Hello, I'm new here but hope to be a regular participant

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
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DarkJedi
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Hello, I'm new here but hope to be a regular participant

Post by DarkJedi » 26 Aug 2013, 06:52

Hi, all. I've lurked here a bit since discovering the site somewhat accidentally. This appears to be the kind of site I am looking for. I am also a member of LDS.net, but my needs are not always met there and my ideas are not readily accepted there by most.

I'll give you a bit of background. I am a 52-year-old male, baptized into the church when I was 21 while serving in the army. I was a "golden" convert - I did know a few members of the church, but I did not ask them my questions, I researched myself (I loved A Marvelous Work and a Wonder) and called the missionaries and asked to be baptized. Two years later I served a mission.

I returned to my hometown, got a college degree, married in the temple to a wonderful woman, and we have four fantastic children (one a graduate of BYU another reporting to the mission field in October).

Just over 10 years ago I had what I call a crisis of faith. I found myself in a situation where I was questioning everything I believe about the church, religion in general, and even the existence of God. I was truly shaken to the core. I stopped going to church and have not returned since, although I think I may in the somewhat near future. Over the past couple of years I have partially "rebuilt" my faith, after having gone through pendulum swings from the extremes of God loving us and being intricately involved in our daily lives to God exists and is the creator but that's all (a diest view). Many other gospel principles and religious beliefs have had similar pendulum swings (prayer, scriptures, etc.). I still lean toward the diest side of things (God does exist and does care about us, but is not involved in our daily lives), prayers are a form of worship but are not usually answered, and so forth. I still struggle with many LDS beliefs and have not reached my own middle ground on some principles yet. I don't go to church because I have a hard time dealing with people who "know" many things that they really don't know anything about. I don't doubt their sincerity and I don't doubt that they really think they know those things - I also "knew" many things to be true that I now doubt. I believe my thinking has matured to the point where I can ignore, if you will, these ideas just as I would anyone who believes differently than I on any host of subjects.

Part of the problem is that I live in a small ward in the eastern U.S., and while I'm sure the bishop will be accepting, I know I will still be struggling each day inside myself. If and when I do return (and do note that I have considered having my name removed in the past), it will be for sacrament meeting only.

So, all of that said, this place appears to be my kind of place. Other sites one finds while doing Google searches turn out to actually be anti-Mormon. I am not anti-Mormon, and believe in the basic principles of the gospel as taught by the LDS church - I just happen to believe they teach some things as gospel that aren't gospel. How do all of you who are in my situation deal with going to church?
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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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Hello, I'm new here but hope to be a regular participant

Post by hawkgrrrl » 26 Aug 2013, 09:43

Welcome to the site! I grew up mostly in PA, so I am from back east too.
I just happen to believe they teach some things as gospel that aren't gospel. How do all of you who are in my situation deal with going to church?
It's funny how the church expects such pure patriotism while having doctrines that evolve with our understanding. After all, we're a church that embraces both ongoing institutional revelation and personal revelation, both of which imply that whatever came before was missing that understanding that is being added. And yet some members are so brittle in their testimony that they can't brook any dissent or questioning or pointing out of contradictions.

I keep a sense of humor about it. I deal with people pragmatically, and I assume that if they had given it any thought they also would have a sense of humor about it and develop flexibility. That's the approach I take in general. Even when I have a strong opinion, I can point out why it's kind of obvious I would think that way. Someone once introduced me in RS as a feminist (it was someone I also know is a feminist) and I was a little rattled that this would be how I was introduced. I said, "Well, duh, we're ALL feminists in here. We're women. And we believe we are equal and should be treated as equals, right?" Nobody could argue with that one.

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DarkJedi
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Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Hello, I'm new here but hope to be a regular participant

Post by DarkJedi » 26 Aug 2013, 10:22

Thanks, Hawkgrrrl for the reply. My BYU grad daughter is also a bit of a feminist, and struggles at times with her own questions. I like that you can give witty replies as you do, and I can usually come up with something witty also, but mine come a few hours late! :smile:

I agree with, it does at times amaze me how the church teaches the need for continuing revelation (and yes, evolution of thought), yet some members of the church are so rigid that any new or different thought is flatly rejected.

I have all of these years felt very alone. I am so happy I have found a place where I am understood and not alone.
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."

My Introduction

Roy
Posts: 4097
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Hello, I'm new here but hope to be a regular participant

Post by Roy » 26 Aug 2013, 11:41

DarkJedi wrote:How do all of you who are in my situation deal with going to church?
I attend SM and then go straight to work. Most people seem understanding. I put my work badge on as I'm leaving the building as a bit of display that I'm off to perform my other manly responsibilities.

When I get an extra day off and attend the full 3 hour block it is almost always disappointing. I believe this is because the format in SM is one way communication while there is supposed to be some give and take in the SS. It can be so very frustrating to self censor or to try to twist my comments into as faith promoting version as possible. It is also difficult to hear the "piccolos" monopolize the conversation.

I am fine with most other church activities and events. I don't mind helping people move etc.

Welcome DarkJedi - you are among friends.
"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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DarkJedi
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Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Hello, I'm new here but hope to be a regular participant

Post by DarkJedi » 26 Aug 2013, 13:09

Thanks. I don't have a particular place to go when I leave after Sacrament Meeting, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who will be leaving also. Likewise, I don't mind participating in most activities as long as the demands of those activities don't unduly interfere with time with my family. Your comments about other meetings (SS, priesthood) are duly noted, and why I believe I probably won't attend them.
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."

My Introduction

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Meh Mormon
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Joined: 10 Jul 2013, 09:49

Re: Hello, I'm new here but hope to be a regular participant

Post by Meh Mormon » 26 Aug 2013, 13:56

Welcome DarkJedi. I am also on lds.net, in fact, I used to be a moderator. I got sick of people being so black/white about issues that I left for a while. I slowly started coming back there a few months ago, but the situation is the same. There are a few that I would love, love, love to tell off and it would so be worth getting banned for, but I don't. I just come here and enjoy the civil discussions about various levels of belief and open conversations about the issues facing the church.

Welcome.

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DarkJedi
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Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Hello, I'm new here but hope to be a regular participant

Post by DarkJedi » 26 Aug 2013, 14:03

Meh Mormon wrote:Welcome DarkJedi. I am also on lds.net, in fact, I used to be a moderator. I got sick of people being so black/white about issues that I left for a while. I slowly started coming back there a few months ago, but the situation is the same. There are a few that I would love, love, love to tell off and it would so be worth getting banned for, but I don't. I just come here and enjoy the civil discussions about various levels of belief and open conversations about the issues facing the church.

Welcome.
:lol: I know exactly what you mean. I get good stuff from there, don't get me wrong. My user name is very similar there (there's an underscore between the words there), feel free to look at my posts. There's a recent thread about referencing Christ in meetings that I responded to a couple times but won't any more. How I would love to show a couple of moderators where the bear did you-know-what in the buckwheat, but I don't want to be banned, either, because I do get something out of it. Being there has given me some insight into how I might handle those who see things from a very different point of view than I do.
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."

My Introduction

Roy
Posts: 4097
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Hello, I'm new here but hope to be a regular participant

Post by Roy » 27 Aug 2013, 13:15

DarkJedi wrote:Just over 10 years ago I had what I call a crisis of faith. I found myself in a situation where I was questioning everything I believe about the church, religion in general, and even the existence of God. I was truly shaken to the core. I stopped going to church and have not returned since, although I think I may in the somewhat near future. Over the past couple of years I have partially "rebuilt" my faith, after having gone through pendulum swings from the extremes of God loving us and being intricately involved in our daily lives to God exists and is the creator but that's all (a diest view).
DarkJedi,

You had mentioned elsewhere that church history was never really a problem for you. Would it be too pushy to ask what the catalyst was for your faith crisis 10 years ago?

It also seems that your family has remained active. How did you go about sharing with your family that your faith had changed, how was it received then and how have things gone over the years?

Thanks!
"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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DarkJedi
Posts: 5174
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Hello, I'm new here but hope to be a regular participant

Post by DarkJedi » 27 Aug 2013, 13:58

Hi Roy, nice to meet you. No, it's not too forward to ask although it's a bit complicated and I like to maintain some privacy in the matter. Very briefly, and it is much more complicated than this, back in 2000 I endeavored on a new career path which required that I get more education which I did at some sacrifice to my then young family. I interned and was offered a position where I interned. I was happy there, but saw the opportunity for growth in another nearby organization. Being that I was happy, I prayed and fasted quite fervently to know if I should follow those promptings and received what I believed was an overwhelming positive response. I compare it to the same feeling I had when I was taught the first discussion, at my subsequent baptism, at my temple sealing, and other very spiritual times. I felt it really was that profound.

I got the other job handily - I was by far the most qualified candidate. Because this is relevant to the story later, I'll tell you now that my bishop was on the board of that organization but had nothing to do with my hiring - he was away at the time. This was a management position, but what I didn't know was that there was someone else in house that this organization was grooming for the position and I was a place holder for him while he got the education he needed. He was, in fact, my assistant. In retrospect I realize every other key player, including the bishop, knew this. Two years later he was ready and I was fired, and even though this was a major blow, I was OK with it - God wanted me to do this, so there must be a purpose and he must have a way out of it for me. Long story short, he didn't. My career had ended. I had been betrayed by the bishop, who was also my friend - I had been his counselor and served with him as counselors in another bishopric, and I had been betrayed by God. This is a very political industry, and things like this matter. I have not since found meaningful employment in the field.

Therein is the crisis of faith - I no longer knew what to believe. Had God really directed me there, knowing this would be the outcome? If he didn't, and I misinterpreted the impressions and promptings, how do I know what is from God and what isn't? Is the Book of Mormon really nor true? Is the church really not true? Can I not trust friends and leaders in the church? (The bishop's answer when confronted, by the way, was "I'm sorry, I should have told you.") Again, it's more involved and complicated than this - it would take pages to fully describe all that happened. And I did not immediately stop going to church - I continued for over a year while all the time the questions grew more profound and expanded and the answers were becoming undeniable. I did not feel what I thought was the influence of the Holy Ghost anymore, and still don't.

Family has been a whole different story. My wife, in fact, has not been very understanding and it has put a great deal of stress on our marriage and on our family. We don't have discussions on the subject and have not in many years because she is argumentative toward the few new views I have shared - she is an unquestioning TBM. She does not know I am considering returning to church. So, things have not gone well over the years, and while my daughter (now grown) and sons regularly participated in church activities, I did not, although I do attend some social functions. I do not participate in family prayers, FHE (which we really don't have), mealtime prayers, etc. I have not participated in the ordinations of my sons nor the baptism of the youngest - and frankly, I am hurt by that. The eldest son is preparing for a mission and will be going to the temple soon, I will not be participating.

I still have lots of things to sort out and rebuild as my faith.
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."

My Introduction

Ray DeGraw
Site Admin
Posts: 15140
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24
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Re: Hello, I'm new here but hope to be a regular participant

Post by Ray DeGraw » 27 Aug 2013, 14:40

Welcome. I am checking in in spots only and can't type long comments, but I do want to welcome you.
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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