Pinpointing the start of faith issues

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
Posts: 193
Joined: 22 Nov 2013, 13:43

Pinpointing the start of faith issues

Post by startpoor » 20 Mar 2015, 14:26

So many small things throughout life. But I think eventually, it was polygamy. I remember my wife and I were heavily invested in helping her sister and her daughter find their way back into the church. We had so many successes with them. Eventually my sil started praying and watching conference talks because it made her feel at peace. Then one night we were all watching the show Sister Wives, which I had found to be a surprisingly interesting and wholesome show. They were touring Nauvoo, and their guide, a Mormon historian talked to them about Joseph Smiths wives. I was getting uncomfortable, and then the tour guide told them that JS was a husband to his wives "in every sense of the word." My niece looked at my wife and I totally startled and said "is this legit?!?" I had no clue what to say. It was all new to me. My faith had humiliated me. I think I became determined to always have an answer after that. Which of course led me to learn of polyandry on a fairlds website, and realize that I knew almost nothing about my church.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Happiness (n.) The state of being in compliance with Mormon norms, regardless of one’s actual resulting emotional state

George, Sr.: Faith is a fact. No, faith is a facet. I almost said faith is a fact.

User avatar
Posts: 283
Joined: 21 Jan 2015, 23:30
Location: SoCal

Re: Pinpointing the start of faith issues

Post by LDS_Scoutmaster » 20 Mar 2015, 22:08

Thanks for the responses it helped to clarify some of my own I think.its still a lot of little things. Will post more later
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6311&start=70#p121051 My last talk

We are all imperfect beings, dealing with other imperfect beings, and we're doing it imperfectly.

User avatar
Posts: 1192
Joined: 08 Dec 2009, 21:36

Re: Pinpointing the start of faith issues

Post by Cadence » 21 Mar 2015, 08:15

When I started think rationally and for myself things became more clear. All the historical inconsistencies and doctrinal strangeness just confirmed what I perceived on my own. I just wonder why it took so long it figure it all out. It speaks to the power Mormonism has over its members, especially those raised in the church.
Faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction--faith in fiction is a damnable false hope. Thomas A. Edison

“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.” Neil deGrasse Tyson

User avatar
Posts: 2950
Joined: 20 Oct 2014, 12:11

Re: Pinpointing the start of faith issues

Post by LookingHard » 21 Mar 2015, 11:55

The analogy of the shelf certainly works with me.

I had always had some doubts and never could call myself an absolute TBM. I am a logical person (as I think I just said in a post today) and some things just didn't add up. But I had good feelings and didn't really distance the church vs the gospel.

But I would say that the tipping point of my faith crisis was when I was a few decades into my marriage and still had never really felt happy in my marriage no matter how hard I tried. I started getting increased levels of callings (several in bishoprics) and I tried, but if I was honest I didn't feel inspired at all. The temple did nothing for me spiritually - in fact it just reminded me that I had a near-failed marriage and was just told of blessings I felt I wouldn't get since my wife didn't seem to love me. The tipping point was when I heard about an episode of something called Mormon Stories and it was John Dehlin, Dr. Jennifer Fife, and another therapist Natasha Helfer-Parker. It explained SO much of what was going on in my marriage and around sexuality in the church. It just rang SO TRUE and they seemed to really have figured out the real core of issues.

I looked at some of the other podcasts on Mormon stories and thought, "most of these look like anti-Mormon stuff" and I stayed away from most. Eventually I listened to some of them and more rang true of how I had often felt. It took maybe another year before I really started diving in deep trying to figure it out. I think for a while I was just glad to have some truth and light given about my relationship and was focusing on that. Once I kind of gave up on really trying to fix my marriage, my energy turned to "figuring this stuff all out" and within about 2 months I was fully going down in flames after hearing about the European GA that had a faith crisis.

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16852
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Pinpointing the start of faith issues

Post by Curt Sunshine » 21 Mar 2015, 13:12

[Admin Note]: Knock it off, Cadence. You know better than that last sentence. You can make the exact same point without taking a silly shot at the LDS Church and anyone who disagrees with you - and, yes, it is a silly shot. Just because there is truth in it doesn't make it any less silly in context - and HIGHLY selective. For someone who touts his objectivity and logic, you take a lot of subjective, illogical potshots here. You have doing it for years here, and it is getting really old.

Everybody has a hard time letting go of what they learned as children. Even abused kids who loathe their abusers often end up abusing. Conversely, those who learn deep love and respect usually model it.

That is true of all religions, denominations and lack thereof - and even many non-religious organizations. Kids raised by good parents who are atheists are more prone to be atheist themselves, just like many kids end up in the same job fields as a parent. Kids raised by atheist parents who are abusive or just general jerks are more prone to find religion. Kids tend to support or oppose the political views of their parents, depending on the quality of the parenting.

Also, you have been told multiple times to stop calling all believers irrational, but you keep doing it. Stop it.

You are intelligent, so I'm sure you know that what you said is true of everyone on this planet - so I have to assume your insult was calculated - especially since you've been saying similar things on a regular basis for a long time.

So, make your points (like the rest of your comment) and lay off the sweeping broadsides directed exclusively at the LDS Church (like the last sentence) and all believers. We've been extremely patient, since you've been here a long time. That ends now.
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

User avatar
Posts: 4520
Joined: 14 Nov 2013, 07:34
Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: Pinpointing the start of faith issues

Post by nibbler » 21 Mar 2015, 15:18

There wasn't a single event for me, my faith issues distilled upon me like dew from heaven. ;) There was a progression though. In giving this some thought I've reverse butterfly effected the process back to a few specific events.

1) I saw an elaborately decorated sarcophagus in an art museum. I studied it and saw several very familiar vignettes, in particular a lion couch scene. At the time the thinking was: "Cool, I know a little about what those mean." I was fascinated and decided that I'd devote more study to Egyptology.
2) A vague reference to the seer stones in one of the volumes of Doctrines of Salvation by Joseph Fielding Smith. I was intrigued because I had never heard of them before. I searched up and down in church publications and other books but I didn't find much info on the subject. I eventually abandoned the quest.
3) Skipping way ahead here. I realize this reflects poorly on me but there was someone in my family that I simply didn't want to be with for eternity. I won't get into specifics but my beliefs about the concepts of justice and mercy were severely strained at this time. That strain took my beliefs about the purpose of life with it. After that happened I revisited #2 above and found that my research was greatly aided by the internet. After I got my fill of seer stones I went back to pursue my studies of Egyptology, in particular just how much I knew about those vignettes I had seen.

It was a process that took years to evolve and just as much time to recognize. There was no "Ah ha!' moment. It just kind of grew out of a desire to learn more and more.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

User avatar
Posts: 7348
Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: Pinpointing the start of faith issues

Post by SilentDawning » 21 Mar 2015, 20:55

For me it was unmet expectations on the part of the organizational church. One one hand, we have a church that claims a prophet who speaks directly with God, is the ONLY true church, and has pretty high demands on the membership financially and service-wise. It levies pretty severe consequences on people who deviate from the textbook, both culturally, and eternally. And it requires a lot of sacrifice. For me, all these hard parts were worth it, given its grand claims.

But then, it behaves in ways that seem to violate its own grandiose claims - temporal concerns trump commitment to values, greater concern for organizational issues than individual issues, and for me personally, complete lack of support on issues that are the core of our mission throughout my life -- getting on a mission, eternal marriage, adopting children, and respect for me as an individual when I suffered from burnout. It's been repeated and sustained.

And if I shared these concerns openly, the institutional church, as embodied by its leaders, would tell me this is my fault -- that I was somehow not faithful enough, failed a test, am apostate, or some other argument that places responsibility for my conclusions squarely on my shoulders only -- without any acknowledgement of accountability for the church as a whole. And remember -- the church is not just its people -- it's its policies, its systems, the kind of leaders it tends to promote and attract, and its structure. These things create culture and behavior that drives behavior. In my view, you can't hide behind the "church is perfect but the people aren't" argument, when culture drives behavior as much (more, in my view) than individual personality or personal weakness does.

This was the chink in my armor. It gave way to commitment crisis, which then raised many issues like the ones we see on the web. The historical and other issues are secondary, but I will say -- they support the prevailing thought in my own mind -- that the church is not worth the sacrifice and stress it imposes on me as a member. I am so much happier now devoting my time to part-time business interests that have a service component. My life is mine to chart and I can grow in ways that are simply not possible in the church.

I do appreciate the impact it is having on my daughter, though. I am glad that I did marry someone who has integrity and who I can trust to be faithful to me, and I admire the hardworkingness of its members, and their general desire to be good people. The fruits are good -- but the doctrine, and the experience of being a traditional mormon don't bring me happiness anymore. Maybe at some point in the future, but not for the time being. A TBM would say I need to "eat husks" for a while. I say I'm growing and evolving as a human being.
"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

User avatar
Posts: 226
Joined: 06 Jun 2014, 09:04

Re: Pinpointing the start of faith issues

Post by FaithfulSkeptic » 22 Mar 2015, 07:59

For me, it was the endowment at age 19 before leaving on my mission. I had grown up anticipating that the endowment and temple marriage were the pinnacle of spiritual experience, but the endowment was anything but that for me. Despite attending a temple preparation class and reading "The Holy Temple" by president Packer, I was totally shocked by my experience in the temple. For the first time, I really began to question whether this could be of God. I ended up coming home from my mission early and struggled to make sense of things for a long time, but was able to put things that I didn't understand on the shelf for many years, although I've never enjoyed endowment sessions, no matter how hard I try.

Then my shelf came crashing down when I read some of Grant Palmer's book and a neighbor left the Church. Shortly after, I started listening to Mormon Stories and found out about a lot of the other troublesome issues in Church history. Polygamy and blood atonement are big problems for me.

I'm still trying to figure out what I do believe now, and keep my marriage and family together, but it is so hard. At least I know that I am not alone and that there are a lot of people that can and do figure out ways to make it all work and have peace and happiness again.
I know of no sign on the doors of our meetinghouses that says, “Your testimony must be this tall to enter.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf, October 2014

Posts: 76
Joined: 25 Aug 2014, 10:21

Re: Pinpointing the start of faith issues

Post by Eternity4me » 22 Mar 2015, 16:54

It's funny you should ask what precipitated my FC, because I was wondering that myself earlier this week, and then I remembered what started it all. I read the essay on Race and the Priesthood. I think I was just surfing around on, which I do occasionally. I taught youth SS and there is a lot of stuff on there to help. When I read the essay I was stunned. Not so much about the "we don't really know why the whole thing started" idea, but the idea that women were not allowed to be endowed in the temple. My brain started screaming, "But that has nothing to do with the priesthood!!" Growing up we were told it was an issue of priesthood, when I read that women were banned from the temple endowment I knew it had nothing to do with priesthood and everything to do with race. I was sick to my stomach and literally felt physically ill. From there I read the essay on plural marriage, and while I knew that JS had multiple wives, I never knew he married other men's wives. There again was what I considered a lie--that has nothing to do with populating the earth with mini-mormons. I felt deceived, and sickened. I have never felt the same since then, and struggle to attend church every week. Sometimes I wish I could turn back the clock, but that isn't possible so I just fake it for now.

Posts: 2576
Joined: 09 Sep 2012, 02:17

Re: Pinpointing the start of faith issues

Post by Ann » 22 Mar 2015, 20:45

My crisis started in earnest with the Nauvoo polygamy essay. I realized then that I would probably never be "all in" again and that I needed to look out for my own spiritual welfare.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

Post Reply