What are the benefits of being a member of the church?

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dande48
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Re: What are the benefits of being a member of the church?

Post by dande48 » 23 Nov 2018, 20:10

Heber13 wrote:
22 Nov 2018, 23:29
There is a balance. A middle way. There are benefits to being part of a group. If you strive to be part of it.

Pay the entry fee. Do things your way. Shake off what others say about you. Seek inner godliness. Serve others. Find the middle way.
Wouldn't this all depend on the group? Different members in different wards have different fees. Sometimes, the "middle way" is still full of mud and holes, and you're better off taking a new way altogether.

Not suggestion SD or anyone in particular should abandon ship... but I don't believe the LDS Church is a "one-size-fits-all" solution for happiness and fulfilment. It's going to be a lot more fulfilling for some than for others, and even simply holding unorthodox beliefs will, at times within the Church, cause a good amount of distress. A benifit for some, will be a major pain for others. We've each got to weigh out the benefits ourselves... especially when we've got a lot of different factors to consider.

Here's my benefit list:
-I like Mormons. As a whole, they're pretty great people
-I love my wife, and the Church means a lot to her
-Good stories
-Good socials
-Very keen on helping one another out

That's enough to keep me in for now. But if any number of factors were changed, I'd either be a lot more in, or a lot more out.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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Heber13
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Re: What are the benefits of being a member of the church?

Post by Heber13 » 24 Nov 2018, 01:16

Yes, dande. I think we are saying the same thing. The church is not one size fits all, and middle way is not one prescribed measure the same for everyone.

Middle way is finding YOUR way. You either stay or you go. And go through the mud and holes that will be there with either option, just perhaps different ones.

But happiness isn't the absence of mud and holes, or the perfect church group to pay entrance fees and always be appreciated and accepted.

Happiness is following your heart to good things in life, wherever you can find those.

Not all of church will talk bad about you behind your back. Some may. But not all. And I haven't found that it is any different with other groups outside the church either. It's just humans and social tendencies. We navigate through it. There are benefits to be found.

But you are right...for some with varying degrees of it...the costs may outweigh the benefits. That isn't to say the benefits aren't there...just different for everyone.
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."

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Re: What are the benefits of being a member of the church?

Post by Roy » 25 Nov 2018, 11:13

I also agree with Heber and Dande.

Part of the benefits of my personal membership is the heritage of being part of a multi-generational Mormon family. This is an added benefit for me because all the cousins have shared experiences and milestones and this helps to ground my children with a sense of belonging. This benefit would not be available for a first in the family convert for example.

I have also said that if any of my children came out as gay I would stop attending as a show of solidarity with them. This would swing the cost benefit analysis for me.
Heber13 wrote:
22 Nov 2018, 23:29
Happiness doesn't come from others in church talking great about you, or the absence of them talking negatively behind closed doors.
I do not care much what might be said about my struggling faith. For the most part I do not look for approval or validation at church. The YW leaders seem generally interested in the wellbeing of my 12 year old daughter - which I appreciate. My 11 year old son has a Sunday School teacher that has known DS for many years and has always been kind to him (despite DS's quirks and sometimes cold ASD exterior). The RS president always remembers the anniversary of the date we lost our third child and brings something over. The EQ generally leaves me alone. I am a big boy with broad shoulders. If enduring some people talking in a patronizing fashion about me behind closed doors is part of the exchange then I am willing to make the trade.

However, It is very important to me that my wife admire and respect the effort I put in as husband and father. Because I feel that admiration and respect from DW, I am mostly able to ignore any tut-tutting that may be coming from church members. (As an example I work in management and I work most Sundays. One Sunday another man made the point that I could fix my work schedule to have Sunday off if I really wanted to. I countered that business is busier on Sundays and I work according to business needs and he responded that this is still a choice. I am mostly able to ignore this man's disapproval as irrelevant to my journey.)

Related to this point, if I felt constant diapointment from DW over my unorthodoxy - this would be a heavy burden for me.

Each of us have our own cost benefit analysis and I fully respect any that may need to step away.
"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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Rumin8
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Re: What are the benefits of being a member of the church?

Post by Rumin8 » 26 Nov 2018, 12:11

This is cost/benefits analysis I do quite often.

Like many, I’m in the church for social or heritage reasons. I have found as I have evolved that people are and have been much more kind than I expected. I live in an excellent ward. I have witnessed this first hand these past few months as my family is experiencing a very public challenge with one of our children. Others may quietly condemn or gossip, but I don’t care about them. People are going to people.

Yesterday I was having a conversation with a member about some trials in their family. One of the points I brought up is that it’s been my experience that I gain back in benefits at least what I put into volunteer organizations. But, you have to have reasons to be in that organization in the first place. So it’s a bit of a chicken and the egg conundrum for me.

What I’m dealing with acutely now is how to maintain the social benefits of the church community while allowing myself authenticity while I transition to my new framework (whatever that means). My wife and I are actively working on this together, for which I am very grateful (her as a TBM and me as something else).

I can say that I don’t often gain spiritual insight or sustenance at church. I do achieve this from time to time. Sadly, I feel more of what I seek when I’m in nature or spending time with dear family or friends. So, this is what I seek now more than church attendance/participation, even though I attend some part of church nearly every week. That said, the church has and always will have a role in my life. I just don’t see a scenario where it will be as large of a factor as it once was.
"Moderation in all things, especially moderation." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Be excellent to each other." - Abraham Lincoln to Bill & Ted

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felixfabulous
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Re: What are the benefits of being a member of the church?

Post by felixfabulous » 26 Nov 2018, 14:51

To you, what are the second half of life questions?
"If no one really knows what happens after we die, what are parts of our religious practice that can benefit my life here and now?"

"Is this Conference talk meant to improve my spiritual life or to inspire loyalty to the institution?" [some conference talks contain very valuable spiritual truths, a lot are just about doing what you're told]

"How are the wealthy and powerful in the western world 'grinding the faces of the poor' and what can I do to help change this system?"

"How can I truly mentor my children and youth in my ward that will teach them strong values and help them become moral people that could survive a transition out of Mormonism at a later stage of life with their values in tact?"

Like I said, these are usually questions that would make a lot of people uncomfortable and want to get back to the routine easy answers and are usually not very popular. In a first half of life frame of reference, being a good person and being loyal to the institution are one in the same, for me, second half of life perspective is still finding value in the institution, but seeing the difference between personal spiritual progress and helping the institution.

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SilentDawning
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Re: What are the benefits of being a member of the church?

Post by SilentDawning » 26 Nov 2018, 15:46

Heber13 wrote:
22 Nov 2018, 23:29
Happiness doesn't come from others in church talking great about you or the absence of them talking negatively behind closed doors.
I have to speak up on this one -- I do agree that happiness doesn't come from these things, but TRUST most certainly does. And trust is a precursor to community, and one upon which good relationships are predicated.
"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
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Re: What are the benefits of being a member of the church?

Post by DoubtingTom » 27 Nov 2018, 08:48

I have currently stepped away from activity and doing so has helped me see more clearly some of the benefits I am missing out on. Most obvious to me is the community of fellowship. For me, a religion should be about love and kindness and looking for meaningful opportunities to serve others. For many, the church fills this role beautifully, particularly those who fit the mormon mold. For those who don’t fit, it is certainly a greater struggle to get these benefits but not impossible.

I have been satisfied with stepping away but I do miss the community and a convenient structure that gives opportunities to serve others. I am still working to fill this gap in other ways without the church. The church is such a convenient way, if you can look past all the flaws. Especially when it is already an integrated part of your family, friends, and aquaintences. It’s definitely not the only source, or maybe even the best, but it may be the easiest way for someone to achieve when they are already integrated into mormon culture.

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SilentDawning
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Re: What are the benefits of being a member of the church?

Post by SilentDawning » 27 Nov 2018, 11:54

To you, what are the second-half-of-life questions?
1. How can we make this interesting and less drudgerous?
2. How can we make the experience truly uplifting?
3. How can we co-mission the LDS experience with the needs and interests of members?
4. How can we satisfy questions that, in the first half of life, where easily answered with shallow answers, which now, cannot?
5. How can we create a true community, and not one that is so conditional on full-activity and complete faith?
6. How can we be inclusive of people who don't have families anymore?
"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

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Heber13
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Re: What are the benefits of being a member of the church?

Post by Heber13 » 01 Dec 2018, 20:37

SilentDawning wrote:
27 Nov 2018, 11:54
To you, what are the second-half-of-life questions?
1. How can we make this interesting and less drudgerous?
2. How can we make the experience truly uplifting?
3. How can we co-mission the LDS experience with the needs and interests of members?
4. How can we satisfy questions that, in the first half of life, where easily answered with shallow answers, which now, cannot?
5. How can we create a true community, and not one that is so conditional on full-activity and complete faith?
6. How can we be inclusive of people who don't have families anymore?
I think you really nailed it with these questions.

I am in a similar boat as you are, wondering these things.

I am not sure the church can answer them for me.

I'm searching for my own answers.
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."

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