Pinpointing the start of faith issues

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Pinpointing the start of faith issues

Post by LDS_Scoutmaster » 20 Mar 2015, 08:59

I have had discussions with DW about faith issues, and the question came up as to what started the questions in the beginning. and trying to put into words these thoughts and why they are and what they are is difficult, I know bits and pieces of my faith evolution, but pinpointing experiences and specifics is a tough task for me. Many things that are issues for others are non-issues for me. It's a lot if little things for me. So my questions are; is it difficult to pinpoint for you as well? what was your one big issue, or was there one?
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Re: Pinpointing the start of faith issues

Post by SamBee » 20 Mar 2015, 09:14

Three words:

Overburdened (callings, family etc)

Think all of these are common. We cultivate an idealism in members that leads to disappointment.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
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Re: Pinpointing the start of faith issues

Post by Reflexzero » 20 Mar 2015, 09:20

For me it was simply a point of critical mass. I was doing everything right, trying hard, HP at young age, bishopric, HC, and I was feeling horrible all the time with all my church related work. I didn't know why I felt terrible, exhausted, burnt out and feeble. I was paying my tithing, going to the temple, supporting the missionary effort, guiding the flock.

But my brain could no longer compartmentalise reality from the gospel, and it just did a big Blue Screen of Death reset one weekend. I decided to get to the bottom of all the mysteries, and after a 2 year mission doing so, my mind was clear, and so was my soul. What was left however, was a mormon in name only. All the assumed guilt and perceived shortcomings of being a natural man trying hopelessly to achieve church perfection and endure to the end, was simply gone.

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Re: Pinpointing the start of faith issues

Post by On Own Now » 20 Mar 2015, 09:33

It's pretty easy for me. The issue was polygamy. As I delved into it a little deeper, a little deeper, a little deeper, I just came to a point where I realized that there was too much that was damning. I finally allowed myself to ask a question that I had never considered before: what if it isn't true? A few minutes later, I was driving in my car, and I can remember saying the words out loud, "It's not true... it's not true." As I drove, the tears streamed down my face.

After that, I absorbed a lot of other issues I hadn't given much thought to: Temple and Freemasonry, the Kinderhook Plates, The BofA, the BofM... so they piled on and became a part of my faith crisis, but the reality for me was that I had already reached it by that time.

It's funny in a way... these days, twenty years later, I have a different view of all of those issues, even polygamy. I see them all differently than I did then, but not enough to regain the faith that I lost.
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Re: Pinpointing the start of faith issues

Post by Heber13 » 20 Mar 2015, 09:58

I do think the essay written and posted on our main page has a pretty good summary that fit a lot of people:

- Caring too much, not too little (the literal view, studying your way out of the church, and being burned out by self stress)
- Stumbled across difficult Church history
- Never received a witness (or not receiving inspiration in times of need)
- Confused about the difference between the spirit and emotion
- You Met Some Amazingly Righteous Non-Mormons
- You Did the Math on the Number of LDS Worldwide, and Throughout Time
- Political Differences with Church Leadership
- Not Feeling Inspired in Church

For my journey, I struggled through the revelation aspect...a time of bitter crisis and not receiving witnesses or inspiration and then becoming confused between the spirit and emotion that made me seriously study.
-->Then I became burned out.
--> Then I stumbled across difficult history and teachings. (Polygamy and Blacks and the Priesthood mostly)
--> Then I met non-mormons that are amazing.
-->Then did the math.
--> Started to feel less inspired at church.

And that was when the "caring too much not too little" really took hold and I had to find new approaches to things happening in my life. In 2009 I met Ray and HG online and they told me to come to this site. And I'm here.
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."

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Re: Pinpointing the start of faith issues

Post by DarkJedi » 20 Mar 2015, 10:07

I can't pinpoint one time for the whole thing, either. I've always (since joining the church at 21) had some questions but used the "shelf" like so many others do or have done. I started a mission at 23 where the more intense study brought more questions, but I was still able to shelf many of them. FWIW, I will say I also began having some unorthodox views of things during that time and that didn't necessarily sit well with my companions - that's where I learned to keep my mouth shut (which also later left me with no one to talk to). Fast forward through temple marriage, high priest at age 32, two bishoprics, YMP, GD teacher and the shelf collapsed in my early 40s. It just didn't fit together anymore - what people at church said, what manuals said, etc, just wasn't what I observed and experienced really happening. Like Scoutmaster said, it's more little things for me instead of one big thing like polygamy or BoM/BoA historicity.

So, to answer the question, no I can't really pinpoint one time except when the shelf collapsed - but the things were already there, it was a matter of time. And I can't pinpoint one issue, except perhaps that God is not like the one we hear about so often in F&TM.
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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."

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Re: Pinpointing the start of faith issues

Post by mom3 » 20 Mar 2015, 11:38

I can call mine clearly - The first slide came when I talked to a church historian about polygamy. There I am on the phone with a guy in Salt Lake and a story that I had never heard was being described to me. I couldn't believe it. As our conversation ended I thanked him and innocently said, "I wish I had been able to find the information myself." His reply, "Me, too. It would make things a lot easier." His comment, I believe, opened the door for the next flood.

I didn't consciously question things, but there was now a gap in my confidence about what wasn't being told. As we began to teach seminary that gap grew. Not just from me. We had a very bright class of kids who really took "study the scriptures" seriously. They also attended school with some intense bible thumping evangelicals (I love evangelicals - but our kids didn't attend a normal high school with lots of divergent personalities - it was evangelical driven which is kind of like moving to Utah - it flavors everything and you can't escape it). Back to Seminary - Our kids asked some serious questions because their friends who push them on things like Grace vs. Works, Baptism for the dead, etc. The more I studied the lesson manual and then the scriptures huge holes developed. By the time we got around to teaching Church History which should really just be called Doctrine and Covenants I was on a ledge. I hated attending CES training, I began to feel brainwashed, controlled, contrived. Fate stepped in before I crashed, and our seminary class was disbanded due to the kids aging out.

Today I am still working through the shift. I think it will take a lifetime. Since seminary I can no longer sit through any adult Sunday School Class. My heart just breaks every time.
"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

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Re: Pinpointing the start of faith issues

Post by West » 20 Mar 2015, 13:16

Mine was a long time coming. I've never had a super great relationship with the other kids my age in my ward growing up, and I always felt like an outsider that I guess sort of transferred over from being an outsider in my school. Jump to college, and I was very half-hearted about anything Church related unless motivated by my good friends who accepted me as me.

Last year, I started hanging out with a new bunch of friends, many of them former Mormons (not anti, just former) or pretty lax Mormons. And I started seriously considering going on a mission at last as a sort of "take experiences and opportunities when you can" thing. I figured if I was going to go out, I'd see if all those protestors and anti-Mormons had something to it; I wanted to know the arguments against the Church out there so I wouldn't be caught off guard. Yep, definitely was asking for trouble there, haha.

I think what got me was learning about a lot of things about Joseph Smith and how he wasn't as great and truthful a guy as I'd been built up my whole life to believe. That bled into the "truthfulness" of the Book of Mormon and a lot of stuff around that. In that sense, it was almost wholly the difference between what the "perfectness" that the Church culture has built versus looking at it from a more critical and reality-based view.
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. -Albert Einstein

And God said 'Love Your Enemy,' and I obeyed him and loved myself. -Kahlil Gibran

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Re: Pinpointing the start of faith issues

Post by SunbeltRed » 20 Mar 2015, 13:24

It has been an interesting exercise to look backwards as many of the fissure points have been much more clearly identified. At the time, one or two cracks appear, you think you have patched them up, but the next shift cracks them again, rinse repeat, until the cracks are too large to ignore.

For me it was a combination of things:

1) Attending Ricks College - I never fit into the dogmaticness or strictness of the religion. This became apparent at Ricks where my prevailing attitude after enduring a year was "If that was some representation of the Celestial Kingdom, count me out. Not interested."
2) Praying for a witness of the BOM on my mission and not receiving any type of answer. In fact, pretty much going my whole life to that point without feeling any type of divine guidance or connection. I kept hearing all these amazing stories of people and missionaries being inspired and I kept hoping I would have something like that happen to me, but never did. Made me feel like I must have been doing something wrong and must not have been worthy or the Lord didn't have confidence in me (this notion of feeling ashamed and unworthy still makes me angry. It is probably the biggest sticking point for me).
3) I never quite bought the JS and BOM story, but went along with it. Once I learned a bit more about some of the historical, archeological, and DNA concerns it was just a straw on top of the issues above.

Those were the main fissures (the big ones) though there are more of them now, big and small. But so it is, and we continue on and do the best we can. Have a blessed weekend.


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Re: Pinpointing the start of faith issues

Post by Roadrunner » 20 Mar 2015, 13:47

The issue for me was pretty clear - doctrinal and historical inconsistencies. The "when" is different - it gradually built up over time, probably starting about the age of 35 and culminating at about 38. It might have started when I read rough stone rolling and I realized it's ok to think and question.

The biggest doctrinal / historical issues were polygamy and first vision versions.

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