Can't believe it happened to me

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science_saint
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Joined: 28 Feb 2014, 13:00

Re: Can't believe it happened to me

Post by science_saint » 15 May 2014, 11:20

Welcome! Like you, many of the same circumstances: 31, Bishopric X2, Secretary, etc. etc..

I wish I could say that remaining an active "middle mormon" is an easy task. It is not. As it has already been stated, disclosure and honesty are two very different topics. I lean more socially liberal and have occasionally shared these opinions publicly. Those who know me let it slide and/or agree with me and take no offense. Unfortunately our current bishop is very conservative and inflexible, despite his time with me as a counselor. I have learned ("wading through trials") that sometimes, despite your best wishes, it is best to just shut up when the older generation is running things.

I do believe much of the difficulties are a generational divide. Our generation, by and large, does not see everything as black-and-white, nor do we tend to overgeneralize from personal experience, though this is certainly taught in Church (depending on the teacher). As it has been pointed out elsewhere in this forum, even some of the Brethren take a more ecumenical stance (interestingly, they have spent a significant part of their lives outside the US, which I feel is not coincidental).

Though it has been, at times, a bitter pill, my wife and I have chosen to stay for our benefit and that of our children and relatives...and the close friends whose faith is very much tied to our support (we have a small network of like-minded..."dissidents" :lol:). Participation is enriching and, let's face it - are you really going to go out of your way to be a moral, altruistic, service-to-the-one kind of person in the absence of Church activity? This is a major concern for me, because altruism and structured service opportunities are a significant component of my moral world-view. Home Teaching and service are the two major reasons I think the Church shouldn't be dismantled, and are one of the major reasons I stay.

Ann
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Re: Can't believe it happened to me

Post by Ann » 16 May 2014, 11:25

eyedempotent wrote:
I just can't believe this happened to me.
Hi, eyedempotent - I'm glad you're here. This might be dumb advice, but I so know this feeling. Shock. I read an article about people who survive traumatic experiences. They tried to find things all survivors had in common. I think the first one was that survivors adjusted to reality quickly. They weren't dazed or numbed; they accepted that the plane had crashed, the boat was listing, etc., and went on to the next thing.
"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

intothelight
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Joined: 26 Oct 2013, 23:56

Re: Can't believe it happened to me

Post by intothelight » 19 May 2014, 21:33

I am not sure my answer is right. But I'll throw my sail up into the wind, and hope you can use it to steer the boat in the right direction for you. As much as I'd like to think otherwise, my advice should only be input into your mind to help you make the best decision for you.

I wouldn't be afraid to leave the church for a while. I think fear of allowing yourself to doubt is pointless. You can throw dirt of a rock to hide it, but the rock is still there. Buried doubts don't go away. At some point - you will have to face it. I could for example quit going to see things where I live because I might get lost as I try to find them, but that would be a terrible waste. I'm not saying you should leave the church. But, don't you think God would rather have his children resolve their doubts and realy believe in what they believe? For me at least, I think the Atonement bought us all the time we'll need to figure out the truth. As long as your heart is in the right place, you are going to figure out the real truth eventually - absolutely you will, without a doubt. I believe that God thinks we are worth the extra time it might take.

As others have said, no doubt you'll find out who your friends are. The true friends are the ones that love and treat you the same after you quit doing the things you want them to do. The where they love you regardless of what you do.

eyedempotent
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Location: Aurora, CO

Re: Can't believe it happened to me

Post by eyedempotent » 20 May 2014, 22:26

I'll respond to individual comments later but I just wanted to come back and say thanks for all the comments and advice, it's greatly appreciated.

shoshin
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Re: Can't believe it happened to me

Post by shoshin » 21 May 2014, 13:38

eyedempotent,

I'm pretty new here but I have seen this question of science and belief a lot on this site already. This is a fascinating topic to me, because I think science is the main modern competitor with the gospel, as far as providing an alternate worldview to religion.

I have presented myself as a believing member on this site but I also love science. I would be glad to discuss the gospel and science if you want to hear my views. I like thinking about this topic.

I wish you well. My only real advice is to be honest to yourself and others, but also don't reveal more personal information than you feel is wise.

"[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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eyedempotent
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Location: Aurora, CO

Re: Can't believe it happened to me

Post by eyedempotent » 06 Jul 2014, 21:53

I just realized I never came back and said thanks and responded to the comments like I said I would. Hopefully it's not too late, but here goes.
shoshin wrote:eyedempotent,
I have presented myself as a believing member on this site but I also love science. I would be glad to discuss the gospel and science if you want to hear my views. I like thinking about this topic.
I appreciate that but I'm not sure it's so helpful to me at the moment. For the longest time I took pride in being able to straddle that line, to love science and not shy away from it but in also having a strong testimony. Then I got (what I feel was, at least) better and better at critical thinking and started applying it to other areas, like feeling the spirit. Anyway, at the moment the only way to reconcile some of these things (Adam and Eve, flood, BoM historicity) is through some impressive mental gymnastics. It has the ring of really wanting to believe something and finding reasons to rationalize it, as opposed to simply going where the evidence leads. I'm not saying it's not true, just that in some ways it doesn't help, and maybe the members who keep the two separate have the right idea in how to stay faithful. There's been a lot written by some very smart people on the topic and I've tried reading some of it, so far it hasn't satisfied much. Parts of Reason for God were good and helpful though, parts of The Language of God were good, but overall it's left me really lacking and wanting more full explanations.

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Deepthinker
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Re: Can't believe it happened to me

Post by Deepthinker » 07 Jul 2014, 10:49

eyedempotent wrote:I just realized I never came back and said thanks and responded to the comments like I said I would. Hopefully it's not too late, but here goes.
shoshin wrote:eyedempotent,
I have presented myself as a believing member on this site but I also love science. I would be glad to discuss the gospel and science if you want to hear my views. I like thinking about this topic.
I appreciate that but I'm not sure it's so helpful to me at the moment. For the longest time I took pride in being able to straddle that line, to love science and not shy away from it but in also having a strong testimony. Then I got (what I feel was, at least) better and better at critical thinking and started applying it to other areas, like feeling the spirit. Anyway, at the moment the only way to reconcile some of these things (Adam and Eve, flood, BoM historicity) is through some impressive mental gymnastics. It has the ring of really wanting to believe something and finding reasons to rationalize it, as opposed to simply going where the evidence leads. I'm not saying it's not true, just that in some ways it doesn't help, and maybe the members who keep the two separate have the right idea in how to stay faithful. There's been a lot written by some very smart people on the topic and I've tried reading some of it, so far it hasn't satisfied much. Parts of Reason for God were good and helpful though, parts of The Language of God were good, but overall it's left me really lacking and wanting more full explanations.
Another way to reconcile what you’re talking about is just to consider the things you mentioned as allegorical or metaphorical (you've probably heard this before, though).

I just accept that there are some things science can disprove about a particular religious teaching/claim or historical event. For these things (Adam and Eve, the flood, etc.) I view them as allegories or metaphors (depending on the teaching/history) and accept that some of the fundamental teachings of religions, such as the existence of God, is still something science does not address and is not within science’s realm to address.

Regarding the history of the universe: yes, this is within science’s realm to address. The existence of God: No, that is outside of science’s realm.

Deciding what you want to hold onto and what to discard can be difficult. It often does come down to also separating critical thinking and feelings. There are reasons and appropriate times for critical thinking (an engineering problem), just as there are for feelings (expressing love to family); applying either one universally into every aspect of our life will likely lead to problems.
My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4599e

eyedempotent
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Location: Aurora, CO

Re: Can't believe it happened to me

Post by eyedempotent » 10 Jul 2014, 22:21

Deepthinker wrote: Another way to reconcile what you’re talking about is just to consider the things you mentioned as allegorical or metaphorical (you've probably heard this before, though).

I just accept that there are some things science can disprove about a particular religious teaching/claim or historical event. For these things (Adam and Eve, the flood, etc.) I view them as allegories or metaphors (depending on the teaching/history) and accept that some of the fundamental teachings of religions, such as the existence of God, is still something science does not address and is not within science’s realm to address.
I definitely agree that's helpful. Personally with the amount of science in favor of evolution, against a global flood, etc. I think that's the only approach that makes sense. The problem I'm having is that nobody in the church talks about these things as even possibly being allegorical. It's not only that all church discussions of these things involve literalistic interpretations, it's that even putting forward the idea that it's only allegorical is enough to get you branded unorthodox and potentially someone less desireable.
Deepthinker wrote:Regarding the history of the universe: yes, this is within science’s realm to address. The existence of God: No, that is outside of science’s realm.
I think that depends on your definition of God. The God of the scriptures I think science has an awful lot that it can say about. But if you're talking about some vague higher power, then yes, it's hard to disprove that.
Deepthinker wrote:Deciding what you want to hold onto and what to discard can be difficult. It often does come down to also separating critical thinking and feelings. There are reasons and appropriate times for critical thinking (an engineering problem), just as there are for feelings (expressing love to family); applying either one universally into every aspect of our life will likely lead to problems.
This is also something that I keep coming back to. I don't want to just be an automaton/Spock type character. I want to experience emotions. And, to be honest, I am a fairly emotional person. But the issue is I love my family no matter what, I don't think I'll throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I appreciate where you're coming from though. These notions have helped me in the past. Seem to be helping less now, but they still do to some degree. I think I need to work on seeing the positive at church as well, and not focusing on the negative. Thanks.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Can't believe it happened to me

Post by DarkJedi » 11 Jul 2014, 05:52

eyedempotent wrote:
Deepthinker wrote: Another way to reconcile what you’re talking about is just to consider the things you mentioned as allegorical or metaphorical (you've probably heard this before, though).

I just accept that there are some things science can disprove about a particular religious teaching/claim or historical event. For these things (Adam and Eve, the flood, etc.) I view them as allegories or metaphors (depending on the teaching/history) and accept that some of the fundamental teachings of religions, such as the existence of God, is still something science does not address and is not within science’s realm to address.
I definitely agree that's helpful. Personally with the amount of science in favor of evolution, against a global flood, etc. I think that's the only approach that makes sense. The problem I'm having is that nobody in the church talks about these things as even possibly being allegorical. It's not only that all church discussions of these things involve literalistic interpretations, it's that even putting forward the idea that it's only allegorical is enough to get you branded unorthodox and potentially someone less desireable.
True most people don't talk about it - but that doesn't mean they don't think it. I think you might be surprised how many believe some things to be allegorical, but your point is well taken in that since they don't talk about it how do you know? Like you, they are probably not saying publicly because of fear. In the end, it doesn't matter which way one thinks - we all get the same gist or moral of the story. It doesn't matter to me that I don't believe Adam & Eve to be real individual people (I believe they are symbolic of all of us) while the person next to me thinks of them quite literally - the story and the outcome of the story are the same. Also, I think there are different kinds of thinkers at church, but that the majority don't think about things much at all (perhaps out of fear in some cases) and are simply parrots, repeating that which they have been taught all their lives or "church lives." Some of the deeper thinkers still parrot because they don't want to be outed - sometimes because they want people to listen to them so they can make subtle changes over time. There are still other deeper thinkers who will speak out, but often with reserve. I have said here before that I have found benefit from listening to what people DON'T say, especially in prayers and testimonies.

Just a couple other points to your comment above. Don't confuse the God of the scriptures with the God that's taught in the church - they are not necessarily the same.

I don't think Deepthinker was saying we shouldn't feel any more than that we shouldn't think. In rebuilding my own faith, I have described it as bricks and a building. When my faith collapsed there was a pile of bricks there. When I rebuilt the beautiful building that is now my faith, it was different than the old one because I didn't use some of the old bricks and I added a few new bricks. The main bricks, however, were stronger ones from the old and are used. While initially I did throw the baby out with the bath water (that's where "don't dump all at once" comes from), I did eventually rescue the baby. Emotions are a part of the church and are closely related to spiritual experiences - you should have them. There are parts of church teachings you can have with or without emotion, while there are others that are dependent on emotion - making the decision on which bricks to keep and which to put on the other pile needs to include both thought and emotion.
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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Deepthinker
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Re: Can't believe it happened to me

Post by Deepthinker » 11 Jul 2014, 08:26

eyedempotent wrote: I definitely agree that's helpful. Personally with the amount of science in favor of evolution, against a global flood, etc. I think that's the only approach that makes sense. The problem I'm having is that nobody in the church talks about these things as even possibly being allegorical. It's not only that all church discussions of these things involve literalistic interpretations, it's that even putting forward the idea that it's only allegorical is enough to get you branded unorthodox and potentially someone less desireable.
You will actually find that the majority if not all LDS apologists are considered very unorthodox. Not that I’m suggesting you become an apologist :smile: , just saying there are many members that would be considered unorthodox in their beliefs.

Just look at the latest Book of Abraham essay on LDS.org, which now gives members a choice in how to view the translation, such as allowing members to subscribe to the catalyst theory and not requiring members to believe it was a literal translation. I think the church is changing gradually. It just may not be at a fast enough pace for many of us.
eyedempotent wrote: I think that depends on your definition of God. The God of the scriptures I think science has an awful lot that it can say about. But if you're talking about some vague higher power, then yes, it's hard to disprove that.
Actually, most if not a majority of people consider God in the supernatural sense, so that is what I was referring to. Science only deals with the natural, so anything considered supernatural is outside of its realm to even address. Here is a good summary of some of the things science doesn’t do (the site is a little “cartoonish”, but it does provide a good explanation of the limits of science):
http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/0_0_ ... science_12
Main points from the link:
Science doesn't make moral judgments.
Science doesn't make aesthetic judgments.
Science doesn't tell you how to use scientific knowledge.
Science doesn't draw conclusions about supernatural explanations.
Many people forget that there are limits to science, perhaps even some scientists.
eyedempotent wrote: I appreciate where you're coming from though. These notions have helped me in the past. Seem to be helping less now, but they still do to some degree. I think I need to work on seeing the positive at church as well, and not focusing on the negative. Thanks.
Everyone has emotions, and I think they are overall a useful part of us for learning and growth.

Just a suggestion, but maybe try to view your involvement in the LDS church as a way to fill in some of the areas outside of science/logic, such as the support for a moral structure, support to be a good husband and father, and for some sort of emotional (even if you don’t view it as spiritual) growth, including to provide opportunities to serve others. Try to see those at church as needing the LDS church for these things, that it is their emotional/spiritual identity, culture, and/or heritage. It is what I try to focus on and helps me be more accepting of others at church who view things differently or believe different things than I do. Of course, I’m still working on it.
My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4599e

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