My Story

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
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Shell
Posts: 7
Joined: 27 Aug 2018, 06:15

My Story

Post by Shell » 27 Aug 2018, 08:03

Hello all. I would like to start by saying thank you. I have lurked here for over a year and have finally come to the place where I feel the need to be an active part of this site. I am now comfortably at the point where, like the mission statement says, I am no longer angry at the things I have found or at the church. I'm still sad, but seem to be happier all the time. I want to introduce myself. I know of no "short" way to do that so I apologize. This may take a while.

I am a convert to the church and the only member of my parents family. I was baptized at 17, met my wife at 19, and was sealed in the temple at 21. I did not serve a mission as I was never that ardent to do so. We went through our early marriage always being very active in the church. When my career started, I was a member of the young men's presidency. I really enjoyed the 3 years in that calling, but a job move to Utah meant I would no longer be there with the boys that I had built such a good relationship with.

The move brought us to a ward where most of us rent. That means that turnover is quite high. I was immediately put in a scout master not realizing that scouts was held on a day that I would be working late each week. I ended up having to ask for a release because I just could not make it to the activities. I wound up in primary. Our primary is pretty small, and I was teaching the 10-11 year-olds. That's when I lost a fair chuck of my testimony.

I was researching on the church website for a lesson on Joseph Smith. I came upon a strange essay. It had information I had never heard. I was pretty upset, but also very worried. It shook me quite a bit. I put it aside and finished my lesson. I, sort of, resolved to just try to push it aside. It nagged at me constantly. I finally couldn't take it any more. I got by on the site looking for answers and found that there was more. I don't often cry, and I'll rarely admit when I do, but that tore into me pretty hard. It was about that time that my wife told me that one of her sisters and family were leaving the church. It was a pretty big to-do within my wife's immediate family as her sister was always a very literal believer. My wife has always been pretty open minded, so for us it wasn't as big of a deal. It hit me though that I needed to talk with my wife about what I had read. I tried to keep it general, but it was still a very emotional discussion. My wife was pretty pregnant with our 2nd child so I assured her that I would set it aside until a while after the birth. I didn't want to stress her out any more than I had.

In the interim I still was trying to find answers. Before learning what 'bishop roulette' was, I went to a member of my bishopric about one very specific question I had. He accused me of some pretty outrageous things until I told him that it was on the church website. Even then, he said I was reading way more in to the essay than I should. I thanked him for his time and left, resolving to never approach anyone in my ward about my troubles.

A few months after the baby was born, I found this site. I began reading and before long, I had read a lot of the content. I was feeling a lot better and had done pretty well. My wife and I's conversations were much more positive. It was a lazy Sunday and I was reading old conference talks. I read an old one from Oaks about the two lines of communication. That talk broke me. My testimony was gone in an instant. How could it be that I was doing so well, only to have a talk destroy my confidence. That's where my name on this site comes from. My faith was a shell of what it once was, and I still think it's a bit that way, I'm just more positive about it. I was pretty broken. I went to my wife and asked her to help me.

Reading that talk, and having a very supportive wife, was probably one of my greatest blessings. I am still sad at times, but seem to be getting better by the day. I still have a lot of big decisions to make, but am hopeful that I will find the answers that will be right for me and me alone. I do not have any notion of what that ultimately means. My wife is still pretty strong in the church, but she has never been staunch. It allows me some breathing room, which is nice. I have very few definitive beliefs. One of them is that for me individually, I will never 'know' anything again in regards to faith. I also believe that any decision made in faith can be correct, but may only be correct for that individual. I am walking in faith and hoping that my faith is what God would approve of for me alone.

I am trying to make the church work within my faith. Mostly because of my dear, sweet wife. I want to be there for her. I want to be a team with her. I told her that if I couldn't get past this, I would still stay hoping to get some new perspective, even if it never came. She is, quite literally, everything to me.

So with that, again thank you for this site.

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On Own Now
Posts: 1641
Joined: 18 Jan 2012, 12:45

Re: My Story

Post by On Own Now » 27 Aug 2018, 09:32

Shell, welcome. I'm sorry that you and your wife are going through this; it's just a tough thing. I'm glad you are here and I look forward to hearing more from you. I think your perspective that you'll never 'know' anything again regarding faith is a good one to build upon. We are all just seeking an inner peace that works for us, and that includes people in other faiths or in our former faith. Realizing that everyone has a unique perspective has helped take the edge off for me.
"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: 16091
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: My Story

Post by Curt Sunshine » 27 Aug 2018, 09:53

God bless wonderful, caring spouses. You are blessed.

Welcome!
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

Roy
Posts: 5047
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: My Story

Post by Roy » 27 Aug 2018, 11:41

Welcome,

I myself read all the introductions before I posted my own. It was probably much more than was necessary, but I certainly felt like I knew the persons and personalities here before I jumped in.

You mentioned that "reading that talk ... was probably one of my greatest blessings." I assume that you mean the Elder Oaks talk on two lines of communication. Can you elaborate on how that was a blessing for you? I remember the talk well and it was difficult for many of us here
Shell wrote:
27 Aug 2018, 08:03
I will never 'know' anything again in regards to faith. I also believe that any decision made in faith can be correct, but may only be correct for that individual. I am walking in faith and hoping that my faith is what God would approve of for me alone.
This is wonderful! It reminds me of the classic talk "What the church means to people like me" by Richard Poll. http://www.zionsbest.com/people.html
In this talk the concept of Iron Rod Mormons and Liahona Mormons is introduced. Iron Rod Mormons succeed best with certainty. Liahona Mormons progress in a more non-linear and organic way - yet they are still guided in their path by a loving God. Also (as it seems you have discovered) Iron Rod Mormons need for certainty sometimes leads them to perceive alternative and unapproved methods as a threat. It can be a delicate balancing act to coexist.

For me the best part of the talk was to validate that being on a personal path of non-traditional faith is not necessarily a bad thing. God can bless and sanctify my journey even if it doesn't look quite like anybody else's.

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

Shell
Posts: 7
Joined: 27 Aug 2018, 06:15

Re: My Story

Post by Shell » 27 Aug 2018, 12:19

Roy wrote:
27 Aug 2018, 11:41
You mentioned that "reading that talk ... was probably one of my greatest blessings." I assume that you mean the Elder Oaks talk on two lines of communication. Can you elaborate on how that was a blessing for you? I remember the talk well and it was difficult for many of us here
I too have read most the introductions in my time spent as a lurker. On to your question quoted above.

I certainly do not mean to say that the things said in Elder Oaks talk were what was a blessing, I hold on to the belief that they are (and were for me) extremely damaging. I was angry prior to reading it, even with finding this forum there was still a lot of anger. The things in the talk literally broke me. But when my testimony was gone and with having a wife that could see that and the sadness it caused, I was able to start fresh. I lost my testimony but was able to also let go of a lot of the anger that I was holding on to along with it. I am now in a place where I am not angry, which is a huge blessing. I am sad, but I think that makes it a lot more likely for me to continue in the church as opposed to the alternative.

I hope that makes sense. I tend to ramble a bit, it's just me trying to figure things out.

Roy
Posts: 5047
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: My Story

Post by Roy » 27 Aug 2018, 14:39

Thank you for the additional insight Shell.

Perhaps the distinguishing characteristic between "Iron Rod" and "Liahona" Mormons is reliance upon authority. Elder oaks talk was very much a pro-authority talk. Iron Rod Mormons like to see the path laid out clearly and "immovably" before them. Liahona Mormons prefer to "feel" their way a step at a time through the darkness.

I try to think charitably towards those that lead with certainty. I was one of them. But my life experience and situation changed to the point where certainty would no longer work for me. I had to find an alternative. It would be accurate to say that I believed what worked for me then and I believe what works for me now.
"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
Posts: 6019
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: My Story

Post by DarkJedi » 27 Aug 2018, 17:33

Hi and welcome to the forum. Thanks for becoming an active part of the community (although we love our lurkers, too).

Interesting side note: I like the Oaks talk. Like all talks (well, almost all) I don't agree with every word and some I agree with very little but still find gems of truth that I can relate to. Such is the case with the Oaks talk - the stuff about personal communication is good from my point of view. FWIW, there are a few talks in which I find no redeeming value and the number of those is probably about equal to those I find little to no wrong in. My favorite talk is Uchtdorf's Come Join With Us. I practically have it memorized. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/ ... s?lang=eng

Just curious - is the JS stuff you referenced from the Gospel Topic Essay?
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

Shell
Posts: 7
Joined: 27 Aug 2018, 06:15

Re: My Story

Post by Shell » 03 Oct 2018, 11:06

Sorry, it's been a while. I ended up getting contacted by a recruiter for another company. End of that story is my family and I are moving to Oregon in a few weeks. I think the move out of Utah may help me out a bit. Wife and I have been taking a break from church in the mean time. We struggle in our ward, so are waiting til after to move to go. It's been a bit of a relief.
Roy, I really like that talk. I have read it more times than I can count since I was last on here. I think that I am pretty firmly a Liahona. I am trying to see the dynamic between the two types and it's helped me.
DJ, I really like that talk as well. I remember watching Uchtdorf give it. Yes, it was the gospel topics essay on the first vision accounts that I stumbled upon back at the start of this all.

A little update with where I am at. I have been talking with a few trusted members of my wife's family about all this. One of them knows the issues and has left the church. The other knows the issues and is a member of his bishopric. It's been a good balance for me, but ultimately I am pretty comfortably leaning one way. My wife and I have talked a lot as well. She, unbeknownst to me, has been struggling quite a bit as well. Her issues stem more from the way her TBM family has been treating the one daughter and her family who has chosen to leave. Let's just say that the treatment has been less that Christlike. From there she has realized how manipulated she has been by her family. Like I said earlier, we are currently on a little hiatus. We plan to watch conference (or at least a bit of it) this weekend and then try again in our new ward in Oregon. Ultimately, I don't know what all this means for us, but I believe we will be fine however the chips fall. I am happy about that. We talk a lot about how we will be alright as long as we do things together. We recognize that "doing things together" may become a mixed faith family and we are both very comfortable with that. She asked me the other night "If you choose to be done, will you have your records removed?" I gave her a big non-answer of "that depends on where you land." I explained that if she were to stay and I was to go, I would not remove my name because that would void a few things that she cared about, and I would not do that to her. If she decided to go as well, I likely would as neither of us would believe it was a necessary part of being together forever.

It's strange, I'm in a good place right now. Happy that my wife and I are working through it together. I'm still trying to find a way to make it work for me, it's a lot easier knowing that I am free to make whatever decision is ultimately made.
Last edited by Shell on 05 Oct 2018, 12:28, edited 1 time in total.

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Heber13
Posts: 6967
Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

Re: My Story

Post by Heber13 » 03 Oct 2018, 12:12

Thanks so much for sharing part of your story.

It was great to read.

I guess life has these experiences in it where we find a need to continue to grow and search for meaning. I think we want the "answer for life" and for a while church can fill that space for us as we allow it to and apply what we can and go through life doing our best.

But there are also times when we see it differently, and start to need some new perspectives to help us, when the current "iron rod" feels cold and rigid and not as fulfilling to our personal needs...and the idea of exploring new ways and following a "liahona" is something soothing to our souls.

We all are different, but some of us experience this in life and can't find everything in the church as we understand it.

I truly believe God prepares us to go on our own journeys at some point, so we might experience all we need to experience.

But, as you have probably read on this site, it isn't binary "all true" or "all false" and we don't need to go stage 3 in one group to stage 3 in another group, and don't feel settled in stage 4 not having any group. But we can reframe things that feel right to us, and can return to church with new insights and viewpoints, regardless of Joseph Smith and stories that may be literal or may be legendary myths.

We can find a path all our own, even if we get little validation by others at church for such an approach.

Most importantly...you have support from your wife, and hopefully you equally support her and you can both make unified choices on how to raise the kids in a positive home environment.

The other personal details can vary greatly on how that happens.

But it is great to hear how you are doing it. Thanks for teaching me by sharing your story. I look forward to learning more from you as you participate in our discussions.

Glad you joined in! Welcome.

I hope you enjoy Oregon and find good people there to connect with!
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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