Dating an exmormon while struggling with faith

Discussions about negotiating relationships between faithful LDS believers and the apostates who love them. This applies in particular to mixed-faith marriages, but relations with children, parents, siblings, friends, and ward members is very welcome.
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Mirith
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Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:50 pm

Dating an exmormon while struggling with faith

Post by Mirith » Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:40 pm

TL;DR I'm struggling a little with my belief in the church and I can't tell if it's because of my boyfriend or if I'm really having doubts.

I've been dating an exmormon for a few months. He left because he read anti-mormon stuff online and started questioning things, as is usual for a lot of exmembers I think.

Going into the relationship, we both knew it'd be difficult given his very recent, quite emotional separation with the church and my active involvement in it. But we both respect each others' beliefs and neither of us consciously try to tear each other down. My boyfriend has said that of course he wants me to leave the church, but he's totally okay with me being active in the church as long as I don't try to reconvert him, which is obviously okay with me.

Everything has been awesome so far -- he's refreshing to spend time with and is very sweet despite his juvenile sense of humor :lol: .

But recently I've been wondering if I want to keep attending church. When I first started attending (I'm a convert, baptized a few months ago but I've been attending for a few years), everything about the church felt right.

I've since read the CES letter and I do lurk on /r/exmormon so I know of many arguments against every aspect of the church. I knew of them before I was baptized. I just sort of put things on a shelf in the back of my mind and rationalized some other things.

And now my boyfriend is sort of a constant reminder of someone who left the church, who's read the same stuff as me and came out on the other side of the debate. I'm not sure if this is just a natural ebb and flow of faith for me or if it's because of him.

I don't want to go inactive in the church, eventually break up with him, and realize that I didn't lose faith in the church ie I had just been influenced indirectly by him. But I don't want to stay active in church and realize later that I should have left because I simply don't believe anymore.

I feel like I'm at a crossroads and that I need to make a decision before the stress of not choosing wears me down. Has anyone been in this situation? Or has any sort of advice? I know that no one can really tell me if I need to leave the church or not, but I have no idea what to do about this.

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alas
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Re: Dating an exmormon while struggling with faith

Post by alas » Fri Apr 14, 2017 12:12 pm

First of all, you don't have to decide right now. Give yourself permission to take all the time you need for this decision. There really is no huge hurry. The stress of the decision is something you are putting on yourself, and you didn't mention any reason to have to decide now. It sounds like you attended for a long time before baptism, and leaving should be done with equal time and consideration. Like you said, you don't want to go inactive and later figure out that it was all your boy friend's influence. We have a mantra around here of Go Slow. Don't rush into anything as far as the church goes until you are sure.

Second, look at yourself. What do you get out of church? Does it inspire and uplift you? Make you want to be a better person? Bring you closer to God? Does the doctrine make sense? Are you bothered by any of the history? Polygamy? There are still remnants of polygamy in the church today. How will you feel when you find them? What are your views on things like gay marriage and women's rights? Women's ordination to priesthood? Does truth or community matter most to you? Once you have answered these questions about yourself, you will be in a better position to know what is best for you.

How much do you and your boyfriend talk about church? If you spend a lot of time talking about it, then his influence is going to be stronger than if you hardly ever talk about it. But is his influence a bad thing? The church would tell you that it is. But if you are spending time at church and have friends who are in the church, then they will have an influence too. If you decide to never talk to apostates about why they left, then you only get one side of things, and may not have information to make the best choice for you. On the other hand, if you cut off contact with church, then you miss out on that information. This is why you need to give it enough time.

The church really is good for some people. But for others, it is just a bad fit. The church pretends to be good for everyone, but I really don't think that is true. So, you have really several things to decide. One might be, is the church really what it claims to be. If you really think it is, then that has to be your decision, because feeling that way a compromise is too hard. But if you think the church is a good organization that may or may not be perfect, then you can make your decision based on if you enjoy the meetings and the people.

And after being with this boy friend for a while, the newness will wear off and you can have a better perspective on his feelings separate from your feelings and you will be better able to see his influence as opposed to your own needs. The newness of the relationship kinds of fogs the thinking. So, really, I think you can just give it time and then you will know better how you feel and what is best for you.

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Mormorrisey
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Re: Dating an exmormon while struggling with faith

Post by Mormorrisey » Fri Apr 14, 2017 1:14 pm

alas wrote:
Fri Apr 14, 2017 12:12 pm
First of all, you don't have to decide right now. Give yourself permission to take all the time you need for this decision. There really is no huge hurry. The stress of the decision is something you are putting on yourself, and you didn't mention any reason to have to decide now. It sounds like you attended for a long time before baptism, and leaving should be done with equal time and consideration. Like you said, you don't want to go inactive and later figure out that it was all your boy friend's influence. We have a mantra around here of Go Slow. Don't rush into anything as far as the church goes until you are sure.

Second, look at yourself. What do you get out of church? Does it inspire and uplift you? Make you want to be a better person? Bring you closer to God? Does the doctrine make sense? Are you bothered by any of the history? Polygamy? There are still remnants of polygamy in the church today. How will you feel when you find them? What are your views on things like gay marriage and women's rights? Women's ordination to priesthood? Does truth or community matter most to you? Once you have answered these questions about yourself, you will be in a better position to know what is best for you.

How much do you and your boyfriend talk about church? If you spend a lot of time talking about it, then his influence is going to be stronger than if you hardly ever talk about it. But is his influence a bad thing? The church would tell you that it is. But if you are spending time at church and have friends who are in the church, then they will have an influence too. If you decide to never talk to apostates about why they left, then you only get one side of things, and may not have information to make the best choice for you. On the other hand, if you cut off contact with church, then you miss out on that information. This is why you need to give it enough time.

The church really is good for some people. But for others, it is just a bad fit. The church pretends to be good for everyone, but I really don't think that is true. So, you have really several things to decide. One might be, is the church really what it claims to be. If you really think it is, then that has to be your decision, because feeling that way a compromise is too hard. But if you think the church is a good organization that may or may not be perfect, then you can make your decision based on if you enjoy the meetings and the people.

And after being with this boy friend for a while, the newness will wear off and you can have a better perspective on his feelings separate from your feelings and you will be better able to see his influence as opposed to your own needs. The newness of the relationship kinds of fogs the thinking. So, really, I think you can just give it time and then you will know better how you feel and what is best for you.
I would have said something like this. But not as well.

So I'll just say, ditto. Great synopsis of how to go about this problem.
"And I don't need you...or, your homespun philosophies."
"And when you try to break my spirit, it won't work, because there's nothing left to break."

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w2mz
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Re: Dating an exmormon while struggling with faith

Post by w2mz » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:57 pm

Alas (as always) gave excellent advise so definitely take that to heart.

So, maybe more callous of a thought from me, but you have to know that whether you like it or not, you will be taught in lessons, talks, in classes and in the church hallways, that your then husband does not have the priesthood and therefore cannot bless you and your home. There was a GC talk a while ago where the sister said something to the effect of "I am more attracted to my husband because of his honoring his priesthood blah blah blah..." You will hear this and see the "perfect" Peter priesthoods at church when your DH will be home watching the game, he won't bless your babies, baptize your kids, ordain your sons, take you to the temple, etc. Can you live with another priesthood authority from the church doing all of that while DH sits on the side? Whether you realize it or not, the church is only about family if all parties are towing the line.

Ten or fifteen years down the road once the honeymoon phase is long gone, he's put on some stress weight and lost some hair, you may be wishing you had chosen differently.

Maybe not.

I can only speak for myself here. When DW and I got married all those years ago we were both TBM. Now two decades in and looking back, I'm not sure either of us would have chosen this.

Think carefully about what you want and the message you will be subject to from the church.

Good luck!
Signs except signs about signs prohibiting signs are prohibited.

Margarita
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat May 06, 2017 4:21 pm

Re: Dating an exmormon while struggling with faith

Post by Margarita » Tue May 16, 2017 3:35 pm

Take this as just an opinion okay? But if you really want to find out how you really feel about the church..then attend and avoid the guy for awhile. See if space and time doesn't allow you to think for yourself..and to make or break that shelf. I am a former mormon myself..but what I see if you leave the church under influence of your boyfriend...there will be some resentment; a human feeling that makes a relationship less honest and full of trust.

You could also go the other route..stay with your boyfriend and see if you miss the church..if there is something that you need from it..but follow YOUR heart..otherwise, you will lose the self that is you.

Hugs..Margarita

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