Where is the True Church of Jesus Christ?

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wileecoyote49
Posts: 4
Joined: 09 Jun 2016, 20:12

Where is the True Church of Jesus Christ?

Post by wileecoyote49 » 24 Jun 2016, 20:45

Wow, I just read Weaselgirls’ post from June 20 “Long time reader, first time commenter” and her experience is so much like mine. I just joined this group so here's my introduction. I’m a life-long member with Apostles and pioneers in my direct lineage. I served a faithful mission (though I went when I was 23) and have served in all the organizations in the Ward including 7 years as a counselor in the Bishopric. While I don’t want to go into it fully here, I feel that the church has never supported me or met my needs. I feel that God has been there for me throughout my life, but the Church has always failed me. Every bit of spiritual growth I’ve experience in my life has come through my own relationship with Heavenly Father or through a friend unrelated to my Church experience, but never from the Church itself.

Church for me is difficult and unfulfilling. I’ve kept going through the last many years hoping that I’ll find where it will benefit me and justify all the time and effort I’ve put into it, but I’ve yet to see. Recently, my family has gone through the hardest years of our lives experiencing several different difficult issues at the same time. And through it all, the Church hasn’t been there. We’ve reached out to our Home Teachers. Once we expressed we were having difficulties they stopped coming and avoided us at Church. I know that sounds like I’m exaggerating but seriously I’m not. We expressed our difficulty to two Bishops who both said they would pray about how to help us and then never another word to us. We have expressed our difficulties to my High Priest GL who sounded very concerned but then got called into the Bishopric and has hardly spoken to us since. Going to Church is very hard now and we haven’t been in about three months with dwindling attendance before that. I resigned my calling as a Gospel Doctrine teacher and still nothing. Not a single person has expressed any concern that we haven’t been nor that our teenager’s aren’t coming either (they do still go to YW on Wednesday nights). I feel betrayed. Every Sunday we are there I have to listen to all of those who haven’t had any concern towards us talk about how righteous they are, about how they have been inspired throughout the week to do all kinds of great deeds while no one has been inspired to help us I have to listen to them talk about how our Church is so awesome and that all the other Churches follow what we do and no other one is as good as ours because we’re the true Church. I don’t see it. To me, this Church is not the true Church. I still have hope and belief in God and Jesus and I feel the Spirit when I read the BofM (we read it as a family in 2015 and it was an amazing experience and brought us closer together and helped us through some hard times). I’m wondering where the true Church of Jesus Christ is because I don’t see it where I’ve been going throughout my life, though I'm finding it hard to see it anywhere else either. Maybe this forum can help me find it.

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Always Thinking
Posts: 155
Joined: 29 Dec 2015, 11:46

Re: Where is the True Church of Jesus Christ?

Post by Always Thinking » 25 Jun 2016, 09:55

Has this all been in the same stake or has this all happened over many stakes? My first thought was maybe you just have a bad stake. I haven't personally had a bad stake before but many people I know have experienced bad wards or stakes and once they moved elsewhere, they found better wards or stakes. So I know sometimes it just has to do with the location.

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

Re: Where is the True Church of Jesus Christ?

Post by Weaselgirl » 25 Jun 2016, 10:11

The thing is, if it's happening to a bunch of people, then it's happening.

If "the Church is the same everywhere!" when it's awesome, then the opposite is also true. :(

unsure
Posts: 88
Joined: 05 Jun 2016, 19:10

Re: Where is the True Church of Jesus Christ?

Post by unsure » 25 Jun 2016, 10:34

Welcome to the boards.

I have to wonder sometimes how much the charity of members really extends beyond the walls of the church. I felt like my ward was full of great people and even visitors/new families would always comment how they felt immediately welcomed and it was such a great ward. But once I stopped going it's like I might as well have never attended at all. I see some similarities in your case although even when at church it doesn't seem like people are reaching out. It's sad to think you are letting others know your situation and you're asking for help but not getting any.

It sounds like you still have good personal experiences, like with reading the BofM. Hold onto those and keep doing what makes you feel the spirit and connect with God even if you aren't going to church.

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Minyan Man
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Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: Where is the True Church of Jesus Christ?

Post by Minyan Man » 25 Jun 2016, 10:56

Welcome, we are glad that you found us.
For me, I don't expect that this is the one true church or religion.
I don't expect the leadership to understand or help me with issues I'm facing or experiencing.
For me, this view has come over a long period of time.
There are issues that the Leadership & members have difficulty understanding & addressing.
Such as:
- Abuse.
- Addiction.
- Questions of early doctrine. Such as polygamy.
- etc.

Today I believe that:
- This life & the experiences we face are difficult. This is part of the design.
- I don't look to the leadership (or the general membership) to give me guidance, comfort or peace.
- I found small callings where I can serve & contribute on my own terms.
- I found close friends & relatives who I confide it & know that our discussions are private & confidential. (This includes this site.)
- If I am not being feed spiritually, I find something else to do.

Keep coming back. I hope you find what you're looking for.

Ray DeGraw
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Re: Where is the True Church of Jesus Christ?

Post by Ray DeGraw » 25 Jun 2016, 13:20

Welcome.

Historically, there never was a church led by the mortal Jesus, of Nazareth. If the resurrection narrative and post-mortal visitation story actually occurred, that is when the first "true" church was established - but it faced splintering and division very quickly, as illustrated in Paul's epistles.

Where is it now?

I like the concept of the Church of the Lamb being all believers in GOD throughout the world, and I would include all people who teach and try to live the principles taught in the Sermon on the Mount - whatever they call their deity (and even if they don't worship one). That is the actual, parsed teaching of the Book of Mormon, and I believe it lies at the heart of our current temple theology.

With that view, I am perfectly comfortable saying Mormons belong to the true Church of Jesus Christ - and that Mormons don't belong to it. It depends on the individual. I also am perfectly comfortable saying the same thing about other people. Personally, I love a lot of the theology that was "restored" by Joseph Smith (that I see taught in the New Teatament but not mainstream Christianity), and I love most the universalist aspects of that theology that make what I just said possible.

We have had extensive discussions on this site over the years about various ways to define "true" - and I use "pointed in the right direction" (true north) and "proven" (tried and true) quite often, since those definitions allow for the type of individual understanding I described above. I have zero interest in "100% accurate" - since that standard is non-existent in the real world.
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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SilentDawning
Posts: 6153
Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: Where is the True Church of Jesus Christ?

Post by SilentDawning » 25 Jun 2016, 15:48

wileecoyote49 wrote:Wow, I just read Weaselgirls’ post from June 20 “Long time reader, first time commenter” and her experience is so much like mine. I just joined this group so here's my introduction. I’m a life-long member with Apostles and pioneers in my direct lineage. I served a faithful mission (though I went when I was 23) and have served in all the organizations in the Ward including 7 years as a counselor in the Bishopric. While I don’t want to go into it fully here, I feel that the church has never supported me or met my needs. I feel that God has been there for me throughout my life, but the Church has always failed me. Every bit of spiritual growth I’ve experience in my life has come through my own relationship with Heavenly Father or through a friend unrelated to my Church experience, but never from the Church itself.

Church for me is difficult and unfulfilling. I’ve kept going through the last many years hoping that I’ll find where it will benefit me and justify all the time and effort I’ve put into it, but I’ve yet to see. Recently, my family has gone through the hardest years of our lives experiencing several different difficult issues at the same time. And through it all, the Church hasn’t been there. We’ve reached out to our Home Teachers. Once we expressed we were having difficulties they stopped coming and avoided us at Church. I know that sounds like I’m exaggerating but seriously I’m not. We expressed our difficulty to two Bishops who both said they would pray about how to help us and then never another word to us. We have expressed our difficulties to my High Priest GL who sounded very concerned but then got called into the Bishopric and has hardly spoken to us since. Going to Church is very hard now and we haven’t been in about three months with dwindling attendance before that. I resigned my calling as a Gospel Doctrine teacher and still nothing. Not a single person has expressed any concern that we haven’t been nor that our teenager’s aren’t coming either (they do still go to YW on Wednesday nights). I feel betrayed. Every Sunday we are there I have to listen to all of those who haven’t had any concern towards us talk about how righteous they are, about how they have been inspired throughout the week to do all kinds of great deeds while no one has been inspired to help us I have to listen to them talk about how our Church is so awesome and that all the other Churches follow what we do and no other one is as good as ours because we’re the true Church. I don’t see it. To me, this Church is not the true Church. I still have hope and belief in God and Jesus and I feel the Spirit when I read the BofM (we read it as a family in 2015 and it was an amazing experience and brought us closer together and helped us through some hard times). I’m wondering where the true Church of Jesus Christ is because I don’t see it where I’ve been going throughout my life, though I'm finding it hard to see it anywhere else either. Maybe this forum can help me find it.
I highlighted the parts that I have experienced. My approach has been to take the "one true church" concept with a grain of salt. It works for a couple members of my family, so I let it work for them, while remaining agnostic about its claims. I am open to it being true but I guess I need more evidence than I have had so far. Or perhaps, a refill of what I have had so far.

It is easier to go through the Mormon experience when you expect very little from the church. In this case, you have expectations of what the church should be doing for you. That is not happening, so you have this satisfaction/fulfillment gap.

Try simply reducing what you expect from the church. In my view, it is much like any other temporal organization. There is a lot of talk about miracles and how glorious the church is, but in reality, I find it much like other temporal organizations. Lower your expectations to that level. Encourage your family to attend, particularly your teenagers who will benefit from generally good kids and character education. They will likely need that to get through the teenage years.

How does your spouse feel about the whole experience? And are you in a part of the world where there is a big church population (if that question is not too identifying or personal)? Where it is easy to simply blend into the ward, which contributes to the lack of caring wards seem to have for their membership?
"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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dande48
Posts: 247
Joined: 24 Jan 2016, 16:35

Re: Where is the True Church of Jesus Christ?

Post by dande48 » 26 Jun 2016, 09:55

I feel for you. I've had a very similar experience for the past nine years, where I felt like my needs were neglected by church leaders; where I knew they were capeable of helping me through my challenges, but instead kind of abandoned me. But the ward I grew up in, and spent my youth, was a completely different story. The leaders were strong and always willing to help. If someone was in trouble, they would instantly drop everything day or night to help them. They would do anything in their power to ensure all the needs of the members were met. They are still some of the most Christlike people I know.

I don't buy into the Church being the "same" or "just as true" no matter where you go. The members will be different, the leaders will be different; some regions will be better, others will be worse. None of them will be perfect. The members make up the Church, and it is up to the individual what sort of member they will be. The best advice I can give is, "Be the change you want to see in the world." Be the kind of member the best wards are made of. Which I understand is very hard, especially when you're hurt and struggling. I'm not very good at it. It's hard enough to go to Church, let alone me a full-fledged member when you feel abandoned. But I am so grateful for those Christlike leaders I had growing up. I wish I could be a little more like them.

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DarkJedi
Posts: 5174
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Where is the True Church of Jesus Christ?

Post by DarkJedi » 26 Jun 2016, 11:12

I also like the idea of the Church of the Lamb or the Church of God being made up of all believers. When carefully read, some sections of the Doctrine and Covenants allude to that idea (pay particular attention to those sections before the CoJCoLDS was organized). There are Biblical references to the same idea. As Ray said, we have had some deep discussions about what the definition of "true" is and we have also had discussions about what "the church" is.

That said, I am quite willing to allow other humans to be as human as they allow me to be. I expect nothing of them or the church. My spirituality is mine and mine alone. If I happen to be edified by something at church, it's gravy and it's all good. If not, I guess I have wasted another three hours of my life that I probably would have wasted doing something else anyway. Self sufficiency/self reliance are not just temporal, but spiritual. While your experience is sad, more than you know have experienced the same sorts of things (although not necessarily to the same degree).

The most valuable thing I did in my faith transition was to separate the church and the gospel. Likewise, there is a difference between the membership of the church and the ideals of the church.

Welcome to the forum. Please don't be a stranger.
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

Roy
Posts: 4098
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Where is the True Church of Jesus Christ?

Post by Roy » 26 Jun 2016, 16:39

The church can be very good or very bad depending on many variables.

One depends on where you live. dande48 spoke to this

One depends on the sort of trouble you face. The church can sometimes be very good at bringing in meals, or helping through the bishop's storehouse, or helping you move - but not so good at other issues. Minyan Man spoke to this.

One other variable is you. I can remember feeling included and connected to a ward. I wonder if I would still feel that way if I could ever go back. I believe that some of the same statements made in SS that now remind me that I do not belong - at one time were very comforting and reminded me that this is where I belong. I have changed.
"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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