Discouraged and Sick of it All

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jamison
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Discouraged and Sick of it All

Post by jamison » 31 Jan 2021, 20:19

I have had some great experiences spiritually until the last few months of last year. I participated in the worldwide fast on Good Friday and felt a spiritual awakening. I had some great revelatory experiences and miracles happen since December 2019 and then bam, I feel like a hit a brick wall. I have gone to therapy, I don't see the Church has any meaning or part of my life anymore. I believe in the gospel, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Bible, but honestly the Book of Mormon has had no real power in my life during the pandemic. I was always told that the Book of Mormon will help you overcome the evil in your life, and help you overcome any addiction, and problem like it is a panacea. Honestly it has done none of these for me. I am lukewarm when it comes to the Come Follow Me curriculum. I don't see why people are so ecstatic about it like it is the best thing since slice bread. I have some financial problems and the Bishop questions me about why I need financial assistance when my hours got cut down to 20 hours per week due to the pandemic. Honestly, you are questioning why I need financial help. Then my Elders Quorum President says, I do not think the Bishop is going to accept any of your utility bills any more. I'm glad my hours got increased again, but honestly I pay tithes and offerings my whole life without fail, and I am getting scrutinized for a few utility bills? The Church is for the Youth, and guess what I do not know if I want to attend anymore. I have been a member my whole life and now, I do not like going at all and I do not see the Church as relevant anymore. I am getting more out of Hinduism and Buddhism that is practical in helping me cope during the pandemic.
"Ignorance, fear, and conflict are the basic elements of everyday consciousness" Marvin Harris -- Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches.

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nibbler
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Re: Discouraged and Sick of it All

Post by nibbler » 01 Feb 2021, 07:04

I feel you.
jamison wrote:
31 Jan 2021, 20:19
I was always told that the Book of Mormon will help you overcome the evil in your life, and help you overcome any addiction, and problem like it is a panacea. Honestly it has done none of these for me. I am lukewarm when it comes to the Come Follow Me curriculum. I don't see why people are so ecstatic about it like it is the best thing since slice bread.
There are several angles to unpack in those statements.

I think the BoM and Come Follow Me curriculum really do work for a lot of people but the mistake we make at church is assuming that those things work equally well for everyone. It's another variant of the one size fits all approach presented at church.

I think people also say those things not necessarily because they have experienced something in the past that has led them to those conclusions but because they're trying to will those conclusions into being.

A strong belief in the one True church also factors into those statements. If the one True church is giving people the Come Follow Me curriculum then it must be the exact thing that god wants to give people, so it becomes the greatest thing since sliced bread.

- - -

The BoM just doesn't do it for me. I find it to be the least interesting of the LDS canonical works. For that reason I took a year long break from last year's Come Follow Me program. This year's Come Follow Me program is the D&C and unfortunately I haven't found much inspiration in the lessons thus far; in fact I think many of the questions meant to generate discussion are leading and manipulative. I've had a tough go with it.

- - -

I'm sorry about your financial issues and your local leader's responses. Yours are experiences too many people have had.

- - -
jamison wrote:
31 Jan 2021, 20:19
The Church is for the Youth, and guess what I do not know if I want to attend anymore. I have been a member my whole life and now, I do not like going at all and I do not see the Church as relevant anymore. I am getting more out of Hinduism and Buddhism that is practical in helping me cope during the pandemic.
I've felt that way too. I'm not sure what it's like to be a youth in the church in the year 2021 but I remember the church being more relevant in my youth. Looking back to my youth, I can't say that the Sunday meetings were better then. I hardly remember anything from the 3 hour blocks of my youth, I mostly remember the extracurricular activities that happened within the social circles that the church facilitated. There was always something going on.

As a grizzled adult I have less time (and desire) for a social life and the church doesn't facilitate anything at all for my age group.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

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DarkJedi
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Re: Discouraged and Sick of it All

Post by DarkJedi » 01 Feb 2021, 10:19

I hear you and have had some similar experiences. I am also struggling with finding relevance in the church, or at least any more relevance than I'd find in any other church.
jamison wrote:
31 Jan 2021, 20:19
I believe in the gospel, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Bible, but honestly the Book of Mormon has had no real power in my life during the pandemic. I was always told that the Book of Mormon will help you overcome the evil in your life, and help you overcome any addiction, and problem like it is a panacea. Honestly it has done none of these for me.
I have felt this way for a long time (decades). The BoM is simply not magic and like NIbbler I find it mostly uninteresting (and I find the D&C at least equally uninteresting). I hear very similar things about the temple - again, it does none of that for me. :? I think as Nibbler says some people have possibly had such experiences while others are just trying to will it to be so (the power of positive thinking?). Others I think are nothing more than parrots.
jamison wrote:
31 Jan 2021, 20:19
I am lukewarm when it comes to the Come Follow Me curriculum. I don't see why people are so ecstatic about it like it is the best thing since slice bread.
I only like it because it's better than what there was before (a curriculum that hadn't been updated in 30 years). That said, I don't actually use it. I put in minimal effort from time to time to keep up with the reading but I don't generally read the stuff in the book or teacher's manual. Thanks to COVID I have not been to SS (or PH) in almost a year 8-) . (We have Zoom meetings I don't attend.) The second hour is at least half of what is unfulfilling at church (the first hour is around the other half).
jamison wrote:
31 Jan 2021, 20:19
I have some financial problems and the Bishop questions me about why I need financial assistance when my hours got cut down to 20 hours per week due to the pandemic. Honestly, you are questioning why I need financial help. Then my Elders Quorum President says, I do not think the Bishop is going to accept any of your utility bills any more. I'm glad my hours got increased again, but honestly I pay tithes and offerings my whole life without fail, and I am getting scrutinized for a few utility bills?
I feel this and it hurts me that others also have this experience. I was getting monthly food orders when I was "cut off." That's it, just food, me, my wife, four small kids. It's why I will never pay another penny in fast offerings, why I will not clean the building, and why I don't feel guilty saying no to whatever calling or assignment I don't want to do. And it's why I'm much more stingy with tithing as well (I pay on net, or a little less). I'm sorry for you and your family.
jamison wrote:
31 Jan 2021, 20:19
The Church is for the Youth, and guess what I do not know if I want to attend anymore. I have been a member my whole life and now, I do not like going at all and I do not see the Church as relevant anymore. I am getting more out of Hinduism and Buddhism that is practical in helping me cope during the pandemic.
I didn't grow up in the church so I have no fond memories of the church in those times. The church does seem to be focusing more and more on youth, which is interesting because it's them as a whole that are finding even less relevance than most of the rest of us. I do believe there is great value in other churches, religions, and belief systems and I believe Joseph Smith believed that. Beyond some lip service I'm not sure the modern leadership (with perhaps a couple exceptions) believes that.

In the end, I think if you will just assert yourself and prayerfully read the Book of Mormon every day with real intent all of your troubles will fade away. :twisted: (said with the greatest sarcasm I can muster).
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."

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On Own Now
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Re: Discouraged and Sick of it All

Post by On Own Now » 02 Feb 2021, 09:29

jamison,

I'm sorry to hear of your frustrations. I know what you mean. The last time I tried to read the BofM was 25 years ago, and it just didn't do it for me any more. That it does for some is fine. For me, nah.

On the Come Follow Me curriculum... I have mixed feelings. I thought it was OK when I was teaching SS, but admit that I only used it as a springboard for deeper meaning, not as the full meaning itself. When we moved into BofM and D&C, I find it seriously lacking, probably because I have no desire to springboard off of it. My wife, who is a full-believing and faithful member, doesn't care for it. To both of us, it seems overly simplified. I do like it better than what we had before, but feel it doesn't explore the depths.

I think you hit on something that is a key element of faith transition: you mentioned finding meaning in Hinduism and Buddhism. My suggestion follows that. Find what works for you and don't feel any angst when things don't work for you. For me, I have fallen in love with the NT. It doesn't work for others. I have left the BofM and D&C behind. They work fabulously well for some; not at all for me. The OT has some good stuff. Works better for others, less for me. I've found a lot of good in just human philosophy. I find the Church to work as a framework, but much less so as a source of spirituality for me. In other words, It's helpful to be in a community. It's not necessary for my spiritual views.
- - -
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ― Carl Jung
- - -
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." ― Romans 14:13
- - -

Roy
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Re: Discouraged and Sick of it All

Post by Roy » 02 Feb 2021, 17:23

I'm sorry to hear of your discouragement Jamison.

You are not alone. This pandemic has put stress on all of our support structures and upon each of us personally. One step that might be helpful is to strive to have patience and charity with yourself and others as you cope with unusual circumstances.

I hear you on the BoM. It might not feed your soul. Look for things that do. It is possible that your faith community will not be as validating for the ways and methods that you feel best feed your soul. This is part of life and establishing your identity as a unique individual. Life is an interesting pull between being just one of many and being a one and only. Between belonging and individualism. Live in the paradox and balance between the extremes.

I too can sympathize for the trouble with the financial assistance. I do not think that receiving financial assistance from the church is easy on anyone (for those that give assistance or those that receive). It seems to me that there is often a stigma against receiving help from the church - that the church is to be considered as a last resort after family and government options have been exhausted. I also believe that our organization is quite good at helping with sudden - short term issues to "get people back on their feet". Our church is less good at helping with more complex, chronic, and ongoing issues.

For me, I find it helpful to 1) lower my expectations from the church, 2) try to only expect things that the church is adept at delivering, and 3) try to clearly communicate those expectations/requests when I need them. For example, I think the church is good at helping people move and at bringing in meals for sick or injured individuals. I might ask the church to send some guys to help me load up a moving van for a one or two hour period. I might also ask for some meals to be brought in for a one to three day period if my wife or I are recovering from a surgery. These steps for managing expectations help me to feel cared for as a member of my faith community and that in turn helps reduce my feelings of resentment.

your mileage may vary.
"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
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Re: Discouraged and Sick of it All

Post by Minyan Man » 02 Feb 2021, 20:28

jamison wrote:
31 Jan 2021, 20:19
I have had some great experiences spiritually until the last few months of last year. I participated in the worldwide fast on Good Friday and felt a spiritual awakening. I had some great revelatory experiences and miracles happen since December 2019...
jamison, can you share with us what revelatory experiences and miracles you've had since December 2019?
Unless they are too personal of course.

Limhah
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Re: Discouraged and Sick of it All

Post by Limhah » 03 Feb 2021, 23:37

I'm reluctant to give too much advice these days as it always comes off as either self-righteous or pollyannish and, tbbf, I fail to follow my own advice more often than not (maybe the reason we naturally focus on certain things 'for other's benefit' is because subconsciously those are parts we need to work on ourselves?) Anyway fwiw here's my .02 shiblum ...
jamison wrote:
31 Jan 2021, 20:19
I have had some great experiences spiritually until the last few months of last year. I participated in the worldwide fast on Good Friday and felt a spiritual awakening. I had some great revelatory experiences and miracles happen since December 2019 and then bam, I feel like a hit a brick wall.
'Spiritual' experiences are great and can be good indicators of 'progress' as it were along the given path but in my experience it's not helpful to place too much importance on them long-term. I've had some mind-blowing experiences over the years, felt to be making huge leaps from peak to peak in my 30s, then seemed to land on a long plateau that just keeps going on. Maybe that's a normal course of development, maybe it's about impatience, I don't know.

I think at some point we are expected to make best use of the wisdom or insights we've been granted by sharing them and using them to magnify our own callings and those of others around us, in our own way and using our best judgment. Then we tend to get more supply / awakenings and can shift to a higher 'plateau.'

Also sometimes it does just feel like you hit a 'brick wall' and come to a stop or even regress at some point or another. I've felt it myself in recent years ... w/me it's more a sense of paralysis or suspended animation and only now beginning to wise up to my own need to make positive changes if I expect to receive any more energy from the highest.

I have gone to therapy, I don't see the Church has any meaning or part of my life anymore.
Therapy can be a helpful instrument to make use of, it's sad that many churches discourage secular therapies as a valid resource for members who might need it. I had a great therapist, mainly focused on CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy) and got a lot of issues cleared out in short order, even though in retrospect all she did was sit and listen! I miss therapy a lot since the pandemic restrictions have ended in-person counselling (I can't deal w/phone therapy, feels weird), and this seems to be a real stress-inducer for a lot of people.

(But therapy doesn't have to be in opposition to or in competition with the church! Good therapy can get your head straight about your basic core values and you may return to church reinvigorated and better able to get more out of it, or you may decide it's not for you, but you'll know your own mind and be making your own judgments one way or the other.)
I believe in the gospel, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Bible, but honestly the Book of Mormon has had no real power in my life during the pandemic. I was always told that the Book of Mormon will help you overcome the evil in your life, and help you overcome any addiction, and problem like it is a panacea. Honestly it has done none of these for me.
It seems that the power said to be in the BoM lies more in the fact of its existence as a token or totem of something greater / more spiritual, rather than the specific words themselves. Certainly there are memorable high points in the tome; the only two real insights I've really taken away from the book to the point that I see them almost as the core of the entire enterprise: the Law of Opposition (2 Nephi 2) the Law of Being-As-Joy ("Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.") (2 Nephi 2:25) Other high spots are allegories the the Great & Spacious Building, the Rod of Iron, etc.

That said, I can't help but feel the BoM could've been vastly improved at, say, half to a quarter the current length. The more interesting scenes (the various false churches set up by the Nephites, several of which sound disturbingly similar to currently existing sects; the snarky undercutting of sceptics in the cries of 'a bible? we have got a bible!'; battle scenes so wonderfully depicted in the old Arnold Friberg illustrations like something out of a pulp Conan novel or a Hollywood sword & sandal epic; much of the stuff culled straight from the New Testament) are diluted and weakened by the morass of excess verbiage and endless battles that tend to blend in to one another.

Anyway I'm rambling. Point is you can get from the BoM whatever you want to 'pull' from it, as with any other scripture or source of inspiration. If you're motivated to find further meaning or power in it, you can find a way to do so, otherwise not. It may be that this is not meant to be your path right now!
Then my Elders Quorum President says, I do not think the Bishop is going to accept any of your utility bills any more. I'm glad my hours got increased again, but honestly I pay tithes and offerings my whole life without fail, and I am getting scrutinized for a few utility bills? The Church is for the Youth, and guess what I do not know if I want to attend anymore. I have been a member my whole life and now, I do not like going at all and I do not see the Church as relevant anymore. I am getting more out of Hinduism and Buddhism that is practical in helping me cope during the pandemic.
I don't know what you expected as charity from the church, clearly in retrospect it was naive to expect anything from them or that they would ever place the welfare of a real person ahead of that of the institution they serve. This situation is not unique to the LDS church however.

If you still want to find meaning or value in the church, that's possible if you want it, but you can't go 'back' and pretend you haven't been disillusioned. Reality is what it is, and you can control very little except your own response to it. If you find there's something beneficial in participating (socializing, which is good for psychological health, for one thing), then continue to do so and let your faith deepen if it will.

If you're okay with not going back to the Temple, you don't even have to make tithe or any other payments. Now if it's necessary, say, for maximum socializing or exploiting whatever other long-term goal you have regarding life in the church, then go ahead and fulfill all the requirements, at least you'll be honest / at peace w/your own motivations (as so many in the church are not, it seems)

Or just keep showing up at church and show your enthusiasm for your newfound reality. Simply be honest in your interactions, and totally frank and sincere with other members. This was one of the responses I found to be most helpful when I was going thru a similar phase in my membership years ago. Ironically, this is also among the surest ways to get oneself disinvited from church (and most polite society) altogether, so deploy judiciously.
Last edited by Limhah on 04 Feb 2021, 03:21, edited 1 time in total.

Limhah
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Re: Discouraged and Sick of it All

Post by Limhah » 04 Feb 2021, 00:25

I meant to add a little bit about your mention of Buddhism/Hinduism as preferable or at least more optimal paths for you at the current juncture of your journey. I find it a fascinating thing that so many westerners & folks not otherwise raised in these traditions feel drawn to them, as I have for many years.

I think if it's an authentic pull that one feels, towards a particular manifestation of what seems most "true" to you, then it's a powerfully positive phenomenon, but if it's enacted superficially or without full investigation it can be just as dysfunctional as any other group project. It's all about the people in the end. The various Dharmas are a huge umbrella under which fit a lot of different and numerous sub-sects, at least as diverse as the various Christian sects in the world.

However, speaking as one who lives a quasi-hermetic life these days, mostly engaged in prayer and self-study, I find that the Buddhadharma and certain core aspects of Advaita Vedanta are well suited to self-study and analysis, even just taken as philosophy w/o the religious trappings. (I wouldn't recommend straight zen right off the bat; it's deceptively simple and requires some background to really get.)

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nibbler
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Re: Discouraged and Sick of it All

Post by nibbler » 04 Feb 2021, 06:44

Limhah wrote:
04 Feb 2021, 00:25
I think if it's an authentic pull that one feels, towards a particular manifestation of what seems most "true" to you, then it's a powerfully positive phenomenon, but if it's enacted superficially or without full investigation it can be just as dysfunctional as any other group project.
You didn't say it was bad but I don't think there's anything wrong with dysfunctional projects. ;)

Several years ago I spent some time "vacationing" in other religions, I'd attend services one or two weeks then move on. Some interested me more than others, in fact I ended up spending a year or so with one of them. I went into each experience with eyes wide open.

Everyone's different but for me I purposely avoided the full investigations when visiting with other religions, I wanted to keep it superficial. The theory was that a superficial investigation allowed me to skim off any good elements, hopefully before experiencing/internalizing any bad elements.

I contrast that with my full investigation (to the point of obsession) of Mormonism. At several points along the investigation of Mormonism it became difficult to see any good at all because it felt like the bad was shouting at me, demanding attention. Granted, it's different when there's a long established relationship. Maybe it was more about rooting out bad things that I had internalized when immersed in orthodoxy.

When visiting with other religions I didn't want to focus too much on the correct way to be in religion xyz, that would feel like moving from one orthodoxy to another. It was more about discovering and adhering to my spirituality than discovering how to adhere to someone else's defined spirituality.

But it's a conundrum. It might not have been a dedicated investigation of a particular religion or belief system but it was a dedicated investigation of self.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

Roy
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Re: Discouraged and Sick of it All

Post by Roy » 04 Feb 2021, 10:49

Limhah wrote:
03 Feb 2021, 23:37
Simply be honest in your interactions, and totally frank and sincere with other members. This was one of the responses I found to be most helpful when I was going thru a similar phase in my membership years ago. Ironically, this is also among the surest ways to get oneself disinvited from church (and most polite society) altogether, so deploy judiciously.
I am glad that you mentioned the part about potentially being disinvited from church and polite society after following a totally frank and honest course of action. There is no one right way to stayLDS after a crisis of faith. For me, I have endeavored to be considered worthy enough to baptize my children and ordain my son to the priesthood (he will become a teacher next week). Looking farther to the future, I would also like to be able to serve as my children's "escort" in the event that they go through the temple endowment or as a "witness" to their potential temple sealing. I am careful to maintain a balance in what I say and what I withhold designed to give me the most freedom and flexibility to achieve these goals (after living for more than a decade without a TR) if and when I need to. I consider this to be how I choose to "deploy judiciously."
I just never want to be in a position where the ability to "be there" for my kids in these important milestones are taken from me.
nibbler wrote:
04 Feb 2021, 06:44
Everyone's different but for me I purposely avoided the full investigations when visiting with other religions, I wanted to keep it superficial. The theory was that a superficial investigation allowed me to skim off any good elements, hopefully before experiencing/internalizing any bad elements.
When people ask me why I participate in other churches I tend to tell them that I enjoy "supplementing my spirituality." My main diet is still Mormonism, but that doesn't mean I can't also benefit from some side dishes.
"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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