Mental Exercise

Public forum for topics that don't fit into the other categories.
Curt Sunshine
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Re: Mental Exercise

Post by Curt Sunshine » 18 Jan 2019, 11:35

I think one of the central issues is how different people define doubt. I am NOT trying to excuse or support the common usage at church, but it is important to understand, at least, what people mean when they talk of doubt.

We tend to equate doubt with questioning or not believing fully - of keeping an open mind.

Church leaders tend to equate doubt with sign seeking - which is seen as having a closed mind. "Doubting Thomas" wasn't criticized for questioning; he was criticized for rejecting the other disciples' testimonies and demanding to see for himself. (Ironically, Jesus is recorded as granting that sincere request, so criticizing Thomas for it is a retroactive judgment in and of itself.)

Doubting is seen as a spiritual orientation - a negative mindset - a foundational way of thinking.

Phrased generally:

We say, "It is important to be open-minded about the possibility that ____________ is not true / accurate / healthy / etc. It isn't good to accept everything without critical thinking and personal experience."

They say, "It is important to be open-minded about the possibility that ___________ is true / accurate / healthy / etc. It isn't good to reject everything based only on critical thinking and personal experience "

We BOTH tend to take those opposite positions because each position matches our own current view - and most people who are passionate about a position relative to a different, strongly held position tend to gravitate to the opposite extreme.

So, when a church leader uses the word "doubt", they often mean something different than what many people hear - and they often frame it in opposition to the other extreme. The same is true of us, sometimes.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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dande48
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Re: Mental Exercise

Post by dande48 » 18 Jan 2019, 14:43

Curt Sunshine wrote:
18 Jan 2019, 11:35
We tend to equate doubt with questioning or not believing fully - of keeping an open mind.

Church leaders tend to equate doubt with sign seeking - which is seen as having a closed mind.
A fair point, but I think we've stumbled onto the biggest issue with GAs addressing doubt. GAs, 99% of the time, speak from a place of unwavering certainty and absolute conviction of their beliefs. But for us "doubters" and "former believers", we've learned from our own hard experience that it isn't right to ever have unwavering certainty and absolute conviction about anything. For one, most of us have been on the believers side, and also felt we had such absolute convictions. "Surer than the sun, I know it is true". And then, we discovered we were... wrong.

I can empathize with them, as 100% certain believers, because I was once one of them. But I don't think any GA has really been a "doubter" (or "disbeliever"), once they first believed. And even those 100% certain members who at one point "fell away", are often deny they ever had doubts. "Even when I was inactive, I always knew it was true". What's more, is that most all GAs and many members feel everyone should also be "100% certain" as they are. Any less certain, is the devil's doing.
"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

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Mental Exercise

Post by Curt Sunshine » 18 Jan 2019, 18:36

Yep. I agree.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Mental Exercise

Post by hawkgrrrl » 18 Jan 2019, 19:28

dande48 - I like what Peter Enns says. He calls it the "sin of certainty." Claiming certainty in something that is not possible to be certain about is hubris. It's lacking in humility. It's fanatical.

I sometimes wonder about more liberal religions that don't require codes of belief or orthodoxy of ideas or even practices. My best friend's mom left the church when my friend was young, and they basically joined the Unitarian congregation. Looking at the stats, though, there are fewer UU than CoC in the US. The church often scoffs at these more liberal congregations' ability to engage and retain members. While I agree with JS that "it feels good not to be trammeled," apparently without any trammeling, people don't engage fully. Maybe it's like how you have to undermine the cheerleader's self esteem to date her. Churches require some amount of Stockholm Syndrome to work. We hate members being social bullies, but they also make it harder to leave because of their taunts about quitters.

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SilentDawning
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Re: Mental Exercise

Post by SilentDawning » 19 Jan 2019, 13:52

It's not a binary thing. So long as I have family and a stake in the church with memories of testimony, my doubts won't really make me leave. But if people are nasty and mean, history has shown this hurts my commitment. I doubt it would lead to resignation, but nasty people certainly lessen my involvement at church. You pay 10% of your income,give most of your disposable time in activities that don't bring you joy, and sit through meetings on character building and Christlike love, only to find there aren't the fruits and inner peace due to nasty people. In my experience nastier than you find in industry, community organizations or other places.

I quote the BoM where Alma says to Corianton "When they say your actions they wouldn't believe my words".
"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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mom3
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Re: Mental Exercise

Post by mom3 » 19 Jan 2019, 18:18

I sometimes wonder about more liberal religions that don't require codes of belief or orthodoxy of ideas or even practices. My best friend's mom left the church when my friend was young, and they basically joined the Unitarian congregation. Looking at the stats, though, there are fewer UU than CoC in the US. The church often scoffs at these more liberal congregations' ability to engage and retain members. While I agree with JS that "it feels good not to be trammeled," apparently without any trammeling, people don't engage fully. Maybe it's like how you have to undermine the cheerleader's self esteem to date her. Churches require some amount of Stockholm Syndrome to work. We hate members being social bullies, but they also make it harder to leave because of their taunts about quitters.
I look at it like fabric. A pile of yard or wool isn't very effective until it has been shaped or woven into cloth. Sometimes it's a blanket, sometimes it's clothes. I have attended UU churches. They are more like a pile of threads or yarn. I appreciate the "be whoever, whatever you are" presentation, but I yearn for some meat. Even disagreement. I have attended multiple Catholic services, and though I find their rituals reminiscent to our Temple/Covenant rituals, I have trouble connecting with liturgy at times other than holidays. I am jaded with delight by Lutheran's right now, they seem to be able to be liberal and yet biblically anchored. Most of all though I love our cloth. It has some definite holes and thin spots. It doesn't cover everyone, but it's strong in other areas. I guess I will be trammeled just a bit more.
"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

DancingCarrot
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Re: Mental Exercise

Post by DancingCarrot » 21 Jan 2019, 16:04

From my understanding, threat of forced social isolation is a useful evolutionary tool. Useful, not necessarily healthy or good. We are all social creatures that need relationships to survive so the fear of that being purposefully revoked is terrifying because its life ending, in a way. Nowadays it’s probably overused and unnecessary as there are many more people, communities, modes of travel, economic opportunities available to make establishing a new social network possible. And it is useful in high-stakes situations such as military, crisis, or first responders. There is little room for individual variation in those types of survival situations.

But for the vast majority of the developed world, our day-to-day isn’t survival, and our use of social rejection is probably a holdover of our historical biology. To use mom3’s analogy, someone’s gotta pull the yarn into a blanket.


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It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. -Dumbledore

Roll away your stone, I'll roll away mine. Together we can see what we will find. -Mumford & Sons

Kipper
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Re: Mental Exercise

Post by Kipper » 02 Feb 2019, 10:50

LookingHard wrote:
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).
This is pretty close to describing me. I thought I was at peace once my doubts became conclusions but recently it has become harder than ever to feel calm and at peace, in fact I no longer feel as if belong in the "group" and I don't have the emotional strength to deal with it. I have a deep wound and it's from an institution that does not have the source of my feelings on their radar. I think that would require a lot of self reflection on their part and that is just not an option. Therefore we will remain at unspoken odds without any possible reconciliation for the future that I can see. It really is not enjoyable to be here any more. It's like being in a group that you are not really part of.

EDIT:
Did I hijack? Moderators do whatever you need, sorry. I have crafted several posts only to safe as drafts because I question if they are appropriate. This was just an emotional reaction after reading through this thread, although not isolated to this thread.

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LookingHard
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Re: Mental Exercise

Post by LookingHard » 03 Feb 2019, 11:52

Kipper wrote:
02 Feb 2019, 10:50
LookingHard wrote:
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).
This is pretty close to describing me. I thought I was at peace once my doubts became conclusions but recently it has become harder than ever to feel calm and at peace, in fact I no longer feel as if belong in the "group" and I don't have the emotional strength to deal with it. I have a deep wound and it's from an institution that does not have the source of my feelings on their radar. I think that would require a lot of self reflection on their part and that is just not an option. Therefore we will remain at unspoken odds without any possible reconciliation for the future that I can see. It really is not enjoyable to be here any more. It's like being in a group that you are not really part of.
I have found I like to describe it as it coming in waves, not some linear progression (certainly not as distinct as "stages" would suggest). It comes and goes and every once in a while I am slammed with wave. Sometimes I see them and brace, and other times they catch me off guard. But I have learned to let it go and just move on. I hope you feel over time it is getting better.

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Re: Mental Exercise

Post by Roy » 03 Feb 2019, 13:38

Kipper wrote:
02 Feb 2019, 10:50

EDIT:
Did I hijack? Moderators do whatever you need, sorry. I have crafted several posts only to safe as drafts because I question if they are appropriate. This was just an emotional reaction after reading through this thread, although not isolated to this thread.

I do not see anything that is innapropriate in your comment.


I am at a phase of life right now where I enjoy the care and effort that is given to my kids. My local leaders really do care about them and want them to be successful. We might have slightly different versions of what success looks like but hey - where else are you going to find a group of adults and peers invested in helping your children reach their dreams?

IOW, I am currently soaking up the goodness that I find in the church and not worrying so much about truth claims.
"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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