What now?

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
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Leap
Posts: 46
Joined: 05 Jun 2014, 11:26

What now?

Post by Leap » 05 Jun 2014, 13:54

First I just have to say that this site has kept me going through the last few months. Knowing that I am not alone has been so helpful!

A little about me: I have been completely active throughout my life. My parents are diehard TBMs. My father has been a stake president for 8 years. I have always done my best to fulfill my callings, served a mission, etc.

In high school, I began to question some of the truth claims of the church. I even told my parents at one time that I didn’t want to go to church anymore. They were so hurt by this that I changed my mind. After a long time just going through the motions, I gained my own testimony that God exists and loves me. I felt that love when I read the Book of Mormon. I took that to be my witness that the Book of Mormon was true. Any time I have had doubts since then I have suppressed them instead of faced them…until recently.

The Doctrine and Covenants was always my favorite book of scripture. Maybe because it was full of God telling people exactly how to live their lives down to how to tie their shoelaces (slight exaggeration), and that was how my life had always been! Anyway, one day a few months ago I read D&C 129 and realized that “the three grand keys” for discerning a true angel from the devil or his followers are completely illogical. This may seem like a small trivial thing, but for me it was an epiphany. I disagreed with a section of the D&C and I admitted it to myself.

Then came the flood. Over the next few days I started to acknowledge other doubts to myself. I badly wanted answers to these questions, answers that made sense. I stumbled on a few of the church’s “essays” on lds.org. The essay on blacks and the priesthood turned my world upside down. Instead of just questioning some points of doctrine, I started to question everything past prophets have ever said and what it even meant to be a prophet.

I have now been researching my questions for several months. For awhile I felt betrayed by the church. Now I am just trying to decide what I still believe. I would have already gone completely inactive if not for some advice I have read on this forum. I see now that would have been a huge mistake. If I stopped going to church my wife would be devastated (her top reason for marrying me was that I was a ‘stalwart priesthood holder’). She figured out recently that I have some doubts. She has no idea how extensive they are, but the small amount she does know was enough to make her cry most of a night. She just cried and held our son (he's almost a year old). I hate to cause her pain.

I am currently assistant ward clerk over finances. Lately, processing tithing donations makes me sick to my stomach. Going to church is pure torture. I honestly don’t know what to do at this point. I really don’t want to do anything to mess up my marriage, but I feel like such a hypocrite living like this.

Wow, I had no idea it was going to feel so good to finally tell my story. If you made it this far, thanks for listening!

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On Own Now
Posts: 1754
Joined: 18 Jan 2012, 12:45

Re: What now?

Post by On Own Now » 05 Jun 2014, 15:24

Welcome, Leap. I'm glad you've found this site. Your story is a familiar one, and I know when I came here, it was such a relief to learn that there were others like me.

I look forward to hearing from you.
- - -
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ― Carl Jung
- - -
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." ― Romans 14:13
- - -

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DarkJedi
Posts: 7159
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: What now?

Post by DarkJedi » 05 Jun 2014, 17:24

Welcome, I'm glad you found us. I know the relief I found when I came here and realized I wasn't alone and wasn't so far out after all. I hope you find the peace that I and others have found here. As OON said, your story is all too familiar.

Church can be hard, and advice is difficult too. Sometimes I swear people probably see blood trickling from the corners of my mouth because I have been biting my tongue so hard. Whenever something I don't like is going on I try to just ignore it and read scripture or read one of my favorite conference talks. Other than that I don't have lots to offer, I hope others do.
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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SilentDawning
Posts: 7334
Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: What now?

Post by SilentDawning » 05 Jun 2014, 20:04

I hear you....I realize how difficult it can be when the wife goes into withdrawal over lack of church activity.

At one point in my marriage, after we had been rejected by the church social services agency over an adoption, my commitment wavered. My wife indicated she didn't want to be with me anymore if I wasn't going to be stalwart.

Then, the primary president to whom she reported as a primary teacher told her that "love and marriage should transcend church activity". This woman had married a non-member. I was very impressed. My wife has been accepting of my own commitment issues since then, so I am fortunately, but I understand the risk that "coming out" as a doubter can pose to a marriage.

Here are a few strategies to consider:

a) keep measuring the impact of your true feelings, if shared,on your marriage. I personally believe in keeping the marriage together and my wife happy to the extent I am able. I think you have done the right thing in not going full tilt with your feelings to your wife based on her earlier reactions. The challenge becomes keeping your own inner peace.

b) Find non-traditional reasons for serving -- for the good the church does, for the structure it will bring your kids (we do have strong youth programs in many parts of the world) etcetera. If you find community and friendship there, for that. If you find growth opportunities there, for that.

c) Consider talking to Ray Degraw on this site. He is orthoprax, which, If I understand it properly, means he believes in good, right living first and doctrine second. Some have had success with that approach in the LDS church. Focus on the fruit of the religion and not its roots as your motivation for serving and remaining active.

d) I have had some success in serving in the community at large, outside the church, and justifying that as priesthood magnification in general to my wife and kids. It too has its challenges, and actually helped me see the church and all its warts in a slightly different light -- a better one.

e) develop your own philosophy, and share it here...don't trust any of the local priesthood leaders with your doubts as history has shown that is a highly uncertain path and it often leads to more problems. Realize that there are shades of belief that allow you to answer certain questions truthfully.

f) Read marriagebuilders.com. That site lists common emotional needs men and women have in their marriage. It's likely yourr wife has a strong need for family commitment -- and that your faith crisis threatens that need being met in your marriage. Find out her other emotional needs from the emotional needs questionnaire on the website, and make sure you do a REALLY GOOD JOB of her other top needs. In my case, I have to do a good job of providing financial support, being a good father, and talking to her at the end of the night, and being affectionate. This compensates for my lack of churchywurchiness to some extent. At least, we;ve managed to stay together for several years since my own crisis about 5 years ago.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

Ann
Posts: 2574
Joined: 09 Sep 2012, 02:17

Re: What now?

Post by Ann » 06 Jun 2014, 00:49

Leap wrote:
Knowing that I am not alone has been so helpful!
Hi, Leap - This is it for me in a nutshell. Glad you're here!
"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

nibbler
Posts: 4449
Joined: 14 Nov 2013, 07:34
Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: What now?

Post by nibbler » 06 Jun 2014, 07:30

Ah yes D&C 129, that is an odd one. I've read a bit about the historical context of the section but I'm still curious as to the reasons why that section was a revelation that JS felt as though all church members needed. I don't recall anyone ever actually turning to that section and reading it in a talk or a classroom setting, the teachings of section 129 come up in the context of being trivia more than anything else. I mean what practical application does it have?

Welcome to StayLDS.

I know what you mean about feeling like you are a hypocrite. I look at it a bit differently though, the word hypocrite carries all kinds of negative baggage with it. I still keep church standards and being a hypocrite is more about saying you believe something that you really have no intention of doing. I rephrase where I'm at by saying that I don't feel like I can be myself.

One thing that helped was taking a step back and looking at what I was doing. I was actively engaged in the church even though I no longer believed because I wanted to support my wife. Love and sacrifice are behind those types of actions and if I'm a hypocrite it's in the net positive direction of the moral equation. I may say I don't believe but my actions show that I love my family and am willing to sacrifice my will for theirs.

I use that to get me through the difficult times while I try to find my own reasons for staying. Some days/weeks/months are harder than others.

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DarkJedi
Posts: 7159
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: What now?

Post by DarkJedi » 06 Jun 2014, 07:52

And I forgot: Take it slow, don't dump all at once, and focus on what you do believe. 8-)
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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Orson
Site Admin
Posts: 2252
Joined: 22 Oct 2008, 14:44

Re: What now?

Post by Orson » 06 Jun 2014, 08:02

Welcome!
My avatar - both physical and spiritual.

I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.

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Leap
Posts: 46
Joined: 05 Jun 2014, 11:26

Re: What now?

Post by Leap » 06 Jun 2014, 08:47

Thanks everyone for the warm welcome! I have read and been inspired by many posts that each of you have written. DJ, SD, and nibbler, thank you so much for the advice. You have helped me gain hope that my situation can improve over time. My beliefs have changed so radically over the last few months that it has been difficult for me not to allow my actions to follow, your advice has helped me to slow down and begin some deep reflection. I am sure I will have many questions for all of you in the upcoming days and months.

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16808
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: What now?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 06 Jun 2014, 09:09

Growing up and establishing independence can be very hard, especially in letting go of what others believe and truly finding yourself. We recognize and respect that when people leave home to go to college, but we too often fail to see the connection to a faith transition. Really, it's the same thing.

Welcome. I'm glad we have been able to help and hope we can continue to do so.
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

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