New but not new.

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
catlady
Posts: 5
Joined: 10 Oct 2020, 19:33

New but not new.

Post by catlady » 09 Apr 2022, 20:53

I'm not new to this site but I have never posted before. So here's a little bit about me. At almost 73, I may be the oldest person here. I was born and raised in eastern Idaho and I've been a member all of my life. I married my high school sweetheart and we were married in the temple after after he served a mission. We have 4 children and 17 grandchildren. 2 of our children have been divorced twice and are not at all active in the church. The other 2 are active. In fact, my son in law is a stake patriarch.
I guess you could say that over the years I have become disenchanted with the church. Perhaps I'm tired. I've always felt like an LDS lifestyle can be quite stressful.
Especially with all the meetings, and various callings with young children. I believe it is more simplified now and that is a good thing.
As an English major in college I developed the love of reading a large variety of books. I like books that are controversial and that make one think. I've always liked to question things.
I need to say here that I have an older brother who left the church in the 70's. My parents and my other siblings and I were totally shocked. This was unthinkable. As he was a professor at a university back east we all reasoned that he had "Intellectualized" himself out of the church. He explained to me that he believed that the prophets had made mistakes with polygamy and banning Blacks from the priesthood. This was also during the time of the ERA movement and the church's disapproval of it. I remember talking to my brother (I was in my early 20's) and all these things made me think. We also talked about the temple and I first learned about the Masons.
I know I'm taking too long with this. But it's been a long journey for me and there is a lot of history. My husband and I stayed true to the faith and we raised all of our children in the church. We've had lots of callings through the years.
Skip to about 2015. I believe this is when the controversial gay policy came out in the LDS handbook. I began to read more and study more and so many things just started to bother me. The church leaders were trying to explain things and I remembered thinking about conversations with my brother and how now anyone could now find those things because of the Internet. About this time I learned that there were several accounts of Joseph, Smith's first vision. I remember I was sitting outside of the Bishop's office at church waiting for an appointment. I looked up and saw the painting portraying Joseph's first vision and I had the strangest thing happen. It was like a huge shift of perspective in my brain. I no longer saw things the same way. It was weird and it was real.
To this day we have temple recommends. But here is the thing: no one knows I have had a crisis of faith. I haven't mentioned it to any family members. My parents are long gone. I don't want to talk to my brother because he's become very "anti-Mormon" and my other siblings are very "true blue". I want to be a good example to my children and grandchildren. So in a way I feel like I'm being a hypocrite and it's a difficult thing to carry and to keep inside always. I have been quiet on this site because I'm so afraid of not being anonymous. I want to thank everyone here who has helped me without ever knowing it.
I'm sure I will have lots more to say now that I've started.

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DarkJedi
Posts: 7664
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: New but not new.

Post by DarkJedi » 10 Apr 2022, 04:45

Welcome to the forum.

Not too long at all. I always appreciate knowing something about the person I'm interacting with, even when the interaction is anonymous. Because you have been one of our lurkers you already know this is a safe place (the moderators are very aware of the lurkers and lurkers are why we moderate like we do). So welcome again, and please don't be a stranger, I think you have something to offer us.
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

Roy
Posts: 6596
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: New but not new.

Post by Roy » 10 Apr 2022, 09:38

Yes, this is 100% anonymous. Welcome. I would love to hear more from you but you are also welcome to lurk if that fulfills your needs.

I can understand the shift in worldview. There comes a moment were you allow yourself to consider "What if ... things are not as I have always been taught." An overly simplified example, you know that picture where some people see a young and fashionable woman and others see an old crone? I feel like we have been taught in the church to only see it one way and that people who see it differently are wrong/deceived/dangerous. Something in your life has happened to allow you to see the other way of seeing the picture. For most of us this is a terrifying experience because it shifts everything that we have held dear and true and built our lives upon. Also, we are still part of families and communities that teach that those that see the other picture are wrong/deceived/dangerous and that now includes us. :cry:

I think about this example with your older brother. At the time that he spoke to you, he explained his feeling that "he believed that the prophets had made mistakes with polygamy and banning Blacks from the priesthood." That honestly sounds pretty mild. To say that racism and having more than one wife are mistakes is hardly controversial. I think that if we as a church made room for people that felt that way to remain a part of us then your brother might not have felt the need to go. For example, Martin Luther was an anti-Semite and said some appalling things about the Jewish people. The people of the Lutheran Church are pretty up front about that having been a mistake and they certainly do not make it a litmus test for belief.

Welcome to the place where we see both sides of the picture. I think the trick to "staying LDS" is to not go so far to the other side that we now see those that only see the church approved view as wrong/deceived/dangerous.
"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

Minyan Man
Posts: 2120
Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: New but not new.

Post by Minyan Man » 10 Apr 2022, 10:33

Welcome catlady. I like your name. It is always good to have new people join us. It gives us the belief that we
are not alone in this world or in our own thoughts or beliefs. I joined the church as an adult. A senior in college.
The only member of my family in the church. I question everything in life. Not just the church.
The FT missionaries encouraged me to question my beliefs & ideas.

When did it become wrong to question? Here we are encouraged to question. We don't always have the full
answer but...we question anyway. Keep coming back. We would like to hear more of your voice.

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nibbler
Posts: 4754
Joined: 14 Nov 2013, 07:34
Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: New but not new.

Post by nibbler » 10 Apr 2022, 15:27

Long journeys we can reflect on are the best.

Also, well said Roy.
catlady wrote:
09 Apr 2022, 20:53
So in a way I feel like I'm being a hypocrite and it's a difficult thing to carry and to keep inside always.
I know the feeling.

It sounds like you're being very conscientious of others and you respect their spiritual journeys. That is being a good example and I don't consider tying to be a good example to be hypocritical. I know it's hard because it's a hard path. A path where many steps have to be taken in the dark and many more steps have to be taken while dealing with struggles that are all internal. It can be a lonely, isolating road. Thanks for sharing. Shared yokes are lighter.
You can’t run from all your problems, but it will help you lose weight.

AmyJ
Posts: 1066
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: New but not new.

Post by AmyJ » 11 Apr 2022, 07:41

catlady wrote:
09 Apr 2022, 20:53
But here is the thing: no one knows I have had a crisis of faith. I haven't mentioned it to any family members. My parents are long gone. I don't want to talk to my brother because he's become very "anti-Mormon" and my other siblings are very "true blue". I want to be a good example to my children and grandchildren. So in a way I feel like I'm being a hypocrite and it's a difficult thing to carry and to keep inside always. I have been quiet on this site because I'm so afraid of not being anonymous. I want to thank everyone here who has helped me without ever knowing it.
I'm sure I will have lots more to say now that I've started.
I remember I didn't talk to my husband about my loss of belief in God for the first 6 months or so - it was really lonely - even though I had this site.

Also, it's hard to talk to family members because once the way you see things changes, it's a lot harder to find words in common that actually communicate properly what you are trying to say. And you can't say the same things to the same people - and what you say to one person may end up (in the finest telephone game tradition) in the ears of another person - with distortions.

I think that our church culture focuses on having the "right answers" rather then the "right questions" - and that we define "right" as one-size-fits-all, when really a more durable definition of "right" is right-for-my-circumstances-right-now.

I guess the first questions that I would sit with is, "What does being a good example look like? What do I want my spouse, children, and grandchildren to see - really see?" Those questions helped me to settle down into being a person in a faith transition.

Other Principles/Topics/Points
  • Protective Coloring - I spent a good 2 years feeling like I was a hypocrite because I was trying to be a "good" Christian while more of an "Agnostic" in thought - I tried to look like what the other people at church were expecting while not even feeling like I was a Christian (a follower of Jesus Christ). I needed this because I didn't want to burn any bridges prematurely.
  • Terminology - It made it easier when I could make the connection that the other people's "know" and "believe" was the rough analogy of my "hope" - I had something I could bring to the table to connect with as it were - without expecting more from myself or blowing my cover. Finding common ground in "Hope" and "Charity" helped me a lot. It was also very hard for people to argue with me when I said, "I am working on Charity right now" and similar statements. "I feel pulled in this direction" is another good one (as long as the direction appears to be gospel related).
  • Autonomy & Authenticity - At the end of the day, church culture recognizes individual autonomy (at least in theory). This was both a battleground and a battle stopper - there were boundaries on my experience that were authentically mine that I owned and could not let the "testimony" of others roughshod over my choices - even though it would have been more comfortable for them (and me) at times. At the end of the day, you are the individual who has the "most skin in the game" as it were.
  • Anthropology - This concept of being able to put distance/depersonalize hurtful church culture elements was also useful to me.
  • Boundaries - This is probably the most important aspect to me. When you have answers about what you want others to see, you can start living it and proactively setting up conversations on what family members can expect from you. I built "scripts" or specific points on what I wanted a listener to know about my experience (and why I wasn't a "fallen", "sinful" person who to "be offended"). I built mental "scenarios" of different reactions that family members might have ahead of time and possible bullet points for what I could say about that. My relationship with my spouse changed the most - but in reality, my faith transition just greatly highlighted pre-existing problems and cultural baggage to be stabilized./list]
    • Boundaries Part 2/Moral Authority - A change in perspective is always an opportunity to shake things up a bit and figure out what is really important to you and how to sustainably achieve it. NOTE: Even though the faith transition is right up there as major life-changing events, it's not universally shareable - and not everyone has the right to know about it.
    I wound up being more transparent because I am a very direct person. I suck at lying, and I value authenticity over appearance every time. I also had less to lose because for a good 2 years of my faith transition, I was the "testimony-less heretic" with her butt and her 2 girls at church while my husband with the testimony was home and not connected to the branch socially. Your mileage may vary (Though I tried to imagine what I would tell someone who had a very active husband when listing my points) ;)

    NOTE: I was trying to answer the questions that weren't actually asked - and I probably got it wrong in a long-winded way:)
    Do you want us to help develop solutions, be an empathetic long-distance shoulder, or be a sounding board, or something I haven't thought of yet? (or all 4 - please identify which hat is being requested though for the best results :D )

AmyJ
Posts: 1066
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: New but not new.

Post by AmyJ » 11 Apr 2022, 07:58

Minyan Man wrote:
10 Apr 2022, 10:33
When did it become wrong to question? Here we are encouraged to question. We don't always have the full
answer but...we question anyway. Keep coming back. We would like to hear more of your voice.
My personal opinion is that it became "wrong" to question when our church culture couldn't sustain the "types of questions" and "possible answers" being discussed.

I freely admit (especially when talking about my faith transition) that I don't have the answers, in fact, I don't have the words for the most meaningful questions yet.

On a Facebook group dealing with building Individual Educational Plans (IEPs) for individuals in the K-12 public school program, a statement was made that I find is more universal then not in application.
"Accountability feels a lot like an Attack when you are you not ready to be held Accountable".

I feel that world culture is changing in the sense of holding more/different groups accountable, and that this is shifting down into nationwide culture, church culture (a lot of retrenching in a lot of areas), and to some family cultures too.

This statement informs my decisions when people don't act the way that I expect them too (or in some ways what I do expect from them and try to set up safety measures for).

It also reminds me that people and church culture is going to feel attacked as a reaction to changes in the status quo - and that the goal is to set up the boundaries on what I can be held accountable for, and what they can be held accountable for in their actions towards me.

A side benefit of a faith transition is that "accountability" and the corresponding "moral compass" shift back to the individual instead of the church culture expectations, or the expectations of others. When you change your patterns of behavior, you shake things up and accidently (or deliberately) or are perceived to hold others accountable. The fear that "you will lead others to sin" because of a faith transition is a real thing - and not something to take responsibility for (though people will hold you accountable for it given half a chance).

AmyJ
Posts: 1066
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: New but not new.

Post by AmyJ » 11 Apr 2022, 08:14

catlady wrote:
09 Apr 2022, 20:53
About this time I learned that there were several accounts of Joseph, Smith's first vision. I remember I was sitting outside of the Bishop's office at church waiting for an appointment. I looked up and saw the painting portraying Joseph's first vision and I had the strangest thing happen. It was like a huge shift of perspective in my brain. I no longer saw things the same way. It was weird and it was real.
Are you comfortable sharing with us what changed in your perspective please? Why are you defining it as "weird"?

This is a personal sore spot/uncomfortable itching spot (metaphorically) for me because thinking about Joseph Smith's different versions is not something that I can emotionally understand, and it is not a comfortable (though more comfortable) fit for me intellectually. I think that I can learn from your experience, if you are willing to share it.

catlady
Posts: 5
Joined: 10 Oct 2020, 19:33

Re: New but not new.

Post by catlady » 16 Apr 2022, 19:21

Thank you all for your welcoming comments. I've read them several times and what you say resonates with me. It does help to know I'm not alone. I would like to make some replies to individual comments but I haven't yet figured out how to do the quotation thing. I do really like the use of the phrase "faith transition" rather than "crisis of faith". It is softer somehow and feels hopeful.

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nibbler
Posts: 4754
Joined: 14 Nov 2013, 07:34
Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: New but not new.

Post by nibbler » 17 Apr 2022, 05:38

The easiest way to quote someone's post is to click the " button on their post:

quote.png
quote.png (4.26 KiB) Viewed 734 times

That will start a new post where you've quoted the entirety of the post. If you want to quote just a portion, you can edit down the quote that's automatically added to your post.

Another way is to click on new post like normal. Not sure about a phone, but on a PC when you do a new post underneath the post window is a list of the most recent posts in the thread/topic. If you want to quote just a portion of someone's post, find what you want to quote in the window below the new post area, highlight what you want to quote, and click the " button. This will automatically insert the highlighted text as a quote into your post wherever the cursor is in your post.

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quote2.png (14.87 KiB) Viewed 734 times
catlady wrote:
16 Apr 2022, 19:21
I would like to make some replies to individual comments but I haven't yet figured out how to do the quotation thing.
You can’t run from all your problems, but it will help you lose weight.

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