StayLDS and the Middle Way

Public forum for topics that don't fit into the other categories.
johndehlin
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Re: StayLDS and the Middle Way

Post by johndehlin » 10 Oct 2010, 09:14

canadiangirl wrote:
Tom said, "Therefore while he appears to honestly appreciate the work going on here, he no longer directs people to these forums as a matter of course. And I believe his conclusion is in harmony with the philosophy and approach we take here, as we support people in their happiness, whatever direction that may lead them."
Where does he direct them now?

This statement worried me and I'm not sure why. I guess it scared me that maybe I wouldn't make it through this faith crisis and have to make a decision that would really rock my world and create distress among my family. URGGGh......
I have no problem referring folks to StayLDS. I love it here, and I really love you guys. This is still probably where my heart is...and I'm still on this path (at least for now...and I don't plan on changing).

The only thing that's changed is that I don't hold StayLDS up as "the preferred" or "the" path anymore...and I try to provide disclaimers when I promote it....and it's only because I don't want to set people (or their spouses/families) up with unrealistic expectations. In my anecdotal experience....there are many friends of mine for whom this path couldn't work in the long run on integrity grounds alone. And so I've allowed that data to feed back into my evangelism, so to speak.

That said...I have no idea what the percentages are. But to me, it's important to not set people up for failure, or set family members up with unrealistic expectations about what the struggler should do ("Why can't you just be like John Dehlin?!?!)

I still love this place, and all of you. Not that that matters. I'm just one dude.

johndehlin
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Re: StayLDS and the Middle Way

Post by johndehlin » 10 Oct 2010, 09:15

Ray Degraw wrote:We don't advocate "a middle way". Rather, we advocate individal, personal ways. There's a HUGE difference between those approaches, and I think John is starting to realize there is no one way for all. I'm sure he will continue to try to find another way that helps another group of people - and that's one thing I really love about him.
Thanks, Ray. This is totally how I feel. I appreciate your understanding. Brian too. And Tom. Ya'll are awesome.

jules
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Re: StayLDS and the Middle Way

Post by jules » 11 Oct 2010, 07:29

Brian Johnston - "they feel like a double failure after not even being able to be "slackers" at Mormonism."


Thanks. The "slacker" comment made me smile, but also spoke to me. As i've been reading on the site I often keep asking myself, " How are they managing this middle-ground?" I want to too. However, I'm struggling to be able to do it. Sometimes I want to learn how. Other times I think I can't. Thanks for validating those who are failing at even being slackers. :) (No sarcasm intended)

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: StayLDS and the Middle Way

Post by hawkgrrrl » 11 Oct 2010, 15:22

I think the other thing that is different about the StayLDS path vs. NOM (or whatever - there are other sites) is that to really make the church work, you have to mine for the gold dust. You really have to find a way to find something of value swirling around in that sieve of yours with all the rocks and silt. There are some who just can't do that because they've been too damaged by personal experiences in the church or they just can't hack it. There are as many different paths as there are individuals, but here are the most common ones I see:
1 - stay for family / cultural reasons. I think long-term this is not sustainable unless you also find personal spiritual value. To me, that's the real StayLSD path is finding personal spiritual value, building something new where the old (that was on a sandy foundation) has been washed away.
2 - "fake it" until you can't any more. That's not the same as #1 and it's absolutely destined to fail. I think it can also ruin marriages because a spouse can feel betrayed. I totally empathize with people who do this, but it sure doesn't last. You have to become authentic, as quickly as you can. You can't live a lie.
3 - go inactive. This can help people to either a) decide they want to come back (even if it takes a long time) or b) to find something else they like better (in some cases) or c) to just stop attending altogether. Personally, the 3rd option there is a bit of a downgrade (I would compare it to camping vs. living in a house, but it can really make you appreciate having a house after a while, even if that house has termites and a leaky toilet).
4 - stop believing in everything. This is often the byproduct of all-or-nothing thinking that is really damaging to people. Cafeteria Mormonism is not the exception - it's the rule. Just some people don't know they are cafeteria Mormons. Everyone is. The incident with Packer's talk shows us that the Q12 are. We're cafeteria humans. You can unpack things and retain some beliefs and lose others.

Anyway, I could have organized those thoughts in lots of different ways. There are some folks who will definitely do better outside the church, and I really do hope they find joy. There is joy to be had. I don't want anyone to be miserable, inside or outside the church. People have to heal themselves, eventually.

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SilentDawning
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Re: StayLDS and the Middle Way

Post by SilentDawning » 11 Oct 2010, 18:28

I can add another reason:

Stay for the good in the Church. Not cultural reasons (these often push people away) but for the associations with largely good people with clean habits and good values. Stay because it helps you become a better person, just as serving in a service organization does. There is something to be said for being around people who don't swear, drink, smoke etcetera, because it helps you avoid those things.
"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

Curt Sunshine
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Re: StayLDS and the Middle Way

Post by Curt Sunshine » 11 Oct 2010, 19:44

Stay for the good in the Church.
or stay for the good TO the Church your staying can be. The Church is better when multiple instruments can be heard; it is worse when only the piccolos keep playing.
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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Orson
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Re: StayLDS and the Middle Way

Post by Orson » 19 Oct 2010, 08:09

Amen Ray. Stay for multiple reasons. Stay for the good the church does for you and stay for the good you do for the people and the organization.
My avatar - both physical and spiritual.

I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.

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Heber13
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Re: StayLDS and the Middle Way

Post by Heber13 » 19 Oct 2010, 15:10

So.... just to summarize again, am I understanding the tone of the thread correctly in something like this:
The "Middle Way" focuses on something other than if the church is "true" or "false", but instead focuses on finding peace and happiness, which for some is to Stay LDS for family, association, or personal growth...for others it is leaving the chuch to find peace and something else...and so it is not based on truth or conformity, but on peace.
Is that what I hear everyone saying?

If that is something close to the consensus on the thread, do we think that is something that is sustainable over time...to stay in the church regardless of it being true or not, or do we need a testimony of its truthfulness and therefore the middle way is only a transient way?
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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SilentDawning
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Re: StayLDS and the Middle Way

Post by SilentDawning » 19 Oct 2010, 15:22

If that is something close to the consensus on the thread, do we think that is something that is sustainable over time...to stay in the church regardless of it being true or not, or do we need a testimony of its truthfulness and therefore the middle way is only a transient way?
I agree with your definition of the MIddle Way, although I think there are elements here that would rather we didn't start capitalizing it like it's a principle or sounds like a new movement within the Church with its own principles -- almost like it's a religious philosophy -- which it isn't...it's definitely a fall-back plan for people who have found the Stage 3 belief in the absolute truths given by the Church no longer works for them.

I do think it's just as sustainable as believing it's all true. I was on the "it's all true " plan for most of my life and eventually, THAT became unsustainable. Droves of people leave the Church after they start on the "I know it's true" program -- which shows you just how sustainable THAT route is.

I think this middle way of looking at things can work for a time -- but perhaps no longer than being a member of an organization you believe in, like the Juvenile Diabetes Society or some other worthy cause.

I disagree with others that you can't go back to believing it's all true. My commitment waned considerably after my second trial of faith. But being at Church, hearing faith-promoting stories and reflecting on the goodness the Church brings restored my belief in it. I hope that will happen again as I remain active....after my third trial of faith...who knows.
"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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Heber13
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Re: StayLDS and the Middle Way

Post by Heber13 » 19 Oct 2010, 15:34

SilentDawning wrote:I was on the "it's all true " plan for most of my life and eventually, THAT became unsustainable.
Good point!
SilentDawning wrote:I disagree with others that you can't go back to believing it's all true. My commitment waned considerably after my second trial of faith. But being at Church, hearing faith-promoting stories and reflecting on the goodness the Church brings restored my belief in it. I hope that will happen again as I remain active....after my third trial of faith...who knows.
Very well said! I also agree...I think one can go back to believing it is true, maybe just see it from a different point of view, but still just as valid and true.
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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