Unorthodox Mormon seeking support.

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KeitherB
Posts: 6
Joined: 26 Mar 2015, 08:27

Unorthodox Mormon seeking support.

Post by KeitherB » 03 Apr 2015, 13:47

Hello everyone.

I know that this website was created for doubting/alternative/unorthodox Mormons who are trying to stay in the church and looking for support. I wouldn't say that I am exactly doubting right now but doubt has certainly been a companion along the journey. I feel comfortable where I am right now but I also feel very alone and I want to find a community of friends who might be able to related to my story.

I am a 34 year old 7th generation church member descended from Porter Rockwell and other early church members. I am from a very faithful and conservative LDS family. I guess you could say that I've always had a testimony though the testimony has certainly changed over time. Mormonism is inseparable from my identity as a person. Everything I am can be attributed in some way to the LDS church. Mormonism is my home, my culture, my tribe, my people, and my family and I love the church deeply. I served a mission to Detroit and got married in the Temple to a wonderful convert who shares many of my current views toward the church, but there are areas we disagree and I am not fully comfortable talking to her about some of my views because of the conflict involved. Prior to and during my mission, I was as orthodox as they come. I literally believed everything the church said. When I got off my mission, I lived in Salt Lake with a group of guys who attended an LDS study group that studied Church history and doctrine with a fundamentalist (though not polygamist) lean. They studied the writing of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and while they were faithful to the LDS church, they viewed it as a place holder rather than the a ”true church” in the same context as JS and BY. This group studied and believed in Adam God and blood atonement. They also believed that polygamy was divine and would come back. I learned about JS's polygamy and marrying other men's wives. I did not recognize that version of Mormonism, and for the first time, I started to doubt everything. How could the early church believe those things? I eventually found a way to reconcile myself to Joseph because I believe that fundamentally he was a good man. He may have had issues with sex. He might have craved power. But he valued God and kindness and love. I came to reject polygamy as of divine origin. I believe that sexual issues are common, especially among powerful men but that Joseph Smith still did God's work. It is Brigham Young that I still really struggle with. I can deal with JS's sex. I really struggle with BY's violence. I don't recognize the church of the Reformation in Utah and of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and my own ancestor, Porter Rockwell. That's not my church. I still have a very difficult time in my mind viewing Brigham Young as a prophet of God. There is a lot of blood on his hands. The truth of the matter is that he had people killed. Some of them by own my Grandpa. To me, the doctrine of blood atonement is our darkest moment and Mormonism's blackest stain. Brigham Young is also (mostly) responsible for the legacy of Mormon racism. While I was on my mission in Detroit, I hated having to spout out explanations for the priesthood ban that didn't seem right to me. It wasn't until I after my mission that I finally could say that it was never of God in the first place. The Brigham Young era was the single biggest threat to my testimony and I almost left the church over it. I remember having a deeply spiritual moment where God told me that on these issues, Brigham Young was wrong. Prophets can be wrong and quite often are. This seems obvious but to an orthodox Mormon like myself, it was revolutionary.

That discovery prompted me to discover my own way to embrace Mormonism. I believe in a God who tells symbolic stories. I don't believe in the historicity of very much of anything in the church from the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham to much of the Bible for that matter. The DNA evidence against the Book of Mormon really bothered me for a while, but I came to the conclusion that it doesn't matter if Nephi and Lehi and Moroni ever existed. What matters is that God has something to teach us through these stories and they will bring us closer to Christ. I believe in Christ and I believe in the atonement. I believe in the preexistence and in the universal salvation of the human family. I believe in scripture but I believe that God has always spoken through parable and symbolism. I believe that the church is led by prophets but that prophets are not exclusive to this church. I believe that they are good men but I think that they get too caught up in cultural and political winds and end up making mistakes like Prop 8 that hurt people. I am an unconditional LGTB ally and I believe that God created homosexuality for his own purposes. I believe that he created all kinds of love and that someday gays and lesbians will enjoy full standing in the church. I believe that someday women in the church will hold the priesthood. I have yet to see a doctrinal reason that they should not. Sometimes I wonder about reincarnation and I have an open mind to the idea although I would not go as far as saying that I definitely believe in it. I absolutely love that Joseph Smith developed Mormonism through the magical world view and the occult. I find it beautiful that he found the divine in ordinary things around him. In stones from a river pulled from a hat, and treasure in a hill, and scrolls from a mummy that had nothing at all to do with Abraham. He found God in ordinary frontier life and through the lens of his culture. I find that view of revelation very beautiful and I think that spirituality is about finding the divine in our ordinary lives. I believe in a church that finds revelation through seerstones and sunstones and cornerstones, and gold plates and divining rods, and in bread and water and ordinary olive oil, and sacred rooms in holy temples, and masonic rituals, and funny looking cotton-poly underwear, and white temple clothing with green aprons. I celebrate those very ordinary things because that's what we use to reach the heavens and talk to God. I believe Mormonism is about finding our own grove and pulling our own handcarts across our own plains to our own Zion within our own lives and cultures. I love it.

What I hate is that some of what I wrote could lead me to get excommunicated. Right now I cannot me authentically myself in the church and that I have to hide. That is my "doubt" and my struggle and why I am seeking support from you.

Thanks for listening.

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DarkJedi
Posts: 5997
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Unorthadox Mormon seeking support.

Post by DarkJedi » 03 Apr 2015, 14:19

Welcome. I don't have a ton of time at the moment, but I wanted to say you can't be excommunicated for a belief. There are others here who can relate to all of what you have said and hold beliefs that you do. I very much agree with your view of the scriptures.

I hope you stick around and contribute regularly to our "ward."
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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LookingHard
Posts: 2861
Joined: 20 Oct 2014, 12:11

Re: Unorthadox Mormon seeking support.

Post by LookingHard » 03 Apr 2015, 14:40

Welcome and you have found a place where you can not be harshly judged. I also need to run in just a minute, but many of us here understand the part about feeling a bit alone in our views. This place can help.

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mom3
Posts: 3603
Joined: 02 Apr 2011, 14:11

Re: Unorthadox Mormon seeking support.

Post by mom3 » 03 Apr 2015, 14:44

Welcome Keither-

We hope we can offer you a space to rest your burden and heal. Clearly you have taken time, lots of it, that's a good thing. I don't know if you have searched our past threads but please do. So many of your issues have been discussed over the years and it may give you some calm to read others thoughts. To my knowledge we don't have anyone quite as connected to church history as you do. That's kind of cool. Many of us have spouses on the spectrum here. Some are traditional believing and practicing, others are nuanced (but with different issues), others have spouses who have disconnected and we are the stay-ers.

Look around, read our archives, and share. I wish you a Happy Christ filled Easter.
"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

KeitherB
Posts: 6
Joined: 26 Mar 2015, 08:27

Re: Unorthadox Mormon seeking support.

Post by KeitherB » 03 Apr 2015, 15:30

I wont get excommunicated for what I believe but I can lose my temple recommend for what I believe and I can face church discipline for expressing beliefs contrary to official church doctrine in a public forum. Like I just did.

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DarkJedi
Posts: 5997
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Unorthadox Mormon seeking support.

Post by DarkJedi » 03 Apr 2015, 16:32

KeitherB wrote:I wont get excommunicated for what I believe but I can lose my temple recommend for what I believe and I can face church discipline for expressing beliefs contrary to official church doctrine in a public forum. Like I just did.
I don't want to argue, but you can't even lose your temple recommend for a belief. It's what you do with those beliefs that could get you into trouble. You are even permitted to express your support for gay marriage on Facebook (a prophet said so) without repercussion. Trying to gain a following, openly opposing church authorities, and consistently trying to get others to change to your beliefs and move away from official church policy are a different story. Like Mom said, we discuss things like this all the time here, take a look around and use the search function.

(I do recognize the presence of leader roulette, but the policy does get clearer to those who are paying attention - or have things brought to their attention. There is also more safety living outside the Corridor.)
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

Minyan Man
Posts: 1494
Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: Unorthadox Mormon seeking support.

Post by Minyan Man » 03 Apr 2015, 16:45

Hi Cousin, I'm related to OPR too. You are not alone. This is a good place to sort things out.
Keep it coming.

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nibbler
Posts: 3710
Joined: 14 Nov 2013, 07:34
Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: Unorthadox Mormon seeking support.

Post by nibbler » 03 Apr 2015, 18:46

I think you'll fit in well, heck it sounds like you've already been a long time member of the site.

Welcome to StayLDS.
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold
-Jesus

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mom3
Posts: 3603
Joined: 02 Apr 2011, 14:11

Re: Unorthadox Mormon seeking support.

Post by mom3 » 03 Apr 2015, 19:44

Mike - My Bad. Sorry.
Hi Cousin, I'm related to OPR too
"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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Holy Cow
Posts: 272
Joined: 10 Nov 2014, 17:07
Location: Las Vegas

Re: Unorthadox Mormon seeking support.

Post by Holy Cow » 03 Apr 2015, 21:33

Welcome to the forum! This is a great place to come share your thoughts. As others have said, the range of what people believe here covers the whole spectrum, but what everybody has in common is mutual respect. Everybody is allowed to share their perspective without being made to feel like they are wrong or have something to feel guilty about.
And, as DarkJedi mentioned, you haven't shared anything that would get you excommunicated. I've shared my thoughts with my bishop about Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and I put it in words that were much more condemning than yours. You've given them much more credit than I do. The bishop actually has a temple recommend sitting in his drawer for me, which he has signed. The only reason I don't have it, is because I told him that I don't feel that I can sign it, since I don't believe in most of what happens there. He said that it will still be there waiting for me, in case I change my mind.
DJ also mentioned that each leader is different, and not every bishop would be this understanding and accepting. I've had some pretty hard-nosed bishops, but even those ones I doubt would take your recommend for not believing in polygamy, not accepting Brigham Young, supporting gay rights, etc. As I've become more open and willing to talk about what I feel about the church, I've actually found most people to be more understanding than I expected they would be.
But, anyway, welcome to the site. We'll look forward to hearing about your perspective on all the different issues that come up here. :)
My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6139

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