Raising kids lds when I don’t believe

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Holy Cow
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Re: Raising kids lds when I don’t believe

Post by Holy Cow » 08 Nov 2019, 14:33

Rich70 wrote:
08 Nov 2019, 07:40
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.
This is basically where I am, as well. Within the last six years, I am now on my sixth bishop, due to two moves, one ward boundary split, and three bishopric changes. I've been completely up front with all six of these bishops (as well as the elders quorum presidents, stake presidencies, YM presidents, and anybody else that wanted to talk about it), and I've never had a negative experience with that, although I recognize many here have. Like you, I don't like feeling like I'm hiding either. I am in church every Sunday, I show up to every service project and every move, we invite members to go out on double dates on a regular basis, I actively participate in classes, I hold a calling as an assistant scoutmaster and I attend every activity and every camp, my daughter and I pick three members every week to deliver fresh cookies to. In short, I'm more active and involved than most TBM members. This can be confusing to many people when I talk openly about not having a testimony of everything that is taught by the church. Some people, the black/white thinkers mostly, want to assume that somebody who isn't all in, must be all out (or on their way out). If people want to feel that way about me, that's fine with me. But, most people are very respectful about the fact that there are many things that I just don't believe. But, I'm still fully accepted into the fold. Of course, I could see this being very different if I still expected the bishop to allow me to hold a TR, or something like that. I haven't had a TR in years, and have no desire to get one, so the bishop really doesn't have any leverage over me. I'm also very open with the bishop during tithing settlement. When he asks if we are full or partial tithe payers, I tell him that my wife is a full tithe payer, and that I feel that I am a full tithe payer but not in the sense that the church would accept. I split my 10% tithe between 1. Fast Offerings, 2. a local women's shelter, and 3. a local children's cancer hospital. I believe God would be happy with how I'm donating my tithe, even if the church considers me to not be a full tithe payer.
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Re: Raising kids lds when I don’t believe

Post by DarkJedi » 08 Nov 2019, 19:07

For the record, I don't "hide in a corner" either. There are people (including leaders) who know I don't believe everything, but they don't know exactly what I don't believe. They know what I do believe though and were they to give it some deeper thought they'd likely be able to figure out what I don't believe by process of elimination of what I do and don't talk about. That's something I figured out early in my return to church - what people don't say is just as important as what they do say. If someone never talks about something but does talk about other things, it's likely they don't believe that which they don't speak about. Part of the "trick" if you want to call it that is speaking the language in a way that believers can understand. I learned at least some of this aspect from our own Curt.

Yes, I do participate in class, and I do make statements that don't necessarily fit the orthodox mold - but I never do so in an antagonistic or condescending way (unlike some of the orthodox). If I know I have allies in the room, and I usually do, I am more bold and I am bold in supporting those allies when they make more progressive or outside the orthodox box (orthobox?) statements. I also get the pulpit more than my fair share, and I feel free to make properly framed statements from the pulpit and have done so in the presence of many leaders. In council meetings I am far more forthcoming, but nothing I say can ever be construed as apostate by rational beings.

Some examples: I do pay tithing, but not on gross or net. I simply answer the tithing question (only asked in TR interviews since I don't go to tithing settlement) with the expected answer - yes. I do believe I'm a full tithe payer, nothing else is required of me to say. If someone tries to assert in a meeting that tithing is on gross (and we have a member of our ward who does that frequently) I am not shy to jump in and correct the statement. I rarely talk about prayer because I don't really believe in prayer but I can speak about it in general terms with those who do believe. There's no need for me to advertise I don't believe in prayer or make any correction to those who do believe in prayer - they believe what they believe and I believe what I believe and there is actually very little "doctrine" about prayer. An orthodox member might not believe me if I said I never really experienced what I would consider and answer to prayer, but I believe the orthodox member when he or she says they have because how do I know they haven't just because I haven't? And I do believe something happened to Joseph Smith, answer to prayer or not.

Lastly, my now adult children, who all lived through my FC/inactivity as children/teens, don't know I don't believe in prayer - but they do know I don't say meal prayers, etc. In that sense they're accepting. At least some of them do believe in prayer despite my feelings about it.
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."

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Re: Raising kids lds when I don’t believe

Post by Rich70 » 08 Nov 2019, 20:29

Love both these new responses. I think both of you are confident in your beliefs and considerate in your approaches. I see many attack and criticize the church and that seems to cause a rift. I like that you respectfully and confidently hold your ground. I think that merits respect from family and neighbors and that’s a big reason your experiences have been good. I’m not saying that someone else will always have that same experience if they took the same approach, but I think to a large extent, the way you’ve handled it has set the stage for a good experience. Thanks again!

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