Trying to find a happy medium...

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NotYourMollyMormon
Posts: 25
Joined: 22 Mar 2017, 18:01

Trying to find a happy medium...

Post by NotYourMollyMormon » 23 Mar 2017, 18:36

Hello to all!

I have been a silent observer since 2013. I discovered StayLDS when I was going through the beginning stages of my faith crisis and was trying to find a community of like-minded individuals that weren’t super anti ( :lol:) on the internet in hopes to receive some clarity regarding my questions/concerns. Thanks to all for your insights and sharing your personal stories - feels good to not feel alone!

Some history -

Grew up in the Northeast - home life wasn’t that great. Parents were constantly fighting and there wasn’t much love… When I was introduced to the church, I didn’t accept the missionary lessons at first. Overtime that changed. I was baptized at the age of 12 in July of 2000. My activity had its ups and downs. Some of the members had a hard time accepting my family. I became inactive too many times to count, after graduating college, I decided to give mormonism another shot. Gave up drinking, stopped dating, and eventually became endowed a few years later. To date, the only active members in my family are myself and my mother.

In 2014, I had been living in Utah for 3 years and decided I couldn’t take it anymore and will be moving to the east coast. Between 2013-2014, I was struggling a lot with my faith and had a lot of questions. Despite all this, I was still following all of the WoW, had callings, faithfully paid my tithing, and visited the temple often.

Part of it was my culture (east coast/caribbean/latina/ambitious/not a "molly" mormon) never mixing well with mormon culture. I went to a YSA ward and hated it! I met a few good folks there, but the grand majority lived in a bubble and lived a very self righteous and judgmental life and it was disgusting to me. And the fact you can never make friends because everyone thinks you want them or are competing for someone!?! Just bizarre! Glad that chapter in my life is closed! I even tried other wards and felt the exact same way. After a while I just gave up and went to a family ward (sacrament only).

Right before I moved back east, I was really struggling with temple attendance. I would go at least once a week, sometimes twice a week, but that waned over time and I eventually decided not to wear my garments between 2014-2016. I remember in 2011 when I first put on my garments how uncomfortable I felt. They fit horribly and are too thick for most of my clothes. I literally almost had a panic attack and was close to tears. I ended up getting some that were a better fit, but I still don’t fit in them properly. I felt horrible for feeling that way and eventually I just ignored how I felt. Luckily, I had a very caring and understanding Bishop at my first YSA ward in UT who heard my concerns and tried to help me out, but I continued to feel that way. These days, I usually wear them during the day for work, but then once I am home - I wear them occasionally to bed. If I don’t feel like wearing them, I won’t and won’t cry over it if I didn’t. Why? Because I was living my life just as I would if I had them on lol. I think people put way more importance into the wearing of the garments and not necessarily what it represents and want to be the G-Police. I don’t have time for that and right now that is what works for me and I am content with it.

My other main issue is the WoW. Without getting too much into the history, I just don’t think it is anything more than basic guidelines and it is way too open to interpretation. With that being said, I have been having a hard time NOT drinking because of that belief. I really don’t think there is anything wrong with drinking an occasional 1-2 glasses of wine with your dinner or having a glass of champagne when celebrating something with friends/co workers. Yet if I drink and admit to it during my TR interview, thats a violation and my TR may not be renewed. These days I have been asking myself "Do I go back to my social drinking and miss out on going to the temple and not having callings?" idk idk...

The history of the church always bugged me too - I knew it was flawed from the second the missionaries taught me the lessons at age 12. I have read the CES Letter and other things, and it just confirmed what I already thought lol. However, what attracted me to the church wasn’t the history - it was the peace I feel when I attended sacrament meetings and how they teach us about God and Jesus Christ. I honestly feel like I have a deeper relationship with God and Jesus Christ because of how it was taught to me at church. I’ve been to other churches, and it isn’t the same (again IMO). I have considered going to other churches, but idk….

I have way more to say but I will end there.

Anyways - I joined so I can be part of a group that will help me not feel or sound crazy when I talk about these topics. Some think I am too bold for saying or thinking these things, but I beg to differ lol What I am aiming for is a happy medium between mormonism and me, but I am not sure how I will ever achieve that…I like some aspects of mormonism less the WoW, less the garments, less Relief Society, more the temple, and more of Sunday School (only when it's a philosophical conversation and not following the manuals 8-) )... a girl can dream :lol:

Thanks for reading!

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

Re: Trying to find a happy medium...

Post by DarkJedi » 24 Mar 2017, 03:16

Welcome. Many of us here can relate to the thoughts you've expressed. I think there is a way to find that "happy medium" but it's not always happy. The surprising thing to me about your version of your own way includes the temple - the temple is a big one for many, especially considering your other concerns. The best thing about this place is that people here understand, will listen, and will relate their own experiences.

May you find the peace you seek.
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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LookingHard
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Joined: 20 Oct 2014, 12:11

Re: Trying to find a happy medium...

Post by LookingHard » 24 Mar 2017, 06:33

Welcome. You are normal and don't sound sinful at all.

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

Re: Trying to find a happy medium...

Post by Heber13 » 24 Mar 2017, 12:03

Thanks for sharing your story..would love to hear more as you participate on topics here and share your thoughts.

I look forward to learning from your posts!!

PS--I grew up in the NorthEast myself...NJ. Love that area. :)
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."

NotYourMollyMormon
Posts: 25
Joined: 22 Mar 2017, 18:01

Re: Trying to find a happy medium...

Post by NotYourMollyMormon » 24 Mar 2017, 18:26

Hello Heber13!

Thanks for the welcome.

Yea my family is from Washington Heights and the Bronx love it here but it is getting old lol

LookingHarder - thank you for your warm welcome!

DarkJedi - Thanks for your welcome! I always love reading your posts/responses

Yea the temple -- despite everything I have learned (much of which has me like :shock: ), I enjoy the meditative aspect of it. That appeals to me a lot (my introverted self loves the super quiet space and the ability to escape most humans for a few hours). When I was inactive, I really missed going because I couldn't find another space that matched that peace (minus this non touristy beach in my country but that's besides the point). I am kind of in denial about everything else I have learned that is associated to the temple ... like logically I know the facts and those facts are crazy to me, but I am still emotionally involved ... it's complicated... not sure how to explain it

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Ilovechrist77
Posts: 594
Joined: 08 Nov 2011, 21:42

Re: Trying to find a happy medium...

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 24 Mar 2017, 20:32

Welcome to the group. Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm also introvert myself. Because of that my mission was a difficult but rewarding experience. I'm closest to my parents and I have a few close friends in my small Illinois hometown. My religious beliefs run somewhere between traditional and not traditional. You mentioned you stopped dating. I was always taught being a single member of the church you could date, although the church prefers it being with other members. What do you mean by that?

NotYourMollyMormon
Posts: 25
Joined: 22 Mar 2017, 18:01

Re: Trying to find a happy medium...

Post by NotYourMollyMormon » 25 Mar 2017, 10:54

Hi Ilovechrist77! Thanks for sharing a little bit about yourself!

To answer your question - The church has zero to do with my dating life lol I know I can be single and date but I simply chose to stop dating at that time. My dating life has never really been my central focus (I'm more focused on my career/education/getting to know myself better), but when I do put time into it, I never really enjoy it lol

For example, growing up in CT there weren't that many members. I didn't mind dating non members (that is my preference), but I have found that they can be straight up disrespectful especially when it comes to my decision to be celibate, or they drink TOO much, or we weren't a good match for each other. I personally haven't found any members that I would date lol it's not on purpose just the attraction isn't really there. It seems like my personality isn't a win for them, but ehhh why would I be with someone who isn't comfortable with my personality (member or non member)?

In UT I was turned off by how much dating everyone did! lol I prefer to be extremely selective and to get to know a person very well over an extended period of time and the type of men I date are the same way (for the most part)-- seemed like people were trading dates left and right in UT - it was very strange lol

These days I'm not really dating (on purpose). My patriarchal blessing talks about my future spouse and how he is a member, but here we are lol haven't had much luck there but I'm not losing sleep over it - it's cool ;)

Anyways - hope that clarified some things :D

Ray DeGraw
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Re: Trying to find a happy medium...

Post by Ray DeGraw » 25 Mar 2017, 11:32

Welcome! It is good to read your introduction and I am looking forward to getting to know you better.

I have little time right now, but I just want to point out something that has been mentioned already - and add my own twist:

I understand the issues everyone expresses here, but I also love the temple. The sexist elements bug me, but the overall theology of the temple (what I see it as) is my favorite part of Mormonism. Literally, you can't start the symbolic life journey there and not end up entering the Celestial Kingdom / presence of God - as long as you keep going. You can sleep - or construct poetry or songs in your head - or meditate - or think of something that needs deep consideration - or look around the room and imagine what everyone might be thinking - or write a talk in your head (even an unorthodox, heretical one) - or anything else - and you even can forget every word you are supposed to say and everything you are supposed to do. There always is someone to help you get to the end of the journey, no matter what.

There is a deep, powerful message in that for me, and it overrides the issues that still exist for me.
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

DoubtingTom
Posts: 167
Joined: 22 Mar 2017, 12:13

Re: Trying to find a happy medium...

Post by DoubtingTom » 28 Mar 2017, 10:05

Welcome to the forum Molly! I'm also brand new here and looking forward to getting to know you and everyone else.

One thought of mine on the WoW - something I'm sure has been stated elsewhere. But clearly when the WoW came out it was a guideline and not binding upon the saints - also I've always seen it as the spirit of moderation in all things. The WoW itself seems to include hard drinks (liquor?) more than softer drinks (beer or wine?). I'm no history expert, but I believe most of the saints included drinking alcohol (hopefully in moderation) after the revelation. JS ordered wine to help revive their spirits in Carthage. Brigham Young continued to drink. It wasn't until much later that strict prohibition became a temple recommend requirement. But was that truly revelation of God's will or just a policy change? I'll leave that up to you decide.

My thought is that if you can honestly say to yourself that you follow the spirit of the word of wisdom as you understand it, and if you truly feel that temple attendance blesses your life, then you should answer the recommend questions accordingly. They are yes/no questions on purpose, because essentially WE get to decide if we are "worthy" or not, and not some arbitrary "judge." So my advice - stay true yourself and do what you think and feel is right. Follow your own moral compass and if that includes continuing to attend the temple, that will only bless you in your life.

If I didn't have a TBM wife so opposed to any and all alcohol I'm sure I would be toasting champagne at our anniversaries. Since I've never had any, I don't really miss it but I also don't think God could care less about whether or not we drink. (Jesus drank wine afterall, so clearly alcohol itself is not the sin). To me, the principle is maintaining our agency and health and also moderation.

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SamBee
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Joined: 14 Mar 2010, 04:55

Re: Trying to find a happy medium...

Post by SamBee » 28 Mar 2017, 11:29

Round here one doesn't have two glasses of wine with your meal. You either drink or don't drink. If you say you're going out for a couple of drinks it often involves having drink after drink foisted on you until you can barely walk. Especially if you're a man.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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