Faith Crisis Versus Commitment Crisis

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SilentDawning
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Faith Crisis Versus Commitment Crisis

Post by SilentDawning » 03 Jun 2017, 07:32

We have seen many patterns here over the years. People with doubts go to their priesthood leaders, and share it all.

This is risky -- some BP's are very understanding and don't hold it against the member. But most - the majority, it seems, -- don't seem to take it well. They will withhold TR's, require tithing for a while to make you show commitment, and some members may even face ostracization. Some leaders get a bit offended by your lack of loyalty or testimony...and it often hurts your cruising range -- your ability to enjoy privileges you may want in the future.

Although I don't recommend proactive meetings with priesthood leaders on faith or commitment issues, leaders will often initiate them with you. At those times, you have to find a way out.

I have found that framing your crisis as a "commitment crisis" is much more effective than a sharing a "faith crisis". Commitment crises focus on behavior, not belief. Therefore, you can downplay or completely ignore the role of doubt, simply indicating that you are weary, burned out, or that you can't just seem to put forward the same level of commitment you once did. The desire is gone. You can even indicate that you are at church "based on testimony alone", if you feel you have some shards of testimony left (remember, testimony is a continuum, not an on/off situation).

And these factors -- weariness, lack of commitment, unwillingness to full engage -- these are natural fruits of doubt, in my experience. Therefore, even though I do have doubts, I find I am still being honest/authentic without necessarily being thorough in defining my belief spectrum. And that protects you from the greater censure you get when you express doubts.

I used this approach recently, and it worked very well. I have the advantage of believing my crisis is primarily commitment-based rather than faith (doubt)-based. I have believed so for years. But I think people even with faith crises can consider adopting the commitment crisis framing of their problem.

Here are the advantages of such an approach:

1. A commitment transformation is much more credible than a belief transformation.

I think a BP would NOT feel as suspicious of a commitment turnaround (to the good) than someone who comes out with a sudden belief transformation. Sure, belief transformations with new converts are easy to accept, but long-standing members who once had faith, and then report losing it, and then claim to get it back ,are much harder to believe. We even have a BoM scripture that says people who were once enlightened, and fall, end up being worse than if they never believed at all.

And this, I think makes BP's less willing to grant privileges. As an extreme example, think about how hard it is to get your blessings back after you ask for name removal...Baptism, wait a long time, Aaronic Priesthood, sometimes all three offices far apart, MP, and then eventually temple. It's a long process after you reaffirm your belief. It think members who express doubts, without resigning, are subject to some of this mistrust I've highlighted in the case of name removal and request for rebaptism.

2. Commitment transformations are easier to spot than faith transformations.

If you want back in, you can just go full tilt. Start doing 100% HT, pay your tithing, show up at activities, participate positively in church lessons, offer to help in service projects, accept callings, and be positive around the members. There is no other evidence to give that you have made the transformation to get your full blessings back.

Try to prove a belief transformation, and even behavioral change isn't nearly as convincing as behavior change after a confessed commitment crisis.

3. You don't appear disloyal.

In expressing a commitment crisis, you are not bashing the church or doctrine -- you are simply expressing your own inability to engage. You never touch any of the sacred cows in the church, or put anyone or anything down. And you have Wirthlin's article on your side -- about the people who are weary.

Comments -- if you were to reframe your crisis of one of commitment, without referring to doubt, what would such an expression look like? Do you think this approach has merits?
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- 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."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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DarkJedi
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Re: Faith Crisis Versus Commitment Crisis

Post by DarkJedi » 03 Jun 2017, 12:04

I do think the approach has merits, but I'm not sure I can as effectively frame it is a commitment focus as you seem to. Indeed I did ask to be released from my teaching calling when my crisis hit full on (there was nothing sudden about it) and I did soon thereafter stop going to church completely. There seems to be quite a bit of talk about authenticity around here of late, and honestly I don't think I would have been authentic if I framed it as a lack of commitment. I also didn't spill my guts, but that's more because they didn't want to hear it than that I was unwilling to at that point (my thinking has obviously evolved to match yours since then). I do agree that a desire for less commitment does seem to go hand-in-hand with doubt, questioning, and FC, and certainly experienced that. But, if framing it more as a commitment crisis works for you and others, more power to you. Our questions and doubts are all different here, as are our approaches to dealing with them individually, with family and friends, and with the church.
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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dande48
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Re: Faith Crisis Versus Commitment Crisis

Post by dande48 » 03 Jun 2017, 16:07

I agree with DJ. I've tried framing my faith crisis as a commitment crisis before, and to some bishops, that translates to laziness (and therefore, "sin"). It becomes an issue of faithfulness to something they "know" to be true. They feel it can, and should be, corrected. However, when I straight out declared that my inability to fully participate is from authentic disbelief, and explicity state what I will and will not do, things have gone over much smoother.

In my instance, I've chosen not to renew my temple recommend based on my choice. I still keep all the commandments required, including paying my tithing. If members wish to ostracize me (and some do), I see very little point in concerning myself about them. I'd rather be rejected for who I am, than accepted for who I am not.

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Reuben
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Re: Faith Crisis Versus Commitment Crisis

Post by Reuben » 03 Jun 2017, 20:12

dande48 wrote:
03 Jun 2017, 16:07
I agree with DJ. I've tried framing my faith crisis as a commitment crisis before, and to some bishops, that translates to laziness (and therefore, "sin"). It becomes an issue of faithfulness to something they "know" to be true. They feel it can, and should be, corrected.
Maybe the key, no matter how you approach leaders, is to not give them anything to fix.
My intro

Love before dogma. Truth before loyalty. Knowledge before sanctity or certainty.

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SilentDawning
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Re: Faith Crisis Versus Commitment Crisis

Post by SilentDawning » 04 Jun 2017, 06:05

dande48 wrote:
03 Jun 2017, 16:07
In my instance, I've chosen not to renew my temple recommend based on my choice. I still keep all the commandments required, including paying my tithing. If members wish to ostracize me (and some do), I see very little point in concerning myself about them. I'd rather be rejected for who I am, than accepted for who I am not.
The downside, as I mentioned, is that you've boxed yourself into a corner now. Should you ever want a TR, then the odds are less that the BP will just hand one over to you, or trust your answers to the faith-based questions. Now, a new BP and SP could take over, in which case you might start fresh -- but in my view, if you have a long-time endowed member who won't play ball, the BP's tend to share all that information with the SP, so the disbelief/mistrust in you is at two levels. So, even losing a BP with a more liberal one could possibly cause it fail at the SP level, unless you are lucky enough to get a SP Counselor who doesn't know anything about your issues.

Now, for someone who is dead sure a TR isn't something they will ever ask for, I see this as a non-issue. My advice is for someone who wants to leave their options open to get one eventually.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- 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."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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SilentDawning
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Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: Faith Crisis Versus Commitment Crisis

Post by SilentDawning » 04 Jun 2017, 06:08

dande48 wrote:
03 Jun 2017, 16:07
Maybe the key, no matter how you approach leaders, is to not give them anything to fix.
How do you do this? I'm curious. Let's say they haul you in and ask why you don't have a TR. What would you say so they don't have anything to fix?
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- 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."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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Minyan Man
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Re: Faith Crisis Versus Commitment Crisis

Post by Minyan Man » 04 Jun 2017, 06:35

Faith crisis sounds like you're broken & unlikely to be put back together again.
Commitment crisis sounds temporary & related to something outside of our core beliefs.

Side note: I personally don't like the word crisis because it implies to the SP & BP, we have a problem that needs to be fixed.
We have to gather the troops, discuss issues, come up with a plan & solve this problem. The reality is for me, I need time to work this
out for myself (usually), with God or a close friend. Don't bother me.

A commitment crisis can usually be explained in a way most people understand. For example, it's work related. More hours, travel or odd shifts.
Every ward has members who sporadically attend due to work & it's easily explained & accepted.
Another example is: it's family related. Sickness, emergency that requires travel, etc.

You have to be creative to be indirect or deflect away from it being a full blown CRISIS.

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Reuben
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Re: Faith Crisis Versus Commitment Crisis

Post by Reuben » 04 Jun 2017, 07:05

SilentDawning wrote:
04 Jun 2017, 06:08
dande48 wrote:
03 Jun 2017, 16:07
Maybe the key, no matter how you approach leaders, is to not give them anything to fix.
How do you do this? I'm curious. Let's say they haul you in and ask why you don't have a TR. What would you say so they don't have anything to fix?
I really like your ideas in another thread about being vague, not giving details, etc. They might feel like there's something to fix, but not have anything concrete to act on. With the wrong sort of bishop, I can see this backfiring, but I'm sure they're in the minority.

Depending on the leader, explicitly claiming the "problem" for yourself might work. "This is something I have to work through" might be enough.

I'm just guessing, though. I really don't have a lot of insight into these situations beyond recognizing my own propensity to fix stuff when I have a concrete idea of what the problem is and at least implicit permission to do so.

Back to the original topic: I personally couldn't frame what's going on in my head as a commitment crisis. If I could, I would consider using this tactic.
My intro

Love before dogma. Truth before loyalty. Knowledge before sanctity or certainty.

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dande48
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Re: Faith Crisis Versus Commitment Crisis

Post by dande48 » 04 Jun 2017, 08:57

SilentDawning wrote:
04 Jun 2017, 06:08
dande48 wrote:
03 Jun 2017, 16:07
Maybe the key, no matter how you approach leaders, is to not give them anything to fix.
How do you do this? I'm curious. Let's say they haul you in and ask why you don't have a TR. What would you say so they don't have anything to fix?
They can't haul you in without your consent, nor make you answer questions you don't want to. I still feel like I am able to get a TR if I wanted to; "I've had a change of heart, I've seen the error of my ways, etc." What I wouldn't want is to get a temple recommend based on inaccurate information.

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SilentDawning
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Re: Faith Crisis Versus Commitment Crisis

Post by SilentDawning » 04 Jun 2017, 09:24

dande48 wrote:
04 Jun 2017, 08:57
SilentDawning wrote:
04 Jun 2017, 06:08
dande48 wrote:
03 Jun 2017, 16:07
Maybe the key, no matter how you approach leaders, is to not give them anything to fix.
How do you do this? I'm curious. Let's say they haul you in and ask why you don't have a TR. What would you say so they don't have anything to fix?
They can't haul you in without your consent, nor make you answer questions you don't want to. I still feel like I am able to get a TR if I wanted to; "I've had a change of heart, I've seen the error of my ways, etc." What I wouldn't want is to get a temple recommend based on inaccurate information.
For me, the part in bold assumes that leaders always exercise good judgment. That they won't go cynical and notice that my sudden change of heart seems to miraculously coincide with a child's marriage in the temple, or some other event that requires a TR.

I guess the difference between you and me is that I don't trust my priesthood leaders nearly as much as I did 30 years ago. Having elevated my conscience, I decide if I think I'm worthy and then share only what I have to in order to be real and feel I'm being ethical, and no more. Your mileage may vary, and that's OK. :angel:
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- 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."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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