Thank you for your insightful responses. I'd like to continue to learn more.
Valoel wrote:So I don't believe it. But ... I see the symbols as symbols now, and they are pointing at something beautiful and glorious, just past them a little deeper under the surface of the water. I can't really put to words what I feel sometimes. The best I could hope for would be through poetry or art. I believe in that Ultimate Reality in Mormonism very much now, even more than my faith allowed me before. So I don't believe it, but I believe in it. It is a paradox.
This is beautiful, though I had to read it twice to comprehend (I'm a little slow sometimes). The trick is to be able to accept the value of paradoxes in life, I think. Because living in a literal faith can only take you so far, whereas, a paradox can embrace the literal and then take it beneath the waters for deeper personal meaning.
Ray Degraw wrote:I'm looking to share with those who aren't content and at peace and joyful, since the well need not a physician - and trying to help them find the same type of contentment, peace and joy I feel, even if that means they have to construct their own worldview slightly differently than I have done for myself.
This makes a lot of sense to me, this is charity and tolerance (like David O. McKay exhibited) and is in line with Christ's teachings in the NT. This makes me think that whatever happened to me that pushed me out of stage 3, there is no need to go to my brothers or neighbors and try to push them out of stage 3...if stage 3 is working for them...great. But I can now relate more to those who fall away or who currently struggle, because they are not content. I want to aspire to this state where I have found confidence and peace with my world view, even if it differs from my prior TBM view. In order to do that, I still have to find a way to deal with obedience to the church rules when I don't believe all the church rules have value, kind of like trying to get to where Valoel is where he believes in the church, even if not believing it.
I am not yet at peace. Not sure how I find that peace. But I hold on to my faith hoping one day I'll find it (and hope my faith isn't what is keeping me from finding it).
hawkgrrrl wrote:I am left to conclude that all religions cater to Stage 3 because it would be impractical and/or counterproductive for those religions to cater to any of the other stages.
I see the purpose of why established religions see the stage 3 faith is needed by members to function as an organization. But this is troubling to me. If the Church teaches the will of God, claiming its teachings are what God wants us to do and to be obedient to...why would God be teaching stage 3 faith and also teaching us to become like Christ that transcended Stage 3, went through stage 4 and 5 and achieved Stage 6 faith development? Why not just teach us we all need to go to stage 6?
I feel a personal need to journey to Stage 5 and find my peace, because I believe God felt I was ready to be booted out of Stage 3. But I don't feel any church teachings or true believing church members view my current actions as a good thing. I feel the church teaches that we should safely stay in Stage 3 with the flock. And if you leave the flock, we'll have to go find you and bring you back to stage 3 again for your own good. And if you leave the flock, you are jeapordizing eternal punishment and damnation and forfeiture of eternal glory.
And so there is an internal struggle for me. I feel God wants me to broaden my faith and find the deep symbolic meanings Valoel talks about. And yet I feel the church I am trying to cling to that professes it teaches God's will is discouraging me from doing this, and actually teaches that the path I'm headed down is one of apostacy or heresy, that I'm on dangerous ground and am losing spiritual strength and light. I may not be worthy to baptize my son next year, or give the priesthood to my son next year, or see my daughters married in the temple (in hopefully many many years from now).
If the church is really true...why would they not celebrate my journey and support me? Why would they not be teaching and preaching this need to follow Christ's footsteps? Why must I try to accept the paradox, but the church not teach that is God's way? This is troubling to me. (thanks for letting me ramble).