Religion Trauma Syndrome?

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Heber13
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Re: Religion Trauma Syndrome?

Post by Heber13 » 22 Jun 2015, 15:56

N’oublie Pas wrote:I just need to remember there is more behind what they are saying, and to try to respect their feelings even though I violently disagree with their opinion on things.
:thumbup: I really like this thought! Thanks!
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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SilentDawning
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Re: Religion Trauma Syndrome?

Post by SilentDawning » 23 Jun 2015, 01:21

N’oublie Pas wrote:Do any of you have advice for how to go to church and filter out that harmful messages without feeling like a sin-bound soul? :)
A couple strategies:

1) I believe you have to see yourself as independent of the church. The church is an influence on your thinking, not the driver of it.

If I can give an example -- there is one principle that bugs me -- tithing. The church throws out self-reliance when it conflicts with paying tithing. They would rather have everyone on food orders than have them keep the tithing to buy groceries. To me, it's upside down and backwards, and self-serving to the church to look at tithing this way. So, I have a different philosophy about the payment of tithing in that circumstance than what the church teaches.

Another example. My daughter was considering getting a boyfriend (at 16). We had not taught her much about that subject, so she filled in the blanks with her own tentative philosophy. We talked about it, and eventually, read, as a family, what the church said about dating in the Strength for Youth pamphlet. It says steady dating is for people thinking of getting married, and occurs at that age -- not as a teenager, which is for group dating.

The reasons for this made sense to all of us, so we went with it, and it governs my daughter's philosophy (and mind) now -- willingly. So, we will often look to church "policy" and sometimes even culture for ideas as there is often good stuff there. But we do not follow them blindly. Same with GA's advice. They don't know your situation -- YOU know your situation -- look at church and GA decrees as suggestions that you filter out for your own specific situation.

2) View your silence as evidence of your respect for others cherished beliefs.

I stay quiet a lot of the time. I consider being quiet being authentic, because it shows I am respecting the beliefs of other people. That part of my character is authentic. So, in going, and listening, I am developing character of someone who is capable of being in the culture, but not of it -- same way I might attend the service of a different religion and not inflame everyone with contrarian ideas that have no place in their meeting. You can express the unorthodox side of your personality here at StayLDS without censure.

3) Rock the Boat without Sinking the Ship

Don't be afraid to challenge certain ideas within acceptable ranges at church. You can challenge topics like these:

__i) Nazi-like Sabbath Day observance opinions
_ii) Harsh, judgmental statements
_iii) Blanket statements that ignore important stakeholders. For example, if I hear any more gay bashing, I might remind the bashers that there are many traditional Mormons that have gay children and relatives. How might they react to such comments?
_iv) Blanket statements of right and wrong that ignore people in unusual circumstances. You can broaden peoples' perspectives by sharing the perspectives of these people who are not mainstream.
_v) tired, worn out home teaching programs. I have spoken about them in priesthood meetings and have gotten a lot of support from TBM members about how the program can be improved, and success measured. Much of it depends on sensing the culture of the people in the room at the time.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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DarkJedi
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Re: Religion Trauma Syndrome?

Post by DarkJedi » 23 Jun 2015, 04:08

N’oublie Pas wrote:DarkJedi:

Looks like I have some reading to do! :lol: Thank you for the list - I really really appreciate it! :) These will help me a lot during church.
Those talks resonate with me - they may or may not resonate with you. Many of them are generally liked here, though.
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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N’oublie Pas
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Re: Religion Trauma Syndrome?

Post by N’oublie Pas » 23 Jun 2015, 11:07

Ann:

Thank you for your encouragement. :) I really really appreciate it. :)

SilentDawning:
"Regarding the other stuff -- plural marriage, blacks and the priesthood -- what matters is WHAT I THINK. I listen to the spirit, I listen to the GA's, I listen to local leaders, but if it doesnt' feel right (and that means, feel right to my intuition and intellect, even if I feel spiritual feelings) then I don't do it and don't choose to believe it."
I really really like this. It makes me feel a lot better than sometimes things genuinely don't feel right at church. And if it goes against who I am, I don't need to agree with it. I can just respect others for their beliefs. :)

How do you personally reconcile it when you feel spiritual feelings about tough topics? Like if it doesn't make sense intellectually or ethically to you, yet you feel spiritual feelings, how do you ignore them? It's not like I'm trying to be this "going against God" person or anything, but it's hard when we are told "my ways are not your ways" and you personally disagree. It sometimes makes me feel like I am this heathen who can't get it, even when God is trying to tell me it's right. It's difficult to accept things that logically or ethically do not make sense to me. What have you found to be helpful?

And I have discussed, in great length, to my partner that I cannot magically become an orthodox mormon. He isn't either. In fact, he often challenges the very same things on your list, and he is actively working on trying to improve the ward culture (it's a very VERY stereotypical singles ward, and the numbers are dropping by the week because many people simply can't take it anymore. Struggling people like myself are leaving because we can't take it, and he hasn't been able to help them out in the hallways because they simply are no longer in the building). He just would like me to get in a place where I can feel spiritual peace again and go to church to feel divinity instead of going and feeling guilt. He has done and said many things that have made it clear to me that he isn't just trying to make me fit the mold, and he has always respected me despite our spiritual differences. Thankfully, I caught a good one! :)
"Have you ever wondered if perhaps these "blow up in your face" revelations is God's way of teaching us NOT to be so reliant on him? They are powerful, indelible experiences that alter our thinking -- could it be intentional on His part?"
I really think my experience has lead me to become more of an Adult of God instead of just a Child of God. I don't find myself praying (when I do pray) for the things I used to. I don't rely on Him so much but check in every now and again and try to do what is right for the sake of what's right. It's no longer a "do what's right or I'll punish you" mindset for me doing the right thing - I just genuinely want to help people now no matter what our differences are. And maybe that's the point of having these awful, terrible experiences. I think my faith crisis has shaped me into a better person, though it can be difficult at times to not get angry or bitter about people who have not had one and they simply don't understand where I am coming from. It's not fair for me to be angry at them, but still, it sure can be tough to hear the "car key" stories every week! :lol:

When I think of my students at school, I wouldn't want them to always be dependent on me for everything. It would be a lot of work if everyday every kiddo asked me for things repeatedly instead of finding it on their own. My goal is to help them become independent and not need me as much, but to check in now and again and make sure things are going well. I think maybe that's what God is trying to help us do. I could be wrong, but I would like to think God wants us to be able to figure some things out on our own and to do what is good for the sake of just doing good. To love others with no thought of reward or punishment. Maybe that's too simple thinking. But it's how I would love God to be.
"They don't know your situation -- YOU know your situation -- look at church and GA decrees as suggestions that you filter out for your own specific situation."
So true. I will keep that in perspective when I hear one of those "fire and brimstone" talks. :)
"View your silence as evidence of your respect for others cherished beliefs."


I agree with that. It can be hard to sometimes not want to bonk the head of someone saying hateful things, but that's the way he or she was raised to think is right. Sometimes they don't know better. And I really liked the list of things I could question at church. That will help me out. Thank you! :)

DarkJedi:

Thank you again for posting them! :) I look forward to reading them.

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N’oublie Pas
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Re: Religion Trauma Syndrome?

Post by N’oublie Pas » 23 Jun 2015, 11:23

So I have another question, geared a lot towards the ladies of StayLDS, though I welcome men's opinions as well. :)

I know I will need to go through the endowment and sealing process at the temple one day. My family would not permit me to get married somewhere else, so that is not an option for me. Over the years, I have come to realize how sexist some of the practices are, and I personally don't believe a loving and caring God could send such mixed messages. It's so confusing to reconcile. I really can't imagine that God would love His sons more than His daughters. Nor do I think God would love His daughters more than His sons. I see men and women as equal in His eyes, yet I get mixed messages at church that are difficult to reconcile.

How do you go through the endowment and sealing without feeling like God really hates His daughters? Or without thinking we are useless on our own or are only to support men? I think men and women should be supporting and loving one another equally instead of fighting some strange divine power-struggle. I personally see it as 50/50 in a marriage where the participants are equal partners. What have you done to combat those negative feelings and attitudes? And how do you make promises that you may not necessarily agree with? Would God see me as less of a person for lying in the temple just to get through the ceremonies? I would like to be blessed and feel closer to God again, but I can't make promises that hurt me to the very core and act like it is ok. I think God would see through that, and it doesn't seem right to purposefully lie to Him.

I really would appreciate any thoughts from anyone. :) Everyone has been so incredibly supportive and helpful, and it is helping me stay LDS even though there are many difficult things in the church. I want to continue to be a religious and God-loving person, but without all the stressful "backwards hoop jumping" I've been having to do at church.

Thank you so much for your support. It means the world to me. :)

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Holy Cow
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Re: Religion Trauma Syndrome?

Post by Holy Cow » 23 Jun 2015, 11:51

NP, I agree completely that God doesn't love his sons more than his daughters, or vice versa. I also believe he doesn't love mormons more than non-mormons, or regular temple-goers more than those who don't even hold a temple recommend. This was one of the reasons that the temple was really what started my faith crisis. I've always had a hard time going without feeling uncomfortable. I know for many people, it's a great place to get away from the world, feel the spirit, do service for the dead, think about covenants, and everything else you hear. I never found any of that after 15 years of regular attendance, and felt like a hypocrite making promises that I didn't believe. I feel much more comfortable, and close to God, now that I've given up my recommend and stopped wearing garments. But, just to be clear, I'm not advocating that anybody else do that! This is just what has worked for me in my personal journey. Everybody finds their own balance.
But, what stood out to me the most in your post was:
N’oublie Pas wrote:My family would not permit me to get married somewhere else, so that is not an option for me.
I'm sorry you're feeling like you're backed into a corner like that. Nobody should have the power to specify where you are 'permitted' to get married! Maybe it's the individualist in me, but if I was ever told that I could only get married in a specific place (temple, church, garden, or anywhere else), I would go out and get married without those people knowing anything about it. When you choose to get married, your family should be happy for you, and they should be grateful that you're 'permitting' them to be a part of it.
I know it can be hard to fight for control of your own life. My in-laws used to be professionals when it came to guilt-trips, so my wife had a rough time when she started exercising her own independence. Stay strong! :smile:
My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6139

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N’oublie Pas
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Re: Religion Trauma Syndrome?

Post by N’oublie Pas » 23 Jun 2015, 11:58

Holy Cow:

Thank you for your response. :) Well, my partner and I have talked about marriage, and he has said multiple times he wants a secular wedding as well because his dad's side of the family is not LDS, and he doesn't think it's fair to exclude them. So at least I know part of my future wedding could be secular! :) It stinks (to me at least) that I will still need to go through the whole temple process when I personally do not feel comfortable with it.
"I agree completely that God doesn't love his sons more than his daughters, or vice versa. I also believe he doesn't love mormons more than non-mormons, or regular temple-goers more than those who don't even hold a temple recommend. This was one of the reasons that the temple was really what started my faith crisis."
Yes, this is really what lead me to accept that I was having a faith crisis instead of just denying it all the time. I'm glad it's not just me who has thought this! :)

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Heber13
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Re: Religion Trauma Syndrome?

Post by Heber13 » 23 Jun 2015, 12:33

I think the best way to deal with your completely valid and well expressed concerns of the temple is to prepare for it. The nice thing about the Internet is that you can get most info you are looking for. The temple recommend questions are known, you can study and decide if you can answer them honestly, even if nuanced or in your own way. The temple ceremony can be found, and things like garments and such are on the Internet. Even temple prep classes and books help prepare you.

I find many people think it is all so so secret. But actually, while it is sacred, there are few elements of the temple that are covenanted not to disclose. The rest is fine to talk about sincerely and prepare yourself for.

Just don't go to the temple blind hoping it is the most amazing thing...when really, you have some issues of veiling your face or priesthood or messages taught. Work through those now, so you can decide if you are ready when the time comes, and that you and your future spouse are on the same page about it.

Also...although the family wants you to do things a certain way and although it may be hard to break the mold...these things are too important in your life to just do it because the family says so. This is YOUR life. That probably needs to be worked through also.
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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N’oublie Pas
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Re: Religion Trauma Syndrome?

Post by N’oublie Pas » 23 Jun 2015, 16:42

Heber13:
"Work through those now, so you can decide if you are ready when the time comes, and that you and your future spouse are on the same page about it. These things are too important in your life to just do it because the family says so. This is YOUR life."
I have been mentally preparing for it so I won't be blind sided. Going in there knowing nothing would be very difficult, especially with societal pressures placed on me. I will continue to look into it and talk to my partner about it so when/if the time comes, we will be on the same page.

Thank you for your advice! :) :)

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SilentDawning
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Re: Religion Trauma Syndrome?

Post by SilentDawning » 23 Jun 2015, 18:37

N’oublie Pas wrote:How do you personally reconcile it when you feel spiritual feelings about tough topics?
I tend to enjoy the spirituality of the moment. Then assess the message, and decide what to do with it. Sometimes it means changing nothing about my beliefs. Other times, it means making an alteration. But it's after I decide what to make of the spiritual feeling. There are times I write it off as spiritual emotion, invoked by good oratory...other times, my feeling it is something I should change....or act upon.

I have to confess, at times I felt that "security of the gospel" when people talk about the safety of the commandments, or the Mormon experience, and I desire it. But I return to reflection on my life's experiences and realize that it is idealistic...so the feeling passes.

I guess I look at spiritual promptings as input into my decision, to be tempered by ethics, by intellect, by knowledge, and by my life's circumstances, research, advice of mentors and family -- all of these things are inputs into what I personally think.
.. but it's hard when we are told "my ways are not your ways" and you personally disagree. It sometimes makes me feel like I am this heathen who can't get it, even when God is trying to tell me it's right. It's difficult to accept things that logically or ethically do not make sense to me. What have you found to be helpful?
Reflect on the experience of your past boyfriend, the prompting, your trusting action as a result of the prompting, and the terrible result. You now know that those feelings are not always reliable, and they can actually hurt you personally if you act on them. Run those feelings through your knowledge, personality, circumstances, and analysis, and decide if you should act on them. Spiritual feelings are only one aspect of the mix.

I would hope that, in using this process, I would NOT have pulled the trigger at the Mountain Meadows Massacre, which is a classic example of what happens when you don't follow your ethics or your conscience....

I also think the "my ways are not your ways" phrase is there to get cooperation from people who may not agree with what a leader is saying -- without giving defensible reasons.
He just would like me to get in a place where I can feel spiritual peace again and go to church to feel divinity instead of going and feeling guilt. He has done and said many things that have made it clear to me that he isn't just trying to make me fit the mold, and he has always respected me despite our spiritual differences. Thankfully, I caught a good one! :)
He sounds like a VERY good one! But it sounds like you still have not crossed the threshold of not caring about what the culture, and the leaders think of you. Hence the guilt and lack of peace. I can honestly say I do not feel guilty that I do not do certain things the culture specifies. I stand independent of the church and its expectations, and that brings me peace. I did not feel that way at first. It was uncomfortable, and I had to find new sources of affirmation. They came from my achievement in other organizations, forging expanded relationships that replace/supplement the dominance of the church in my life, while still maintaining ties with the church. In the church, but not of it...

Also, a certain amount of peace comes from knowing that, if I choose, I can return to full activity/belief/orthodoxy as well. And this peace comes from NOT openly sharing contrarian opinions at church, or acting in ways that would offend my sense of conscience about being worthy in an interview. Although my definition of worthy may be different than a priesthood leader's definition.
I really think my experience has lead me to become more of an Adult of God instead of just a Child of God. I don't find myself praying (when I do pray) for the things I used to. I don't rely on Him so much but check in every now and again and try to do what is right for the sake of what's right. It's no longer a "do what's right or I'll punish you" mindset for me doing the right thing - I just genuinely want to help people now no matter what our differences are. And maybe that's the point of having these awful, terrible experiences. I think my faith crisis has shaped me into a better person, though it can be difficult at times to not get angry or bitter about people who have not had one and they simply don't understand where I am coming from. It's not fair for me to be angry at them, but still, it sure can be tough to hear the "car key" stories every week! :lol:
I have no answer for the monotony...for the repetition, or the teeth grinding stories. Hawgrrl looks at what's happening as if she's an anthropologist, which gets her through it. I read my Kindle :) I perk up when something interesting happens.
My goal is to help them become independent and not need me as much, but to check in now and again and make sure things are going well. I think maybe that's what God is trying to help us do. I could be wrong, but I would like to think God wants us to be able to figure some things out on our own and to do what is good for the sake of just doing good. To love others with no thought of reward or punishment. Maybe that's too simple thinking. But it's how I would love God to be.
[/quote]

You just quoted from my mission statement with these ideas....one of my life's purposes is to lead others to greater truth, competence, and self-reliance.

I do believe God would rather we stood independent of him, while respecting him, and checking in as needed that totally dependent on him for every move. I really do wonder if the blowing up of revelation is part of that process....it certainly makes people rely more on their own judgment and intuition, than on warm fuzzy feelings that are hard to interpret.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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