NOM in FL

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
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falcosp
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Joined: 27 Jan 2011, 08:04

NOM in FL

Post by falcosp » 03 Feb 2011, 07:41

I love the NOM board and recently joined StayLDS, so I thought I'd introduce myself.

I have always loved to research and learn, and I think as a child and teen I frustrated my TBM parents and church teachers by wanting all the meat of the gospel since I had already internalized the milk and wanted more! I had perfect attendance at early morning seminary for 4 years, had a full scholarship to BYU, and avidly lived my religion. I met and married my DH at BYU and quickly realized that the Mormon portrayal of marriage as the ultimate path to happiness wasn't what I had been led to believe. I was surprised at how much work it took! But since I had made temple covenants, I worked hard at it, and after 16 years we are still working at it!

Over the years, as I studied the scriptures, lesson manuals, and church history, as I attended the temple and memorized the information necessary to pass the angels, as I listened to every session of general conference and then studied the talks in the Ensign, I began to have more and more questions. Over the course of many years, I learned things that made me very uncomfortable with my religion, but every time I was able to do mental gymnastics and keep pressing forward--until last year when I realized that my testimony was gone. I then found mormonthink.com and read every bit of it and learned new things and reviewed things I had studied in the past. I felt sick as I realized I was experiencing a sea-change and could never go back. I agonized over what to do and who to tell of my loss of faith. I eventually shared with my husband, and a few close friends. They are all grieving for me and are sure that my loss of testimony is just a further sign of the times, as even the elect will be led away by the cunning of the devil!

So now I am a NOM, trying to find reasons to go to church with my TBM DH and 3 kids. I don't know how much I want my kids involved with the church, as I really believe I am capable of teaching them to be good moral people outside of organized religion. I find no fault in religion as a way to find peace and increase happiness, but the Mormon church is too often about guilt and the threat of losing your worthiness and ability to have the spirit with you. That threat really bugs me, as I want to teach my kids to make moral and good choices not because their eternal salvation depends on it, or because by doing so they are thwarting Satan, but because it is a good choice to make.

A few months ago, every time I woke up I felt horrible, like someone had died, only that someone was me! Every day was a huge struggle. That has lessened some, mostly because I have found a community of support at NOM and StayLDS. But I still have lots of moments and even whole days when I am depressed and cry for the loss of who I was. I am trying to redefine who I am, since I no longer believe that I am a daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves me. I know the journey gets easier as time passes, and I look forward to that. In the mean time, I am trying to find ways to cope and remain positive.

Thanks for the great community here!

A Stay-at-Home, Homeschooling Mom who loves life and learning

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Brian Johnston
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Re: NOM in FL

Post by Brian Johnston » 03 Feb 2011, 08:07

Hi flacosp,

Welcome! Thanks for taking the time to introduce yourself and tell your story.
...I realized that my testimony was gone.
I just wanted to throw out there that I try to see this type of transition in a more natural and positive light. I don't think our testimony disappears, or that we lose it. I think it changes and transforms into something new. Sure, it will never be the way it was before. But what else in life stays the same? Nothing. Even granite rocks change over eons of time. That's how God made us, and how this being made the world.

It's expected to feel a sense of loss and to grieve. Generally, the world was more simple before we are "called" to this new journey. We had all the answers. We could lay the responsibility for our life and our decisions at the feet of leaders who were wiser than us, if we would only follow them.

But we reach a point when we start to look in the mirror, and look at the leaders and the group we depended upon, and realize they are us, and we are them, and we both have aged and have worn edges that show the flaws and wrinkles. Life is a little more fuzzy and messy than the perfect answers can idealize. Sometimes we face decisions of bad or worse, and don't get to pick right or wrong, or true or false.

Welcome to club for fellow travelers. Life is an adventure now, no longer a trick question.
"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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Orson
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Re: NOM in FL

Post by Orson » 03 Feb 2011, 08:12

Welcome! Thanks for posting your intro!

It does get easier with time, hold onto that. Right now everything is in chaos, the house just crumbled. It will take a little time for you to sift through the rubble, pick up the valuable pieces, and begin to rebuild. It will happen, you will get there. We are here to bounce ideas off of. :thumbup:

One thing that was a big help to me personally was getting into some of the more "liberal" writings of past LDS names. Lowell Bennion, Hugh B Brown, Leonard Arrington, etc. They helped me digest the idea that there were in fact various opinions and flavors of Mormonism. That helped me put the loudest voices that we hear in church in their proper perspective. The Mormon Stories podcast with Edward Kimball is also very good.

Looking forward to hearing more from you. So glad you found 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.

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SilentDawning
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Re: NOM in FL

Post by SilentDawning » 03 Feb 2011, 09:26

Welcome -- I understand the loss part of what you're talking about. I have lost something in the last year -- primarily my sense of burning commitment, although I'm active and temple-worthy and surrounded with TBM spouse and children and in-laws on one side.

One thing that struck me from your commentary was that being married is a lot of work. That has been my experience. My wife and I realized shortly into our marriage that we weren't nearly as compatible as we thought originally, and since then, it's been a lot of work to stay married. I hung on in spite of heart-wrenching challenges due to my commitment to covenant-keeping and valuing keeping my word. We are happier now (ranging from about 7 to 8 out of ten), but it is still a lot of work. That hasn't been the experience of many of my friends who say their marriages just chug along gracefully. So, I guess we all have our challenges in this life.

Welcome though. It's nice to have a place where you can say what you really think about your experience in the LDS church. This is one place where you can be forthright but still hear positives about the Church, but for different reasons than you hear at Church. It's been mind-expanding for me.
"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

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canadiangirl
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Re: NOM in FL

Post by canadiangirl » 03 Feb 2011, 10:29

Welcome Falcosp,

I'm so sorry you are grieving so hard right now. I can't say I've grieved as you have, I've mostly be angry, really angry at times. I've had fits of being so angry I've cried but the anger comes first. I think that's just how I roll. I've mentioned to my husband a few times now that I just need a good cry but the tears don't come and I'm left with an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. I can't say that I've let go of the idea that I'm a daughter of God. That concept has changed though and perhaps I think of it more symbolically now, not thinking of God as a literal father of flesh and blood but I do feel very connected to a higher power, something I just don't understand but feel.

I like how Brian has framed things for you. Your testimony is changing so of course you will feel its loss but there is more to discover and learn.

I'm glad you are here. I hope you find the things you need to press forward:)

CG

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flower
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Re: NOM in FL

Post by flower » 03 Feb 2011, 16:23

Falcosp,

I am so happy to have you over here as well as at NOM. I feel we are kindred spirits. I too am struggling with finding a way to stay. Right now I feel that I have no choice. I have too much to lose. I stay because I love my family and I don't want to hurt them, but I also want to find a way to be happy there. I am a work in progress for sure.

This is a great forum and again I am glad you are here!
"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

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cwald
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Re: NOM in FL

Post by cwald » 03 Feb 2011, 16:48

Welcome.
  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

doug
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Re: NOM in FL

Post by doug » 03 Feb 2011, 19:16

falcosp wrote: A few months ago, every time I woke up I felt horrible, like someone had died, only that someone was me! Every day was a huge struggle.
As others have said, welcome. Isn't life interesting? I think what you describe is a process that many people go through when a major change in their faith or in their way of seeing the world takes place. It's the greiving process, I suppose. At the moment, it seems to be working out for me. Recently I have noticed that, whereas only a year or so ago I was quite often angry and lost, now I (at least occasionally) have new purpose and joy in living. Since it's no longer tied up in the dogma and ritual of the church, it's both liberating and a lot more responsibility. I think that it's just plain awesome.

One thing that has helped me a lot is finding truth that does work for me in good books. Eckhart Tolle has helped a lot (The Power of Now, A New Earth). Also John O'Donohue (Beauty, Anam Cara), and some others. Tolle helped by supplying a notion of God when I found that I had to discard the one I had been using for so long. O'Donohue, by opening my eyes to the miracles that surround us.
The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also. -- Mark Twain

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Fatherof4husbandof1
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Re: NOM in FL

Post by Fatherof4husbandof1 » 04 Feb 2011, 09:22

falcosp

Over the course of many years, I learned things that made me very uncomfortable with my religion, but every time I was able to do mental gymnastics and keep pressing forward--until last year when I realized that my testimony was gone.


falcosp I enjoyed your entire post, but this sentance hit very close to home. Welcome, and thank you for your intro.

f4h1
to infinity...and beyond!!!!!

Roy
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Re: NOM in FL

Post by Roy » 04 Feb 2011, 12:31

falcosp wrote:A few months ago, every time I woke up I felt horrible, like someone had died, only that someone was me! Every day was a huge struggle. That has lessened some, mostly because I have found a community of support at NOM and StayLDS. But I still have lots of moments and even whole days when I am depressed and cry for the loss of who I was. I am trying to redefine who I am, since I no longer believe that I am a daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves me. I know the journey gets easier as time passes, and I look forward to that. In the mean time, I am trying to find ways to cope and remain positive.
In my faith crisis, my daughter had been born stillborn and I was working through the guilt of not living righteously enough to secure divine blessings for my family. As I discarded my guilt and pulled on the string of "God blesses the righteous," I must have pulled out one of the support beams for my internal religious framework. I now feel after a Father God that is somehow constrained from intervening in the events of my life. I feel His love even stronger than before but I do not expect evidence of His love in divine interference. Additionally, His love for me seems more unconditional and no longer somehow dependant on my righteous living.

I sometimes ponder why I still feel after this God when I could have just as easily concluded that He doesn't exist. I meet Him in a hidden place inside of me where hope and love spring forth. Perhaps He is the embodiment of that hope and love. Maybe I need the comfort of believing in Him and my internal psyche will do anything to provide that need. I do not claim to have the right answers, the best I can hope for is to find the right answers for me (and even that is a shifting landscape).

Your unique experiences and viewpoints are profitable and enlightening to the community. You may just be the indigo in our rainbow, or the kudzu in our orchestra. You are welcome here. :wave:
"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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