Glad it's not just me

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
adrift
Posts: 11
Joined: 04 Mar 2018, 05:30

Glad it's not just me

Post by adrift » 04 Mar 2018, 19:16

I have lurked here for a couple of months now and am grateful to find a place with people who have and are now dealing with what I am. So thank you.

Since this is the introduction section... Male, married (sealed in the temple, even), three kids, 36. Son of inactive members but was baptized at ten, hitched rides to church until I could drive, then rarely missed a meeting. My family has jokingly referred to me as the white sheep in the family because of my die-hard TBMness. I basically did "everything I was supposed to do" in my life. I followed the Church roadmap even though I had many questions and many things didn't feel right or mesh well to me- I just chalked it up to not praying, reading my scriptures, attending church, etc hard, diligently, or fervently enough. While I was a missionary I couldn't fathom how people could possibly serve a mission and "fall away". Now I do. I could never understand my position now without having been on both sides.

I really thought I had this figured out. I was good at being a Mormon. I could explain the Gospel well and helped many people overcome their doubts (the irony) about polygamy, church history, etc. Then something sort of switched (I'm not sure if it turned on or off, really). All I was doing was seeking knowledge (out of the best books even) as I've been taught at church.

Like I said, I've always had doubts and questions but was able to push them back, excuse them, and explain them away. I can't do that anymore; it's like trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube at this point. It's become difficult to trust anything, especially since I was so sure about things that I now am sure aren't true. I feel like the rug has been jerked out from under me.

I do believe that God exists but I realize that I've grossly misunderstood him all of my life. I'm not angry with him but I guess I'm angry with myself because I feel like I should have seen all along what I see now. I'm just so confused and don't feel like I know anything anymore. Luckily my wife is in a similar place as me, although far less cynical. I like aspects of the Church and don't want to throw everything out. Hopefully I can find a way to reconcile things and find a good place. As awful as this is I would not go back if given the choice (red pill, blue pill, I guess) since truth is most important to me, no matter the consequences. I hope to come out of this a better person in the end.

So yeah, that's me I guess- a hot, religious mess. If you'd like to know anything, ask away. There's too much to try to put into one post and I fear it's already reached TLDR length already. If you made it this far, I apologise.

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dande48
Posts: 658
Joined: 24 Jan 2016, 16:35
Location: Wherever there is danger

Re: Glad it's not just me

Post by dande48 » 04 Mar 2018, 20:43

Hi Adrift!

Happy you could join us. You're in a good place, and I hope we can help one another figure out what steps we need to take next.
adrift wrote:
04 Mar 2018, 19:16
All I was doing was seeking knowledge (out of the best books even) as I've been taught at church.
Both myself, and a good friend of mine I grew up with, ended up disaffected with the Church for this exact same reason. Good books, solid research, nothing anti and most of it Church sanctioned. Personally, I'm a bit of a book worm, and love learning all I can about history. My friend has an even nobler goal of answering some questions her non-member friend had about the Church. It's incredible the discrepancies you can find. And while most of it is stuff I could live with (if it were true), the fact that the Church has twisted, distorted, maniplulated the truth (and sometimes lied), that really hurts the most. The liberties they've taken with historical matters makes me feel like I can't trust them with the spiritual either.

One of the hardest things, in my transition, was coming to realize there is so much I don't know, and can never be sure of. And being okay with that. It's really tough, because the Church has so many "answers" and makes so many promises I honestly don't believe was ever in their power to keep. I'm glad you are hestitant to toss it all out, because there are really some wonderful aspects to the Church. But it's all in trying to figure out if you can't take the buffet approach in an All-Or-Nothing, organization.

Best of luck on your journey. We're always here for you.
"The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy. "
-Albert Campus

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

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LookingHard
Posts: 2786
Joined: 20 Oct 2014, 12:11

Re: Glad it's not just me

Post by LookingHard » 04 Mar 2018, 21:21

Welcome Adrift.

I hope you feel comfortable to start joining in on other conversations.

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SamBee
Posts: 4594
Joined: 14 Mar 2010, 04:55

Re: Glad it's not just me

Post by SamBee » 05 Mar 2018, 02:36

One of the biggest mixed blessings of our church is that we can change our past. I don't mean revisionism or cover ups, but that we are flexible enough to drop some doctrines.

Polygamy occurred in my great-grandparents' time, which is not that long ago in the scheme of things... but it is long enough for it to be out of living memory and was never part of our LDS culture locally. The priesthood ban has been more of a concern to me, it was only lifted within my lifetime... and our current president spent much of his life under it. However... that issue is now also part of our past, and to confirm that I frequently see black people in the temple. We have few blacks in our ward but we do have one in our local leadership, and no one bats an eyelid which puts a line under the whole thing for me as far as I'm concerned.
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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DarkJedi
Posts: 5666
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Glad it's not just me

Post by DarkJedi » 05 Mar 2018, 06:17

Welcome to the forum. I recall the "not just me" revelation as well, and it feels good to know there are other people who understand. I'm glad you found us. I think the standard advice applies: Take it slow, don't dump everything at once, and focus on what you do believe.
I do believe that God exists but I realize that I've grossly misunderstood him all of my life. I'm not angry with him but I guess I'm angry with myself because I feel like I should have seen all along what I see now. I'm just so confused and don't feel like I know anything anymore. Luckily my wife is in a similar place as me, although far less cynical. I like aspects of the Church and don't want to throw everything out. Hopefully I can find a way to reconcile things and find a good place. As awful as this is I would not go back if given the choice (red pill, blue pill, I guess) since truth is most important to me, no matter the consequences. I hope to come out of this a better person in the end.
I did spend some times (years, actually) being angry at God until I figured out that it's wasn't God's doing. I also believe in God but not the God of Fast and Testimony Meeting or the God of the Lost Car Keys. Likewise, I was also angry with myself for a bit because I felt as if I had been duped. I am much wiser for the experience. I hope you can find a good place - your own path so to speak - as well. Please don't be a stranger.

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

Roy
Posts: 4731
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Glad it's not just me

Post by Roy » 05 Mar 2018, 10:58

"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
These quotes are from my signature line. To me they are opposite ends of the same idea - that life is better, deeper, more purposeful, hopeful, and meaningful with a good story behind it.

In our case the story was at the very least "embellished". That is hard because each of us here had so much riding on the story being truer than true (an overriding truth that remains when all confusion has passed away). I made certain sacrifices with the idea that those sacrifices would be rewarded in the next life.

For me I have had to simultaneously let go of my sense of expectation for the future and still find value in the here and now. Maybe I will not earn a golden mansion in the afterlife by going to church, I still find value in going to church.

BUT I find that post faith transition not everything holds value for me. Gone are the days of banging my head against a wall "praying, reading my scriptures, attending church, etc hard, diligently, or fervently enough" in the hopes of making round pegs fit into square holes. Now if something does not "work" for me then I don't try to force it. I go and do something else that I find value in.

In regards to "round pegs and square holes" I recognize that there are many individuals for whom the LDS narrative / Plan of happiness "fits" perfectly. They do not have to be delusional or deceived. For many it just makes sense. Why not for me? Partly because we are not talking about actual pegs and holes but rather with somewhat more malleable ideas. It has to do with experience, perspective, evidence, arrangement, and narrative. For me, my experience changed and that challenged the assumptions upon which I had built my belief system. My perspective or lens was altered. Everything looked different. I saw what had counted as evidence for the plan of salvation in a new light. I reclassified things that I had previously downplayed or dismissed - they now came to the forefront as evidence. I also sought and found more evidence to build my new understanding. Just like a historian writing a book, I get to choose what "facts" to include, highlight, and the order of their arrangement. I ultimately build a narrative that ties it all together.

In summary, I still find that life is better with a story. I just give myself permission to explore different and even contradictory stories. People still matter. Relationships still matter. Community still matters. Welcome to StayLDS!
"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

adrift
Posts: 11
Joined: 04 Mar 2018, 05:30

Re: Glad it's not just me

Post by adrift » 05 Mar 2018, 21:13

Man, thank you guys so much. I would say that you don't know how much it means to me but you do.
dande48 wrote:
04 Mar 2018, 20:43
It's incredible the discrepancies you can find. And while most of it is stuff I could live with (if it were true), the fact that the Church has twisted, distorted, maniplulated the truth (and sometimes lied), that really hurts the most. The liberties they've taken with historical matters makes me feel like I can't trust them with the spiritual either.
It really does hurt. As far as history goes, it's incredible to go back and see how teachings in the Church have changed over the years, like the evolution of the WoW and the influence of American culture on it. Or polygamy or the priesthood ban (also a big deal for me, SamBee) or tithing. The irony is that I started seeing discrepancies after reading the essays put out by the Church. It feels like I've been in a mostly great relationship with someone and now I've found out that it was based on lies.
DarkJedi wrote:
05 Mar 2018, 06:17
Take it slow, don't dump everything at once, and focus on what you do believe.
Thank you. What I do believe is currently tough to nail down. While I could see myself going full on Brain in a Vat, I haven't yet and am taking this slowly. It's no wonder to me why many people leave the Church and become avowed atheists- the Church seems to leave no alternative since it claims to be the only true one (I've never been able to figure out what that really meant and it's bothered me since the first time I heard it as a nine year old).
Roy wrote:
05 Mar 2018, 10:58
BUT I find that post faith transition not everything holds value for me. Gone are the days of banging my head against a wall "praying, reading my scriptures, attending church, etc hard, diligently, or fervently enough" in the hopes of making round pegs fit into square holes. Now if something does not "work" for me then I don't try to force it. I go and do something else that I find value in.

Kind of reminds me of Steven Covey explaining paradigm shift in one of his books. Basically that no matter how hard you try, if you have the wrong map you can't get where you want to go and will only end up more confused and frustrated.

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DarkJedi
Posts: 5666
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Glad it's not just me

Post by DarkJedi » 06 Mar 2018, 06:17

adrift wrote:
05 Mar 2018, 21:13
DarkJedi wrote:
05 Mar 2018, 06:17
Take it slow, don't dump everything at once, and focus on what you do believe.
Thank you. What I do believe is currently tough to nail down. While I could see myself going full on Brain in a Vat, I haven't yet and am taking this slowly. It's no wonder to me why many people leave the Church and become avowed atheists- the Church seems to leave no alternative since it claims to be the only true one (I've never been able to figure out what that really meant and it's bothered me since the first time I heard it as a nine year old).
I was exactly the same way when I came here and when I started to return to activity. I really only had a belief that there was a God of some sort, if only a Creator. My beliefs haven't really changed that much in that respect, I still very much lean toward a Deist version of God. And there was a time before that when I was extremely agnostic, probably borderline atheist. Part of the epiphany (better word than revelation, I just wanted to use that word earlier because of its implication to Mormons) was that it's not all or nothing. That's a pseudo-doctrine (along with the one true church, which I also could never figure out, IMO). So, even your belief that there is a God is enough for where you are, don't let that stop you and it doesn't necessarily mean everything else goes in the dumpster (don't dump all at once). The two things that were most valuable to me when I was where you are:

1. Separating the church and the gospel - they are not the same.
2. Examining what I do believe based on things like the Articles of Faith and the temple recommend questions. That doesn't mean I bought all of that stuff, and I still don't - it was just a measure of basic beliefs, a starting place.
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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mom3
Posts: 3386
Joined: 02 Apr 2011, 14:11

Re: Glad it's not just me

Post by mom3 » 07 Mar 2018, 11:28

Welcome - We love new friends. Yes, you probably can't surprise us with anything. Though every road is different everyone of us has had the paradigm shift moment. And it never goes back.

Ironically as I keep staying engaged, I see us changing the world. Not overnight, but it's happening. How it will all turn out I can't say. But the children we raise will be a different breed of members, if they stay, we get to affect them. We also affect each other every day in our wards. I see the tides turning, just a bit hear and there. I am excited to see those things. The Utah Centric has a ways to go, but the church has changed from the outside before. Likely will again.

Feel free to share your good days and bad. We'd love to ride along with you.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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dande48
Posts: 658
Joined: 24 Jan 2016, 16:35
Location: Wherever there is danger

Re: Glad it's not just me

Post by dande48 » 07 Mar 2018, 11:32

adrift wrote:
05 Mar 2018, 21:13
It really does hurt. As far as history goes, it's incredible to go back and see how teachings in the Church have changed over the years, like the evolution of the WoW and the influence of American culture on it. Or polygamy or the priesthood ban (also a big deal for me, SamBee) or tithing. The irony is that I started seeing discrepancies after reading the essays put out by the Church. It feels like I've been in a mostly great relationship with someone and now I've found out that it was based on lies.
God has repeatedly in the bible referred to the Church/Israel as His unfaithful, adulterous bride. I think that's a fitting allegory.

The good news is, the best times are ahead. To take the analogy a step further, it's better to be "just friends" with the Church, than married to it. Friendship holds some of the noblest virtues. Around our friends, we are tolerant, patient, encouraging, and kind. We don't take everything they say too seriously. We expect a little less, and as a result forgive so much more. We understand that our relationship is not based on contract or obligation. We do not expect unreserved admiration, or that they should stick with us no matter what we do (and visa versa). So we put in our best efforts, and in turn become our very best selves.

As tough as it is, I needed to take the Church aside, and say in no uncertain terms, "This isn't working out. Can't we just be good friends?"
"The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy. "
-Albert Campus

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

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