What has helped?

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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Orson
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What has helped?

Post by Orson » 07 Nov 2008, 17:07

For any of you that have had some type of "breakthrough", was there something specific that helped bring it about? I find myself going through ups and downs, I'm sure that's normal, but I love to hear about what others have found to be helpful. Do you have a favorite book from an LDS author that you have found to throw light on our specific situation? Lowell Bennion or Eugene England come to mind as possible authors. I'm sure there are many others but I'm not too familiar with their work.
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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.

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Re: What has helped?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 08 Nov 2008, 06:41

Accepting uncertainty and the possibility of faithful people in the Church disagreeing, even on some very fundamental and foundational things. Once I accepted that, reconciliation and acceptance became an individual path from which others' biases and views didn't matter nearly as much as they do for others.

Realizing that there are reasonable intellectual arguments for any issue on both sides - that every single "issue" can be addressed from a faithful perspective just as legitimately as from a perspective of disbelief. I mean that in complete seriousness. Reaching that realization freed me to construct the intellectual and emotional argument I want to make to pursue what I desire to pursue - to "let that desire work within (me)" and produce the fruits on which I want to feast.

I found that freedom at a young age, when I didn't have to struggle nearly as much as those who are rocked by difficulty with uncertainty as adults. I never built absolutes that shook my faith when I realized they really weren't absolutes. I am grateful for that, but I also believe the underlying foundation is the same.
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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hawkgrrrl
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Re: What has helped?

Post by hawkgrrrl » 11 Nov 2008, 17:17

There are some books that are pretty good at helping to see life as less literal:

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

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Salo
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Re: What has helped?

Post by Salo » 30 Nov 2008, 20:15

Orson, a couple of things jump out as helping me.

1st journal writing : I found that keeping a separate journal soley for my religious doubts was a huge help to me. In a related note I found writing papers extremely helpful and liberating.

2nd reading : reading helped me feel justified in my thoughts and expanded my mind to new ideas. An example this Bushman quote I found " I am a practicing Mormon who considers himself believing but who rejects absolutist elements of the fundamentalist world view, eg, the view of Joseph Smith as omnisent or morally perfect or recieving revelation unmixed with human and cultural limitations. However I do except non-absolutist incursions of the supernatural into the human experience " When I first read this quote it blew me away and I thought "WOW Mormons are allowed to believe that ". It really helped me shape my own views and allowed me to give myself permission to come to my own understanding of what being LDS means to me. Other helpful books include Richard Bushman " Rough Stone Rolling " Hugh B Browns "An Abundant Life"( this man was brilliant and miles ahead of his time ), Levi Petersons " The Backslider" and many others I also very much enjoyed John Dehlins " How to Stay ..." essay .

3rd : these boards have been a huge help to me.

4th : helping others within the faith that struggle with testimony helps me see were the church needs people like me even if they will never admit it.
" when he hath tried me , I shall come forth as gold " Job 23:10

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Brian Johnston
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Re: What has helped?

Post by Brian Johnston » 01 Dec 2008, 08:35

Salo wrote:4th : helping others within the faith that struggle with testimony helps me see were the church needs people like me even if they will never admit it.
I couldn't agree more! I find myself searching for people that have lost their faith. I don't always consciously intend to help them. Maybe I do by listening to them? I don't know. Talking with many people in a similar situation, especially those that I think are farther down the path than me, helps me see all kinds of new possibilities. I don't agree with everything all the time, but it so therapeutic to know that I am not alone.

I know "they" (the Church) will not admit it, but they do need people like us. Thanks for saying that. There so many people in the Church whose spiritual needs are not met, and they are lost, because the Church can't seem to acknowledge and deal directly with the problem of disaffection (or the journey of the Dark Night of the Soul).

I've thought many times about approaching my Bishop or Stake President to volunteer to talk to people that go in to see them about a crisis of faith. But I also don't feel comfortable doing that. It's such a can of worms to open up. I wish there were an auxiliary group or something for this. There's no organizational support structure for this important journey of spiritual growth.
"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 has helped?

Post by Orson » 01 Dec 2008, 10:22

Salo wrote:An example this Bushman quote I found " I am a practicing Mormon who considers himself believing but who rejects absolutist elements of the fundamentalist world view, eg, the view of Joseph Smith as omnisent or morally perfect or recieving revelation unmixed with human and cultural limitations. However I do except non-absolutist incursions of the supernatural into the human experience."
That is a great quote. Do you have a reference?
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 has helped?

Post by Salo » 01 Dec 2008, 17:50

Orson , I found it in the endnotes for "in Sacred Loneliness" pg 629 under the title "The Supernatural"
" when he hath tried me , I shall come forth as gold " Job 23:10

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Re: What has helped?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 01 Dec 2008, 19:47

That is a great quote. Thanks, Salo.
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 has helped?

Post by Orson » 02 Dec 2008, 09:16

Thanks for that, I found it in my copy of ISL. The reference makes it look like it was published in Bushman's first book, in 1984.
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 has helped?

Post by trill » 09 Jan 2009, 14:49

A professor suggested that I read the book "A Thoughtful Faith," edited by Phillip L Barlow. The book is a compilation of essays by scholars of the humanities bend who have chosen to stay LDS. The foreword indicates that there is a similar book out there focusing on scientific scholars, but I haven't been able to find it. As I read these essays, I found myself falling across a whole spectrum of agreeing to disagreeing and nuancing arguments put forth by the authors to fit my own understanding.

I had been told many times growing up that you shouldn't read dissenting opinions or interact too closely with people falling away from the church because you would get caught up in all that and such would be damaging to your testimony. Becoming one of those people you aren't supposed to associate with and starting down a path that could possibly separate me from the church was scary. Finding that I wouldn't be swept away by every line of argumentation or accept every offer of "another way" was empowering. I still choose my literature and how I discuss topics with people carefully. However, I now have greater confidence in making those choices.

Also, for me I feel that starting this with a non-threatening book, one written from a faithful perspective, was helpful. I was quite scared by all the doubts and questions bubbling up around me. Finding this greater confidence allowed me to approach questions and individuals (myself included) in a less guarded, more trusting, manner.
"...I valued what was good... but I believed in the existence of other and more vivid kinds of goodness, and what I believed in I wished to behold." -Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

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