Giving Church Another Try - How Much To Reveal?

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InquiringMind
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Joined: 08 Jul 2012, 22:46

Giving Church Another Try - How Much To Reveal?

Post by InquiringMind » 28 Mar 2019, 20:37

Hi Everyone. I was on this forum back in 2012 when I was at the height of my faith crisis. My participation here was difficult because I was not really trying to "stay LDS", and was instead trying to work through the anger and demythologizing of losing belief. I had to find another forum that was more appropriate for that.

All that is gone now, and I've been out of the Church for several years. It's been a very rewarding journey in so many ways, and I'm much happier with myself and with my life. But I've gotten to the point where I'm hitting a big wall in my life. Being out of the Church for awhile has made me realize how incredibly Mormon I still am. I never have adjusted to the lifestyle of non-Mormons. I don't like the party lifestyle, I can't stand the smell of alcohol, and I find sexual promiscuity to be distasteful. I still talk about Mormonism with people, I still light up when I meet another Mormon, and I still like listening to MoTab. I don't know that I could ever un-Mormon myself.

This has been a particular problem in dating (I have never been married). I have never been able to click well with non-Mormon women, and since drinking alcohol is pretty much a prerequisite for social life outside the Church, meeting women has been tough. Additionally, I am finishing a PhD in physics in Southern California right now, and it seems like everywhere I go there are 5-10 men for every woman. I have a pretty good social life with male friends, but almost everyone I know and work with is male. When I was in the Church I had many opportunities to date some really terrific women, but now women seem very scarce and I just can't find anyone to date.

So now I am going to give things another try. My life in the Church can't be like it was before, though. I'm over 31 so I can't go to the YSA ward anymore, and I'll have to go to a midsingles ward or a family ward. Also, on the belief spectrum, I'm pretty far on the side of non-belief. I don't really have a lot belief that there is an anthropomorphic God, and I doubt that Joseph Smith ever had any gold plates in his possession. But I am finding new value in the myths and stories of my native religious tradition, and even if the events in the Bible never really happened, I think there are lessons to be learned from these stories. As a community, the Church is far better than anything else I have experienced, and I have missed that.

So I'll go to the Church on Sunday and talk with the bishop. Is it your recommendation that I discuss with him that I am a "Middle Way Mormon" or is it better to keep such beliefs to myself?

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SamBee
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Re: Giving Church Another Try - How Much To Reveal?

Post by SamBee » 29 Mar 2019, 04:00

InquiringMind wrote:
28 Mar 2019, 20:37
But I've gotten to the point where I'm hitting a big wall in my life. Being out of the Church for awhile has made me realize how incredibly Mormon I still am. I never have adjusted to the lifestyle of non-Mormons. I don't like the party lifestyle, I can't stand the smell of alcohol, and I find sexual promiscuity to be distasteful. I still talk about Mormonism with people, I still light up when I meet another Mormon, and I still like listening to MoTab. I don't know that I could ever un-Mormon myself.
First off, welcome back.

The party lifestyle is not what it pretends. A lot of it involves chasing an ideal which doesn't exist, that they've seen in films etc. This might sound like the church to some people, but the church doesn't leave you with a sore head and bad memories (at least not like these).

As for the sex thing... Put it this way... i am a red blooded male, and I have all that goes along with that, but giving in to that all the time? It'd be like every time I got angry, that I went and hit someone. It's not acceptable and not a good long term plan. I find a lot of people who want sex end up chasing ugly people (and I don't just mean physically), because beauty is often unobtainable. You don't get emotional nourishment from it, but you might well end up with what was once known as a "social disease".

I was asked recently by a medical person whether I had sexual relationships, as if it was the normal thing. The assumption is that everyone must sleep around (the polar opposite of some decades ago when marriage and fidelity were valued). It continues to prove a very poor basis for a society, and those who don't find someone to settle down with will be chasing diminishing returns.

I don't drink or sleep around. I'm glad I don't, because in the long run it doesn't sustain me, whatever my short term urge may be. However, and here's the catch. I don't see myself married or in a serious relationship any time soon, so there's some loneliness there. One night stands won't cure that loneliness.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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SamBee
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Re: Giving Church Another Try - How Much To Reveal?

Post by SamBee » 29 Mar 2019, 04:19

Also I hope you find a good ward. They're not all the same sadly, but if you land in a good one, you're lucky.

Try and work out who will make a reliable solid friends for you. Avoid shallow people and two faced ones (goes without saying). Worth arranging to meet people outside official events too. Also do service - most will appreciate it, don't be knocked back by those who don't
InquiringMind wrote:
28 Mar 2019, 20:37
So I'll go to the Church on Sunday and talk with the bishop. Is it your recommendation that I discuss with him that I am a "Middle Way Mormon" or is it better to keep such beliefs to myself?
Keep most of them to yourself until you get to know what their position is like. I would say something like:

"I feel that there are a lot of positive things in the church, and I would like to be a part of those. Because I have been inactive for a while, I need some time to readjust to church life and would like to take things at my own pace, rather than be rushed into anything. It will also take me some time to get to know people."

Explain also that you're doing academic work and that you will need a lot of time and energy to finish it. (That's an excuse not to have a tough calling at least initially( Point out the church supports educational advancement of needs be. Don't say anything negative, play up the positives.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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DarkJedi
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Re: Giving Church Another Try - How Much To Reveal?

Post by DarkJedi » 29 Mar 2019, 05:04

Although I was married and older, I did go through a faith crisis and didn't go to church for several years before returning. And I also hadn't really given up my "Mormon culture." I did speak with the bishop before returning and I don't remember exactly what I shared except that I did not share what my unbeliefs were (and mostly still are and they're still unshared). The bishop at the time had his faults but he was very kind and gracious. If I were to do it over, I think I'd do it pretty similarly. I'd probably share that I had been away for a while and was desirous to return but that I didn't want a big deal made of it, I didn't want to be a project, etc. (I did share those things with the bishop then). I'd shy away from making any statements about what I do or don't believe and I'd probably shy away from using the term "middle way" because it has some connotations attached to it. This advice is free, so take it for what it's worth.

My return was chronicled here, if I find a moment I'll try to find that thread.

And, two hour church really is different. There are things you might like.
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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nibbler
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Re: Giving Church Another Try - How Much To Reveal?

Post by nibbler » 29 Mar 2019, 05:13

InquiringMind wrote:
28 Mar 2019, 20:37
So I'll go to the Church on Sunday and talk with the bishop. Is it your recommendation that I discuss with him that I am a "Middle Way Mormon" or is it better to keep such beliefs to myself?
Life can be a crapshoot but I'd say start by asking yourself what level of involvement you want with the church.

If you're completely comfortable with giving talks, teaching lessons, ministering, holding a calling (or two), etc. I don't know that you need to say anything to your bishop. The reason I say this is that I've found that at church everyone just kind of assumes that everyone else there is on board with what have become established expectations of active members. If you're okay with that you can just show up and go with the flow.

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