I need help.

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
Post Reply
metalrain
Posts: 50
Joined: 12 Feb 2015, 00:56

I need help.

Post by metalrain » 12 Feb 2015, 11:37

Hi,

I'm 25, a senior at BYU. I graduate in April. I served a mission. I feel very much like other people do in a lot of the other posts I've read. I stumbled across the CES letter in November or something and was able to shelf it. I started dating a girl who left the church and I started to examine my faith more as a result, and it's been consuming me.

I'm having the hardest time reconciling my spiritual experiences, and feelings, with the knowledge, and information I've learned. How could I have had such spiritual experiences when the doubts I am having are all related to the foundation of the church? How do I balance being analytical and not fault finding? I understand leaders of the church are imperfect men, but the polyandry I just can't explain. I can't understand how the seer stones. The book of Abraham and PGP was one of my favorite books- and learning that the translation isn't "correct".

My mom knows I'm doubting. She knows the issues I'm doubting. She has never been the most active but she believes the church is good, as do I. However my grandparents were basically my other parent, and are very TBM. I was home over the break and didn't want to go to church my last day home and my grandpa gave me a chastising scripture as I got on the plane (out of love and concern, of course). I love them as much as I love my mom and I'm afraid of hurting them. I'm their oldest grandchild, first to go on a mission, etc. I've never rebelled and always been the "perfect" grandchild. I feel like me falling away would destroy them and cut years off their lives.

I've been praying for help. Anything. The more I read the less I feel. I feel lost and don't know what to do. Everyone I know who has been in my position has left; I don't have any input from people who have stayed. I feel terrible and it's definitely affecting me.

Help.. please :cry:

User avatar
DarkJedi
Posts: 7219
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: I need help.

Post by DarkJedi » 12 Feb 2015, 12:44

Welcome to the forum. You are not alone. To one extent or another we all understand where you're at. I'm sure it's extra tough being at BYU.

My standard advice is: take it slow, don't dump all at once, and focus on what you do believe (even if all you believe is that the church is good).

For myself, I have been able to separate the church and the gospel as much as is possible and that has made a difference. My belief in the Savior and my belief in loving our neighbors is independent of the church.

I'm sure others will have some good advice for you. I'm glad you found us, you're in the right place. May you find the peace you seek.
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

User avatar
Holy Cow
Posts: 311
Joined: 10 Nov 2014, 17:07
Location: Las Vegas

Re: I need help.

Post by Holy Cow » 12 Feb 2015, 12:59

Metalrain, you've come to the right place. This site is full to the brim with understanding people who have been, or are, in your shoes. DarkJedi's advise to take it slow is spot on. There's no hurry to make immediate decisions about what you're going to do.
Personally, my journey has taught me that the church and the gospel are two VERY different things. I still hold onto the gospel that Jesus Christ taught. At the same time, I've scrapped everything that Joseph Smith taught. I'm not advocating that approach. It's just the road that I'm on. You'll find your own road.
My one piece of advice would be to make this YOUR journey. Find YOUR way through this. Find out what YOU believe, and what YOU don't believe. And, be sure to let your parents and grandparents know that this is your journey, and your search. Otherwise, they'll be pointing fingers at your girlfriend, and she'll be unfairly labeled as a bad example. You don't want that, and she doesn't deserve that. Good luck with your search. You'll find a lot of support here! :smile:
My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6139

User avatar
mom3
Posts: 4077
Joined: 02 Apr 2011, 14:11

Re: I need help.

Post by mom3 » 12 Feb 2015, 13:20

Do take it slow.

Count the good stuff, in all of life.

If it brings peace to your family (especially grandparents) attend church with them, just take materials to read or practice meditation during the time. Grandparent's don't live forever.

Don't beat yourself up.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

nibbler
Posts: 4452
Joined: 14 Nov 2013, 07:34
Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: I need help.

Post by nibbler » 12 Feb 2015, 13:26

metalrain wrote:I'm having the hardest time reconciling my spiritual experiences, and feelings, with the knowledge, and information I've learned. How could I have had such spiritual experiences when the doubts I am having are all related to the foundation of the church?
That's an excellent question. I'd say hold on to your spiritual experiences. The phrase often used as a weapon against the analytical thinker that doubts comes to mind: for my thoughts are not as your thoughts, neither are your ways as my ways. I certainly don't say that to attack any conclusion you may have arrived at but I do bring it up to suggest that perhaps there's room for both the spiritual experiences you have had and the new understandings you've arrived at. E.g. if the lord has to work through imperfect vessels what might the end result look like?

After time I found that experience opened up new doors for making spiritual connections and as a bonus I got to keep many of the spiritual experiences I had gained thus far.

metalrain wrote:How do I balance being analytical and not fault finding?
Another good one. I think it comes down to time and practice. I fell into a trap where I would find the faults in something almost as if I were on autopilot. An aspect of my FC was spending lots and lots of time on that activity. I just had to find the bottom of the rabbit hole. After a while I realized that I needed to spend an equal amount of time picking apart things looking for the good. I'm still working on that one, but it has gotten better with time.
metalrain wrote:I was home over the break and didn't want to go to church my last day home and my grandpa gave me a chastising scripture as I got on the plane (out of love and concern, of course).
That's a really good attitude to have, to know that even though some things our families say sting it's just their way of expressing their love.

metalrain
Posts: 50
Joined: 12 Feb 2015, 00:56

Re: I need help.

Post by metalrain » 12 Feb 2015, 14:34

I appreciate the replies so far. One of the other things I have a hard time reconciling is last December I was in a bad accident that left me disabled in a way. I went to the lowest of the lows and the best I've felt spiritually- I don't know if it was because I was living right or the intense amount of hope I had. Receiving multiple blessings promising a full recovery (which isn't even close to where I am) has also caused me to doubt.

The advice on taking this slow is incredibly difficult for me. I feel this insatiable need to get to the bottom of the wormhole. I have to know everything. My desktop at home has 15 tabs open and my laptop has a separate window now to keeping my research going. I feel like it is consuming me. http://www.uphereinmytree.com/wp-conten ... _Pills.gif. How do/did you guys stay balanced and not obsessed? It's been such an important part of my life I feel like I have to address everything.

I'm actually on a break with the girl because she needs the sex but I'm just not ready. She doesn't want to influence my decision making in terms of the faith crisis or transition because she was there and understands the process. Part of this whole thing is questioning wrong and right- polyandry again, makes me wonder. How was that whole situation ok with God if that's why David was cast out?

Like other people it's hard because I knew about some of this, but not to the extent I do now. Why was it hidden from me? Why was everything in the essays considered anti mormon material when it's just based on history?

I like the church. I am who I am because of the church and I love who I am and the impact and influence I have on other people. I believe in God and Jesus Christ. I've started to think we have built God into this Santa Claus of sorts and that we have this rat race to complete the things we need to do to be on a nice list. How is that fair when other people in other religions and faiths have spiritual experiences and sacred texts, and in many cases share testimony just like I used to?

Sorry for rambling and dumping- I just feel like I'm under an avalanche of my thoughts. Most of my friends or people I've reached out to are either ex mormon now, or are very TBM and don't consider the possibility of a middle ground.

Bear
Posts: 177
Joined: 30 Jul 2012, 08:04

Re: I need help.

Post by Bear » 12 Feb 2015, 14:55

I used to be kind of obsessed with the book of Abraham questions. Still am a bit but ACTIVELY drop the whole thing for a while. Do what you can to take it slow. Believe me it helps a lot. Play computer games. Visit friends. Look at silly animals doing silly things on YouTube or whatever. Actively do something for a couple of days just to relax. This will be a long and very exiting journey for you and you can't know everything right a way. :)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

nibbler
Posts: 4452
Joined: 14 Nov 2013, 07:34
Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: I need help.

Post by nibbler » 12 Feb 2015, 15:41

metalrain wrote:How do/did you guys stay balanced and not obsessed?
I could only begin to find balance again once I worked through the obsession phase. In other words, my experience is that the obsession phase couldn't be skipped or even hurried. The toughest time is when you realize you're obsessed but can't quite find a way past the obsession. I can identify with the obsession stage. In the past I've referred to it as: "gotta find out what David Whitmer's butcher was writing in his journal on February 5, 1838"

It can be consuming, for a time I wondered if I'd ever be able to let go, maybe study something that wasn't related to Mormonism. I guess if you start to wonder things like that eventually the obsession will run its course, but it does take time.
metalrain wrote:Like other people it's hard because I knew about some of this, but not to the extent I do now. Why was it hidden from me? Why was everything in the essays considered anti mormon material when it's just based on history?
I don't think there's a definitive answer to that question, at least not when we lack the ability to get inside other people's minds. There's a broad spectrum that goes anywhere from outright deceit to an honest attempt at sparing people from information that they thought might harm a person's faith. One thing to remember is that the people that have told the stories are just like you and me. They are in a constant state of flux with regards to their beliefs and many will always have faith in the more sanitized version of church history. It's hard to fault someone for teaching the things that they truly believe... you know, the things that we once truly believed. ;)

In reality I think that all of the dominoes were stacked in this way for reasons that are on the positive side of that spectrum. People sharing what they truly believe deep down, which includes defending against information that they either haven't been exposed to or information that they do not have a testimony of. I'd rather one side not paint the other in such a negative light but that desire should hold both ways.

I think some of it has a lot to do with being loose with our definition of "anti-mormon." Some extend the definition to really mean "information that I find unsettling." It's okay to be unsettled by some information in our history. The biggest disservice all this whitewashing did was to erase humanity from the equation. We raised our historic church figures to godlike status and in the process lost the meat of the story - things get messy when imperfect humans attempt to touch the divine but something special can come of it if you keep trying. It's hard to see the evolutionary process of developing a relationship with god when there are no skeletons in the closet. ;)

User avatar
LDS_Scoutmaster
Posts: 283
Joined: 21 Jan 2015, 23:30
Location: SoCal

Re: I need help.

Post by LDS_Scoutmaster » 12 Feb 2015, 15:51

Metakrain, you've got some good advice so far and you're in a great place to ask questions. It's been a great outlet for mw. Thanks to everyone on the site.

Nibbler said taking each phase is important. It was for me, from non-believers to TBA to evolution.

I shelfed a lot of stuff before I joined, after I joined, during my mission, after my mission. Some stuff I was able to reconcile, and I never wanted to just dump it all either. My spiritual witness was a powerful one and my spiritual experiences keep me afloat. With that, I will say that my faith has evolved, sometimes in slow progressive steps and sometimes in painful growths. I'm not sure where I am on a lot of little issues, but underlying I have been able to separate the church organization from the gospel, which was different from separating the church from the people.
I'm not a fan of dumping anything too quickly, I think of the salamander letter and those that jumped ship over something that they didn't see the outcome of.
In dealing with people the maxim "We are all imperfect beings, dealing with other imperfect beings, and we're doing it imperfectly." Goes a long way for me in dealing with people who have differing opinions.
Welcome and hope to hear your perspectives.
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6311&start=70#p121051 My last talk

We are all imperfect beings, dealing with other imperfect beings, and we're doing it imperfectly.

User avatar
Heber13
Site Admin
Posts: 7212
Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

Re: I need help.

Post by Heber13 » 12 Feb 2015, 16:00

metalrain wrote:How do I balance being analytical and not fault finding?
How do/did you guys stay balanced and not obsessed?
I love how you're looking for the balanced approach. It will serve you well. That is really the key in life, to find balance, to find temperance, to be in control of your feelings and thoughts, and to enjoy it all, and accept it all.

Unfortunately, how to do it is like riding a bike...I can tell you how I do it...and you can get some tips and concepts...but you really find that balance by feel and muscle memory...you have to do it to learn it.

Here are some tips and concepts...
- Give yourself some slack. It is not easy stuff, or there wouldn't be communities trying to deal with the same questions. Also remember, similar questions on truth and meaning have been posed and sought after by all of humankind throughout all history. There's not a silver bullet that will resolve it all. You gotta learn to ride that bike...give yourself some time and tell yourself you can do it, in God's timing.

- Believe that God allows this for us...it is not a weakness that God cuts us off because we want to understand Him and His gospel more. I have never been so deep in my religion as I have been as I doubt and search these things. Because I am learning. When you're my age...you'll still be learning and asking. Believe that God wants you to know this process and journey, because it is good for you.
If our religion is something objective, then we must never avert our eyes from those elements in it which seem puzzling or repellant; for it will be precisely the puzzling or the repellant which conceals what we do not yet know and need to know ... the truth we need most is hidden precisely in the doctrines you least like and least understand. - CS Lewis
- Start using the word "AND" in your speech and thoughts...meaning something happens AND you think through what it means (and those are different things). Joseph Smith married 33+ wives AND he is a prophet of God. The Church doesn't know what to do about the LGBT community AND the church is great at organizing service especially in times of crisis or disaster. I'm so offended by people at church AND there are some of my dearest friends at church. Rarely are things just black and white, just one thing without the other. Embrace it all. You can have doubts AND you can believe some things. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I hope you stick around and share your thoughts with us and your experiences. Welcome!! I look forward to learning from your posts.
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."

Post Reply