The End of the World: August 2020

If you are new to the board or simply have something new in your life, come let us know in the Introductions forum.
Post Reply
User avatar
Five
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2020 5:13 am
Location: The Aaronic Priesthood Restoration Country

The End of the World: August 2020

Post by Five » Tue Oct 13, 2020 7:16 pm

...well, okay, that's an exaggeration. But when you have a faith crisis it can certainly feel like the end of the world.

I wasn't looking to poke holes. I wasn't looking for anything. It just...happened.

Granted, I've been inactive since December 2018 but I've gone through periods like this before where the pressures of worthiness and shame drive me to take a break from the church. But this last bit of inactivity and the one I had before during 2008-2016, in my heart, I still had a testimony of the church. Being raised in the church, the doctrine of the premortal existence and the three glories of the afterlife, with God and Christ testing us on this earth life right in the middle, has been a defining feature of my identity for as long as I can remember. Even if I took some time away and drank coffee and watched R-rated horror movies, I never denied the truth of the Book of Mormon and my doctrinal place in the plan of salvation.

I was intrigued, you see, by the court decision back in June or July when they handed over half of Oklahoma to the Native American reservation based on some technicality in an old treaty. My RM brother theorized this might be the prophesy in the BoM about the Lamanites rising up as a great nation in the last days. Feeling freaked out by Covid as everyone is, I decided to look up youtube videos talking about LDS prophesies for the last days. I found and watched a couple but they were as dry as going and reading the information myself would likely be.

Apparently, to the youtube algorithim, "Mormon" and "Ex-Mormon" are exactly alike, or it attempted to give me an opposing viewpoint to even out my searches, because I stumbled on one of those silly exmo videos, "10 things Mormons won't tell you." I went, "oh, really?" smirking cavalier, seeking to debunk their twisted idea of doctrine and false perceptions and have a laugh at how privileged I was, even inactive and drinking coffee, having the fullness of truth in my holster. In the video, they mentioned things that I instantly regarded as bad faith framing(the defense mechanism I had been conditioned to employ in regards to anti-Mormon propaganda) and cited some of their sources as being the Gospel Topics Essays, showing on churchofjesuschrist.org where these essays could be found.

"Pfffttt! ...wait...what...?"

I went there. I read them.

"That is not even close to what they said!! They taught me other things! ...I'm 33! I went to BYU-I!! Why didn't this ever come up?? Why are these here??"

Suddenly, I was reading the CES letter and FAIR Mormon, jumping back and forth between them, trying desperately to fill in the gaps. It started out looking for what the exmo view was and trying to find the LDS apologetics to refute it. Protect me! Save me from these crumbling mounds of earth beneath my feet! FAIR did more harm than good, throwing contradictory points at me that pointed to a failing in logic that I had taken for granted while actively going to church. Soon my journey shifted, searching for apologetics and then seeking out the points that refuted them. Often, like FAIR did, the explanations trying to cover all angles ended up revealing the lie by contradicting each other.

This all happened the 1 and 2 of August of this year, filling my month with confusion, despair, and anger. I have to admit, the anger burned hot like a star but died like a super nova after the start of this month.

I have talked with exmos, commiserating as I discovered each new point of history and truth that had been excluded from my teaching, feeling free to express my white hot fury over this abusive betrayal. I have talked with Christians, figuring out what is missing if all that unique Mormon doctrine was bunk. I watched Evangelists talk about outreach for Mormons on youtube, bolstered by their logical breakdowns of why things don't add up, and turned off by their desire to convert LDS because it felt too familiar(how about you just worry about telling me and others the truth and don't worry about your church's numbers). I have read a lot of anti-Mormon propaganda that I was warned against and found a richness to the history of the United States that the church and U.S. public education never gave me. I have come to understand Joseph Smith as so much more complex than the Jesus 2.0 he was portrayed as.

I'm not angry anymore but there is no one in my life I can talk to. As stated, my younger brother is an RM. My family is heavily and devoutly involved with the church. They would take my family from me if I told them what I truly feel. It would destroy lives if I actually convinced anybody of the truth. As betrayed as I feel by the church for its deceptions and manipulation of me and my faith, I feel the risks of everything I would lose if I spoke out loud outweigh the damage of my own part in continuing the charade. Besides that...I've always been a dreamer, never fitting with the framework of the church. There are family members who seem to thrive within the church. It's not for everyone but it is for some people.

Anyway, sorry for the lengthy biography. I am here because I do not believe but I must remain silent in my real life.

User avatar
græy
Posts: 993
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:52 pm
Location: Central TX

Re: The End of the World: August 2020

Post by græy » Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:27 am

Welcome, Five!

For me, those first few weeks after realizing the church isn't all it claims to be were scary, frustrating, and a bit mind-numbing. I found it very difficult to hold back and not share at small bits of all this new information I was finding. I quickly realized that no one really cared to listen to it, some were resentful that I brought anything up at all, even otherwise innocuous information.

NOM is safe though. Feel free to vent and find friendship here.

You say you are not angry anymore, this is a lot of progress. Not everyone is the same, but be ready for that anger to come and go for some time yet. Four+ years into my "faith crisis" and I have mostly good days, but the angry days are still deep and painful.

I look forward to hearing from you again!
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

User avatar
Corsair
Posts: 2947
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:58 am
Location: Phoenix

Re: The End of the World: August 2020

Post by Corsair » Wed Oct 14, 2020 12:58 pm

Five wrote:
Tue Oct 13, 2020 7:16 pm
I'm not angry anymore but there is no one in my life I can talk to. As stated, my younger brother is an RM. My family is heavily and devoutly involved with the church. They would take my family from me if I told them what I truly feel. It would destroy lives if I actually convinced anybody of the truth. As betrayed as I feel by the church for its deceptions and manipulation of me and my faith, I feel the risks of everything I would lose if I spoke out loud outweigh the damage of my own part in continuing the charade. Besides that...I've always been a dreamer, never fitting with the framework of the church. There are family members who seem to thrive within the church. It's not for everyone but it is for some people.

Anyway, sorry for the lengthy biography. I am here because I do not believe but I must remain silent in my real life.
I have all possible empathy for your situation. A faith transition is difficult and we are glad you ended up here. At this point you may know more about church history than most of the apostles. You are in the period where reading everything about church history becomes endlessly fascinating. This is really hard and your best path for happiness is to lean into being comfortable with the discomfort. Your family is being held hostage to some degree. The transition for your family learning and empathizing with your new beliefs is going to be a long process that might not every truly be complete.

Emotional validation is certainly one of those things that you deeply want from your believing family and friends. I have to caution you that tethering your personal happiness with getting validation from your believing family, your LDS leaders, or your ward members is a bad idea. Because it's probably never going to happen. You probably fantasize about presenting the facts about BoA origins, BoM anachronisms, or plural marriage atrocities and having your bishop/wife/parent/friend and having them thank you for presenting the truth to them. You would love to enlighten people around you that you love. It won't work. Don't do it. That path ends in heartache and loneliness.

The numerous mixed-faith marriages on this forum can attest that trying to confront your spouse is filled with feelings of betrayal. Those feelings go both ways. It's not that you should not eventually let your spouse know, but it must be approached with kindness towards them and acceptance that most likely they are not changing their beliefs.

Still, despite all the warnings of the thorny path of faith transition, virtually all of us have not desire to return. It's largely impossible to retain that orthodox testimony after your August. Building a new basis for belief and understanding is the path towards a new level of happiness.

There is a lot more that I could say, but I'm interested in your questions and how you are attempting to deal with this.

User avatar
Hagoth
Posts: 4727
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: The End of the World: August 2020

Post by Hagoth » Wed Oct 14, 2020 2:59 pm

Welcome to NOM, Five! There are a lot of people here who can relate very directly, and often painfully, to your story. I really enjoyed reading your introduction. I hope you will stick around and share your experiences and insights!
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

User avatar
Five
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2020 5:13 am
Location: The Aaronic Priesthood Restoration Country

Re: The End of the World: August 2020

Post by Five » Wed Oct 14, 2020 3:11 pm

Thank you for the welcomes!
græy wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:27 am
Welcome, Five!

You say you are not angry anymore, this is a lot of progress. Not everyone is the same, but be ready for that anger to come and go for some time yet. Four+ years into my "faith crisis" and I have mostly good days, but the angry days are still deep and painful.

I look forward to hearing from you again!
Thank you for bringing this up. It's something I should keep in mind that I might never really be fully healed from this trauma and to curb my expectations for when that occasional anger comes up. Because just a few weeks ago I was still angry in that "Learned something new that put the church leadership into context" sort of way. It'll be a long process especially with my awakening shoved in a closet as it currently is. Talk about eternal progression, yeah? :D

User avatar
wtfluff
Posts: 2768
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:20 pm
Location: Worshiping Gravity / Pulling Taffy

Re: The End of the World: August 2020

Post by wtfluff » Wed Oct 14, 2020 3:44 pm

Image
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

The Beauty of Gray

User avatar
Five
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2020 5:13 am
Location: The Aaronic Priesthood Restoration Country

Re: The End of the World: August 2020

Post by Five » Wed Oct 14, 2020 3:57 pm

Corsair wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 12:58 pm
The numerous mixed-faith marriages on this forum can attest that trying to confront your spouse is filled with feelings of betrayal. Those feelings go both ways. It's not that you should not eventually let your spouse know, but it must be approached with kindness towards them and acceptance that most likely they are not changing their beliefs.

Still, despite all the warnings of the thorny path of faith transition, virtually all of us have not desire to return. It's largely impossible to retain that orthodox testimony after your August. Building a new basis for belief and understanding is the path towards a new level of happiness.

There is a lot more that I could say, but I'm interested in your questions and how you are attempting to deal with this.
Thank you for your counsel on this issue. It is what I suspected might happen if I were to broach the topic. I know how I would have reacted as an active member in a live conversation about these topics, even from somebody I love and who I know well. It took my quiet confrontation of these ideas and sources, this very private research and study of truth for me to unpack it in my head. And really, you can't do that for someone else.

It IS an exhilarating part of the study! I'm reading Fawn Brodie's book right now but some of my favorites to listen to on Youtube are Sandra Tanner and Dan Vogel. John Dehlin is pretty good too although the absurdly long podcasts can sometimes be a bit much.

Right now, I'm going back through the pages of the Doctrinal board here and just clicking on and reading old topics that interest me. They're full of source links, interesting questions, in-church encounters and experiences, and humor. Good night! You guys are funny! It has been beneficial for me to observe these thoughts I have had, issues I've encountered with the church narrative and apologetics, being picked apart and theories put forth by regular folks like me who have researched the truth like me.

Things that still plague me on occasion, like phantoms in the dark, are in regards to obedience, humility, and being inviting to the Spirit. Like, what if I'm just being really prideful and trusting to my own understanding? I wasn't active when my faith crisis happened. I'm not a hellion or a hedonist but watching GoT and drinking coffee is supposedly "unclean" behavior. What if I fell prey to these doubts because I didn't have the Spirit with me when I encountered anti propaganda. What are my expectations for a prophet? Are they really too high? That sort of thing. So, I have to grapple with the understanding of what a cult does to manipulate members into that emotional and thought control, even as I disprove to myself how below standard the presidency actually is.

I was thinking about posting my rambling thoughts as I processed myself out of Christianity/religion altogether but I am not sure it is a "discussion" topic.

I find myself putting pins in American history, in ways I never did before, like Joseph Smith's life highlights(1820, 1827, 1830, 1834, etc.) are a new version of time telling like B.C. and A.D. Anytime anyone in non-church related circumstances brings up dates of events(usually from the 18th century to the 20th century), I see it in relation to "what was Joe doing then? How long after he died did this(other event) take place?"

I find the occult origins the most fascinating thing about this research, simply because this was not something I knew about American history, let alone the church. It tears through this glamorized, simple life vision of settlers and early citizens like paper when you think of them as superstitious and deceitful.

My questions right now are poking at the puzzle pieces regarding

• the Great Apostasy and the Restoration and the logical contradictions inherent in that
• the origins of the BoM and every theory we can put together about that
• early church leaders and why David Whitmer and Cowdery left when Sidney Rigdon became Joseph's new pal
• theology of the plan of salvation and why I was supposed to want that
• the BITE model lining up with Mormon culture

Right now, researching keeps me somewhat sane. I get excited to talk about this or that tidbit, so, having someplace to talk with others about it will help.

Hagoth wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 2:59 pm
Welcome to NOM, Five! There are a lot of people here who can relate very directly, and often painfully, to your story. I really enjoyed reading your introduction. I hope you will stick around and share your experiences and insights!
Thank you very much!

User avatar
Hagoth
Posts: 4727
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: The End of the World: August 2020

Post by Hagoth » Thu Oct 15, 2020 1:06 pm

Five wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 3:57 pm
...watching GoT and drinking coffee is supposedly "unclean" behavior.
Yeah, you're talking about grown-up entertainment and grown-up beverages. You are not allowed to grow up in the church. Grown-ups are too hard to boss around.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

User avatar
Linked
Posts: 1117
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 4:04 pm

Re: The End of the World: August 2020

Post by Linked » Thu Oct 15, 2020 3:23 pm

Welcome to NOM Five! I'm glad to hear that initial anger is subsiding for you, it takes a while to recover from that first realization of the massive betrayal you have been living in. It's almost like the Truman Show. But like others have said, you may still encounter angry days as you discover more, or as you think about something differently, or when you realize another way your church upbringing made you into something you don't want to be, or when you suspect that what your sister meant by "I've been thinking about you lately" really means "I've been trying to think of what I can do to get you back to church."
Five wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 3:57 pm
Things that still plague me on occasion, like phantoms in the dark, are in regards to obedience, humility, and being inviting to the Spirit. Like, what if I'm just being really prideful and trusting to my own understanding? I wasn't active when my faith crisis happened. I'm not a hellion or a hedonist but watching GoT and drinking coffee is supposedly "unclean" behavior. What if I fell prey to these doubts because I didn't have the Spirit with me when I encountered anti propaganda.
I have had similar feelings. Like a small panic that maybe I am wrong and believing me was right. But those moments have faded and become rare. When my shelf broke I had not been reading my scriptures very diligently for a while, and I didn't let the church run my life completely. I did attend church every week and I did my callings pretty well, but I let myself have a little distance from the church on the inside. I wondered if maybe my faith crisis was because I had let distance grow between me and the lord.

But when those moments come I remember the plethora of reasons I think I am right and keep going. And I remember that everyone could always do more, so that means that no one could escape these feelings. I have largely discarded church standards of right and wrong and follow my own; which includes coffee and GoT not being an issue. Based on what you've written you are well on your way to that as well.

Good luck in your journey!
"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

User avatar
Corsair
Posts: 2947
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:58 am
Location: Phoenix

Re: The End of the World: August 2020

Post by Corsair » Fri Oct 16, 2020 12:26 am

Five wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 3:57 pm
My questions right now are poking at the puzzle pieces regarding

• the Great Apostasy and the Restoration and the logical contradictions inherent in that
The Great Apostasy is the problematic subject with the fewest apologetic defenses. Joseph Smith's status as Prophet depends critically on having a Great Apostasy, otherwise there is not point for him. Mormons are almost willfully uninformed that Peter, James, and John were effectively succeeded by Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp. Do five minutes of Wikipedia research on those guys alone and you can talk on a subject that will frighten 99% of Mormons.

I grant that the majority of Christians also remain ignorant of the early leaders of their faith. But they will happily accept that Athanasius, Anthony, and Benedict (among many others) played an important role in early Christianity. Mormons are threatened by the existence of men like these. They have to radically downplay their role and claim that they had profoundly lost the truth.

But this is just my interest. Your other questions have plenty of LDS-themed podcasts, books, and Sunstone presentations on them. Your disappointment will be how your believing friends and family will go out of their way to not listen to what you say about early Christianity beyond the death of the original apostles. Knowing these stories threatens their testimony of Joseph's Restoration even as it potentially deepens a testimony of Jesus.

If you know about early Christianity and the lack of evidence of a Great Apostasy, you can figure out what you still do and don't believe. The travails and challenges of Mormonism feel irrelevant after you understand the much broader struggles of Christianity. You can use that knowledge to come to the best long-term attitude towards the LDS church: indifference. The biggest fear of the modern LDS church is not persecution or strife, it's becoming irrelevant. Being ignored is their great fear.

The LDS church might be useful to you and it might do some good in your world but you don't have to tether your spirituality or well-being or happiness to it any longer. You won't need to go around trying to convince anyone to stop being LDS. Instead, you simply have a precipitously high bar for them to convince you to follow every crazy LDS requirement. Live happily and let the Mormons in your life live like they want. Plus, you have a solid basis for working with the few friends and family members who do come to you for advice once they understand that Mormon Uber Alles is not your philosophy.

User avatar
Five
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2020 5:13 am
Location: The Aaronic Priesthood Restoration Country

Re: The End of the World: August 2020

Post by Five » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:24 pm

Corsair wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 12:26 am
Five wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 3:57 pm
My questions right now are poking at the puzzle pieces regarding

• the Great Apostasy and the Restoration and the logical contradictions inherent in that
The Great Apostasy is the problematic subject with the fewest apologetic defenses. Joseph Smith's status as Prophet depends critically on having a Great Apostasy, otherwise there is not point for him. Mormons are almost willfully uninformed that Peter, James, and John were effectively succeeded by Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp. Do five minutes of Wikipedia research on those guys alone and you can talk on a subject that will frighten 99% of Mormons.

I grant that the majority of Christians also remain ignorant of the early leaders of their faith. But they will happily accept that Athanasius, Anthony, and Benedict (among many others) played an important role in early Christianity. Mormons are threatened by the existence of men like these. They have to radically downplay their role and claim that they had profoundly lost the truth.

But this is just my interest. Your other questions have plenty of LDS-themed podcasts, books, and Sunstone presentations on them. Your disappointment will be how your believing friends and family will go out of their way to not listen to what you say about early Christianity beyond the death of the original apostles. Knowing these stories threatens their testimony of Joseph's Restoration even as it potentially deepens a testimony of Jesus.

If you know about early Christianity and the lack of evidence of a Great Apostasy, you can figure out what you still do and don't believe. The travails and challenges of Mormonism feel irrelevant after you understand the much broader struggles of Christianity. You can use that knowledge to come to the best long-term attitude towards the LDS church: indifference. The biggest fear of the modern LDS church is not persecution or strife, it's becoming irrelevant. Being ignored is their great fear.

The LDS church might be useful to you and it might do some good in your world but you don't have to tether your spirituality or well-being or happiness to it any longer. You won't need to go around trying to convince anyone to stop being LDS. Instead, you simply have a precipitously high bar for them to convince you to follow every crazy LDS requirement. Live happily and let the Mormons in your life live like they want. Plus, you have a solid basis for working with the few friends and family members who do come to you for advice once they understand that Mormon Uber Alles is not your philosophy.
I'll make a thread sometime but it's not even that other Christians with more religious history knowledge make the idea of a Great Apostasy look like a five year old telling them "facts" based on his experience of the world. Although, believe me, my time on Christian Forums was fruitful in that discovery. There's holes in it that Mormons admit to but cannot see because of cognitive dissonance.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests