You ask some very interesting questions.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 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.
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.