What is StayLDS.com to you? (What do you hope for?)

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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Orson
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What is StayLDS.com to you? (What do you hope for?)

Post by Orson » 04 Nov 2008, 09:11

As we can all see StayLDS is in the very early stages of formation. I am curious about what some of the [readers] here hope to see StayLDS become.

For me, I hope it becomes a valuable link between disaffection and a ‘reunion’ of sorts with the Church. Personally, I see this reunion as more than simply ‘going through the motions’ or a body-in-the-bench type of activity in the church. To me, if I truly STAY, that connotates a meaningful relationship, not a hollow ‘empty’ one.

Does that mean I hope to believe everything the same way that I used to? To me “same way” implies retracing steps to a place where I used to be. I don’t think that’s possible in life. In life we move forward – to new places and new understandings. It is my personal hope that I can move forward in my personal spirituality to a place that becomes compatible again with full activity in the church.

I hope to meet some others here who have either traveled a similar path, or are presently on a path with similar goals. I realize some people ‘in crisis’ may not even know which way is up right now. Everything is disoriented when your world falls down. I clearly remember a time not so long ago when I couldn’t imagine having the goal that I have today. I hope to visit with these people too (if they have any thoughts or hopes, or even curiosity along these lines).

Reading over these words I also realize that a short time ago I would not have related to the idea of “spiritual growth” - from that perspective I’m really talking about personal growth - as in gaining a greater love, understanding, and appreciation for all human kind (in spite of the differences).
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I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.

LYN
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Re: What is StayLDS.com to you? (What do you hope for?)

Post by LYN » 04 Nov 2008, 10:22

Spiritually,I don't know where I am at right now. I believe in God but I am at a loss as to what parts of the church I can embrace, if any. You might wonder why I want to be in staylds and the best reason that I can give is to just be honest and say that I don't know. Currently, I am just going through the motions at church. I work a lot of Sundays and I go on High Council speaking assignments with my husband but stick to safe topics and keep it simple such as" loving one another". I have only had to go to my own branch once in the last couple of months since my crisis hit me.

I am intrigued as to how others stay lds and consider the possibility that if others can do it, maybe I can (through learning from others,somehow) as well. I know that I am very green. I am just starting to listen to the mormon matters podcats and I have ordered some books. I want to become more knowledgeable and be aware of all the pros and cons. Right now, I am still kind of in shock. I don't want to react hastily. I need to consider everything from all angles and resconstruct a whole new belief system that I am content with. This will obviously take some time. Communicating with those of you that are striving to make it work (and have a lot more knowledge regarding church history, and still manage to keep it together) is a positive. I don't really understand how it can be done but want to understand. So, at this point I am not sure that I can contribute much to help others in their journey but I am hoping that I can learn from each of you and soon be up on my feet and ready to help others.
I , too, am interested in growing as a person. For me, walking away from the church would not be hard but I am not prepared to do so without putting the work into it that would make it a very informed, conscious choice that I feel 100% good about. It is important not to side with emotions that are running high right now and I see this forum as a source of balance. So whether or not I meet the criteria, I don't know. I don't know much of anything these days except that I feel kind of like I was such a sucker to believe all that I did. What can I hang on to? What can I let go? It seems that most of you are further along in this work than I and I want to learn from you and understand how and why you are doing it.

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Orson
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Re: What is StayLDS.com to you? (What do you hope for?)

Post by Orson » 04 Nov 2008, 11:43

LYN wrote:Right now, I am still kind of in shock. I don't want to react hastily. I need to consider everything from all angles and resconstruct a whole new belief system that I am content with. This will obviously take some time.
These are wise words LYN. You are right, it will take some time and effort. I commend you for not jumping to any rash conclusive actions, I think we make better decisions when we take our time. By mentioning "green" it sounds like you have recently experienced the 'disorientation'. From my experience it takes some time for the “dust to settle.” My crisis happened in early 2007, and only in the past several months have I felt like I have a true desire to be united again with the church. (I spent a good amount of time initially trying to uncover all the ‘facts’ around church history.)

The words of Richard Bushman have helped me a great deal, I hope you can find some of his material. I also realized for sanity sake I needed to ponder everything I hear in church in a metaphorical context, thinking about what figurative meanings I could find. This has become a fun and fruitful exercise that I would recommend to everyone who finds themselves in this position. I am starting to get a sense that some things will eventually bear more spiritual fruit, and meanings may grow beyond the strictly figurative, but I can’t think of any good substitute initially than to look at everything with a metaphorical view. Follow your heart, don't be afraid to embrace believing what your inner self really believes. Nothing else will be as productive in your personal growth. Before we can take a next step we need to establish our equilibrium where we stand NOW.

LYN wrote:I don't know much of anything these days except that I feel kind of like I was such a sucker to believe all that I did.
I think we all experience these feelings as well – it is to be expected when your whole world view is turned upside down. Don’t get down on yourself, open yourself up to a new exploration. It sounds like this is what you’re doing already. I feel like all I can say is “welcome to the journey!”

As far as WHY, everyone will have their own reasons. I find my personal reasons changing over time. At first it is to remain connected to family and the sense of community that the church has. I think those are worthwhile.

I’m glad you found us, I hope you’ll stick around as we get this place rolling!
Last edited by Orson on 07 Nov 2008, 11:17, edited 1 time in total.
My avatar - both physical and spiritual.

I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.

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Re: What is StayLDS.com to you? (What do you hope for?)

Post by Old-Timer » 04 Nov 2008, 22:52

My baseline hope is nothing more than that this will be a safe place to discuss faithfulness for those who don't know - for whatever reason. I hope it will not be a vent and gripe site, even as honest concerns and issues are discussed. I hope those who are here really want to find a way to stay (at the very least) or believe again (at the very most) - even if certainty never materializes.

I have accepted uncertainty and the relative darkness of my own glass, even as there are lots of things I am comfortable saying I know for myself. I find real joy as an active LDS, and I have found that truly embracing uncertainty can bring a better understanding of FAITH than any feeling of absolute certainty that never knows faith - and that particular truth has made me free in many compelling and exciting and wonderful ways. I now believe because I have made a conscious decision to believe - and that decision has brought me areas where I feel comfortable saying I know for myself - not for anyone else. I want a site where people understand that faith is a choice - that it really is possible to hope for things not seen and pursue joy and growth and spiritual development within a theology that maximizes those things - even when doctrinal details are fuzzy and confusing and difficult to reconcile. I hope for a site where people want to become more than they want to know - even as they want to know and want to learn to reconcile intellectual concerns.

I hope for a site where my path is valued and accepted as legitimate - where people at least can accept that my outcome is real and possible for those who embrace uncertainty and learn to walk in the light of relative darkness. I don't want a site where everyone else is like me or is where I am, but I hope for a site where everyone wants the joy and peace I have found - or, more accurately, whatever version of it will work for them.
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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Orson
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Re: What is StayLDS.com to you? (What do you hope for?)

Post by Orson » 05 Nov 2008, 10:09

Thanks for your post Ray, many things you say resonate with me. I for one certainly see your path as legitimate, even though presently I may not understand all the details of it. I also value the individual, (as it sounds like you do) and believe each person needs to learn their 'truths' in their own unique way.
Old-Timer wrote:I hope for a site where people want to become more than they want to know - even as they want to know and want to learn to reconcile intellectual concerns.
Thanks for this comment, I have always wanted to grow intellectually. I for one want to learn and know much - but I also feel that I want to become even more. Thanks for bringing this out for me.
My avatar - both physical and spiritual.

I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.

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Re: What is StayLDS.com to you? (What do you hope for?)

Post by hawkgrrrl » 05 Nov 2008, 14:14

I'm still trying to get my head around it. For me, StayLDS is a "mission": to bring people peace and comfort through seeing how others have obtained it (because there is an external face to it). It's kind of a signpost to Stage 5 (please don't crucify me for talking Fowler!). Maybe other sites were a helpful exercise to give us a chance to explore some of what works and doesn't, and StayLDS is only for those who feel compelled internally to help others reconcile or move to a more positive place (vs. just finding it for themselves?).

For me, I think there is a lot of value in helping people get past their issues (external to them) and learn how to get back on an internal spiritual path that is positive and works for them. Plus, I want that for me, too.

OTOH, maybe we are like tour guides who don't really know what we are talking about, but we sure are making it interesting for the tourists!
Last edited by hawkgrrrl on 05 Nov 2008, 18:59, edited 1 time in total.

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Brian Johnston
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Re: What is StayLDS.com to you? (What do you hope for?)

Post by Brian Johnston » 05 Nov 2008, 14:34

The three important features of StayLDS that differentiate it in the "market":

1. The information is public and available to anyone who comes to this site. They don't even have to become an active participant or register. They might get all the help they need just following along in the conversations of people with similar questions.

2. The site is open to people using pseudonyms to mask their real life identity. I hope this allows a larger audience to feel comfortable participating, especially since it is open to the whole internet public.

3. The explicit mission of StayLDS.com is to help people stay in the Church -- to integrate back into the faith community. That is the baseline assumption here. This encompasses a different group than some other sites that also have open and frank discussions about Church doctrine and history.
Last edited by Brian Johnston on 06 Nov 2008, 07:15, edited 1 time in total.
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

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Orson
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Re: What is StayLDS.com to you? (What do you hope for?)

Post by Orson » 05 Nov 2008, 14:50

hawkgrrrl wrote:...It's kind of a signpost to Stage 5 (please don't crucify me for talking Fowler!).
I love talking Fowler! I think his model is very helpful to this particular mission. I hope we can comfortably refer to his work here without feeling condemnation.

I also enjoyed your comment: "OTOH, maybe we are like tour guides who don't really know what we are talking about, but we sure are making it interesting for the tourists!" :D You know, when the blind lead the blind in a big enough group only those in the front actually run into the walls or signposts.
My avatar - both physical and spiritual.

I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.

Lucy
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Re: What is StayLDS.com to you? (What do you hope for?)

Post by Lucy » 14 Nov 2008, 14:31

I was looking for something like this site, and am so happy to have found this forum. My spiritual foundation was rocked while searching for my feelings about the furor around Prop 8, and I needed a place where my pro-LDS spiritual views would be supported and encouraged while still looking at hard issues with an open mind. Thank you for creating such a place.

I hope that StayLDS.com will be a place for open, fair, kind discussion, and that I can learn how to make my way in this new mindset that I'm frankly a little nervous about. I had absolutely been feeling that my feelings about the gospel were either/or (either it's 100% true, or it's 100% false), and loved the essay posted that talked about the different ways we can perceive our religion.

Thank you for your frankness, openness, and especially your optimism.

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Re: What is StayLDS.com to you? (What do you hope for?)

Post by hawkgrrrl » 16 Nov 2008, 23:08

Welcome, Lucy! I look forward to hearing your insights.

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