I am Lookinghard

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LookingHard
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I am Lookinghard

Post by LookingHard » 15 Nov 2014, 07:47

I hope this isn't too long.

Here is where I am coming from.

Somewhat common story, except I don’t live all that near Utah. I grew up in the church from convert parents that both tried hard to do what was right and were good parents. We didn’t pray every night before bed, but we did go to church every week and were always active in the church.

I was a very dutiful teenager and stayed so into my mission. I never felt like I had any bolt of lightning moments, but just before my mission I did have what seems to be to be a very solid spiritual experience that logically can’t be dismissed as me just feeling some kind of emotion. I am an engineer by profession and not quite as logical as Mr. Spock (but I try to be). As such I can write off much of my feelings as just my feelings for many things that I think others claim to be the spirit. But make no mistake – I am a hard working and obedient member. I have done some hard callings for long periods of time – even for years after being burned out. You just keep going – period. I always felt like I wasn’t measuring up – not having the spiritual experiences that others seem to have. I have never had a spiritual experience in the temple and in fact I have had some negative feeling there as I feel some of the blessings promised are not coming to me.

I have seen many leaders that I really didn’t care for. Looking back now I have a really hard time with anyone saying “bow down and respect me because I am your bishop.” I just have a really hard time with others when I feel they are not coming from a stance of love. If someone comes to me in love, I will do quite a lot for them. I LOVE to serve others. I may be logical, but I am also very empathetic. I almost by nature am always thinking about how others may be feeling. Not in a way that I always have to manage how others feel, but I have no problems comprehending how others must feel. Even out here in the “mission field” I have had stake presidents that have done jail time for fraud, bishops that were molesting their own grandkids. I do think I have actually a good track record after getting to know someone if they are “genuine” or not. I will come back to this in just a bit.

But back to my story as to why I am here. I have had some significant marriage issues my entire 30 year marriage. I just can't say I am happy in my marriage and my wife does not seem to care. I am a VERY happy positive person and I tried everything and tons of books to try and make things better with no results at all. I noticed a blog that mentioned a Mormon Stories episode where John Dehlin interviewed some LDS therapists. I listened to it and it was full of some real truths that instantly sang to my soul and made absolute sense in my mind. I glanced at the other podcasts and they looked “anti” so I didn’t listen to them. At the same time I was in a bishopric and the bishop mentioned he was reading “Rough Stone Rolling.” I started reading it also. I wasn’t much of a history student in high school, but since then I just can’t get enough Mormon history.

Just after this I got a job were I actually was driving quite a bit and a few nights here and there. I started listening to all the podcasts I could, and at the same time it seemed so different from the “whitewashed” history. That ate at me quite a bit and started really struggling with my testimony. I remember after hearing the podcast from Hans Mattsson and reading “A letter to a CES director” that I hit my low point. I was trying to figure out how I could exit the church and minimize the pain and embarrassment for others. The bishop I served with is great and I love him and I didn’t want to embarrass him or give him one big issue to deal with. I also didn’t want to hurt my wife. She has grown up with a Bruce R. McConkie like father – rather stern and “the church is the #1 thing PERIOD” – nothing else mattered much.

I was able to listen to some podcasts that helped me see there was another side – like Bushman and Givens. I started diving in even deeper – wishing I could take time off work just to learn more. I very slowly and with many ups and downs started feeling more comfortable with the uncertainty.

I spent a lot of time on the blacks and the priesthood issue and kind of got my arms around it a bit. I was able to see how many of the church leaders and the church itself was affected by the culture. We had to have time as a church to work through that. Along the way the history just became more interesting. But one important thing I walked away from this was that the stature of leaders were knocked down quite a few pegs in my book – like way down.

Being the logical guy that I am, I started thinking about what type of system would a just God create and failsafe’s from keeping someone from staying in the wrong belief system. What I came up with was that having prayer and the Holy Ghost were key. I also started seeing that I don’t know the Lord is involved day to day as I thought. It doesn’t feel that he isn’t a loving God, but just that for some reason dealing with free agency he has to be some distance. But I have never lost faith that there was a God.

Where I am at now on this is that I feel that leaders on some occasions are inspired. I now feel that it is my duty to find out for myself if what they are saying is true. If I don’t and I either follow it all or ignore it all I am relinquishing my moral obligation. At the same time I am finding it quite frustrating when I feel I hear the leaders overstretching their divineness. I heard Neal A Maxwell quote of something like, “don’t oversubscribe to your revelations” (I think it was talking about preaching to others doctrine you have personally received). I wish to tell this to many leaders. I don’t consider myself a leader basher. I actually try and put myself in their place. I am very grateful for the tons of time put in by leaders. But some of what they do I really can’t see that I would ever do.

I do think they are making some efforts with the essays being written. I will mention with the blacks and the priesthood essay, I am immensely bothered by the lack of following the steps of repentance. I strongly feel there should be an apology. It does not feel like they are sorry that this happened and I think it will go away until they do. I understand they have a policy of never criticizing a member of the 12. I do think they should be united, but not to the point where it seems they are just trying to protect the office at the expense of everything else. To me that stance is throwing fuel into the fire of “leaders are perfect.” I have had a nice chat with Bill Reel and that did help some, but this is one area that I still have an issue with.

I have actually reversed my positions on many things over the last year also. I feel the church is making a big mistake with the gay marriage fight. Why are we not fighting for prohibition and stricter laws against abuse? I mean people are having unwed sex all around us and we just say, “well we just don’t do that.” Why not take that stance with gay marriage? This is where my current frustration is the highest – leaders overstepping their bounds as well as leaders being power hungry or authoritarian.

I am reading the stages of faith book. I can tell I am calming down from the anger stage and I am interested in what is going to come. I am glad I found this site.
I had decided to wait to tackle polygamy until I have a few more things squared away in my head. Then the essays came out. With the last few weeks – it is going to be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks. I just have this feeling that another big wave of disaffection is coming, but I guess not everyone sees the world like me. Probably a good thing!

I am still wondering why if we have leaders that can warn us, could they not have warned us and started sharing more details of the church’s history in the past? It seems the essays are very reactionary, not proactive. I am still a fully active member and I feel I can answer the temple recommend questions when it comes up for renewal, even if the questions and answers are different than before.

I love having this site. Thank you for all your help and efforts to help.
Last edited by LookingHard on 28 Jan 2015, 07:51, edited 1 time in total.

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Heber13
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Re: I am Lookinghard

Post by Heber13 » 15 Nov 2014, 07:58

What a great story! Thanks for sharing.

There are so many similar feelings we share. But mostly I like how calm and methodical you seem to be at this point.

One question: who have you talked with face to face about your feelings (or have you)? Not that you must, just wondered what you have experienced if you had.

You're on a good path, friend. I look forward to learning more from your posts.


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Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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DarkJedi
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Re: I am Lookinghard

Post by DarkJedi » 15 Nov 2014, 08:58

We have already interacted on the forums and I feel we are kindred spirits. I can relate to much of what you have said. Thanks for taking the time to introduce yourself formally, and welcome. I look forward to much more interaction.
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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nibbler
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Re: I am Lookinghard

Post by nibbler » 15 Nov 2014, 09:08

I was waiting on that long promised introduction. :smile: Thanks for taking the time to write it out.
The time to relax is when you don't have time for it. - Sydney J. Harris

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LookingHard
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Re: I am Lookinghard

Post by LookingHard » 15 Nov 2014, 09:37

I am feeling MUCH more calm. I think a sustainable calm also. Also much more that I am the focus

My bishop knows that I had a faith crisis and he knows some of where I am at and he absolutely wants me to be honest. I have even given a lesson on faith crisis and my faith crisis to all the adults. He actually had some fairly open discussions at BYU. He hasn't had a faith crisis from what I can tell, but he isn't ignorant of issues in general. But I don't think he studies church history. But he is very sympathetic to how the issues can affect one. I get along with him quite well, but I am not using him to lean on. He has enough bigger fish that I don't fell a need to burden him more - nor do I know that he could help much other than making me feel loved - and he already does that.

I keep telling my bishop how hard it was for me to go through this without anybody to talk with. I want to be there to help others in the ward. I tell him I don't want anybody to go through this by themselves. He has sent others to talk with me, but so far nobody has taken him up on it. In fact I was told that someone might have read the letter to a CES director so I re-read it. Can't say it made my day any happier, but I felt I needed to review it before they brought up some of the items.

But other than 1 call with Bill Reel, I have not had any real discussions. I have talked just a bit with my wife, but she just keeps asking "why do you keep looking at that stuff". She isn't one that likes even self confrontation.

I have mentioned just a bit to my oldest son - more of "I have changed the way I look at quite a bit and if you ever have any questions, just know you can bring them to me and I won't judge you or get mad", a bit about tolerance towards LGBT, and that leaders can, have, and do (even today) make mistakes. But that talk wasn't for me. It was for him.

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West
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Re: I am Lookinghard

Post by West » 15 Nov 2014, 14:34

Thank you for the introduction, Looking.
I now feel that it is my duty to find out for myself if what they are saying is true. If I don’t and I either follow it all or ignore it all I am relinquishing my moral obligation.
This is one of the main points I took out of my FC. The God I believe in holds free agency in very high regard, and as such, I can't imagine he would approve of us blindly following everything someone says simply because of their position -- we have the agency to decide for ourselves and the necessity to be vigilant.
He has sent others to talk with me, but so far nobody has taken him up on it.
That is really cool that you have such a supportive bishop and friend. One day, someone will take him up on the offer.

Thanks for sharing here on the forum. Looking forward to many more posts. :)
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. -Albert Einstein

And God said 'Love Your Enemy,' and I obeyed him and loved myself. -Kahlil Gibran

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Heber13
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Re: I am Lookinghard

Post by Heber13 » 17 Nov 2014, 09:20

I like how Terryl Givens uses the wordage "Faith Transition" instead of crisis.

I am adopting that. It might help others understand better for how I truly feel about my experiences.

But speaking with others is difficult. I'm glad you had a good caring bishop. I did not.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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LookingHard
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Joined: 20 Oct 2014, 12:11

Re: I am Lookinghard

Post by LookingHard » 17 Nov 2014, 10:45

Heber13 wrote:I like how Terryl Givens uses the wordage "Faith Transition" instead of crisis.
I look at it as my Faith Crisis eventually evolved into a faith transition - that that transition is still going on.

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LDS_Scoutmaster
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Re: I am Lookinghard

Post by LDS_Scoutmaster » 23 Jan 2015, 20:24

Well said LH, it seems a lot of people are in the same boat with slight nuances of difference. So far I've found this site full of people who are struggling and maybe upset, but generally still open minded- which fits in perfect.
"When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all." God, according to Futurama

We are all imperfect beings, dealing with other imperfect beings, and we're doing it imperfectly.

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LookingHard
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Re: I am Lookinghard

Post by LookingHard » 28 Jan 2015, 07:47

I agree Scoutmaster.

And a round of "thanks" to all those on this site that are so accepting. I do know at times I vent a bit and some of you will remind me of other sides of the story. That is exactly what I need. I don't think any of us need, "You are wrong - look at this scripture/conference talk as proof" type of response.

So just thanks again to all those on this site. I have only been "on" this site for a few months, but it has made a difference in me being able to handle working through my faith transition.

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