Down the Rabbit Hole & Back.

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ConfusedMolly
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Down the Rabbit Hole & Back.

Post by ConfusedMolly » 18 Jul 2017, 15:25

I have been lurking here since 2014 (and occasionally posting) and I decided it's time for my official introduction.

My background is very typical. I grew up in Utah in a large, Mormon family (however, both of my parents are converts and a few of my siblings stopped going to church around their late-teen years). I was a seminary graduate, very involved in YW, and loved the Gospel. It was everything to me. I went to BYU where I met my husband and we were married in the temple. I was 20 and he was 21. We have been married for almost 8 years now and have a 1 year old. My username comes from the nickname I had growing up, which was Molly Mormon. I really was a model citizen.
  • About 6 months after our wedding, my husband's parents told us they were getting a divorce. My husband's mom and 2 brothers are no longer members of the church.
  • In 2013 my husband's brother came out. I had graduated from BYU a few years ago and was living in Oregon. Up until this point, I was very much aligned with the church on their views of same-sex marriage. I had never questioned anything that the church taught, so of course I didn't question their stance on LGBT issues.... but after finding out about my brother-in-law, who I love dearly, I started to question a teaching of the church for the first time. Over the next few months (and with a lot of prayer) I came to the conclusion that it was okay for me to be happy for my BIL and want him to get married... but still hold my view of marriage between a man and a woman in the spiritual sense.
  • In 2014 it was time to renew my temple recommend. At this point, my husband's testimony of tithing was suffering and he did not want to pay 10% of our income to the church. We both worked at the time. I talked to my bishop about the situation and told him that I wanted to pay tithing, but I didn't want to cause contention in our marriage over it. He told me that unless I paid tithing on my income, I couldn't have a temple recommend. I tried to explain how my income and my husband's income are not "separate." We share a bank account, and it is all "our" money. But he didn't understand. I also told him that I believe that same sex marriage should be allowed, in a secular sense. He basically told me that the church was going to start coming after people who held this view. I came home from that interview HYSTERICAL. Sobbing uncontrollably. I didn't have a temple recommend for the first time in my life.
  • I discovered the essays that the church published shortly after my interview. This was like a rabbit hole for me and I learned things that I NEVER knew, even though I grew up in the church and graduated from BYU. I didn't know that JS was a polygamist and that really shocked me. I knew that black people couldn't have the priesthood, but I didn't realize that they couldn't receive any priesthood ordinances. I seriously felt sick to my stomach. I learned that there are different accounts of JS first vision, but not just that they are "different" but drastically different (like the first account doesn't even mention two personages, just one). All of this information was heartbreaking to me and I felt so deceived and confused.
  • I continued to serve as a primary teacher and my husband let his temple recommend expire. He started to be "less active" and only wanted to attend sacrament meeting. I was released as a primary teacher after a few years, and at this point I decided I only wanted to attend sacrament meeting too. I also decided that since I didn't have a temple recommend, I didn't need to wear my garments anymore. They were soooo uncomfortable for me, and I guess I lost my testimony of why I should wear them.
  • We moved back to Utah in the summer of 2015. Up until this point, my family had no idea that I didn't have a recommend or that I had questions and doubts. But my brother got married in the temple, so a few months before the wedding I had to tell my parents (and my little brother) that I wouldn't be at the wedding. It was really hard, but my family took it pretty well. They knew that I still believed in the gospel, but that I had some concerns. I definitely heard through the grapevine that a few of my siblings thought that I was no longer a good example for their kids. They all just looked at me as the "golden child" because I was so valiant in my testimony and it was so sad for them that I was no longer valiant.
  • The November 2015 policy came out and I couldn't sleep that night. I was heart broken and devastated. I understand people's argument of "protecting the children" but why do we single out the sin of same-sex marriage over other sins? If we are going to have this policy, then it should be something like, "If your parents are not active, temple-recommend holding members, you can't get baptized until you're 18." I just do not get why it only applies to kids who have parents that are gay.
  • During all of this, I was basically in turmoil. I didn't know what to think. I felt confused and lost and hopeless and heartbroken. How was I supposed to trust anything that I had been taught my whole life? I felt so deceived. I have since learned a lot from you guys about changing my viewpoint of what is REAL doctrine and what is REAL prophecy and that the church is full of things that are just cultural. This doesn't make it untrue, but it has definitely changed my viewpoint and how involved I want to be with the church.
So where are we now? Well, we have continued to be sacrament attending members. We don't hold callings. We don't pay our tithing. We don't wear our garments. We sometimes go out to eat on Sunday. We don't have temple recommends (although I technically could get mine now that I'm not working and stay home with my son... I just don't feel right about it...)

None of these things probably seem like a big deal, but they definitely make us "weird" members of our ward. We constantly have people coming up to us and asking us if we are new. It's funny to see the looks on their faces when we tell them we have been in the ward for almost 2 years.

My husband is not as bothered by the questions and concerns that I have, and he is happy to be a "weird" Mormon who only attends sacrament meeting and doesn't pay their tithing.

Me on the other hand? I am struggling. Some days I just feel like I would be happier if I left and was done completely. But being a Mormon is so much a part of who I am and my identity. I don't know who I would be if I wasn't Mormon.

So I'm trying to let go of what other people think about me. My family and friends that are all super active definitely look down on me and I don't think they consider me a Mormon by their standards. Who cares? Well, I definitely do, but I'm trying not to. I just don't feel like there's a place for a person like me in the church, but when I come here I feel safe and I feel like I belong.

I've been watching some of the Mormon Stories podcasts about being a "progressive" Mormon and I think that's going to be the best route for me. I love the core of the Gospel. I love my Heavenly Father and Savior. I love our Prophet. I love the Priesthood and the temple. I love the Plan of Salvation and the Atonement. I'm trying to focus more on the core and what makes me happy about the church instead of getting hung up on the other things that I've mentioned. I'm currently re-reading the Book of Mormon (I haven't read it since my faith crisis) and am interested to see how I feel about it now that my eyes have been opened.

Thanks to everyone here. I have learned SO much from you and your wisdom and perspectives.

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nibbler
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole & Back.

Post by nibbler » 18 Jul 2017, 16:40

Thanks for sharing your story. It sounds like you've lost a lot... and gained a lot.
You can't break what's broken already.
- LeAnn Rimes

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Heber13
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole & Back.

Post by Heber13 » 18 Jul 2017, 18:13

ConfusedMolly wrote:
18 Jul 2017, 15:25
So I'm trying to let go of what other people think about me.
I do think this is a very key thing to work on. However...it isn't easy, especially when you have a kind, loving heart and always care about others. But you can find a middle ground of caring about them but not being codependent on them approving of who you are. Just be comfortable in your own skin, stay humble and contrite, and people can accept differences if they is honesty and sincerity behind it. Most people going to church are trying to work on themselves and are good people. But...you'll be judged by others. Seems inevitable. Just go with it. It's ok. Love them anyway...bless their pea-picking hearts (as my mom would say) :)

Thanks for sharing your timeline. It's been a crazy journey...hasn't it? And so much more to come! :angel:
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."

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DarkJedi
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole & Back.

Post by DarkJedi » 18 Jul 2017, 20:10

Thanks for sharing. I'm glad you feel comfortable here, I do too. Come by and share more often.
I understand people's argument of "protecting the children" but why do we single out the sin of same-sex marriage over other sins? If we are going to have this policy, then it should be something like, "If your parents are not active, temple-recommend holding members, you can't get baptized until you're 18." I just do not get why it only applies to kids who have parents that are gay.
This is one of my big struggles too. We have a woman in our ward who was a single mother when she was baptized, and the three children who were of age were also baptized. Within a few months of being baptized she moved in with a guy. That's been almost three years ago. The older kids aren't active but the two younger ones are, the youngest was baptized and the older one has progressed through the priesthood. (Usually someone else brings them to church.) So the children of this woman, apparently unrepentant woman "living in sin," have no repercussions - which I wholeheartedly agree with. Yet, if this happened to be their mother living with or marrying another woman they would be damned (pretty much literally).

Sorry about the derail.
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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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole & Back.

Post by Curt Sunshine » 19 Jul 2017, 07:55

Welcome to our Island of Misfit Toys. Many people here can understand your journey.
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: Down the Rabbit Hole & Back.

Post by dande48 » 19 Jul 2017, 09:01

Thanks for joining us, Molly. I really enjoyed your story, and appreciate you sharing.

Just something that came to mind, maybe it'll help, maybe not. But I think it's a good idea to start developing camaraderie outside of the Church. This is VERY difficult, especially being a stay-at-home parent. One site that really helped me connect is "MeetUp.com". It's a site dedicated to helping people get together who share a common interest. I signed up with a board game group, but they have groups for just about everything. I meet with them once or twice a week, eat junk, and play games. When they hear I went to BYU, they assume I'm mormon (there's only one type of mormon, to all outsiders). They're a great group of people; it's the opimtome of a healthy relationship.
"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

Roy
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole & Back.

Post by Roy » 19 Jul 2017, 15:42

Hi Molly. Thanks for introducing yourself.

Were you proud of your nickname? like a badge of honor? or was it said somewhat disparagingly?

I have had some similar experiences. I am sorry for the pain and the heartache you have gone through.

A couple thoughts (since I can't help but comment):

November 2015 policy. I believe that this is tied most heavily to legal issues that the church foresaw. Prior to SSM being legal in the US the church could just prohibit non-marital sexual relations. After SSM there became the very real problem of what to do if a gay member follows all church rules and enters SSM. Can they be disciplined? on what grounds? Can they be denied going to BYU? On what grounds? If they are at BYU can they live in married student housing? If they were denied married student housing and filled a lawsuit would they win? (I think they would) Some even felt that the church might some day be forced to perform gay marriage ceremonies. (this seems like big stretch but may have factored into the church's motivation)

Religious institutions are given legal leeway to discriminate for reasons based on church doctrine. This is how many churches continue to prevent women from being clergy. But the doctrine must be clear - even better with a long historical tradition. I believe that the church acted decisively to label SSM as apostasy in order to forego the types of legal and moral questions that would entangle the church's dealings with members with this type of marriage. They also had this policy mirror the policy toward children of polygamous married parents (no baptism until 18 and disavowal of parents' lifestyle). I am less certain for the "why" on this part about the children. One reasonable theory is that it ties this new policy back to another more established church policy and might make it therefore easier to present, explain, and defend the new policy.

In short, this has almost nothing to do with protecting the children of SSM couples.
ConfusedMolly wrote:
18 Jul 2017, 15:25
My family and friends that are all super active definitely look down on me and I don't think they consider me a Mormon by their standards. Who cares? Well, I definitely do, but I'm trying not to.
It seems to me that there are three approaches to be less active less devout: 1) I am struggling, please give me patience as I work through my issues. 2) I am just not focusing on that/taking religion so seriously right now. 3) There is nothing wrong with me. My eyes have been opened.

1 and 2 will reinforce their looking down on you but at least you seem non-threatening. With #3 they will likely still look down on you and label you as dangerous.
dande48 wrote:
19 Jul 2017, 09:01
But I think it's a good idea to start developing camaraderie outside of the Church. This is VERY difficult, especially being a stay-at-home parent.
I agree with Dande. Diversifying my social life has been very helpful. It allows me to manage the influence that the LDS church has on my life. I get to care less about how my LDS friends view my choices. Have you tried MOPS (mothers of preschoolers)? My wife still goes to their movie nights even though our kids have long since graduated from the program.
"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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ConfusedMolly
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole & Back.

Post by ConfusedMolly » 21 Jul 2017, 10:04

I haven't heard of MOPS, but I'll have to look into that. It is hard to diversify in Utah, but I do agree that it would be good for me to extend my social circle. I am a very social person, so part of my struggle with being a "weird" Mormon is that I feel like normal Mormons won't really want to be around me or let their kids play with my kids, etc.
Roy wrote:
19 Jul 2017, 15:42

Were you proud of your nickname? like a badge of honor? or was it said somewhat disparagingly?
It was definitely not a badge of honor and it made me embarrassed. I have always been very type-A, perfectionist, all or nothing kind of person. So being a "Molly Mormon" was just how I did Mormonism. I was ALL in. I think that's why I have such a hard time being in the middle right now.
Roy wrote:
19 Jul 2017, 15:42

November 2015 policy. I believe that this is tied most heavily to legal issues that the church foresaw. Prior to SSM being legal in the US the church could just prohibit non-marital sexual relations. After SSM there became the very real problem of what to do if a gay member follows all church rules and enters SSM. Can they be disciplined? on what grounds? Can they be denied going to BYU? On what grounds? If they are at BYU can they live in married student housing? If they were denied married student housing and filled a lawsuit would they win? (I think they would) Some even felt that the church might some day be forced to perform gay marriage ceremonies. (this seems like big stretch but may have factored into the church's motivation)

Religious institutions are given legal leeway to discriminate for reasons based on church doctrine. This is how many churches continue to prevent women from being clergy. But the doctrine must be clear - even better with a long historical tradition. I believe that the church acted decisively to label SSM as apostasy in order to forego the types of legal and moral questions that would entangle the church's dealings with members with this type of marriage. They also had this policy mirror the policy toward children of polygamous married parents (no baptism until 18 and disavowal of parents' lifestyle). I am less certain for the "why" on this part about the children. One reasonable theory is that it ties this new policy back to another more established church policy and might make it therefore easier to present, explain, and defend the new policy.

In short, this has almost nothing to do with protecting the children of SSM couples.
I have never heard that policy explained this way, and it really helps me wrap my head around it a bit better. Not that I am okay with it, but I can understand more where the church is coming from on a legal standpoint to protect their religious rights. That makes more sense than the "protecting the children" argument.

Roy
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Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole & Back.

Post by Roy » 23 Jul 2017, 12:34

ConfusedMolly wrote:
21 Jul 2017, 10:04
I have never heard that policy explained this way, and it really helps me wrap my head around it a bit better. Not that I am okay with it, but I can understand more where the church is coming from on a legal standpoint to protect their religious rights. That makes more sense than the "protecting the children" argument.
Part of my frustration with the church is when it seems to try to obfuscate the (what I believe to be) true reason behind a policy change. (File this one under general lack of transparency)

2 other good examples are the removal of paid janitors and the discontinuation of YSA student wards. The church made the changes and trumpeted the spiritual benefits while remaining silent on the perfectly reasonable business rationale for those decisions. It makes me feel that they do not trust us to be let in on the fuller picture. OTOH, the church is in a bit of a pickle. If they seem to be too corporate in their decision making then they will be attacked for that too.
"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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