A newbie to this particular forum

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Rob4Hope
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Joined: 06 Jan 2015, 07:28

A newbie to this particular forum

Post by Rob4Hope » 15 Jun 2015, 07:44

Hello All,...I'm "Rob4Hope".

I'm not new to apologetic sites, but some of them have been discontinued, so looking for a new "home" as it were.

I'm an X-ed member, and I make that information known because,...well, I am using an anonymous title anyway, but at the same time, it will help all of you know when I post WHY I might have the perspective I do. I'm an outsider at this point (and believe me when I say I feel it). If any of you have read SWK Miracle of Forgiveness (for example), you will know that my situation is worse than if I were dead. Yep...he sais that in his book. He then provides what I consider a disproportionately small section explaining that all hope is not lost (and I believe all hope is NOT lost,...but not because of that book which I believe has done some serious damage to a lot of people), and hence my choice of names....Rob4Hope. The "hope" part is for me...it is my quest.

I have worked through a large portion of "faith crisis" concerns already, but sometimes it is nice to see fresh perspectives. So, I am plugging into this site, and I am chipping away at my own faith crisis concerns.

I was raise in a VERY orthodox LDS family. We were the perfect family, but it hid a lot of the simmering under the surface. I served a full and honorable mission, was married in the temple, and had a family. The marriage ended after a long and difficult stint, and I rebelled and left. It is only after several years I have felt any desire to possibly reunite with the church. But, I've discovered I can't go back to where things were. That is impossible at this point.

Anyone ever heard of Fowler's Stages of Faith? I haven't read much in this site yet, but perhaps it has been discussed here. When I encountered that information, it sure helped me understand where I am. I've read a special version of the faith stages, and they go like this:

Stage 1-3 are characterized by the locus (think location and focus--put them together to form "locus") of authority being external.

Stage 1 example: a little child bearing a testimony. They say: "I know the church is true". They don't,...but their mommy tells them to say it, and their mommy is the authority, so they say it. This is stage 1.

Stage 2 example: a new convert. They have had some "warm fuzzy" feelings, read a few scriptures, and are ready to do something about it. When they have questions, they turn to the missionaries or their ward members for help to understand.

Stage 3 example: A new convert who has gotten good at it. They are now quorum leaders, class teaches, and so forth. All organized religion cultivates stage 3 people. "follow the prophet,...he knows the way". The goal is to keep the authority locus external to the person, somehow focused on an oligarchy that represents the ultimate authority. In the LDS case, it is the 15 men who preside.

Stage 4 example: Me. Hey,...guess what,...the 15 men don't answer my questions, and when they do, I have found significant cognitive dissonance with what they say not agreeing between themselves, and especially with historical flaws in the narrative. This is the "I feel betrayed" stage. When you get here, "all hell breaks out" in your soul. Most people who get to this stage leave their faith and never turn back. A very clear example of a cognitive dissonance concerns is the Adam God Theory, and the statements taught that the prophet will never lead the church astray. Hunh?...have a problem there IMHO...and for some of us, you can't just walk away from that problem and ignore it.

Stage 5 example: This person is rare. They are the ones where the locus of authority has been reframed internally. They weight the messages they hear, and between them and God as they believe, they choose for themselves how and what they believe. An example of a person here would be someone who believes the Garden of Eden story is allegorical and not literal. Or, they would believe the flood from Noah was local and not global. Or, that the Fall brought death to Adam's family, but that death existed on this planet long before Adam was even placed here. These concerns, for many, are potentially controversial, and for a stage 3 person, alarming. For a stage 5 person, however, they allow wiggle room for their faith to grow and mature. After all (ask yourself this),...does it really matter if the flood was global or not? I mean,...really?

Stage 6 example: This is a person who has a completely internal locus of authority and cuts their own pathway through life. In a non-faith example, Steve Jobs would be like this. IN a faith perspective, Ghandi was at this stage.

---------------------------------

I hit stage 4 about 5 years ago, and it blew up. I have wrestled for a long time since as to what to believe. I have legitimate questions.

This pathway,...these stages of faith, are one directional: you don't go from stage 5 back to 4, or from 4 back to 3. But, people who are stage 3 really do want to pull you back. It doesn't work. Statements like: "Oh, you don't need to know the answer to that,...you just need to have faith".....or "You think too much"....etc. Those are at best non-helpful, and at worst, insulting perspectives. The only way out is through. Consequently, my own personal faith journey has painfully progressed where I have found some answers to several of the problems I struggle with, some are slowly resolving, and some are still on the shelve waiting for future work.

If I can say only one thing: WHAT A JOURNEY THIS HAS BEEN!!!!

I do feel hope there is a future for me, and even in the church. I have the possibility of rebaptism and having blessings restored. The problem hasn't been the "how" to do that,...but "why". You see, when you feel like you have been lied to about what you believe, the "why" question becomes slippery. My faith will never be the same as it was. I can't go back to stage 3--I have tried, believe me...but it is not in my future.

Anyway,...look folks, I would be grateful if I were allowed to be part of this online community. I am respectful and will approach concerns with questions, and that in a way to respect others feelings. I hope I can make friends here, and perhaps learn and grow on some of these unfinished concerns I struggle with.
Last edited by Rob4Hope on 15 Jun 2015, 08:04, edited 1 time in total.

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LookingHard
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Re: A newbie to this particular forum

Post by LookingHard » 15 Jun 2015, 07:56

Hey rob. I think I know of you a bit through 2 other LDS forums. Glad to hear from you even if things are not perfect. I think that most folks that are active on this site are aware of Fowler's stages of faith. Most have been into stage 4. And what a ride it can be. I think you have even more turmoil with all that you have had with you marriage. I feel for you. This will be a good site for you.

Rob4Hope
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Joined: 06 Jan 2015, 07:28

Re: A newbie to this particular forum

Post by Rob4Hope » 15 Jun 2015, 08:06

LookingHard wrote:Hey rob. I think I know of you a bit through 2 other LDS forums. Glad to hear from you even if things are not perfect. I think that most folks that are active on this site are aware of Fowler's stages of faith. Most have been into stage 4. And what a ride it can be. I think you have even more turmoil with all that you have had with you marriage. I feel for you. This will be a good site for you.
Yo....I do remember you as well. Nice to see a familiar voice.

Ha,...I remember your avatar the most,...that thinking gorilla. :D

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Holy Cow
Posts: 270
Joined: 10 Nov 2014, 17:07
Location: Las Vegas

Re: A newbie to this particular forum

Post by Holy Cow » 15 Jun 2015, 08:11

Rob4Hope wrote:
LookingHard wrote:Hey rob. I think I know of you a bit through 2 other LDS forums. Glad to hear from you even if things are not perfect. I think that most folks that are active on this site are aware of Fowler's stages of faith. Most have been into stage 4. And what a ride it can be. I think you have even more turmoil with all that you have had with you marriage. I feel for you. This will be a good site for you.
Yo....I do remember you as well. Nice to see a familiar voice.

Ha,...I remember your avatar the most,...that thinking gorilla. :D
Hey Rob,
As you can see, there are multiple primates here! :lol:
Welcome to the site. I wouldn't really call this an apologetic site. The sites I came across that were more on the apologetic slant, I've avoided. Here, I've found a great mix of people, with a wide range of perspectives. And everybody is very open to hearing other people's perspectives and opinions.
I can related to your feeling that there's no way back to where you came from, and it can be frustrating when people believe they can pull you back to what you once were.
Anyway, I believe you'll find a welcoming environment here. Welcome to the site, and happy posting!
My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6139

Rob4Hope
Posts: 665
Joined: 06 Jan 2015, 07:28

Re: A newbie to this particular forum

Post by Rob4Hope » 15 Jun 2015, 08:21

Holy Cow wrote:
Rob4Hope wrote:
LookingHard wrote:Hey rob. I think I know of you a bit through 2 other LDS forums. Glad to hear from you even if things are not perfect. I think that most folks that are active on this site are aware of Fowler's stages of faith. Most have been into stage 4. And what a ride it can be. I think you have even more turmoil with all that you have had with you marriage. I feel for you. This will be a good site for you.
Yo....I do remember you as well. Nice to see a familiar voice.

Ha,...I remember your avatar the most,...that thinking gorilla. :D
Hey Rob,
As you can see, there are multiple primates here! :lol:
Welcome to the site. I wouldn't really call this an apologetic site. The sites I came across that were more on the apologetic slant, I've avoided. Here, I've found a great mix of people, with a wide range of perspectives. And everybody is very open to hearing other people's perspectives and opinions.
I can related to your feeling that there's no way back to where you came from, and it can be frustrating when people believe they can pull you back to what you once were.
Anyway, I believe you'll find a welcoming environment here. Welcome to the site, and happy posting!
Mate....your avatar pic has me rolling. I'm laughing out a lung here....

:lol:

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
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Re: A newbie to this particular forum

Post by Curt Sunshine » 15 Jun 2015, 09:26

Welcome!

Yeah, we aren't an apologetic site. We are more of a support group for those who want to stay LDS - and find a measure of peace and even joy, if possible, doing so. We are fine with venting, but we try to focus on solutions / coping mechanisms / a middle way for each person. We don't have any "one true answers", so we focus instead on finding and sharing what works (and doesn't work) for each of us. We are more like an island of misfit toys, in some ways, who are reintegrating into or reconfiguring a relationship with a group wherein we don't fit the typical mold.

There are some good discussions of Fowler's stages of faith here. It is not a perfect construct, but it can help tremendously in many cases, since it can provide a framework within which to view faith crises, struggles, transitions, etc.
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
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Location: In the Middle

Re: A newbie to this particular forum

Post by Heber13 » 15 Jun 2015, 09:53

Hi Rob4Hope.

Welcome. Glad you found us.

You can search for Fowler's stages and see many threads an discussions, and even if they are older threads, you can still comment or share your ideas to bump up that idea again. Especially if it is fitting for you and your current situation.

While we aren't apologetic as a purpose, we are supportive, I would love to learn more from your perspective of how someone in your position can look to the church and want to stay connected to it somehow or some way and how you work through that.

In short, I look forward to hearing your story and your journey. I look forward to learning from you. Thanks for joining.
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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DarkJedi
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Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: A newbie to this particular forum

Post by DarkJedi » 15 Jun 2015, 10:09

Welcome. Others have already covered that we're not really apologetic (although in a very broad definition of the word as defenders of the faith we might be somewhat) and that Fowler's is discussed regularly here. I think I'm a stage 5 guy, but I do still have elements of stage 4.

You asked why you should want to come back. Only you know that answer, but the simple answer is because you want to. I understand the element of feeling as though you have been duped - I feel that way, too, but that's where the stage 5 part of me is in control. If it's mostly not literal it's a lot easier to live with.

One other thing - don't let go of the hope.
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

Rob4Hope
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Joined: 06 Jan 2015, 07:28

Re: A newbie to this particular forum

Post by Rob4Hope » 15 Jun 2015, 11:10

I did some poking around and see a big section on Fowlers, and though many have said the site is not apologetic, from my perspective, a support forum is still "apologetic" in many ways (because we talk about 'perspective' that is not necessarily orthodox). Anyway,...glad to be here,...and above all?....glad there is some response and action on this site.

Why do I want to come back? Well,.I'm not sure I do. BUT,...I can say this (and will share a more detailed post later), I have had spiritual events happen in my life that are unmistakable. I have felt things reach across the veil and touch me in various ways, and I've seen the affects.

Apparently (and I got this impression from other sites I have frequented), such events tend to be more rare for a lot of people. I can't speak to that--I don't know; I do know, however, that for me, spiritual "light" is almost a tangible thing. And, when it comes, it ALWAYS has an essence of liquid love involved.

I can't explain this stuff folks. Its like trying to tell someone what salt tastes like. But,...I've had some of those things happen in my life. One time, during a priesthood blessing, I opened my eyes and looked around the room, mentally saying to myself: "Remember this". I wanted to see what I would see with my eyes,...if they would see anything at all going on. What I was feeling, what was happening, though unseen, was aa real as me sitting here typing.

So,...that is me. I struggle with wanting to come back. I admit that. But it feels even more wrong to just walk away. I think I gotta wrestle and thrash a little more in stage 4 while I make sense out of my position and how to deal with some of the struggles that are still going on.

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

Re: A newbie to this particular forum

Post by Roy » 15 Jun 2015, 11:28

Welcome Rob,

You may want to check out the following thread on the stages of faith. Lots of good information there.

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=557

I agree that having a framework to understand that what you are going through is pretty normal makes a huge difference (rather than going crazy or being deceived by Satan :twisted: ).

I do have just a few observations.
Rob4Hope wrote:This pathway,...these stages of faith, are one directional: you don't go from stage 5 back to 4, or from 4 back to 3. But, people who are stage 3 really do want to pull you back. It doesn't work.
My undestanding of the stages is a little more fluid than that. For example some days one might find themselves more at peace and zen with their situation, other days the scab gets ripped off and it feels more painful.

I also understood that a good number of people can move from stage 3 (believing the LDS church) to stage 4 (feeling betrayed) back to stage 3 (either joining another church that they now believe has the ultimate truth or joining none and believing that all religion and spirituality is a crock - either way they move back to a very black and white worldview).

It does seem to be harder and much more rare to find someone going back to their original stage 3 faith after firmly stepping into stage 4.

You described stage 5 pretty well. I would only add that stage 5 is able to see value in multiple religious constructs. So he may believe the flood to be localized or allegorical but he also respects the need that some others have to belive it to be a literal and historically accurate event. Each of these approaches have benefits and drawbacks.

As always, models are a representation of what we may observe to help us decribe trends but they also are always limited. There may be competing models that each emphasize a different facet of the process that they are attempting to represent. Models can be a helpful shorthand but we should be careful not to categorize people too rigidly.
Rob4Hope wrote:I do feel hope there is a future for me, and even in the church. I have the possibility of rebaptism and having blessings restored. The problem hasn't been the "how" to do that,...but "why". You see, when you feel like you have been lied to about what you believe, the "why" question becomes slippery.
I can only assume that getting rebaptized would allow you to engage with the ward without the stigma of being an x-ed member. That is assuming that this is important to you. For me I have a desire to baptise my children (which I can technically do without a TR as long as the bishop does not see fit to prevent it) and participate in other LDS centric milestones (baby blessings, priesthood ordination, etc.).

Again welcome. You are among friends here.
"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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