Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
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Post by Tica » 15 Jan 2018, 03:49

I have been reading through many of the posts on this forum, and have been really impressed with your openness and thoughtfulness, it has been really refreshing. Thank you!!

Here is a little introduction:

I am a 30-something mother of 2 who has been married for about 15 years to a kind, patient, adventurous and generous husband. Being a mother has probably been the most challenging and formative experience of my life. I have a wonderful family (all LDS pioneer stock) and amazing inlaws (also LDS pioneer stock). I have a job that I love and that stretches me.

The reason that I found myself on this site, is that I have struggled in the church for years. As a teenager I didn't have words for my discomfort and mostly ignored it or shoved it aside, striving to be the perfect Mormon girl. After a couple of years at BYU, all of the feelings that I had been bottling up started to spill over, and I went through a rough period when I ended up pushing away my best friend because I felt that I couldn't talk to her; I didn't want to damage her faith. To my deep regret, I was never brave or vulnerable enough to fully rekindle that long time friendship. Meanwhile, I took a religion class which ended up delving somewhat into polygamy, which although I had already been aware of and bothered by the topic, was still a bit of a shock. ( I had always stuck to church publications to learn about church history as I thought was expected). Also around that time I met my husband, who was a few years older than me and refreshingly different and more open minded than most of the guys I had dated. He was the first person I ever opened up to about my difficulties with the church. He listened, didn't judge, and fell for me anyway!

Fast forward a couple of years to our wedding. I know that this is a common story, so I won't dwell on it too much. Going through the temple was difficult and felt spiritually traumatic. I still dwell on it way more than is helpful. As a newlywed, I tried to be a good Mormon wife and attend the temple regularly for awhile. I went with lots of sincere prayer and fasting, and I feel like I honestly tried to have an open mind and heart, but it never really got better for me. I remember going with my husband and holding it together until he left fo work, and then melting down in uncontrollable sobs. One time I was about to lose it before he left, so I told him I was going on a walk. I ended up walking so quickly and so blindly that I ended up totally lost, sat down on an empty baseball field and cried. It took me until night fall before I was able to find my way home. Anyway, while I attend church each week, the temple is not currently part of my personal worship. My husband has for the most part been really understanding. However, now that we have talked about it I know he thinks that I over-reacted, and that my resistance to the temple sometimes makes him question if I value our marriage. (I definitely do!) He currently doesn't handle me talking about difficult things very well, so I try to steer clear of these
topics. But, I am not perfect, and sometimes after a Sunday full of lessons on the importance of the temple or something, I find myself making a negative comment. It has been resulting in his shutting down or pulling away.

So I guess that is a reason why I am looking elsewhere for support right now. Our LDS culture strikes me as being so strange sometimes. I know that my mom and my sister also feel similarly about many of the challenging issues in our church, yet in spite of being close otherwise, for some reason we can't seem to have an honest conversation about these things. I hate that there isn't permission/space in our culture for us to support one another openly as we work on our faith honestly and vulnerably. We are all broken in some way. We just have a really hard time admitting it.

One last tangent that I think is pertinent to my being here, is my kids. When it was just me, I felt like I could navigate the space between faith, hope, and pain in a way that I could be comfortable with while keeping the most important people in my life happy by staying active in the church. Especially now that my little girls are starting to get more understanding, though, I am constantly wondering if I am doing the best thing for them by raising them in the church. Not that I have much of a choice without breaking a lot of hearts. I would just love for my girls to be able to grow in faith, good works, and a relationship with God that is free of the heavy baggage that I carry. And I wonder, is it possible?

I apologize for the long rambling introduction, it felt more therapeutic than I expected just to type it out. Thank you for opening this community to those who need it :)

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Re: Hi!

Post by DarkJedi » 15 Jan 2018, 06:20

Don't apologize. Welcome. I'm glad you found us. This is a safe place to ask questions and to share.

The common advice is to take it slow (which it appears you have been doing), focus on what you do believe, and don't dump all at once.

The temple is problematic for many, maybe especially women. I'm not a huge fan of the temple and somewhat opposite of your situation - it's my wife who would like to go more often. I have been three times in the last four years and have no plans to go back int he near future.

Some of us here also struggle with what to do with the kids. I was inactive during much of the time my children were growing. They did go to church with their mother. The church is not a bad organization from my point of view. It teaches good morals and and its core focuses on Jesus Christ (although some Sundays you might not know that). I don't think it's a bad place to bring your kids - but there are things that some people see as more toxic to children. In the end as adults (and many times as teens) they will make their own choices.

Thanks for introducing yourself. Don't be a stranger, please come back and share often.
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."

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Re: Hi!

Post by AmyJ » 15 Jan 2018, 07:30

I have a similar story... 11 years, 2 girls (8 and 16 Months).

Before my transition, I was able to put the temple on my shelf - all kinds of uncomfortable aspects of it. Now, I can't.

I don't know how adamant your DH is about temple-dates, but if you 2 can find common (non-threatening) date ground - that is good. We live too far to attend the temple regularly, so this is not an issue right now.

As for Primary, the good thing is that kids are not really listening - but getting the general theme of good living and good choices. You can always respectfully re-frame your thinking to fit general church principles.

One thing that I think is helpful is to remind yourself that while others may see your faith transition as "lost of testimony", "pride", "rebellion" - you don't have to see it that way and punish yourself for no longer seeing what they see. You are still entitled to inspiration on how to lead your life and how to fulfill your responsibilities. You can phrase your inspiration using the words they understand so that you find common verbal ground in the midst of change.

My daughter recently got baptized. I worried about contaminating her with my lack of belief in some areas, and how my faith transition would interact in this experience. I decided to treat the event with great respect - celebrating it as both a rite of passage and an opportunity to join in a fellowship of saints. At this point, I don't know what else I attribute baptism to, so I was being authentic. My daughter asked me to give the combined Baptism/Holy Ghost talks. I gave a talk relating Baptism to joining a community of saints like when the children in the "Chronicles of Narnia" joined up with Aslan. I related receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost to when the children were given individual gifts focusing on both their talents and what they would need to fight future battles. Our meeting started in the chapel, so I got up and talked from just in front of the stand (my anxiety wouldn't let me get up there, so I decided to do what I could with what I had). I started with pointing out that my remarks would be that I was mostly talking to my daughter - what I really wanted my daughter to know about baptism. The "Chronicles of Narnia" had special meaning for my family - we learned a lot reading it as a family 2 years ago, and watching that movie on some Sundays has brought more inspiration into our lives than some General Conferences. I used these analogies to teach my daughter in a way that she would understand what I wanted her to know. It was really short. My husband said it was really "quirky". NOTE: I did get approval from our branch president to base my remarks on this story, and make the analogies I made. Leadership roulette went in my favor :D

My best friend said that it was a perfect baptism talk. My TBM mother-in-law said it was really sweet. Most importantly, I think it had meaning for my daughter - and I was able to relay truths I was comfortable with in a setting that hopefully helped others as well.

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Re: Hi!

Post by Tica » 15 Jan 2018, 08:42

Thank you for your thoughtful replies! It is new to me to be open, and I will have to work at it, I think!

I think you are both right that there is a lot of good to be gleaned from the church in raising kids. I hope that I can keep focusing on those aspects and teach my girls in a way that feels authentic and that can grow with them. My oldest just got baptized as well! AmyJ, I loved your idea for your baptism talk and am glad it went well. My daughter was glowing on her special day and I felt that it went well (phew!). She is starting to have so much more insight and to pose interesting questions. I hope that I can find adequate responses...

And Dark Jedi, thanks for the advice re:dates. We haven't gone to the temple together in ages. Though we live by one, my husband isn't the pushy type. I just know that it has started to bother him. We are working on finding ways to build our relationship, and dates we both enjoy are always a good thing for us :) If I go with him to a sporting event he considers that the height of a good date, so there's always that!

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Re: Hi!

Post by SamBee » 15 Jan 2018, 09:57

You don't have to go to the temple to hold a TR.
You don't have to go to get temple work done.
You don't have to hold a TR to be LDS.

As it happens, I hold a TR and I do visit the temple occasionally. I appreciate a lot of it, but the endowment is a drag for me (although I like the new films)

I did go for a period without a TR. I was comfortable with that. It was long enough for me to notice changes in initiatory when I came back. Without a TR, you don't get certain callings.

It does sound like you have a decent husband. I'm glad to hear that.
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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Re: Hi!

Post by SilentDawning » 15 Jan 2018, 11:53

Welcome! Glad you found us here. It was breath of fresh air for me many many years ago.

Going from memory about your back story, here are a few tips as someone who doesn't like the temple much, doesn't have a TR and has a spouse who shuts down if I go negative on the church.

1. Don't talk about negativity, have fun with your spouse and meet their other emotional needs.
2. Do a cost-benefit analysis. The cost of a bad marriage over church stuff is high -- weigh that against your desire for support locally. I get my support here, like you are doing. Just don't go into much detail about it to your hubby who may hop on and disapprove. I find it's not best to broadcast my username here although i don't hide it or make it a formal secret.

3. Regarding kids. I managed to raise one of two so far. The first got married in the temple last year, and is orthodox as blue can be. Just let the church do the teaching. Support them in it -- be thankful for the clean living the church teaches, and prepare yourself to be there for them if they encounter a rough patch that hurts their faith. Recognize that these church issues are YOUR issues, not your kids. And that a good principle is to let the church work for the people for whom it works.

4. Regarding your aversion to the temple. If you don't mind keeping al the commandments to get a TR, get one and don't talk neggers about the temple to your spouse. Decide how much you need to go to keep him happy.....that's what love is -- making sacrifices at times.

I also taught my daughter not to let the church interfere with our family relationships. So, we had a meeting of minds where I sat in the waiting room of the temple at her wedding. It didn't hurt our relationship at all, as far as I can tell. Mission accomplished.

Also, let;s say you didn't want to raise them Mormon? What would your husband say (he'd be ticked from what I gather from your post). And what else would you give them? All religions have their problems, and you'll only find new ones and confuse them all. I say stick with the Mormon thing since your husband will give his support, it'll harmonize your relationship with family, and you don't have to confront all the nasties in other religions. The grass is always greener. No religion isn't a great thing in my view -- at least the LDS way gives the youth some good goals and standards to uphold. Don't be afraid to inoculate them about any negative side effects, gently.

Also, if you put the church in its proper place in its life, it tends to lose its influence and sting. At least, that has been my experience. I was talking about my new relationship with the church with my non-mem sister, and she made the flattering comment that I'm on my own clock with the church now. Getting on that self-directed clock, living as you believe, without upsetting the people around you can be very happiness and peace-inducing.

One thing -- don't trust the local leaders with your doubts or negative feelings. If ever called in, I'd get some advice here on some approaches to consider. We've had people disciplined for expressing doubt, and others nurtured by their leaders. It's a crap shoot and not worth the risks of censure for having doubts. If you are in the unorthodox, not full-on camp, then one's relationship with local leaders changes from one of "Father of the Ward" to someone to be managed....to keep your options open as you want them in the future.....

Just my own random stream of consciousness...
"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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Re: Hi!

Post by Beefster » 15 Jan 2018, 12:07


I know how you feel regarding the temple. The endowment is cultishly ritualistic and it completely freaked me out my first time through. I frankly don't understand how people went through it and loved it. It still bothers me a little and is something I don't particularly care to do. There is cool symbolism in it, but that's about my only appreciation for the ordinance.

Initiatories and sealings are okay. I actually like baptisms for the dead though. I have had nothing but good experiences doing those. The church just doesn't seem to like adults doing them, and that makes me sad. It's like we are supposed to "graduate" or something.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Sometimes our journeys take us to unexpected places. That is a truly beautiful thing.

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Re: Hi!

Post by AmyJ » 15 Jan 2018, 15:03

Beefster wrote:
15 Jan 2018, 12:07
I know how you feel regarding the temple. The endowment is cultishly ritualistic...
That didn't bother me for the first 5-6 years I was able to attend the temple. Now it does.
Beefster wrote:
15 Jan 2018, 12:07
I frankly don't understand how people went through it and loved it. It still bothers me a little and is something I don't particularly care to do. There is cool symbolism in it, but that's about my only appreciation for the ordinance.
It was a crap shot whether I got anything out of it. Now, I am just not that interested in dedicating 2 hours of my life to this experience.
Beefster wrote:
15 Jan 2018, 12:07
Initiatories and sealings are okay. I actually like baptisms for the dead though. I have had nothing but good experiences doing those. The church just doesn't seem to like adults doing them, and that makes me sad. It's like we are supposed to "graduate" or something.
If we ever go back, I am going to push for initiatories or sealings. Those are the experiences I feel most comfortable with.

We didn't graduate exactly, just wound up with a statics problem: Fewer members to handle a longer time constraint.

My husband and I had temple dates while we were dating/engaged, which was cool. But now... the cost to go is so much higher (fragrance allergies, locating childcare, mental fuzzy angst, and other things on the "honey-do list") that it is just not worth it to me. My husband puts it on our list of "shoulds" but it doesn't seem to go any further.

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Re: Hi!

Post by Tica » 15 Jan 2018, 20:24

Thank you again everyone for your responses and advice! I have a lot to ponder.

I am realizing as I am thinking about everything that I have been juggling this discomfort for a most of my life to some extent, and I am feeling really tired of being stuck in this place. Keeping everyone else happy, but negating my own thoughts, feelings and experiences in order to do so. Maybe as Silent Dawning said it is the same in most religions. I guess I just feel like I wish I felt free to find out for myself. I have done a lot of book learning about other religious traditions, and attended church with a few friends, but I don't think it is the same as practicing /living a religion. That being said, I like the clean living of the Mormon tradition, and I do believe in Christ and the power of his teachings. So that is what I choose to focus on right now in my life and when I am teaching my girls.

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Re: Hi!

Post by nibbler » 16 Jan 2018, 08:46

Tica wrote:
15 Jan 2018, 03:49
Our LDS culture strikes me as being so strange sometimes.
That's because it is. ;)

Welcome to StayLDS. I hate to break it to you but we're strange too.
I never play a villain that I don't have something I can either do or say so the audience sees there is something redeemable about them.
— Brion James

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