Just joined after 2 months of lurking

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HazyShadeofFall
Posts: 3
Joined: 19 Aug 2019, 10:39

Just joined after 2 months of lurking

Post by HazyShadeofFall » 19 Aug 2019, 12:44

Hi everyone! I stumbled across this forum about 2 months ago and have been visiting it regularly ever since. Today I finally made an account. I'm going through a very turbulent time in my beliefs right now, and not being able to share my thoughts with anyone has been driving me crazy. I have enjoyed reading the discussions on here so far, and I like that this place seems, in general, calmer and less bitter & angry than some other forums I have found.

So, a bit about me and what brought me here. I'm in my mid-20s, and starting around a year & a half ago I started seriously questioning my beliefs, which I think is a pretty normal thing for someone my age just finishing university. At first it didn't bother me too much; the church was a good support system for me and was helpful in finding ways that I could improve myself, even if it wasn't actually true. But for the last ~5 months, these questions have been growing, compounding, and taking up a lot of space in my head.

About a year ago I discovered that I was asexual. This realization brought a wave of overwhelming relief and joy early on, but over time it led me back to concerns about the church. How could a temple marriage be the only way to "a fullness of joy" when it was something I've never wanted, something I would hate to be a part of? If love of God and charity for humankind are the most important kinds of love, then why would exaltation hang on my relationship to one random other person? I tried finding answers on church websites and FairMormon at first, but that led only to frustration and disappointment. Then I turned to learning about other LGBTQ people in the church through blogs and podcasts, and I became more and more concerned with social issues in the church and whether church leadership is actually inspired of God or not.

Where I'm at currently: I have little trust in church leadership beyond the local level. I often feel as if I'm looking for the Church of Jesus Christ but instead I find the Church of the 1950s Nuclear Family. I have enjoyed reading the New Testament this year and I find a lot of it inspiring, especially the 4 gospels. And I love my current ward; I've made some really good friends in it and it has been a pillar of support for me for the last year.

Roy
Posts: 5640
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Just joined after 2 months of lurking

Post by Roy » 19 Aug 2019, 13:49

Welcome Hazy,

I understand your concern. Given the focus that we have on families, people that do not fit this traditional mold tend to feel marginalized. Cisgender heterosexual single people feel (and are treated) not fully adult until they get married. A potential lifetime of constant reminders that you are an outsider until you get married and have children seems like a daunting forecast.
HazyShadeofFall wrote:
19 Aug 2019, 12:44
About a year ago I discovered that I was asexual. This realization brought a wave of overwhelming relief and joy early on,
I imagine that this relief and joy came from understanding why you are not reacting romantically to the dating scene and the prospect of getting married. You are not reacting the way your peers are reacting and the way you have been told that you should be reacting and you felt that this meant there was something fundamentally wrong with you. I imagine that there could be relief in discovering that you are not broken really but just that your "normal" may be different than a lot of other people's "normal". Is that correct? I would be very interested to know what it felt like to be an asexual in the church, how you discovered that part of your identity, and how that made you feel. I imagine that this makes you seriously question whether or not there is place for you in the LDS church.

Welcome to our island of misfit toys. We are all different here but we respect and encourage each other in our differences.

I look forward to hearing more from you.
"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

HazyShadeofFall
Posts: 3
Joined: 19 Aug 2019, 10:39

Re: Just joined after 2 months of lurking

Post by HazyShadeofFall » 19 Aug 2019, 15:49

Roy,

Thanks for your reply! You're right that a large part of my relief came from understanding that my asexuality was a natural part of who I was, not something to be fixed. The other part was finding an online community of people who have similar experiences. And yes, I often question if there is a place for me in this church, which is the most difficult part because there are still things that I love about it.

Reaching my discovery was a long journey, and I came up with many possible explanations for why I didn't seem to have the same feelings as my peers, both in the church and outside of it. As a teenager, it usually didn't bother me much. I wasn't allowed to date until I was 16, so from the ages of 12-15, when most of my classmates started dating, I was glad that I wasn't distracted by unnecessary crushes. YW lessons on chastity left me feeling, "Wow, I'm great that this! I've got this law of chastity thing down pat." But there were other lessons and activities where we were asked to make a list of qualities we wanted in a future husband or encouraged to plan a dream wedding. I could never think of anything, so I usually just copied things that sounded alright from my sister. In lessons like that, I was told that having a temple marriage was one of the most important things I could do in this life and that it was impossible to have true joy without a family. I didn't have a good reason to doubt it; I loved my family dearly, so of course it would only make sense that I would love my future family even more. I thought that my current lack of interest in dating was temporary - either I was a late bloomer or my small-town upbringing limited my current options - and that once I graduated and moved to a city for university, things would change.

Entering university and YSA life ended up making it more difficult. At school, everyone seemed hyper-focused on sex, and at church, everyone was hyper-focused on marriage, and I still had no interest in any of it. By this point I knew asexuality existed, but every time I considered that it might apply to me, I brushed it off, thinking it was overstepping my bounds to think that I could be part of such a small minority. I started to wonder if I was afraid of my own emotions or if I was a repressed lesbian. I would search for any sign that any of the men around me would be good people to date and cling to any positive feeling for them as possibly a crush. I went on a few first dates, hoping that if I tried out dating, I would finally discover what everyone liked about it. My experience on those dates ranged from fairly positive but completely lacking interest in the person I was with to internally screaming and spending months trying to forget it even happened. (I should add that nothing bad happened on those dates, I was just repulsed by things like flirting and hugging being directed at me.) After a couple years of that, I decided to stop dating altogether unless I knew I was truly interested in the other person.

Last August/September there were many things that brought asexuality to the forefront of my mind. I was preparing to move to a new city for better work opportunities, and multiple people commented on how good it was that I would find a larger dating pool there. To me, it sounded like they believed I was moving because I had failed to get married while I was in university. I was also reading a novel that included very relatable descriptions of various emotions, but all the romantic parts were completely foreign to me. Both of these reminded me that I was lacking an interest in relationships that everyone else seemed to have. At the same time, an art Youtuber that I watched came out as asexual, I stumbled across another video about aromanticism, and one of my Facebook friends posted a video about asexuality. Finally I decided that I had enough signs and that asexuality was at least worth looking into. After a month of research and introspection, I found that it fit me better than any explanation I had come up with before, and I started identifying as asexual.

This ended up being way more long-winded than I intended, but that's the basic story of my journey.

Minyan Man
Posts: 1677
Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: Just joined after 2 months of lurking

Post by Minyan Man » 19 Aug 2019, 17:13

Hazy welcome to the group. And thank you for the Introduction. You are not alone in what you believe, what you feel, etc.
This is a safe place to discuss many issues & topics. Keep coming back.

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DarkJedi
Posts: 6613
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Just joined after 2 months of lurking

Post by DarkJedi » 20 Aug 2019, 04:51

Welcome to our group. I have never known or met anyone who is asexual (at least not that I know about) so your point of view is interesting to me. Thanks for sharing.

I foresee more challenges for you in church culture. May you be able to endure to the end.
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

nibbler
Posts: 4086
Joined: 14 Nov 2013, 07:34
Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: Just joined after 2 months of lurking

Post by nibbler » 20 Aug 2019, 06:20

What Roy said.
HazyShadeofFall wrote:
19 Aug 2019, 15:49
And yes, I often question if there is a place for me in this church, which is the most difficult part because there are still things that I love about it.
I imagine it is very difficult. Procreation feels like it is at the very center of LDS theology. Our limited perspective on the power of creation also influences that view.

I can empathize. I may have my own unique reasons, but I also struggle to feel like there's a place for me at church. I think everyone here has similar struggles.

Roy
Posts: 5640
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Just joined after 2 months of lurking

Post by Roy » 20 Aug 2019, 08:32

Thank you for providing that description Hazy. That was very helpful.
HazyShadeofFall wrote:
19 Aug 2019, 15:49
"Wow, I'm great that this! I've got this law of chastity thing down pat."
Yeah, I can imagine that. I have an experience with some similarities. When I was engaged to be married I spent Christmas at my fiancée's parent's house. One older married brother gave a presentation on debt relief and gifted everyone copies of CDs for a debt relief and household budgeting program. I am probably one of the most frugal people that you will meet. Internally I just have an emotional connection to the stability and security that robust savings can help provide. This translates into me not spending money except very sparingly. I felt, "For a family that struggles under burdens of debt and living paycheck to paycheck - boy are they going to love me!"

Fast forward a few years and there were rumors that I wouldn't let my wife buy anything but essentials. Like she was trapped in a cage without splurging (my wife feels completely comfortable and she has done her part to put those rumors to rest). I find it ironic that the thing that made me standout as successful in that category got all twisted into a perceived liability later on. The comparison is flawed but the moral is that it doesn't matter what other people think (I know it is easier said than done). As an adult you get to stand on your own two feet and walk your own path in a way that feels good and right for you.

Still, I foresee extra challenges for you because in our culture you are not treated as a full adult until you get married. I imagine this might be even worse as a woman (being treated as something less than a full and autonomous adult). How frustrating would that be to have to repeatedly assert yourself as an independent adult because everyone around you insists on treating you as someone that requires paternal input?
nibbler wrote:
20 Aug 2019, 06:20
Procreation feels like it is at the very center of LDS theology. Our limited perspective on the power of creation also influences that view.
A staylds Admin, Curt Sunshine, has described a potential afterlife where we are all creating and peopling planets like scientists in a lab of collaborative teams. This view helps solve many of the difficulties of jealousy and exclisiveness of sexual reproduction. Polygamous marriages? (both multiple men and multiple women) No problem. Same sex marriages? No problem. Marriages where a woman is married to one guy who dies and then is married to another and then 200 year later is sealed to both husbands posthumously? No problem. There is no reason that sexual reproduction would need to be a part of heaven. Why would God privilidge one form of sexuality in the eternities when we find a rainbow of sexualites here on earth?
"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

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
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Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Just joined after 2 months of lurking

Post by Curt Sunshine » 20 Aug 2019, 15:52

Welcome to our island of misfit toys.

I am glad you found us and hope we can help in some way - and that you can help us, as well.
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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SilentDawning
Posts: 7206
Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: Just joined after 2 months of lurking

Post by SilentDawning » 21 Aug 2019, 11:26

Welcome -- I think we all feel like round pegs trying to fit into square holes -- those of us who come here. It's a matter of learning to cope, and interact with the church on a different paradigm. You can get to the point where not fitting in isn't a bit deal anymore, where things people say (that are objectionable) is not a big deal anymore, and where, most of all, you can feel at peace with yourself and others in the church.

That is where I am at. I find StayLDS is like an interactive journal where you can share what you REALLY think, while respecting the fairly liberal site guidelines, and get an answer back from someone who isn't going troll or respond with a judgmental or closed mind.

Welcome -- my advice (which is worth every farthing you just paid for it), is to post individual issues one at a time, read responses, interact, and then eventually draw your own conclusions. If your experience is like mine, you find yourself building a new foundation, to the point you don't need to revisit those issues unless there is some kind of provocation, which is rare if you end up developing a new paradigm. New challenges present themselves, and people here are more than willing to help you navigate through them.

So welcome, I hope you post often so we can hear your unique challenges and provide whatever support or perspectives to help you be at peace with yourself and the church. At the same time, your unique perspective enables us to be more sensitive to others who have different challenges and worldviews than we do. I have VERY different views on issues than I used to because of the perspectives of people with a different set of challenges than I have.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- 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."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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