I'm new here - my story

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
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NewLight
Posts: 148
Joined: 04 Feb 2014, 05:18

I'm new here - my story

Post by NewLight » 09 Feb 2014, 05:51

Hi All,

I have been lurking around this forum for some weeks and decided to join. I would like to say that for the most part, the posts I see have been helpful to me personally as I really got into my “faith crisis” last year. I hate that term – it makes me feel too much of a victim. Maybe “faith refinement” is better even if it doesn't quite capture the anguish that so many of us feel going through it. Oh well, to my story from the 20,000 foot level...

I was born into the church. My mom was very active as were two sisters closest to my age. My two oldest sisters were not in the church at all and they are much older than me. My father was kind of on again-off again in the church. He did the “important” stuff, like baptize me, which was very nice. I know he struggled with it.

Into the beginning of my sophomore year in high school, I had an insatiable yearning to read the Book of Mormon. It was very strong and I probably read it in about a month. That is the time when I really gained my testimony and resolved to serve a mission. I was converted, but always maintained a slight liberal approach to things (I cheered the University of Utah and not BYU!).

After high school, a few buddies of mine and I took off for a semester at BYU-Hawaii and that was a lot of fun. I do remember being bothered by the rules though and the lack of free agency that the church so adamantly preaches. BYU-Hawaii is on a remote part of the island so virtually all activities and entertainment are on campus. They would close EVERYTHING but the library when a devotional was going on. Oh, brother! Still, I had a great experience with my friends there. I resolved that I would not attend any form of BYU after my mission (graduated from University of Utah instead).

I was one of the missionaries who server 18 months. My mission was a good experience for me and though it was difficult at times, I learned some important lessons from it. I still keep in contact with some people I knew from there via Facebook, so that's cool.

The rest of my story up until about last year is really quite Mormon. I met my wife in a singles ward after my mission and we had three daughters. The youngest graduates from high school this year.

As far as church callings go, I have served in a variety. Ward missionary, primary, Elders quorum presidencies and even first counselor in the bishopric were in the mix and I enjoyed them all. I was released from the bishopric only 3 ½ years ago and am now teaching primary with my youngest daughter. I also just got called into the High Priest group leadership earlier this year (hmm, I wonder how that will go if I need to teach a lesson :? )

I, like many, never strayed from reading “church approved” materials on history or other topics. Quite honestly, with my level of involvement in my callings, combined with family, school, work, etc. I never did much study of the church in depth. I did, however, keep a streak of a liberal attitude in my persona. I was totally on board with my youngest daughter attending karate lessons instead of going to Mutual each week when she was in junior high – it was definitely helping her esteem more than the church ever could at that point (and I was in the bishopric when she was doing it). The only time I routinely wore a white shirt to church was when I was a missionary and in the bishopric. Color is so much nicer!!

Anyway, fast forward to last year. I was team teaching the 10 year old primary class with a guy who worked graves and went to college full time and it was difficult for him to put much time into the lessons. A number of times, he would be “preparing” the lesson in opening exercises. I remembered my own experience at that period of my life and knew how little free time he had. I offered to teach every week so he could give more attention to school and family.

I love teaching Primary and wanted to do a good job on the lessons. Week after week, I would read through them and wonder what other materials I could find on the Internet to make them more engaging for the kids. Well, we all know where Internet searches go – to the truth! I found myself getting pretty angry late last year when I realized that EVERY lesson was completely whitewashed. I tried to adjust to more of the truth, keeping in mind that I was teaching kids and Joseph Smith's polyandry probably wasn't appropriate to bring up. Needless to say, I felt VERY betrayed by MY church – why did the leaders do so much to lie and deceive me? Aren't I loyal enough to the church to be told the truth??

Thankfully, since I remained in ignorant bliss for so long in my life, I have had enough other life experience to give the leadership the benefit of the doubt. I have empathy for the brethren who “inherit” problems as they move into high levels of leadership since I myself have inherited problems by accepting new positions at work. As that happened, I had to spend time trying to understand what problems were passed my way before I could think about how to solve them. I'm sure church leadership is the same way. Sometimes I think the brethren are paralyzed and have no clue what to do.

I have had my share of spiritual experiences that I cannot discount at all and perhaps those will come up in future posts. Yet, I now revere the church leadership as mere mortals like the rest of us and prone to making mistakes or expressing personal opinions in meetings or conferences that don't resonate with the way the Spirit speaks to me.

My real blessing from this “faith crisis” is how it has helped me value the role of prayer and the development of a personal relationship with God. I now question about everything the corporate church states and try to rely on prayer to see whether or not what “they” say can fit into my moral being. I don't think God can knock me for wanting to rely more on him for guidance than those who claim to be his servants. I also have a much greater acceptance for the broad spectrum of people in the world seeking God in the way they are led to.

I am one of the fortunate ones on this forum since my wife sees things in much the same way that I do. It is wonderful to be able to support each other through the ups and downs of learning the truths about the church.

I want to be part of the church, but I have definitely changed through this and I imagine I will continue to morph more as my studies on history and doctrine continue. I no longer can say that “this is the one true church”, but see it among many that try to teach good. I expect to get into trouble from time to time expressing my views and am sure I will have to be tactful and careful attending each week. But that's fine with me!

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DarkJedi
Posts: 6034
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: I'm new here - my story

Post by DarkJedi » 09 Feb 2014, 07:24

Welcome, and thanks for sharing. I look forward to hearing more from 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."

My Introduction

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Tim
Posts: 88
Joined: 30 Jan 2013, 23:33

I'm new here - my story

Post by Tim » 09 Feb 2014, 08:51

Welcome!

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Origami
Posts: 38
Joined: 12 Apr 2013, 09:38

Re: I'm new here - my story

Post by Origami » 09 Feb 2014, 08:57

NewLight wrote:“faith crisis” last year. I hate that term – it makes me feel too much of a victim. Maybe “faith refinement” is better even if it doesn't quite capture the anguish that so many of us feel going through it.
I'm glad you are here. I think you'll find this a great place to share and learn from. Thanks for sharing your story, I like reading them.

I feel the same way about the "faith crisis" lingo. In some ways it is accurate, but really doesn't capture it well. I see my own experience as more of an awakening. I couldn't go back to how I was before even if I wanted too (I don't). I have changed and grown. I'm different now, the crisis part ended the day I got on the same page with my wife with this stuff.

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16105
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: I'm new here - my story

Post by Curt Sunshine » 09 Feb 2014, 09:35

Welcome.

For some it's a faith crisis; for others it's a faith refinement; for others it's a faith transition.

Just as with so many things, I think we need to accept that things happen differently for different people and work within what is happening to us.
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

Roy
Posts: 5060
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: I'm new here - my story

Post by Roy » 09 Feb 2014, 09:50

Welcome! :wave:

Sounds like you are very even headed and have had a lifetime of experiences to bolster you up. Throw in a supportive wife and I think you just acheived the Trifecta.

I look forward to hearing more from you in the forums.
"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

common twit
Posts: 37
Joined: 15 Aug 2011, 23:03
Location: Utah

Re: I'm new here - my story

Post by common twit » 09 Feb 2014, 10:13

Welcome New Light. When I just wrote your name it made me think of you as a hippie. :lol: Who knows? Maybe you are.

I find you to be kind of a kindred spirit. I was an 18 monther too. I have noticed there are a few of us here. I am more liberal than the average lds. I don't often wear white shirts. After a semester at BYU, I decided to never go back. It was a fantastic facility. I had two of my worst professors ever and one of the best ever. The seeds of thinking of the leadership as human started with me then. (Now it has grown into a full grown forest).
Anyway, welcome and i look forward to hearing from you.

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Daeruin
Posts: 441
Joined: 15 Dec 2013, 20:56
Location: Utah

Re: I'm new here - my story

Post by Daeruin » 09 Feb 2014, 13:46

NewLight wrote:Thankfully, since I remained in ignorant bliss for so long in my life, I have had enough other life experience to give the leadership the benefit of the doubt. I have empathy for the brethren who “inherit” problems as they move into high levels of leadership since I myself have inherited problems by accepting new positions at work. As that happened, I had to spend time trying to understand what problems were passed my way before I could think about how to solve them. I'm sure church leadership is the same way. Sometimes I think the brethren are paralyzed and have no clue what to do.
Welcome to the forums! I'm glad you mentioned this. It's an angle I hadn't considered before. It's easy to criticize, less easy to put ourselves in their shoes.
"Not all those who wander are lost" —Tolkien

Ann
Posts: 2572
Joined: 09 Sep 2012, 02:17

Re: I'm new here - my story

Post by Ann » 09 Feb 2014, 16:28

NewLight wrote:
My real blessing from this “faith crisis” is how it has helped me value the role of prayer and the development of a personal relationship with God. I now question about everything the corporate church states and try to rely on prayer to see whether or not what “they” say can fit into my moral being. I don't think God can knock me for wanting to rely more on him for guidance than those who claim to be his servants. I also have a much greater acceptance for the broad spectrum of people in the world seeking God in the way they are led to.
Hi, NewLight - I really enjoyed reading your intro. I hope you're right about this. I want to think that God is looking on and saying, Okay, finally! Now we're getting somewhere.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

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NewLight
Posts: 148
Joined: 04 Feb 2014, 05:18

Re: I'm new here - my story

Post by NewLight » 09 Feb 2014, 18:39

Thanks everyone for the warm welcome!

I truly feel like this is good place to have some level of belonging while sorting things out and trying to make sense of everything. Curtis, you are right – things are happening differently for all of us and I am glad we have this forum to exchange ideas.

Roy, you are right – I am so incredibly lucky to have a great wife. She grew up on an army base and has a broad view on people which is very refreshing. Common twit, I have an older sister who was a flow blown hippie – does that count for something? :lol: For all I know, it was her influence that got me to choose my name on this forum.

Ann, I agree with you in God looking down and say that he is finally getting somewhere with me. I just hope he can work through me somehow that I can make some positive contribution to my family and others.

Again, thanks for the welcome.

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