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Re: Undecided

Post by DarkJedi » 13 Mar 2015, 18:55

Welcome, and thanks for sharing your story. Here you will find people who have had similar experiences and feelings. I'm glad you found us and glad you're here.

First, take it slow, don't dump all at once, and focus on what you do believe.

In answer to your questions, you need to realize that belonging to the church does not give the church ownership of you. You do not have to attend more than you want or speak or do anything else you don't want to do. Make the church yours. Also, the church and the gospel are not the same - I found great solace in separating them. I'm sure others will welcome you here and give you some other answers to your questions. Please come back and visit as often as you like.
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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Re: Undecided

Post by LDS_Scoutmaster » 13 Mar 2015, 22:40

I can echo what dj said, take it slow. You're at a good place even if you want to go back, you can determine your activity level and if asked to hold a calling simply say not right now if that's what you feel. I am a convert too, and have had some of the same concerns, we're not alone. Redefine what all these definitions we've made, what a prophet is, what the church is. It will help. Welcome!
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6311&start=70#p121051 My last talk

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

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Re: Undecided

Post by nibbler » 14 Mar 2015, 09:38

I can empathize with much of what you stated. One thing that I still struggle with from time to time is this feeling that our church culture has it backwards. It feels less and less like church was made for man and more and more like man was made for church. When people have testimonies of there being only one true church it can translate into fostering an environment where there is only one true approach to interacting with the church. In other words we don't do a good job of allowing people to tailor their church involvement to their needs, we tell them what their church involvement should look like. :(

Falling short of cultural expectations can make us feel lesser, unreliable, etc. I know I've certainly been there.
sue wrote:My question is this...if i pray about this and im still confused...what do i do?
Take comfort in that everyone on the planet is in the same boat. ;)
sue wrote:Do i swallow down the hard parts of the church i dont like or believe in and keep going? Or do i just walk away since i have so many doubts?
I think there are other choices. I can't really tell you what they are since I think everyone has their own unique path forward. For me: ignoring some things, determining priorities for myself as opposed to allowing other people to determine my priorities, etc. I recognize that I change over time. Sometimes I might need to walk away for a few minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, however long I need. It's my journey after all. I've become a belief nomad... but I want to have a light touch, I'm always free to go but I also want to be free to return to places I've visited.

It sounds like you've taken some very good initial steps. You mentioned that there were certain things you didn't like about the church but you still held to things like giving tithing anonymously and adhering to the law of chastity. IMO that's the path to spiritual autonomy. Evaluating everything, internalizing the good, leaving the bad in the rear-view. During a faith crisis it's extremely tempting to fall into the trap of picking things apart looking for faults, being able to pick things apart looking for the virtues can be a soul saving skill. This is where separating the church from the gospel comes in handy. You decide what you want your spiritual journey to look like.
The wound is the place where the light enters you.
— Rumi

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Re: Undecided

Post by West » 14 Mar 2015, 09:44

Welcome to the forums, sue. There are many great resources here regardless of where you are in your faith journey. Like the others have said, it doesn't have to be an all or nothing thing with the church. You can say no to callings, and know that it is perfectly okay to do so, even when some church leaders try to pressure or guilt you into changing your mind. You don't have to go to every meeting every Sunday if you aren't comfortable with it. You don't have to believe everything someone in the church has said, because there surely have been many instances when someone, even prophets, have said things that years later were denounced as just opinion.

My best friends are inactive Mormons and former Mormons. I know their strong feelings against the church, but they are very respectful of my decision to stay, and we have found much spiritual common ground in some of our shared beliefs (granted, I am a very unorthodox believer, and a couple of them have also been my sounding boards while going through my faith crisis and faith transition, so what have you). My only advice there would be that your faith journey is your own, and the advice or opinions you receive from others shouldn't be pressuring you into one system or another. We're allowed to believe what we want, even if we recognize there are problems with it, and if your friends are at all aggressive towards that, then you may need to kindly ask them to respect your beliefs. That doesn't, of course, mean you have to believe everything. Many of us here have accepted the reality of some of the less-tasteful aspects of the church, but that doesn't meant we agree or condone them.

The problem many members have is that we put the church on a pedestal and expect it to be perfect, because that is, in short, what the church believes. In reality, it isn't black and white. We all have experiences that differ from the "norm." I find the temple a fascinating insight into the religion, but I have yet to have any significant moment there besides feeling grateful for the relative silence. Sometimes, we never receive the textbook answers to our prayers. We have the opportunity to figure out things on our own rather than letting other people hand us the answers. That can be a very great blessing, because then you are responsible for your own beliefs, and that, in the end, tends to make them much stronger, more personal, and more worth it in the end.

I hope you are able to find the peace you are searching for. We have a variety of viewpoints here on the forums on so many topics, and we'd love to have your input and questions and concerns as part of our dialogue. :)
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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Re: Undecided

Post by DarkJedi » 15 Mar 2015, 04:54

sue wrote:I agree that it seems like man was made for church. The people at church that i seem to have the most conflict with are the ones that want me to do everything a certain way. They are perfect in every aspect. I fail at that.
No human being is perfect. We are all very far from it. You don't fail any more than anyone else - despite what they might think.
I have a big problem with expectations. I knew someone many years ago that told me that expectations in the church was a big issue for them. This was before i joined. Now i whole heartedly understand and agree (and they are no longer in the church).
To one extent or another expectations are common to all of us. That is, we are all here because something didn't or doesn't meet our expectations - whether that' has to do with our expectations of what God is really like (that's part of mine), prophets and revelation, local leaders, certain aspects of our history, tithing, or a myriad of other things. To some extent or another each of us has had some expectation not met. That is not the fault of the church, per se, it has much more to do with people in the church.[/quote]
Im still not certain if this is the right place for me. I have mostly gave up on church. I dont miss spending 3 to 4 hours of my life there every Sunday That to me now seems like overkill.
Since I don't know you, I don't know if you're in the right place, either. But you did come here of your own free will and you did come back. That indicates you might think there's something here for you. You are not the only one here who has given up on the Sunday block and other things. If you don't like going to three hours, only go to sacrament. If you fear "imperial entanglements" get there during the opening song and leave during the closing song.
Some of the other things i question are like the apostles, prophet, etc. I have severe doubts about them being called to begin with. The whole business of callings to me now just seems like a big busy body project. Sorry if im negative, just my honest thoughts. I dont want to dump on everyone here. Btw, what was really odd is that i wore my garments to work today. Dont know what to make of that.
I don't believe any of us are literally "called of God" either - including the president and apostles. Others here have that same doubt. I think the old "inspiration, relation, or desperation" is mostly true, with inspiration being the least likely. Don't worry about dumping on us, that is one of the beauties of this site - you can dump all you want in anonymity and do so in complete safety that no one here will judge you - all we ask is that you do so respectfully. Please come back and share more of your concerns.
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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Re: Undecided

Post by Cadence » 15 Mar 2015, 05:42

I do not believe in the divine nature of the church at all. I think Joseph made it up from top to bottom. That being said I still find some value in the organization. I must admit to some degree they have a good thing going. And many people find great value there. I do not think that value comes from God but from the members themselves. So I attend fairly regularly. I get frustrated at the lessons, I roll my eyes at some of the talks, but I like to socialize and for the most part the people accept me for who I am. It is good to belong to something.

So if yo are willing to do the church totally on your terms and shed any guilt it can be an OK place to be. Of course I would strongly advise against letting your true feelings be known. You can be a bit of a contrarian but do not slip into the apostate role. That gets you shunned
Faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction--faith in fiction is a damnable false hope. Thomas A. Edison

“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.” Neil deGrasse Tyson

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Re: Undecided

Post by NewLight » 15 Mar 2015, 07:01

Hi Sue,

Welcome. Sounds like you are well into the realm of knowing that the church, like any other organization, is quirky and imperfect (I hope I don't get struck by light for saying that). I think the good things you see (family bonds, good will, etc.) are the gospel-centric things and the gospel to me is different than the church.

I stay because I very much like the community and the chance to serve. I also have had spiritual experiences that keep me connected to it and it honestly helps me want to live a more Christlike life. That's not to say there are some classes/lessons I attend where I am totally in disagreement with what is taught, but whatever.

I make it work on my own terms as Cadence suggests and am hopeful you are able to do the same. A big part of doing that relies on losing the guilt, which I realize is extremely hard for some to do (not me). Also, I'm sure the individual ward culture you are in will have a lot to do with being able to pull that approach off and have people surrounding you there who love and support instead of judge.

I wish you well on whatever decision you choose. This forum is a pretty good sounding board to provide you some input on that decision.

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Re: Undecided

Post by amateurparent » 15 Mar 2015, 09:56

Then one night a friend did call and her first question was "are you going inactive?
Your post just hit home in so many ways. I told a LDS friend that I was really not sure which way I was going on my faith journey. But it looked like I I was moving further from the church. She invited me out to lunch. We talked, ate, did some shopping .. Just had a wonderful afternoon together. At the end, she looked at me, and said, "We have had such a great day. It has been so much fun spending time with you. You got your testimony back. Right? Didn't you?" While I thought I was out having fun with a friend, she thought she was fellowshipping me. I walked away feeling emotionally and socially robbed. She didn't' understand that my problems are with doctrine and history. It wasn't a state of loneliness.
I have no advance degrees in parenting. No national credentials. I am an amateur parent. I read, study, and learn all I can to be the best parent possible. Every time I think I have reached expert status with one child for one stage in their life, something changes and I am back to amateur status again. Now when I really mess up, I just apologize to my child, and explain that I am indeed an amateur .. I'm still learning how to do this right.

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Re: Undecided

Post by Roy » 16 Mar 2015, 10:01

Welcome Sue,

First and foremost I want to tell you that God sees you, God knows you, God loves you, and God accepts you... completely.

Believing that to be true helps in not taking the expectations and judgements of others personally.
haters gonna hate, hate, hate - Baby I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake - Shake it off
Even with that knowledge to keep you grounded, I do not think staying LDS after a faith transition is easy. Before a faith crisis staying in the church was a warm blanket of belonging. Now it requires work, patience, wisdom, maturity, and personal boundaries.

Seek after those things that bring you meaning and lasting fulfillment in life because those things are worth the effort. Maybe that is the LDS church for you and maybe it is not. However you define the purpose of your journey, keep searching - keep stiving - keep loving - and keep enjoying the ride.

We are here to help. :thumbup:
"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

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Re: Undecided

Post by Ann » 16 Mar 2015, 16:32

Hi, sue :wave: Glad you're here.
sue wrote:
So i dont know why im here. Do i want to stay? Do i want to leave? Im not sure. I do know that i have serious doubts about Joseph Smith.
I think everyone here can understand why you'd feel this way, even if they don't. It's a very safe place to talk.
I'm not too sure anymore about garments. And im absolutely lost on what i feel about the temple. I have never had a significant experience in the temple.
The temple is a mixed bag for me, but I'm open to better experiences in the future. I wear garments when I choose to, and don't plan to discuss it with anyone.
I have started to hang around people that are anti mormon and i think they are feeding into my feelings at times.
My only thought about this is that hanging around people who are first and foremost "anti" anything might not be a good idea. People who only tear down and fight against aren't good company. (That's also why I don't like people in the church whose whole reason for being seems to be to bemoan all the wickedness in the world.)
My question is this...if i pray about this and im still confused...what do i do? Do i swallow down the hard parts of the church i dont like or believe in and keep going?
Lots of people want you to "shelve" things you don't understand instead of rejecting them outright. It often seems like a sneaky way of saying that we can never reach personal conclusions, that we always have to accept on some level everything the church teaches, even if we shelve it. I don't see it that way.
But i know if i go back i will be asked to fill another calling, be asked to speak (i absolutely dread that because i dont believe in alot now), and they'll want me to stay and attend all the meetings.
There's no getting around the fact that we're a lay church and there's lots of work to do, and it's how we get to know each other. I think people probably won't push you too much if you're really clear with them about what you can handle. (Sorry if you already spoke to this and I missed it. Seems like they would just be happy to have you there at all.)

There's a lot of good advice here, but the piece that's always useful to me is to focus on what I do believe. "Find your own watering holes," like the Givenses say in The Crucible of Doubt. Read about what interests you. (As a cathartic move I went through my bookshelves and got rid of a bunch of books and manuals that simply don't interest me anymore.)
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

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