When the goal posts keep getting moved, is it worth discussing further?

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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jfro18
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When the goal posts keep getting moved, is it worth discussing further?

Post by jfro18 » Thu May 31, 2018 7:28 am

Since the missionaries decided to drop by for a second time the other day, I had another long conversation with my wife about what the missionaries said to me and how it made me feel about the church as a whole.

To give a super brief thing about the missionaries (there's a thread about it in Support), they told me that the reason I can't feel the spirit is because the adversary has a hold of me, and the reason that I can't receive revelation about why the Book of Abraham is true and why the Book of Mormon can have both tight and loose translation is because my spirit is not in tune with God.

Anyway... that made me feel like crap, not because the missionaries said it, but because I know my wife was raised to believe that too.

So I thought she knew the missionaries came by (we have a video doorbell and she usually checks when people come by), so I mentioned it casually (about our dog not being too well behaved around them) thinking she knew. She apparently did not...

Long story short, the last time we talked she had said that she doesn't care about the history because the scriptures are true. And that if I wanted to talk about that, she was open, but the history was a dead issue.

So that was weeks or a month ago. Yesterday I went over the Book of Abraham issues, Deutero-Isaiah, and JST translation ideas stolen from Clarke to her. I explained how the tight/loose translation stories can't co-exist, and neither one works. I did so in a way that I was explaining to the missionaries about those issues and they had no answers, and I felt bad for them because you could see them scrambling for something but knew there are no answers (they were genuinely perplexed about tight/loose translation).

Anyway... after that she then said she doesn't care if the BoA is a lie and the Deutero-Isaiah is true, because her spiritual experiences trump that. She said she wants to know the truth, but is reading books by Terryl Givens where he points out the few areas where the LDS church matches the "original" church... and how the LDS church was the one church to get baptism right (I pointed out that was an idea from Campbellites that Rigdon brought over w/ the priesthood restoration).

The question is... how far can you move the goal posts before you realize it can't possibly by true anymore?

I'm just confused at this point. I've tried not to talk to her about this stuff, but the missionaries kind of threw a wrench in the plans there. I don't think they'll be back again - I was super nice to them, but I think after going through a few issues with them they are pretty aware that I have done my homework and will not be convinced by a few scripture readings.

On the plus side, I am so happy our kid is not going right now, because I am seeing front and center what the church does to you and it is nothing but destructive to families and to your own self-worth.
Last edited by jfro18 on Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Reuben
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Re: When the goal posts keep getting moved, what's the point?

Post by Reuben » Thu May 31, 2018 8:04 am

jfro18 wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 7:28 am
The point is... how far can you move the goal posts? Clearly nothing I say is getting through to her, so what's the point? And if she now doesn't care if the history is true or if the scriptures are real... what is left?
Community, growth opportunities, purpose, and identity come to mind. Givens Mormons tend to add metaphysical attitudes like belief in an afterlife and in God's authority. The church predicates all of those things on its literalistic historical and scriptural claims, but that doesn't mean they necessarily require those literalistic claims.

In my experience, Givens Mormons are pretty easygoing. They're the liberal Protestants of Mormonism. They don't seem to need the church to be superior, church leaders to be effectively infallible, or apostates to be children of Satan. They seem to think for themselves more easily. They're one of two classes of Mormons that almost never make me angry. The other class is Mormon historians.

It can be a good plateau to pause or even stop at. What are the consequences if your wife stops there?

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jfro18
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Re: When the goal posts keep getting moved, what's the point?

Post by jfro18 » Thu May 31, 2018 8:51 am

Reuben wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 8:04 am
jfro18 wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 7:28 am
The point is... how far can you move the goal posts? Clearly nothing I say is getting through to her, so what's the point? And if she now doesn't care if the history is true or if the scriptures are real... what is left?
Community, growth opportunities, purpose, and identity come to mind. Givens Mormons tend to add metaphysical attitudes like belief in an afterlife and in God's authority. The church predicates all of those things on its literalistic historical and scriptural claims, but that doesn't mean they necessarily require those literalistic claims.

In my experience, Givens Mormons are pretty easygoing. They're the liberal Protestants of Mormonism. They don't seem to need the church to be superior, church leaders to be effectively infallible, or apostates to be children of Satan. They seem to think for themselves more easily. They're one of two classes of Mormons that almost never make me angry. The other class is Mormon historians.

It can be a good plateau to pause or even stop at. What are the consequences if your wife stops there?
The only consequences of her stopping there are that we'll always have that wedge between us, but that's something we've already had so not a new thing.

From the little I've seen of the Givens approach, it's similar to other new apologetics that basically say 'make the church whatever you need it to be in order to stay.' I know that's a super generalized statement, but she's effectively conceded that the prophet is no better than us but that someone needs to be making decisions, etc. It's just so frustrating that she literally won't even entertain that what I say has merit. I know the *why* to that, but it still feels really weird to know that even after 20+ years together I'm just not trusted enough on it.

But more to the point - I don't mean "what's the point" of the marriage... more just "what's the point" of trying to communicate about church if words/history/scriptures have no meaning? I feel like at some point it just needs to be me doing my thing and her doing hers with church and whatever wedge that creates, we just acknowledge there is just no closing it... there's just no middle ground if I'm spending hours reading FAIR/LDS Answers/Essays as she asked but she won't even look at a single thing.

This reminds me of politics lately where you have a predetermined belief and you'll hope from safe space to safe space to avoid the truth. It is what it is.
Last edited by jfro18 on Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Reuben
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Re: When the goal posts keep getting moved, what's the point?

Post by Reuben » Thu May 31, 2018 9:52 am

Ah, got it. Yeah, one of the most frustrating things to me about Givens Mormonism, and to a greater extent StayLDS Mormonism, is that they let meanings be so fluid and flexible that they're almost non-meanings. I tried being a StayLDS Mormon, but knowing that what I meant was so different from what was perceived drove me nuts. Some people can define "green" to mean "anything between red and blue" to get along, but apparently I can't. "Yes, I have a testimony of the restoration" can't mean "Yes, I think the church at least has more good in it than ISIS" to me.

Do you have evidence that she thinks you've been deceived by Satan, or agrees with any other harmful bullshit the church typically says about apostates? If not - if she's determined to respect your beliefs - and you're determined to respect hers, then religion won't be a wedge even if it's not common ground.

I wonder if her new interest in Givens is because she trusts you. She also has to trust herself and her community, because that's how humans roll. Maybe she feels pulled in all directions and is looking for a compromise.

That's what I think is going on with my wife, anyway. She's just started on Givens, too.

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nibbler
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Re: When the goal posts keep getting moved, what's the point?

Post by nibbler » Sat Jun 02, 2018 7:41 am

Is there a reason you're having these conversations with missionaries? They don't have any special powers, they are just children. Not to discount them entirely, from the mouth of babes and all that, but it's crazy how much authority we give missionaries. Missionaries. When it comes to these sorts of things, most of them only have life experiences that could best be described as "conditioning." Conditioning that came from SS lessons and seminary, the whitewashed, apologetic stuff. I don't think you're going to get anything out of them other than what you'd hear in a general conference talk. Why bother with them?

When the goal posts keep getting moved, what's the point?

I wonder why Charlie Brown keeps trying to kick that football. At some point you'd think he would see the futility in it and give up.

Is your wife insisting that you do things that you don't want to do? Like you don't want to have a calling but she's making you have a calling as a condition on your relationship. Or you don't want to attend church but she's making you attend church as a condition on your relationship. Can she be content with you holding a different opinion of the church?

Or does it go the other way? You don't want her to attend church but her attending is a condition on your relationship? Can you be content with her holding a different opinion of the church?

People believe what they are going to believe. It can be hard when you're in a relationship where one or more people in the relationship feel misunderstood.
We see things not as they are, but as we are ourselves. - H.M. Tomlinson

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jfro18
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Re: When the goal posts keep getting moved, what's the point?

Post by jfro18 » Sat Jun 02, 2018 9:54 am

nibbler wrote:
Sat Jun 02, 2018 7:41 am
Is there a reason you're having these conversations with missionaries? They don't have any special powers, they are just children. Not to discount them entirely, from the mouth of babes and all that, but it's crazy how much authority we give missionaries. Missionaries. When it comes to these sorts of things, most of them only have life experiences that could best be described as "conditioning." Conditioning that came from SS lessons and seminary, the whitewashed, apologetic stuff. I don't think you're going to get anything out of them other than what you'd hear in a general conference talk. Why bother with them?
They keep showing up - I have never asked them to... they came I think because they knew of my feelings, and when I told them I wasn't going to be able to be convinced and that I didn't want to dump that on them, they came back. I don't mind that, but that's why the conversations have been happening.
nibbler wrote:
Sat Jun 02, 2018 7:41 am
When the goal posts keep getting moved, what's the point?

I wonder why Charlie Brown keeps trying to kick that football. At some point you'd think he would see the futility in it and give up.

People believe what they are going to believe. It can be hard when you're in a relationship where one or more people in the relationship feel misunderstood.
Sorry I had deleted a response on this yesterday (was hoping to delete the thread as I was just venting, but apparently that's not an option). We're both just trying to get a feel for where we are at, and there are no conditions on either of us that we have to do anything. I have told her that my only hope is that some day she'll be willing to look at the reasons I left, but I know she's not ready (and may never be) to do so with even the smallest chance of entertaining it as real.

So when I mention why bother if the goal posts being moved, I meant more just about talking about this at all and not the relationship in any way. I shouldn't have deleted the other response - I was just thinking I could delete the thread since it was venting, but instead it just deleted the last reply. :lol:

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