Will the negatives end?

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NotSure2008
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Joined: 22 Jan 2009, 12:27

Will the negatives end?

Post by NotSure2008 » 25 May 2009, 11:36

I have not been on this forum for a while, however as with the Church, I seem to keep stumbling across it! :)

I am still on the fence when it comes to my membership in the Church. For every issue(s) I begin to understand more or see in a different light, another comes up in its place.

Just the other day, I thought I had figured it all out...on another forum, I wrote the following: (I am being lazy and copy and pasting it)
Finding my testimony once more...
As most of you know I was baptised LDS two years ago, left the Church, came back and then left the Church again. Although each time I left, the Church was always in the back of my mind. I did have a few issues, maybe through lack of understanding, however this recent few weeks, I have been thinking things over, praying about them and most things, which didnt before, are making sense! I seem to be able to look upon things with a whole new perspective!

I have always kept in touch with many of my friends from Church and have tried to see them as much as possible. The other night, two of my friends and I planned a girly night in so that we could all have a good chat about things (on my request). It just so happens that these two lovely friends of mine are also my visiting teachers which I am thrilled about!

The sense of relief I had from explaining my true inner feelings which I usually keep locked away in a battle of heart vs head was wonderful. I have finally come to the conclusion that my family will never except my membership and to avoid any hurt or loss of relationships and tension (there is enough to deal with in the family at the moment), my intent to one day return to the Church where I feel free must be kept from them. I do not like to decieve them, but I feel it is the lesser of the two evils, causing less upset in the long run. I still live under my parents roof and it means for the time being, I am unable to attend Church on a Sunday, but one day, when my life is fully my own....I love my family, I love my Church and I would like everyone to be happy....

It was amazing to hear one of my friends describe me in a way no-one has ever done! She is the first person to notice, that I am only my true self when I am in the Church and it is only then that my *inner child* (as we called it) is released. Any other time, I am a different person, guarded with what I say and almost unemotional. My family and non-member friends have never seen my cry very often, yet my church friends have seen me weep with the Spirit while I have been bearing my testimony. I told them that I feel like I am too different people sometimes. It is a battle between the heart and mind. My heart is with the Church, but sometime my mind keeps it under lock and key and doesnt let it out! Does this make sense?

The amazing thing was though this conversation, I began to feel the Spirit once more. When I returned home, I got on my knees and prayed. It was the first time ever it has felt right while I was praying and the feeling and comfort I gained from that was amazing, it was like a blanket being wrapped around me. Then when I was lying in bed, I was thinking about everything when my mind turned to Joseph Smith. Suddenly, and for only a moment I could actually see his face. I have never been able to open my mind enough to be able to visualise the images I imagine. It made me jump half a mile out the bed, but it was amazing and showed me that the Lord is there looking over me, and guiding me through my very long, and bumpy road.

Anyway I know this probably isnt of great interest to you, but this is a safe place where I can speak my true feelings as my family dont know of this site. It feels good to be able to let my inner child play!

My heart is with the Church and always will be and I long for the day when I can return fully!
Then today, I was reading through some posts on NOM and came across some ideas, I hadnt realised and once again there are practises and doctrines which I am questioning..

1) The idea of a man being able to be sealed to more than one wife, but a woman cannot be sealed to more than one man
2) The fact that when women have a calling, the leaders ask their husbands (whether a member or not) if they agree. Also a woman has to have permission to be baptised from her husband, a man does not need permisson from his wife.

Little things like this that keep cropping up and overshadowing the postivies I come across. Will this ever end? Will I ever be able to find a happy medium where I am just happy? :?

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Will the negatives end?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 25 May 2009, 13:10

Personally, I doubt there ever will come a time when you understand and agree fully with everything that has ever been taught in the Church - or even that currently is being taught. There's far too much philosophy of men mingled with revelation for that to occur, imo - even though there is much less of that now than in the past. I wish I could say differently, but if you are looking for a cessation of uncertainty, I'm not sure you will find it.

Otoh, emotional reconciliation IS possible - and there is an important difference between certainty and emotional reconciliation. I believe the first step is letting go of expectations - of learning to "judge not".

As to the specific issues you mentioned,fwiw:

1) I personally have no problem with the issue of sealings, since a woman can be sealed to every husband she's ever had once they die. In the end, I don't think our relationships will be anything like most of us imagine, and I'm more than willing to accept this as an issue that "God will work out in the end".

2) Asking a husband and not a wife about a calling for the other spouse is NOT the dictated policy of the Church. "Permission" should not be asked of a spouse, but if a spouse is consulted and asked for input it should be done for husbands and wives. The baptismal permission, otoh, is a nod to former charges of baptizing women to be plural wives of Mormon men (which were levied all the time in past publications) - a policy to make sure no charges could be made by disgruntled husbands that would bring persecution on the Church. I think it is a bit out-dated, and I agree it is sexist to a degree, but I understand totally the initial reasoning behind the implementation of the practice.
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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spacious maze
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Re: Will the negatives end?

Post by spacious maze » 25 May 2009, 14:19

Maybe you should just relax a bit. Religion is only as complicated as you make it. In my view the purpose of religion is to allow you to be a part of a greater purpose. Does it make you feel good, are you a better person for it? Can you accept any faults of the church as man-made error or is the church just wrong in it's doctrine? Does is deter your faith?
I personally don't accept the church as completely true, and therefore don't follow it, but I can tell you I've felt the spirit just as strongly outside of it. The more I've read and searched, the stranger my testimony has become. If I were you I'd get used to being unsure and frustrated, faith takes time.

NotSure2008
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Joined: 22 Jan 2009, 12:27

Re: Will the negatives end?

Post by NotSure2008 » 26 May 2009, 01:38

Thanks for your replies. You make some good points. I think I do worry too much about detail and probably do need to relax a bit...however I do find that hard to do :oops: and it probably stems from my family being so adamately against the Church, that I almost feel like I have to find every answer to every question..does that make sense?

Ray - regarding the sealings - so women can get sealed to more than one husband, just once they have died (I am assuming you mean the husband dying)?

Thanks once again for your replies. :)

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Will the negatives end?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 26 May 2009, 11:19

Women can be sealed to each of their husbands once the woman has died. It's still a bit of a double standard, but I'm OK with that - since it is a tacit recognition that we really have no idea who will be married to whom in the next life and exactly how it will be resolved, so we seal everyone to all the people to whom they were married in this life and believe that it will be resolved properly in the end.

Baby steps are fine with me with this type of highly emotional issue.
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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Heber13
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Re: Will the negatives end?

Post by Heber13 » 26 May 2009, 21:26

Notsure2008,
I really enjoyed reading your story. Thanks for posting it.

I think it is great you have found good friends and a place where you feel good about your beliefs and experiences. I would cherish those and not talk yourself out of them or let other doubts diminish them.

I used to think after a strong spiritual experience, the adversary rushes in to try to tempt you with some church doctrine that confuses you. I no longer think that. I just think there are many things about the church that are perplexing and don't all make a lot of sense and require a lot of studying and pondering. It is just the difference between being on a high, and coming down to earth that make it feel like there is a big evil influence, when it really is just every day mortal life. We can't be on the "high" level all the time, and shouldn't have expectations of such or it will just lead to frustrations on our part.

Allow yourself to have some doubts as you continue to study and increase faith in different areas, and then seek to have those spiritual highs occasionally as they come, and be grateful for them. I like D&C 50:40.

Follow your heart, and realize your mind is there for a reason too, and you have a difficult situation that your mind can help you with also.

God bless you.
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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jmb275
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Re: Will the negatives end?

Post by jmb275 » 26 May 2009, 21:49

Going along with Heber13, realize that particularly after an emotional day, week, event, either uplifting or demoralizing, you would be wise to be very skeptical of making any decisions of any consequence. It is, during those times, we are most susceptible to poor rational thought. It's sort of like being drunk on emotion. The cognitive wheels aren't really turning quite right.

Also recognize that during these emotional highs and lows we are very susceptible to emotional experiences and it is easy to confuse these with spiritual experiences. Sometimes they are the same thing, or are united in their influence on us. Other times, it is simply the subconscious mind proposing an idea (true or not) that the cognitive mind accepts since it will result in a state of emotional bliss. It is these times that we are not thinking very rationally. Better to cool off, calm down, and think things through more carefully. If you like church, if it helps you, and you feel good, then that's a good reason to go.
I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain; and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, striking with accelerated force against religious bigotry, priestcraft, lawyer-craft, doctor-craft, lying editors, suborned judges and jurors, and the authority of perjured executives, backed by mobs, blasphemers, licentious and corrupt men and women--all hell knocking off a corner here and a corner there.
- Joseph Smith, (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 304)

NotSure2008
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Joined: 22 Jan 2009, 12:27

Re: Will the negatives end?

Post by NotSure2008 » 28 May 2009, 08:10

Thanks for all the good advice everyone! :)

I am taking things more slowly, thinking things through remembering that baby steps to turn into giant leaps eventually! :D

I like to think the issues over and work through them, as I am starting to find, although I do come across negatives from time to time, if I take a step back, relax and think and pray about the issues at hand..I have a stronger testimony at the end of it!

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Brian Johnston
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Re: Will the negatives end?

Post by Brian Johnston » 29 May 2009, 07:18

I think a lot of people go through a process, often for years and years, of what I call "connecting the dots." This happens on both the faithful "tbm" side and also on the disaffected side. It is a tiresome intellectual excercise where we try to make sense of everything, where we try to find the connections. We try to figure out the "real truth" and be certain. We think we can connect all the dots in the right order, and then it will all make sense. Everything will relate right to everything else. There will be a cause and effect. We'll figure out how it all really happened.

People that continue down this road eventually wear themselves out. I did that. There isn't a single solution. My resolution was a decision and acceptance that there is no solution to the puzzle. I have stronger faith in the purpose of learning and growing, but I no longer believe that (or depend on) ever being certain I have it all right. I have hope that I am going in the right direction. That is my faith in God. I say "lead me where you want me to go, and I will go." So life to me now is an experience, and not a final exam.

I feel a lot happier and closer to God after letting go of the "connect the dots" game I was playing.
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

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Heber13
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Re: Will the negatives end?

Post by Heber13 » 29 May 2009, 07:32

Valoel, that is funny to read your puzzle analogy ... I used to use the sudoku analogy myself, with the same concept that it isn't all clear at first, but if you keep looking at the clues, eventually you see one number fits the rules and after solving that, another can be solved and piece by piece (line upon line) you can solve the puzzle. Nice and simple and straightforward.

However, I found as I wore myself out on some things, that would only apply if the puzzle stayed fixed, but life is constantly changing and new experiences and applications arise that it is not just a dot to dot or a puzzle to be solved. It is an experience to be lived. And that confirms to me it will never get boring.
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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