Trying hard to stay

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Jerseygirl
Posts: 9
Joined: 03 Nov 2016, 10:15

Trying hard to stay

Post by Jerseygirl » 03 Nov 2016, 12:13

I have never been part of an online community, but I thought now would be a good time to start. I have been going through a faith crisis, and it seems to be panicking the people around me. I feel like I need more support if I am going to be able to keep going to church on Sundays. I am luckier than most in that I have a few friends in the church I can speak to about my faith journey without shocking them or feeling like they are judging me. They are great friends who will love me no matter where my faith journey takes me. My marriage is another story. Little by little, I have been able to share my doubts and fears with my husband (who is currently serving in a leadership role) but he is really struggling with the transition I am making. He loves me, but he definitely wants me to get back in the boat--fast! I can't blame him; I'm the one who changed, not him. Nonetheless, it is hard feeling his disappointment in me.

My parents converted to the church shortly before I was born so I have grown up in the church. We live in an area of New Jersey that does not have a lot of church members but our family life always revolved around the church. Both of my parents have had every leadership role imaginable on the ward and stake levels and are seen as stalwart members. They have given everything to the church and made every sacrifice imaginable. It is a standard I will never live up to, and I am no longer sure I even want to, but I know that being my authentic self (which will be my own kind of Mormon) will be an embarrassment and disappointment to them. They will question where they went wrong and blame themselves. I wish I could be authentic without hurting them.

I feel isolated from my extended family because my feelings toward the church are so different from theirs. Family gatherings are uncomfortable and I feel like I am perceived as a heretic because I longer believe that everything the General Authorities say is directly from the Lord, and I think that homosexuals are just as loved by God as I am as a heterosexual. These are radical ideas to my family and I feel judged because they see me as "falling away from the church" or that "my faith is slipping" because I see things from a different perspective now.

I still believe/hope that I have a loving Heavenly Father and a loving Savior, Jesus Christ. I hope that there are eternal truths being taught in the Book of Mormon, so I still read it, but it is getting harder to feel what I used to refer to as "the spirit" when I read. I am trying, even if the people around me don't think so.

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Heber13
Site Admin
Posts: 6179
Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

Re: Trying hard to stay

Post by Heber13 » 03 Nov 2016, 12:52

Welcome to the forum. Glad you found us. I hope you can find support you are looking for and ways to navigate your journey. I appreciate you sharing your story, I look forward to learning from your posts. :wave:
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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Always Thinking
Posts: 152
Joined: 29 Dec 2015, 11:46

Re: Trying hard to stay

Post by Always Thinking » 03 Nov 2016, 12:59

I find that the social pressures to go to church make me want to stop going even more. I was able to skip church for 3 months while I was pregnant because I kept getting sick or being exhausted and after those 3 months, I wanted to go back. I started to miss the people, mainly. It's hard to enjoy church when it feels like a chore that you have to do. However, that pressure to go is building again so I may have to take a break again. I find that being active on here and listening to mormonstories podcasts helps me feel like I am not alone and there are many people like us out there. Idk how to solve all of your complications with your husband and family, as my family doesn't know about my faith crisis yet and my husband is already slightly unorthodox so he understands my struggles. I just wanted to let you know that I understand that social pressure that builds and builds and going to church begins to feel like a chore that you're being forced to attend rather than a faith-promoting escape from 'the world' that you actually enjoy attending.

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DarkJedi
Posts: 5018
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Trying hard to stay

Post by DarkJedi » 03 Nov 2016, 13:33

Welcome to our community. I hope that sharing here will be helpful to you.

A couple things jumped out to me regarding your family. I also live in the northeast and in a place where there are not many members, but I don't have family who are members outside my nuclear family. But this part jumped out at me and makes me sad:
Family gatherings are uncomfortable and I feel like I am perceived as a heretic because I longer believe that everything the General Authorities say is directly from the Lord, and I think that homosexuals are just as loved by God as I am as a heterosexual.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is that He loves everyone. Admittedly I don't know that that's true - but I hope it is. I do know that the church teaches this idea, and that it is included in the standard works. The NT has multiple accounts of Jesus reaching out to others who were thought to be sinners or less than worthy of Godly help. Yet so many in the church are as you describe your family. I do believe it's plainly taught in scripture and by our general authorities that God loves homosexuals, divorcees, and any other variety of individuals as much as He loves his "chosen people." It makes me sad that the chosen don't understand that they're no better than anyone else - and it reminds me very much of the Pharisees of NT times.

The other thing you mentioned was the isolation you feel at family gatherings. A regular poster here often says it doesn't have to be about the church all the time (paraphrased). And he's right, it doesn't. My non-member family has lots of things to talk about at family gatherings - none of which include the church (except they know we don't want wine or coffee with dinner). So, change the subject and make it be about something other than church.
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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FaithfulSkeptic
Posts: 214
Joined: 06 Jun 2014, 09:04

Re: Trying hard to stay

Post by FaithfulSkeptic » 03 Nov 2016, 16:32

Welcome! I'm struggling to stay as well, with a spouse that doesn't understand and wants me back in the boat fast. This is hard, but you are in a good place. I look forward to hearing more from you.


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I know of no sign on the doors of our meetinghouses that says, “Your testimony must be this tall to enter.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf, October 2014

Ann
Posts: 2547
Joined: 09 Sep 2012, 02:17

Re: Trying hard to stay

Post by Ann » 03 Nov 2016, 18:53

Hi, JerseyGirl -

I can relate to everything you said. It's really hard to give specific advice not knowing more about your marriage, but keeping your marriage healthy and happy is understandably urgent. I would say to dwell on your strengths, good memories, common goals, etc., and tread carefully around church issues right now. It took some time, but when my family realized that I wasn't going off the rails, we reached a new equilibrium.

I really like this book:

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=7023&hilit=Thomas+wirthlin+mcconkie

Early on, I said a lot of stuff about "being on a journey." I said it defensively, timidly. After reading, I really believe it.

I'm glad you're here and hope it helps.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

girlygirl
Posts: 12
Joined: 19 Jul 2011, 10:34

Re: Trying hard to stay

Post by girlygirl » 03 Nov 2016, 22:04

I feel like I can relate with parts of your journey. I am sure your doubts and worries are justified with your family, but the best you can do is love them and be kind. If you get worried they are judging you and act cagey it'll show! When I started to let stuff leak with my family I tried my best to hold my head high and show them I'm still ME and even better I'm growing into something new and better and they can accept that or they can be the weird awkward ones and thats on their shoulders! I know easier said then done but one thing that helped me remain positive was to stop obsessing over if church was true or false (I felt I was hitting a wall and just beating a dead horse) and started filling those times of mulling over church stuff with filling it with other things in my life that would bring balance and make me happy and healthy. I got into nature hikes more, took up some new exciting classes I'v never tried, did some self care things for me away from church. At first it felt like a chore because I needed to figure out if the church was TRUE FIRST! but soon it became inspiring. I just felt so bogged down with trying to figure out how people precieved me, and how I precieved the church, and I just needed a break. I know life has many distractions but I guess what I am trying to say is along the journey make sure to put yourself first and keep your happyness in check! This road is a long one, so do things along the way to enjoy the ride!

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SilentDawning
Posts: 6032
Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: Trying hard to stay

Post by SilentDawning » 04 Nov 2016, 06:45

I can relate to what you say. It will be a challenge with a TBM spouse and a TBM family, some of whom may be very judgmental from what you write.

It sounds like you want a good relationship with your husband....you might have to consider going to church and going through the motions of full activity is something you have to do as an act of love for your marriage and family. There are shades of full activity, so you could refuse certain callings and be fully active by going to church on Sunday, keeping a current TR, and attending social events - maybe accepting a light calling here and there.

Anyway, welcome, this is the place for people like you and I, I think. The good news I think it's possible to be quite happy as an unorthodox Mormon while staying involved in your Ward. Each person has their own set of hurdles to overcome -- so feel free to post issues as they come up, or deal with what is on your mind, issue by issue in our support forum...

SD
"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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Minyan Man
Posts: 1376
Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: Trying hard to stay

Post by Minyan Man » 04 Nov 2016, 09:17

Discussions like this always reminds me of the 11th article of faith.
There have been a number of discussions on this site. One is listed below.
Tolerance of differing religious viewpoints are difficult within the church sometimes when the orthodox view is challenged.
I believe it must be challenged, defended & discussed if we expect it to have any real meaning.
The hard part is doing it in the dynamics of our family. Some families can do it & not feel threatened. Others, can not.
Welcome to this site. Feel free to challenge us.

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=3834&p=50077&hilit= ... cle#p50077

Jerseygirl
Posts: 9
Joined: 03 Nov 2016, 10:15

Re: Trying hard to stay

Post by Jerseygirl » 04 Nov 2016, 11:09

I can't thank everyone enough for all of the great, supporting and encouraging comments! Knowing I am not along in this struggle makes all the difference in the world! I am really looking forward to being a part of this community.

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