Hi All

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
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Hi All

Post by SMiLe » 05 Mar 2010, 13:00

Honestly, it feels a little strange to be writing this. I suppose it's an issue dealing with the fact that I don't normally share how I truly feel with others. I have gotten really good at withholding my feelings on church topics and simply doing my best to blend in. However, I have been lurking long enough on the board to feel like it might be time to join the conversations.

Having read quite a few of the threads of the past half year or so, I can say that I relate to much of what has been posted before in the way of introductions. One difference that I note however, is that many people here seem to be life long members of the church, whereas I am a convert. This fact doesn't change the turmoil and difficulties related to the topics that are discussed here, but it does add in a couple of interesting twists to the situation. Twists such as, "Would I have joined the church if I knew then what I know now?" Which then leads to thoughts like, "What do I actually know now?" (Like many of you, I have never been really comfortable with the word "know". I tend to believe that the phrase "through a glass darkly" applies more than many would like to admit.)

This is truly beginning to ramble, I apologize. Some day, it may get easier to admit just how lost and confused I feel...

I am sure that I will continue to hide my true thoughts around people in person about my questions regarding faith, but it will be nice to add to the conversation here even if I only ever do so anonymously.

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just me
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Re: Hi All

Post by just me » 05 Mar 2010, 16:52

Welcome out of lurkdom! I look forward to reading more from you. :)
Most of us, sooner or later, find that at critical points in our lives we must strike out on our own to make a path where none exists.~Elaine Pagels

Ultimately, you are the path-the path begins and ends with you.~Stephan Bodian

He who think he knows, doesn’t know: He who knows he doesn’t know, knows.~Sanskrit proverb

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Re: Hi All

Post by Old-Timer » 05 Mar 2010, 19:30

I tend to believe that the phrase "through a glass darkly" applies more than many would like to admit.

Welcome, from someone whose signature line agrees with you completely.

I am looking forward to getting to know you better.
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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Re: Hi All

Post by LaLaLove » 05 Mar 2010, 21:20

Hi. I'm a convert. I joined the Church at 18..or was it 19 (?), and I am 24 now. If I didn't become a member I'm pretty sure DH would not have asked for my hand in marriage. :o BUT I ask myself the same questions some times and the truth is ... I guess there is no need to fuss over it. Things happen, we learn, we grow, can't really change those old decisions of the past .... in this situation especially, imo with all of the potential positive growth that can come out of it.
Knowing what I know now I probably would have been baptized just to be with my then boyfriend (DH). Yes that does seem pretty selfish of me .. but then again I would be 18/19 and pretty selfish and somewhat foolish about everything and anything anyway. Point is I love life now and live in the present. Living in the now is amazing .. way better than that trying to rearrange the past, mind gymnastics. You are right though there are definately some twists .. and times when I want to kick myself for thinking some of the things I did. Anyway welcome!

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Tom Haws
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Re: Hi All

Post by Tom Haws » 05 Mar 2010, 22:53

SMiLe wrote:it will be nice to add to the conversation here even if I only ever do so anonymously.
It will be nice for us, too, I expect. Welcome!

Tom (aka Justin Martyr/Justin Morning/Jacob Marley/Kupord Maizzed)
Higley and Guadalupe
Gilbert, Arizona
Sure, any religion would do. But I'm LDS.
"There are no academic issues. Everything is emotional to somebody." Ray Degraw at www.StayLDS.com

Don Ashton
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Re: Hi All

Post by Don Ashton » 06 Mar 2010, 12:12

I am sure that I will continue to hide my true thoughts around people in person about my questions regarding faith, but it will be nice to add to the conversation here even if I only ever do so anonymously.
Please feel free to express your thoughts as honestly as you like. This forum is an excellent place where you don't have to justify yourself, or be fearful that you might be wrong. (There are no right or wrong answers.) But whether we are in the Church looking out or outside looking in, we are all trying to find the best alternatives (for us individually) for ways of more positively relating to the LDS community

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Brian Johnston
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Re: Hi All

Post by Brian Johnston » 06 Mar 2010, 14:50

Welcome SMiLe!
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

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Re: Hi All

Post by bridget_night » 07 Mar 2010, 11:55

SMiLe wrote:Which then leads to thoughts like, "What do I actually know now?" (Like many of you, I have never been really comfortable with the word "know". I tend to believe that the phrase "through a glass darkly" applies more than many would like to admit.)
Welcome and thanks for sharing your innermost thoughts here. This is one of the few places where we can share our doubts and fears which is such a blessing. It was fast and testimony meeting today and again I listened to all the testimonies that ended with, " And, I know the church is true." One young woman said that she could never have made it through her trials and being away from her family without that knowledge. There was a time, before my mission, that I really did believe with all my heart that this church had all the truth and could rely on everything the church leaders said. It's not so difficult to do that when all is going well in your life. But, when things get hard (and my European mission was very hard), you begin asking questions and wonder why certain teachings or things taught in the church aren't working for you. There is alot of guilt laid on you in the mission field sometimes by the leaders if you are not baptizing or teaching discussion. You are told you aren't excercizing enough faith, or humble enough, or repentant, etc. or you would be having success. When the fact was that European people are just not that into religion. During this difficult time you begin asking yourself alot of questions. Certain teachings or things just aren't working for you (like Dr. Phil loves to ask). My dad was a convert and he was so refreshingly open and honest. I remember him telling me that when he joined the lds church he did believe it was true. Nevertheless, he said that if he finds out it was false and lies, he will just leave the church. So, he was going on his best knowledge. It is kind of like getting married or buying a house (which we are in the middle of doing right now). You might feel and think someone or something is right for you, but you really do not know for sure until you have had interactions or experience with that individual or thing. It is so easy to get caught up with the 'good' feelings or chemistry of something in the beginning. It's like with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Now he says he did not really get to know her well enough. Once you move in with someone or into the house you begin to see the problems involved. The question later becomes, was what I believed mis-represented. Like my husband said, "I could have married a good woman, but get disappointed because she represented herself as being a great cook, and wanting lots of kids, when niether turned out to be true. So, then you have to decide whether you can be content with the situation. Most of us don't know about the temple ceremonies when we join the church for example. We can be told about all the blessings you can get from going to the temple and how spiritual it will be but if it does not happen for you, how do you handle it. My husband was told he would have a spiritual wittness of the Book of Mormon and the priesthood if he followed the 'formula'. It did not work for him, and for him the gospel was just a nice story that he wished had been true. There is enough good in the church for me to stay and still benefit, but I am no longer a blind believer and it makes it harder to fit in with the other members sometimes.

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Re: Hi All

Post by Gail » 08 Mar 2010, 09:21

Welcome, thanks for the into.

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Re: Hi All

Post by ldsmaverick7 » 09 Mar 2010, 19:29

Hello SMiLe, I myself was raised in the church, but I was converted to the church about 3 or 4 different times in my life. Just in the last year have I really stripped off all that I have "known", and tried to piece together whatever truth I could salvage from my testimony that was built over a shelf instead of a foundation. Luckily, I dismantled it before the shelf crumbled and fell apart, otherwise I would have fallen greatly. I based so much off of the idea that the scriptures and prophets are true. This year I realized that all scriptures were written by prophets, and prophets are all merely men. That being said, I am not willing to throw away true teachings that resonate within my soul. So now I have to sift through it all and give a proper trial to my beliefs and ask myself, "would I join the church if I had to do it all over again?" Sound familiar to your situation. We really aren't that different. Your life is comprised of things you were taught while you were growing up, and then one day you learned about the church, got excited about it, and joined, then when you got a little more in depth in your investigation after baptism, you've happened upon parts of church history or doctrine or culture or whatever that don't set right with you. I can understand that. Me? I was raised 5th generation LDS by a professional Seminary teacher who went on to teach at BYU and serve as a mission president. At one point, my great grandfather was the youngest bishop in the church. So the church is heavily engrained in my blood. So I am led to consider, "Is everyone that raised me for the past 150 years completely wrong?" Do these people that I love so dearly realize how many glaring problems there are in the church? How did they handle all these changes throughout the decades? Some of the questions that I am pondering I have taken up with my father. But there-in lies the problem. He's been so indoctrinated that the church is really all he knows and talks about. So why should I trust him over, say, a Catholic Cardinal who has been steeped so heavily and rationally in Catholicism that he has an answer for every question inside and out? I could sit and debate scriptures with both of them for hours, and become equally satisfied with the logic that they have built to defend their faiths. So I don't just accept anything from people anymore. Instead, I have different methods I use now.
My current methods have involved building the foundation of my faith. First off: God. What is God? What do I believe about God? Do I believe there is a God? I hang on to scriptures that come blaring back into my mind like "Seek learning by study, and also by faith." To me that involves both rationally using my mind to learn truth, but not neglecting to use faith as well to learn things. God does teach us by faith as well as by study. The best I've been able to determine with God is that it is important to believe in something greater than yourself. Whether that is a Supreme Being with a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's or if it is the life force of energy that flows throughout the universe and dwells within us and is in all things and through all things, it is important, I feel, to have faith in something greater than ourselves. The second core belief that I have is regarding our personal conduct. I believe that it is better to do good than to do bad. To do good is to help instead of hurt, to build instead of destroy. From there, I have most of my questions about life already answered. I try to live each day of my life so that when I die, it won't matter whether or not there is a God or an afterlife. If I lived a good life, people will have cause to mourn my death and reminisce with fondness on my memory, and if there be a God and an afterlife, I have hope in a great reward for living a life filled with goodness, and if there be no God, then the world will at least be a better place for my having been there. If on the other hand, I live selfishly, and hurt others to serve myself, and spend all my days stepping on others to get ahead and be at the front of the line, there will be people peeing on my grave, rejoicing in my demise and celebrating my riddance. And if there be a God, then I will not have any confidence as I grovel at His feet begging for mercy that I shall have no hope of receiving, and if there be no God to greet and judge me, then I shall find the world all the worse for my having been here.
I wish you luck, SMiLe, as you and I and everyone else makes our way through this life doing the best we can and searching for answers to the tough questions that are inappropriate to ask in Sunday School.

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