Thank you for that. I know I'm still at that stage where I worry about how other people view my religious-ness. I didn't realize that's what it was until I read through the "How to stay in the church" article, but now I think I recognize it. Still, I needed that viewpoint. Thank you.If you feel like you need that experience that's your choice. If it's your choice how could it be dumb?
For some reason, that conclusion just seems...right. Both logically and emotionally. There's no warm fuzzy feeling. Just a sense of peace, almost. I hope that means it's right, because it's definitely something I can also get behind.You touched on the conclusion that I struggled to arrive at, that there are people out there that do need the LDS church as their true church. It took a while for me to see that.
As a convert that served a mission I felt that "the church isn't for everyone... right now." In my more orthodox days as a missionary that translated to an utmost respect of people's decisions. No meant no and I was okay with that, people would find the church on the lord's timetable. Post faith crisis that became "the church isn't for everyone," which translated to an utmost respect of people's decisions. No meant no and I was okay with that, people would find god on their own terms. Subtle variation I guess. What took time was the realization that there were people out there that truly need the church. That's something I can get behind.
I am worried a bit about the potential strife. I can't clearly say that I believe Joseph Smith to be what the church portrays him as. Same as the BofM. However, after the long drive home, I think I believe at least that the BofM does have its value. It has its truths. And within it, there are many people who can find peace. I have balked over the past few days at thinking of having to read it again. But after reading some other forum posts about the topic, I've realized that I'm hesitant because I'm still trying to come to terms with being taught my whole life that it was a perfect word of God when logic and reason tells me it likely isn't what the church says it is. However, I have found value in so many fictional, wonderful non-church books.The thing about a mission, and I'm going to shoot straight, your peers and leaders likely aren't going to agree with an unorthodox worldview. Your peers and leaders will be of the mindset that every person on earth must accept the gospel. Clashing with a one size fits all approach will at times cause strife. Rather than bring up specific examples I'll leave it at this...
Before you leave on a mission determine your own definition of what a successful mission means to you and don't let anyone else redefine success for you (or better yet don't worry about whether you are having a successful or unsuccessful mission at all). You'll drive yourself nuts trying to live up to someone else's expectations. If you feel like you are falling short of attaining success, however you end up defining it, do not allow guilt to take over. Look past the guilt to find the success that was hidden from your original perspective.
I imagine a mission would be all the more difficult for someone post faith crisis. Remember that the church isn't the only way to serve people, the peace corps for instance. Don't take this as an attempt to talk you out of serving a mission, the decision is yours.
I might yet change my mind about going on a mission, but as for now, I feel like I can at least confidently say to investigators and my peers that I do believe the BofM can bring peace and joy into many people's lives if they are only willing to give it a chance. I hope that is enough to avoid serious clashes within such a black-and-white culture that I would be immersing myself into with going on a church mission. I think a big part of how well I serve will be dependent on finding for myself that definition of success you suggest. It will definitely not be an easy thing for a post-faith unorthodox Mormon. But no one ever said it would be easy even for an orthodox one. And maybe what the church and the world needs is more people with different viewpoints.
I'm going to be saying thank you a lot, but yeah, thank you. I've considered the Peace Corps or other similar non-church humanitarian long-time service. I think I will keep it still open as an option for as long as I can. I appreciate your suggestion. Truly, I do not see it as an attempt to talk me out of a mission.
I do continue to believe, even after such a rough day as today, that coincidences are just signs of a higher power working to pull things together towards a larger plan. Yes, I do believe that this faith crisis was no coincidence. As I said in a previous post, I had been planning on a mission for several years now while I completed school. I kept setting dates to complete my papers numerous times. In that time, a lot of small but firm coincidences came up that told me choosing to go on a mission was the right choice. But it was only now, barely a week or so after meeting with my bishop and confirming for sure a date, which I hadn't done before, that this crisis came up. Only this weekend, a day or two before my crisis, my mother had talked with me and we had resolved all my lingering doubts.You mention coincidence. You probably already have but if not, don't forget to extend that to your faith crisis. It's no coincidence that you had a faith crisis, it was meant for your spiritual progression. It sounds like you've already found a way to use your faith crisis to move forward.
I'm not sure quite what those coincidences mean yet. But since it happened now, when the mission plans were getting more "real" than ever, I feel like yes, it was for my spiritual benefit. I can't help wondering that, if I should still decide to go, my crisis is meant to help someone else. I don't know if that's just wishful thinking. And maybe in a few days or a few weeks it will change. But for now it seems right.
I think I need to get that branded into a bracelet so I can take it and see it everywhere I go as a reminder -- Deep breath. You're on a journey.My first advice is for you to take a deep breath and realize you're on a journey, and pace yourself, go slow, and avoid rash all or nothing thoughts or choices.
Truth is... you can have all your feelings, and all your feelings are valid...and you can still choose to be LDS and serve a mission if you want to. In fact, you may be a great missionary with a great perspective others may need to hear. Or if not a mission, an active member who reaches out to others with similar doubts and fears.
When you grow wiser, you start to see truth from many perspectives, and all may be right and good. You just have to be open to it. Like the prism that has one source of light or truth, but we might see the light at different times or different angles that show different colors...no one is the right one...they are just what they are. And God wants us to all learn the beauty of all the colors...not a black and white world.
Having read the forums extensively before creating an account and posting, I couldn't get over how accepting and supportive this community is. And even now I almost can't believe it. Like I said above, I think my crisis might in fact be what would make me a greater missionary by far than if I had left a year or two ago as previously planned. In all honesty, I haven't been the most to-the-book Mormon for many years now. But so far during this crisis, I have found myself and God more thoroughly than almost any other time in my life.
Thank you so much for the prism analogy. It is beautiful, and it is a truth that I find peace in. I don't know why I didn't see before how black and white much of the LDS culture is sometimes, especially when it teaches that no one knows how God will judge, and that He will be fair to each person according to the contents of their heart. Thank you.
Thank you for the link! I found it previously, but I didn't get to reading it. I love this woman. I wish I had had the awareness to try to meet her while she was still alive. Her experiences and her love is something that I've found I relate to more than any other church leader I've yet found.
@Roy and @Nibbler
The "slow down" and "don't dump" advice has kept me from saying anything about my crisis to the people I love. I have tried, and I think succeeded, in maintaining the appearance that nothing is wrong or has changed. It's been difficult, but at the same time, it's been easy. Because of my father's medical procedure, I've watched such a wonderful outpouring of love and help from members of our ward. The LDS Church is indeed the true church for these people. I do not ever want to be responsible for hurting them or making them doubt because of my own doubts. This journey is mine.
I will definitely keep this advice in mind. So far, it's been difficult. But slowly, I have been building up the things I believe and the truths I know, and that has been helping.
I would definitely suggest having a non-church humanitarian mission as an option for your son if he doesn't feel that a proselyting mission is what's best for him. It is always good to have options, and I would definitely see it as "trading up."
Thank you. (And as a fairly involved Star Wars fan, I probably should admit that one thought that's helped me through this a lot over the past few days is "Only Sith deal in absolutes" -- that is to say, this world is all shades of colors, and seeing things black and white can be harmful; not implying the church is like the Sith, of course).I don't have a ton of time right now, but I wanted to say welcome and offer my fairly standard advice, some of which has already been covered:
Take it slow, don't dump all at once (which really has two meanings - don't just dump your beliefs wholesale and don't dump it all on your friends/family/leaders), and focus on what you do believe.
It's been a struggle not to dump all my beliefs. Part of it is because I've held onto them for my entire life, and I don't think I can. Part of it is because I don't know what else to do without them. And part of it is because when I clear my head and sit down and think, I can see that there is still much good in them that I can find and apply to my life. Thank you for the advice. It's standard for a very good reason.