A Part of my Story

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
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Walls
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Joined: 08 Feb 2018, 21:58

A Part of my Story

Post by Walls » 20 Feb 2018, 09:34

As I navigate my life, and where I am now, I discover I am in a place I never thought I would be. I never really thought I’d have so many questions. Adult life is harder than I ever imagined. In some ways, I feel like I was lied to growing up. We sit in church and everyone teaches how wonderful it is to be married, and how that goal will lead to a blissful forever full of love and understanding where you pray together and your problems disappear...or perhaps that isn’t what they taught but that is how it came across. Eternal marriage was supposed to be better than any other marriage, and as it is ordained of God, He’d basically solve our problems for us. I’m not sure what lessons I listened to now, but somehow that’s what came across from all the lessons I did listen to.

Marriage has been so much more difficult than I imagined, especially since we started adding kids to the mix. Joining two imperfect people, created, by its nature, problems. Adding year after year of extremely increasingly difficult pregnancies, nursing babies, school, sleep deprivation, you know, normal life, we’ve culminated to some rough last couple of years.

Growing up I always was fascinated by religion. I loved learning what many different churches believed, while I was taught that I had the privilege to be born into the only true church and that everyone else, throughout the history of the world, was wrong in their beliefs. This appealed to me as well as confused me, but as a child I accepted it as fact. Moving into my teenage years we got our first “modern” computer and the internet. (I’m young enough we always had a computer, but the internet didn’t exist yet). This did two things for me. One, I had access to anti-mormon literature, and two, had access to instant messenger where I would debate religion with one of my friends who was the son of a non-denominational minister. He would tell me all of the crazy things our church believed (blood atonement and the like), and I researched it, largely on anti-mormon websites because that was the only place I could find mention of the weird stuff he told me. I’m not sure how long I did this, but eventually, instead of finding porn in the computer history, my parents found anti-mormon websites and I got into quite a bit of trouble. I quit reading it out of embarrassment and shame as my parents couldn’t understand I wasn’t anti-mormon, but was trying to figure out all the crazy things I was being told I believed that I’d never heard of before. I shelved a lot of weird stuff.

I have experienced the spirit in my life. As do many others, I’ve had things happen that I can attribute only to divine power, which I believe is God.

Moving to Utah was a lifelong dream of mine. As a child I longed for more friends in the church and couldn’t understand why my parents wouldn’t move us to Utah. I was so grateful to go to BYU where I would find my eternal companion and we would marry and love each other forever. Ha. I ended up meeting my (RM) husband not at school, and transferring to the school he attended. We were married in the temple and both were able to finish college as we started having kids.

The first time I attended the temple was not what I expected. I was terrified to attend in the first place because as a youth I’d had a YW leader teach a lesson about the temple and how wonderful it was to be washed clean and be told that she was “clean every whit”. That is the only thing I remember from that lesson. I was terrified of the temple because the way she talked, I thought they’d literally bathe me in some communal bath to make me “clean every whit” (NOT the experience at all!). The temple prep class was a joke and did nothing to help me want to go. I had so many conflicting emotions. I felt frustrated that the temple prep class was such a joke, yet no one would ever really talk about anything that actually happened in the temple so I didn’t feel comfortable asking the real questions I had, and didn’t really want to find out if they really did bathe you. I felt trapped to make covenants that I had no idea what they would be. I felt like my agency was taken from me because if I wanted to have an eternal family I just had to do everything that was stated, without knowing what it was. I know you always have choices, but sometimes they feel less like choices than we make them out to be. In the end the temple experience was weird and disappointing, but I moved on. Since that experience, every two years when my recommend is up for renewal, I’ve entered what I’ve started to describe as a “faith panic mode”. I told my husband last time I just wasn’t going to renew but he talked me out of it, we both renewed, my faith panic subsided, but never really went away. Now it’s that time of year and I started re-examining things again. Added to that, my oldest will be 8 this year and I feel the weight of realizing that she is growing up, will be baptized soon, and somehow I’ve got to teach her.

I’ve always been fascinated by religion and frustrated at both cultural mormonism as well as super anti-mormon behavior. I tried to find some Christian groups to join with my kids and realized how much people really don’t want anything to do with Mormons. After buying our first house I joined up with a local church’s non-denominational after school program and adopted a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy with regards to our religious affiliation, praying the kids wouldn’t mention JS or the BoM. Only after about 6-7 months did someone ask me outright what church we attend and I owned up to being LDS. Everyone was politely shocked. One person thought we were Lutheran (I was touched, my best friend growing up was Lutheran) and otherwise they were surprised I’d be involved with them as there is a line between the LDS church and the other Christian churches in this small town. I crossed it, developed a community for myself, and they didn’t kick me out when I was coaxed out of the closet of my religion. I was grateful because at this time I was experiencing not just a small faith crisis, but full on existential crisis where I wasn’t sure if I really believed in God anymore. It wasn’t a belief I could throw out easily, but my faith was not where I could say I believed with a surety (hence not wanting to renew the TR that time around). I also participated in a weekly Christian book club with many of these same women. They became my lifeline to God. It is through their faith I was able to get my feet back on the ground. As such, I’ve had to start dissecting many teachings of the “one true church” lessons. I don’t believe non-members don’t have the HG in their lives. The whole “light of christ vs. the gift of the HG” rhetoric doesn’t cut it anymore. These women of other faiths are more christlike than my own ward. They are women of God.

During my last pregnancy we were told people were too busy to help us, by the RS compassionate service leader. I could not take care of my kids, house, etc. My 7 year old essentially ran the show, including potty training our 2 year old (I gave up and they mutually just did it together), and everyone ate Cheerios for multiple meals a day for about 5-6 months, while they watched hours of TV and I laid on the couch unable to function. If I’ve ever needed help it was during that time. We had some family from an hour away come a few times to help and I was so grateful for every dish the washed and meal they put in my crockpot and freezer. I came out of that experience with little faith in my ward’s ability to help and a determination to never ask for help again.

I’ve come to place where I’m trying to reconstruct my beliefs within the LDS church. I have a couple of acquaintances to whom I am very grateful for sharing their thoughts on reconciliation of beliefs within the LDS church. The biggest things I took and made my own from reading their stories are that cultural Mormonism does not equal the Gospel of Jesus Christ, prophets and other leaders are not perfect (nor should we expect them to be), and that I have made covenants with God in the LDS temple that I am not inclined to break unless I feel strongly that God has another path for me and He is releasing me from them. I don’t believe the LDS church is the only way to know God or return to Him per say, but I have made covenants to be in the LDS church and don’t take that lightly. I want to reconcile my new understandings with typically understood church teachings the best I can for peace in my family as well as myself.

I stumbled across this site while looking for information on child/youth interviews (and how to avoid them as one-on-one events) and have spent time just reading everything else as well. I appreciate the perspective here that full activity in the church, with differing understandings of the teachings of the church, is completely possible, and that church activity and belief doesn’t have to be all or nothing. My DH will listen to my unorthodox ideas to some degree, and though we’ve struggled with a lot of things, conversations about the church vs. the gospel haven’t been a huge topic of contention, excepting some teachings on sexuality and chastity. I may still mostly just read around here, but wanted to put an introduction out so I could feel like I could comment if I chose. :wave:

Roy
Posts: 4889
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: A Part of my Story

Post by Roy » 20 Feb 2018, 12:11

Welcome Walls,

I identify with much in your story.
Walls wrote:
20 Feb 2018, 09:34
In some ways, I feel like I was lied to growing up. We sit in church and everyone teaches how wonderful it is to be married, and how that goal will lead to a blissful forever full of love and understanding where you pray together and your problems disappear...or perhaps that isn’t what they taught but that is how it came across.
I believe the prosperity gospel permeates many aspects of our religious instruction. Righteous living = blessed semi-charmed life. I was also unprepared for some of life's rude awakenings. I felt that I had received certain promises from God only to find them (upon closer inspection) to be ambiguous enough to not really promise anything. Just yesterday the EQ lesson was on the parable of the 3 sisters and choosing to be happy. The upshot, even if all your dreams for the future turned to sand you can still choose to be happy (if you have faith).
Walls wrote:
20 Feb 2018, 09:34
I quit reading it out of embarrassment and shame as my parents couldn’t understand I wasn’t anti-mormon, but was trying to figure out all the crazy things I was being told I believed that I’d never heard of before. I shelved a lot of weird stuff.
For me, I was prepared to believe and defend all kinds of weird things or shelve them as "mysteries of the kingdom" or "deep doctrine" as long as the gospel gave me the power to call down the blessings of heaven for me and my family. For a time, the feeling of certainty the church teachings gave me filled my life with purpose, determination, and a sense of fearlessness.
Walls wrote:
20 Feb 2018, 09:34
I know you always have choices, but sometimes they feel less like choices than we make them out to be. [snip] Added to that, my oldest will be 8 this year and I feel the weight of realizing that she is growing up, will be baptized soon, and somehow I’ve got to teach her.
We sent out baptism invites for my son that referenced his "choice" to follow Jesus by being baptized. My son noticed the subtle deception and asked us when he had decided to get baptized. The truth is we made that choice for him. It was an expectation from everyone in his world from the moment he was born.
Walls wrote:
20 Feb 2018, 09:34
I don’t believe the LDS church is the only way to know God or return to Him per say, but I have made covenants to be in the LDS church and don’t take that lightly.
Theoretically, the temple covenants are just a repeat of the baptism covenants that you were pressed into at the young age of 8. Especially the men are expected to renew these covenants at regular life milestones. I am not saying to break covenants. I am saying that for me, I need better reasons to stayLDS than "I made a promise starting at 8 years old." I believe those reasons exist. Similarly, I do not want to stay in my marriage because I promised to do so (the metaphorical and cliché "ball and chain"). I want to (and do) find reasons that are more fulfilling to me. It should be noted that my personality is not very highly motivated by "honor" and "duty". Your mileage may vary.
Walls wrote:
20 Feb 2018, 09:34
After buying our first house I joined up with a local church’s non-denominational after school program and adopted a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy with regards to our religious affiliation, praying the kids wouldn’t mention JS or the BoM. Only after about 6-7 months did someone ask me outright what church we attend and I owned up to being LDS. Everyone was politely shocked. One person thought we were Lutheran (I was touched, my best friend growing up was Lutheran) and otherwise they were surprised I’d be involved with them as there is a line between the LDS church and the other Christian churches in this small town. I crossed it, developed a community for myself, and they didn’t kick me out when I was coaxed out of the closet of my religion.
DW and I have participated at a number of area Christian churches. To the LDS I explain that while we participate at several churches, we only attend the LDS church. To the non-LDS I explain that the LDS is our "home church" and that we enjoy supplementing our spirituality. DW participated in MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) hosted at the SDA church. Although our kids have long since aged out of the program she still meets up with some of the ladies for a "girls night" out to dinner or a movie. They have been really good to us without any sense of obligation whatsoever.
Walls wrote:
20 Feb 2018, 09:34
I don’t believe non-members don’t have the HG in their lives. The whole “light of christ vs. the gift of the HG” rhetoric doesn’t cut it anymore. These women of other faiths are more christlike than my own ward. They are women of God.
Yes.
Walls wrote:
20 Feb 2018, 09:34
During my last pregnancy we were told people were too busy to help us, by the RS compassionate service leader. [snip] I came out of that experience with little faith in my ward’s ability to help and a determination to never ask for help again.
I am very sorry for your difficulty. Life can sure knock you on your butt at times. I have come to expect very little from the church in this regard. This is not a criticism of the church, I just know that people are busy with their own lives much of the time. I found that my cost benefit ratio with the church was not sustainable after my FC. Because I was giving so much, I expected much in return and I could be deeply hurt when I felt that it did not happen. In order to change that I had to reduce my input to a more sustainable level. Also, church members (like most humans) are much better at short temporary needs than long chronic needs. If I need a meal (or two, or three) brought in or help moving - the LDS church is the place to go. Valuing the good and managing my expectations on the rest has been helpful for me.

I am going to stop now lest my response become longer than your initial post. Welcome! :wave:
"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

Roy
Posts: 4889
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: A Part of my Story

Post by Roy » 20 Feb 2018, 12:17

I almost forgot! Your chosen name of "Walls" reminded me of an analogy I found on a blog post a few years back. "How to Stay Mormon When You're Tired of Mormons." The entire post is worth perusing in my opinion.

https://dinosaursarefun.blogspot.com/20 ... ed-of.html

The Rock Wall
Here's my final thought. An institute teacher shared this with me years ago, and it's a FANTASTIC analogy. Your testimony is like a rock wall. (Don't worry about the purpose of the wall--the analogy doesn't stretch that far.) Everyone is constantly building to their walls, stone by stone. And every now and then, you may stumble upon a stone and not see exactly where it fits. It may be labeled "gay marriage" or "visiting teaching" or "hymns are boring" or "why do we have so many freaking meetings and why are they so freaking long." But that doesn't mean you abandon the wall. It means you set the stone aside and keep building with what you DO know. And as you build, you may suddenly see where that stone fits. Some people have likened this process to a jigsaw puzzle, but that implies that everyone's testimony looks the same eventually. I like the stone wall better because everyone's will look completely different, and have different foundations, but all of them are still valid. It can be frustrating to feel sometimes like you're surrounded by stones you don't understand. But hang in there. You'll find their place eventually. And as you do, you'll find your OWN place, too.
"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

AmyJ
Posts: 659
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: A Part of my Story

Post by AmyJ » 20 Feb 2018, 12:44

Walls wrote:
20 Feb 2018, 09:34
Eternal marriage was supposed to be better than any other marriage, and as it is ordained of God, He’d basically solve our problems for us. I’m not sure what lessons I listened to now, but somehow that’s what came across from all the lessons I did listen to.
I can see where this was taught, but the example I had in my family was stronger than that teaching. There are regular times when my aethist grandfather and Unitarian step-grandmother had a stronger marriage then my parents. I like to think that being married in the temple invites God to help both members of the partnership to be their best and feel that they have an advocate or source of power to lean on when the going gets rough, but I honestly don't know. During some of the rough times with my DH I have quietly asked in my heart for additional strength/understanding/compassion and I found it a short time later. I don't know whether that is God or whether that is an internal spark of divinity acting, or just sheer boot-strapping/ coming back for a different perspective.
Walls wrote:
20 Feb 2018, 09:34
I’ve entered what I’ve started to describe as a “faith panic mode”. I told my husband last time I just wasn’t going to renew but he talked me out of it, we both renewed, my faith panic subsided, but never really went away. Now it’s that time of year and I started re-examining things again. Added to that, my oldest will be 8 this year and I feel the weight of realizing that she is growing up, will be baptized soon, and somehow I’ve got to teach her.
Teach her how to be a good Christian (follower of Christ - mainly the 2 Great Commandments), run cost-benefit analysis on choices, and practical stuff (like making food, chores, etc.). All this by itself should take you the next 10 years or so :P
My daughter just turned 8 and I had similar fears. Thoughtfully consider where she is on her path, what she NEEDS to know about God and Jesus Christ (which isn't what the church may consider) and go from there. You don't have to "teach" her anything - just be there to answer and ask questions.
Since my daughter assigned me the combined Baptism/Holy Ghost talk, I approached it from a "what do I need to tell her in a way she can understand" perspective - not the cookie cutter baptism cleansing ordinance. I took it more as rite of passage than anything - a decision to follow Jesus Christ.
My family had had profound experiences with reading "The Chronicles of Narnia", so I mentioned a little about that and what it was, and then made the connection that being baptized and making the decision to follow Jesus Christ was like when the children decided to follow Aslan. There were still challenges, but there was now greater strength to face those greater challenges. I made the connection that receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost was like when the children were surprised by Santa Claus in the woods and given unique gifts that they needed for the challenges ahead. That the Holy Ghost was being given to my daughter and would be a strength in the unique challenges she would face.
Walls wrote:
20 Feb 2018, 09:34
I was grateful because at this time I was experiencing not just a small faith crisis, but full on existential crisis where I wasn’t sure if I really believed in God anymore. It wasn’t a belief I could throw out easily, but my faith was not where I could say I believed with a surety (hence not wanting to renew the TR that time around).
Been there. The thing that helped me the most was that my faith narrative (what I believed about God) was based on what I believe/know - and what I need to believe/know. I need to believe that God exists and loves me - even if I don't pray or receive answers to prayers. I don't need to believe/know everything that happened in Joseph Smith's 1st vision - so right now I believe that "something" happened or he saw "something" that inspired him to change the religious landscape of the world.

I also take comfort that if the account of the Book of Mormon has some truth regarding God, that God won't let me as a person stumble out too far away from the path. He called Alma the Elder back with an angel, surely if it is really needed, He can send one for me too :P
Walls wrote:
20 Feb 2018, 09:34
I also participated in a weekly Christian book club with many of these same women. They became my lifeline to God. It is through their faith I was able to get my feet back on the ground. As such, I’ve had to start dissecting many teachings of the “one true church” lessons. I don’t believe non-members don’t have the HG in their lives. The whole “light of Christ vs. the gift of the HG” rhetoric doesn’t cut it anymore. These women of other faiths are more Christ-like than my own ward. They are women of God.
Amen.
Walls wrote:
20 Feb 2018, 09:34
My 7 year old essentially ran the show, including potty training our 2 year old (I gave up and they mutually just did it together), and everyone ate Cheerios for multiple meals a day for about 5-6 months, while they watched hours of TV and I laid on the couch unable to function.
Please give her a "high-five" from me. She did good in extenuating circumstances.
<Hugs> If I had known you and you had lived by me, I would have helped you somehow. I am sorry that there were not people there to help you when you needed it.
Walls wrote:
20 Feb 2018, 09:34
I’ve come to place where I’m trying to reconstruct my beliefs within the LDS church. I have a couple of acquaintances to whom I am very grateful for sharing their thoughts on reconciliation of beliefs within the LDS church.
I am in the process of reconstructing my beliefs about who I am and what is my reality - the LDS church is part of it. The practices taught about how to StayLDS are also useful for grounding oneself in an identity redefinition process. One of the best things about this board is that the people here are real in their experiences and respectful honesty. I found the temple recommend questions thread very helpful in framing how I can be authentic to myself and answer the questions honestly.
Walls wrote:
20 Feb 2018, 09:34
I stumbled across this site while looking for information on child/youth interviews (and how to avoid them as one-on-one events) and have spent time just reading everything else as well. I appreciate the perspective here that full activity in the church, with differing understandings of the teachings of the church, is completely possible, and that church activity and belief doesn’t have to be all or nothing. My DH will listen to my unorthodox ideas to some degree, and though we’ve struggled with a lot of things, conversations about the church vs. the gospel haven’t been a huge topic of contention, excepting some teachings on sexuality and chastity. I may still mostly just read around here, but wanted to put an introduction out so I could feel like I could comment if I chose. :wave:
One of the things that I found to be helpful when talking to other sisters is when they come across more pious or testifying strongly of principles, I listen and then think, "that is part of their narrative - they are sharing a truth they feel is valid and has merit from their point of view. I can respect their contribution while royally (and tactfully and strategically) rejecting it - or rejecting their definitions for common ground".

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DarkJedi
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Re: A Part of my Story

Post by DarkJedi » 20 Feb 2018, 14:38

Welcome to the forum! Roy and Amy did such a great job doing what I was inclined to do while reading through your post. Like them, I can relate to much of your story. You've come a long way Baby! I'm still in the midst of rebuilding my faith as well, and I think I will be for years to come. I kind of get one thing figured out and then it's "Oh, what about that? How do I feel about that? What does the Bible say?"

I'm not surprised people thought you were Lutheran. I think members of the church could be commonly mistaken for Methodists (or any of the other Calvinist churches) as well. I'm in the midst of reading the latest Givens book The Christ Who Heals. It's not what I expected (but nonetheless very good) and is a tougher read than Crucible of Doubt (it's more like The God Who Weeps). Anyway, Terryl and Fiona do a great job of explaining what the restoration was really about and why we believe what we believe - and they tie that all into the ancient church and the reformation thinkers. I really like this quote:
In sum, the "Restoration" is not about correcting particular doctrines or practices as much as it is about restoring their cosmic context. Consequently, Mormon emphasis on proper priestly administrators is not about authority for authority's sake. It's about officiators who understand the contextual origins of that authority and the purposes for which priestly authority is to be used.
The rest of the paragraph this quote comes from talks about the eternal nature of the family and that the priesthood is there to bring that about. It's interesting to me that while I can recognize this in a few people, the idea has not been restored to everyone yet and that in many ways the church is has not really there yet.

Oh, I almost forget. Key to my own faith rebuilding has been the recognition that the church and the gospel are not the same thing. Our (individually and as a church) foundation is Jesus Christ, it is not the church. Too many people have an uncentered testimony of the church when they need a testimony of the gospel.
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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Heber13
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Re: A Part of my Story

Post by Heber13 » 20 Feb 2018, 16:50

Thanks for sharing your story. And welcome to the forum.

You can read the posts...but it is more fun to join the conversation and share thoughts too ;)

Sometimes I think God wants us to realize that church is what it is, but we have to decide for ourselves what we need in life. We learn that church isn't everything. It's just a thing, we fit it in our lives as much as we can, and learn to accept ourselves as we are even if that is different from others.

Maybe what I learned is..."God helps those that help themselves"...as the old saying goes. When you realize that...church becomes something that CAN help...but it doesn't ALWAYS help.

Hope you find peace and happiness along your journey.

Thanks for joining with us. I look forward to learning more from your posts.
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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nibbler
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Re: A Part of my Story

Post by nibbler » 20 Feb 2018, 17:59

Walls wrote:
20 Feb 2018, 09:34
The first time I attended the temple was not what I expected. I was terrified to attend in the first place because as a youth I’d had a YW leader teach a lesson about the temple and how wonderful it was to be washed clean and be told that she was “clean every whit”. That is the only thing I remember from that lesson. I was terrified of the temple because the way she talked, I thought they’d literally bathe me in some communal bath to make me “clean every whit” (NOT the experience at all!).
Yeah, they dropped communal bathing from the temple ceremony in 1994. Kidding, kidding... but I think they did do a literal bathing in the earliest days of the endowment.
Walls wrote:
20 Feb 2018, 09:34
Since that experience, every two years when my recommend is up for renewal, I’ve entered what I’ve started to describe as a “faith panic mode”. I told my husband last time I just wasn’t going to renew but he talked me out of it, we both renewed, my faith panic subsided, but never really went away. Now it’s that time of year and I started re-examining things again.
I realize that this doesn't work for everyone but...

Just because you have a temple recommend doesn't mean you have to actually attend the temple. I don't have much interest in going to the temple these days but I still hold a temple recommend for those rare occasions where I'll go.

Again, this isn't logic that works for everyone but there's a report that lists the people in a ward that are endowed but don't have a current recommend. I think the report is used by leaders to help them know potential people that may need to be ministered to. I also think that bishops are under some pressure to reduce the number of people that appear on that report (the results in your ward will vary). I'm already doing the stuff it takes to "earn" a TR so I go ahead and renew mine as a way of keeping people off my back about renewing my recommend. It's almost as if the BP and his executive secretary need me to have a recommend more than I feel I need one myself, so I indulge them and renew my TR... but that doesn't mean I have to go to the temple every week.
The new beatitude: "Good luck..."
- Maynard James Keenan

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LookingHard
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Re: A Part of my Story

Post by LookingHard » 20 Feb 2018, 19:49

I am always amazed at some of the common themes in these stories.
Never thought I would be here – check.
Had faith "panic" (or belief panic) - check.
Felt like I was lied to – check.
Was taught if you did what was right, were nice, and you sacrificed your own needs for your spouses then you will have a good marriage. Certainly better than those “till death do you part” wimpy marriages – check.
Wasn’t told that having even your first child will put an unbelievable strain on your marriage – check.
I was so blessed to be born in THE ONE true church – check.
Would describe my first time in the temple as, “what the heck was THAT!” – check.

Welcome here. It sounds like you have something to gain and contribute here, so please read and also share. This place can help many people find some peace. And the usual advice – take it slow and don’t rush.

AmyJ
Posts: 659
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: A Part of my Story

Post by AmyJ » 21 Feb 2018, 09:23

LookingHard wrote:
20 Feb 2018, 19:49
I am always amazed at some of the common themes in these stories.
Never thought I would be here – check.
Had faith "panic" (or belief panic) - check.
Felt like I was lied to – check.
Was taught if you did what was right, were nice, and you sacrificed your own needs for your spouses then you will have a good marriage. Certainly better than those “till death do you part” wimpy marriages – check.
Wasn’t told that having even your first child will put an unbelievable strain on your marriage – check.
I was so blessed to be born in THE ONE true church – check.
Would describe my first time in the temple as, “what the heck was THAT!” – check.

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It's the 2nd kid that really did a number of our marriage... :P They don't tell you about the 2nd kid...
[Actually, to be technical, it was the combined mass of 1 child with special needs + DH chronic health problems + my own hormones/anxiety/sleep deprivation issues + new baby... this girl loves accidently wreaking havoc on things unscathed as she wanders through life.]

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dande48
Posts: 903
Joined: 24 Jan 2016, 16:35
Location: Wherever there is danger

Re: A Part of my Story

Post by dande48 » 21 Feb 2018, 11:43

I've been thinking about this a lot lately... and I think our religion, our society, etc, conditions us to believe that "extraordinarily lucky" is the norm. We believe, starting at a very young age, that our lives are going to follow a very specific script:
  • In our youth, we'll excel at our schooling, and develop deep, long lasting friendships. We have limitless potential, and can be whoever we want to be, if only we try.
  • In college, we'll pick the ideal career, perfectly suited to our interests, which will not only bring in a solid income, but also provide our lives with meaning and fulfillment. We will be able to maintain good grades, have a robust dating life, and engage in some good, riotous fun.
  • We'll find the perfect partner, who will fulfill all of our needs, and understand us without even trying. Our marriages will have a high level of satisfaction, marked by genuine friendship, and frequent, passionate sex. We can talk to them about anything.
  • Our children will be a combination of the best parts of ourselves and our partners. We'll guide them in our wisdom to live all-around happy and fulfilling lives.
  • Our social lives will be very robust. Everyone will enjoy our company. We'll develop lasting bonds with 3-5 individuals outside our family, where our conversations will be full of wit and fun. They'd go to the ends of the earth for us, and we'd gladly do the same. They understand us on a deep, intimate level, and will agree with us on most points.
  • Our careers will provide us with the fair honor and recognition for our efforts. There will be frequent promotions. You will make a modest salary of between $80,000 - $120,000 a year.
  • We'll maintain good health and flat bellies throughout our lives, and die a painless death in our late 90s, surrounded by flowers, family, and close friends.
But the chance of all this happening, as we planned out (and were often told), is virtually nil. You will be lonely and misunderstood. You will, at times, not particularly like your spouse and children. Your efforts will be overlooked, and your work will seem mundane. Chances are, you'll be frequently stressed about money. Worse yet, there will be many times you won't feel like you can't talk to anyone about the most pressing struggles. This is the norm.

Religion can exacerbate these expectations, by throwing in a perfect, all-knowing, all-loving God into the mix. We're told that if we do x, y, and z, we'll get some very specific, tailored blessings in return. What's worse, is we are told these things often by men (and their spouses), who make $120,000+ a year, simply by devoting their lives to God. But their lives are absolutely not the norm. The odds are not in our favor.

And that's okay. :)
Last edited by dande48 on 21 Feb 2018, 14:54, edited 1 time in total.
"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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