At a bit of a boiling point with the church

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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kotm
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At a bit of a boiling point with the church

Post by kotm »

Little background I'm a late 20s YSA. I don't have any qaulms with the church itself, however members have made it very hard for me to remain active. I really want and desire to have a testimony. But it's just the members have really seemed to done a great job at chasing me away. So I struggled quite a bit growing up. That's sort of the root cause of the problem. I faced a lot of bullies within the church who were fellow youth and even leaders too. This has naturally made me extremely bitter and resentful over the years. So naturally I struggle to trust other members. I have even talked to LDS therapists and in their own rose colored bias told me the problem is with me. I would frequently butt heads with fellow members of the church who held more ''traditonal'' values and this would tend to cause a lot of disagreement. And therefore I would be shunned and the bullying would increase further. It just seems someone like me who has more progressive viewpoints is not welcome within the church at all.

Every single social circle relating tot he church I am ostricized out of. I have tried sharing my thoughts on the r/latterdaysaints sub reddit but even there I was chased away. Nobody seems to want to help me. And I'm not really up for speaking to my bishop becuase I know full well he won't be able to help me. I just get written off as a bitter person who is playing victim wherever I go.

Even in my current YSA ward I can't seem to make a connection with other members. Sure they're great people, but I'm totally differentr than them. They have great lives, careers and seem to have a lot going. Meanwhile I'm a grad student barely getting by in their internship with no great career, no friends, etc.

I really want to make connections with people. I even have thought about dating again, but I really don't want to out of fear of being judged. I never served a mission, I'm not endowed in the temple and I struggle with pornography. I wouldn't really consider it an addiction, but I do relapse often. I'm currently utilising the Sara Brewer podcasts, she does a great job.

But overall I am struggling to motivate myself to participate in the church and remain active because of my disaster experiences within the church. Maybe I just need to get over it. But for some reason I just cannot. I've been dealt a pretty large traumatic blow growing up withint he church. Nobody seems willing to help me or understand me. Half the time I don't feel worthy to be a member either.
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DarkJedi
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Re: At a bit of a boiling point with the church

Post by DarkJedi »

Welcome. I am sorry for the struggles you are having. Know that you are not alone and that this place is safe.

Like you I have few qualms with the church, but I have had serious issues with members. The trauma can have profound and effects and we can't just "get over it" or "let it go." There are ways to learn to cope with the trauma, and while you said you've been to LDS therapists you are right - they are often biased. Perhaps trying to find one less biased (and I recognize that's not easy) or finding a non-member therapist might be helpful (there are some who understand and deal with religious trauma, it happens in other churches as well).

I get your desire to be part of your tribe and find companionship within the life you know. It can be a tough row to hoe, but it's not impossible. Where you live there are likely others your age who have had similar experiences and/or who are more open thinkers. Perhaps trying to find them might be helpful as well (and there likely are some in your ward).

Good luck, 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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Roy
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Re: At a bit of a boiling point with the church

Post by Roy »

Dear kotm,

First and foremost, you are normal.

I have two quotes that come to mind.
"The church works really well until it doesn't."
This was said in the context of someone that was raised LDS and the framework was very helpful to provide boundaries during those formative years but it became overly restrictive and even harmful later in life.
"There are two groups that do well in church, the saints and the liars."
This second quote touches on the fact that there seems to be a large emphasis on those sins that we can see (or smell). All members have sins, we just seem to have developed a culture where they must be hidden. Thus liars outperform!
"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
Roy
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Re: At a bit of a boiling point with the church

Post by Roy »

DarkJedi wrote: 26 Oct 2022, 13:57 I get your desire to be part of your tribe and find companionship within the life you know. It can be a tough row to hoe, but it's not impossible. Where you live there are likely others your age who have had similar experiences and/or who are more open thinkers. Perhaps trying to find them might be helpful as well (and there likely are some in your ward).
I have found some success in diversifying my social circles. Essentially, I would recommend looking into any clubs or associations that you could join. As you start to develop these other social circles, the LDS circle will begin to take up less space. I believe that this process of diversification will make you more resilient because you will be less vulnerable to negative feedback from a single group.
"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: At a bit of a boiling point with the church

Post by DarkJedi »

Roy wrote: 26 Oct 2022, 14:37
DarkJedi wrote: 26 Oct 2022, 13:57 I get your desire to be part of your tribe and find companionship within the life you know. It can be a tough row to hoe, but it's not impossible. Where you live there are likely others your age who have had similar experiences and/or who are more open thinkers. Perhaps trying to find them might be helpful as well (and there likely are some in your ward).
I have found some success in diversifying my social circles. Essentially, I would recommend looking into any clubs or associations that you could join. As you start to develop these other social circles, the LDS circle will begin to take up less space. I believe that this process of diversification will make you more resilient because you will be less vulnerable to negative feedback from a single group.
That's a good point Roy. When I was KOTM's age and was all in with the church, My whole life was the church. Yes, I had a job and I had neighbors (IOW, I knew people outside the church), but the church provided for all of my social needs. I went to church on Sunday, I did my calling, I went to church activities (regular ward and stake YSA), etc. Since I was all in and part of the tribe, even though I am by nature a bit of a loner, I had no other social needs. Skip a few years down the line and faith transition, the tribe was no longer providing everything, partly by their choice and partly by mine. If I wanted to socialize I had to broaden my horizons.

In that light, if it is socialization you seek and church is a problem, participating in community groups and activities outside church are necessary. Just for the record here, while I am a loner at heart and probably would mostly do OK as a hermit, I do understand loneliness, and loneliness was a part of my own faith crisis/transition. I would reckon that for people who are inclined to be more social than I am it would be worse than it was for me and that is a real concern.
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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kotm
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Re: At a bit of a boiling point with the church

Post by kotm »

Roy wrote: 26 Oct 2022, 14:37
DarkJedi wrote: 26 Oct 2022, 13:57 I get your desire to be part of your tribe and find companionship within the life you know. It can be a tough row to hoe, but it's not impossible. Where you live there are likely others your age who have had similar experiences and/or who are more open thinkers. Perhaps trying to find them might be helpful as well (and there likely are some in your ward).
I have found some success in diversifying my social circles. Essentially, I would recommend looking into any clubs or associations that you could join. As you start to develop these other social circles, the LDS circle will begin to take up less space. I believe that this process of diversification will make you more resilient because you will be less vulnerable to negative feedback from a single group.
I have tried this so many times. And every single time I simply just do not mold well with a group. I even try my hardest to be kind and respectful of everyone else. And it just turns into everyone hating me even more for it. I have concluded that I will simply be lonely for the remaining of my lifetime. It sucks, but I think I need to accept this. Heck I am almost 30 and still single.

It really doesn't seem to matter anymore for me. I'm simply the world's whipping boy. Everyone is allowed to push me around, but if I ever stick up for myself I am always told to shut up and get over it.
Old-Timer
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Re: At a bit of a boiling point with the church

Post by Old-Timer »

Have you tried counseling? I highly recommend it. You might have to try more than one, but, often, the first one is a good fit.
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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kotm
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Re: At a bit of a boiling point with the church

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Old-Timer wrote: 01 Nov 2022, 06:45 Have you tried counseling? I highly recommend it. You might have to try more than one, but, often, the first one is a good fit.
I have tried counseling in the past. And it didn't seem to help at all. One did more damage, and the other was great. But I felt like I was just spending money to talk to someone who couldn't really see that I needed help so I quit going. It has been about 8 years since I last saw one. Maybe I will again. I am dealing with some pretty severe chronic depression again too. Along with my pornography habbit, isolation, and not having any friends it's a vicious circle for me. It also sucks seeing people my age doing so well at life and it just makes me feel pretty bad about myself.
Roy
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Re: At a bit of a boiling point with the church

Post by Roy »

You are not in competition with anyone else. You are free to run your own race or even decide that you aren't into running and would prefer something else entirely.
kotm wrote: 31 Oct 2022, 23:18 I have tried this so many times. And every single time I simply just do not mold well with a group. I even try my hardest to be kind and respectful of everyone else. And it just turns into everyone hating me even more for it. I have concluded that I will simply be lonely for the remaining of my lifetime. It sucks, but I think I need to accept this. Heck I am almost 30 and still single.
I recommend trying again. Most of us need social interaction. It can be a challenge to find a group that you gel with but I think that the effort is worth it. Also, most of the people that I meet through these channels do not become close friends that might ever get invited over to my home. They are friends/acquaintances for a particular activity and that is fine.

I would also recommend continuing to date. Dating can be horrible and I do not claim to be good at it at all. However, I do know that not dating and not meeting new people socially is a more surefire path to loneliness. "You miss 100% of the shots that you do not take."
"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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kotm
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Re: At a bit of a boiling point with the church

Post by kotm »

Roy wrote: 14 Nov 2022, 15:15 You are not in competition with anyone else. You are free to run your own race or even decide that you aren't into running and would prefer something else entirely.
kotm wrote: 31 Oct 2022, 23:18 I have tried this so many times. And every single time I simply just do not mold well with a group. I even try my hardest to be kind and respectful of everyone else. And it just turns into everyone hating me even more for it. I have concluded that I will simply be lonely for the remaining of my lifetime. It sucks, but I think I need to accept this. Heck I am almost 30 and still single.
I recommend trying again. Most of us need social interaction. It can be a challenge to find a group that you gel with but I think that the effort is worth it. Also, most of the people that I meet through these channels do not become close friends that might ever get invited over to my home. They are friends/acquaintances for a particular activity and that is fine.

I would also recommend continuing to date. Dating can be horrible and I do not claim to be good at it at all. However, I do know that not dating and not meeting new people socially is a more surefire path to loneliness. "You miss 100% of the shots that you do not take."
I'm trying very hard to ease back into things. I think I just need to stay away with trying to interact with members on reddit, because in many ways that has done a TON of damage. I had a recent fairly heated discussion with a few on something. I had felt I was correct, but they did not like that very much. And I often let those things rub me the wrong way because it's the very thing I grew up around. My entire upbringing within the church is something I hold onto very tight and just cannot let go for some reason. Because that is where everything went wrong for me. I felt I often got the short end of the stick in everything. I was often disregarded by others, forgotten and ignored. It's so hard to let go of the past. Especially knowing said past can often be the cause of many of your current difficutlies.

I have no problem with my YSA ward. However a lot of the difficulty of making friends is based on not getting hurt, and worried I won't fit in. I don't have much in common with Mormons considering I have sort of lived off the cultural grid of the church for nearly a decade. And it wasn't until two summers ago where I decided to start making an attempt at attending more regularly.
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