Should I come clean about my disbelief?

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startpoor
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Should I come clean about my disbelief?

Post by startpoor » 12 May 2015, 16:57

I have a friend From the ward I talk to about gospel stuff. He has a nuanced view of things and is open minded about stuff. We've never had a discussion about our personal beliefs or struggles though. I heard him say in church recently that he knew the church was true. I feel like it's time to let him know that I don't have a testimony because I don't want him to think that my advice or opinions come from a place that is still able to nurture a testimony. I want him to know that I have these opinions because I don't have a testimony and warn him to be careful because this stuff kills marriages. From y'all's experiences, is there any reason I would regret doing this?
Btw, my bishop knows I don't believe, but nobody else; so I'm not worried about repercussions or my TR being rescinded if my leaders found out.


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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Should I come clean about my disbelief?

Post by hawkgrrrl » 12 May 2015, 17:01

Generally speaking, I'm against declarations of belief or unbelief. That's just me. I like to keep all my options open in life. But based on what you've said, I don't think there's a real downside in disclosing.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Should I come clean about my disbelief?

Post by DarkJedi » 12 May 2015, 18:43

I'm with Hawk. Unless this person is an understanding confidant who you think can help you, I'd keep quiet. I also take the point of view that I don't want to hurt anyone else's testimony, nor do I want their sympathy.
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Ann
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Re: Should I come clean about my disbelief?

Post by Ann » 13 May 2015, 08:41

Would you need to make a blanket declaration that you don't believe the "church is true," or could you slowly reveal in comments here and there what you do believe?
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

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SilentDawning
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Re: Should I come clean about my disbelief?

Post by SilentDawning » 13 May 2015, 08:59

I am also against statements of disbelief. I am in favor of statements of belief, however. The reason I'm against statements of disbelief is the black and white thinking of our members and many of our leaders. Further, statements of disbelief disqualify you from many privileges in our religion, and often, create obstacles to returning to full activity.

You also never know when that person you shared your deepest and darkest with becomes a leader, or shares that information with other leaders. I have one friend who I shared deepest and darkest with when he was a Branch President in a different Ward. No problem -- I wasn't under his stewardship. Now he's in the Stake Presidency.

Best to play it close to the vest. Share the experiences here, what you would have LIKED to have said in those conversations, and learn how to interact successfuly with orthodox members. The bloggernacle is a better place for honesty.
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Minyan Man
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Re: Should I come clean about my disbelief?

Post by Minyan Man » 13 May 2015, 09:19

I do a lot of listening & ask a lot of questions before I ever disclose what I believe or don't believe.
Once you "come clean" you can't take it back.

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Reflexzero
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Re: Should I come clean about my disbelief?

Post by Reflexzero » 13 May 2015, 11:29

I eventually had to take the band-aid approach with my Bishop. I felt too dishonest with myself for too long, especially teaching.

How I stated it however, was careful. I stated I am not a literal believer. I can appreciate things metaphorically and symbolically, but I have no literal belief in the LDS Church, or much of the scriptures.

They don't know what to do with me because I still attend, but don't actively participate because I do not want to detract or disturb people who are there to further their personal beliefs.

Minyan Man
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Re: Should I come clean about my disbelief?

Post by Minyan Man » 13 May 2015, 13:00

Did your Bishop give you any empathy for being honest with him?

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Reflexzero
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Re: Should I come clean about my disbelief?

Post by Reflexzero » 13 May 2015, 13:49

Mike wrote:Did your Bishop give you any empathy for being honest with him?
Yes. To his credit, he is a wonderful person and appreciated me being straightforward and trying to be open and authentic. However after explaining myself he admitted he had no idea how to approach my issues. He quietly acknowledged that he knew about Joseph not using the plates and so forth, but that he chooses to believe. It's been nearly two years and I don't think he even mentioned it to ward council until very recently.

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Orson
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Re: Should I come clean about my disbelief?

Post by Orson » 13 May 2015, 14:08

startpoor wrote:I feel like it's time to let him know that I don't have a testimony because I don't want him to think that my advice or opinions come from a place that is still able to nurture a testimony. I want him to know that I have these opinions because I don't have a testimony and warn him to be careful because this stuff kills marriages.
My comment is meant as food for thought:

Why be cornered into a narrow definition of "testimony"? When I think of that question posed to me - "do you have a testimony" I can't help but think "Of course I have a testimony! What a silly question, everyone has a point of view, set of experiences or testimony. Mine is unique, that goes without saying. I don't expect anyone else to view and believe things in exactly the same way that I do, and I assume others will grant me the same space. Some may not, that is true, but that is not my problem or something that I can do anything about.

"I don't believe" ...as a generic stand alone those three words mean absolutely nothing. Nothing. "I don't believe a flying spaghetti monster lives on the moon." Fine, that is a specific statement that actually says something. "I don't believe the church is true" means nothing unless you clearly define "true."

Even if you start talking about exclusive/literal priesthood authority you then have context to consider of within the church (which I take as a no contest position) or to the entire universe (which is senseless to even try to debate).

I believe. I have faith. ...In a great many things. I have faith in the church the same way a parent or friend will have faith in a child or loved one. Not to have faith in an error free life, but to have faith that growth and progress will happen and they will find more of their divinity along the path. I believe the church has truth and is a true tool, the same way a wheel or an arrow may be true. I know it also contains a lot of error, the same way anything on earth that is controlled by mortals will.

I have spend many hours over many years considering the questions: "What destroys testimony?" "What harms marriages?"

Truth will harm a false testimony. I don't worry about that, where I error I hope to accept correction. Error may cloud truth, to fight that we must always seek to understand more truth, always look in the mirror and strive for the humility to accept that we may be wrong - about anything. My foundation in the church is that Mormonism is truth. True Mormonism is factual truth. My purpose is not to defend traditional or cultural Mormonism, but to seek out and cling to truth. Much spiritual truth cannot be verified, that opens an entirely new can of worms.

Many things harm marriages, different goals/agendas of spouses is something that may continually pull at a marriage. Another topic for another discussion.

Obviously this is a little pet peeve of mine. I always want to say "of course you have a testimony! Tell me about it!!" Don't tell me what you don't believe, turn it around and come the other way, what do you believe in? I'll bet anything I can find parallels in church teachings to anything you believe. Give me a little time and I'll stretch this tent of belief to include your honest reflections.

When I hear people say exclusive or narrow things I try to let it slip past me the way I would want any embarrassing action to slip past. They may not know they should be embarrassed for what they say/do, but when I do I'll be sure to let it slip as if it never happened. That goes for conference talks as well as anything else.

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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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