The next step of my faith transition

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Perfigliano
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The next step of my faith transition

Post by Perfigliano » Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:21 pm

This is not my usual username. It's based on an improv game I played a few months ago. Point is, I want to remain anonymous-ish right now. I have been on another lds forum working through my faith crisis and I have more or less concluded at this point that I don't believe and I'm probably on my way out of the church. I guess I'm at the point where I need to apply an additional layer of cynicism or something. This forum seemed like the next logical step in my faith transition. I've been lurking for about a week now, but I knew this forum existed about 6 years ago. I thought it was strange at the time because I couldn't wrap my mind around the idea of staying in the church purely for family reasons. It makes sense to me now.

I was born and raised in the church. I'm in my mid 20s and single, so there is really nothing tying me down, so the only reason I would really want to stay in the church is if I could find some level of belief that I find comfortable. I suspect that isn't going to happen and even though I promised my best friend and parents I'd read the BoM and a book by the Givens' before I finalize my leaving, it feels like a fool's errand at this point. I no longer trust the church leadership and even though there are some good things here and there, I feel like it's a net negative. I have no plans to have my name removed, but that may change if the church continues to defend sexual predators and excommunicate scholars and "apostates."

While my FC wasn't in full swing until about 7 months ago, my doubts can be traced back at least 6 years ago in debates with an atheist online. I backed up to the apologetics and put things on my shelf. I shrugged it off and then went on a stateside mission. It was an overall good experience which helped me to become the man I am today, but I dealt with a lot of depression and anxiety trying to live up to the impossible mission standards. It took me about a year to finally get over my disobedient points and forgive myself. Depression runs in my family, so it would be unfair to blame that on the church, but it certainly didn't do much to help and may have actually contributed to it. But I took it all very seriously.

I never cared for going to the temple. My first time through completely freaked me out. If they were still doing the blood oaths, I would have left the church right there and then. I sorta got over that, but there are still things that bother me, like the veils and general sexism. (For instance, the temple video fails the Bechdel test)

I'm pretty intelligent. I knew my stuff. I knew a lot of docrinal things and quite a lot of the nicer parts of church history. I noticed that people didn't really know or care about any of those things. Church members don't understand grace, for instance. I don't forget facts easily, so it never made sense to me why you supposedly needed to keep reading the scriptures and stuff to maintain a testimony. It always looked a bit suspicious- like brainwashing.

Historical things in the church were never really a big deal to me. BY was a racist? Eh. Easy to shrug off. The brethren thought it was revelation and were very conservative with repealing the priesthood ban. JS used a stone in a hat to translate? Sure, whatever. Even coming to the conclusion that the BoM probably wasn't historical (I'm now 99.9% sure of that) wasn't a big deal to me because it didn't need to be historical to be the word of God (now I don't believe that either because it's actually quite coercive and spiritually manipulative). OTOH, the history of tithing and BY's self-exemption from it rubbed me the wrong way. Polygamy also bothers me now due to the child brides and polyandry. Lucy Walker's story in particular is suspect and looks highly coercive. BY's succession looks rather suspicious.

Social issues weren't really a big deal until recently. Then I found out that gay->straight conversion therapy has no known success stories and is deeply emotionally damaging, that mixed orientation marriages are disastrous, and realized that celibacy will never be satisfying in a family-obsessed church. When my gay married coworker came out to me (he's not totally public about it due to his unsupportive parents) a little while ago, it made me realize that I can no longer stand by the church on this issue.

Even as a guy, modesty has left quite a bit of collateral damage on me. I was once a staunch defender of modesty. Then I saw the bloggernacle and realized that maybe it wasn't so good. I have since realized that the teachings have made me judgmental and obsessive about the clothing choices of women (I need to deprogram that at the very least) and they have no theological or scriptural basis whatsoever. The church's views on sexuality and general prudishness of the culture (especially in the US) are unhelpful and sometimes even damaging. Scott Cannon's story really resonated with me because I have "struggled" with masturbation for about 4 years. As a YM, my bishop told me not to take the sacrament because I masturbated. I came to find out on my mission that that wasn't what all bishops do that- in fact I would venture to say that most don't. At any rate, I concluded at the beginning of the year that masturbation is not a sin and that it is perfectly healthy in moderation. (i.e. once/day or less) I have felt much happier as a result. You can reasonably throw porn under the same umbrella. While much of it is created in unethical ways and it can be bad for relationships, it's not the slippery slope or destructive poison the church says it is. I don't think I believe that premarital sex is wrong. It can be stupid in many cases, sure (especially teen sex), but it's not this horrific evil.

Since my shelf broke, everything I once believed has been falling apart. I am okay with this. I am at peace with probably leaving the church. I'm making a slow, cautious exit and giving God ample opportunity to stop me if that's his plan. Then again, at this point even if the Mormon God is the true god, I don't think I really want to associate with the kind of god that tears people from their families if they don't jump through the right hoops. Or one that doesn't love us all unconditionally. Or one that demands loyalty before integrity (*cough* Abraham and Isaac *cough*). Call me a blasphemer, but I'm better than that kind of god. The god I came to know on my mission was never that petty. Is that god the true god? I don't know, but I hope he is. I hope there is an afterlife led by an omniloving duo of parental equals. Does that mean I believe it? No, but I want to believe in a unconditionally loving heavenly mother and father. I guess that makes me agnostic.
Integrity is more important than loyalty.

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Ghost
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Re: The next step of my faith transition

Post by Ghost » Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:29 pm

Welcome to the site. Thanks for sharing your story and your thoughts. It's always interesting to me how everyone weighs various issues differently. Something that is no big deal (or at least can be explained sufficiently) to one person is the breaking point for someone else.
Perfigliano wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:21 pm
I don't forget facts easily, so it never made sense to me why you supposedly needed to keep reading the scriptures and stuff to maintain a testimony. It always looked a bit suspicious- like brainwashing.
This is interesting to think about. Faith must be constantly tended, like a garden. It can die from neglect or damage due to sin. Sometimes people assume that those who lose their faith weren't willing to put in the effort to maintain it. If they only knew how focused one's study and prayer can become in an attempt to salvage a testimony. And, of course, it's easy to reach a point where scriptures are not helpful at all and you end up looking for ways to prop them up along with everything else.

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slavereeno
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Re: The next step of my faith transition

Post by slavereeno » Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:44 pm

Thanks for sharing your story and thoughts, welcome!

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alas
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Re: The next step of my faith transition

Post by alas » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:36 pm

This is the first time I have ever heard it in words that the temple video fails the Bechdel test. I mean, it is obvious, but we usually don't evealuate it that way. The Book of Mormon fails too, as does general conference and most sacrament meetings. In fact, the lack of women in the BoM proves it is fiction because in real life women are necessary. I had an AP English teacher back in highschool, back before the flood, but she said that ONLY men write fiction in which women do not exist, or exist as tokens. She named some prominent male authors and pointed out the glaring lack of females. That was when I realized the BOM was fiction. I never got past that realization.

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moksha
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Re: The next step of my faith transition

Post by moksha » Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:44 pm

Perfigliano wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:21 pm
Then I found out that gay->straight conversion therapy has no known success stories and is deeply emotionally damaging, ...
Church Elders couldn't actually watch the movie Clockwork Orange, but they were allowed to reenact it in a laboratory setting.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

Thoughtful
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Re: The next step of my faith transition

Post by Thoughtful » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:37 am

alas wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:36 pm
This is the first time I have ever heard it in words that the temple video fails the Bechdel test. I mean, it is obvious, but we usually don't evealuate it that way. The Book of Mormon fails too, as does general conference and most sacrament meetings. In fact, the lack of women in the BoM proves it is fiction because in real life women are necessary. I had an AP English teacher back in highschool, back before the flood, but she said that ONLY men write fiction in which women do not exist, or exist as tokens. She named some prominent male authors and pointed out the glaring lack of females. That was when I realized the BOM was fiction. I never got past that realization.
Great point. And also the Bible for that matter.

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w2mz
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Re: The next step of my faith transition

Post by w2mz » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:01 am

Perfigliano wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:21 pm
I'm in my mid 20s and single...
Welcome to NOM.

Congratulations on figuring it out at this point in your life. You sound thoughtful and well spoken.

Make sure that if/when you do pursue a relationship that you and your SO are on the same page with both your religious views, that you understand and support each other. This can save you years of potential heartache.
The church has engineered your eternal family into a commodity that can be purchased with an annual fee. The fact that full tithing payment is a requirement for saving ordinances is the biggest red flag imaginable. Hagoth

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wtfluff
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Re: The next step of my faith transition

Post by wtfluff » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:34 am

Image

Welcome Perfigliano. Thank you to you (and others) who have taught me of the Bechdel test.

One more slightly shocking thing I've never heard of in more than 40 years inside my (almost impenetrable) mormon bubble. :x
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

Sometimes Darkness Can Show You The Light...

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Perfigliano
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Re: The next step of my faith transition

Post by Perfigliano » Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:34 pm

moksha wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:44 pm
Perfigliano wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:21 pm
Then I found out that gay->straight conversion therapy has no known success stories and is deeply emotionally damaging, ...
Church Elders couldn't actually watch the movie Clockwork Orange, but they were allowed to reenact it in a laboratory setting.
And I went to that school... I got a good education, but I'm no longer proud of the association, partly because BY was an awful person and partly because of the electroshock therapy.

I'll have to watch that movie now that I no longer care about movie ratings. :lol:
Integrity is more important than loyalty.

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Linked
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Re: The next step of my faith transition

Post by Linked » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:58 am

Welcome to NOM, I look forward to your posts.
Perfigliano wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:21 pm
...went on a stateside mission. It was an overall good experience which helped me to become the man I am today, but I dealt with a lot of depression and anxiety trying to live up to the impossible mission standards. It took me about a year to finally get over my disobedient points and forgive myself. Depression runs in my family, so it would be unfair to blame that on the church, but it certainly didn't do much to help and may have actually contributed to it. But I took it all very seriously.
Does the church also run in your family? Correlation isn't causation, but still...

(My apologies if that was in bad taste)


Perfigliano wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:34 pm
moksha wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:44 pm
Perfigliano wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:21 pm
Then I found out that gay->straight conversion therapy has no known success stories and is deeply emotionally damaging, ...
Church Elders couldn't actually watch the movie Clockwork Orange, but they were allowed to reenact it in a laboratory setting.
And I went to that school... I got a good education, but I'm no longer proud of the association, partly because BY was an awful person and partly because of the electroshock therapy.

I'll have to watch that movie now that I no longer care about movie ratings. :lol:
A Clockwork Orange was one of the movies I watched after coming out of my mormon shell, it was pretty shocking (no pun intended). But it makes you think.
"I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order" - Kurt Vonnegut

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Perfigliano
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Re: The next step of my faith transition

Post by Perfigliano » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:51 pm

Linked wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:58 am
Welcome to NOM, I look forward to your posts.
Perfigliano wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:21 pm
...went on a stateside mission. It was an overall good experience which helped me to become the man I am today, but I dealt with a lot of depression and anxiety trying to live up to the impossible mission standards. It took me about a year to finally get over my disobedient points and forgive myself. Depression runs in my family, so it would be unfair to blame that on the church, but it certainly didn't do much to help and may have actually contributed to it. But I took it all very seriously.
Does the church also run in your family? Correlation isn't causation, but still...

(My apologies if that was in bad taste)
No offense taken. And yes. My mom's side is pioneer stock. One of my ancestors joined in the Kirtland days. (Though like I said, I want to be anonymous right now, so I won't tell who it is)

Also, I love your avatar. I'm a huge Zelda fan.
Integrity is more important than loyalty.

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