Happy to find a safe space

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
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Off the Rameumptom
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Joined: 26 Apr 2018, 08:55

Happy to find a safe space

Post by Off the Rameumptom » 15 May 2018, 12:42

Hello!

I love all these discussions! I've spent hours perusing through them over the past month--better than Netflix.

I went down the rabbit hole of church history (starting with church published essays on Book of Abraham...), and thanks to some great books by Teryl and Fiona Givens, I found my way out the other side without completely losing my testimony--although it has definitely gone through a metamorphosis. Four of my siblings left religion altogether, and now I am here looking for reasons to stay. I want to stay for my husband and four daughters who, at least for now, love the church and it works for them. I see no benefit in disrupting a healthy status quo.

I struggle with the modern church that only seems to improve as a reaction to years of social and political pressures. I struggle with a church that doesn't care for the science behind homosexuality, and still pushes individuals toward reparative therapy which has been proven not only to be ineffective, but damaging. I struggle to see how this church is God's one true church when other religions seem to be better embracing true Christianity. I struggle in church weekly to not let my nuanced feelings "slip" out as I know that in my ultra-conservative ward, I would be ostracized. And if that's happened to any of you--is it as painful as it seems like it would be? Or is it liberating? Or both?

The church is set up well for families who are living fully within the expected norms, but it can be a painful place when one no longer fits those norms. The temple recommend process alone has never felt so hard, and I perceive it as a Tree-of-Life type of dichotomy--a lesser of two evils. Either I avoid the recommend process altogether and my marriage suffers and my kids sadly ask why mom never comes along for baptisms for the dead anymore. Or, I suck up the cognitive dissonance and rationalize my way through it for the sake of happy home life.

Alas! Life was easier before all this seeking nonsense happened ;)

I know there are others like me, and that is comforting. And can I just say, we need a symbol of our nuance so we can find like-minded members? Like the tapir pins or something... ;)
"Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time." --Viktor E. Frankl

“Just because we don't understand doesn't mean that the explanation doesn't exist.”
― Madeleine L'Engle

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dande48
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Re: Happy to find a safe space

Post by dande48 » 15 May 2018, 13:57

Hi Rame!

Happy you could join us. Best wishes on your journey.

I think what you said about the Church applies to most Christian religions. What do you mean by "embracing true Christianity"? That'd be something to think about. Moses and Paul weren't any more lenient towards homosexuals than the Church leadership. Probably less so. But I think you can take hope that the Church is improving. They don't preach rehabilitation for homosexuals any longer. And outside of acting on it, they don't take any legal action against it. They also don't take action against LGBT activists, even on BYU campus. So I think things are improving on that front, and I see no reason why they wouldn't get better. Religions are often very slow to embrace "science" or societal standards. It's to be expected.
Off the Rameumptom wrote:
15 May 2018, 12:42
And if that's happened to any of you--is it as painful as it seems like it would be? Or is it liberating? Or both?
Depends on what, and to what extent. For the most part, if you keep quiet about it, and Church leaders on a need-to-know basis, you'll be fine. Most comments and Sunday school will at worse be shrugged off, as long as you're not trying to pick a fight. But deviating too much over the pulpit could get you in trouble. Pick your battles.
"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

Roy
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Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Happy to find a safe space

Post by Roy » 15 May 2018, 15:12

Off the Rameumptom wrote:
15 May 2018, 12:42
The church is set up well for families who are living fully within the expected norms, but it can be a painful place when one no longer fits those norms.
The church is a fairly homogenous environment. This can be comforting and bring a sense of belonging and community to those that fit the mold. Unfortunately, it can be unsettling and marginalizing for those that do not fit the mold.
Off the Rameumptom wrote:
15 May 2018, 12:42
I struggle in church weekly to not let my nuanced feelings "slip" out as I know that in my ultra-conservative ward, I would be ostracized. And if that's happened to any of you--is it as painful as it seems like it would be? Or is it liberating? Or both?
I agree with the pick your battles advice. I try to limit my comments in the class setting to advocating for more charity and less judgment for all. I do get the feeling that my comments are not always appreciated. Similar to relationships, you can only have so many emotional withdrawals before your comments begin to feel grating. People go to church to revel in uniformity of belief and take comfort in certainty. They really do not want or appreciate me there providing counter examples.

Welcome and I hope to hear 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

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DarkJedi
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Re: Happy to find a safe space

Post by DarkJedi » 15 May 2018, 15:26

Welcome, and I'm glad you found this safe place - and it is safe here.

Dande did say part of what I wanted to say. Keep in mind that I am a huge advocate of gays in the church and totally disagree with the November policy and the way gays are treated by church members and leaders in some places. I will reiterate one thing Dande pointed out. The church does NOT push people toward reparative therapy and does not endorse it. And the church does agree with the science behind homosexuality in that it recognizes that people do not choose to be gay. My issue with the latter point is that I didn't choose to be hetero either - but I am allowed to express my sexuality while gays are not. I honestly don;t see how the church can say on one hand "He or she didn't choose to be gay, but they can't get married." I'm not meaning to be disrespectful, and I know there are people in the church who are unaware of or disagree with Mormon and Gay - but it is the official church stance (disagree or not - and it might be fun to get a TBM to admit they disagree with the official church point of view). https://mormonandgay.lds.org/
I struggle in church weekly to not let my nuanced feelings "slip" out as I know that in my ultra-conservative ward, I would be ostracized. And if that's happened to any of you--is it as painful as it seems like it would be? Or is it liberating? Or both?
It happens all the time, but I do have some street cred. For a very short time it might have been painful but it is mostly liberating. It's mostly not what is said but how it is said. Speaking calmly in Mormonese makes a huge difference, and most of all it has to be non-confrontational. It's when I am feeling confrontational that I keep my mouth shut. Fortunately I am usually able to control that. And I never actually let it slip - I am deliberate about it even when it's spontaneous - and it's usually spontaneous . Despite your perception that your ward is ultra conservative, I promise you there are less conservative and even liberal thinkers there - they're usually just more quiet than the sometimes louder orthodox (piccolos).
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

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Happy to find a safe space

Post by Curt Sunshine » 15 May 2018, 15:43

No time right now, but I want to welcome you.

So . . .

Welcome! :D
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

Ann
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Re: Happy to find a safe space

Post by Ann » 15 May 2018, 23:46

I know there are others like me, and that is comforting. And can I just say, we need a symbol of our nuance so we can find like-minded members? Like the tapir pins or something...
I started wearing a small cross. No one has asked me about it, and my husband is very down on the idea and sees it as a reminder of gruesome death. But it helps me focus. I’ve kind of hoped it would catch on, especially since a common complaint is that we don’t focus on Christ. And, man, is that truer than ever in Primary, where I am now. The kids have done a ton of matching games on the Quorum of 12, etc. Weeks go by without mention of Christ. Not even around Easter time. But I’m getting off topic.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

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Katzpur
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Re: Happy to find a safe space

Post by Katzpur » 16 May 2018, 10:14

Hello and welcome! I'm so glad you joined us. This is the most marvelous place imaginable for LDS folks who don't want to leave the Church but who don't feel as if they don't quite fit the LDS mold. I love how we can be so honest here. Nobody will ever condemn you. At the same time, you will never be put in a position where you're encouraged to just leave and get it over with. Everybody here probably has different issues with the Church and different reasons for wanting to stay. But we're all family -- even those like me who don't post quite as often as others.
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." ~Rudyard Kipling ~

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Katzpur
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Location: Salt Lake City

Re: Happy to find a safe space

Post by Katzpur » 16 May 2018, 10:18

Off the Rameumptom wrote:
15 May 2018, 12:42
I struggle in church weekly to not let my nuanced feelings "slip" out as I know that in my ultra-conservative ward, I would be ostracized. And if that's happened to any of you--is it as painful as it seems like it would be? Or is it liberating? Or both?
I'm sure it's very cathartic to many people on this forum. I just can't do it myself. I feel so sure that people would judge that I just can't risk it. If you can, more power to you. It's probably the courageous thing to do, but as a 69-year-old woman who has been in the Church all her life, I just can't face the possibility of either rejection or pity. Consequently, I have chosen not to "let my nuanced feelings slip out" in a church setting. Here, I don't have to worry about my feeling "slipping out." I can be honest and know that I'm in a safe place.
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." ~Rudyard Kipling ~

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On Own Now
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Re: Happy to find a safe space

Post by On Own Now » 16 May 2018, 12:02

Welcome, OTR.

I'm glad you found this place and look forward to hearing your added voice here.

On the topic of the Church's stance on homosexuality (and same-sex-marriage), I believe the Church will come around eventually.

- Most importantly, I believe many members of the Church, even the faithful, non-faith-crisis'd members, are struggling with the hard-line-ness of the present situation. For a very long time, the premise of those who have opposed ssm, for example, has been the erosion of marriage as an important element of our culture/society. Now that ssm is completely legal throughout the US, I believe many are seeing no such erosion because of ssm. I mean, sure, the divorce rate seems sky-high compared to the past and people live together with a significant other and even raise children together without marrying, but that erosion has occurred completely outside the realm of ssm. I just get a sense that a lot of members are not as opposed as they were prior to prop-8 (10 years ago).

- But also, there is very low doctrinal backing to the idea that heterosexuality is the only way that is acceptable to God. Here's what I've said about that before:
On Own Now wrote:
08 Oct 2013, 14:16
Also, as for same sex marriage. I dispute that it is part of doctrine! It's not mentioned in the restoration scriptures (BofM/D&C/PofGP), either as legitimate or prohibited. The Bible does specifically list homosexuality among a collection of sins, but it also says women should never speak in church. I don't believe any statement in the bible about it can be taken as definitive, because it simply reflects the society of the time.

Paul mentions it in both Romans (1:26-27) and I Corintians (6:9-10), but neither is a clear doctrinal proclamation about it being wrong. Rather, it is listed as an a priori example. To me, this means Paul, and his audience, already assume it is evil. Yet we know from our own experience that practice and assumptions are not necessarily doctrine. These statements reflect Paul's belief that it is wrong, but not God's declaration. We often hear that BY's Adam-God "Theory" was his own opinion, and not doctrine. Same category here, as far as I'm concerned.

The writer of I Timothy (1:9-10) likewise added homosexual behavior to a list of things that are "contrary to sound doctrine". Again, listing something as an example is not the same as a clear divine commandment.

The most clear doctrinally-specific verse is Leviticus 18:22 ("Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.") The problem is that this is Leviticus. We take Leviticus to be the specification of the Law of Moses. So, it's cherry-picking to select the parts of Leviticus that you believe are eternal doctrines. Admittedly, just because something is found in Leviticus doesn't mean it's NOT doctrine. For example, the same chapter prohibits having sex with animals, and I would say, yeah, that's probably doctrine, and it says not to have sex with your wife's sister, which is probably sound advice, even if not doctrinal. But Leviticus also specifies rules for sacrifices, including eating a sacrifice on the same day or next day, but burning it after that. In other words just because something is found in Leviticus doesn't mean it IS doctrine.

Bottom line: if Leviticus is our best source for doctrine on the subject, I would humbly ask our leaders to seek a modern revelation, and not just inspiration, before declaring on behalf of God that He only accepts heterosexuality.
You asked about how vocal to be before feeling repercussions. I don't always speak up, but I often will about topics like devaluing women or hardlining on homosexuality. I treat that as a cultural issue and that there is room to improve ourselves in how we treat others. I don't call people out. I don't refute doctrines. I don't make declarative statements. Usually, I'll just talk about how we should strive to do better in how we treat others. I haven't been ostracized yet.

If it's a deeper doctrinal thing, I just let it go. There's a guy in my ward, like him a lot. He's a first-class human being and always at the ready to make sacrifices to help others... but he has a strong belief in the ability of the Devil to get in and really mess stuff up, so he often makes comments about avoiding the wiles of the devil, etc. Personally, I think the Devil is just a personification of an abstract idea: that we have an amazing capability to act contrary to the way we think is right and good, when called upon under pressure. I've made a point specifically not to raise my hand after him and refute anything he's saying. He's right from his perspective. He's closer to true LDS doctrine. I'm a guest and I appreciate their acceptance of me and honor it by not being contrary.

Anyway, long, winding response. Bottom line: welcome, glad to hear from you.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

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DarkJedi
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Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Happy to find a safe space

Post by DarkJedi » 16 May 2018, 13:45

On Own Now wrote:
16 May 2018, 12:02
- Most importantly, I believe many members of the Church, even the faithful, non-faith-crisis'd members, are struggling with the hard-line-ness of the present situation. For a very long time, the premise of those who have opposed ssm, for example, has been the erosion of marriage as an important element of our culture/society. Now that ssm is completely legal throughout the US, I believe many are seeing no such erosion because of ssm. I mean, sure, the divorce rate seems sky-high compared to the past and people live together with a significant other and even raise children together without marrying, but that erosion has occurred completely outside the realm of ssm. I just get a sense that a lot of members are not as opposed as they were prior to prop-8 (10 years ago).
The recognition that gay marriage did not destroy society was a bit of a turning point for me. I had always felt that God loved all his children, even the gay ones, and that there was little evidence (and no hard evidence) in scripture that gay marriage, or even gay acts, are sinful. I live in a liberal northeastern state (I know, redundant) which was an early adopter of gay marriage. My main opposition was financial - tax increases, higher medical costs, etc. Well guess what? The sun rose the next day, gay people I knew who were "living in sin" were still living in sin except they could call themselves married. After a few years are my taxes or health care costs more than they would have been anyway? Probably not, based on the rate of increase being about the same as before.

The other thing I think figures into a change of thinking even among more orthodox believers is that almost everybody has a close relative or someone else they care about that is (or was) a gay Mormon and they recognize the church really is not being fair to someone they love and who they know has a testimony. The gospel is for everybody, sometimes the church misses that point.
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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