Shared my disaffection in Sacrament Meeting today

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nomnv
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Shared my disaffection in Sacrament Meeting today

Post by nomnv » Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:58 am

Not sharing specifics about who/where I am for privacy’s sake but I recently went in to get my temple recommend renewed and they asked me to give a talk. I’m generally comfortable now with just saying no to stuff but I kinda wanted to do it.

So I wrote a talk that was as faithful as I could give (not really the type to accept the assignment and then just trash the church) but I definitely had some things I wanted to express.

Borrowed a bunch of Bushman and Patrick Mason. Described Bushman’s two general groups that leave the church.

Main points:

People who have doubts and/or leave have legitimate issues and they’re doing their best to live with integrity as they’ve been taught at church. These issues often include the role of women in our church, our history on race, the church hurting LGBT individuals and the origins of the Book of Mormon. (I personally thought it was important to name specific things or the talk wasn’t meaningful)

People who doubt or leave aren’t automatically lazy, sinful or easily offended and we should stop saying that, including in general conference.

We say “I know” a lot in testimony meetings about stuff that I definitely don’t know (and I implied that it’s impossible to really know).

You can’t explain away peoples issues, there aren’t easy answers to all these things and that can be difficult to handle when we give people more room to work through their doubts but we have to let them do it.

......

That’s basically it. I wrote an initial draft that I read to my wife and she was have helpful points on where I should pull back (Abraham, criticism of church essays, etc.) and try to give credit or folks would just turn off.

I read the crowd as I went and it definitely seemed like some folks weren’t comfortable but also that many were really listening.

Afterward, I asked the Bishop if it was okay and he said “That was a good topic for us.” Many folks that I had in mind while writing it reached out to thank me, which I hope means I did some good. Part of it was cathartic to just get some stuff of my chest but I hope anyone there who is more NOMish and is choosing to stick around thought “that person is safe if I need to talk” and maybe I made one meeting a little easier for them if I was sharing ideas they’ve had as well.

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jfro18
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Re: Shared my disaffection in Sacrament Meeting today

Post by jfro18 » Sun Jul 14, 2019 11:50 am

Very cool - and amazing you have a Bishop that was accepting and supportive of the talk you gave.

One thing I've learned quickly since putting up the website is how many closet ex-Mos there are... I live in the midwest where Mormons are insignificant, and in the last six months I've talked to 5 people now in the same ward who no longer believe.

There's no slowing down the problems for the church, and your talk is one that honestly is needed to be heard from church leaders because the number of mixed faith families is going to continue to rise.

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Linked
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Re: Shared my disaffection in Sacrament Meeting today

Post by Linked » Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:02 am

That talk sounds awesome, I wish I had been there to hear it.

It sounds like a tough needle to thread, between the all-in TBM and the reality of a faith transition, but I like your main points. The all-in TBMs were probably unhappy with the talk and will think you are a reclamation project, but the progressive and NOM-types probably thought it was a breath of fresh air. I imagine the line about what should/shouldn't be said in general conference set off some alarm bells in people's heads.
"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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Evil_Bert
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Re: Shared my disaffection in Sacrament Meeting today

Post by Evil_Bert » Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:03 am

Once in a while I wish that they would ask me to speak so I could do this sort of thing. It won't happen and I probably wouldn't, but the thought is nice.
Illegitimi non carborundum.

nomnv
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Re: Shared my disaffection in Sacrament Meeting today

Post by nomnv » Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:51 pm

Linked wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:02 am
That talk sounds awesome, I wish I had been there to hear it.

It sounds like a tough needle to thread, between the all-in TBM and the reality of a faith transition, but I like your main points. The all-in TBMs were probably unhappy with the talk and will think you are a reclamation project, but the progressive and NOM-types probably thought it was a breath of fresh air. I imagine the line about what should/shouldn't be said in general conference set off some alarm bells in people's heads.
I don’t want to overstate how aggressive it was , so I should add that I also spent time encouraging people to stay and said I hope that many of these things are true so I’m soldiering on. It definitely came off as “the end goal is a more welcoming church” rather than “this place has big problems and who cares what happens to it.”

nomnv
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Re: Shared my disaffection in Sacrament Meeting today

Post by nomnv » Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:53 pm

Evil_Bert wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:03 am
Once in a while I wish that they would ask me to speak so I could do this sort of thing. It won't happen and I probably wouldn't, but the thought is nice.
It’s hard to know what to do and I definitely didn’t say everything I wanted nor everything as well as others would. The real question now is “what’s next?”

I don’t know how I’ll be treated. I figured I was already on a list since I don’t always attend, so I also saw this as a way to signal that the issue here isn’t that I need a home teacher to bear his testimony and then I’ll just snap into line.

But while speaking I wondered:

-is Bishop going to stop me?
-is he going to bear his testimony after I go to reinforce the traditional narrative?
-will the closing prayer be a talk to respond to me?

And none of that happened. It was nice but I also knew I’m lucky. One time in another ward I stood up during fast and testimony meeting to share the point about “some people say they know all this stuff but I can only say I hope for a few things” (all about Jesus) and the next guy gave a rally the troops “every fiber of my being! ...What other answer could there be?!” type testimony. Eyes couldn’t stop rolling during the performance.

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Linked
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Re: Shared my disaffection in Sacrament Meeting today

Post by Linked » Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:52 pm

nomnv wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:51 pm
Linked wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:02 am
That talk sounds awesome, I wish I had been there to hear it.

It sounds like a tough needle to thread, between the all-in TBM and the reality of a faith transition, but I like your main points. The all-in TBMs were probably unhappy with the talk and will think you are a reclamation project, but the progressive and NOM-types probably thought it was a breath of fresh air. I imagine the line about what should/shouldn't be said in general conference set off some alarm bells in people's heads.
I don’t want to overstate how aggressive it was , so I should add that I also spent time encouraging people to stay and said I hope that many of these things are true so I’m soldiering on. It definitely came off as “the end goal is a more welcoming church” rather than “this place has big problems and who cares what happens to it.”
Certainly, you can't stand up in sacrament meeting and blast the church. Well, I couldn't. But suggesting what should be covered in general conference is telling the leadership what to do, and we have been trained to take what we are given and be happy about it. It can make alarm bells go off when something else is suggested, even in a friendly way. Sounds like a great talk.
"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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Hagoth
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Re: Shared my disaffection in Sacrament Meeting today

Post by Hagoth » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:31 am

I'm so glad you did that, nomnv, it takes a lot of courage. I hope the fallout will be more positive than negative.
“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."

nomnv
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Re: Shared my disaffection in Sacrament Meeting today

Post by nomnv » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:05 am

Hagoth wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:31 am
I'm so glad you did that, nomnv, it takes a lot of courage. I hope the fallout will be more positive than negative.
Appreciate the kind words from folks here. Since we don’t have kids, negative social consequences will likely be less painful. I imagine I would’ve been more hesitant if it meant my hypothetical 4 year old daughter may not get asked over to play as much.

On the flip side, I’m guessing I won’t be called to work with the youth and teaching 16-17 year old Sunday School has been one of my favorite callings. Kids are perceptive of some of our issues, sometimes willing to challenge authority and I enjoyed encouraging them to think critically and letting them know they wouldn’t be judged for having unique views.

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