Stayin' LDS...

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
startpoor
Posts: 193
Joined: 22 Nov 2013, 13:43

Stayin' LDS...

Post by startpoor » 26 Nov 2013, 09:58

Hi, just want to introduce myself and what I'm going through right now. In the last year I have transitioned to a very liberal, non-literal view of the gospel, from, well, whatever it was I was before, probably and active, dutiful, but not necessarily TBMer. Though I have decided to become possibly more involved in the church, retaining a temple recommend, and choosing the lds church as the vehicle through which I gain knowledge and understanding about the world, I have received considerable push back from my family. Things were going fine, and my wife was being very supportive until I decided to visit a Community of Christ Sunday school so I could talk openly about the church's history from an academic perspective. My parents soon found out about this, and that has been the straw that broke the camel's back. My marriage is now under a lot of strain while I attempt to reassure her that things will be okay. She feels betrayed and angry, and I understand her pain. I have "broken the deal." She wants to be able to talk about faithful aspects of the church, and gets frustrated with me when I can't.

Other concerns:
I am trying to figure out how to raise my kids (currently six and two years old) in the church, but it seems like my wife and my approaches to doing that come into direct, irreconcilable conflict.

I was called as an elder's quorum instructor in my new ward. I was upfront about my faith transition with the presidency. I am struggling with trying to teach interesting lessons that are uncorrelated, while understanding my motives for doing so. I want to help inoculate people, but I also want to make sure I am teaching out of a sense of love, and getting to know the needs of the members.

I eagerly await getting to know the members of this community and sharing and learning with you.
Happiness (n.) The state of being in compliance with Mormon norms, regardless of one’s actual resulting emotional state

George, Sr.: Faith is a fact. No, faith is a facet. I almost said faith is a fact.

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DarkJedi
Posts: 7268
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Stayin' LDS...

Post by DarkJedi » 26 Nov 2013, 12:59

Welcome. I look forward to that which you have to share with us. As others will undoubtedly point out, we here share many commonalities while we're also each unique in our perspectives and where we're at in our faith transitions, etc. I do relate to your relationship with your wife and share that similarity. In the past when I tried to share my concerns, questions, and doubts with my wife she would become defensive and argumentative. So much so, in fact, that I stopped talking about it. One of the first things I learned here is to have conversations with her about what I believe rather than what I don't believe. I still can't discuss my big doubts with her, but some of the smaller ones become couched in those discussions about the positives. Kids can be tough and I'm not sure a middle ground can always be reached - but I hope you can.

I do want to express a concern I have with a couple things you seem to indicate, and please understand I am not trying to be critical of you or convert you to my way of thinking. I do not wish to offend you, please do not take this as an offense. I'm perceiving that you believe that you must convince others of your views or somehow protect them from what you see as incorrect teachings. You are obviously welcome to do that if you want, you have your agency. I'm not sure that's a good approach, however. I take a "do no harm" stance. I do have my own beliefs and doubts, but I don't see it as my place to "convert" anyone else to my point of view or to in any way harm their faith and beliefs (AoF 11).
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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SamBee
Posts: 5561
Joined: 14 Mar 2010, 04:55

Re: Stayin' LDS...

Post by SamBee » 26 Nov 2013, 13:20

Welcome, enjoy yourself, and come and learn from like minded people... you're not alone.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16842
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Stayin' LDS...

Post by Curt Sunshine » 26 Nov 2013, 14:01

Welcome.

You will find a lot of people here who understand what you are facing - and some who can attest to the fact that peace and growth can come from your present struggles. It's hard (sometimes extremely hard), but it also can be a refiner's fire of the purest kind.
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

startpoor
Posts: 193
Joined: 22 Nov 2013, 13:43

Re: Stayin' LDS...

Post by startpoor » 26 Nov 2013, 15:31

@Darkjedi--Thanks for your thoughts, and no offense taken whatsoever! The challenge I'm facing in my new calling has made me transition from a position of secretly having different beliefs to a position of putting those to the test by seeing members in a new way, getting to know them better, trying not to be an outsider. (for the last several years, I have hopped from ward to ward and been put in primary, so I was hidden pretty well.) I'm now having to articulate myself, while being careful to be fair, accurate, and keep my integrity. When you give your warning to not try to indoctrinate people with my way of thinking, do you also mean to withhold relevant factual information that may have been correlated out of the lesson? I'm not trying to debate, just want to talk about it (I've not had this conversation with anyone yet.)
Today I read this article and it empowered me somewhat: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kiwimormon ... ation-two/

Thoughts?
Happiness (n.) The state of being in compliance with Mormon norms, regardless of one’s actual resulting emotional state

George, Sr.: Faith is a fact. No, faith is a facet. I almost said faith is a fact.

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16842
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Stayin' LDS...

Post by Curt Sunshine » 26 Nov 2013, 17:23

When you give your warning to not try to indoctrinate people with my way of thinking, do you also mean to withhold relevant factual information that may have been correlated out of the lesson?


DJ can speak for himself, but I have absolutely no problem with including little known factual information in lessons - as long as it's not done for shock value and doesn't become a focal point of discussion. As a former History teacher, it's important to me to be as accurate as possible, and I do it all the time in lessons I give - but there have been times when I've not shared something simply because I knew the people around me well enough to know that it would not go over well no matter how carefully I phrased and framed it.

Bottom line: I try not to be a contentious prick.

Short version: I don't try to hide anything, but I reserve the right to leave out things others might feel should be shared. As I've said multiple times in multiple threads, if they call me, they get me. If they don't like it, release is always an option.
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

Ann
Posts: 2576
Joined: 09 Sep 2012, 02:17

Re: Stayin' LDS...

Post by Ann » 27 Nov 2013, 01:12

richdunn wrote: Things were going fine, and my wife was being very supportive until I decided to visit a Community of Christ Sunday school so I could talk openly about the church's history from an academic perspective. My parents soon found out about this, and that has been the straw that broke the camel's back. My marriage is now under a lot of strain while I attempt to reassure her that things will be okay. She feels betrayed and angry, and I understand her pain. I have "broken the deal." She wants to be able to talk about faithful aspects of the church, and gets frustrated with me when I can't.
Hi, richdunn - Glad you're here. I'm looking forward to hearing about how things go in your calling. If you're willing/able to share, I am wondering what kind of "deal" you have with your wife. I hope that talking here takes some of the strain off your marriage.
"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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DarkJedi
Posts: 7268
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Stayin' LDS...

Post by DarkJedi » 27 Nov 2013, 06:25

richdunn wrote:@Darkjedi--Thanks for your thoughts, and no offense taken whatsoever! The challenge I'm facing in my new calling has made me transition from a position of secretly having different beliefs to a position of putting those to the test by seeing members in a new way, getting to know them better, trying not to be an outsider. (for the last several years, I have hopped from ward to ward and been put in primary, so I was hidden pretty well.) I'm now having to articulate myself, while being careful to be fair, accurate, and keep my integrity. When you give your warning to not try to indoctrinate people with my way of thinking, do you also mean to withhold relevant factual information that may have been correlated out of the lesson? I'm not trying to debate, just want to talk about it (I've not had this conversation with anyone yet.)
Today I read this article and it empowered me somewhat: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kiwimormon ... ation-two/

Thoughts?
I hope I didn't misinterpret what your were trying to say in the first place, my apologies if I did. Indeed I have also come to the point of seeing members in a different way and I've learned to listen to what others are actually saying in a church setting - and what they're not saying. I'm all for honesty, especially to oneself. I also have little problem pointing out facts as opposed to the myriad Mormon myths, but there are appropriate times and ways to do so; sometimes the setting just doesn't allow it or it would be contentious to do so. I do it all the time with my family, but at church or with home teachers or whatever sometimes I don't, depending on the situation. It's because I agree with what Ray says (contention, not hiding things yet leaving things out others might feel should be shared) and partly just because those individuals just aren't ready to hear it or don't want to hear it. This is different from my role as a professional teacher where I don't hesitate to point out inaccuracies with the Thanksgiving story (for example) because sometimes dispelling Mormon myths really can affect the faith and testimonies of others. I'm not saying I teach from the manual word for word, that's not my lesson style (mine are much more discussion oriented with me moderating and prompting as necessary), but I don't necessarily see it as my role to point out each and every inaccuracy or difference in belief; fact is, I could be wrong, too.

And by all means, I'm more than willing to discuss this further as I'm sure others are. One of the things I love about this site is that we can have a civil open discussion about things we probably can't discuss anywhere else or with anyone else.
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

startpoor
Posts: 193
Joined: 22 Nov 2013, 13:43

Re: Stayin' LDS...

Post by startpoor » 27 Nov 2013, 10:43

Ann wrote:
richdunn wrote: Things were going fine, and my wife was being very supportive until I decided to visit a Community of Christ Sunday school so I could talk openly about the church's history from an academic perspective. My parents soon found out about this, and that has been the straw that broke the camel's back. My marriage is now under a lot of strain while I attempt to reassure her that things will be okay. She feels betrayed and angry, and I understand her pain. I have "broken the deal." She wants to be able to talk about faithful aspects of the church, and gets frustrated with me when I can't.
Hi, richdunn - Glad you're here. I'm looking forward to hearing about how things go in your calling. If you're willing/able to share, I am wondering what kind of "deal" you have with your wife. I hope that talking here takes some of the strain off your marriage.
Ann,

The deal I had, that went unspoken, was that I was a priesthood holder first and foremost, who would lead the family in righteousness according to the dictates of the church and the inspiration we received together. My usual counter to this is that the church didn't hold up its end of the deal, or that I am still a temple holder and am keeping my covenants. Except, as is often pointed out, the instruction to not speak evil of the Lord's anointed. Well, she has me there ;)

It's funny how I always thought that she was the liberal one in the marriage until I went through this transition. She was stung by prop 8, and had to convince a gay friend at work that she did not believe their respective relationships were either superior or inferior to each other's. Now I'm receiving push back, and she is digging in her heals, both of us retreating further into our own camps. We did have a good moment last night. I drove her to the temple, and she had a wonderful experience there. A member from our new ward who doesn't know anything about her, held her hand during the ceremony and gave her reassurance. I think things have the potential to be very good for us, but I am still shocked when she tells me she has to leave.
Happiness (n.) The state of being in compliance with Mormon norms, regardless of one’s actual resulting emotional state

George, Sr.: Faith is a fact. No, faith is a facet. I almost said faith is a fact.

startpoor
Posts: 193
Joined: 22 Nov 2013, 13:43

Re: Stayin' LDS...

Post by startpoor » 27 Nov 2013, 11:11

DarkJedi wrote:
richdunn wrote:@Darkjedi--Thanks for your thoughts, and no offense taken whatsoever! The challenge I'm facing in my new calling has made me transition from a position of secretly having different beliefs to a position of putting those to the test by seeing members in a new way, getting to know them better, trying not to be an outsider. (for the last several years, I have hopped from ward to ward and been put in primary, so I was hidden pretty well.) I'm now having to articulate myself, while being careful to be fair, accurate, and keep my integrity. When you give your warning to not try to indoctrinate people with my way of thinking, do you also mean to withhold relevant factual information that may have been correlated out of the lesson? I'm not trying to debate, just want to talk about it (I've not had this conversation with anyone yet.)
Today I read this article and it empowered me somewhat: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kiwimormon ... ation-two/

Thoughts?
I hope I didn't misinterpret what your were trying to say in the first place, my apologies if I did. Indeed I have also come to the point of seeing members in a different way and I've learned to listen to what others are actually saying in a church setting - and what they're not saying. I'm all for honesty, especially to oneself. I also have little problem pointing out facts as opposed to the myriad Mormon myths, but there are appropriate times and ways to do so; sometimes the setting just doesn't allow it or it would be contentious to do so. I do it all the time with my family, but at church or with home teachers or whatever sometimes I don't, depending on the situation. It's because I agree with what Ray says (contention, not hiding things yet leaving things out others might feel should be shared) and partly just because those individuals just aren't ready to hear it or don't want to hear it. This is different from my role as a professional teacher where I don't hesitate to point out inaccuracies with the Thanksgiving story (for example) because sometimes dispelling Mormon myths really can affect the faith and testimonies of others. I'm not saying I teach from the manual word for word, that's not my lesson style (mine are much more discussion oriented with me moderating and prompting as necessary), but I don't necessarily see it as my role to point out each and every inaccuracy or difference in belief; fact is, I could be wrong, too.

And by all means, I'm more than willing to discuss this further as I'm sure others are. One of the things I love about this site is that we can have a civil open discussion about things we probably can't discuss anywhere else or with anyone else.
DJ and Ray, thanks for the replies. I agree that truth telling is a tricky business. I had a discussion with my institute instructor about this subject. I let him know I was going through a faith transition and that I had been studying history from trustworthy sources which had pretty much rocked my world. I told him I was troubled that historical fact was being portrayed more accurately on South Park than in CES. He responded very kindly, saying that it is being discussed, and that many in CES want to be more open. He also told me he would bring this up with the class. Well, when he did, I learned what I was really up against. He told everyone that this was a safe place to talk about anything that was troubling them, then talked about how to keep your testimony by admitting you don't know the answers to things, but holding on to what you do know. He then asked if anyone had any questions. One person asked about church policy on something trivial, and the rest were silent. He really didn't create an open space at all. When I asked him (in front of his boss) if CES was moving in a more open direction, he said no, that some things like Mountain Meadows, for example, would make no sense to someone in Japan, but would be taught in the area near where it happened.

I could start a whole post on my institute class, but what it really is for me, is a source of determination that I need to be responsible for change in a positive way, at least as how I see it. I think the church is on shaky grounds, and I want to help people out. Not give them the red pill, but help arm them. At least I want to give them the truth while respecting their agency to choose for themselves what they want to know. I'm sure some of you have been teaching in a capacity much longer than I. To those, I ask, do you feel positive about how things have gone? Has anybody thanked you, argued with you, or are most people indifferent?
Happiness (n.) The state of being in compliance with Mormon norms, regardless of one’s actual resulting emotional state

George, Sr.: Faith is a fact. No, faith is a facet. I almost said faith is a fact.

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