Permission to Land here?

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
Falcon20Commander
Posts: 19
Joined: 02 Sep 2017, 21:56

Permission to Land here?

Post by Falcon20Commander » 03 Sep 2017, 05:40

Greetings!

I am extremely excited to come to this lively forum and meet people who share similar beliefs. I'll break my introduction up into two parts—who I am, and why I have come to this website.

My name is Andrew. I am a 23 year-old charter / cargo pilot. I fly Dassault Falcon 20 jets for a living, and flight instruct on the side. I am currently residing in Thief River Falls, Minnesota. I am extremely passionate about aviation. I have been deeply entrenched in the world of flying for as long as I can conscientiously remember. I come from a wonderful, yet unique family. My father was a UPS feeder truck driver for several years. My mother is a postal worker. I am the oldest of the family, and am the only biological child. I have three younger siblings adopted from China. My family lives in Utah. I am an extremely driven individual in the world of aviation. I am working on becoming a captain for the Falcon 20. I am also working on graduate coursework in aerospace science with APUS. My biggest career goal however is to become a military pilot for the air national guard. I have always wanted to be a fighter pilot. That's just who I am. I came really close in a previous interview with the South Dakota Air National Guard, but to no avail. Whatever happens happens. I know it will work out if I do my best. My biggest life goal right now is to find a companion with whom I would be compatible. This is something not to be rushed. I am happily single, but am looking to change that when the time becomes right. This is a brief overview of who I am. Aside from this, I love competitive swimming, reading nonfiction historical accounts (especially those of aviators), and having fun with my family and friends. I am an extrovert, love making new friends, and love engaging in conversation.

So, why am I here? My parents never were typical "Utah Mormons." They never asked me to go to church, nor did they ask that I serve a mission. I hold them in the highest esteem. I grew up in Vernal, Utah. I learned that there was a God during my patriarchal blessing, in 2009. It was an overwhelmingly strong spiritual experience. I can never deny it. As I got more into my flying stint, I wanted to stay and work. I myself chose to go on a mission, mostly because it was in my patriarchal blessing. Then everything changed...

I was introduced to the worst monster I have ever met in my life—the mission culture. I hate to say this, but it was almost cultish at times. When missionaries got together, there would be deep doctrine sessions. This was initiated by my mission president. He would talk about others' salvation, the limitations of Christ's atonement, and submitting to all church leaders in all things. Missionaries in a leadership capacity ran wild with this. The mission rules became increasingly ridiculous. This was the first red flag.

I was sent to the small country in Suriname. Fortunately, I was in the jungle, so I wasn't around the missionary culture that much. My eyes were opened with a profound experience—I was borderline brainwashed to teach "we are the only true church! Only salvation comes through this church! ONLY THIS CHURCH!!!" I taught that diligently for fear of offending God. The mission was miserably hard, but I worked harder than I ever had before. I had three life changing spiritual experiences, which I will happily discuss later. I experienced the low of my life however when I was sent to a village called Uitkijk. The church was ready to be closed. We were tasked with determining if we were to keep it up or not. Aside from that, we weren't wanted there. My personal crisis hit when my dog died, I had to train a new missionary, and I lost my friend and grandmother to death as well. It was a powerful combination of despair I fell in. I looked around and concluded there was no hope. This village was a moral cesspool. Women had children with numerous men. People crawled home drunk. Others were messing with voodoo and evil spirits. Crime was rampant. Children were fatherless. Poverty was rampant. Marriage was culturally penalized, and educational opportunities were hindered. It pained me to see such calamity in a village unbeknownst to the world.

Something amazing happened though. There were a few families who were devout Seventh Day Adventists. They were not interested in our message. One missionary called them "terrestrial beings." I watched them over the course of six months. They were amazing people. They were always doing service, active in their church, paid tithing, lived the law of chastity, and yes, lived a health code similar to the word of wisdom. They were united. They were happy, despite their lives being difficult. I knew then that they were true disciples of Christ. My leadership disagreed with my observation. I became bitter. Why should they, who sacrifice so much, be looked down upon for having slightly different beliefs? Why does the comfortable Utah Mormon get eternal life, even though their sacrifice is most likely far less than these Christians?

That was a turning point in my faith. I knew then, as I do now, that Christ works through countless ways to bring His children back to the Father to have eternal life. That is my conviction. Most of my friends believe that, but that is not what I was taught in church. After coming home, my theological world changed. I became a hungry investigator for truth. A pilot friend recommended Rough Stone Rolling. I read it cover to cover, and it changed my world. It made sense. I cannot explain my epiphanies here, but I was grateful for the truth, even though it hurt, to be honest. I am slightly disaffected with the way the church has gone about their history. I grew up in an environment (in church, not home) where you would be chastised for bringing up concerns. I think the story of our church is a shame. We could have been so great! We could have been God's church the way He wanted it, but we messed it up. I am upset that Joseph Smith married other men's wives. I am upset about the lack of transparency. I am upset about other baggage the church has. I guess I am upset most about the church culture not focusing on Christ. I was, and sometimes am part of the problem. But there is hope. I believe the restoration of the church isn't complete. It continues. I want to be a true disciple of Christ. I want to meet others who truly seek the truth, and learn therefrom. I want to learn. What I am feeling is ineffable, so bear with me as I try to convey these thought. I guess I want new friends with whom I can freely ask questions, discuss issues, and learn with. I have so many questions, and maybe I can help someone too, who knows?

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dande48
Posts: 851
Joined: 24 Jan 2016, 16:35
Location: Wherever there is danger

Re: Permission to Land here?

Post by dande48 » 03 Sep 2017, 12:05

Hi Andew,

Welcome! I can really empathize with how you are feeling. You're amongst friends here. I'm happy you could join us, and look forward to getting to know you better.

-dande313
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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DarkJedi
Posts: 5800
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Permission to Land here?

Post by DarkJedi » 03 Sep 2017, 13:01

Welcome to the forum, I'm glad you found us and I look forward to reading more of your insights. I think many faith crises/transitions were rooted in the missionary experience and I totally agree with your observation about how cultish missions can be. And I likewise know many people outside (mostly but not all Christian) who are disciples and are very happy.
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: 4845
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Permission to Land here?

Post by Roy » 03 Sep 2017, 13:10

Welcome, You have permission to land. May it be what we call a "soft landing".

I too had a few surprises from RSR...but that was not the end of it for me. I heartily concur with your assessment about other churches doing the work of God. I also believe that some individuals are successful in those churches that would be miserable and chased off in the LDS church.
"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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SilentDawning
Posts: 6700
Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: Permission to Land here?

Post by SilentDawning » 03 Sep 2017, 13:43

Welcome. You can not only land you can park your aircraft here.

Very articulate description of your journey that led you here. I got through all of it and really enjoyed it. Your parents sound like the way I interact with my son. Very much the same. And in spite of not being a BoM thumper, your parents saw you leave on a mission. Impressive! You are also a free thinker -- also impressive!!

Very interested in your life-changing stories, and your questions. Although I'm not much of a historical responder to questions -- for me history is as Napoleon alluded "a pack of lies, agreed upon". In our case, not even agreed upon. And of course, pack of lies is a harsh statement. But you get the point -- we don't know what really happened, so I am agnostic about historical debate.

My strength, I think is in being at peace in the church even though you are sometimes swimming upstream. Perhaps I can help in that area.

Hope to hear more from you!

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

Falcon20Commander
Posts: 19
Joined: 02 Sep 2017, 21:56

Re: Permission to Land here?

Post by Falcon20Commander » 03 Sep 2017, 23:57

Dande313,

Thank you for the warm welcome!

Dark Jedi,

What a cool profile name! I can't wait to see what Star Wars VIII brings. Thank you for the welcome.

Roy,

Thank you for your shared insights and the warm welcome.

SD,

Thank you for your remarks and inviting me to stay. I have a really good feeling about this community. I have always had an inquiring mind. It is who I am. I figured during my mission that I would do as I'm told and ask questions in the next life, but I just couldn't. Ideas, thoughts, and questions first started surfacing, and then ended up screaming to be explored. I appreciate your welcoming comments.

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SamBee
Posts: 4781
Joined: 14 Mar 2010, 04:55

Re: Permission to Land here?

Post by SamBee » 04 Sep 2017, 02:21

I'm afraid you'll have to pay a landing fee - please forward us your bank details.
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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dande48
Posts: 851
Joined: 24 Jan 2016, 16:35
Location: Wherever there is danger

Re: Permission to Land here?

Post by dande48 » 04 Sep 2017, 12:09

SamBee wrote:
04 Sep 2017, 02:21
I'm afraid you'll have to pay a landing fee - please forward us your bank details.
MUGU GUYMEN, keep off I dey here! :x
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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Beefster
Posts: 485
Joined: 04 Aug 2017, 18:38

Re: Permission to Land here?

Post by Beefster » 04 Sep 2017, 12:44

Falcon20Commander wrote:
03 Sep 2017, 05:40
I was introduced to the worst monster I have ever met in my life—the mission culture.
I can say that I relate to this sentiment. My mission's culture was nowhere near as bad as yours, but I would say that missions tend to put obedience on such a high pedestal that it becomes emotionally damaging. Add black-and-white thinking to that and you have a recipe for endless feelings of inadequacy. Fortunately, my mission had enough black sheep in it to counteract much of the damage done to me.

Welcome, person younger than me. I think you're the new youngest member of the forum. :P
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Often I hear doubt being presented as the opposite of faith but I think certainty does a better job of filling that role. Doubts can help faith grow, certainty almost always makes faith shrink. --nibbler

Falcon20Commander
Posts: 19
Joined: 02 Sep 2017, 21:56

Re: Permission to Land here?

Post by Falcon20Commander » 05 Sep 2017, 04:42

@SamBee - Better than going down the runway in a fireball. Info is on its way... I can already tell we have so much in common.

@Beefster - I love the avatar you have (no pun intended). Thank you for the welcoming.

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