At a bit of a boiling point with the church

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

Post by Roy »

While I think there are benefits to online communities, in person communities are still needed. I agree that heated online discussions can be unhelpful for your wellbeing.
kotm wrote: 29 Nov 2022, 05:14 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.
I know that there will always be pressure to fit in (both internal and external pressure). To the degree that you can get on your own clock and follow your own compass, I believe you will be happier and more content. You won't fit in and you will work hard to keep it that way to prevent your independence from being swallowed up by the group.
I have found it helpful to participate in multiple groups in order to diversify my social connections. In this way I have less anxiety about trying to fit into any particular group because that group only represents a portion of my total friendship/social base.
"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: 29 Nov 2022, 10:07 While I think there are benefits to online communities, in person communities are still needed. I agree that heated online discussions can be unhelpful for your wellbeing.
I agree with this, and since Reddit was specifically mentioned earlier, Reddit can be particularly toxic. I do have a Reddit account, and I find some stuff on Reddit to be very helpful. However, I avoid all LDS related stuff on there - anti or not. There's a lot of vitriol there.

I have said here that I'd probably do OK as a hermit. That's conditional, though, and I know it. Online communities (such as this) would be necessary and I also recognize that while I seem to do OK with somewhat extended periods of being alone (no other humans) I would need some human interaction even if that only involves going to a store. There's a TV show called Alone on the History Channel. The premise is that individuals are placed in a remote location to survive on their own. The one that lasts the longest wins. Many only last a few days (sometimes only one day), and the primary reason the early leavers go is due to loneliness and/or missing loved ones (as opposed to injury or starvation). Sometimes even ones who make it for some time and are in the final three or so leave due to loneliness. My point here is that we seem to all need human interaction, some more than others and some less than others.

I've been in that spot where church annoys me (or more precisely usually it's church people). It still does. I've learned some coping methods but they're not foolproof. The saving thing for me is that the church is not my only social outlet, so I don't have to go to church to socialize (and I do believe that's why the majority of people are there - it's their primary social outlet). Hence my prior advice to find other social outlets. But if that's not a reality for you, then you will need to learn to cope and in doing so you're going to hit bumps and experience setbacks.
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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AmyJ
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Re: At a bit of a boiling point with the church

Post by AmyJ »

I have thought about this sometimes. The time I thought about this the most was just after I had come to the conclusion that I wasn't a Christian - and I was teaching Relief Society (mostly via Zoom) and running Achievement Days for the 8-12 year old girls in my branch - and I suck at lying or traditional social skills. Here are some themes that helped me the most.
CAVEAT: 1/2 my family are introverts that border on happy hermits, I can go either way, and my other daughter needs at least 6 hours of peopling a day (she would prefer 20 out of 24 hours a day of being social - but we insist on 8-10 hours of sleep, a few hours of basic life stuff too). Any social stuff I was doing was either going to require my husband to sit on our kids properly while I was out, or required me to take them with me and deal with the consequences of variable levels of social skills to complicate the situation.

COMPONENTS:
A) Planning to Control the Situation - I could plan ahead, while the people who I talked to were reacting in real time. I would plan out possible conversation points, meaningful questions I could ask people about themselves and their lives. I planned out and thought through probable conversation points with my branch president. I planned charitable exit statements from awkward, unnecessary conversations. Any conversations about my faith transition were on my terms. No matter how you looked at it, my faith transition in its full glory would "ambush" the traditional believers and threaten their faith on some level. I was shifting from being one of the majority to a minority in thinking any time I joined that community in real time.

B)Perspective- I refused to give people the opportunity to shame me/show contempt towards me in conversation with me [Roy's "Hopeful Penitent" scripts were a helpful example btw - I can hope that there is a force greater than all of us that isn't interested in hurting us and is hopefully interested in blessing and teaching us.]. This was reassuring to me (I think in words), and helped me to be compassionate towards those that my faith transition was ambushing. I also refused to shame myself or show contempt towards myself for my faith transition - it was what it was, and it was my experience to wring meaning from. I could talk through stuff with people on some levels, but at the end of the day - I could only hold myself accountable for how I reacted to the reactions of others and whether the choices I made were in line with being charitable towards others and in line with my personal values. I often mentally compared myself to "Adam" from the story of Adam and Eve. Adam didn't expect what the world was like, but after the metaphorical dust settled, Adam got to work building a life and waiting for God to show up. Adam built an alter - opened a divine channel with God and gave God the chance to show up... before getting to work tending fields and raising children - his life's work (literally). On many levels, I did the best I could to "build" and "maintain the alter" (the divine connection to God) in ways that worked for me - and then I got on with my life's work. I am looking for "the further light and knowledge" that I assume/trust God has out there for me - and "tilling the fields" and working on values that God and I theoretically share like "Hope" and "Charity".

C) Connection & Common Ground - I can (and do) find connection and common ground with branch members in my area. "Charity" was a topic that I talked a lot about and tried to practice in an inclusive way. "Charity" was something useful for those that I worked with too - being a gospel principle for them and a core personal value for me gave us moments of connection and common ground. Again, I tried to be connective in each interaction to the degree that I had resources available to do so.

D) Diversification & Education - During this time period, I wound up completing my degree for Business Administration - Healthcare management, and learned a ton (mostly hands on) about various topics in fields of Individual Advocacy/Case Management, Human Development (mostly cognitive. psychology, child development and neurodiversity), Autoimmune disorders/dis-regulation (sugar really does a number on the system over time) [NOTE: If you want to feel miserable, don't move around enough, overconsume sugar and starches, deflect instead of holding yourself accountable and changing your choices - that'll do it within 2 months to 5 years], History (my husband finished his BA in History this year), with a splattering of information on Genetics and Epigenetics (the study of environmental "triggers" that seem to turn specific genes off and on), and Trauma. Everything that I learned I could see how it fit in with church teachings (usually not in the standard gospel teachings way).

E) Counseling - I was in counseling for other aspects of my life. But my faith transition impacted my marriage and how I co-raise our children - having someone to listen and provide general assistance in perspective and scripts for "being nice to myself and others" was useful.
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SilentDawning
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Re: At a bit of a boiling point with the church

Post by SilentDawning »

kotm wrote: 26 Oct 2022, 06:41 I have even talked to LDS therapists and in their own rose colored bias told me the problem is with me.
This is a MAJOR beef I have with the church. When things don't go well, they always blame the member. There is no sense of accountability or a willingness to acknowledge that sometimes leaders and members make mistakes that alienate the average person. There is little or no effort to make amends.

I feel for you.
"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

"The wise man has the power" -- adapted from What A Fool Believes -- The Doobie Brothers
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kotm
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Re: At a bit of a boiling point with the church

Post by kotm »

SilentDawning wrote: 02 Dec 2022, 05:12
kotm wrote: 26 Oct 2022, 06:41 I have even talked to LDS therapists and in their own rose colored bias told me the problem is with me.
This is a MAJOR beef I have with the church. When things don't go well, they always blame the member. There is no sense of accountability or a willingness to acknowledge that sometimes leaders and members make mistakes that alienate the average person. There is little or no effort to make amends.

I feel for you.
It's too common. I mentioned a bit earlier I tried sharing my grievences with the church on sites like reddit in the latterday saints sub reddit. I figured people within my age range would be understanding. But instead I was chased away. I was even chased away from an lds gamer group on discord as well for liking games they didn't approve of. Even though they discussed games that were M rated too. All it has done is really drive a wedge between myself and the church, and makes me dislike fellow members greatly. It's just reinforce the stereotype that mormons can be massive hypocrites.

The irony is I really enjoy my YSA ward. Mostly since it's not in a high concentrated lds area and people seem to be a bit more tolerant. My only issue is I'm terrified of coming out of my shell and overcomming my shyness.

I have had quite a bit of experiences younger as a youth where I'd try to socialize only ending with me being more embarrassed and made fun of. And often times, the entire not serving a mission angle really worries me as I feel it would hamper my ability to date. I also struggle with pornography unfortnely. And often times I feel I am not like everyone else just since the church seems to expect too much of it's members.

Yes I know I have a major chip on my shoulder. And it would be better served if I got rid of it. But I just can't for some reason. I've always felt I got the short end of the stick with life and it just hasn't been fair to me.
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SilentDawning
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Re: At a bit of a boiling point with the church

Post by SilentDawning »

kotm wrote: 23 Dec 2022, 14:32 Yes I know I have a major chip on my shoulder. And it would be better served if I got rid of it. But I just can't for some reason. I've always felt I got the short end of the stick with life and it just hasn't been fair to me.
Try this -- four or five times a day, say a prayer where you give thanks and then pray for other people. If that's too much, then just give thanks in prayer and skip praying for others and their needs. Even if you have to give thanks for things we take for granted like electricity. Find four or five things to give thanks for, and then do that often. Make it a habit. It will change your perspective on life if you stick with it. You will know that it's changing you when spontaneously, you start giving thanks even in normally frustrating situations. The other day I got stuck in traffic and automatically started giving thanks for many things in prayer while I waited for traffic to clear -- the habit eased the pain.

I would also, once a day or so, pray that you will establish meaningful relationships in the church. Look forward with hope that this request will come to pass. Be hopeful that it will happen and be open to the goodwill of others.

I hope this kind of advice helps. I am only sharing what I have experienced as I've made a concerted effort to be thankful for the many things I have that are good. We all have many of them; they are often hidden or eclipsed by our thinking or lack of focus on the good things we enjoy. You have many of them -- expose them regularly to yourself through prayer and I think you will feel better about life.
"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

"The wise man has the power" -- adapted from What A Fool Believes -- The Doobie Brothers
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DarkJedi
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Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: At a bit of a boiling point with the church

Post by DarkJedi »

I'm not trying to cast a shadow on your newfound (refound?) testimony of prayer SD (although I admittedly do not share it in the least degree based on my own very different experiences), but this advice is very much like what those in faith crisis get from their leaders. You've heard it, and written about it - pray more, read the Book of Mormon more, go to the temple more, etc. Those things don't work for most of us (and most of us had already tried those things).
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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