Stayin' Alive

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
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Arrakeen
Posts: 12
Joined: 25 Aug 2018, 18:49

Stayin' Alive

Post by Arrakeen » 26 Aug 2018, 15:33

I'm in my early twenties, currently in school. I never imagined the path that would get me to where I am today.

I finished a full-time mission a little over a year ago, and it was without question the darkest, most horrific experience of my life thus far. Before my mission, I was a TBM, and my experience in the church was overwhelmingly positive. Early on in my mission I was abused by a companion, which led to me developing severe clinical depression and OCD. After grappling with trauma for the last year and going through a half-hearted and ultimately abandoned suicide attempt, I am looking for healing and answers.

My recent experiences fundamentally changed my faith. I can no longer believe in the same black and white, right and wrong worldview that I once had. I can no longer trust other people or authority like I once did. I'm trying to pick up the pieces of my shattered testimony and make sense of it all, hoping that I can heal and that my pent-up anger and bitterness will dissipate. I've been studying church history and reading the experiences of others. At the same time I now feel alienated and alone in my church community and at school (I'm at BYU). I also often feel traumatized at church, as I am reminded of my painful experiences and of the way things once were, back when I fit in and could believe like everybody else.

I'm still right in the middle of a faith transition, still trying to figure out what I believe. It's been a painful process, but I hope it will eventually turn out okay and that I will find meaning in life and good reasons to keep on going. I'm hoping that I can find a way to positively engage at church(and BYU) even though I am developing much less orthodox, much more nuanced beliefs.

Minyan Man
Posts: 1525
Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: Stayin' Alive

Post by Minyan Man » 26 Aug 2018, 20:19

Arrakeen, welcome to the "group". The good news is: you're not alone. One thing you said struck a chord:
My recent experiences fundamentally changed my faith. I can no longer believe in the same black and white, right and wrong worldview that I once had. I can no longer trust other people or authority like I once did. I'm trying to pick up the pieces of my shattered testimony and make sense of it all, hoping that I can heal and that my pent-up anger and bitterness will dissipate.
1. Anger & bitterness can be a dangerous combination. It can destroy relationships, lives & our spiritual beliefs. It took me years to work
through this emotion & it almost destroyed everything that was important in my life. It took time & the ability to discuss issues with friends, relatives
& a professional therapist to work through my issues.

2. Fundamental changes to our faith. We should periodically expect changes to occur in our beliefs. The reason challenge can be difficult is when we experience problems & bumps in the road that shake us to the core. (As you described.) We need to work through them & it can take time.

3. Making sense of it all. This is a good place to start. This forum has helped me a lot, to regain my faith in a new & exciting way.
Much of what I believed when I first joined the church is unrecognizable today.

Keep coming back. It is good for some of us who have been here a while to hear the new voices. Again, I hope you feel welcome.

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On Own Now
Posts: 1656
Joined: 18 Jan 2012, 12:45

Re: Stayin' Alive

Post by On Own Now » 27 Aug 2018, 10:02

Hi, Stayin' Alive. I'm glad you are here and I hope we can help each other as we go forward. I just want to address a couple quick points.

- Make sure you are seeing a counselor. Perhaps you already are, but I toss it out there because I think it is that important. It can take time to find a good one, so stick to it if necessary.

- IMO, Faith Transition isn't something we ever complete. My FC kicked off my FT, and I'm still in the middle of it a couple of decades later. For me, this is a positive thing. What I value and how I proceed are always up to further adjustment. I understand the desire we all experience to find the 'right' answer... Now, I've got it! But in our non-black&white world, I think it's helpful to be open to embrace the variety and accept that my own view is not the one/true view, it's just he one that works for me at present and that others have their own views that work for them.

Welcome; I look forward to hearing more 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

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16137
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Stayin' Alive

Post by Curt Sunshine » 27 Aug 2018, 10:16

Welcome!

Just a few thoughts that hit me as I read your story:

1) What OON said about counseling. If you aren't already, and if you can, see a counselor. A good one can be invaluable.

2) "Faith is the substance of things HOPED FOR, the evidence of things NOT SEEN." Faith also is the first principle of the Gospel - and knowledge isn't on the short list. Let me repeat that: Knowledge isn't on the short list of Gospel principles. I believe we talk FAR too much about knowing and FAR too little about faith - and that we say, "Faith is knowing..." FAR too often. "I'll walk in faith..." is a powerful concept - much more so, I believe, than, "I know..."

3) On-going revelation has to change previous beliefs and doctrine, which means a lot of previous and current beliefs and doctrine have to be incomplete or flat-out wrong. Humans avoid that simple conclusion in lots of ways, but the heart of our theology and doctrinal foundation, including multiple Articles of Faith, rests on us being wrong, often and about lots of things, in each current time period - at all individual levels, lay members and leaders, from top to bottom. Understanding and accepting that alone can bring a whole lot of peace - and, importantly, charity.
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

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dande48
Posts: 1133
Joined: 24 Jan 2016, 16:35
Location: Wherever there is danger

Re: Stayin' Alive

Post by dande48 » 27 Aug 2018, 11:50

Hey Arrakeen,

Glad you're with us. This is a good place to be.

I'm sorry to hear about your mission experience. I don't think anyone who hasn't served a mission, realize how tough it can be. Even without what you went through, it can really break you down. I hope you know, some days it's OK to be not OK. It's understandable to feel upset over what happened. Don't let it bottle up, and don't feel guilty about the way you feel. Feel it, acknowledge it, and let it pass. You're going to make it through.

Two things that have helped me:
1. Feeling gratitude, for even the smallest things. Butter on toast, warm shirts right out of the drier, naps on the hammock... there's nothing better. If that's the meaning of life, I can live happy.
2. No expectations. I've heard too often that optimism is what makes us happy; But I am more a fan of "cheerful despair". It's to recognize how challenging things will be. Things can, and often will, go very wrong. Everyone, including ourselves, is will sometimes be foolish, irrational, clumsy... Things will break "for no good reason". We're going to be wrong, and "in the wrong" many times. It's how life is. And life is still a blessing!

I look forward to learning more from you, Arrakeen. I'm happy you're here.
"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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DarkJedi
Posts: 6087
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Stayin' Alive

Post by DarkJedi » 27 Aug 2018, 17:39

Welcome. I'm sorry for your experiences. The first seeds of my own FC/FT were planted on my mission (and I don't think that's uncommon).

BYU can be tough during a faith crisis. I also recommend counseling and honestly I think the BYU counseling center can help (even though that might seem counter intuitive). They are not unused to dealing with FC and will not share with the honor code office, bishops, etc. There is some luck of the draw, but if you'd like I can get you at least a name (maybe a few) of a good counselor there. And best of all it's free!

Hang in there! It does get better, but there will always be good days and bad days.
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

AmyJ
Posts: 780
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Stayin' Alive

Post by AmyJ » 28 Aug 2018, 05:33

Arrakeen wrote:
26 Aug 2018, 15:33
My recent experiences fundamentally changed my faith. I can no longer believe in the same black and white, right and wrong worldview that I once had. I can no longer trust other people or authority like I once did. I'm trying to pick up the pieces of my shattered testimony and make sense of it all, hoping that I can heal and that my pent-up anger and bitterness will dissipate.
Its gets better!

The essay at the web page was super helpful - your mileage may vary.

It takes time to mourn what used to be. It takes time to nurture something new in its place. This talk by President Holland has been a lifeline for me:
https://www.lds.org/general-conference/ ... e?lang=eng

With the fall of the previous worldview, you get to deliberately and thoughtfully recreate a worldview. Some of the pieces are in the realm of the unconscious, which is largely outside of your control - but I feel that it is a blessing to examine what you believe, why you believe, and what you do to act on that belief.
Arrakeen wrote:
26 Aug 2018, 15:33
I'm still right in the middle of a faith transition, still trying to figure out what I believe. It's been a painful process, but I hope it will eventually turn out okay and that I will find meaning in life and good reasons to keep on going. I'm hoping that I can find a way to positively engage at church(and BYU) even though I am developing much less orthodox, much more nuanced beliefs.
I believe that you have the tools you need to tweak it to eventually turn out OK.

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