Lost Time Listener First Time Caller

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
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felixfabulous
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Joined: 10 Jul 2018, 07:13

Lost Time Listener First Time Caller

Post by felixfabulous » 10 Jul 2018, 09:30

I've enjoyed reading discussions and the perspective here. I've been on a faith journey for about the last 10 years, taking a deep dive into Church history and theology. I feel like the LDS Church has such great people and that these are "my people." I love the culture, the community and the chance for my kids to get structure and good instruction on a moral way to live and have spiritual experiences. I think the youth program and missions are really good for shaping young people, even if they don't stay active in the Church the rest of their lives. I feel like we do community like no one else and love a shared cultural heritage.

I have a very nuanced testimony. In that, I believe in a supernatural good force that we call God. I don't think we know much about it and it's hard to understand it. People have tried their best to do that and that is what we have in the religions of the world, the attempt of humans to explain the divine. I believe that Jesus had amazing insights and wisdom and comprehended the divine and taught us way to live that would save humankind from its natural tendency to be violent and oppress and exploit people. That's how I understand him being a savior. I view the resurrection as a metaphor for the old ways of behavior and viewing the world dying and adopting Jesus' teachings as being a rebirth and fresh start. I don't believe he had to pay a price for our sins or that he will save us from God's punishments. I believe Joseph Smith felt called to bring forth the Book of Mormon and form a new Church. I love the spirit of that movement and the desire to make religion new and exciting and a return to the spiritual gifts of the Bible. I see huge problems with his narrative and think that he felt that the noble goal of the Book of Mormon and establishing the Church justified him creating his story and changing it over time as a foundation myth. I believe there are great truths in the Book of Mormon and other things he taught. I think his life encapsulates a narrative, like David, Solomon and Saul about the very human tendency to become obsessed with our bodily lusts and lusts for power and let that spin out of control and ultimately be our downfall.

I am committed to being in the Church, but have struggled with a lot of the same things others here have: is it honest and authentic to have a temple recommend with a very loose acceptance of the core belief tenants? Is it OK to have a temple recommend if the only purpose is to be eligible for callings, go to weddings and participate in your children's advancements like baptism, priesthood, etc.? Is it worth continuing to go through the motions with all of the norms (WOW, garments, tithing, etc.)? How do you make Church a spiritually uplifting experience when there are a lot of things you don't agree with or identify with? Same thing with general conference. How do you respond to orthodox believers who are in your family and friend groups? I've had some bad experiences opening up to people.

Thank you for letting me be a part of the discussion.

Felix Fabulous

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Heber13
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Re: Lost Time Listener First Time Caller

Post by Heber13 » 10 Jul 2018, 10:26

Welcome to the forum! I look forward to learning from your posts.
felixfabulous wrote:
10 Jul 2018, 09:30
I have a very nuanced testimony. In that, I believe in a supernatural good force that we call God. I don't think we know much about it and it's hard to understand it. People have tried their best to do that and that is what we have in the religions of the world, the attempt of humans to explain the divine.
If you have arrived at this point...you are well positioned to navigate your path with eyes wide open, and Stage 5 (Fowler) possibilities. It is a good, kind position to find yourself in. You see, if you know that none of us no much about these mysteries...then anything is possible. Therefore, the true orthodox believer may be right, and you don't need to argue. The atheist may be right and you don't need to judge. So what then becomes important? Orthoprax belief...only what behaviors people exhibit. Therefore...if your family are nice, loving people...who cares if they are mormon or devil worshippers? If they do good to society and help others...it doesn't matter what the underlying belief is (unless they are duplicitous, of which you may need to be wary until you trust them). If they are mormon but hateful and judgmental...amen to the power of any ordinance they enter into, right? So...the belief system doesn't matter, and there is no conflict. Only the actions people show about love and kindness, which is all religions are trying to get to...right? Where you have come to in your 10 year journey allows you to position yourself this way, and not be angry or stage 3 territorial fighting of black and white who is right and who is wrong and who is going to heaven and who is going to hell. All that melts away.
felixfabulous wrote:
10 Jul 2018, 09:30
is it honest and authentic to have a temple recommend with a very loose acceptance of the core belief tenants?
YES
felixfabulous wrote:
10 Jul 2018, 09:30
Is it OK to have a temple recommend if the only purpose is to be eligible for callings, go to weddings and participate in your children's advancements like baptism, priesthood, etc.?
YES
felixfabulous wrote:
10 Jul 2018, 09:30
Is it worth continuing to go through the motions with all of the norms (WOW, garments, tithing, etc.)?
Maybe. It depends on the purpose behind the behaviors, and the trade-offs, and your heart and why you choose what you do. There is no ONE WAY. Some find it too taxing or dishonest, some find it just fine because of the symbolic spirit of the law it is pointing towards anyway, and there is a cafeteria approach that can be navigated, even if it isn't validated by others.
felixfabulous wrote:
10 Jul 2018, 09:30
How do you make Church a spiritually uplifting experience when there are a lot of things you don't agree with or identify with?
I don't think you can MAKE it anything. It is what it is. You can make your feelings and thoughts to morph around the experience that is church, and stretch meanings to be useful to your belief system. You own your own religion. There is little that stops you from making church what you need to be beneficial.
felixfabulous wrote:
10 Jul 2018, 09:30
Same thing with general conference.
General Conf is even easier for me...it is online to reference whenever I want...no need to listen for a weekend to anything, unless I want to. If all church were like Netflix where I can binge watch it or ignore it and digest it whenever I feel like it...it would be wonderful, giving the control to me on how I access it and when and convenient. GC is very convenient. Skip the dumb ones, listen to the good ones...you have control.
felixfabulous wrote:
10 Jul 2018, 09:30
How do you respond to orthodox believers who are in your family and friend groups?
Very carefully. And only in ways that better your desires. Want strong relationships? Be honest, but don't give more than necessary. I have found many in my family actually think like I do (we're family, after all)...so they aren't all robots who just believe. It is family. Some are kind, some are not. Some are open minded, some are not. Some have spouses that change them, some do not.

What I would avoid is trying to convince them to come over to your side with you so you have support. That is selfish.

But...if you believe in love and stick to good behavior...as I started at the beginning, different belief systems don't really matter, no one knows, so there is no need to talk about much unless they are open and it is safe to do so.

Again, welcome to the forum. Your contributions are helpful. Keep posting away.
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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felixfabulous
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Re: Lost Time Listener First Time Caller

Post by felixfabulous » 10 Jul 2018, 10:52

Great insights, Heber13. I appreciate it and look forward to being part of the discussion.

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dande48
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Re: Lost Time Listener First Time Caller

Post by dande48 » 10 Jul 2018, 11:01

Hey Felix! Happy to have you join in.
felixfabulous wrote:
10 Jul 2018, 09:30
Is it honest and authentic to have a temple recommend with a very loose acceptance of the core belief tenants?
Personally, no. I choose not to because I would not feel honest or authentic in doing so. I feel happier and more free for choosing not to hold a temple recommend, than when I held one. But others on here feel differently; that's their decision, based on their views and circumstance, and I respect that. There was another thread a while back, which nuanced the questions, so you can technically give the correct answers while still being "honest". But IMHO, it goes against the spirit and intent of the question. When it comes down to it, it's your call to make. FWIW, choosing not to hold a temple recommend isn't as bad as its made out to be.
felixfabulous wrote:
10 Jul 2018, 09:30
Is it OK to have a temple recommend if the only purpose is to be eligible for callings, go to weddings and participate in your children's advancements like baptism, priesthood, etc.?
Another decision that's yours to make, but for myself, I'd say no. The Church has made certain beliefs a requirement for participation in certain areas. Until that changes, I will not be participating. While I don't that those are bad reasons for wanting a temple recommend, but if that's your only reason, I think that goes against the Spirit and intent of a temple recommend. No tea, no shade to anyone who disagrees or decides differently.
felixfabulous wrote:
10 Jul 2018, 09:30
Is it worth continuing to go through the motions with all of the norms (WOW, garments, tithing, etc.)?
In my experience, yes. A lot of the commandments do make for a good life (WOW, LoC, tithing). Though with tithing, I'm not a fan of the lack of transparency or the use of the funds, so I donate my half of our 10% to charity (Doctors Without Borders, Feeding America, and the NRDC). Both the garments and the sacrament mean something to me, apart from the doctrinal areas I don't agree with. The motions are wonderful and enlightening. The stories are great. But for me, it's the insistence on "truth" and absolutes which really get to me.
felixfabulous wrote:
10 Jul 2018, 09:30
How do you make Church a spiritually uplifting experience when there are a lot of things you don't agree with or identify with?
Have a backup plan. Bring a book, or download a few onto your phone. Step outside and go for a walk. Visit with the families who spend most of the time in the halls. General Conference is easier. If a talk isn't resonating with you, take a break.
felixfabulous wrote:
10 Jul 2018, 09:30
How do you respond to orthodox believers who are in your family and friend groups? I've had some bad experiences opening up to people.
Kenny Rogers wrote: You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
Finding common ground is important. Relationships are important. Not taking offense or any disparaging remarks personal is VERY important. Not giving offense is most important of all.

Glad you could be here, Felix! I look forward to seeing you around. ;)
"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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felixfabulous
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Re: Lost Time Listener First Time Caller

Post by felixfabulous » 10 Jul 2018, 11:30

Thanks, dande48. Great insights. I'm curious, what has been your experience in the Church not holding a temple recommend? Have you still been asked to hold a calling and what things do you participate in?

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On Own Now
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Re: Lost Time Listener First Time Caller

Post by On Own Now » 10 Jul 2018, 12:02

Welcome, felix. Great intro post. I think you are among kindred spirits here. There are a lot of different core beliefs here, but a lot of common threads course through our fabric as well, and I recognize a lot of them in your words.

You've already gotten two great responses that sort of exemplify this site. Two of our great commenters have provided conflicting views on a topic of your interest. That's part of what makes this site so wonderful. We are all strengthened by multiple voices all struggling over similar issues and arriving at peace in ways that makes sense for them.

I know your long list of questions was meant mostly to indicate your frame of mind, but I will respond to one directly, anyway... regarding how to respond to believers. I have come to feel that the Church, faith, belief, and doubt has everything to do with me and nothing (directly) to do with others. How I respond to others is 100% up to and about me. With that in mind, I try my best to treat them exactly as I would hope they treat me: with respect, with kindness, recognizing the substantial good in spite of the occasional misstep, giving the benefit of the doubt, slow to impatience or anger, recognizing that perspective shapes the "truths" that we all use as anchors, and finally, accepting that we can have differences in the way we think and act, but that doesn't automatically make my way right and their way wrong.

I'm glad you're here and look forward to your added voice.
"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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dande48
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Re: Lost Time Listener First Time Caller

Post by dande48 » 10 Jul 2018, 12:10

felixfabulous wrote:
10 Jul 2018, 11:30
Thanks, dande48. Great insights. I'm curious, what has been your experience in the Church not holding a temple recommend? Have you still been asked to hold a calling and what things do you participate in?
Your Bishop and Stake President are going to see it on the list, but what they choose to do with it comes down to "Leadership Roulette" (i.e. what kind of leader they are). I had an issue once, where I wanted to bless my baby. Frankly, I don't trust anyone else to do it, since my daughter doesn't have a choice and it sticks her name on Church records without her consent. It's not a saving ordinance, so I thought it'd be no problem. The Bishop in effect told me he wanted me to have a temple recommend first. He was judgmental **** about it, and went through each of the temple recommend questions and in effect forced me to give a nuanced answer. It SUCKED. But I was good friends with the EQ president, who had a close connection with the SP, who convinced the bishop to let me give the blessing.

Some leaders will still let you perform baptisms and ordinations; it all depends on who you get. But since my daughter would have to make an actual choice in the matter, I'm more comfortable with having someone else do it. To others on here, not getting to participate would be a big deal, but since I don't really believe in it, I don't mind one way or the other. I also was unable to attend my only sister's wedding, which I was sad over, but I don't regret my decision.I still give priesthood blessings to my wife and kid when they ask for them; all my leaders have said it's ok, if it's ok with them (not that I'm looking for permission). I still take the sacrament, since I haven't committed any sin which would warrant disciplinary action. I've been extra careful to make sure they can't touch me as far as keeping commandments go.

I currently don't hold a calling. I think I'd go for a temple recommend and calling as soon as the Church takes away the "testimony" requirements of a TR and becomes historically and financially transparent. Those are my terms. However, I've been asked to hold callings in every ward I've been in since my TR expired, from facilities coordinator to 2nd counselor in YM's presidency. You're still dealing with leadership roulette, but I've felt I've been better able to participate on my own terms.
"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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Heber13
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Re: Lost Time Listener First Time Caller

Post by Heber13 » 10 Jul 2018, 13:25

If you haven't seen this other thread (see link), check it out, you may find some food for thought about TR and answers and approaching it with integrity.
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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Holy Cow
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Re: Lost Time Listener First Time Caller

Post by Holy Cow » 10 Jul 2018, 13:45

Welcome to the herd, Felix.
Great questions; questions that most of us wade through as we try to figure out our new place in things post-FC. Each person approaches these issues differently. We're all on our own path, and have to figure out what works for us. So, really, there isn't a right or wrong way to do things. There's only your way and some else's way. What has worked for me might not work for others, and what has worked for others might not work for me.
Having said that, in my personal experience, I've shared my doubts and such with many bishops, EQ presidents, high councilors, etc., and can't say that I've had any negative experiences, but I know there are many here who have. I have also seen leaders approach my situation very differently. After my first experience of sharing my doubts with my bishop, and telling him that I didn't want to renew my TR, he called me to serve as his Executive Secretary two weeks later. After moving into another ward, and having a similar conversation, the bishop didn't really know what to do with me. He was very friendly and welcoming, but never gave me a calling. In my current ward, my bishop and other ward leaders and members are very aware of where I stand with things, and are very welcoming, and I'm currently holding callings as EQ Secretary and Assistant Scout Master. I was able to baptize my daughter, but I know there are bishops out there who probably wouldn't have allowed it. I know if my son ever decides to get the priesthood, I won't be able to be a part of that, but I'm completely okay with that and would be happy to see my father fill that role.
Everyone has a different path, and everyone finds a different balance that works for them. The best advice that I found here, and that you've probably read here many times, is to go slow. Just feel out what your comfort level is, one step at a time.
Welcome and good luck!
My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6139

Roy
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Re: Lost Time Listener First Time Caller

Post by Roy » 10 Jul 2018, 16:06

Hi Felix,
Welcome
I do not have a TR because I do not pay a full tithe. I support DW in paying tithes on her income. My children (12 and 10) do not know.
I do not pay tithing because I became disillusioned on the tithing for blessings model that we promote at church.
Most bishops I speak to encourage me return to pay tithing and return to receive the blessings of the temple.
I do have a calling currently as cub scout bear den leader with my wife.
My bishop has given me permission to baptize my children and I confirmed my oldest (my FIL confirmed the second). The handbook says that a TR is not necessary to perform a baptism but it is up to the bishop's discretion (therefore the better your relationship with the bishop and the fewer reasons he might have to believe you are spiritually dangerous the better). The hand book says something about being temple worthy for confirmation - also up to bishop discretion.
It is important to me to ordain my now 10 yr old son. I wish to pass down the priesthood line of authority that I received from my father.
felixfabulous wrote:
10 Jul 2018, 09:30
Is it worth continuing to go through the motions with all of the norms (WOW, garments, tithing, etc.)?
I feel that deciding which standards to keep and which to not is a cost benefit analysis. There are costs and benefits associated with living each standard. There are also costs and benefits to not living a standard.
felixfabulous wrote:
10 Jul 2018, 09:30
How do you make Church a spiritually uplifting experience when there are a lot of things you don't agree with or identify with?
I work most Sundays. Sometimes I feel that the Mormonism that I believe in my mind and the Mormonism I experience at church are two different things. I attend about once a month and that is more manageable for me.
felixfabulous wrote:
10 Jul 2018, 09:30
How do you respond to orthodox believers who are in your family and friend groups?
This is the trickiest part. I suppose how honest I am is also a cost benefit analysis. How honest do I need to be with this person vs. how much are they in a position to hurt me if they do not like what I say. With extended family that I see once or twice a year I will avoid the subject or give non-commital vague responses until I can extricate myself from the conversation. Most of that is small talk "what is your calling nowadays?" If you have specific examples maybe start a thread and we can talk about it.
"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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