Why do you want to stay, and why is that hard?

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shoshin
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Joined: 08 May 2014, 16:51

Why do you want to stay, and why is that hard?

Post by shoshin » 23 May 2014, 12:22

I'm new to this site and I want to understand this community better. To anyone who is interested, I invite you to tell me --

a. Why do you want to stay LDS?

and/or

b. Why is staying LDS difficult for you?


I am only asking for short replies, but feel free to say as much as you want.

If you just want to post a link to your introduction I would be happy to read that instead.


I am a believing member and I joined this site to see if I could contribute, in a non-obnoxious way. But I think I have already annoyed some people here because I didn't really understand where those people were coming from. I apologize for that.

"[In this life there are really only] two things we can be good at - we can forgive and repent." - Hugh Nibley

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself." - Matt. 22

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” - Isaiah 55

My intro

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DarkJedi
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Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Why do you want to stay, and why is that hard?

Post by DarkJedi » 23 May 2014, 12:36

Here's my introductory story, Shoshin: My Introduction

My thoughts and feelings have evolved since that time, and I have returned to church. I want to StayLDS because I do believe the church does teach the simple gospel, and I am more comfortable with the way the church does so than I am in other churches. I don't believe other churches are evil or "great and abominable" by any means - I believe they also have much truth, some of them perhaps as much as the LDS church has. I also take into consideration my family, who remained TBM for this time I haven't been. Likewise, I do have friends in my ward, most of whom are better friends than any others. I agree with Pres. Uchtdorf that some of the finest people in the world are members of the church.

It is difficult for me to StayLDS because I do disagree with some teachings commonly held in the church, and I get very annoyed by people who claim to know things they actually don't know at all - and I know they don't know it. I have felt betrayed by the church, and some leaders, and I do have scars - some days they hurt much more than others.

I'm glad you asked - it made me think 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."

My Introduction

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Orson
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Re: Why do you want to stay, and why is that hard?

Post by Orson » 23 May 2014, 13:17

Thanks for asking, and I appreciate you joining in on our discussions. I like to see a wide variety of views expressed, one of my hopes for StayLDS.com has always been to help people understand how others may view things differently -- and as long as the discussion can remain respectful I think we can make progress toward that goal.

To me the church is much like a family, or a home town. Why would I or anyone want to stay? Why would anyone want to leave? Obviously we can think of extreme situations where staying at our home could become the absolute wrong thing to do, when things become extremely incompatible and only misery will result from staying. Thankfully it is not that way with me and the church, we have some disagreements but I believe we can work through them.

How is it difficult to stay? Most of the time it isn't, but sometimes I can be made to feel unwanted or undervalued. It usually has to do with the feeling that my complete and honest self will not be accepted, that who I am may feel threatening to some members. So out of respect and not having a desire to make others uncomfortable I try to shield them from parts of myself that they will not want to see. You will often hear people in this situation say things like "it feels lonely" or "there is no acceptance or validation for me."

What is the difference between us and "average" members? There are endless possibilities for personal differences, what I experience is mostly related to perspective. In short the sum of my life experience creates a slightly different picture than I hear described (in general) in church. I hear bits and pieces of things that absolutely resonate with me, and those things make it much easier for my participation, but much of the "popular" picture just doesn't fit well with me.

The critical event for me personally, and many others, is the complete loss of my previous faith. The "house" that was my belief structure from my youth burned completely to the ground. It wasn't gutted and heavily damaged, it was leveled. I have since worked hard, and for many years, to rebuild. Today I see the biggest problem was it wasn't originally built to any type of fire code -- translation: Many of my concepts were not compatible enough with verifiable reality. I'm not saying every member believes this way, but I did. I thought my particular view was "the" view that the church espoused and required -- which made my "house" extremely flammable.
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.

BlueFalconX250
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Joined: 19 May 2014, 21:00

Re: Why do you want to stay, and why is that hard?

Post by BlueFalconX250 » 23 May 2014, 14:54

I'm new here, but here's why I want to stay and why it's hard.

I was born and raised in the church. I served a Mission in Brazil, got home, and went less-active for a few years until I went full inactive. Even growing up I always felt some disconnect between who the church told me I had to be and who I felt like I was at heart. I left because I got sick of the Jekyll/Hyde feeling. I was never comfortable as a member. I left the church. After a few tattoos and living the life of a sinner, I had indulged my Hyde side and noticed that I was more at peace with myself. I didn't feel the disconnect. I also considered myself an agnostic during this time. I wasn't sure if there was a god, but I believed there could be. One day I woke up and said "I'm going to church in the morning." I was going to go to church for me, not for anyone else. That is what made all the difference.

I came back, but I came back on my terms. It's hard to explain what all that entails, but this site gets it. There are things I do not agree with, but I like believing there is a god and that He loves me. I put up with the things I do not agree with in order to feel fulfilled in the spiritual part of my life. I don't know (nor can I know) that there is a god, but I believe there is.

As for why it's hard: Because many members do not know or study their religion. They may read the scriptures, but they do not study the doctrine or gospel. They say and claim things as doctrine that are tradition but not true or right. It's exhausting to hear people talking about things they do not know. Many of the "beliefs" I hear professed on Sunday are not doctrine and/or may perpetuate some of the problems I have with the people and commonly held beliefs of the "church." I tend to think the teachings of the church is true, but the practice is where people fail. That makes it hard for me. That is not to mention the blind faith people have. I am an academic by profession and know the benefit in a healthy dose of skepticism. I believe people should study and find and learn, not hear from a pulpit and spew back as Truth. I StayLDS because I find it comforting to believe in a god and church helps me build a good relationship with him.

thalmar
Posts: 26
Joined: 19 Jan 2014, 13:46

Re: Why do you want to stay, and why is that hard?

Post by thalmar » 23 May 2014, 15:02

I am not even sure now why I feel some desire to stay. To be honest, I don't really want to stay. When I do feel like staying, much of it comes from avoiding the judgment of family and friends, wanting to go back to something comfortable and familiar, wanting to attend the temple (except some of it bothers me), feeling the need to do service, and feeling the desire to improve church culture through my own contribution.

But above all else, I often feel the need to stay LDS because I get overwhelmed with fear at times that if I don't, and the church turns out to be what it claims, that I will be unable to live with God...that I will have made myself into the kind of person that can't bear God's presence.

On a personal level, I just don't want to be there. On an intellectual level, I can understand the idea of letting go of what I don't believe and just showing up and contributing my unique voice. But I have been hurt too much. I suffer almost daily the wounds of emotional abuse from my church experiences. I can't even look at a bishop without fearing that he reads my soul and will find me out. I can barely bring myself to even listen to a talk by someone as awesome as Uchtdorf, because he reminds me of the church. I love the church. Or at least I did. I don't know. But it has become such a shame trigger for me that it feels unhealthy for me to be there. People that don't share my beliefs tell me that I seem happier, and they don't even know about any of this. Some of them don't even know I am LDS.

Another reason I don't want to go is because my 10-yr-old son already demonstrates scrupulosity tendencies. He is afraid of doing things wrong and not getting to live with me after this life, despite all of the efforts I have put into helping him develop self-worth, think for himself and not live in fear and shame. My LDS mother and sister have caused him to be in tears and literally come home saying to me, "Dad, I don't want you to die and go to hell! I want to live with you after this life." His mother is one of the most rigid TBMs that I have ever met. Much of it is her fault, and not the church. But I can't let the church off the hook, either. I try to imagine going to church with my son, and it creates feelings of irresponsibility as a parent. I know how it will affect him, and not in a good way. I am not sure that myself and my son are in a place to receive the good in the church, because of our emotional, shame-based wounds. Yet, my son will still go to church every other weekend when he is at his mom's.

I feel like I am torn between doing what may be best in an eternal spectrum, and doing what is healthy and responsible in this life. And when I have this realization, I must come to the conclusion that what is healthy in this life will lead to heaven. I cannot imagine a heaven where people must suffer emotional abuse to be prepared for heaven.

To go to church would mean weekly damage-control conversations with my son, and then me having to talk with my fiancé to work through whatever may trigger my shame. I think of the costs of going, and the benefits start becoming insignificant in comparison really fast. I can get benefits elsewhere.

But if my temple covenants are real and I am breaking them and losing exaltation through these choices, that scares the crap out of my scrupulous side. Sometimes I would give my right arm to have the self-confidence that others have to think their own opinions without fear of being wrong.

I do feel strongly, from my own personal experiences and inspiration, that God is trying to teach me to trust myself right now. I am starting to feel more and more that my calling in life at this point is not going to be in the church. I don't fault anyone else who is in the church. We all have our paths. But that is what I am feeling. But I am also scared to take that path. And I must also recognize that I can't predict the future. But right now, I just don't know how to be there.

I feel more liberated than ever. I feel more scared than ever. I feel more confident than ever. I feel more uncertain than ever.

shoshin
Posts: 61
Joined: 08 May 2014, 16:51

Re: Why do you want to stay, and why is that hard?

Post by shoshin » 23 May 2014, 16:20

Thanks for the replies so far

"[In this life there are really only] two things we can be good at - we can forgive and repent." - Hugh Nibley

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself." - Matt. 22

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” - Isaiah 55

My intro

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Cadence
Posts: 1192
Joined: 08 Dec 2009, 21:36

Why do you want to stay, and why is that hard?

Post by Cadence » 23 May 2014, 17:40

I do not believe any of it. I figure it is all the ideas of men. But I hang around because I was born a Mormon and that is mostly what I know. Staying is not difficult anymore because I do it on my own terms. I pick and choose what I want to do. But mostly I am just apathetic about it all
Last edited by Cadence on 23 May 2014, 19:43, edited 1 time in total.
Faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction--faith in fiction is a damnable false hope. Thomas A. Edison

“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.” Neil deGrasse Tyson

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cwald
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Re: Why do you want to stay, and why is that hard?

Post by cwald » 23 May 2014, 18:58

Cadence wrote:... I pick and choose what I want to do. But mostly I am just apathetic about it all
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  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

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DarkJedi
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Re: Why do you want to stay, and why is that hard?

Post by DarkJedi » 24 May 2014, 07:42

BlueFalconX250 wrote:As for why it's hard: Because many members do not know or study their religion. They may read the scriptures, but they do not study the doctrine or gospel. They say and claim things as doctrine that are tradition but not true or right. It's exhausting to hear people talking about things they do not know. Many of the "beliefs" I hear professed on Sunday are not doctrine and/or may perpetuate some of the problems I have with the people and commonly held beliefs of the "church." I tend to think the teachings of the church is true, but the practice is where people fail. That makes it hard for me. That is not to mention the blind faith people have. I am an academic by profession and know the benefit in a healthy dose of skepticism. I believe people should study and find and learn, not hear from a pulpit and spew back as Truth. I StayLDS because I find it comforting to believe in a god and church helps me build a good relationship with him.
I could have written this myself, well put.
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

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On Own Now
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Joined: 18 Jan 2012, 12:45

Re: Why do you want to stay, and why is that hard?

Post by On Own Now » 24 May 2014, 09:00

Why do I want to stay? It's complicated. There are so many factors that it's hard to say which one, if it changed, would make me not want to stay. One major concern is family. Another is friends. Another is history. Another is familiarity. Another is not knowing where else to go. Another is the 'spirit' I feel on some occasions.

Why is it hard? Again, it's complicated. Some factors: The relentless demands and expectations. The dangerous and demeaning doctrines/policies (polygamy, second-class view of women, draconian tithing practices). Lack of the basic messages of Christian belief (we barely note Easter. Palm Sunday? Forget about it. New Life? Our leaders seem not to know much about it). Focus on Commandments and this life being a 'test' rather than focusing on a rising up into a better state.
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“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ― Carl Jung
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"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." ― Romans 14:13
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