Mental Exercise

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hawkgrrrl
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Mental Exercise

Post by hawkgrrrl » 17 Jan 2019, 13:03

A FB group I belong to had a post posed by a group member that I thought was an interesting question, very valid for those with doubts. Which is more of an issue for you: your doubts or people's reactions to those doubts? If people were warm, friendly and accepting of doubters, would that make it worth staying, or would the doubts then make you unlikely to stay?

Roy
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Re: Mental Exercise

Post by Roy » 17 Jan 2019, 13:34

For me personally it is the memberships reactions to my doubts that is the bigger issue. I have reached a point where I am more or less at peace with the Mormonism in my head and the bridges that I have built between historical Mormonism and where I have landed on the faith spectrum. What is still rather jarring is when I am reminded that others at church diminish, minimize, discredit, devalue, invalidate, and disavow my faith as unacceptable.
"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

AmyJ
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Re: Mental Exercise

Post by AmyJ » 17 Jan 2019, 14:46

Roy wrote:
17 Jan 2019, 13:34
What is still rather jarring is when I am reminded that others at church diminish, minimize, discredit, devalue, invalidate, and disavow my faith as unacceptable.
It's the people's reaction. At best, I get "humored" in the sense that there is an explicit expectation that my views will change to become more "inline" with what what everyone else thinks. I am not sure if it more a case of wishful thinking or what....

Also, mentally calculating which of your friends is going to leave you if they knew what you thought and how it impacts the social lives of your family (yes, that doesn't keep you up at night or anything).

It's the lack of a working word that truly describes what is going on. We have "Depression" and 'Anxiety" to cover quite a few specific symptoms and provide a behavioral framework (for lack of a better term) - but we get "faith crisis", "belief crisis", "doubter" and awkward silences. "Inactive" and "Doubter" don't really describe the night of the soul that the person went through to get there, or the issues that drove them down that path. You mention "Dark night of the soul" in Relief Society, and you get weird looks (I tried it, I am cool with weird looks).

It's also in part the loneliness of the-place-I-am-is-not-even-on-your-map perspective-wise, and the place that seems to be the most accurate overlapping ground is loaded with thorns and wolves on your map, and has roses,blackberries, thistles, and wild animals that I can tame on my map. It is so frustrating that I have to be "good" and "respectful" and "the bigger person" while others get to not bother to return the favor to the degree I would like. I know, I know - "Adult of God" and all that. But when I explain to my husband that I am a deist right now in part because of the philosophical discussion on the problem of evil, he insists that I am seeing it all wrong (and I see his point of view). When I point out that people see God differently, he sticks to his guns regarding 1 universal way of seeing God (based on the Joseph Smith 1st vision) and does not allow for the theoretical construct of seeing God differently.

We make peace with it. My husband thinks that bringing what I can in becoming a "social/cultural Mormon" or a "canned good" Mormon is better than nothing (NOTE: Only in the sense that people hand off surplus clothes to my daughters, not really a true welfare analogy).

He talks to God, and God sends him feelings/insights/suggests my husband sticks around through this, that it is temporary and useful. The non-deist side of me is truly grateful for this.

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nibbler
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Re: Mental Exercise

Post by nibbler » 17 Jan 2019, 15:46

Which is more of an issue for you: your doubts or people's reactions to those doubts?
It changed over time. In the initial stages I was far more preoccupied with my doubts. As I grew more comfortable in that skin I turned my thoughts towards other people's reactions to my doubts. Now I find myself getting more comfortable in that skin as well.

I'm completely on board with what Roy said but there's a but...

A new question. Which is more of an issue as it relates to other people's reactions to my doubts; other people's reactions to my doubts or what I imagine would be other people's reactions to my doubts?

I can get a good sense for how people would react to doubts because it comes up in church lessons all the time. The person giving a talk, teaching a lesson, or making a comment at church can say some pretty harsh stuff about people in a perceived out group (LGBT+, critic, doubter, etc.) without realizing that there are people in the audience that are in those groups. It has the effect of making people in the out group fearful of speaking up and it seeds thoughts in two ways:

1) For the doubter it gives them an idea of what other people's reactions will be.
2) For the believer it gives them an idea of what their reactions should be.

But I wonder how the language would change if the people making those comments were aware that there were people in the out group that were present. It might not change at all, or it may.

But I can't deny... if you are off kilter with the correlated church and are vocal about it your standing in the community won't be the same. And it doesn't help that many have had very bad experiences with friends, family, and spouses after sharing their doubts.
Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder.
— Laurence J. Peter

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DarkJedi
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Re: Mental Exercise

Post by DarkJedi » 17 Jan 2019, 16:03

Roy wrote:
17 Jan 2019, 13:34
For me personally it is the memberships reactions to my doubts that is the bigger issue. I have reached a point where I am more or less at peace with the Mormonism in my head and the bridges that I have built between historical Mormonism and where I have landed on the faith spectrum. What is still rather jarring is when I am reminded that others at church diminish, minimize, discredit, devalue, invalidate, and disavow my faith as unacceptable.
This.
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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dande48
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Re: Mental Exercise

Post by dande48 » 17 Jan 2019, 16:12

The Church claims to be something greater than the imperfect people in it. I can accept that a person can hurt me. But a doctrine? A historical legend? A policy brought about by revelation? The Church is held to be a system created and directed by God. Most of my "doubts" (though I wouldn't call them "doubts" anymore), don't come from the imperfect people. They are systemic.

But of course, the system is intertwined with the people. If the system were "fixed", the people would react to doubters in a much more positive, understanding, and constructive way. Because the system is supposed to help us be better people, isn't it? But if the people were better, maybe they'd fix the system. But then, we'd have even more reason to doubt, because if people fix the system, than the system is created (at least in part) by imperfect people, not God.

If the Church taught openness, and acceptance of doubters, I wouldn't have the same doubts. But even if it were fully accepting of doubters, it should also be accepting and respectful of those who leave because they "disbelieve" the system will work for them.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

Arrakeen
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Re: Mental Exercise

Post by Arrakeen » 17 Jan 2019, 21:49

AmyJ wrote:
17 Jan 2019, 14:46
It's also in part the loneliness of the-place-I-am-is-not-even-on-your-map perspective-wise
For me, it's mostly this. I'm fine with having doubts. Uncertainty is a fact of life. What bothers me is how hard it is to find others who understand my perspective, which makes church feel quite lonely. Even those who are more willing to listen often have difficulty understanding why I feel differently about things. No matter how friendly people are, it can still hurt to be the black sheep. Maybe if the church was more accepting of doubters, they would be more willing to stand out and it wouldn't be so hard to find others like me.

DoubtingTom
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Re: Mental Exercise

Post by DoubtingTom » 18 Jan 2019, 07:47

I also am much more affected by individuals and also the church leadership response to those who doubt, question, or have different beliefs than the orthodox member.

I am currently a non-believer, although I would actually enjoy continuing to participate in the community as a non-believer. I find value in rites of passage, opportunities for service, discussions of following the Christ of faith, etc. However, I am simply not allowed to participate (openly) this way, so I don’t. It’s disappointing that Mormonism isn’t yet large enough to allow a non-believer in the literal power of the Priesthood to stand beside a believer and officiate together.

I brought this up to my wife and it offended her that I would want to participate (i.e., ordaining my son to the Priesthood) in something that was so sacred and so real to her when I don’t believe the same way. I tried to explain the value I still see as a rite of passage, as an entrance into a brotherhood of service, and acknowledging the authority being real because the church has the right to define who gets to participate in such ordinances. But she wouldn’t have it. It hurt her that I would want to participate without the belief because others do believe and hold it sacred. So I won’t because it would hurt her. I think her reaction is reflective of many in the church. I simply can’t yet participate and be open about where I’m at. Maybe someday. Sigh...

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LookingHard
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Re: Mental Exercise

Post by LookingHard » 18 Jan 2019, 08:54

I would say the bigger issue for me is the reaction of members, especially top leaders, to my doubts. I still do attend, but mainly for my wife's sake.

Although I wouldn't say that I have doubts as I feel I have conclusions (which can be wrong and can change).

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dande48
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Re: Mental Exercise

Post by dande48 » 18 Jan 2019, 10:39

LookingHard wrote:
18 Jan 2019, 08:54
Although I wouldn't say that I have doubts as I feel I have conclusions (which can be wrong and can change).
I had this thought too. I really think it downplays us, when the GA's refer to our "disbeliefs" as "doubts". In order to doubt a belief, you still need to have that belief in the first place. People don't leave because they "doubt". Everyone doubts, to some extent. Doubts are natural and commonplace, and are found all along the spectrum between belief <---> disbelief. I'd even say they are healthy, as there is nothing quite so dangerous as those with unwavering conviction. But when people leave, it's because they "disbelieve". Specifically, they "disbelieve" the Church.

For examples, I doubt the LDS Church is the best place to teach my daughter righteous living. But I still believe it, to an extent, so I'm still raising her in the Church. But I disbelieve that the Priesthood Authority is from God, that the Book of Mormon is historically true, or that any of Joseph Smith's other revelations are legitimate. I can, and still do "doubt" my disbeliefs. But you can't have a doubt about a belief you don't have.

The Church isn't very charitable towards doubts, which is why you see so many people in the camp of "absolute conviction" and the rest often shamed into silence. It's not a healthy system. But even if that problem were tackled, it's a whole different issue for the Church to accept those who "no longer believe".
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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