Unlearning What I Have Learned

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
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PazamaManX
Posts: 16
Joined: 24 Nov 2018, 03:21

Unlearning What I Have Learned

Post by PazamaManX » 29 Nov 2018, 01:33

Hello,

I've been lurking around this site for a few weeks and I thought I'd finally stop lurking and introduce myself. A little bit about me: I was born in and grew up in the church and have been "active" my entire life. I served a mission and have been happily married in the temple. No kids yet though. For the first big chunk of my life, I would've been what you'd call a stage 3 TBM. Once I went on my mission though, all of that changed. I have always been a very independent and introverted person, and that personality was at odds with mission life. I won't get into the details here, but long story short, many experiences on my mission changed how I view the culture in this church (not the church itself).

After coming home from my mission, I realized that while I still had a belief in and a desire to follow Christ, the culture I found doesn't seem to do much to satisfy my desire to be Christ-like. For example, I've seen someone badgered about the length of his hair and the color of button up shirt to the point of him going inactive. A friend of mine was kicked out by his parents for not going on a mission. Another friend went to BYU and was ostracized by her roommates because she drank a Coke in front of them. Not everyone is like this I know, but I've run into people like this in many different wards. I know no one is perfect, although things like this have shaken my faith in people.

All of this led me to start asking honest questions about what I really believed. Would I have believed in certain things had I not been immersed in them since I was 2 months old? I found myself answering 'No' a lot. I eventually boiled my beliefs down to this: I believe in our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, I believe the BoM and the Bible are true scripture, and I believe in prayer, the atonement and the plan of salvation. Outside of that, I can't find a good reason to believe some things.

I'm not yet done forming my beliefs. My faith is still not where I want it to be. I'm still trying to reconcile how to be apart of a church that I believe has Christ's gospel, but live with a culture that I don't feel is always Christlike. I'm hoping here I can get other people's opinions as well as maybe contributing mine once in awhile.
"Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness, even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear." ~ Thomas Jefferson

AmyJ
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Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Unlearning What I Have Learned

Post by AmyJ » 29 Nov 2018, 06:19

Welcome :smile:

Asking questions about what you believe is important. It sounds like you were able to keep a solid foundation of belief in the turbulent times you face.
" I'm still trying to reconcile how to be apart of a church that I believe has Christ's gospel, but live with a culture that I don't feel is always Christlike"
That is the essence of a life-changing question and perception shift. Bridging the gap between the vision and the reality of a situation is always a challenge - and it is a good start to identify it.

I found this talk by President Utchdorf to be especially helpful in identifying answers to that question:
https://www.lds.org/general-conference/ ... y?lang=eng
"the culture I found doesn't seem to do much to satisfy my desire to be Christ-like. "
I think it boils down to 2 options:
a) Change the culture - either by adopting a different culture or being a change agent in LDS culture.
b) Identify what your "desire to be Christlike" really means for your personal development - and act on it.

Ultimately, I think it doesn't matter so much what we believe as what we do about our beliefs in our lives and in the lives of others. But, your mileage may vary.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Unlearning What I Have Learned

Post by DarkJedi » 29 Nov 2018, 06:23

Welcome to the forum and thanks for letting us know a bit about yourself. I honestly think for many of us the seeds of faith crisis and/or transition are actually planted on our missions. All that study time, if you're really studying, can't help but bring those questions out. You seem to be in the rebuilding phase, and that can take the rest of your life. You believe more than I do, and that's great for you.

I also agree that church culture is the church's biggest problem. By what you have said, I think you're working on this but I'm going to say it anyway - one of the biggest things that helped me was separating the church and the gospel. You have given your witness of the gospel in your post - that's the important part. Figuring out how to cope with the church/church culture is the harder part and that's something we all have to figure out on our own not only because of our own personalities but because of a variety of other factors including where we live and who else lives there. Sometimes I try to see myself as an observer, and that seems to help a bit because it adds some objectivity to what's happening. I have also adopted a live and let live mentality based on the 11th AoF:
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
I think all men includes all men in the church as well (and I think no one would mind tweaking that AoF to be gender neutral).

I'm sure other people will chime in with their ideas. Keep on believing in Christ and you'll be OK.
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
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Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Unlearning What I Have Learned

Post by Roy » 29 Nov 2018, 10:53

Welcome PazamaManX!

I copied the following from Curt:
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.
I agree that there are several ways to make those basic core gospel principles work. The problem that many of us face in our quest to stayLDS is that the church community is often not very accepting or encouraging of many of those frameworks. A good portion of what we discuss here is coping strategies and best practices for interacting with people in that community. It is a balance of knowing when, and where, and how, and how much, and to whom to self disclose.

I feel your frustration with the church culture. I also see many good people that love and serve one another and that helps to overlook some of the quirks.

I do not worry too much about being "Christ-like" (does that mean that I take a stand of activism against corruption and hypocracy that begins a movement, becomes politically dangerous, and possibly ends with my imprisonment and death???). I just focus on being a generally good version of myself - making compomises and imperfect choices with limited and incomplete information along the way. That is what I observe when I see other people talk about being "Christ-like", to be generally good versions of themselves.
"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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nibbler
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Re: Unlearning What I Have Learned

Post by nibbler » 29 Nov 2018, 12:36

PazamaManX wrote:
29 Nov 2018, 01:33
I'm still trying to reconcile how to be apart of a church that I believe has Christ's gospel, but live with a culture that I don't feel is always Christlike.
That's a tough one. I try to remind myself that we're in a fallen world and a culture that doesn't have issues just doesn't exist. This going back to the line we often hear about the church not being a country club for perfect people but a hospital for the infirm. Then, for me, the question becomes, "But is the culture actively doing things that I feel help us all move towards being more Christlike?"

And it gets real tricky when I see some aspirations within church culture that I feel move us towards being more Christlike and some aspirations that move us away from being more Christlike. Then I remind myself that there's no culture where it's all roses, and then the serpent has effectively chomped down on its tail as I work myself into a circle.
PazamaManX wrote:
29 Nov 2018, 01:33
I'm not yet done forming my beliefs. My faith is still not where I want it to be.
Those are good things in my opinion. It creates headroom to grow, space to change, openness of heart and mind.
It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words, "And this too, shall pass away." How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!
― Abraham Lincoln

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SilentDawning
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Re: Unlearning What I Have Learned

Post by SilentDawning » 30 Nov 2018, 09:58

PazamaManX wrote:
29 Nov 2018, 01:33
I'm not yet done forming my beliefs. My faith is still not where I want it to be. I'm still trying to reconcile how to be apart of a church that I believe has Christ's gospel, but live with a culture that I don't feel is always Christlike. I'm hoping here I can get other people's opinions as well as maybe contributing mine once in awhile.
I have a few suggestions.

1. View culture for what it is -- culture. It's something that grew up without you (I know you were part of it, but you didn't create it, GA's, to some extent the gospel (that's why Christ spoke about not judging, as a common code of ethics leads to judgmentalism naturally) and other adults and youth created it. Culture is sort of invisible at first until your "eyes are opened" and you can just accept and perpetuate it without even realizing it.

Recognizing that it's like culture in other countries that you simply observe, but don't buy into, can make it more tolerable, in my opinion.

2. Speak up about non-controversial church culture deficits.

One you mention- judgmentalism -- is a great one to talk about. Absolutely fabulous. Judgmentalism exists in spades in our church, and there is direct counsel from Christ himself in the Bible against it. Go to town on that one now and then. I may even start a thread on it. I have found I too can be judgmental toward traditional believers if I don't check myself on that one. You won't get into any hot water sharing your opinion of it with others at church, or anything. It's a safe topic that allows you to speak out against that variable.

I have found others that are popular with members, and keep me out of hot water are a) never say no to a calling (rely on the new trend toward making church a place to support families, rather than the other way around b) finding joy in life, which sometimes means placing personal interests over all other outside interests now and then (I stop short of saying the church, but will sometimes place the pursuit of wholesome joy above church "shoulds" on non-controversial topics and c) the need to align church work with people's passions and d) democratic approaches to local leadership. All these have garnered some praise with others in our former HP meetings and fifth Sunday meetings.

This can be VERY therapeutic when you are working from a sort of contrarion perspective, but get kudos from the people at church for it.

3. Decide your boundaries

Decide what you will and will not do. March to your own drum. Be supportive where you can, and sometimes, you might do things you would rather not do, but set boundaries so the things that really bother you have little impact.

4. Make the Church a smaller footprint by enlarging your life footprint.

I found joy in serving community at one point. It made the church a much smaller footprint. All of a sudden there was this massive world out there of things to do, and my life no longer revolved around the church. New friendships, new people with new needs, personal growth not possible in the church -- all while staying planted in the church at the time.

5. Post your questions and thoughts online.

StayLDS provides an online community that is safe for contrarion but not anti-Mormon ideas -- as well as Church-supportive ideas. You won't get the close-mindedness you see if you ask questions like your opening post, at church. You'll get a variety of perspectives and can make your own mind up. There is a certain amount of freedom in owning yourself, while still striving to be a good person and even a good Mormon. I would avoid sites that are overly negative about the church, or that keep contronting you with anti-Mormon stuff. If your issues aren't historical, then I would leave that alone.

That's my advice. It's worth every penny you paid for it :)
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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LDS_Scoutmaster
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Location: SoCal

Re: Unlearning What I Have Learned

Post by LDS_Scoutmaster » 06 Dec 2018, 18:34

PazamaManX wrote:
29 Nov 2018, 01:33
I'm not yet done forming my beliefs. My faith is still not where I want it to be. I'm still trying to reconcile how to be apart of a church that I believe has Christ's gospel, but live with a culture that I don't feel is always Christlike. I'm hoping here I can get other people's opinions as well as maybe contributing mine once in awhile.
I also think that it's a good thing, not having formed beliefs. I found that my faith is evolving, and for a long time it didn't evolve, I was on a plateau. So, for me, allowing change and letting it evolve that been good.
Trying to change the culture from within seems like an impossible task. But just as the culture has formed over the last hundred Plus years, it will change over the next hundred years by small examples and people. Stay strong, stand up for what's right, especially when it is christ-like and goes against Church culture.
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6311&start=70#p121051 My last talk

We are all imperfect beings, dealing with other imperfect beings, and we're doing it imperfectly.

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West
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Joined: 26 Aug 2014, 14:42

Re: Unlearning What I Have Learned

Post by West » 30 Dec 2018, 00:43

Late to the party, but still, welcome to the forums! I don't think we ever truly finish forming our beliefs in life. Like others have said, it's good to keep it evolving as more information and life experiences gather around you. A lot of the "bad examples" of the culture you've seen are often the results of people being taught certain set-in-stone cultural beliefs and being unwilling to change and evolve them. Be open to the idea that you'll never 100% finish figuring out the details of your beliefs, but you can at least decide what you value today and live your life accordingly. :)
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. -Albert Einstein

And God said 'Love Your Enemy,' and I obeyed him and loved myself. -Kahlil Gibran

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