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:
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.“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.”
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.