Hanging In There...Hanging Out Here

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Deepthinker
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Joined: 13 Sep 2013, 11:04

Hanging In There...Hanging Out Here

Post by Deepthinker » 13 Sep 2013, 12:50

Hi everyone. I’m a seventh-generation Mormon, BIC, served a faithful 2-year mission, married in the temple, five children, and active all my life. I’m still what you would consider active, although I have many doubts now.

Quite a few years ago I began posting on online forums in response to people's questions and issues related to Mormonism. While some conversations I initiated, most were in response to others' questions about Mormonism, and I was never aggressive or confrontational (I never could do that, since that is not who I am). As the years went on, I felt as though I was helping to change people’s perceptions of Mormons and that my own testimony was being strengthened by being able to resolve at least some people's misconceptions about my faith. I shared with my wife what I was doing, and although she didn't share my enthusiasm, she supported me and even pointed out an Ensign article about how we should be sharing the Gospel online. I felt as though truth was on my side and I had nothing to be concerned about with any issues that were brought before me.

The reality was that the more I dug in and tried to defend my stronghold of beliefs, the more I felt I was burying (not bearing) my testimony. I began to notice my own actions over the years that in so many very subtle ways were a reflection of the doubt growing within me. A reflection I didn't see for years. I stopped bearing my testimony about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and instead focused on Christ. I am currently the Executive Secretary in our ward and when I share a spiritual thought in Bishopric meeting I typically use “outside” sources or again only focus on Christ and specific teachings of Christ. I even started to respond to some people's questions posted online in a way that distanced me from the church, such as saying this is what the LDS church teaches, instead of saying this is what I believe.

I have been thinking of joining a site like this for some time now. I do need some support and I know sharing my experiences, thoughts, feelings, etc. can potentially help clear a path for me for the future.

Right now I feel like I’m in the mist of darkness not because I strayed from the iron rod, but because the iron rod disappeared as if it was a hologram, a projection of years of unquestioned belief. I want to stay in the church as I know the hurt it will cause to family and friends if I leave, and I do believe the LDS church and particularly the support from being within the ranks provides a great path for living one’s life. None of my family or friends has any idea about all of my doubts and my issues with the church's past; in fact, much of my family see me as one of the strongest in the church.

I still do have a testimony of Christ and have a desire to continue to live according to Christ’s teachings. I’m truly at peace when living Christ’s teachings.

I could definitely use the advice, counsel, support, love, empathy, and understanding from others going through the same things I am, and I hope to reciprocate that in some way if possible.
My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4599e

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Life_Journey_of_Matt
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Joined: 11 Feb 2013, 12:23
Location: Kansas

Re: Hanging In There...Hanging Out Here

Post by Life_Journey_of_Matt » 13 Sep 2013, 13:50

Hey Deep,

Man, I couldn't have put it more beautifully. You just recounted the last 10 years of my life. I felt my conviction drift away while my shell stayed behind and went through the motions. It's hard to deal with, and even harder to admit that it's happening. Congrats on getting that far. I think you will find support and genuine concern from this online group. They're a stand-up group for a bunch of people who actually probably meet each other sitting down. :lol: Wow, that was bad. Anyway, my only advice at this point would be to allow yourself to go on the journey, even if your seeking is mostly kept to yourself for now. If you're like me, as soon as you admit that you know you don't know, then you're already on your way to finding something meaningful. Welcome!
"So oft in theologic wars / The disputants, I ween, / Rail on in utter ignorance / Of what each other mean / And prate about an Elephant / Not one of them has seen." -- from "The Blind Men and the Elephant" by John Godfrey Saxe

"The faith that stands on authority is not faith. The reliance on authority measures the decline of religion, the withdrawal of the soul." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

My ongoing story: http://precariousironrod.com/

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On Own Now
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Joined: 18 Jan 2012, 12:45

Re: Hanging In There...Hanging Out Here

Post by On Own Now » 13 Sep 2013, 13:56

Welcome. I look forward to your insight. Your story is a common one here. I know that for me, it was a great blessing to find this site and realize that I wasn't a freak.

I know it's hard right now... very hard. But I think some of the things you've said are a good way to approach life in the Church for those with a changing faith.

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DarkJedi
Posts: 7156
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Hanging In There...Hanging Out Here

Post by DarkJedi » 13 Sep 2013, 14:12

Welcome, you are not alone here. Although my path has been different from yours, I am in a very similar spot and my faith is currently focused on Jesus Christ and what I am beginning to call "pure doctrine" in my own mind. I look forward to you sharing with us and the opportunity to share with you.
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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Roadrunner
Posts: 890
Joined: 25 Sep 2012, 15:17

Re: Hanging In There...Hanging Out Here

Post by Roadrunner » 13 Sep 2013, 14:33

Welcome. I think you'll find a lot of people here with similar beliefs and experiences. When I share my testimony it's Christ centered and when I talk about the BofM or modern prophets I use generalities.

In my opinion, one of the difficult challenges facing many of us on this forum is how to interact with a TBM spouse, similar to what you describe. It sounds like you believe there are many positives about the church and even the culture which you don't want to lose, but that there are some you could do without. That's probably similar for lots of us here. The church is still a net positive in my life but there are days I wonder if that's true.

Regarding your comment about your family seeing you as very strong - people often see what that want to see - including us. My wife knows the extent of my faith (and lack thereof) but she either doesn't believe me or doesn't *want* to believe me.

Again, welcome and I look forward to your insights.
Last edited by Roadrunner on 30 Apr 2014, 15:28, edited 1 time in total.

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Hanging In There...Hanging Out Here

Post by hawkgrrrl » 13 Sep 2013, 15:11

Welcome to the site!
I still do have a testimony of Christ and have a desire to continue to live according to Christ’s teachings. I’m truly at peace when living Christ’s teachings.
Well, I can't think of a better reason to stay in the church. Not because you need it so you can follow Christ, although it will give you opportunities to serve, but because the church needs people who really do desire to live according to Christ's teachings first and foremost.

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Deepthinker
Posts: 88
Joined: 13 Sep 2013, 11:04

Re: Hanging In There...Hanging Out Here

Post by Deepthinker » 13 Sep 2013, 16:37

Life_Journey_of_Matt wrote:Hey Deep,

Man, I couldn't have put it more beautifully. You just recounted the last 10 years of my life. I felt my conviction drift away while my shell stayed behind and went through the motions. It's hard to deal with, and even harder to admit that it's happening. Congrats on getting that far. I think you will find support and genuine concern from this online group. They're a stand-up group for a bunch of people who actually probably meet each other sitting down. :lol: Wow, that was bad. Anyway, my only advice at this point would be to allow yourself to go on the journey, even if your seeking is mostly kept to yourself for now. If you're like me, as soon as you admit that you know you don't know, then you're already on your way to finding something meaningful. Welcome!
Thanks Matt, it means a great deal to me to know you and I have similar experiences. I confess that my eyes became a little too wet just reading your post and not because of the humor, because it really hit home with me. Although, I do appreciate the humor, even if it is bad. :smile:

I’m going to go on the journey and take things one day at time. Thanks for the advice.
My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4599e

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Deepthinker
Posts: 88
Joined: 13 Sep 2013, 11:04

Re: Hanging In There...Hanging Out Here

Post by Deepthinker » 13 Sep 2013, 16:38

On Own Now wrote:Welcome. I look forward to your insight. Your story is a common one here. I know that for me, it was a great blessing to find this site and realize that I wasn't a freak.

I know it's hard right now... very hard. But I think some of the things you've said are a good way to approach life in the Church for those with a changing faith.
Thanks, it definitely is very difficult.

I wouldn't rule myself out quite yet as not being a freak, though. :smile:
My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4599e

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Deepthinker
Posts: 88
Joined: 13 Sep 2013, 11:04

Re: Hanging In There...Hanging Out Here

Post by Deepthinker » 13 Sep 2013, 16:39

DarkJedi wrote:Welcome, you are not alone here. Although my path has been different from yours, I am in a very similar spot and my faith is currently focused on Jesus Christ and what I am beginning to call "pure doctrine" in my own mind. I look forward to you sharing with us and the opportunity to share with you.
Thanks, I look forward to it as well. It is great to have a place for expressing things not easily expressed within the church. An outlet is needed.
My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4599e

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Deepthinker
Posts: 88
Joined: 13 Sep 2013, 11:04

Re: Hanging In There...Hanging Out Here

Post by Deepthinker » 13 Sep 2013, 16:41

Roadrunner wrote:Welcome. I think you'll find a lot of people here with similar beliefs and experiences. I'm in a bishopric too and when I share my testimony it's Christ centered and when I talk about the BofM or modern prophets I use generalities. When I choose sacrament meeting speakers I assign topics that are more or less non-denominational such as "endure to the end" or "importance of hard work" or "loving your family". My bishop always says he loves my topics but I'm waiting to be "outed" and my temple recommend yanked.

In my opinion, one of the difficult challenges facing many of us on this forum is how to interact with a TBM spouse, similar to what you describe. It sounds like you believe there are many positives about the church and even the culture which you don't want to lose, but that there are some you could do without. That's probably similar for lots of us here. The church is still a net positive in my life but there are days I wonder if that's true.

Regarding your comment about your family seeing you as very strong - people often see what that want to see - including us. My wife knows the extent of my faith (and lack thereof) but she either doesn't believe me or doesn't *want* to believe me.

Again, welcome and I look forward to your insights.
So glad I’m not the only one going to church that does those things. I agree; the church is a net positive in my life. What you said about the way my family sees me reminded me of a quote that goes something like “our eyes only see what our mind is prepared to see”. I made up a similar quote for the spiritual: our spiritual eyes only see what our hearts are prepared to feel.

In all honesty, my wife says she doesn't feel like a TBM. Yes, she comes from a long line of Mormon families, however, she has openly told me that if it wasn't for me she probably wouldn't go to church. Her issues are not doctrinal and church history related, though, they are more about having social anxiety. She does love the teachings, loves the pioneer stories, she just often says she doesn't ever feel like she fits in. I've wondered many times about telling her my doubts. I just don’t know how she will react.
My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4599e

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