Will the real Terwilliger please stand up?

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
Terwilliger
Posts: 6
Joined: 13 Aug 2014, 15:11

Will the real Terwilliger please stand up?

Post by Terwilliger » 18 Aug 2014, 09:55

Hello, staylds folks, I'm Terwilliger and I'm an unorthodox Latter-Day Saint. For the sake of brevity (not my strong suit) I will forgo the lengthy backstory. Just know that my life can be accurately surmised using all the familiar acronyms found on these types of forums: BIC, RM, TM, DW is TBM, 2 DS's ages 5 and 0.2, 1 DD age 2 and, for all intents and purposes, a non-member could confuse me with any number of dyed in the wool Peter Priesthoods living in close proximity to the Great Salt Lake. However, most TBM's would most-likely pick me out as a "rebel". I've long differed from the stereotypical, "cookie-cutter" version of Adult Male Priesthood Holder (AMPH, there's a new acronym for you). When I was young most of the kids would go to EFY while I would follow punk rock tours in the surrounding states (and, occasionally, break the WoW). I do not own a white shirt nor an oversized black suit to wear to church, instead I wear bright colors. But, most importantly, where most amongst the faithful accept the Mormon narrative of things like Creation, Salvation, Exaltation, Priesthood, Prophets, Scripture, etc. - I doubt.

I'm a long-time doubter - in fact doubting could be counted as one of my favorite pastimes - however, recently my doubting has gone from being recreational to being something more. Do I believe Joseph Smith was actually a prophet? I'm not sure I could answer that in the affirmative right now. Do I believe the scriptures are historically accurate documents? Nope. Do I believe President Monson is a living prophet? Sure, if by "prophet" you mean "the guy in charge of the LDS church" but not if you mean "a guy who has chats with the Lord". Do I believe archaic rituals such as baptism, confirmation, and temple endowment are requirements for a pleasant afterlife? Nah. Do I believe God was involved in or condones all the killing, smiting, and warring done in His name as described in the Bible and Book of Mormon? Not at all. The list goes on, but you get the point.

So that brings me here. As stated, DW is a fairly hardcore TBM, though she is fully aware of my current faith crisis and is surprisingly cool with it. We haven't gone into specific things I struggle with doctrinally (I don't want her to doubt because of me) but we have talked quite a bit about my doubts on a superficial level and she is very understanding (though she gives me a lot of guff when I don't wear my G's). I want to stay in the church for my wife and my kids, but even more than that, I think it's important that I stay in the church for myself. Even with all the stuff I do not believe in, and all the homophobic, sexist, ridiculous sacrament meeting talks I have to suffer through (did I mention I'm in a small town in Northern Utah? We once had someone bear testimony that President Obama is the antichrist for heaven's sake!), I still feel it is a good place to go and be reminded of the things that really matter: Christ, family, love, charity, and service. I do currently have two callings in my ward. One I am comfortable with (Assistant Cub Master - though I still don't understand why this is a church calling) and one I am not-so-comfortable with (Elder's Quorum teacher). It's a little rough trying to teach lessons revolving around "why the church is true" when my view is that, well, it isn't.

Anyways, this is getting awfully long so let me wrap this up by stating I am very glad I found this site and I hope to be enlightened and dare I say edified through my participation in it. Thanks for reading. :smile:

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DarkJedi
Posts: 6823
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Will the real Terwilliger please stand up?

Post by DarkJedi » 18 Aug 2014, 11:45

Welcome. I'm glad you found us, too. My stumbling upon this site has truly been one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Sounds like you'll fit in here pretty well, and I do indeed share many of those doubts you mentioned. You didn't ask for any specific advice, but you did mention your teaching calling and that being a challenge for you. Granted, I do not currently have a formal calling as a teacher but I think there are a few here who have managed to teach lessons by pulling out and focusing on things they do believe (or maybe just could believe). I'm not saying that's easy - it's probably quite similar to sitting in SM and hearing a talk about Obama being the antichrist (he does bear a striking resemblance to Satan in that Bible miniseries :D ), but I think it can be done.
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

Terwilliger
Posts: 6
Joined: 13 Aug 2014, 15:11

Re: Will the real Terwilliger please stand up?

Post by Terwilliger » 18 Aug 2014, 12:16

Thank you for the welcome, DarkJedi. I have been creeping around this site for months and your mantra of "take it slow, don't dump all at once, and focus on what you do believe" has been taken to heart time and time again. As far as advice, I feel that I am on fairly solid (though unfamiliar) ground right now. It took a long time for me to come to grips with some of my more serious doubts, but I have actually felt closer to the Lord while going through my faith crisis than at any other time in my life. It has also been liberating being able to decide what I actually believe instead of being told what I believe. The teaching calling has been tough, but I can usually find a way to teach my own spin on the assigned material with some success. I do have a TR interview coming up soon and am having some anxiety trying to figure out how to give the "right" answers without being a liar, but I'm sure I'll get it figured out. Isn't having a faith crisis fun!?

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SunbeltRed
Posts: 349
Joined: 20 Jun 2014, 11:07

Re: Will the real Terwilliger please stand up?

Post by SunbeltRed » 18 Aug 2014, 13:07

hey Terwilliger,

Welcome. Glad you could join us!

I'm with you on the working through what to say, and how to say it as you go through the reconstruction phase of your faith transition. I have to give a talk once a month as a part of my calling and some months are easier than others depending on the topic.

But you do the best you can. I would say though that I would love to teach EQ. I think its a good opportunity to engage closely with people and it would be fun to figure out safe ways to have more in depth discussions and lessons. Check out a thread by bear (I think it's bear). He solicits advice on how to rock the boat in safe ways during his HPG lessons.

-SBRed

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cwald
Posts: 3628
Joined: 10 Aug 2015, 06:39

Re: Will the real Terwilliger please stand up?

Post by cwald » 18 Aug 2014, 13:55

Sounds like you live in Cache Valley.
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

Terwilliger
Posts: 6
Joined: 13 Aug 2014, 15:11

Re: Will the real Terwilliger please stand up?

Post by Terwilliger » 18 Aug 2014, 14:04

Cache Valley born and raised, cwald! However I am living out of the valley right now (not very far out of it, though).

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cwald
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Joined: 10 Aug 2015, 06:39

Re: Will the real Terwilliger please stand up?

Post by cwald » 18 Aug 2014, 14:20

Terwilliger wrote:Cache Valley born and raised, cwald! However I am living out of the valley right now (not very far out of it, though).
Yeah. I am not surprised.

Welcome.
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

Curt Sunshine
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Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Will the real Terwilliger please stand up?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 18 Aug 2014, 14:56

Welcome. I am glad we have been able to help and hope that can continue.
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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Daeruin
Posts: 441
Joined: 15 Dec 2013, 20:56
Location: Utah

Re: Will the real Terwilliger please stand up?

Post by Daeruin » 18 Aug 2014, 19:35

I'm glad you are here and look forward to hearing more comments from you, if you're comfortable with it. I have been thinking a lot about the temple recommend interview lately, and it gives me a lot of anxiety. I haven't held a recommend in over a decade, so my situation is a little different. It feels like a huge step to do that again. In any case, I definitely empathize with all your doubts. Since my crisis of faith I feel like I have become a professional doubter. Certainty feels like a scarce resource these days.
"Not all those who wander are lost" —Tolkien

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Thoreau
Posts: 264
Joined: 12 Apr 2011, 16:51

Re: Will the real Terwilliger please stand up?

Post by Thoreau » 18 Aug 2014, 21:33

Welcome. You're not alone.
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” Henry David Thoreau

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