Trying Church Again

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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nibbler
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Re: Trying Church Again

Post by nibbler »

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Arrakeen
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Joined: 25 Aug 2018, 18:49

Re: Trying Church Again

Post by Arrakeen »

PazamaManX wrote: 05 Aug 2022, 09:17 The other route, and the one I'd probably opt for considering what you've told them already, is complete and open honesty. Being gently blunt about where you're at might get you the result you want. Be open with what you are wanting out of church. Politely rebuff attempts to misconstrue what you're saying as anything other than what it is. As DJ said, your bishop is probably speaking to you out of a desire to help. If your bishop has any wisdom, he'll hopefully see that making you a project is the worst thing he can do. But, if you don't think you're bishop can do that, I wouldn't choose this approach.
This is what I'm leaning towards. I think I've spent enough time the last few years pretending to be someone I'm not in order to fly under the radar. I really want to just tell it the way it is, and they can choose to either accept or reject me the way I am.
Arrakeen
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Re: Trying Church Again

Post by Arrakeen »

Roy wrote: 05 Aug 2022, 14:17
Arrakeen wrote: 04 Aug 2022, 17:11 (I had told them quite frankly that the only reason I had come back was to have community and try to make friends).
The church can be a great community and give some a wonderful sense of belonging and validation. I feel that the church works best for creating friendships for adults through serving in callings together. Because of where I am on the participation and belief spectrum, I do not feel that church participation would be a good place for me to look for friendships.

There was a time when DW expressed that making friends outside of the LDS church was too hard because there wouldn't be the shared foundation of beliefs, values, and life experiences. Now it is precisely the opposite. LDS people have beliefs, values, and life experiences that are not the same as where she is now and that tension creates a barrier to more full friendship.

Making friends as an adult can be hard. I do recommend joining clubs and groups that do activities you enjoy or promote causes that you support. It can still be difficult to bridge the gap between people that you see at the group and actual friends that you might hang out with outside of the group but it is at least a starting point.
I think part of my frustration with going back to church is a realization that I am reaching a point where my beliefs and values no longer really line up with the church the way they used to.

I think I do need to make a more serious effort to socialize outside of the church. I just hoped going back to church would be some sort of "cheat-code" to give me instant friendship and community. And it seems I have changed too much for that to be a realistic expectation.
Roy
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Re: Trying Church Again

Post by Roy »

We were once in a ward that was really more of a branch. We felt so needed, welcomed, and connected. For many years that was the standard of church experience we were seeking. In that ward, DW was also serving as the Primary President and I served in the YM presidency.

I honestly feel that if we moved back to that same ward now that it would not be the same. Sure, the area and the members might have changed some but I feel that the far bigger change would have come from us.
"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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DarkJedi
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Re: Trying Church Again

Post by DarkJedi »

Arrakeen wrote: 05 Aug 2022, 15:53 I think I do need to make a more serious effort to socialize outside of the church. I just hoped going back to church would be some sort of "cheat-code" to give me instant friendship and community. And it seems I have changed too much for that to be a realistic expectation.
One of the "benefits" of the church is that almost anywhere one goes there is an instant community. Most of the time that works, even for those who are not fully active. But it isn't universal, and there are variables in individuals and in wards. It is possible it could still work for you but it's not guaranteed and it would require effort and give and take on both sides (and the other side isn't very good at that). Working on socialization outside the church is probably a better bet at this point, but that can also be a tough row to hoe and it takes effort. Are there people at work you might be comfortable socializing with (I personally avoid that, but it works for some people)? Are there sports or games you like where you might find people with similar interests?

I hope you find the peace you seek.
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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SilentDawning
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Re: Trying Church Again

Post by SilentDawning »

Roy wrote: 20 Dec 2021, 14:45
Arrakeen wrote: 19 Dec 2021, 12:41 Today I decided to attend church for the first time since March 2020. I'm not really a believer anymore, and I was convinced that I was done with the church forever. However, after leaving BYU and moving across the country to Florida, I've been finding myself quite lonely. I thought maybe I should give church a try just because I have no idea how else to meet people.
Roy underlined the part above in a previous post. I thought I would address the underlined part.

I have been feeling REALLY lonely lately. I moved to a new state recently (wife threatened divorce if I didn't) and I had to give up all my music friends, my kayaking friends, and a few church friends. I have zero friends here now, and haven't had any for 10 months.

I think Facebook pages can help. Find something of interest to you, in my case, kayaking, and starting a paddling group where like-minded people come together to go for a paddle. Whatever your interest might be -- hiking, walking, going out to dinner, bowling, and make new friends that way. Up until this part in my life, I always had friends based on music and my hobbies. It's refreshing to make friends outside of church, so your life is diversified and not revolving around the church.
"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
Arrakeen
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Re: Trying Church Again

Post by Arrakeen »

On Sunday I met with the bishop, and I think it actually went pretty well.

I was very direct and expressed that I wanted to avoid any misunderstanding, and that I am not interested in trying to regain a testimony. I explained that my faith journey has led me to a new destination, where I have different beliefs and am starting to think about things in new ways. I made clear that since I don’t believe the same anymore, church can feel alienating. I also mentioned how because of my mission experience messages from church leaders such as the recent lesson on missions have torn open old wounds that I need to let heal.

The bishop was very understanding and thanked me for making myself clear. He said I am always welcome to come back if I feel like it, and said he can let me know about YSA activities if I want. I set some boundaries, so I will not have ministers assigned, but I am ok with ward members occasionally checking in on me as long as they do not expect me to change in a particular way.

Basically, I have decided to step away from church again. I may still attend the occasional activity, but I don’t plan on attending regular church meetings for a while. I feel like this is what I need to do. At least for the time being I am leaving, but I have left the door open in case I want to come back in the future. I guess now it’s time to try building a social life on my own.
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PazamaManX
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Re: Trying Church Again

Post by PazamaManX »

I am glad to hear that your bishop was understanding. Not every priesthood leader is so willing to let someone go. Some people leave and allow bitterness and other negative emotions to sour their view of the church until they become "anti"; which is usually what I think some PLs are afraid of.

But, some take the break they need, experience life without the church and come to their own healthy conclusion about where the church fits in their life. Everyone's journeys are different. My best hopes are with you as you go forward.
"Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness, even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear." ~ Thomas Jefferson
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DarkJedi
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Re: Trying Church Again

Post by DarkJedi »

It does sound like it went fine, certainly not the worst possible outcome. Wishing you all the best as your journey continues!
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: 6724
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Trying Church Again

Post by Roy »

Congratulations to you AND Congratulations to your bishop. It sounds like you both handled that well.

For the benefit of lurkers, I think one trap in this sort of meeting is to try to get into specific doubts. The leader will almost certainly not validate your doubts and may try to minimize them/offer counter arguments. Suffice it to say that there are data points to support belief in the LDS worldview and there are data point to encourage doubt - arguing over the two is not too dissimilar to a "bible bash session" where each side quotes scripture to support their position but nobody is really listening to the opposing position.

Generalizing that your beliefs have changed and that you see things differently now and also that you are not interested in regaining your previous testimony seems to avoid that trap altogether.

My own situation with church leaders is that I wish to keep the possibility open for me to perform ordinances for my family in the future. To help accomplish this, I have been purposely vague and indefinite. My views are still in a state of flux and growth and I am a work in progress - as are we all.
"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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