"You should have known"

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
NonTraditionalMom
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"You should have known"

Post by NonTraditionalMom » 07 Aug 2015, 21:17

I have hesitated over whether or not to post this, but I have to say somewhere how I feel. This group has been nothing but supportive and helpful, so please don't take my frustration as an attack on any of you. I just feel like I need to post my perspective because I can't be the only one who feels this way.

I was born in the Church, baptized at eight, active in YW from 12, a seminary graduate, BYU student, and institute student. My dad is a bishop and a retired seminary/institute teacher, and several of my siblings and my husband served full-time missions. I have served in presidencies in all three auxiliaries, and I have served as a SS and a RS teacher. I have attended church almost every Sunday for my entire life, sat through countless conferences and firesides, had in-depth gospel discussions with my family members, attended the temple very regularly, and maintained a regular subscription of church magazines. Growing up, I was the kid who always knew the answers in my Sunday classes, and as an adult, I have been a person others have turned to with questions about the church. I feel like-- or at least I thought-- all of this meant that I knew quite a bit about the church. And until earlier this week, I HAD NO IDEA ABOUT THE SEER STONE.

I know that those of you who have been fully immersed in (uncorrelated) church history for some time have a very difficult time understanding how this very important bit of information escaped me. My husband is also surprised. The Church seems to be surprised as well; after all, the information has apparently always been available to me. I feel like I need to speak up for myself, and others like me, and explain how hurtful and infuriating it feels to be told that I should have known about this all along. When you say that I should I have known, I feel like my intellect and faith are being undermined. I feel like I'm being presumed to be one of those people who wasn't really paying attention in the more than 30 years I've been in church and that I'm somehow not smart enough to have figured this out. Being told that I should have known makes my shock and hurt somehow my own fault. Essentially, I feel like I'm being called a fool.

You know, sometimes I put candy in my nightstand drawer. My kids get most of the treats that come into our house, but every now and then, I'll get a little something for myself and put it in my drawer. Imagine if I were to go downstairs right now with a half-eaten candy bar in my hand. My kids would be furious that I wasn't sharing, and they would definitely not say that they knew about the candy bar before I started eating it in front of them. Could I really tell them that they should have known about it? After all, my bedroom door is opened, and they could have come looking in my drawer at any time. The receipt from the grocery store where I bought the candy is in the garbage-- surely they could have read the receipt that is sitting in the garbage can! They should have known!

In the past little while, I have researched several topics that I've been uneasy about, hoping to get some insight that would calm my inner turmoil. I've talked about in another post how frustrating and disheartening it has been to find that the history I've found doesn't match what I've been taught to believe. Even though I read the history, I think I kept holding out a hope that I would find something that would get me back on track, so to speak. I kept thinking that maybe all of my doubts really were just caused my own disobedience or lack of the spirit. I kept hoping that something or someone would say, no, all of this confusing history you've read is just silly speculation, or a self-serving spin on the truth, or something like that, and everything is just like we've always said it was. When I saw the pictures of the stone, I got a sick, almost nauseated feeling in my stomach, almost like it confirmed that all of the things I hoped were false, are actually true.

I'm really hurting right now. I feel like I've been taught not to trust myself, that my feelings of confusion and doubt are products of my own sin and lack of faithfulness. But I've also realized, painfully, that I can't trust the church. I know that this is not new to many of you, and I understand how this new "transparency" can feel exciting. For those of us in my position, though, please understand that it causes significant anxiety. Please, please don't add to those already overwhelming feelings by telling us that we should have known.

Ann
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Re: "You should have known"

Post by Ann » 07 Aug 2015, 23:09

I think the church, with just a tiny bit of commentary, could do a lot to squelch the "you should have known" crowd's annoying comments right now. I don't understand why it doesn't.
"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

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Heber13
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Re: "You should have known"

Post by Heber13 » 07 Aug 2015, 23:14

it is incredibly infuriating and a huge feeling of betrayal. As a lifelong member, I should not have had to find this out on the Internet on my own.

It is incredibly painful and hurts the trust. It has to be rebuilt.

My only advice is...have faith this too shall pass. Time helps. (Sorry...that is sucky advice when you're in pain now. Just know your feelings are legit, and 'you should have known' is not sufficient or christlike to be told that. It just isn't christlike.)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts so clearly. Many others feel the same way.
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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SilentDawning
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Re: "You should have known"

Post by SilentDawning » 08 Aug 2015, 05:59

I understand fully -- I learned about the Mountain Meadows Massacre on the doorstep of a non-member 3 months into my mission. The fact that I knew nothing about it only confirmed his notion that we are brainwashed.

Another variant of the "you should have known" statement is what people say when people who are long in the church become disaffected. Rather than show empathy, kindness, and love, I hear people in meetings say "he has the Melchizedek Priesthood, served a mission, and is married in the temple, and has served in leadership positions -- he should KNOW BETTER".

It's as if they think -- the person has been taught the rules, and is breaking them, and therefore, has no excuse. No willingness to consider the underlying complex issues or the church's sometimes significant responsibility in leading us there.

..they should know better :)
"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

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nibbler
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Re: "You should have known"

Post by nibbler » 08 Aug 2015, 06:00

NonTraditionalMom wrote:You know, sometimes I put candy in my nightstand drawer. My kids get most of the treats that come into our house, but every now and then, I'll get a little something for myself and put it in my drawer. Imagine if I were to go downstairs right now with a half-eaten candy bar in my hand. My kids would be furious that I wasn't sharing, and they would definitely not say that they knew about the candy bar before I started eating it in front of them. Could I really tell them that they should have known about it? After all, my bedroom door is opened, and they could have come looking in my drawer at any time. The receipt from the grocery store where I bought the candy is in the garbage-- surely they could have read the receipt that is sitting in the garbage can! They should have known!
I love the analogy. If you don't mind I'm going to extend it to match a few experiences that many have shared. In the past you jumped down your kid's throats any time they went anywhere near the drawer. Over the years they have become conditioned not to go near it.
NonTraditionalMom wrote:I know that those of you who have been fully immersed in (uncorrelated) church history for some time have a very difficult time understanding how this very important bit of information escaped me.
I understand. I think a select few have grown up from the beginning with teachers that told them everything. Their initial faith was built around the stories that many people only discovered much later along the path. It's hard for the people that heard the more complete version of events from the onset to understand the perspectives of the people who have not. The misunderstanding can go both ways. How could someone else have such a vastly different experience than I did in a church that is correlated to the nth degree? ;) In sharing our own experiences we have to be careful not to invalidate other people's experiences.

I know where you're coming from. I remember seeing one vague reference to the seer stone. I searched high and low through church material and only found the vaguest of mentions in passing. The story of Hiram Page in the Doctrine and Covenants only seeded my thoughts against the use of seer stones. Silly Hiram, thinking that he could get revelation from a stone. That section of the D&C made my acceptance of JS using a stone an uphill climb. That section really could use a new history synopsis in the beginning. Something stating that the use of the stone itself wasn't the issue, the issue was that Hiram stepped outside the chain of command.

Many people have even experienced accusations of looking at anti-Mormon materials when they have asked others about the seer stones. I tried to reflect that in my extension of your analogy. The people that have accused others of looking at anti sources probably knew nothing of the seer stones, so there's another group that knew nothing of the stones. I bet those people are in a difficult place right now.

All members didn't know about the stone at some point and later learned about it. The question is how early did they learn about it, how long had they built up faith in the less than complete version.

When someone says "you should have known" I think it's coming from one of several places:
  • The inability to understand that other people's experiences in the church can be different.
  • Pride. You are struggling but I'm not struggling because I've progressed further than you, or I'm a better member than you. Telling everyone I don't have a problem with this moves me up the social ladder.
  • If they weren't raised knowing about the stones they've forgotten how they felt when they first found out. They may have had the benefit of years to process things and are expecting someone to process things in the time it takes to hear one injurious phrase.
Hey, none of us are perfect.

I'm not a fan of the phrase. It's dismissive and you're correct. It makes people feel lesser.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

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nibbler
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Re: "You should have known"

Post by nibbler » 08 Aug 2015, 06:09

SilentDawning wrote:..they should know better :)
Ha. That's one of the points I was trying to make. You did it better in only 4 words.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

Old-Timer
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Re: "You should have known"

Post by Old-Timer » 08 Aug 2015, 06:37

We hear people say the Church is the same everywhere. That leads to thinking our experiences are the same as all members - or, at least, most of them.

The Church isn't the same everywhere, and, as a result, our experiences aren't the same. The Church in any location is an aggregate of the members in that location, including us. As nibbler said, that makes it hard for people to recognize and understand each other when radical differences exist.

I knew about the seer stone at a young age - because I was a voracious reader who loved history as a child and who had parents who encouraged me to read "adult" things about history. I have friends with whim I went to school who probably are surprised by this essay. There have been numerous things written about the seer stone over time, including Ensign articles from time to time, but not everyone read them - and there is no fault in that. People read what people read, and availability is not the same as instruction.

I also am a historian by nature, so I am less prone to discredit or be bothered by cultural oddities. I am much more geared to accept and even expect them - and my orientation, if you will, helps these things be less shocking and more understandable to me. Not everyone is geared that way - and that's okay.

The key, I think, is charity. Just as we want others to understand and accept our struggles, we ought to try to understand and accept their lack of struggles. We simple are who we are, and mutual respect is the key. If we aren't getting it, we need to give it - even if it is unconditional.
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

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LookingHard
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Re: "You should have known"

Post by LookingHard » 08 Aug 2015, 08:22

NonTraditionalMom,

Oh how I feel for you. I feel much the same way you do in that growing up I was told over and over that anti-Mormon literature was possessed of the devil and if you started looking at it you would be seduced by him - so STAY FAR FAR AWAY from it!!!! (if you go near my nightstand you will get the biggest beating!!! - to use your analogy) Then after decades of following that advice I start looking at some "safe" info and find that almost all the anti-Mormon stuff was based on truth (sometimes with the most negative slant). It is one of - no THE - most betraying feeling I have ever had in my life.

I have dove in to really research and have been amazed at how much is whitewashed and "just ignore the man behind the curtain" (with a few statements about, "we are not afraid of truth, in fact we believe all truth").

There are many (most) folks on this site that know quite well some of the feelings you are experiencing. read many of the threads and you will see common themes about not making any rash decisions and learning to look at things different (you will have no choice as your "old way of thinking" just will not compute).

Please use this board as a sounding board. You can get some good advice and this site is very accepting (just don't attack people).

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dtrom34
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Re: "You should have known"

Post by dtrom34 » 08 Aug 2015, 08:37

Growing up, whenever I asked people what the seer stone was, I was told that it was another name for the urim and thumim. I think that there has been a lot of confusion as to what the seer stone was.
I only learned about it after watching an episode of South Park and then doing some research. I'm still not exactly sure what it is, besides being a rock.
I don't believe there has been any clear explanation in church correlated material as to what the seer stone actually was, and it does not seem like the church has wanted us to know the details. Why else would a church who loves to use pictures not share with us the picture until now? So, no, there is no way that you should have known. Maybe that saying is a way for members to feel unquestioningly obedient.
Last edited by dtrom34 on 08 Aug 2015, 10:07, edited 1 time in total.

Paulista
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Joined: 08 Mar 2015, 18:46

Re: "You should have known"

Post by Paulista » 08 Aug 2015, 09:39

I think "you should have known" is the verbal manifestation of a TBM putting this event on their shelf in some way.

I can relate to what you wrote. The problem is we all should have known but the church was telling people this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RGgggC ... be&t=6m51s

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