Looking for like-hearted friends

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
Only Love
Posts: 24
Joined: 15 Apr 2018, 19:29

Looking for like-hearted friends

Post by Only Love » 15 Apr 2018, 20:02

Hello! I am so excited to officially join this community. I’ve been reading (okay, devouring) posts on here for a few months and I have been blown away by the love and wisdom in this community. I’m at a point in my journey where I feel a great desire to connect with like-minded (and “like-hearted”) people so I am so grateful to have found this forum.

Okay, about me… I’m in my early thirties, Mom to 3 young kids, living in a conservative area of the “mission field”

I grew up in an extremely orthodox, TBM family. Though I grew up in a place without very many Mormons, I very much took on that TBM identity for myself and prided myself on doing everything right. My thinking was very black and white. If you did what the General Authorities said, you were righteous. If you didn’t, you were probably on your way to apostasy. Though it seems crazy to me now, I believed that the church leaders spoke for God in everything they said and that questioning their words meant that you were unrighteous. Though I was always loving on the outside, I look back now and realize how judgmental my thoughts were.

Almost six years ago I started reading Josh Weed’s blog. His words over the years really opened my eyes to how hard it can be to be both LGBT and Mormon. Following his story changed my heart on gay marriage. And it gave me a burning desire to be an ally to my LGBT brothers and sisters.
Josh’s blog and some of the comments on the blog had another effect, too. I started to see a disconnect between the words of past and current General Authorities and what I felt in my heart was right. Over time this grew into a full blown faith crisis. I slowly started to realize that my foundation that was honestly based on the church wasn’t as sturdy as I had believed. I was heartbroken as I studied Joseph Smith’s polygamy, women’s issues, and other aspects of church history, doctrine, and culture.

For a very long time I wanted so badly for the church (my foundation) to be true and every heartbreaking piece of history and policy I studied that made that appear less and less likely led me into a depression. Thankfully, I discovered resources online (including this forum) that helped me to see a “middle way.” Now I have mostly let go of the wrestle to determine if the church is true. I have determined that it contains many truths, and many falsehoods, but that it is where I want to be for now. Honestly I feel like I have a more direct relationship with God now that I don’t have the church as a “middle man” in between us. And I believe God can teach me through this struggle to live in the paradox. So though I am no longer TBM in many of my beliefs, I still want to stay LDS. I can relate a lot with Fowler’s stages of faith and have seen myself just recently starting to go from the angst of stage 4 into stage 5, although certainly not completely.

I chose the name “Only Love” because I now believe that is what really matters. It’s strange for me to look back on who I used to be and see who I have become. Instead of seeing everything as black and white, I see gray everywhere. Instead of seeing those who don’t follow the letter of the law of the church as apostates, I see myself judging them as having the greater sin. I believe Jesus now – love is the greatest commandment! I am trying everyday to live that way.

Though I have come to a better place in my faith journey, I feel very lonely lately. I am too afraid to open up to people in my ward, but I am hungering for people to talk to who understand me. That’s why I am excited to join this “island of misfit toys” (love that!) and make some new friends who get what this faith journey is all about! 

AmyJ
Posts: 628
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Looking for like-hearted friends

Post by AmyJ » 16 Apr 2018, 04:51

You are in the right place for what you seek :D

Welcome :P

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

Re: Looking for like-hearted friends

Post by DarkJedi » 16 Apr 2018, 04:59

Thanks for the intro. It's always nice to know something about each other. I don't have a ton of time, I just wanted to welcome you aboard. Your story is familiar and resonates with many here. It sounds like you're in a good place. Don't be a stranger, new voices and viewpoints are always welcome.
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

nibbler
Posts: 3589
Joined: 14 Nov 2013, 07:34
Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: Looking for like-hearted friends

Post by nibbler » 16 Apr 2018, 05:35

I know how you feel.

Welcome to StayLDS.

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

Re: Looking for like-hearted friends

Post by Beefster » 16 Apr 2018, 07:26

When my gay married coworker came out to me, I realized I could no longer stand by the church on the issue. Not long after (maybe it was before? I don't remember), Josh Weed's divorce was my tipping point when I decided that the church was 100% wrong about gay people and was wrong all those years lobbying against them. TBF, it never totally felt right to me to legislate against gay marriage at the time either, but I stood by the stance that gay is bad until somewhat recently.

I wish the best of luck to you in making things work. The church truly has beauty and truth in it and is a great place for many people.
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

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

Re: Looking for like-hearted friends

Post by DarkJedi » 16 Apr 2018, 10:24

My thoughts on gay marriage and gays in general have definitely evolved over my years in the church. While I never fully bought that being gay was a choice, I also never fully bought they were born that way. However, having known a few gays (and fewer lesbians) in my life my thinking and point of view expanded.
Particular turning points:
1) As YMP in the 90s I became very close to the priests in my ward. While at the time I didn't know any of them were gay it turns out two of them were. I recognized that these guys were the same whether I knew they were gay or not. I still loved them (and do love them, although I have little contact with them). Both came from very orthodox (and large) families. One of those families has zero contact with their son and has effectively disowned him. The other accepts that their son is gay but also makes it very clear (to him included) that he is living a sinful lifestyle. I honestly don't see how the church can say that gays didn't choose to be gay but on the other hand deny them the right to sexual fulfillment. I'm not advocating for gay temple sealings or that we perform gay marriages. And I do believe in the law of chastity. But I also believe we should give some recognition to committed and loving gay couples who may be married civilly.
2) My state was one of the first to legalize gay marriage. Leading up to passage of the law there was all sorts of gloom and doom relating to the breakdown of society and taxes going up and increased health insurance costs. Well the governor signed the bill, the sun came up the next day and has come up every day since, and I notice no appreciable difference in anything. Those gay and lesbian couples I knew who were living together still lived together, some married some didn't. And I don't care, it's their choice to live together (just like smoking or drinking is a choice and we don't seem to bother them much).
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: 4847
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Looking for like-hearted friends

Post by Roy » 16 Apr 2018, 12:25

Welcome Only Love,
Only Love wrote:
15 Apr 2018, 20:02
I believe Jesus now – love is the greatest commandment! I am trying everyday to live that way.
I see things similarly. I am not promised tomorrow and even if tomorrow comes, I have such limited ability to control it. I do practice and advocate some reasonable preparation for the future - but I try hard to make sure that preparing for tomorrow does not take up all of my focus today.

I feel this is particularly pertinent to my parenting. I teach my kids to read and write, to plan, to budget, to delay gratification. And yet, above all, I want them to know each and every day that they are a unique and essential member of our family, that they are impressive and wonderful as the individuals that they are, and finally that they are loved with a family that will stand by them no matter the difficulty or the sorrow.
Only Love wrote:
15 Apr 2018, 20:02
Instead of seeing those who don’t follow the letter of the law of the church as apostates, I see myself judging them as having the greater sin
My own mother once told me that I can be intimidating in my beliefs. What I believe she meant is that I had such conviction, certainty, and "clarity" that it can be hard for others to talk to me without feeling intimidated.

I look back at my former self with charity. I was the only boy in the family. I felt it was my responsibility to do my duty in carrying on the family name and heritage. I checked all the boxes. I served a mission and married in the temple. So, looking back at myself and my "greater sin" I have to feel that God is very liberal in his mercy and forgiveness. I feel to cry out, "God forgive me, for I knew not what I did then and still have such limited understanding of the effects of my actions in the here and now."

Perhaps we are all as children on the playground. Some are very popular and confident. Others are lonely and shy. Some are sweet and giving. Others are surly and defensive. Sometimes we all play nice together and take turns. Sometimes we divide into groups. Sometimes we misunderstand and even hurt each other. But at the end of the day we are still children. I believe those things that seem to matter to children - who "started it" and who had the "greater sin" are much less important from God's perspective.

Again welcome! I look forward to hearing more from you.
"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

Only Love
Posts: 24
Joined: 15 Apr 2018, 19:29

Re: Looking for like-hearted friends

Post by Only Love » 16 Apr 2018, 14:51

Thank you so much for the replies! It feels really good to be authentic with people, even if it is online. I really, really appreciate you all!
Beefster wrote:
16 Apr 2018, 07:26
Josh Weed's divorce was my tipping point when I decided that the church was 100% wrong about gay people and was wrong all those years lobbying against them.
Mine too
Beefster wrote:
16 Apr 2018, 07:26
The church truly has beauty and truth in it and is a great place for many people.
Thank you for this. It really does. Sometimes I focus so much on the negatives and it always helps to stop and remember the beauty. I have a couple in my stake who have successfully moved to stage 5 or 6 - the only people I know in real life who have gone through a faith crisis and stayed in the church, and the only ones in my stake who know about my situation - and the rare times I get to chat with them I am amazed by how they radiate that. They look for beauty in many different places, even different religions, but they do talk about the unique beauties within the LDS faith and they choose to stay.
DarkJedi wrote:
16 Apr 2018, 10:24
My thoughts on gay marriage and gays in general have definitely evolved over my years in the church.
Thank you for sharing your experiences, Dark Jedi. It is amazing to see how we all change overtime. I, too, believe in the law of Chastity, but I wish we applied it equally to both gay and straight members.

Roy wrote:
16 Apr 2018, 12:25
Welcome Only Love,
Only Love wrote:
15 Apr 2018, 20:02
I believe Jesus now – love is the greatest commandment! I am trying everyday to live that way.
I see things similarly. I am not promised tomorrow and even if tomorrow comes, I have such limited ability to control it. I do practice and advocate some reasonable preparation for the future - but I try hard to make sure that preparing for tomorrow does not take up all of my focus today.

I feel this is particularly pertinent to my parenting. I teach my kids to read and write, to plan, to budget, to delay gratification. And yet, above all, I want them to know each and every day that they are a unique and essential member of our family, that they are impressive and wonderful as the individuals that they are, and finally that they are loved with a family that will stand by them no matter the difficulty or the sorrow.
Only Love wrote:
15 Apr 2018, 20:02
Instead of seeing those who don’t follow the letter of the law of the church as apostates, I see myself judging them as having the greater sin
My own mother once told me that I can be intimidating in my beliefs. What I believe she meant is that I had such conviction, certainty, and "clarity" that it can be hard for others to talk to me without feeling intimidated.

I look back at my former self with charity. I was the only boy in the family. I felt it was my responsibility to do my duty in carrying on the family name and heritage. I checked all the boxes. I served a mission and married in the temple. So, looking back at myself and my "greater sin" I have to feel that God is very liberal in his mercy and forgiveness. I feel to cry out, "God forgive me, for I knew not what I did then and still have such limited understanding of the effects of my actions in the here and now."

Perhaps we are all as children on the playground. Some are very popular and confident. Others are lonely and shy. Some are sweet and giving. Others are surly and defensive. Sometimes we all play nice together and take turns. Sometimes we divide into groups. Sometimes we misunderstand and even hurt each other. But at the end of the day we are still children. I believe those things that seem to matter to children - who "started it" and who had the "greater sin" are much less important from God's perspective.

Again welcome! I look forward to hearing more from you.
Wow, Roy. Thank you. Your analogy of children playing on a playground is profound. I love that.

I can relate with your situation growing up. I was the oldest in my family and the only girl for most of my growing up years and I felt a responsibility to do everything perfectly by the book and please my parents.

Your words help me have greater charity for myself as well.

And I'm definitely with you about the parenting. I like to tell my kids, "I love you forever and always no matter what."

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LookingHard
Posts: 2812
Joined: 20 Oct 2014, 12:11

Re: Looking for like-hearted friends

Post by LookingHard » 16 Apr 2018, 15:09

Welcome Welcome. I am always glad to see someone start posting here. Not in any "oh good - another person no longer is a TBM". It is more that in my experience, this site helped me start healing. I have mentioned before that I REALLY began to heal once I meet with some folks face to face and was validated I wasn't crazy/stupid/evil/etc. I always encourage folks to find a friends somewhere that you can talk with.

And on the "moving into stage 5", it does feel good. But like the waves in a beach, I have found for me I bounce around 4 and 5 much more than I thought I would. I have learned to stop fighting the tide and realizing I am just dealing with this the best I can. Lately I feel much more like I have slid back into stage 4 and I think it is because I am about to be much more open and I am fearing the rejection and pushback that I might (will?) get and the heartache I will feel and cause in others (like my parents).

Please contribute your thoughts. Even after years and being in a much different place than when I started I still get benefit from this site.

Only Love
Posts: 24
Joined: 15 Apr 2018, 19:29

Re: Looking for like-hearted friends

Post by Only Love » 18 Apr 2018, 18:46

LookingHard wrote:
16 Apr 2018, 15:09
Welcome Welcome. I am always glad to see someone start posting here. Not in any "oh good - another person no longer is a TBM". It is more that in my experience, this site helped me start healing. I have mentioned before that I REALLY began to heal once I meet with some folks face to face and was validated I wasn't crazy/stupid/evil/etc. I always encourage folks to find a friends somewhere that you can talk with.

And on the "moving into stage 5", it does feel good. But like the waves in a beach, I have found for me I bounce around 4 and 5 much more than I thought I would. I have learned to stop fighting the tide and realizing I am just dealing with this the best I can. Lately I feel much more like I have slid back into stage 4 and I think it is because I am about to be much more open and I am fearing the rejection and pushback that I might (will?) get and the heartache I will feel and cause in others (like my parents).

Please contribute your thoughts. Even after years and being in a much different place than when I started I still get benefit from this site.
Thank you, LookingHard! I think you are right, I too bounce around between the different stages. And I can understand how getting ready to open up would make that so difficult. I wish you the best in that.

I have one friend in my stake whom I can talk to about my faith transition. She lives far away and I don't see her much, but on the rare occasion she can, having someone to talk about this face to face with is the best thing ever! Do you have any suggestions on finding such people? I know there might be people in my ward, but I am too afraid to talk about my faith issues there so I haven't been able to connect with anyone.

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