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Saturday, May 21, 2005 

in between

As a little kid I hated hated hated church. For a long time I used to sit in primary wishing that some giant mythic bird would swoop down and rip through the roof right above my head. Everyone would run screaming and I could look straight up through the hole, crossbeams and shingles dangling and falling, look right up into the blue blue sky and church would be over for the day! Off the hook! Sometimes sitting in Elder’s Quorum, I still picture the giant talons crashing down through the ceiling.

As a teenager I played the game but had absolutely no interest in the church. Of course, I had to go to church but if I could slip off to the donut barn with one of my partners in crime, I did. I looked forward to my eighteenth birthday when I could walk out of the house and out of the church forever and that's what I did. But that didn't last long. I had an epiphany of sorts, a dash of the prodigal son, repentance conversion mission, temple marriage, callings kids and more callings, temple trips reading pondering praying. I believed everything, hook, line and sinker. Not long ago, in a short period of time, I went from believing a lot to believing just a little, if anything at all.

I come from the Southwest. I was raised in the church, father was a bishop, family home evening every week family prayer every day Book of Mormon every day. Shortly after my epiphany I started reading scripture everyday on my own, usually the Book of Mormon. That was more than twelve years ago and I still do it. Maybe this is a trial of faith and someday my faith will return. Life would be easier then, for sure. Do I have a house built on a rock or a house of cards? I wish I knew. I don’t know that I believe in God anymore. I do believe in the act of reading scripture, in the act of prayer and in the act of living the gospel. Could I do those things and not be Mormon? I don’t know that I want to know. Doing those things has “blessed” me, has brought focus and strength so I guess that’s what I believe.

That’s my story. I thank the VSoM veterans for letting me join the crew. I really appreciate the respect they show for each other and the respect shown by those who comment here. It seems to me that the attitude isn’t concerned so much with proving and convincing but with understanding and learning and that appeals to me. Though I can’t replace Rebecca, I hope I can contribute in a positive way.

I'm glad you've joined this site. I don't comment here a whole lot, but I enjoy reading the ideas shared here very much. It sounds like you'll have an interesting perspective, one that I imagine that I will relate to quite a bit. If I understand right, by all appearances on the outside, you are a dedicated member, but that doesn't match your feelings about the church when you're speaking freely about it. Sounds like me!
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and perspective.

CRB

I appreciate this forum because we have an opportunity to know what people are really thinking. It is interesting to me how individual all of our experiences with the church are. I grew up L.D.S as well, but never rebelled, or rejected any of it. I tried as hard as I could to make it my life accepted almost everything as truth.
Something changed for me a few years ago, however, and I no longer trust the leadership of the church. I trust God, but not the church. Trust is a powerful thing and I don't know anyway I can feel completely safe, or content in the church again. Do you think it is easier to continue with the whole program if you stop believing a lot of things than if you stop trusting those who run the program? I am just asking, because I really want to be able to stay in the church, but I find it very painful to pretend everything is okay.

Very fascinating introductory post. It looks like you represent a side of VSoM that has not yet had a voice. Like anonymous 2 touched on, I find it very interesting that Mormonism draws people together, but even with this commonality we each are at such drastically different stages and don’t really have a forum to discuss them besides blogs such as this.

Yet another wonderful day at VSoM. Nice to meet you JLS. Can’t wait to see what others Saturdays produce and Welcome aboard.

Thanks.

Anonymous anonymous asked: “Do you think it is easier to continue with the whole program if you stop believing a lot of things than if you stop trusting those who run the program?”

I don’t know that I have a good answer for that. It isn’t easy. Before losing faith I was very rarely critical of the church or the leaders. In losing faith in God, I suppose it is a logical extension that I lost some faith in those who run the program as well. I get a lot of inner tension if I hold the leaders to a standard of perfection, so I lower my expectations. Thus I’m less troubled if a leader does or says something with which I don’t agree. And I’ll say this, too. I have come to see a lot of contradiction in church teachings and policy (not all of it overt) and I think this contradiction is what allows the individual to live a generic law proscribed for the whole. When the same source tells me to do two things and I can do only one or the other I have to decide how to proceed and learn what works best; so the church becomes tailored to fit me. A side product of that is, I am becoming less judgmental of others in the church, including the leaders, and I feel less divided from them. I don’t know if that’s the best way to do things, but for the time being it seems to be working.

JLS-

I enjoyed your opening post and look forward to "getting to know you" and your perspective. I have found this forum to be a safe and thought provoking arena in which to question and express without condesension or retribution.

Welcome to VSoM!

JSL-
I find your method of working in the system a good way to stay sane and be a part of the church. I actually don't have a problem with the condridictions, because I too no longer expect only direct, divine output from leadership. Personally I am fine being involved in an imperfect, sometimes problematic organization. My pain comes from the fact that I don't feel free to acknowlege it as such. I feel that at church if I don't express constant gratitude that I am a part of the only true church, it is because I am sinful. It is not that I care that much what others think, but this is suppose to be my community of faith, where I can express myself and help others grow through sharing my real experince while in turn being helped to grow by other's real experience. I don't mean to fixate on my issues, sorry. I guess reading your experience, stirred in me a desire to express myself. Thank you for taking the time to share a part of your real self with us.

AK

AK-

This is your forum. That very question is coming up soon, and this is a "safe" place to express and articulate how you feel. I hope you keep reading and commenting and adding to the discussion.

See, JLS? Look at the interest and discoveries of commonality you have encouraged!

What is it that members often say? "The Church is perfect? The people are not?" something like that...

It is my personal opinion that more focus should be placed on each individual's personal spirituality and relationship with Heavenly Father...not worry so much about what everyone else is doing wrong.

Welcome, new friend JLS...

Yes, I agree with JP.

Thanks for your encouragement, everyone! I really want to respond more, and to comment to other posts but I've been swamped lately, even more than usual.

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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