Spiritual Support during Unorthodoxy

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DoubtingTom
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Re: Spiritual Support during Unorthodoxy

Post by DoubtingTom » 27 Apr 2017, 12:05

DarkJedi wrote:
27 Apr 2017, 11:53
I'm guessing what I'm describing as a feeling of peace and what you're describing are different Tom. I think that's all I can say about it because I don't think there are words. That's the problem with revelation, though, right? We are incapable of making feelings into words because of the human limitations of language.
That's certainly possible, but there's no way to know. That's the challenge of trying to compare subjective experiences. We can only describe our own experiences as best as we can, but there's no way to share our experiences with others. Wouldn't it be great if I could let you try on my "peace" and I could try on yours? Then maybe we'd be able to say, "Ahhh - that's what the other was talking about and meant!" But, as you said, we're limited to describing these sorts of experiences with words.

All I know is that the experiences I've had with my own "peace" are varied in their applications to doctrine, but they are very real to me. And I can only go by those experiences I've had personally.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Spiritual Support during Unorthodoxy

Post by DarkJedi » 27 Apr 2017, 12:53

I guess I could just say that the peace I experience is never really an "answer"(at least from my point of view). That is, I don't say "I believe the red tie is best today, should I wear it?" and get a an answer in the way of peace (and it's not just because I wouldn't ask that or it's a silly question, the question doesn't matter). Most of the time the answer is just peace, even when there is no question (and there almost always isn't). It something like this:

Me: Please, God, help my sick mother.
God: (peace)

Me: God, I'm really struggling right now.
God: (peace)

Me: God, we're headed for financial trouble, I really need a job.
God: (peace)

Me: God, I can't find my car keys and I need to go to speak in another ward and I'm going to be late.
God: (peace)

Me: God, I don't believe the gay policy is a revelation from you, I think it's a bad policy and I think it hurts people and keeps them from coming to you.
God: (peace)

Me: God, I could really use some peace.
God: ...(peace)
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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Reuben
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Re: Spiritual Support during Unorthodoxy

Post by Reuben » 28 Apr 2017, 02:32

DoubtingTom wrote:
27 Apr 2017, 11:51
But how do they know? I don't think polygamy or D&C 132 came from God. I have felt very good about that conclusion. I also don't think blacks should ever have been banned from the priesthood. I don't think that came from God. In the 1960's people could be excommunicated or disfellowshipped if they were too outspoken about this, but now it's ok to say we were just wrong. But what if I was receiving personal revelation back then about this issue? Why was it wrong then but ok now? What if I feel I've received personal revelation about women in the priesthood today or about word of wisdom issues today? It may be officially wrong now, but the church could change its stance in another 50 years.

This is where things get messy, and the church as an institution has to draw the line. It's one of the things that makes organized religion challenging in general, but especially a church that stresses the importance and value of personal revelation, but then can turn around and say that revelation isn't valid if we don't like what it says to you.

I don't have a good answer for this and it's something that I struggle with continually.
For me, it's only an external struggle. I've settled this internally.

I don't believe that an intersubjective experience of feeling peace about something in any way connotes objective truth. That it does is a pleasant fiction that can only be maintained in a social system that demands the appearance of agreement, where the first thing everyone appears to agree on is that peace connotes truth. In groups that have systems like this, when members inevitably don't feel peace about a fundamental tenet, the appearance of agreement causes each to assume there must be something wrong with his or her truth detector, and adjust it in response. When the group is large enough, and most of its tenets are either verifiably true or unverifiable, this system is remarkably self-sustaining. And people like it because they feel like they have answers and guarantees.

I wonder if there's any fundamentalist group that doesn't work in precisely this way. I know that the Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientology, and most evangelical Christian churches do.

Systems like this stop working under few circumstances.
  • When members of the group stop believing that peace connotes truth. This is one reason we have so much testifying and so many lessons on how to feel the spirit. It's one reason nobody talks about feeling peace about something contrary, or talks about how people in competing groups feel peace about their own tenets without explaining it away. It's also one reason the Church doesn't publicly admit fault.
  • When the fundamental tenets are shown to be inconsistent with each other or with personal experience or verifiable facts. This might be one reason our tenets are so fluid or paradoxical: to allow everyone who cares about consistency to fix on one self-consistent version that's also consistent with their experience and biases. It's also why we curious people are urged to be so careful in our study, why the Church requires teaching from approved sources, and one reason greater access to information has been so damaging to the Church. It's also one reason the Church doesn't publicly admit fault.
  • When enough members speak up about points of disagreement. This is what light discipline over unbelief and excommunications over apostasy are about. It's also one reason the Church doesn't publicly admit fault.
For what it's worth, I don't think anyone creates or maintains a system like this while thinking about it in these terms. They think and act according to the system's tenets, which to them are universal truth.

The system has broken down for me. Now that I understand it in these terms and (like you) I regard peace as meaning "good for me," I don't struggle when my peace disagrees with someone else's. I only struggle to communicate with people living in the system.
Last edited by Reuben on 28 Apr 2017, 04:28, edited 2 times in total.
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LookingHard
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Re: Spiritual Support during Unorthodoxy

Post by LookingHard » 28 Apr 2017, 03:53

Very well said Reuben!

I know on the subject of polygamy I have told TBM's (and others), "I am not going to tell God he can't command polygamy, but I can say that God has not confirmed in my heart that he commanded it in the early church and ESPECIALLY not NOW it was done in the early church now that I have studied that." So far I have not had anyone really push back as I am declaring MY truth and not telling anybody what they need to believe or not.

Go back 5 years ago and there is NO WAY I would stand on my own 2 feet and say something that I felt that was in disagreement with what the mainstream LDS church puts forward.

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Heber13
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Re: Spiritual Support during Unorthodoxy

Post by Heber13 » 28 Apr 2017, 08:28

Reuben, I really like the things you put down there. Excellent points about the system.
Reuben wrote:
28 Apr 2017, 02:32
I don't believe that an intersubjective experience of feeling peace about something in any way connotes objective truth.
I like the point you are making about how we sometimes conflate peace for truth, and also how you show the dangers of that. I plan to give this more study and thought. I think your whole post is well-written.

When DJ made his post, I was thinking that at times in my life...that "peace" as answer has been very welcome to me, and I cried with grattitude.
Sometimes...it was very very lacking and I cried for greater answers that would help me find long-term peace. I have since adjusted my expectations because I believe the peace will help me feel OK about my path, but it is through taking steps on the path that answers will come to those who work for them. I wanted more intervention in my life and worked to be worthy of it. But I found that God helps those that help themselves. Expectations adjusted.

I have since tried to stay close to keeping the peaceful answers as a welcome security blanket in times of doubts and fears. But...it still comes down to finding truth through choosing what actions to take, and seeing the results that come from handling things a certain way, and thinking through my personal truths I experience while trying to stay open to always learning more truth and knowledge.

So, it seems that personal peace is there to help guide us. But truth is what seems to stand on it's own and people can break that truth or break themselves against that truth. We have to avoid lying to ourselves just to feel better...that isn't peace or truth...it is justification of our self-desires or pride.

The system provides a place where people can go and trust each other that the group agrees on those things together, so they know how to talk about truth, teach truth, and trust others are on the same page so it is safe and doesn't need to be challenged constantly, and there can be collective peace in that group. There can be commitment and trust. Some peace comes from feeling validated by others, and so the system helps us go to church weekly so we can feel peace and support by others. Challenging truth in the midst of others can seem to be a good thing to clarify truth, but if it goes too far and is contentious it destroys the peace the group shares. It should be delicately balanced.

I see 2 things: Personal Peace (I'm doing ok), and collective peace (we are doing ok). Perhaps the same for truth...personal (works for me) and collective (works for all of us).

So...another element in this is "Personal Peace" and "Collective Peace". Sometimes personal sacrifice is needed, which may be giving up a little personal peace in some areas of our lives and may bring some stress and anxiety, but is done to have greater Collective Peace that can make it worthwhile to have, having trust in each other and the system to commit to it and not feel alone in the search for peace or truth.

It doesn't have to be perfect collective peace, just better than no peace, and more complimentary to the personal peace you get on your own. If not, you leave the group and go focus on personal peace and truth.

Something for me to ponder more about, and study.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

ydeve
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Re: Spiritual Support during Unorthodoxy

Post by ydeve » 28 Apr 2017, 08:47

Thank you Reuben. That's what I wanted to say but had trouble putting into words.

The biggest problem with the system is what happens to the people who cannot live authentically according to said system's rules. Because the system depends on *everybody* agreeing on certain tenets, the misfit's attempts to live life in a way that brings them peace is seen as an attack on the group as a whole. Even a nonmember is seen in the same way, especially if said tenet is seen as especially fundamental. And the resulting backlash can really screw people up.

This is where you get so many exmos who are so angry and bitter towards the church. People they feel should be able to be counted on for love and support instead turn against them when they are most vulnerable. Because their world is built on the system being correct, members become incapable of truly loving those who cannot exist within it.

I think the truth claims of the church may be the root of all the abuse it has and continues to dish out.

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Reuben
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Re: Spiritual Support during Unorthodoxy

Post by Reuben » 28 Apr 2017, 11:55

First, I want to point out that there's nothing in my theory that suggests that feelings of peace can't come from God, or that peace from God can't connote truth. Just that it doesn't always. We can all disagree on the frequency while agreeing on the theory. :D
Heber13 wrote:
28 Apr 2017, 08:28
The system provides a place where people can go and trust each other that the group agrees on those things together, so they know how to talk about truth, teach truth, and trust others are on the same page so it is safe and doesn't need to be challenged constantly, and there can be collective peace in that group. There can be commitment and trust. Some peace comes from feeling validated by others, and so the system helps us go to church weekly so we can feel peace and support by others. Challenging truth in the midst of others can seem to be a good thing to clarify truth, but if it goes too far and is contentious it destroys the peace the group shares. It should be delicately balanced.
This explains nicely why peace tends to be the truth detector in groups with systems like this that survive and thrive.

In my post, you could replace "peace" with "anger" or "excitement" or even "feeling the dowsing rod dip," and the theory would still be plausible. (Yes, that's a shout-out to Oliver Cowdery.) But human beings are social creatures, and as such derive peace from being in agreement with people they care about. If peace connotes truth, then being in agreement connotes truth, which in turn drives the demand for agreement.

(I wonder if it also drives the demand for being reverent to the point of being mind-numbingly boring, or drives our preference for serene-to-the-point-of-haughtiness portrayals of Jesus.)
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Reuben
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Re: Spiritual Support during Unorthodoxy

Post by Reuben » 28 Apr 2017, 12:24

ydeve wrote:
28 Apr 2017, 08:47
The biggest problem with the system is what happens to the people who cannot live authentically according to said system's rules. Because the system depends on *everybody* agreeing on certain tenets, the misfit's attempts to live life in a way that brings them peace is seen as an attack on the group as a whole. Even a nonmember is seen in the same way, especially if said tenet is seen as especially fundamental. And the resulting backlash can really screw people up.
Well said. Do you think this is why the Church feels so persecuted by "the LGBT agenda"?
ydeve wrote:
28 Apr 2017, 08:47
This is where you get so many exmos who are so angry and bitter towards the church. People they feel should be able to be counted on for love and support instead turn against them when they are most vulnerable. Because their world is built on the system being correct, members become incapable of truly loving those who cannot exist within it.
I think an awful lot of members do, yes. I think it's also true that the more certain they are, the more they struggle to love the misfits. It's almost as if being overly certain is pride, and having a reasonable amount of doubt is humility.

If it makes any difference, I truly love you, ydeve. And not in a creepy way!
ydeve wrote:
28 Apr 2017, 08:47
I think the truth claims of the church may be the root of all the abuse it has and continues to dish out.
I think, again, it comes down to our certainty about those truth claims. If we were humble enough to doubt them a little, disagreement wouldn't be so threatening. The rank and file could accept and love misfits more readily. Our leaders wouldn't be slaves to always having to appear to have been right.

The democratization of information will either force humility on the Church, or whittle it down to a handful of radical fundamentalists. But in the meantime, there are real people in real pain.
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ydeve
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Re: Spiritual Support during Unorthodoxy

Post by ydeve » 03 May 2017, 07:26

Reuben wrote:
28 Apr 2017, 12:24
ydeve wrote:
28 Apr 2017, 08:47
The biggest problem with the system is what happens to the people who cannot live authentically according to said system's rules. Because the system depends on *everybody* agreeing on certain tenets, the misfit's attempts to live life in a way that brings them peace is seen as an attack on the group as a whole. Even a nonmember is seen in the same way, especially if said tenet is seen as especially fundamental. And the resulting backlash can really screw people up.
Do you think this is why the Church feels so persecuted by "the LGBT agenda"?
When it comes to homophobia, I think this is just part of a larger picture. I see homophobia and misogyny as having the same roots. Confirmation bias builds on an innate desire to consider one better than others, and a "ruling class" begins to discriminate against those outside of it. This superiority becomes part of their world view. So when a "minority group" (in the case of misogyny, are women really a minority?) Begins to seek after equal treatment, it threatens both their world view and their sense of self worth, both of which are deeply disturbing.

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SilentDawning
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Re: Spiritual Support during Unorthodoxy

Post by SilentDawning » 03 May 2017, 09:07

ydeve wrote:
28 Apr 2017, 08:47
This is where you get so many exmos who are so angry and bitter towards the church. People they feel should be able to be counted on for love and support instead turn against them when they are most vulnerable. Because their world is built on the system being correct, members become incapable of truly loving those who cannot exist within it.
That's one of the most insightful comments I've considered in the last few weeks...I was that way when I was TBM. And it leads to inviting people to have their name removed from the church, and even feeling offended by them when they have contrarion ideas.

now I'm on the other side of the fence and know the best thing in those situatiosn is to stay loyal to them in spite of their lack of orthodox belief.
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"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

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