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Re: Raising kids lds when I don’t believe

Posted: 10 Jan 2019, 15:33
by dande48
SilentDawning wrote:
10 Jan 2019, 13:19
But who knows. Heck, it's hard for a judge to figure out what happened from eye witness testimony about something that happened just a few months ago, let alone what happened 200 years ago. Add era-specific biases to the mix, differences in the use of language, and then rose-colored glasses borne of years of apologetic or revisionist historians, and it's nearly impossible to determine the truth.

My approach is agnosticism when it's not clear. I have no doubt that Abe Linclon's Gettysberg address is pretty close to what he said, and that it happened. But the first vision? Who knows? No one was there to corroborate.
It's a tough spot to be in, but I do think we're able to arrive at a more solid conclusion, than we sometimes like to believe. It's impossible to know much of anything, but we can increase our certainty one way or another. There's the source, consistency, environment, personal interests, etc which are all wonderful at updating our confidence in what we 'know". Though we cannot have an absolute knowledge of anything, we can be increase or decrease in our confidence, even when it comes to events which happened centuries or even millennia ago. Even further, we can determine whether or not other people who say they "know" (i.e. believe with a strong degree of confidence), have good evidence to base their confidence on.

Re: Raising kids lds when I don’t believe

Posted: 10 Jan 2019, 18:18
by SilentDawning
To answer the opening question -- so far, I've achieved the goal you are seeking. I had a major commitment crisis when my kids were about 12 (daughter) and 8 (son) respectively.

My daughter is 20 and married in the temple and active. My son is inactive but still participates now and then. My wife and I still attend but I am not nearly the committed animal I was previously.

The key for me was to

a) avoid sharing your doubts with your family. Be supportive and strive NOT to be a stumbling block.
b) when kids ask direct questions about garments, tithing, and temple, indicate you need time to formulate an answer. Then post the question here and we can give you some ideas so you can form your own answer.
c) Don't share your username or the fact you post here. I think my family looks now and then and that's not good.
d) Participate in the Ward on friendly terms, don't trust the local leaders with your true feelings, and hold callings you feel you can do without selling yourself out.
e) Let the church and your wife teach the doctrine. I know the program of the church is to teach it in the home but the kids do get it if taught at church.
f) Decide what you CAN teach and teach that when necessary. Topics like charity, kindness, forgiving, all those are easy to teach even if a non-believer.
g) Always give local leaders vague hope you''ll someday return to full activity. Always have non-testimony reasons ready for not participating fully. I hate to say it, but their acceptance of you as an individual is often conditional on full activity, so be very guarded about what you share. Their willingness to let you perform ordinances is also conditional, and leadership roulette is very real. Never limit your opportunities by saying you don't believe. There is always SOMETHING about the church you can talk about affirmatively.

Hope that helps!

Re: Raising kids lds when I don’t believe

Posted: 11 Jan 2019, 09:33
by Rumin8
What a great road map SD!
SilentDawning wrote:
10 Jan 2019, 18:18
c) Don't share your username or the fact you post here. I think my family looks now and then and that's not good.
I was thinking about this the other day as I have been recently working through a new church detente with my wife. I think the fact that I have lurked here for years, and become more active here recently is a good thing. But I also don't think I would like her to read my posts. Too much sausage making going on in my thought process, which could be hurtful to her to read.

Re: Raising kids lds when I don’t believe

Posted: 07 Nov 2019, 01:12
by Rich70
Thanks again for the helpful replies. Its been almost year now and my emotions and insights have settled somewhat. My wife and I are pretty much on the same page . I still feel like I have a lot to figure out with regards to the the LDS church but it's been nice to step back and observe from an outsider's perspective and to formulate my opinions slowly.

Sometime I find it alarming that any of us would even need a forum to discuss our beliefs because believing different than the norm is somehow a scary thing. It's so messed up that having differing religious beliefs about church history should matter at all. We really have so much in common, but we get too hung up temple recommends, missions, and testimonies, that we forget about acceptance, love and Christ. I need to just be comfortable in my own skin and I trust others will eventually judge me by my character and not assume Satan got me because I've lost my faith in Joseph. ( I hear this form the pulpit a lot lately). Shouldn't it be enough commonality to be followers of Jesus Christ. Let me worship and participate and serve in my church community. I hope the church creates space for those like me. Maybe we just have to create our own space.
I wish a belief in Joseph Smith's claims should be a prerequisite to joining or participating in the church.

My 12 year old son is to be ordained a Teacher in January. I will still have a temple recommend at that point but soon will let it expire. I realize that I soon may need to have a discussion with my Bishop about callings, ordinations etc. He's a really down to earth loving guy but in no way will he understand. I expect he will be kind though. My current debate is, do I even need to have a conversation with him or just go on living my life as I see right. If I do have a conversation, it might go something like this:
"I have issues with some of the historical facts of church history. To be true to my conscience, I'm not continuing to donate to the tithing funds, or renew my temple recommend. I am worthy otherwise , I attend with my family, I will continue to serve in callings, but I'm not comfortable teaching about Joseph Smith as a prophet. You don't need to worry about me persuading others to change their beliefs I respect and understand the beliefs of those around me.

I kind of like the idea of people knowing that I am a non Joseph believing active member. Perhaps that will help those who are struggling with the same issues. I want other to know that they are not inferior for believing differently. I want married couples to know that marriage and family should trump belief in Joseph and not to let these things affect our families. I want struggling members to know that it's ok to have doubts and questions and there are other options than complete disassociation from the church. I want those who speak harshly about those who leave or disbelieve Joseph to see an active neighbor be honest about it and perhaps convince them to be less judgmental.
Maybe this is all unrealistic and maybe its a bad idea to think I can be openly true to my beliefs in Utah county?

Re: Raising kids lds when I don’t believe

Posted: 07 Nov 2019, 06:05
by DarkJedi
Rich70 wrote:
07 Nov 2019, 01:12
Maybe this is all unrealistic and maybe its a bad idea to think I can be openly true to my beliefs in Utah county?
Yes, I believe it unrealistic, especially in Utah County. There will be people who understand but they will be a small minority. Be prepared to be judged and ostracized by others and perhaps treated poorly by leaders (depending on the leaders, but roulette will always play a part). Going back to my earlier comment, it's best to stick to what we do believe and keep the rest to ourselves except with those we are absolutely certain we can trust.

Re: Raising kids lds when I don’t believe

Posted: 07 Nov 2019, 07:25
by LookingHard
You might consider joining the following facebook groups:

- Marriage on a tightrope
- Mormon Mixed Faith Marriages

They have had discussions about this topic. marriage on a tightrope also has a podcast.

Re: Raising kids lds when I don’t believe

Posted: 07 Nov 2019, 07:32
by AmyJ
I agree with DarkJedi here - when you say what you don't believe, the fur starts flying. There is a knee-jerk reaction believing members get to those who express not believing in the same way. And in all honesty, it goes both ways. I work to control my knee-jerk reaction when I hear things at church that get under my skin.

What makes you think you need to have a conversation with your bishop?
Tithing Settlement - You can declare a Partial Tithe Payer and full stop. You can express a vague hope that circumstances change to make you a full tithe payer again (if you feel comfortable doing so). You can request that your wife redirect any probing questions back to you. If you can get out of tithing settlement with your family, even better.

Kid Ordination - You are off the hook for another year.

I have to admit that I did have a conversation with my branch president about my faith transition. I did so because I was pretty certain that leadership roulette would run in my favor (including factors like that fact we have a very small branch and the cultural stereotype that if you push away the moms from the church, you are pushing away the family) and it helped my husband. If/when we move to a ward, I don't plan on having the conversation. If circumstances change that I am forced to have a conversation with a new leader, I will formulate my responses to disarm and delay it until it is on my terms (as much as possible).

I think the biggest challenge isn't so much what to say to leadership (though that is a big one), but it's working out the family party line with the spouse for what they feel comfortable saying if/when they are asked questions.

Re: Raising kids lds when I don’t believe

Posted: 07 Nov 2019, 20:17
by Curt Sunshine
It is up to you, but be ready for issues if you tell your Bishop you aren't fully believing. It might not happen, but it probably will at some point, given leadership roulette.

There is no requirement to explain anything. If you want to do that, fine; if not, fine. You can accept callings or say no. It is your call, and you don't need to explain unless you want to do so. You can keep a temple recommend or not. It is your call, and you don't need to explain unless you want to do so.

Given what you have said, I would suggest attending as if you were a non-member supporting your family but also able to serve in a calling you are comfortable doing. In some ways, that is the best of both worlds. Roy does that very well, as do a lot more members than most people realize.

Re: Raising kids lds when I don’t believe

Posted: 08 Nov 2019, 07:40
by Rich70
Thanks again for the advice!! I realize it’s very different for everyone. I appreciate having place to express my thoughts and get kind and constructive feedback. I think I’m forming an opinion of what I need to do:

I don’t like the idea of hiding in a corner. That makes me feel like a victim of the church and will make me resentful ( which I don’t want to be) . On the other hand, I don’t like the idea of judging others because they do not have the same doubts as me.
I have lived in my neighborhood for a long tine and have a good relationship with my neighbors. My current bishop is much more loving than my previous bishop. I don’t like the idea of hiding on the sidelines or feeling like an outsider. My wife feels the same way about the church so I don’t need to tip toe around my family. My wife’s family and mine are kind and honestly will not shun. I know them well enough and have talked to many of them already.

My plan:

I will actively teach my kids to be inclusive, loving and Christlike and not to judge others based on their beliefs. I get the opportunity to let them enjoy the standards and fellowship of the church but remove the inappropriate guilt and interview process most adults went through as children. I get to teach them equality of gender and race and sexual preference. I get live without fear of my children believing different from me or “leaving” the church. I get to teach them that character trumps religious affiliation, that it’s ok to serve or not serve a mission. This is my family and I won’t stand in the sidelines and let the church coach my kids. My wife and I get to “coach our team” Sure, we have to play within the rules of the church and our culture, but I just feel like for me and my personality, I can’t be a quiet , timid observer. I will not be an outspoken opponent, but I choose to be a respectful and kind advocate. I don’t feel the need to announce anything but when the situation arises, I plan to address it honestly. I have to remember that although I feel like I’m on the minority, I’m not. Most of the world lives with religuous uncertainty and probably half or more of the active church members do too but just don’t express it. Let me worship according to the dictates of my own conscience and I will do the same.

Re: Raising kids lds when I don’t believe

Posted: 08 Nov 2019, 12:45
by Roy
Rich70 wrote:
07 Nov 2019, 01:12
"I have issues with some of the historical facts of church history. To be true to my conscience, I'm not continuing to donate to the tithing funds, or renew my temple recommend. I am worthy otherwise , I attend with my family, I will continue to serve in callings, but I'm not comfortable teaching about Joseph Smith as a prophet. You don't need to worry about me persuading others to change their beliefs I respect and understand the beliefs of those around me.
In my talks with my bishop I have described myself as struggling in my faith but hopeful. I said that the plan of salvation/happiness is so beautiful that I hope for it to be true and that I am willing to act on that hope. I do not pay tithing and that is the only reason I do not have a temple recommend. During the annual tithing settlement, it feels like I owe a debt and that I am delinquent and making lame excuses. I do not like that feeling.

However, I think the alternatives would be to start paying tithing (I do not imagine that anyone would care to talk to me about my faith if I was checking all the boxes) or cease to recognise the church authorities as an authority in my life. I think this final option is a scary bridge for me to cross with my ward leaders for several reasons. 1) I believe that my bishop might interpret that as defiance, obstinance, or challenging to his authority and the authority of all those that he represents. 2) The bishop may impose more restrictions than I would wish for. I have been very fortunate in being able to baptize my two children and to ordain my son with the status quo. I feel that being allowed to participate in such ordinances would be more challenging after a rejection of church authority. 3) There is an sense of finality to it. Similar to bearing one's testimony - there is no point in arguing. It just is.

Considering this, I have chasen to continue with that feeling of being delinquent during tithing settlement (I go in seperately to declare my tithing status and then we welcome my family in). There are many sacrificaes that I make for the sake of my family. Swallowing my pride and playing the part of an unprofitable debtor is something that I am willing to do to maintain the status quo.
Rich70 wrote:
08 Nov 2019, 07:40
I don’t like the idea of hiding in a corner. That makes me feel like a victim of the church and will make me resentful ( which I don’t want to be) .
I respect that. My solution above is just one way of balancing the competing interests. For me, paying tithing would make me feel unsustainably resentful towards the church because I would feel that the church was threatening my family's financial security (I probably equate money and security more than the average joe).