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Stepping out of the shadows

Posted: 11 Dec 2014, 16:51
by Holy Cow
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.

Re: Stepping out of the shadows

Posted: 11 Dec 2014, 17:07
by Curt Sunshine
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.

Re: Stepping out of the shadows

Posted: 11 Dec 2014, 17:36
by SilentDawning
Love the username too! Mooooocho gracios for the post. In could have written 75% of it. Welcome!

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk

Re: Stepping out of the shadows

Posted: 11 Dec 2014, 18:39
by DarkJedi
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.

Re: Stepping out of the shadows

Posted: 11 Dec 2014, 20:13
by hawkgrrrl
Great post and great story. I'm sure lots of our forum can relate, including me. Welcome to the site!

Re: Stepping out of the shadows

Posted: 12 Dec 2014, 05:52
by nibbler
Welcome, I'm glad to hear your voice join the choir.

Re: Stepping out of the shadows

Posted: 12 Dec 2014, 06:58
by SunbeltRed
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

Re: Stepping out of the shadows

Posted: 12 Dec 2014, 13:23
by Orson
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!

Re: Stepping out of the shadows

Posted: 12 Dec 2014, 17:30
by Holy Cow
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!

Re: Stepping out of the shadows

Posted: 14 Dec 2014, 17:30
by Thoreau
Welcome from one of the resident curmudgeons.