Thank you. :)

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Cordelia_Cox
Posts: 1
Joined: 18 Feb 2015, 23:25

Thank you. :)

Post by Cordelia_Cox » 11 Mar 2015, 22:06

First of all, thank you so much. I appreciate the candor and dialogue in this support forum. I have been a lurker for awhile now. I have been trying so hard to make everything work for me.
I must admit I was a very black and white thinker and therefore very orthodox in my belief, but can you blame me? I'm 31 years old. I personally feel my generation of born in the church members have been slighted. It is my view that the messages since around the 70s/80s have become very authoritarian in nature. I have seen so much heartache among people around my age dealing with faith crises. Sometimes I think it's actually the church experiencing a truth crisis. Marriages are falling apart and there is a lot of suffering. I may be mistaken in some of my views, but I was taught God would not let his mouthpiece lead us astray. I was discouraged from reading anything critical of the church. I was told to follow the prophet with exactness. I just wanted to share my story here and say thanks so much for helping me understand my amazing family, neighbors, and bishop and those who still maintain belief. I have a love for the church and what I have learned; I will take much with me on my journey. I feel grateful to have had this resource to peruse during my struggle. Thanks. I posted my story for family and friends via facebook. Just wanted to share my post.

Family and Friends:
I have wrestled with the thought of posting this for quite some time. What I share may not affect some of you. I am sharing my experience in hopes that if anyone who is a member of the same church as me is feeling the same way, they can be comforted and know they are not alone. This is very difficult for me to say, (I am shaking as I type this.) I need to be honest and I would like for my dear friends and loved ones to find these things out from me. Thank you in advance because this is sort of like therapy for me.
Due to things I have learned about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that conflict with the narrative taught in primary, Sunday school, seminary, institute, and general conference, I cannot in good faith be an active member any longer. Those that know me well know that the gospel was my life. I never in a million years thought I would be typing this.
I have been struggling and spending time discussing issues with my husband, my parents, my bishop, and my stake president for just over 4 months. I have not resigned, but I believe that may be something I will consider in the future.
Please understand I have no judgement for those who don’t want to dig into any specific issues. The church brought me great happiness and purpose; I am still in mourning.
I share my story in a note linked to my profile. It is entitled "I Yearn to Be Understood." Please know I do not bring to light specific issues. I mostly share my opinion and my feelings. (It is never my intention to tout my intellect as I am not a scholar, just a fellow life traveler struggling to put things together)
Please read my story, please be understanding of anyone who has doubts about the church. It is my belief that having dialogue about these issues is very important. Feel free to contact me if you would like. I am an open book.
With love, Cordelia_Cox

I Yearn to be Understood:

I believe every human being yearns to be understood.

I have been struggling since November. I have felt isolated, guilty for doubting, and like a rug has been pulled out from under my feet. In my eyes, the things I built my testimony on are not solid anymore. It is very surreal to be writing this as I shared my testimony in sacrament just this last October and my husband was just the 1st counselor in the bishopric in our last ward.

When I first read the essays concerning church history on LDS.org and learned more about polygamy, polyandry, differing versions of the First Vision, Joseph Smith’s translation of the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham, I completely panicked. I looked for answers. I prayed, fasted, repented for everything I could think of. I felt guilty for doubting. It didn’t feel right to have these unsigned essays thrown into the gospel topic section like they were an afterthought.

I have struggled intensely to make sense of all of this. Each time I searched for answers to defend my faith, I only came back with more questions. I thought the history of the church would confirm the truthfulness of the church. It seems the narrative passed to members is more of a whitewashed version of real events.

This has been the most difficult, harrowing, depressing, and confusing time in my life. I don’t understand why the things I have found don’t matter and that they can actually strengthen someone’s testimony while totally obliterating mine.

I’ve asked questions of church leaders before; I was told my concerns weren’t concerns, the things I brought to light were anti-mormon lies. I now find they were actually true.

All my life I was taught to not worry about issues I had, I would receive answers to those in time. All I had to do was believe the beautiful story of the First Vision, the coming about of the Book of Mormon for us in our day. I had to cling to my covenants I made in the temple. I would treasure my spiritual experiences and build a relationship with Heavenly Father. If the things I was worried about didn’t pertain to my salvation, I was to forget about it. I was to think of my strong pioneer heritage. Why would my relatives who knew Joseph Smith and believed so strongly despite persecution never deny their faith?

Despite all of this, it is impossible for me to explain away the issues. There are so many of them. I studied what I found on LDS.org, fairmormon.org, the Joseph Smith Papers, the writings of BH Roberts including the 1974 version of History of the Church, the journal of discourses, my own ancestors journals, and some of the writings of historians; both members and not. What I found was startling; the church has been changing, retelling, and withholding information. I have also researched quotes regarding freedom of thought and I find that the church has gone from encouraging questioning and searching for answers to more of a “don’t look, just trust” attitude. The topic regarding the truthfulness of the Church on the internet has been sensationalized to quite a degree on both sides. I just know what I’ve learned for myself doesn’t sit right.

I cannot stew over this anymore. It is unhealthy to feel this way. When I try to choose to believe I feel so lost, confused, and betrayed. I feel the need to be true to myself. I cannot attend church letting everyone assume I understand these issues and feel fine and don’t doubt. I cannot believe I’m typing this. I don’t feel like God would hide the only truth in confusion like this.

Maybe I took everything too literally.
Was I not supposed to “really” believe?
Should I have been more liberal in my belief?
Should I have had lower expectations for what I believed to be the One True Church of God on the Earth?

I was taught to stand up for what is true, to stand for truth and righteousness. Truth cannot change. God cannot lie.
Did Prophets misspeak? The church is true, or it isn’t. There is no middle ground. The issue is black and white. The prophet will never lead me astray. I was taught these things.

I always believed that if the Book of Mormon is true, then Joseph Smith was a prophet, and therefore his revelations including the Book of Abraham are from God and that we are so blessed to have the truth. We have the priesthood. I even felt guilty that somehow I was lucky enough to be born to parents who taught me these things and took me to church. How many others didn’t, and wouldn’t get the opportunity to know the truth?

I shared a similar letter with my bishop and stake president. I wrote it after I had found information that discredited the Book of Mormon in my eyes. I was wholly prepared to stuff all the things that bothered me about the history of the church in a bag and deal with it later if I could just believe the Book of Mormon to be true. I previously believed it is of divine origin and that it is what Joseph Smith said it was in the title page.

For me, everything fell apart, and incidentally, my family feels like it’s falling apart too. Until very recently my husband and I have not seen eye to eye. I’m upset that he may always see me as someone who made a horrible mistake; someone who gave up on our eternal family. (He has since admitted he has doubts and is upset that he has been lied to.) If you know Mike and would like to know where he stands regarding all of this you may contact him.

You know the most confusing part of all of this? I don’t feel like I’m being led astray. I have been told I must suffer from a mental illness and can’t process the information correctly, I must have never had a testimony, I’m only looking at the negative aspects….just to name a few. I most definitely can see the good. I see it on the local level; especially when I see people serving one another and striving to be Christ-like.

I know I have had spiritual experiences that I thought were confirmations regarding the truthfulness of the church. I love many of the stories from the Book of Mormon. I would love for the church to be true and what it claims to be. It would be much easier for many reasons. I understand if I move forward with my life away from the church many people I love and admire will probably not admire me as much as before. I hope active members will not be watching for me to fail in my parenting and other aspects of my life. I still believe in being honest and true. I believe in seeking things that are virtuous, lovely, and of good report. I believe in loving and serving others. I know that those who try to get me back to church in whatever way they see fit is all out of love. I also respect those who still believe. I understand both sides.

I share the following story not to “toot my own horn.” I think it helps illustrate some sincere feelings I have.

This situation reminds me of when I was younger and made a decision to keep the Sabbath Day holy. I really wanted to play volleyball in college and I was told by my LDS coaches and teammates that I would not be recruited unless I play on a club team that plays and practices on Sundays. I wanted to show God that I was going to put him first and be a good example, I never judged them for their decisions. I did end up playing on the club team, but refrained from playing on Sundays. Most of the teammates were respectful of me and I of them. I eventually did have the opportunity later to play in college and have my schooling paid for. I felt like that was a blessing from God because I stood up for what I thought was right and true and worked hard. It was very difficult for me to do that among other members of the church who chose to play on Sunday, but I received support from my parents and I felt that I was doing the right thing.

I’ve been praying and praying to know what to do. With this decision (to step away from activity in the church) I feel peace, I feel I am doing the right thing. More specifically, I have prayed in tears, confessing to God how I feel about the Church. I admitted that I don’t believe Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon isn’t what he said it was. Instead of pleading to feel better about the church and try to make it work, I just admitted that I’m ready to move on, that I would take some things I’ve learned that I still treasure. I admitted I was wary of absolutes, but that I wanted to continue a relationship with my God even if I didn’t have all or any of the answers. I felt a special feeling of comfort and peace after I expressed the true feelings of my heart.

I always associated the feeling I experienced as the burning of the bosom, the comfort of the Holy Ghost. If I’m supposed to analyze that feeling and wonder where it “really” came from, I would have to go back and analyze every spiritual experience I’ve had and try to make sense of that too.

I now feel a great amount of inner peace. I don’t have to try and wish away uncomfortable truths anymore to maintain belief. I don’t feel God has abandoned me. If I am wrong about the church, and I very well could be….I believe God will forgive me, because this is so confusing and difficult. I don’t want my daughters to ever feel this way.

Thank you for reading this and I hope to have your respect as I have not come to this decision lightly.

Sincerely, Cordelia_Cox

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DarkJedi
Posts: 5993
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Thank you. :)

Post by DarkJedi » 12 Mar 2015, 06:30

I don't have a ton of time right now, I just wanted to welcome you to the forum. Many people here can relate to your feelings and have been where you are.

I do understand that sometimes taking a break from the church is necessary for healing. I took a ten year break. Frankly, in retrospect, that was too long. Taking such a break is not a long term solution.

So, take it slow, don't dump all at once (which I sense you may be doing), and focus on what you do believe (which I sense you may not be doing).
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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On Own Now
Posts: 1624
Joined: 18 Jan 2012, 12:45

Re: Thank you. :)

Post by On Own Now » 12 Mar 2015, 07:48

cordelia,

Welcome to this site. I'm sorry that you have had to go through this. But you have said many wise things in your post. I particularly liked one thing you said way back up in the early part of your post:
Cordelia_Cox wrote:I will take much with me on my journey.
You know, over the years, I've come to realize that I have a lot to be grateful for from my upbringing in the Church. I liked the way you phrased it.

I have also come to believe that it is very important to define ourselves by US and not by the CHURCH. You seem to have a good start with that, and I wish you well in continuing to do so. One of the things you said so eloquently is how the Church has taught you to think in a black & white fashion, but that the reality is different from that. I've come to believe that is one of the most important elements of our faith transition. Many people seem to retain black & white thinking and simply shift it to new views. IMO, You are doing well if you can recognize that and seek to counter it. I find that when we do so, we are able to find good in many aspects of life and to focus on those things, and that we are able to filter out the bad that also exists in all aspects of life. The Church has good and it has bad, yet many here have been able to find a balance of staying associated with the Church because of the good while being able to filter out the bad. In my own case, I've made the Church a framework for my own unique spirituality. Where it helps me, I let it, and where it doesn't I ignore it, where it runs counter to my spirituality I seek to change the Church in the small way that I am able.

One thing you said is that you can't understand why some of the things you have learned don't matter to some faithful people. I think you will find as you pursue your own beliefs that everyone has a different perspective. I have learned about myself that I place great importance on some things and no importance on others. This is true in the Church, in society and in my family. People who stay in the Church in spite of what might offend you or me are simply placing the weight on different aspects than I am. That doesn't make them wrong or blind or un-intelligent or less of anything. They just have different priorities. I feel like my beliefs are so unique that I expect that there are very few people that would understand me if they examined the path I follow. So, I have tried diligently to accept that other people can believe what they do, just as I can believe what I do. Everyone has different areas of focus and filters that they apply. I know plenty of active, faithful members of the Church who believe that polygamy was not from God. But even if they do believe it is from God, all I can say is that I will accept them for who they are and not seek to point out the error of their ways, because that is after all, the consideration I hope to receive from them.

Finally, I just want to say that I look forward to your added voice here. I hope that this community can be a source of comfort to you the way it has been to me, and that we, together, can help bring peace to others.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

Roy
Posts: 5009
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Thank you. :)

Post by Roy » 12 Mar 2015, 09:59

Hi Cordelia! Welcome!
Cordelia_Cox wrote:I Yearn to be Understood:
I believe Facebook to be a very difficult forum to express religious differences. While you may have gotten some understanding - I assume that you will also get push back, defensiveness, and isolation.

We understand. We have been there.
Cordelia_Cox wrote:Maybe I took everything too literally.Was I not supposed to “really” believe?Should I have been more liberal in my belief?Should I have had lower expectations for what I believed to be the One True Church of God on the Earth?
Expectations are what take us to the precipice of an FC. The reason that it hurt so much is because you believed it so much. With great love there is the possibility of great loss. With great belief there is the possibility of great disillusionment.
Cordelia_Cox wrote:This has been the most difficult, harrowing, depressing, and confusing time in my life. I don’t understand why the things I have found don’t matter and that they can actually strengthen someone’s testimony while totally obliterating mine.
One of my pet curiosities is why some people react to a situation in one way and others react another. I am convinced that it is a complex combination of factors that are mostly outside of your control. This does not mean that we do not have choices - we do. But I believe that our choices are significantly limited by outside factors. IOW, you didn't choose to have a faith crisis and you can't choose to "just believe."

What you are going through is normal and understood. James Fowler created a model for the stages of faith. This happens to many people of all faiths. I hope that we can help walk each other down the path a little ways.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16069
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Thank you. :)

Post by Curt Sunshine » 12 Mar 2015, 10:34

I have almost no time and can't provide any advice right now, but I want to welcome you officially.

I'm glad you decided to post an intro. This is a good place.
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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Heber13
Posts: 6941
Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

Re: Thank you. :)

Post by Heber13 » 12 Mar 2015, 10:59

Welcome, thanks for your story.
All my life I was taught to not worry about issues I had, I would receive answers to those in time.
I am in now way critical because I grew up like this too. We make shelves and put stuff on them to deal with later, because we have a life.

But at some point, we need to grow by honestly dealing with them, and not just telling ourselves to not worry about them. I think God knows when we are ready for that journey.

All that wander are not lost.

Keep posting here and welcome to the group!
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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mom3
Posts: 3596
Joined: 02 Apr 2011, 14:11

Re: Thank you. :)

Post by mom3 » 12 Mar 2015, 12:49

Welcome. Give us all a few days and we will take this apart slowly. Every time a lurker steps forward I smile double. I believe there are a lot more lurkers than we know. For all you know your words today, gave some one else the strength to go on.

Congratulations on having a connection with your husband, not all of us on this board have that. We have spouses we love, but the different roads exist. I say that to help you know that your journey will be unique.

You have unloaded a truck load today. Like Roy said, there will be push back. At the same time it sounds like you can breathe. Relationships are very important in life, I invite you, even if you choose to keep the church at arms length to continue to visit here. Ask questions, share feelings, read old posts - keep the door open for those still connected to you and the church. The future may have twists and turns you didn't count on, and some sage advice from those who have been down the road could help.

Thanks again for sharing your story. Keep us posted.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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slowlylosingit
Posts: 77
Joined: 06 Mar 2015, 07:23

Re: Thank you. :)

Post by slowlylosingit » 12 Mar 2015, 14:47

Wow, I think we are on the exact same timing! I feel like you have spoken my story, but with some little differences because everyone's journey is different. Since opening up on this site, I have felt such peace and understanding for the first time since this happened to me in November. Please know that we are all here for you and hope you will find some peace here as well. I consider this my other ward now and find such comfort in that. Keep praying and trust in the answers you receive. My best advice given to me here was to slow down and not make too rash of a decision. When crisis hits in our lives, we are told that you shouldn't make any major decisions for a year??? I don't know if that is helpful at all, but welcome to the ward.
"Our case was so insane, that if you made it up, nobody would believe it"--Gerald Conlon

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West
Posts: 213
Joined: 26 Aug 2014, 14:42

Re: Thank you. :)

Post by West » 12 Mar 2015, 17:47

Heber13 wrote:I think God knows when we are ready for that journey.
I also think the same.

Most if not all of us here on the forums have felt in some degree the same as you, Cordelia. You're in good company here. I came across my FC last year by looking into Church history in preparation for a mission. Looking back, I'm glad it happened. I'm in a much better spiritual place than I was before, and I sense it will make me a better missionary by leaps and bounds than if I had left when I originally intended to years ago. That's not to say it's an easy path many of us walk here who still identify LDS to some degree. It's difficult. But to me, it has been all the more rewarding.

Looking forward to seeing you around the forums. May you be able to find the peace in your life that you are searching for.
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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silentstruggle
Posts: 280
Joined: 26 Jul 2009, 07:25

Re: Thank you. :)

Post by silentstruggle » 12 Mar 2015, 20:51

My wife and I have had our church foundation break into very fine dust for a number of reasons. We are 50+ years old and lifers in the church, from five generation LDS families. We served in all the callings, up to and including bishopric and RS presidencies. I served a mission. We married in the temple. The whole deal.

I would just say, it's not easy, BUT, we have succeeded in putting things back together in a way that has made us happier than we ever remember as active members, in a way that has pulled my wife out of a life of repression due to cultural and family norms for female roles and helped her deal with lifelong problems of depression and anxiety in a way that we never thought possible within the context of church activity. Along with that comes the unfamiliar territory of learning to accept unknowns and unknowables, and still be happy. And stronger. And having the ability to see things without the LDS lens distorting things. In that context of uncertainty, there is a great freedom in truly charting your own course.

My message would be not to despair. The old chapter closing means a new one is opening, and opening up the mind and improving critical thinking skills can help you see bright new horizons that you never before thought possible.

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