What My Faith Journey Taught Me

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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DBMormon
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What My Faith Journey Taught Me

Post by DBMormon » 09 Oct 2016, 00:19

What My Faith Journey Taught Me

http://www.mormondiscussionpodcast.org/ ... ey-taught/

A blog post offering some reflection and encouragement for those who desire to stay but are struggling.

I welcome feedback as I am curious what insights you hold or have found elsewhere that helps you to stay?
What are your thoughts of the tension between you and Mormonism?

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DarkJedi
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Re: What My Faith Journey Taught Me

Post by DarkJedi » 09 Oct 2016, 05:31

DBMormon wrote:What My Faith Journey Taught Me

http://www.mormondiscussionpodcast.org/ ... ey-taught/

A blog post offering some reflection and encouragement for those who desire to stay but are struggling.
I think as you are aware we like to discuss things on this forum and discourage posting links to other sites by themselves without discussion points.

I particularly related to the following, comparing my faith/belief to an edifice (actually a church building in my own mind):
One day something shifted in my mind. Some new idea entered in and it pushed an old idea out. Rather than continue the compulsion to make the pieces fit, this new idea which was almost a living breathing thing… It was the permission to take it all down. To disassemble everything. To deconstruct my faith piece by piece.
There are still pieces of rubble laying around, most of which it seems at this point will not become part of my reconstructed faith; there are new pieces of the building which were not part of the old one; and there are parts of the old faith that are intricately incorporated into the new (they might be referred to as cornerstones, foundations, or keystones). The core principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ are those key components.
When I say Gospel, I don’t mean Church. They are very different separate things… even unrelated or polar opposites at times.
This was an important part of my faith journey - the separation of the gospel and the church. It's more like spaghetti with sauce than it is like a cake. They are are very much related and "all over" each other, although with great effort they could be separated (unlike a cake where the ingredients cannot be separated). Other churches/belief systems are just a slightly different sauce.

I also agree with this:
The trouble is that the Church has created a rhetoric and a culture which makes you to feel as though you lost something when you really are gaining things.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

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."

My Introduction

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SilentDawning
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Re: What My Faith Journey Taught Me

Post by SilentDawning » 09 Oct 2016, 10:02

I like all three quotes. Particularly the first one. I don't know if it was someone on this site (if so, probably Brian Johnson) or what, but someone said I needed to reconstruct what I believed.

I remember sitting in front of the StaylDS.com blue and white web page and feeling empowered -- it was MY TIME to decide what I believed, and what I didn't believe. What I could so with passion, and what I couldn't. What I felt the church deserved from me, and what I felt I could and should give (whether the church "deserved" it or not). Yes, I could worship God according to the dictates of my own conscience. I remember posting about every belief I felt needed refinement, and questioned every assumption in my belief system borne of church teaching.

And so, a few things fell off the handcart I was pulling. And it was a relief, a burden lifted. They were things that didn't make me happy, and I felt liberated. I felt I had reclaimed my inner peace and it was easier to forgive or at least, forget the nasty things members and leaders had done.

And yes, traditional believers seem to think I've lost something, but in fact, I think I gained speed. Got involved in different kinds of service, and grew in leaps and bounds. It synergized with my work, and that kept me employed during massive downsizings. I am much better today than I was a few years ago.

I think point #1 had a lot to do with that gradual transformation.
Last edited by SilentDawning on 09 Oct 2016, 10:38, edited 1 time in total.
"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

Roy
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Re: What My Faith Journey Taught Me

Post by Roy » 09 Oct 2016, 10:26

Many of you know my story more or less. Our third child was stillborn. The shock from that loss changed my worldview. I just was not prepared for the idea.

Non-religious people are also often unprepared. We live in a first world country where premature children are born and treated all the time. We do not tend to talk about it when this does not work out well.

The LDS prosperity gospel just added another layer of denial. I felt that God would personally intervene for us (at least on big things like health and safety) because we were faithful tithe paying Mormons. It really did feel like my entire internal structure of how I ordered, catalogued, interpreted, and perceived the world was falling apart.

In talking to our bishop, he revealed that he too had had some sort of a faith crisis. He was shocked by some of the things that happened in the history of the church but he came to rest on the church having divine authority. If the church has it, then there can be all sorts of impropriety, none of that would change that this church is the only saving game in town.

It was so interesting to ponder. He too had a faith crisis and had his assumptive faith structure fall to the ground. It was just that his ground seemed to be so much higher than my ground. It felt like we had both once been on the top floor and he fell down to the 30th floor when I fell all the way to the bottom.

Some after a faith crisis, come to rest on LDS authority, some upon Jesus and Christianity, some become agnostics, still others become atheists and reject any religion. All of these seem to fall exactly as far as they need to in order to regain what seems to be a firm footing again. How far down do they have to go before they are steady on their feet again?

The subconscious mind seems to dive down searching for a firm foundation with which to rebuild.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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DarkJedi
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Re: What My Faith Journey Taught Me

Post by DarkJedi » 09 Oct 2016, 13:00

Roy wrote:Some after a faith crisis, come to rest on LDS authority, some upon Jesus and Christianity, some become agnostics, still others become atheists and reject any religion. All of these seem to fall exactly as far as they need to in order to regain what seems to be a firm footing again. How far down do they have to go before they are steady on their feet again?
Good point, Roy. Just like we are all at different places on our faith journeys, we also deal with things differently. In seeking the foundation of my faith I was at one point extremely agnostic to the point of atheism. That was mostly due to the "one true church" idea that if some part of it wasn't true none of it was (which is why I take every opportunity to debunk the idea that if JS was a prophet, the the BoM is true, and TSM is a prophet, etc. - that's a dangerous teaching). I can;t say I found sure footing, but I did find the bedrock - I did (and do) believe there is a God. So my foundation as become the core principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, nevertheless I think it's important for me (and others) to realize that someone else's bedrock/foundation of faith is something else entirely - and that's OK (even if it is that the BoM is exactly what it's claimed to be). This is actually what I think the Savior meant when in the parable of the prodigal son he said the son "came to himself" (or in other translations "came to his senses").
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

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."

My Introduction

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SilentDawning
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Re: What My Faith Journey Taught Me

Post by SilentDawning » 09 Oct 2016, 13:03

Roy wrote:He was shocked by some of the things that happened in the history of the church but he came to rest on the church having divine authority. If the church has it, then there can be all sorts of impropriety, none of that would change that this church is the only saving game in town.


This is the prevailing attitude I heard from priesthood leaders when I was silly enough to share that I thought impropriety reflected badly on the church's truth claims. And I walked away from these meetings (or sometimes, conversations with rank and file members) with this phrase ringing in my mind.

The one true church claim can sometimes we a license to kill when it isn't tempered with humility, and apology from church leaders when there is wrong doing by its leaders or the institution


I still believe that. Church leaders can do anything they want without apology or impunity by leaning on the authority or one true church concept. And I consider that wrong.

I don't expect perfection from the church anymore, but I do expect apology and humility when there are mistakes made.

That is why I was deeply moved during the pbs.org special when Dallin H. Oaks apologized to the families of the Mountain Meadows Massacre event in our history. He seemed sincere and almost choked up about it, and I felt this overwhelming sense of emotion. It was carthartic, as if he was showing the church IS capable of apologizing for its errors. It was the first time I'd ever seen the church acknowledge wrong doing (although DHO was careful to say 'members', not 'leaders' of the church were involved in MMM). The second time was when I read the Priesthood Disavowal Gospel topic essay when they repudiated all racism, past or present. That one wasn't as meaningful as DHO's apology, because it came from some historian writer and was tucked away in a corner of lds.org rather than broadcast on TV like DHO's apology.

So, the apologies exist, a bit. But beyond that, I've rarely if ever seen leaders of the one true church seek forgiveness for wrongdoing on a regular basis. That would make their indiscretions easier to accept. Because that is what I think Christlike people and organizations do -- they seek forgiveness and make restitution for their wrongs. They don't cover them in arrogance and denial, and I've seen that approach taken too many times for my liking.

Things like that make agnosticism toward many aspects of Mormonism a palatable coping mechanism.

At the same time, I'm thankful for the apologies that do exist. I just wish it was part of our culture.
"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

Roy
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Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: What My Faith Journey Taught Me

Post by Roy » 10 Oct 2016, 10:26

DarkJedi wrote:So my foundation as become the core principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, nevertheless I think it's important for me (and others) to realize that someone else's bedrock/foundation of faith is something else entirely - and that's OK (even if it is that the BoM is exactly what it's claimed to be).
Yes, It was eye opening to realize that he did in fact have some sort of faith crisis and that he came to rest on the foundations of 1) the church having authority and 2) that he had already promised his loyalty and service to this church and his personal integrity required him to follow through. His response and rebuilding effort for his assumptive world structure was very similar to mine just that he had landed in a different place. I do feel strongly that I did not decide where to land, nor did I decide to rip up my structure to such point and no further. It has caused me to wonder what type of internal and external factors may influence how far and fast a particular individual may fall in a faith crisis.
SilentDawning wrote:Church leaders can do anything they want without apology or impunity by leaning on the authority or one true church concept. And I consider that wrong.
I understand that SD. But from the perspective of someone needing a firm footing this one is not so bad. No amount of historical mud will prove or disprove divine authority (We do teach that immoral practices as well as the corruption of pure doctrine was the reason why God removed his authority from the primitive church but who can say what threshold must be met for that to happen again...besides the fact that we teach that it will never happen again. ;) ). As far as a position that can be relatively safe from a further destructive faith crisis - this position is not so bad.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

AmyJ
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Re: What My Faith Journey Taught Me

Post by AmyJ » 13 Oct 2017, 07:47

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself. - C.S. Lewis
While I like what he says in this passage, I think it can also apply to seeing our faith as a living house. Generally, when people come to church, they bring with them the general outlines of their faith houses. To me, a faith house is composed of touchstone experiences that the owner keeps going back to. These can be testimony/belief statements about God, Jesus Christ, J.S, scriptures/inspirational writings, and personal spiritual experiences. I think part of a faith house also includes an inventory of individual strengths and weaknesses (both real and perceived), and individual progress reports on those strengths and weaknesses. It also includes internalized rules such as the 10 commandments, or the 2 great commandments. It also includes tradition rules such as dress code, Word of Wisdom, etc.

Eventually, the faith houses are toted into the light and examined. Sometimes this happens because of a specific event in a person's life - I think it is usually tied to a loss of some kind. Sometimes it happens because people compare faith houses to see how similar they are to each other and try to define the standard of what the perfect faith house looks like. I think that Stage 3 people focus on building the perfect one-size-fits-all faith house, with conformity at the root of it's success. However, just as not all real houses look like each other all over the world (different weather conditions to stand up in), our individual faith houses are not one-size-fits-all. I think this contributes to the disconnect between people because some people are drawn to or driven to building an unconventional faith house, and some people are focused on building the "safe" generic faith house - until they hit a point in their path when they realize the "safe" option is no longer viable for whatever reason.

I think it is more important to look introspectively and work with God (if you feel He is interested in being involved) to design your unique individual faith house. I also think it is helpful to see the faith houses of others - but only if you are capable of making a distinction between blindly adding to your faith house because "everyone is doing it" and adding to your faith house because the faith house plan requires a similar feature to what is being presented.

For my own faith house, I am still figuring out what I have. For me, the catalyst for my current faith transition was I learned something integral about myself that I had never seen before. It is like being nearly blind and all of a sudden getting glasses. I am doing a lot of wandering around my faith house going "Holy Cow! That's what that looks like." and marking it on the blue print. There is also a lot of "I did not know this was here - do I really need this, or does it get carted away to the dump?". There is a bit of looking at the blue print and realizing that the design needs work too because some things are being re-designed.

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nibbler
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Re: What My Faith Journey Taught Me

Post by nibbler » 13 Oct 2017, 08:23

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself. - C.S. Lewis
Not to take away from your thoughts, I'm responding to this particular quote (emphasis added).

I would hope that he would come and live in the house himself because after all that remodeling it's no longer my house, it's his house. What if I truly wanted a quaint cottage?

I get the analogy, that god will make you into something better than what you imagined for yourself. The problem is that what "god" (often it's really just other people) imagined for me might not be the best fit for me, people unwittingly were presenting what was best for them... which I think speaks to your comments.

If I'm going to live in my house I want some input on the design, which god doesn't appear to solicit in the analogy.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

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Reuben
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Re: What My Faith Journey Taught Me

Post by Reuben » 13 Oct 2017, 10:41

I think sometimes the house can't be altered for the better until half of it or more is demolished.
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Love before dogma. Truth before loyalty. Knowledge before certainty.

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