Considering leaving the church forever

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Grover
Posts: 8
Joined: 18 Apr 2014, 08:26

Re: Considering leaving the church forever

Post by Grover » 06 May 2014, 02:40

scthomas34 wrote:"Now I feel that I’m looking past the church, so to speak, and am looking for a more peaceful, natural and connected way to live. I guess, I’m having trouble with the whole church organization and culture, how the church views God and the gospel, and especially how members view and treat each other. I don’t want to be a part of an organization when I completely disapprove of its beliefs, methods and the delivery of teachings."

Questions, do you feel the spirit or no when you are participating in ordinances? I have posted on here for a number of weeks. I feel that sometimes people put themselves in a box of this is what Mormons do on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, etc. I feel connected on Sunday in worship, and I love connecting to God on Sunday. However, I am not a typically Mormon and I do not have an outlook like many. I am out foraging weeds that are healthy and trying new recipes several days a week and connecting with nature in a way that is very personal to me. I like to do things for other people as well not because the church says do service to gain converts, although I wouldn't mind that either, but because there are so many problems people do not give a flip about and so many people want to just sit on the couch and eat chips and watch their show and life is just peachy. I feel that a big problem personally comes when any society swings way too conservative or way too liberal. Because almost all church members are staunch conservatives-I will address this one; I feel that conservatisim for so many has become "why do I have to help them, they got themselves into their mess, they can get themselves out! Why do I need to care. am I my brothers keeper?" And often the business competition models get dragged into church and then church members can end up competing for who knows what. There are many good mormons who are horrible christians. Just curious of what bothers you about church organization? Can the church and the gospel be true even when the organization at some levels needs to be modified or can the ordinances still be true? I think they can. Let me know your take.
You ask some very interesting questions.

You know, the first one, about feeling the spirit, has been on my mind a little lately. I've been questioning myself if I actually feel the spirit when my heart is far from the church and questioning the gospel. I guess, unfortunately, I'm starting to believe that feeling the spirit is very subjective. I can feel the spirit when I want to. It usually happens when I'm in the act of inner reflection or sensory. This happens for me when I feel sentimental about something such as my children hugging me, when I feel awe about something such as watching the Northern Lights, or when I feel inspired about something such as a TED talk. And I'm feeling it now because of my own introspection. This feeling I can have, when I want it, how strong I want it and how inspiring I want it, all depends on my state of mind and heart - and it has not a 'religious only' dependancy. This feeling has different names for different people, in the church we call it the Spirit. Whether I'm inside or outside the church I can feel it however much I want. The church provides more opportunities to feel it just because the focus of the church IS to feel it. But really, it is all about how I think of things whether I feel it or not. I can have a fantastic spiritual experience just marveling at the magnificence of a tree - and it is the same feeling as I have in the church. So, I don't think the Spirit is 'religious', I think it is a human condition that we all have the power to experience. I don't think it comes from anywhere but is awakened or summoned inside of us. My ideas on the Spirit are not completely realised but I'm beginning to think it is not a magical thing that increases the more you have faith in God. I haven't explored questions or ideas about the Holy Ghost yet, the spiritual being.

I too share your connection with nature and I wished that the gospel had a concern about nature and living in harmony with it, but everything is just centered around the well being of man's soul. Conservation is not part of the gospel because literature was written hundreds of years ago by people who had no concern for nature and conservation. Unfortunately, what that means to me is that the gospel doesn't seem to cover everything. The problem is that nature is part of the 'natural world' and we are supposed to remove ourselves from that, rejecting the 'natural man' within us. I breed smålensgås - Norwegian land geese - there are only 150 left in the world, they are on the red list for extinction - how can it not be a part of the gospel to ACTIVELY care for all creatures and plants. I've never seen the church care about animals, plants or nature. I guess taking care of nature is not a 'gospel truth', but I think it should be. :D

What bothers me about the church organization? That is a big question. I guess I'll just mention a few things, but I plan to go into more personal detail in another section of the forum when I find the guts to post it ;). The church organization is limited by member's knowledge and ability (we all know that). People who are not qualified make judgements on child sexual abuse, drugs, rape, domestic violence, etc, according to their own understanding. Some members advise the right thing according to law, many don't. The fact that unskilled and uneducated people are put into positions that make judgement of a personal's mental health and wellbeing is very disheartening for me. I have huge problems with the missionary program - the abuse of missionaries, members and investigators. I have problems with the way young women are taught about their 'roles' in a relationship and family. I also have problems with personal opinion of church leaders mixing with gospel truth, preached at the pulpits. I don't like how members disapprove of diversity. The reason why I think I'm having issues with the church is because for years the church has been teaching me the gospel, but now I want the truth of the gospel.

I guess these are strong words. It is always hard to talk about these things without a large amount of reflection first. Some things I haven't got around to thinking about fully yet to have an idea of what I really think, but I guess here are the basics. ;)

Thanks for your comment! Would love to get your take on living with nature/naturally and the church.

Cheers

Grover
Posts: 8
Joined: 18 Apr 2014, 08:26

Re: Considering leaving the church forever

Post by Grover » 06 May 2014, 03:31

Daeruin wrote:Welcome to the forums! Just a quick comment while I lay awake with tooth pain. I think SilentDawning may be referring to the cultural difficulties you may face in trying to return to church. Many people may view you as damaged or dangerous. You'll have lots of hoops to jump through. It sounds like you are a pretty confident person, so maybe those things don't bother you much. What is your family situation like? Do you have kids who are members?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

You know, I don't know whether people would call me unlucky or fortunate, but I don't actually care about what other people think of me. :o I care about what I think of myself, of course. I have set a very high bar for myself and I am determined not to let myself down. Unfortunately, I then think a lot of other members would see me as dangerous. I didn't used to be. Before I was very much a people pleaser, so I guess then I was perfect for the church. Over the years I've just grown up and allowed myself to become the true me rather than what I think I should be.

I've always found that friends in the church aren't really real friends. They are really just associates. If I can't be myself around them, then they are not friends - and really what church member can you really be yourself around? I'm a person that likes deep relationships and don't care much for 'polite chitchat' relationships. I have a handful of really good friends - a couple in and a couple out of the church. Church members only call you when they want something, I find - to come over to do their home teaching, to get you to bring a cake, to get you to talk or doing something like move someones house, or come to an activity. Want, want want. I can't recall anyone calling just to hang out, even when I was a people pleaser, there is always an ulterior motive, never a 'just because'.

I think I'm a difficult woman to befriend - I'm strong and some might say powerful (or maybe overbearing...lol). I'm a completely different women than the regular at church. I hate sewing, cooking, crafting, talking about kids (even though I have four), singing, decorating, just about everything they do at Enrichment - gooshy mushy stuff...lol. Give me sport - I'm a player not a watcher -, Big Bang, Gothic art, tap dancing, farming and ice sculpture with a chainsaw. :D Being different in the church is difficult, but for a personality type like me it is easy, because I just don't care :shock:

Sorry for your tooth pain. As a side note and with all medical cautions considered: just a tip I got from a pharmacist - (and of course I'm not a doctor! but...) he told me to get some Ibuprofen, an inflammatory drug you can buy at the supermarket for headaches and pain etc. You mash a tablet up and apply it directly to the area, whether in the tooth or around it, for good pain relief. I've done it and it works really well. Same for my husband. It doesn't taste very nice...lol, but your spit helps it to cake. I've found it targets the area faster.

Thanks for your comment!

Cheers

nibbler
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Joined: 14 Nov 2013, 07:34
Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: Considering leaving the church forever

Post by nibbler » 06 May 2014, 05:53

Grover wrote:I've always found that friends in the church aren't really real friends. They are really just associates. If I can't be myself around them, then they are not friends - and really what church member can you really be yourself around? I'm a person that likes deep relationships and don't care much for 'polite chitchat' relationships. I have a handful of really good friends - a couple in and a couple out of the church. Church members only call you when they want something, I find - to come over to do their home teaching, to get you to bring a cake, to get you to talk or doing something like move someones house, or come to an activity. Want, want want. I can't recall anyone calling just to hang out, even when I was a people pleaser, there is always an ulterior motive, never a 'just because'.
I couldn't have said it better myself. That describes how I feel to a tee. In fact I hate the sound of the phone ringing. There's always a fire to put out on the other end of the line, every time. I'm like Pavlov's dog, the phone rings and my mood sours. I haven't resorted to caller ID because I know that if I did I'd never answer the phone again. ;) Still, that's a good wake-up call (pun) for me. I should probably think more about what I'm doing when I call people... make sure I'm not doing the same things that drive me nuts.
Grover wrote:I think this is very good advice, but in thinking on staying in the church while I work things out, it means I will still have a responsibility to the church if I do. Not in the way of callings but in the way of covenants. As a member, even an inactive member, I am bound by covenants I made at 17 and have renewed for the last 20 years.
I don't want to make any assumptions so I'll go ahead and ask, please don't take this the wrong way, I'm just curious. You mentioned being bound by covenants you made at 17 and renewed for 20 years. As far as being bound to covenants... what is the distinction between leaving the church and staying in the church but being inactive as you sorted things out? Please understand, I'm not trying to guilt you into staying by using covenants as a leverage against you, I just wanted to understand a bit better. Given the reverence you continue to show toward the covenants you made I find it a bit surprising that leaving the church works out to be better than staying. Wouldn't both paths have the same outcome with relation to those covenants?
I'm very curious about myself as to what I would do or choose if I wasn't bound to the church, if I was completely free of it to re-choose what I want for my life. I actually long for that 'letting go' feeling, being free to think and say things, being free to understand things and accept things in a different way.
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
IMO church programs and culture do tend to push people toward groupthink.

The church/culture often presents one size fits all programs but I think that there's a way to engage the church on our terms, in a way that fits our uniqueness. I'm in the process of re-choosing what I want for my life but I'm finding that at this stage I still want to include the church. I might need to prune some branches, I may need to graft in some branches in from other sources, but something tells me that the root is still good. I'm willing to get dunged a few more times to see how it all pans out. :D

Minyan Man
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Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: Considering leaving the church forever

Post by Minyan Man » 06 May 2014, 08:23

nibbler & Grover, I couldn't disagree more. Yes, there are people in church who are your friends until you disagree with doctrine or policy or politics or anything else (fill in the blank). You can't lump all members that way. That is an unfair stereotype. I have friends in church that I can say anything to & they keep my confidence & don't usually pass judgement. When they do pass judgement, I listen & consider making a change. It takes time & effort to find out who they are. But, it's worth it. In return, they know that I will keep their confidence when they open up about their life, beliefs, etc.

There are others who I have a very superficial or no relationship with because I think I know their motives. Maybe they will surprise me in the future. But, until then, I tell them very little about me, my beliefs, my opinions, & my life experiences.

This is true in all walks of life where we interact with people. Schools, jobs, service organizations, family & church.
For what it's worth.

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DarkJedi
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Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Considering leaving the church forever

Post by DarkJedi » 06 May 2014, 08:48

Mike wrote:nibbler & Grover, I couldn't disagree more. Yes, there are people in church who are your friends until you disagree with doctrine or policy or politics or anything else (fill in the blank). You can't lump all members that way. That is an unfair stereotype. I have friends in church that I can say anything to & they keep my confidence & don't usually pass judgement. When they do pass judgement, I listen & consider making a change. It takes time & effort to find out who they are. But, it's worth it. In return, they know that I will keep their confidence when they open up about their life, beliefs, etc.

There are others who I have a very superficial or no relationship with because I think I know their motives. Maybe they will surprise me in the future. But, until then, I tell them very little about me, my beliefs, my opinions, & my life experiences.

This is true in all walks of life where we interact with people. Schools, jobs, service organizations, family & church.
For what it's worth.
I agree, Mike. While it is certainly worthwhile to have a friend in whom you can confide, all friends do not need to be that way. I can still be friends with people at church (and I am) and still be myself - I don't go around expressing my unbeliefs and doubts to just anyone as it is. I don't express them to my non-member friends and I'm still me, likewise I can have believing friends who I don't need to share that part of me with - and I'm still me.
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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nibbler
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Joined: 14 Nov 2013, 07:34
Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: Considering leaving the church forever

Post by nibbler » 06 May 2014, 10:49

I think this is a case where the same words are being interpreted differently by different people... otherwise I'd have a hard time telling someone what they feel is just flat out wrong. Everyone has their perspective and often my perspective makes me feel that way in church. Sure painting everyone in that light is unfair but my takeaway from that comment wasn't that it was an attempt to disparage the entire membership of the church. I agree with the statement because most of my interactions with people in church feel shallow and forced.

Yes, it takes two to tango. Yes, there has to be real effort on my part to make true friends. Still it feels alien when the only thing someone knows about you is your last name and they only know that because they're looking to get something out of you.

I've been in some frigid wards in the past. Can you tell. ;)

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DarkJedi
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Re: Considering leaving the church forever

Post by DarkJedi » 06 May 2014, 11:04

Point taken, Nibbler, and do understand I don't consider the majority of people at church to be my friends. I have long said that if you want to know who your friends are at church, quit going and you'll quickly find out who they are and aren't. The stark reality of it is that you will find that most aren't and really only care about those that are there.
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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Forgotten_Charity
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Joined: 11 Jul 2012, 18:33

Re: Considering leaving the church forever

Post by Forgotten_Charity » 06 May 2014, 13:36

Finding friends who except you as who you are while helping you to grow in the way you want to with your own goals and dreams is paramount in and out of the church. To many people try to bring you up to "their" standards without acknowledging or helping you with your own. I would t consider those or those you can be yourself around(like having to bite your lip more then 20% of the time on things you say in a polite manner) friends.

Few things say this is not the place to be like "faking it until you make it".

There are some nice people with deep relationships to be had. Finding them is much harder then outside the church in my experience though unless you fit the mold by nature.

You can stay in the church and set boundaries in a polite way if you are inclined. It's usually bit that bad until CES, fireside, EFY, and conference. But ya, of a person calls you and wants something most or all of the time(in it outbid church) they SE not your friend.

shoshin
Posts: 61
Joined: 08 May 2014, 16:51

Re: Considering leaving the church forever

Post by shoshin » 10 May 2014, 13:59

Grover, I'm going to post a quick reply and follow up later - my kids and I are on the way out the door to see a movie.

Regarding Mormons and environmentalism, don't confuse the culture of some Mormons with the gospel. There is plenty in Mormon doctrine to support being wise stewards of the earth, even if not all Mormons currently see this as a priority.

I googled "Mormon environmental" and found this example of Mormons who do care about these things:
http://www.mesastewardship.org/about-me ... f-purpose/

I'll be happy to reply in more detail later if you wish.

Best wishes

[I'm new here - my introduction I wrote today hasn't been approved yet by the admins]

"[In this life there are really only] two things we can be good at - we can forgive and repent." - Hugh Nibley

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself." - Matt. 22

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” - Isaiah 55

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Oneofmany
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Joined: 01 Nov 2013, 21:53

Re: Considering leaving the church forever

Post by Oneofmany » 10 May 2014, 19:22

Okay, I am a little confused as I never call anyone without a reason even if the reason is just to hang out, and in my opinion this is asking something from them, their time. I call people for many reasons, to ask for something, to commiserate something, to find out what they have been up to but always with a purpose in mind when I call, I always thought I was valuing their and my time too much to just chit chat... I guess my problem is that I came away from reading this and thought, wow I have no friends. (probably true as I really am a bad friend as evidenced by the fact that I do not have "friends" that live long distances from me)

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