Stepping out of the shadows

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
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Holy Cow
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Joined: 10 Nov 2014, 17:07
Location: Las Vegas

Stepping out of the shadows

Post by Holy Cow » 11 Dec 2014, 16:51

Alright, I guess it's time for me to stop lurking in the background and join the group. I can't tell you how relieved I was to find this forum a few months ago. It's great to see that there are other people out there who have all kinds of different questions and issues, but are still looking for reasons to 'stay LDS.'
I grew up pretty TBM, served a mission, married in the temple, etc. But, I've never been one to accept things on faith alone. I'm an analytic thinker, and that can be a good thing or a bad thing. My crisis has been a very gradual experience, which has been drawn out over the past 18 years, since the first time I attended the temple. My initial reaction was confusion and unease. I thought that if I just kept going to the temple, and as I learned more, it would start to become a comfortable place. Everybody talks about it as being the most holy place on earth, and how the spirit is so strong there and everything, so I thought it would just take time. Well, to skip ahead, I spend almost two decades going to the temple and have never felt comfortable there. It's always felt strange. About a year ago, my bishop called me in for a temple recommend interview. I spilled my guts and told him I don't feel comfortable there, and would prefer not to have a recommend. His reaction was awesome! He shared a lot of his experiences with various faith crises from his life and questions that he's had. He had the idea of starting a Temple Prep class, specifically for members who had been through the temple but had questions or issues with it, so we could ask more pointed questions than we'd be able to in Sunday School, or in a Temple Prep class with people who were preparing to go through for the first time. I was pretty excited about that. Then the bishopric changed. The new bishop is a lot more of a straight arrow, and doesn't understand at all. He put me in a Temple Prep class, but with a new member. I didn't want to sit there and ask questions with this new member sitting there, who had never been through the temple, so I stopped going. I've been doing a ton of research about temples, hebrew symbolism and rituals, etc. This led to research on masonic rites and rituals (which brought more confusion). That led to research on Joseph Smith, the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, polygamy/polyandry, Brigham Young, etc., etc. In short, the more research I've done, the more I've seen the polish come off of the church and it's past leaders.
I've learned that the church and the gospel of Jesus Christ are two very different things, and don't always go hand-in-hand. I've actually felt quite a bit of relief since I let the temple recommend expire, stopped wearing garments, and came clean with my wife (who doesn't completely understand but has become more supportive as time has gone on). I don't feel like I'm living as a hypocrite anymore, trying to put on the TBM face while doubting everything. If it wasn't for the kids, I would have stopped going to church, but I know it's a good place for them to be. Right now, my own personal opinion is that Joseph Smith was an incredible con-man, and that Brigham Young was one of the most power-hungry and manipulative people of the 19th century. I look at the Book of Mormon similar to Aesop's Fables; a book full of good stories with a good moral, but by no means true. However, I do accept Jesus Christ as my Savior. I believe he died for our sins, and that we can return to our Heavenly Father, because of Christ's atonement. I believe the gospel is true, but that the church is not. I hope that makes sense. I think the LDS church has as much (or as little) truth as any other church I could attend, so it's easiest for me to keep going to the LDS church to avoid stirring things up for my wife and kids.
Now, hopefully, I'll be able to keep that going and 'stay LDS' by having all of you to share my thoughts and feelings with. I've really enjoyed your posts and points-of-view, so I'm optimistic that I've found a great place to learn and share from other analytic thinkers.
My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6139

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Stepping out of the shadows

Post by Curt Sunshine » 11 Dec 2014, 17:07

Must. Not. Make. Joke. with. User. Name.

Holy cow, that was hard. :oops:

Welcome! I hope we can continue to be a good source of support for you.
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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SilentDawning
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Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: Stepping out of the shadows

Post by SilentDawning » 11 Dec 2014, 17:36

Love the username too! Mooooocho gracios for the post. In could have written 75% of it. Welcome!

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"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- 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."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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DarkJedi
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Re: Stepping out of the shadows

Post by DarkJedi » 11 Dec 2014, 18:39

Welcome, glad you found us. I think one of the greatest values of this site is finding that we're not alone. That's also a huge step in transitioning and staying LDS. I agree with much of what you have said, and recognizing that the gospel and the church are separate is a huge win for you. I can say pretty much the same thing - I also believe Christ is my Savior and that the gospel is true, but the church is not. I look forward to hearing more from you.
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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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Stepping out of the shadows

Post by hawkgrrrl » 11 Dec 2014, 20:13

Great post and great story. I'm sure lots of our forum can relate, including me. Welcome to the site!

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nibbler
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Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: Stepping out of the shadows

Post by nibbler » 12 Dec 2014, 05:52

Welcome, I'm glad to hear your voice join the choir.
Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder.
— Laurence J. Peter

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SunbeltRed
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Joined: 20 Jun 2014, 11:07

Re: Stepping out of the shadows

Post by SunbeltRed » 12 Dec 2014, 06:58

Welcome!

I agree with a fair amount of your analysis about JS and BY. I don't have a testimony of Christ (I claim agnosticism on most everything) though I have hope in eternal community and progression. I too am working on balancing those views with being a pretty active member.

I hope we can all help you in your journey and you can help us as well.

-SBRed

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Orson
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Re: Stepping out of the shadows

Post by Orson » 12 Dec 2014, 13:23

Welcome! I also very much relate to a lot of what you express. When I read the following I remember my past:
Holy Cow wrote:... If it wasn't for the kids, I would have stopped going to church, but I know it's a good place for them to be. Right now, my own personal opinion is that Joseph Smith was an incredible con-man, and that Brigham Young was one of the most power-hungry and manipulative people of the 19th century. I look at the Book of Mormon similar to Aesop's Fables; a book full of good stories with a good moral, but by no means true.
I can recall the day when I was right there, I would have said those exact things. It may or may not interest you that today I have different words to express my views. Not only different words but different feelings behind them. After continued research into JS and BY I again see areas where their good intentions are undeniable, even with their obvious human failings. I don't feel a need to preach that the BoM is historical, but the words "it isn't true" do not feel sincere from me. I guess you could say I have come to appreciate broader realms of spiritual truth, even a broader definition of "truth" that I feel allows people to experience what they do without trying to shoe-horn their personal experience into the context of my own. It has been liberating and elevating -- from my experience. ;)

Maybe what I am trying to say is if you are open to experiencing the road ahead there is much to see. Glad to have you with us!
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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Holy Cow
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Joined: 10 Nov 2014, 17:07
Location: Las Vegas

Re: Stepping out of the shadows

Post by Holy Cow » 12 Dec 2014, 17:30

Thanks, everybody! It's great to find a place where it's okay to have different perspectives and opinions. There isn't just ONE way of seeing things, and that's a refreshing feeling!
My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6139

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Thoreau
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Joined: 12 Apr 2011, 16:51

Re: Stepping out of the shadows

Post by Thoreau » 14 Dec 2014, 17:30

Welcome from one of the resident curmudgeons.
“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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