God of the Lost Car Keys!

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longbottom
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Joined: 25 Sep 2017, 12:50

God of the Lost Car Keys!

Post by longbottom » 05 Oct 2017, 14:16

I stumbled upon that phrase for the first time here at StayLDS, and I just found that description SOOOOO funny, refreshing, and also, a decent help for me in my C of F. I readily admit that when my kids were young, and the keys were lost, it was always "Let's say a prayer". When we miraculously found them within minutes (which would have happened anyway) it was, "See kids, God cares about us and answers our prayers!" Yay for building their tiny testimonies!

3 months ago, when our home was in foreclosure, the car keys didn't seem so important. All our cars were in disrepair anyway. I prayed harder than I ever have, went to the Temple weekly, REALLY searched the scriptures, etc. But when no relief came, I surmised, like many TBM's, that I must be doing something wrong. I was starting to believe that "The God of the Lost Car Keys" does not care about us when things REALLY go bad, even when we are directly promised otherwise. So doubt, anger, self-loathing, and even suicidal thoughts entered the picture. It was a full-on Crisis of Faith. But, it started me on a path, and the entrance to that path could not be found any other way. I was definitely different now, and life would never be the same, whether I liked it or not. When I found StayLDS, seriously, I found a home. It was such a relief to know that others feel just like I do! And they also know the complexities about both staying with and leaving the church.

I could now say, "Wait, you mean everything spoken at GC is not Pure Doctrine, and everything, even the Law of Tithing and Word of Wisdom, is not black or white like I was taught"? Deeper, though, is that the more I study ALL things about the church, its foundations, its policies over the years, and any other thing that people use as evidence for and against the church, I am more and more convinced that this really IS the true church. It seems like I should feel otherwise, and yet I don't. So why is that? It is because after examining all these different topics on StayLDS, I was able to find patterns in the modern and ancient churches, and also realize how fallible God's prophets have always been. And that even they are prone to proclaiming their own opinions and expecting them to be taken as doctrine.

Harold B. Lee astutely said:
“It is not to be thought that every word spoken by the General Authorities is inspired, or that they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost in everything they write. I don't care what his position is, if he writes something or speaks something that goes beyond anything that you can find in the standard church works.”
The depth of that statement really hit me. Especially "...what you can find in the standard church works". It's all there in the scriptures, plain as plain for us to learn. But as we "liken all scriptures unto ourselves", it becomes clear that we can live an honest, true, faithful, and virtuous life in the church, answering any TR question honestly, and still have those "yes" or "no" answers mean something different to us than to the representative sitting across the desk.

And why should it be any different than that? All of us are entirely unique emotionally, physically, spiritually, chemically, and environmentally. In what world does "one answer fit all". Not this one. And that is why I believe that the TR questions are entirely Yes or No. I would love to get into a much deeper discussion of all those questions and what I think about them. Soon.

And, based on Pres. Lee's statement, and feeling in my heart that it is true, I know that any statement by any church leader, regardless of their position, can be made a matter of personal search and study (and decision), if I feel like it seems to be out of sync with what is actually written in the standard works. Seriously, all that is minimally required by what is actually written is the Works is more than enough challenge for most of God's children! Many TBM's will go extreme, like, "Elder Ballard said to take family pictures 2 twice a year in General Conference, so I am going to do that, even if it means an undue sacrifice for my family. Sacrifice brings blessings!" Now, if you find that that works for you, great! But, I'll go ahead and make sure my mortgage is paid first, even before I consider ever paying tithing on gross. In fact, from what I've learned recently, the actual law of tithing, as written and appropriately approved as doctrine in the early church is nothing NEAR what we're paying now. But most of you here have probably already read that thread.

Just a few thoughts FWIW.

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Sheldon
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Re: God of the Lost Car Keys!

Post by Sheldon » 05 Oct 2017, 17:34

There is a post over at Wheat and Tares by the same name God of the Lost Keys

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mom3
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Re: God of the Lost Car Keys!

Post by mom3 » 05 Oct 2017, 19:45

Thread Jacking a smidgen here- I listen to alternative religion stations as I drive in the car. (I also station surf, too). I landed on a station today that was sharing a story of an angelic visitor who delivered a specific grocery request to a woman in need who had prayed the order.

I missed the beginning of the story so I don't know why she couldn't get said groceries. When I tuned in, the Radio Pastor was sharing how she prayed and listed potatoes 2 bags. Onions 4. Apples 3 lbs. and so on, ending with 4 veal cutlets. 2 hours later someone knocked on the door. A glorious man with a basket of groceries. The woman explained that she hadn't ordered any groceries. He repeated he had what she had asked for. Eventually she accepted the basket. Looking inside were all the specific items, to the letter, that she had commissioned unto God in prayer. The story ended with the woman and her son/spouse (?) staring out the window waiting to see the man exit the building, but he never did. - This was a miracle of faith according to the Pastor.

We aren't the only ones with Lost Key stories or testimonies. I believe each of us who arrives at this conundrum gets to decide for ourselves. I also have come to believe that it is no longer my place to fix their take on such matters.

Oh - and I did immediately station surfed for calming 80's music while I mulled the story of the miracle of the groceries.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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Reuben
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Re: God of the Lost Car Keys!

Post by Reuben » 06 Oct 2017, 00:23

I wonder if most members would believe the groceries story. As a believer, I don't think I would have. I would have thought it was probably a rumor that was magnified in retelling.

Is the believability of a faith-promoting story community-specific? Mormons seem to favor "I had an impression," relationship coincidences, other people meeting needs, mildly dramatic faith healing, and God magnifying abilities. We're not into finding Jesus on a piece of toast, angelic visitations (though the idea of something being "too sacred to share" suggests we believe in them), astrological signs, or increased healing at sacred sites or by sacred artifacts.
My intro

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

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Reuben
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Re: God of the Lost Car Keys!

Post by Reuben » 06 Oct 2017, 00:32

FWIW, longbottom, I think the Church would be a healthier place if more believers thought like you wrote about.

Would it be as big or as strong? I think the answer is "no," and that troubles me.
My intro

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

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Holy Cow
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Re: God of the Lost Car Keys!

Post by Holy Cow » 06 Oct 2017, 14:41

Reuben wrote:
06 Oct 2017, 00:23
I wonder if most members would believe the groceries story. As a believer, I don't think I would have. I would have thought it was probably a rumor that was magnified in retelling.
I think most TBM's would completely buy this story if you made a few minor revisions. Change the delivery guy to a home teacher who just had the impression to pick up some extra items while he was at the grocery store, not knowing why. And while he was on his way home with the groceries, he ran into a construction detour that brought him right past this woman's house, and he got the feeling that he should stop in and check up on his home teaching family and just decided to drop off the extra groceries while he was at it. With those tweaks, most members would eat it right up. And maybe make the shopping list less specific. :lol:
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Roy
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Re: God of the Lost Car Keys!

Post by Roy » 08 Oct 2017, 08:56

We had an old car that we had picked up cheaply. We needed it to last maybe 6 months. Several years later it was still chugging along. When told, DW's visiting teacher exclaimed "Tithing Blessings!" This of course could not be because we had not paid tithing in years.

The narrative that we build around the events of our life is fascinating. Perhaps you married your "soul mate" or were fated to take a dream job. I know someone who's son committed suicide. They became an advocate of mental health and were eventually able to push mental health early detection screenings schools and universities. They now feel that perhaps their son's death was in the "plan" all along to accomplish this larger good. We all make interpretations and connect the dots to add purpose, meaning, and structure to our lives.

What I have difficulty with is that we can say almost any outlandish thing that is faith promoting or pro-church and even if some people are uncomfortable with our extreme position it will probably pass without comment. It may even make you a candidate for leadership. However saying something that is negative is frowned upon and may result in different levels of censure - even if what you said is factual.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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Beefster
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Re: God of the Lost Car Keys!

Post by Beefster » 08 Oct 2017, 09:23

Reuben wrote:
06 Oct 2017, 00:32
FWIW, longbottom, I think the Church would be a healthier place if more believers thought like you wrote about.

Would it be as big or as strong? I think the answer is "no," and that troubles me.
The modern church was made by sheep for sheep. I say "modern" because Joseph Smith was most definitely not a sheep, which is why he was so great for starting the church. Then somewhere along the way, it morphed into a sheepier religion. I blame it on the church's isolationism in the time between BY and DOM.

Most of the time when we have "blessings" in our life, there is no way of definitively telling why the blessing came about. You can't tell if a financial blessing came about because of tithing or because you were just lucky. The church encourages these cognitive biases, and I think that really stunts our faith (not to mention rationality) by making it conditional on perceiving blessings.

I believe that God is very personal but not very interventional. When we pray to find the car keys, perhaps the act of prayer itself helps us take a step back from the situation and refocus- thus we found the keys on our own. God gave us far greater power than we realize. Prayer and meditation help us tap into that power. Prayer also has the additional benefit of being able to talk to God and receive comfort from him.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Sometimes our journeys take us to unexpected places. That is a truly beautiful thing.

AmyJ
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Re: God of the Lost Car Keys!

Post by AmyJ » 09 Oct 2017, 06:13

I was talking to my husband about different topics, and the "God of the Lost Car Keys" story came up. My husband has actually had a similar experience losing and finding car keys, so he got a little defensive.

I am trying to present alternative viewpoints on church topics so that if/when I share what I believe with him, he won't as surprised. I gather there is a blasty phase where the TBM spouse is angry and grieving at the same time. If we can talk about things over time and come to the mutual understanding there are multiple points of view on various topics, I think it will help minimize the blasty phase.

NOTE: I am very careful about what I say and how I say it. I don't want to persuade him of anything or show disrespect by deliberately threatening his belief system out of pride or anger.

I want to be able to tell him "Look, I have felt this way about different issues for x number of years - I did not leave you and the family then, I did not do anything that was irresponsible then - and I won't do so going forward. I have meditated, prayed, and sought guidance from the scriptures before I made any decision. I recognize this is my road, and am honored to share part of it with you. I love you and I want to work together to find middle ground for us as a couple and for the entire family to trek on."

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LookingHard
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Re: God of the Lost Car Keys!

Post by LookingHard » 09 Oct 2017, 06:24

AmyJ wrote:
09 Oct 2017, 06:13
NOTE: I am very careful about what I say and how I say it. I don't want to persuade him of anything or show disrespect by deliberately threatening his belief system out of pride or anger.

I want to be able to tell him "Look, I have felt this way about different issues for x number of years - I did not leave you and the family then, I did not do anything that was irresponsible then - and I won't do so going forward. I have meditated, prayed, and sought guidance from the scriptures before I made any decision. I recognize this is my road, and am honored to share part of it with you. I love you and I want to work together to find middle ground for us as a couple and for the entire family to trek on."
Wise woman. Wise words.

I came out to my wife about a year ago. I have not yet pushed much on her as I feel I really need to make sure she can see that I am still the same person inside. I also want to make sure any of my anger does not come up as I don't think that will help anything.

Best of luck!

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