Won't let me baptize my son... I might be done

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
DoubtingTom
Posts: 269
Joined: 22 Mar 2017, 12:13

Re: Won't let me baptize my son... I might be done

Post by DoubtingTom » 22 Sep 2017, 12:24

SunbeltRed wrote:
22 Sep 2017, 08:27
DT -

I'm glad your SP allowed you to baptize/confirm your son. It's unfortunate the hoops that have to be jumped through to participate sometimes.

Back in the beginning of the year, after multiple conversations with my Bishop, he wouldn't let me bless our new son. He did give me multiple opportunities to express "hope" but it felt disingenuous to my own journey to do so (I'm only saying this because had I expressed your level of faith and willingness to be orthopraxic in my religious practice I think he would have been ecstatic, so I'm surprised your Bishop/SP weren't more willing to work with you up-front).

Anyway, the experience was the catalyst I needed to step away. Unfortunately these milestone might get more difficult in the future, but hopefully your local leadership will be willing to work with you and accept you as you are.

Good luck!
Thanks for sharing. As a current non-believer I may step away more in the future. I could definitely see that happening. On the other hand, I could see myself finding continued spiritual value in attending and using the Mormon "tool belt" (borrowing Bill Reel's analogy) for my own development, and also as a way of supporting my wife but making the church my own thing as I go about it. I have already come to accept that unless the church changes or shifts dramatically I will always be a fringe member anyway. For now, that works for me as long as I can be true to myself and open with my wife and children.

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

Re: Won't let me baptize my son... I might be done

Post by SilentDawning » 22 Sep 2017, 18:09

DoubtingTom wrote:
22 Sep 2017, 12:20
But I've learned my lesson with being open with leaders. In the future, I will keep these things to myself and be my own guide on how involved I want to be without letting leaders dictate that for me.
Good! I don't say that with the condescending "You learned a lesson" tone that some people like to share, arrogantly, when people have felt the negative consequences of a particular line of reasoning. But leadership roulette is so chancy, you can't take a chance on sharing doubt for fear of exactly happening what happened to you. I don't blame people for making the mistake. Bishops are "fathers of the ward" and supposed to be spiritual adviser. When there doubt involved, you would think they would be kind and understanding and nurturing -- not punitive.

The part in bold was the key to me. To "get on your own clock" as Brian Johnson said. Get comfortable in your own skin, while maintaining a good relationship with the church.

So, you have an adventure in front of you as you figure out your own way...glad you made it past this particular hurdle. I assume you didn't have to mention getting an area authority involved? What changed his mind?
"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

DoubtingTom
Posts: 269
Joined: 22 Mar 2017, 12:13

Re: Won't let me baptize my son... I might be done

Post by DoubtingTom » 22 Sep 2017, 19:50

SilentDawning wrote:
22 Sep 2017, 18:09


So, you have an adventure in front of you as you figure out your own way...glad you made it past this particular hurdle. I assume you didn't have to mention getting an area authority involved? What changed his mind?
I'm not sure what changed his mind other than me going in and trying to be honest with him that my beliefs really haven't changed, but that I am trying to find things that I can maintain a hope in, or at least try to have hope in, and that I am willing to act on that hope. I explained that is the most faith I can muster right now, but it is still faith, according to the scriptures. Also, I expressed my sincere desire to be involved for my own sake and also because my son wants me to baptize him. I was sincere and honest, non confrontational, and tried to "look" humble (whatever that looks like). Anyway, it worked, and I was able to do it in a way that I felt maintained my integrity. I didn't feel I had to lie to him or even be shifty with my answers or explanations.

There were definitely times when I just had to nod and bite my tongue but that's ok.

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

Re: Won't let me baptize my son... I might be done

Post by SilentDawning » 23 Sep 2017, 06:16

DoubtingTom wrote:
22 Sep 2017, 19:50
Also, I expressed my sincere desire to be involved for my own sake and also because my son wants me to baptize him. I was sincere and honest, non confrontational, and tried to "look" humble (whatever that looks like). Anyway, it worked, and I was able to do it in a way that I felt maintained my integrity. I didn't feel I had to lie to him or even be shifty with my answers or explanations.

There were definitely times when I just had to nod and bite my tongue but that's ok.
Looking back over my TBM days, there were times when I was offended and saw the person as antagonistic when they shared negative belief about the church, or doubt. It can come off as disloyal even though the person saying it has no intention of being oppositional or antagonistic -- and may even be asking for help with their doubt as in "help mine unbelief". As a narrow-minded, TBM leader, you can see the person expressing doubt as the "enemy". although that is a bit of a strong word for it. So, if he had that kind of reaction to your initial meeting, you can see how it morphed into restrictions and punishment. He was punishing perceived apostasy rather than giving for support for someone wanting more faith. He reacted improperly -- way improperly given your situation.

The antidote is exactly what you gave -- humility. And yes, that means' biting your tongue. I think it takes the sword out of their hand because they see you are not there to hurt anyone, have hope and want to be "faithful" again.

Sad isn't it? So often, in PEC or Ward council I would hear about families that have the most nonsensical reasons for not being involved. They obviously were giving fake reasons to hide the real reasons. Based on your experience, its clear that leaders often create this situation through actions similar to your SP's. Their judgmental attitude actually closes the door of trust, so they never get to the heart of the reasons people don't want to engage fully with the church. So there we sit, sifting through half-truths about it, never able to deal with the doubting members' true concerns.

The other thing that gets me is their lack of broad vision. I have a friend who is an ex-Bishop. He once told me he wonders why I don't just get my name removed. If I don't believe it fully anymore, as he perceives it, then I should leave it and look for the truth elsewhere. Basically, telling me he didn't care if I stayed or not. I countered that leaving could impact my marriage or even destroy it, would likely reduce the chances of me having my own Road to Damascus experience in the church, and could cause the next generation to apostasize. Plus I pointed to all the good I was doing in the church in spite of my heterodoxy.

That still didn't change his mind. I see that closed-minded judgmentalism as a problem with our leaders. They say "one in the hand is worth two in the bush". Sure, they have a heterodox father, but they have a TR-holding, leadership-serving wife, and active, TR holding children. Why push the father out the door and risk everyone else ???? You've already got him attending, and therefore, subject to the weekly power of the gospel. If you truly believe in that power to change lives, why alienate the guy to the point he doesn't even want to come anymore???

They don't get it.

It sounds to me like your humility, and perhaps the fact the SP felt he gave you enough of a a slap on the wrist for being "disloyal" (in his mind) saved the day.

I am happy for you. Also, I think StayLDS has benefited. Sure, we hear stories of superhuman Bishops who are loving and kind when people come to them with faith issues. But we hear enough stories like yours to reinforce the advice that the odds aren't necessarily in your favor when a person goes with a well-meaning heart to a priesthood leader asking for help with faith issues.
"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
Posts: 6217
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Won't let me baptize my son... I might be done

Post by Roy » 24 Sep 2017, 10:05

SilentDawning wrote:
23 Sep 2017, 06:16
The other thing that gets me is their lack of broad vision. I have a friend who is an ex-Bishop. He once told me he wonders why I don't just get my name removed. If I don't believe it fully anymore, as he perceives it, then I should leave it and look for the truth elsewhere. Basically, telling me he didn't care if I stayed or not.
In a very real way this is a form of boundary setting/policing. We, as Mormons, are very critical of the church actions during the "great apostasy". We say that they worked so hard to accommodate the heathens into Christianity that they twisted and destroyed any purity and saving effect that Christianity had. Similarly, I believe many establishment Mormons fear that accommodating members on the fringe would ultimately dilute or even pervert the "pure", clear, and unapologetic Mormon teachings. "Better to cut off the bad branches, than risk the whole tree," they reason.
"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

User avatar
Heber13
Site Admin
Posts: 7219
Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

Re: Won't let me baptize my son... I might be done

Post by Heber13 » 24 Sep 2017, 14:06

Now that this has passed, and you look back and reflect on it....what do you mostly think? Were the leaders more reasonable than you thought they would be, or was this just a huge headache that pushes you further out?
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."

DoubtingTom
Posts: 269
Joined: 22 Mar 2017, 12:13

Re: Won't let me baptize my son... I might be done

Post by DoubtingTom » 25 Sep 2017, 10:48

Heber13 wrote:
24 Sep 2017, 14:06
Now that this has passed, and you look back and reflect on it....what do you mostly think? Were the leaders more reasonable than you thought they would be, or was this just a huge headache that pushes you further out?
It's a good question, Heber, and I'm torn. I think the leaders were operating from their binary view of the world and the Church. To me, that doesn't excuse their behavior but it does explain it and help me understand and also navigate their behavior and expected responses in the future.

As far as the church, I just don't know. Right now I am ok supporting my wife but I don't enjoy being a fringe member. It is not personally satisfying to me. I hope the church changes but I'm not holding my breath - any meaningful change needs to come from the top down and I don't know that I'm patient enough to wait for it. Meanwhile there are a few really important issues to me (i.e., gay marriage, women equality, etc) that I feel so strongly about that make it even harder.

So for now I have found this little space where I can operate - participate in ordinances, etc. But there is a deep spiritual pit in my soul that I do not believe the church is able to fill for me at this point in my life. Does that mean I will stop attending altogether? Probably not, but I do see myself disengaging more and more as time goes on. I'm glad I have this community, but my Sunday church experience is not meaningful to me other than a way to show love to my wife.

User avatar
Heber13
Site Admin
Posts: 7219
Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

Re: Won't let me baptize my son... I might be done

Post by Heber13 » 25 Sep 2017, 12:06

DoubtingTom wrote:
25 Sep 2017, 10:48
So for now I have found this little space where I can operate - participate in ordinances, etc. But there is a deep spiritual pit in my soul that I do not believe the church is able to fill for me at this point in my life.
Very good and thoughtful answer.

Maybe that spiritual fulfillment going forward is something you have to find somewhere in your life. I feel that way sometimes. Instead of thinking church is the be-all-end-all and I go on Sunday for the purest source of truth and fulfillment....instead I sometimes feel that it is just one thing in my life, and that is all it is. Fulfillment comes from many things outside of it, and I go seek them, and fit church in and around my journey to find what I feel I need to develop as a person and feel fulfilled.

It can feel like a lonely journey. But...what else do you do if you can't find it all on Sunday?

I just like how you are being honest with yourself and where you are at. Thanks for sharing. I think, perhaps, many of us are in a similar spot where we can operate and keep seeking enlightenment elsewhere to enhance it, without throwing out the baby with the bathwater because families are still sealed to the church experience.
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."

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

Re: Won't let me baptize my son... I might be done

Post by SilentDawning » 27 Sep 2017, 06:59

Heber13 wrote:
25 Sep 2017, 12:06
Maybe that spiritual fulfillment going forward is something you have to find somewhere in your life. I feel that way sometimes. Instead of thinking church is the be-all-end-all and I go on Sunday for the purest source of truth and fulfillment....instead I sometimes feel that it is just one thing in my life, and that is all it is. Fulfillment comes from many things outside of it, and I go seek them, and fit church in and around my journey to find what I feel I need to develop as a person and feel fulfilled.
This above ^^^^^^^^^^^^.

This above was my coping mechanism. My life is FULL now. Really full!!! While I felt lost there for a while, I learned to fill my life up with other things. I'm at the point where I dont' really care if I'm a marginal character at church -- people seem to accept me that way. And when they don't consider me for callings I used to be considered for at one time, when I see my friends progressing into Bprics, Bishop callings, SP, HC, it doesn't bother me.

It's kind of like this -- there is a table spread and you would dine there regularly. But the food started tasting "off" and you went looking for other places to dine. You still go back to the original table to enjoy the food you still like (it's not ALL bad) and to enjoy the company of old friends. But it's on your terms, when you want it. Meanwhile, you realize there's a ton of other food out there -- Mexican, Chinese, Italian -- that you never experienced. And you have regular friends there too. The variety in life is better than ever,.....and your eyes are opened...

So, I think there needs to be time to grieve on the loss of the potency of the original community, with a search for new communities. I have a community of musicians I have formed that are among my best friends now. I have a community of friends in the wider local town I live and we work together on non-church projects.

So, I would consider asking yourself these questions.

1. What are my passions for serving humanity? Where is there suffering I am passionate about eradicating? (hunger, cruelty to animals, people with a specific disease etectera...). What kinds of humanitarian projects make me excited?

2. What organizations are trying to alleviateg such suffering?

3. What strengths and talents do I have? How can I use them in a way that helps serve the target group these organizations serve?

If your experience is like mine, you will feel like an "investigator" for a while until the people in the organization get to know you as a regular. You may bounce off a couple organizations due to bad leadership, or maybe not so fulfilling experiences -- and then you realize it's the same in the LDS church. You just need to keep trying until you "land" in an organization where you are a good fit.

Now, when at church, I hear all the churchimonies about how great the church is -- the be all, end all -- but realize that the people there are being myopic and haven't broaded their minds yet. I actually sit there thinking how the church COMPETES for my service hours. There is a lot I can accomplish given my age and experience in life now, I go where I have the most fulfillment.

And then, after accepting myself, and new relationship with the church, start seeing ways I can contribute that are very positive in the church. It's like, after you stop needing acceptance from the church, find your life is full with it only marginalized in your life, you are gradually free to contribute in passionate ways on your own terms. And THAT becomes fulfilling. I have an assignment now that has me pretty engaged, just like any fully active member. Mission accomplished. I don't hold a TR, but that doesn't seem important any more, now that I am comfortable in my own skin.

Anyway, just my own path -- it's about repopulating the room with new furniture after you move out the old stuff that's worn out (the church stuff). You have a few favorites abut redecorate, and like the new style better, while retaining the good in the old furniture.
"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
Heber13
Site Admin
Posts: 7219
Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

Re: Won't let me baptize my son... I might be done

Post by Heber13 » 27 Sep 2017, 08:09

SilentDawning wrote:
27 Sep 2017, 06:59
when they don't consider me for callings I used to be considered for at one time, when I see my friends progressing into Bprics, Bishop callings, SP, HC, it doesn't bother me.
It's nice they have someone to do those things, and I'm sure they find fulfillment from it for themselves and get support from their families that helps their families grow closer...so it is all good. It makes it easier to sit in the back row and do my duty as whatever they call me to, and let others have the responsibility to do things in church they think are important to them. We all take the sacrament the same way. They others stuff...happy to let others spend time on it.

But there are times I have to have the discussions in bishop's offices about what I believe and how willing I am to sacrifice, and those have to be navigated carefully so I can stay involved with my kids and family on the rituals and traditions that are special to my family. I do just enough to get what I find as fulfillment out of church, and look for the rest outside of church.
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."

Post Reply