Finally Being Honest to Myself

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
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Jabraso
Posts: 8
Joined: 16 Jun 2020, 17:33

Finally Being Honest to Myself

Post by Jabraso » 17 Jun 2020, 16:11

I just found this place. I'm happy to see so many people going through the same things as me. I just want to introduce myself a bit. I'm a multi-generational member of the church on both sides of my family. I grew up very orthodox, attended meetings, studied, prayed, and tried to be good. I never questioned teachings or doctrine. I served a mission right out of high-school, came home and married my high school sweetheart in the temple and started a family. Fast forward 10yrs and I'm still married with 3 wonderful daughters (youngest is 6 months old).

I always tried to be good but I've had my share of failures in my personal life. In areas that I struggled or had questions or doubts I credited them to my own shortcomings and weaknesses. In particular I've struggled with pornography like so many others in/out of the church. Without going into details right now I finally began to deal with my "pet sin" and in the process finally brought my private life completely in harmony with the churches teachings. Along with dealing with my struggles with pornography I also began look inward and have been on a sort of journey of self discovery; this "journey" has proved to be much more important. Self discovery has meant coming to terms with what I am, what I really want, what I really believe, and what I can and can't change.

This past week I've been thinking more about my religious beliefs especially the areas where I have questions and doubts. I've realized that I've been living mostly on blind faith and doing a lot of "going through the motions." I'm not at the point of wanting to leave the church. I haven't been praying privately for several months but decided to give God (as understood from a LDS perspective) a chance to help me. I no longer trust feelings alone as confirmation for or against a belief so this time I specifically prayed for God to teach me in a way I can understand and to help me make the right choices. I didn't feel anything special asking about the Book of Mormon. I didn't feel anything special asking if the Church/Restoration/prophets are true. I didn't even feel anything remarkable asking if God exists and hears/answers prayers. I decided that I need to work this out for myself and shortly after I stumbled across this site and forum. I guess you can call that an answer to my prayer if you'd like but it is far from proof :lol:

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hawkgrrrl
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Joined: 22 Oct 2008, 16:27

Re: Finally Being Honest to Myself

Post by hawkgrrrl » 17 Jun 2020, 16:59

Welcome to the site. I hope you enjoy it here!

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

Re: Finally Being Honest to Myself

Post by Curt Sunshine » 17 Jun 2020, 19:22

Welcome!

I am glad you found us. I hope we can co tinue to help - and that we can learn from you.
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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DarkJedi
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Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Finally Being Honest to Myself

Post by DarkJedi » 18 Jun 2020, 05:28

Welcome aboard. We all have some similarities here and I'm sure many can relate to your experiences. I particularly relate to your last paragraph in that I don't trust feelings alone any more and that I don't feel much anyway. It's so difficult to separate emotion from church teachings about what the Spirit feels like, but I have learned that most of what I feel is not the Spirit and is nothing more than emotion. I think I can identify the Spirit for myself now, and it has little to do with emotional type feelings. You make a very good point that we each have to figure it out for ourselves. We are all on the same path together, yet at the same time we're all alone.

A common concern expressed here is that often the spouse and/or other family members are not in the same spot, and navigating that can be difficult. What does your spouse know and what has been the reaction? Do other family members or friends know about your struggles? Either way, know that we're always here for you.
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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Minyan Man
Posts: 1894
Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: Finally Being Honest to Myself

Post by Minyan Man » 18 Jun 2020, 06:24

Welcome. We're glad you're here. As I always say: Take what you can use & leave the rest.
None of us get through this life living it with no flaws or doubts.
It's ok to ask questions. I believe that God expects us to question.

That's it for now. Keep coming back.

Jabraso
Posts: 8
Joined: 16 Jun 2020, 17:33

Re: Finally Being Honest to Myself

Post by Jabraso » 18 Jun 2020, 08:52

DarkJedi wrote:
18 Jun 2020, 05:28
[...]I particularly relate to your last paragraph in that I don't trust feelings alone any more and that I don't feel much anyway. It's so difficult to separate emotion from church teachings about what the Spirit feels like, but I have learned that most of what I feel is not the Spirit and is nothing more than emotion. [...]
I feel the same way. Unfortunately I believe most members' testimony and conversion is based solely on good feelings and emotions. That is the same level of faith that is found in every belief system from paganism, to the Taliban, to Evangelicals.
DarkJedi wrote:
18 Jun 2020, 05:28
A common concern expressed here is that often the spouse and/or other family members are not in the same spot, and navigating that can be difficult. What does your spouse know and what has been the reaction? Do other family members or friends know about your struggles? Either way, know that we're always here for you.
My wife doesn't know a lot. My wife, like a lot of women, is very emotionally driven. She also grew up in a very strict LDS-Orthodox home, and unlike many of her siblings my wife never rebelled against it. She lost her mother when she was 12 and much of her spiritual foundation is tied up in the emotions surrounding that event (eternal families are EVERYTHING). A few years ago my brother left the church and left his wife for another woman. My wife was very close to my brother's ex and she took it very hard; I think she saw her worst fears reflected in the situation. My wife and I have always been active in the church but less so at home. However, whenever there is a moment of crisis my wife's first reaction is double down religiously: read scriptures, personal prayer, go to the temple, talk to the bishop, etc; after a while when life has gone back to normal things settle back down. This is reaction she'd have if I were to open up all at once and tell her everything. My wife tends to only see the good in things and doesn't question the church. If it weren't for my wife and children I would probably take a break from the church entirely.

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

Re: Finally Being Honest to Myself

Post by Roy » 18 Jun 2020, 17:46

Welcome to the site Jabraso. I do not have a lot of time at the moment but wanted to get a few thoughts across.

1) You are not alone. What you are experiencing is totally normal and has nothing to do with satan.

2) I recommend against dumping everything on your spouse all at once. However, I would clue her in to some parts if only to not feel alone. For me, it became important that I could tell my wife and SHOW my wife what sorts of behaviors she could expect from me as her husband completely separate from the church. I think many fear that, without the church there is nothing to hold back outright debauchery, depravity, and abandonment of family responsibilities. Unfortunately, your brother's example reinforces this idea. Also, your struggle with pornography will likely be seen as the character weakness that caused your downfall. It will not be an easy road. Nevertheless, for me it has been important for my spouse to see that I am a good partner with or without the church.

3) I recommend learning about LDS Relationship and Sexuality Counselor Dr. Finlayson-Fife. She is excellent in helping to navigate the relationships and sexuality with the unique overlay of LDS teachings and expectations.

Once again, welcome and I hope you find what you are searching for.
"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

Jabraso
Posts: 8
Joined: 16 Jun 2020, 17:33

Re: Finally Being Honest to Myself

Post by Jabraso » 19 Jun 2020, 10:00

Roy wrote:
18 Jun 2020, 17:46
[...]
1) You are not alone. What you are experiencing is totally normal and has nothing to do with satan.
Thanks. Its nice to be understood.
Roy wrote:
18 Jun 2020, 17:46
2) I recommend against dumping everything on your spouse all at once. However, I would clue her in to some parts if only to not feel alone. For me, it became important that I could tell my wife and SHOW my wife what sorts of behaviors she could expect from me as her husband completely separate from the church. I think many fear that, without the church there is nothing to hold back outright debauchery, depravity, and abandonment of family responsibilities. Unfortunately, your brother's example reinforces this idea. Also, your struggle with pornography will likely be seen as the character weakness that caused your downfall. It will not be an easy road. Nevertheless, for me it has been important for my spouse to see that I am a good partner with or without the church.
I don't plan on dumping everything on her at once. It's going to be a process and I'm not sure where things will end up myself. We're actually at a good place right now; my wife and I have recently had some deep conversations about the whole situation and put things into better perspective.
Roy wrote:
18 Jun 2020, 17:46
3) I recommend learning about LDS Relationship and Sexuality Counselor Dr. Finlayson-Fife. She is excellent in helping to navigate the relationships and sexuality with the unique overlay of LDS teachings and expectations[...]
I've seen/heard some of her stuff and it's been good. I've been clear with my wife for a long time that the church does a terrible job teaching about sexuality and marital intimacy; with few exceptions the church stays out of the bedroom. Weirdly enough, since this has been an area of struggle with us its actually the area that we've made the most progress

Thanks again for your response and suggestions. Its a big relief finding a place to discuss these issues.

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SilentDawning
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Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: Finally Being Honest to Myself

Post by SilentDawning » 20 Jun 2020, 16:35

I think you have to decide whether to tell her anything at all. I find that when I share my church doubts, even my progress, with my wife, she gets upset. It's not good for our marriage. So I am never talkative about the church with my wife. I do it here.

After a while, I came to terms with everything and my family all accepted me as I am in the church. Not through my words, but through my actions. The not attending regularly, not paying tithing or wearing garments -- all are visible things that everyone accepts in me. When they talk about the church I converse with them about it, but always from a neutral or supportive perspective -- never negative, doubtful or critical.

That is where I landed and it's a kind of comfortable place to be. I hope you will be able to find your comfortable place with yourself and your family at the same time.
"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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desertghost93
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Joined: 15 Sep 2019, 11:00

Re: Finally Being Honest to Myself

Post by desertghost93 » 18 Jul 2020, 04:30

Welcome. Faith is a journey. And is always under maintenance. It never hurts to be constantly evaluating your faith.
You can’t base your knowledge of a church off-broadway plays and the media, or even comments from church members because there are millions of them and they are all different and have different opinions, just like everybody else in this world.

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