Taking a break from Church- what are your experiences?

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vickzorz
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Taking a break from Church- what are your experiences?

Post by vickzorz » 15 May 2013, 04:52

Hi! So due to some very recent emotional turmoil, combined with a year long faith crisis and depression, I am considering taking an indefinite leave from Church. I still yearn for a sense of spirituality, and can identify with many tenets of Mormon theology, it's just there are many things I do not like within the institutional Church. I feel like I am overly preoccupied with religion and questions associated with it (to the point where it's contributing to my depression), and I am wondering if going inactive might clear my head a bit and evaluate this more reasonably. Maybe I'll return to the church with a newfound faith. Or maybe I won't.

Has taking a break from attending services and following all the rules helped anyone? Have you found new avenues of spirituality, or rediscover old ones? Any experiences and/or advice would be welcomed.

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Orson
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Re: Taking a break from Church- what are your experiences?

Post by Orson » 15 May 2013, 08:15

My experience will not directly apply to your question about "taking a break from attending services and following all the rules" because I have always attended, and I have never changed my lifestyle.

However, I did take a "mental" break for several months. I did reach a point where I felt a need to resign from my calling and HTing, I attended with my family but often found other places to be during class lessons. For me it gave me necessary mental space - similar to clearing the ground before starting to build a new structure from scratch.

Everyone is different, the key is to discover and do what will help you move forward in positive directions.
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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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DevilsAdvocate
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Re: Taking a break from Church- what are your experiences?

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 15 May 2013, 08:47

vickzorz wrote:Hi! So due to some very recent emotional turmoil, combined with a year long faith crisis and depression, I am considering taking an indefinite leave from Church. I still yearn for a sense of spirituality, and can identify with many tenets of Mormon theology, it's just there are many things I do not like within the institutional Church. I feel like I am overly preoccupied with religion and questions associated with it (to the point where it's contributing to my depression), and I am wondering if going inactive might clear my head a bit and evaluate this more reasonably. Maybe I'll return to the church with a newfound faith. Or maybe I won't...Has taking a break from attending services and following all the rules helped anyone?...Any experiences and/or advice would be welcomed.
I definitely felt much better after I became completely inactive when I went to college after my mission even though I still believed in the Church at that point because all the guilt-trips, home teaching visits, giving talks in church, interviews, attending meetings, etc. mostly seemed like an additional unnecessary hassle and pain that ruined much of the limited free time I had left when I was already spending so much time studying. My wife and I were both inactive when we got married but later she started pressuring me about getting married in the temple so I returned for a while and that's one of the main things that led to my faith crisis because after I was already used to being inactive it seemed so demanding that I started to wonder if I could really justify everything the Church was asking for and especially paying tithing again.

Not only did I have concerns about doubts whether some of this was actually true but I was also worried that even if it was true that I could easily end up falling short of the Celestial Kingdom anyway and whatever effort I made would be a waste (viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2921). So I started to really study the scriptures in detail to see if I could boost my faith and that was basically the beginning of the end for me as far as accepting the traditional LDS doctrines. I have only gone to church a few times the last few years, mostly for baby blessings, missionary farewells, etc. If my wife was already going to church every week without me then maybe it would be different but most Sundays the idea just doesn't sound good to me. So I definitely wouldn't be the one to say that you shouldn't do this. I guess you could take a break for a while and see how much you miss it or not and you can always go back later if you want to at some point.
"Truth is what works." - William James

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Ilovechrist77
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Re: Taking a break from Church- what are your experiences?

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 15 May 2013, 14:36

I'm thinking of doing that lately. If you have sexual addiction that you've relapsed so many times with like I had and also OCD and Autism like I've had growing up way before sexual addiction even got started. I still love the people of the church and it's teaching, but too often there is too much pressure to conform.

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Re: Taking a break from Church- what are your experiences?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 15 May 2013, 15:34

Autism can play intense games with addictive tendencies from OCD.

I hope you can get a good handle on all of this - and you have to do whatever you have to do to get there.
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.

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vickzorz
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Re: Taking a break from Church- what are your experiences?

Post by vickzorz » 16 May 2013, 14:40

Thanks for your responses. I like the idea of taking a mental break, especially since I do enjoy the social aspect at church, some of my dearest friends are there. I will be moving back to my home country in a couple months, so perhaps when I return I just won't transfer my records to the new ward, and just wait it out a bit.

DA, I agree that the expectation checklist can be overwhelming. I don't follow the "minor" rules anymore (ex. extra piercings, modesty, swearing, drinking), and it amazed me how guilty I felt at first, since I've been raised to think that doing these things would put my soul in peril. A lot of my frustration is how the church focuses on external, superficial markers of "righteousness", so I'm hoping with this time off I can find other spiritual avenues--- maybe I will try meditation again.

IloveChrist77, I hope it all works out, I can only imagine that autism and OCD would make the culture even harder to handle.

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PiperAlpha
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Re: Taking a break from Church- what are your experiences?

Post by PiperAlpha » 17 May 2013, 14:42

I think you need to find peace through balance in your life.

I have tried to avoid taking breaks just to be lazy. But I did get to the point I was so uptight and sensitive about things that I finally wanted to try taking a break to see if I liked it or not, because I was out of balance.

I found I couldn't stay away for long. I tried to replace it with other uplifting things. I even went on a church walk-a-bout where I visited several other churches. It gave me an interesting perspective.

I don't know that I recommend to anyone to leave the church because I think it is about the best thing I have found for helping me learn things in life. I don't know what is better.

But I do think there is a place for taking a break to clear your head if you are open to the spirit in guiding you, even possibly guiding you back again. It worked for me and I've returned to full activity afterwards and enjoy church and my associations there. I just want balance.
“As individually and collectively we increase our knowledge, acceptance, and application of gospel principles, we become less dependent on Church programs. Our lives become gospel centered.”
Elder Ronald E. Poelman, General Conference Oct 1984

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MayB
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Re: Taking a break from Church- what are your experiences?

Post by MayB » 17 May 2013, 15:43

I'm at the point where I kind of wish I could take a break for a while. I just don't feel it would be a good idea because I know it would cause tension in my marriage and family. I have begun to be a bit more loose in some of those outward markers you mentioned. On general conference Sunday, we decided that our family would be better strengthened by visiting a near by national park and exploring nature together than by sitting in front of the television for four hours during which the kids get restless and my husband always falls asleep. We did the same thing in lieu of attending stake conference as well. These family outings were a wonderful way for us to reconnect and we even talked about spiritual things. My mother and in-laws were a bit shocked that we weren't glued to the television hanging on every word spoken from the pulpit that weekend, but I'm confident that it was a better way for us to spend our time. Besides, then we could go back and watch or read over those talks that we felt might actually offer us something of value.
I think giving yourself a break could be a wonderful way to explore a deeper spirituality than you may currently be experiencing at your Sunday meetings. Good luck with whatever you choose. We all have to find our own way.
MayB

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SilentDawning
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Re: Taking a break from Church- what are your experiences?

Post by SilentDawning » 17 May 2013, 21:50

It's always been positive for me to take a break from Church -- but only when I was not in a hefty leadership calling. However, if you want full activity again, you have to move to a new Stake where you can get a fresh start. People remember your inactivity and it hurts your reputation in the church if you stay in the boundaries.
"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

wanderer
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Re: Taking a break from Church- what are your experiences?

Post by wanderer » 30 May 2013, 07:01

I wish sometimes I was in the position to try this, part of the joy of finding this site was finding strategies to get by because I can't. For now I've decided to ditch the suit and sit out of Sunday school and priesthood periodically. It seems to help a bit on bad days. If you have the means to try without hurting anyone I'd say experiment and see if a week or two off help now and then. It's all about judging the fruits sometimes I think.

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