'm glad you're here at this forum. I look forward to learning from your posts.
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."

User avatar
flower
Posts: 212
Joined: 20 Jan 2010, 10:06
Location: Sandy, Utah
Contact:

Re: What's after disaffection?

Post by flower » 03 Feb 2011, 16:27

Welcome!

I really enjoy your insights over at NOM and I am thrilled to have you posting over here now as well. :clap:
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." ~Rudyard Kipling

http://tinymosquito.blogspot.com/

Post Reply