Long time reader, first time commenter

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
User avatar
DevilsAdvocate
Posts: 1334
Joined: 19 Feb 2010, 12:56
Location: Utah

Re: Long time reader, first time commenter

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 21 Jun 2016, 07:17

Weaselgirl wrote:Well, I've finally decided to join in after reading this forum pretty much every day for the last two + years...I have never been a believer in a literal Bible and I haven't been caught off guard by any historical surprises...My problem lies with the "lived experience" of the Church. I have rarely felt like I fit in--that there is a place for me. I have recently come to the conclusion that the Church is a very poor teacher of Christian behavior. I am one of those it has failed. I know that I'm supposed to be Christlike, but I don't know HOW to be Christlike. I don't know what that looks like...So, I am not learning anything at Church, or being spiritually strengthened, nor do I have a place where I can be schooled in acting Christian. In other words, I feel like the Church isn't doing a good job of being a church, and because of that I don't see the point in being involved there any more.
Welcome; I feel more or less the same way about the Church that being an active member was simply not a very enjoyable or worthwhile experience and most of what I learned about what Jesus taught was by reading the New Testament on my own but at church I mostly heard about following the prophet, temple worthiness and temple marriage, tithing, the WoW, Joseph Smith, priesthood, and how the Church itself is supposedly so important and special. It is definitely disappointing to see that a church that claims to be the one and only true church of Jesus Christ would focus so much on all these LDS traditions instead of the original basic teachings of Jesus according to the Bible. In fact, at this point the Church actually reminds me more of the Pharisees than Jesus, Paul, etc. (Luke 18:9-14, Matthew 15:7-14, Romans 3:23-24). I guess I just don't expect very much out of the Church and its members anymore, they are only human and are going to do what they do, often largely out of habit and/or not really knowing any better but just because they say something repeatedly that doesn't mean I need to believe it.
"Truth is what works." - William James

User avatar
Heber13
Posts: 6360
Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

Re: Long time reader, first time commenter

Post by Heber13 » 21 Jun 2016, 07:23

Welcome, and thank you for sharing your story. I can identify with many of those feelings.
Weaselgirl wrote:I know that I'm supposed to be Christlike, but I don't know HOW to be Christlike. I don't know what that looks like.
I separate out many things from church and gospel, or church and christlike. If you have been going to church for decades despite not feeling you really fit in or the ward isn't reaching out to you...that is christlike in my opinion.

Give yourself a lot of credit for the good things you do, and the foundation you've given your kids. Allow yourself to take a break when you need it. You can take a personal approach to draw nearer to God in whatever way works best for YOU and your family.

I think sometimes God wants us to know that the church is a good effort by lots of people...but it can't replace the journey we all need to take to find ways to draw closer to Him and find ways to define our faith to make it be truly ours, despite how it fits in with others and their faith.

Others may not understand that until they walk that. There are many here on this forum that do understand you and know you are just fine, just as you are. If you and your husband find ways to make it work, and it brings less stress and guilt so you are more open to the spirit, and more open to life and what you need in life (not just what church makes you feel you should be), you are on the right path. Allow yourself to worship how, where , and what you may.

Of course, with leadership changes, the ward may be very different, some people may come into leadership and reach out to you and make you feel more missed. Or they may not. Either way...the church is always there for you to go back when you feel something missing and want to serve, or if you feel just fine with just sacrament meetings.

God looks at what kind of person we are becoming. For some, the church is the blueprint for what to do and is the lifestyle they fit in. For others, there is a different path. Either way...it is about how our hearts are drawn to god and others. It is a church of love, not a church of fear.

I like many of the comments already above on this thread...it really goes to show how many people really share your feelings. Many adjust expectations, like it sounds like DA has done. And many times, that is good..because it is actually adjusting expectations to the reality out there, instead of the way we think it should be or needs to be or hope it to be. The church is what it is. People in the church are good people trying to live the teachings, just as you and I are. Some just find they fit in more than others. It's ok to have an orchestra of various viewpoints. Hence the prism in my avatar. One source of light and truth, but refracted to reach various people in different ways in different colors. Not one is right. Conjunctive faith is embracing all as right. Embrace paradox. I'm sure you've read all this in the past years you've lurked here...just reiterating what I believe. Thanks for letting me. It helps me when I share and when I learn from others.

I look forward to learning more from you and your posts. Thanks for joining the conversations.
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."

Ray DeGraw
Site Admin
Posts: 15130
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24
Contact:

Re: Long time reader, first time commenter

Post by Ray DeGraw » 21 Jun 2016, 09:08

Welcome. It's good to read your introduction.

My only advice is to try to understand and be charitable to the members who didn't contact you. If you are in a typical ward (which might not be true), there are hundreds of members of record, with an activity rate of 30-40%. That means there are hundreds of people who attended somewhere, at some point, but stopped - for lots of reasons. It can be overwhelming for people to reach out to those who stop attending, especially those who are not retired but have full, busy lives - and even more so in wards that are spread out over a distance and not tiny Utah wards - and even more so if they have tried in the past and been rebuffed. Also, some people complain about being harassed if people try to contact them, so some members are gun shy.

Try to be the member you wanted others to be, but do so at the pace that is right for you.
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

User avatar
Weaselgirl
Posts: 36
Joined: 20 Jun 2016, 08:21

Re: Long time reader, first time commenter

Post by Weaselgirl » 21 Jun 2016, 10:22

Yeah. I'm kinda on round 2 of trying my best to be the member I want others to be.

I have taken a lot of what I've read here over the years to heart, and I honestly think as I have put it into practice it has helped.

BUT. I am from a teeny tiny ward in Utah. I have lived there for well over a decade. And we were fully engaged with callings and stuff. Still are.

And I'm not blaming people so much as I am pointing out that there is a systemic problem in the Church in how we treat each other. These people are my neighbors. Literally. And it my be a function of my personality that people are just repelled, but my husband is nice. :lol:

This is just my complaint for right now. I'm sure I'll feel moved upon to talk about other stuff. :D

User avatar
Heber13
Posts: 6360
Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

Re: Long time reader, first time commenter

Post by Heber13 » 21 Jun 2016, 10:31

Weaselgirl wrote:This is just my complaint for right now. I'm sure I'll feel moved upon to talk about other stuff. :D
I'm looking forward to hearing more from you. Thanks again!
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."

Roy
Posts: 4089
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Long time reader, first time commenter

Post by Roy » 21 Jun 2016, 13:16

Welcome to the island of misfit toys. :mrgreen:

I too know how you feel. Like DA, I do not really expect too much from the church in terms of fellowship and friendship at this point. I generally take the view point that people are busy and self absorbed - just like me. ;) But my stay at home wife feels the lack of belonging in the church much more keenly. Your words could very well have come from her mouth.

She (my wife) and I have discussed that there are people that can get up and testify about how great the sisterhood is in the ward and have that be quite genuine. If you are part of the "in crowd" the view can be very different than it does from the "outside looking in."

A good example is the lack of invitations for my kids. We have had several play-dates where we have invited ward children to come play at our house. I cannot think of anytime that my kids have been invited over to other ward members homes. What about birthday parties? Do none of these kids have birthdays? I get the impression that these things go on - just that we are not thought of to be invited.

Anyway we have been participating in the evening activities of some other churches for a few years now. I have always drawn the distinction that we "participate" in several churches but only "attend" the LDS church. It could also be said that the LDS is our "home church." A few months ago my wife told me that she wants to start attending one of these other churches every other week. She just says that she feels more connected, wanted, accepted, and uplifted there.

So far it is going pretty well. I wonder/worry though how long we can keep it up before word gets out. I fear negative repercussions from the church both officially and non-officially.

I look forward to hearing more from you.
"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

User avatar
Weaselgirl
Posts: 36
Joined: 20 Jun 2016, 08:21

Re: Long time reader, first time commenter

Post by Weaselgirl » 21 Jun 2016, 15:21

Roy, if your ward is anything like mine, it could take several years before anyone notices, har. Also, what repercussions? What are they gonna do, make Sunday School MORE boring?

If you don't mind me asking, what churches have you had good experiences with? (Asking for a friend, heh heh.)

User avatar
hawkgrrrl
Site Admin
Posts: 3259
Joined: 22 Oct 2008, 16:27

Re: Long time reader, first time commenter

Post by hawkgrrrl » 22 Jun 2016, 10:32

I feel like the Church isn't doing a good job of being a church, and because of that I don't see the point in being involved there any more.
Well, I guess the core question here is what is a church supposed to do. Adam Miller might say that church does a great job when people AREN'T being Christlike because it challenges us to love them anyway, even when they are judging us or being self-righteous. I don't have any great answers on this one, but from everything I see, people both in and out of the church are such a mixed bag of good and bad, really good and really bad, that there are no human examples of "how to be Christian." How to be Christian is to fail over and over again and then to try to do better. That's how to be human, too. The Christian twist is reading and trying to follow the things Jesus taught, not just your own conscience.

I think what the church structure should do it usually does fairly well - provides us an opportunity to serve. Something you said that was a very Christian thing, IMO, is that you are a Primary sub. Your reason? Because they need the help and others in the community (in your ward) don't like to do it. You are filling a need, serving others. So churches give us a structure for serving others in our wards and in our communities at large.

It sounded to me like you were questioning the example your ward members are setting of living a Christian life, which is always a gap. People aren't great at it. They are good at some things and bad at others. A friend's dad was an awesome guy, someone I really admired. He was educated and open-minded. He wore a beard when he was a bishop and pushed back on intrusive questions from the SP about it. So that made him, IMO, Christlike because he wasn't a hypocrite. But then I have also heard two very disturbing stories about him. He is the main reason my best friend's mom left the church because he hounded her over her divorce (her husband was an abusive alcoholic), and he is the main reason another man left the church because he confronted him about being gay. So those are two very heinous acts in my estimation. Is he a bad Christian? Sometimes. Sometimes disastrously so. Other times, he's a champion of the downtrodden and a great example. I keep running into people like this in the church. They are horrible and wonderful.

I am dying to know why the name Weaselgirl.

User avatar
Weaselgirl
Posts: 36
Joined: 20 Jun 2016, 08:21

Re: Long time reader, first time commenter

Post by Weaselgirl » 22 Jun 2016, 11:28

Yeah, I listened to Bill Reel's interview of Patrick Mason this morning and now I'm all calmed down in my mind.

I swing back and forth between "Church is just not working for me any more. I don't have a place there." and "I need to be at church because someone else might feel like they don't have a place there and I can help them feel accepted because I am familiar with that feeling." Meanwhile, there's Primary and Ward Choir that keep me sane. Well. Relatively sane. I'm still me.

FWIW, it turns out "weasel" is a Very Funny Word. And weasels in general are just funny looking. I put a lot of stock in funny.

User avatar
Heber13
Posts: 6360
Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

Re: Long time reader, first time commenter

Post by Heber13 » 22 Jun 2016, 11:40

Weaselgirl wrote:I put a lot of stock in funny.
:thumbup: haha...love it.
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."

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users