As an active NOM, how do you engage the church?

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hiding in plain sight
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As an active NOM, how do you engage the church?

Post by hiding in plain sight » Fri Oct 28, 2016 6:36 am

I am one who is still active and holds a calling.

I was the HPGL for 4 years and just released within the past few months. I am currently a primary worker teaching with my wife, which turns out to be a lot of fun.

But here are a few rules about how I engage the church.

1) Since I am choosing to stay active (for my wife) for the foreseeable future, I have chosen NOT to disclose anything of substance to my leaders. I do NOT trust that they have my best interests at heart. Even if I did win the leader roulette game, you can't unring the bell.

2) I never say anything that is untrue. I never fake my comments. This usually means, I am more silent than I would have been as a TBM. For example, last night my current HPGL asked me to participate in a PPI. Yeah. I know. But I decided to go just for fun anyway. He read a nice quote about the priesthood and its eternal nature, blah, blah, blah. He then asked me how I felt about that. Since I don't believe that priesthood is real, I said something like this. "I don't know about that. But let me tell you about how much I love to meditate and how significant that is in my life right now." He seemed to like my response and didn't notice the "pivot".

3) I step away from church from time to time for my own sanity. Last year I only really attended my own ward 50% of the time, even as the HPGL. I had great reasons for why this happened, but a lot of it was manufactured reasons, on purpose by me. But it goes a long way to helping me cope and stay in a healthier place.

4) I will be open to those who want to know. I will also say things like, "I am an unorthodox mormon" or "I am borderline heretical". By doing this I feel that I am being honest and authentic without having to disclose anything of substance to leaders or those around me. And after having said things like this more than a few hundred times, not one single mormon has asked me what that means. They don't really want to know, but it helps me to feel more authentic and honest.

5) I try to support the faith journey of those around me and actively strive to find common ground. The turning point for me and my wife was when I stopped trashing the church on a regular basis and began finding ways to support her in her faith journey. I am glad for this insight. Our marriage is much happier than it was during the first 2 years of me waking up.



So what strategies do you use to engage with the church or TBMs around you?

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Re: As an active NOM, how do you engage the church?

Post by Corsair » Fri Oct 28, 2016 8:28 am

Your five rules are pretty accurate for how I operate also. But I think I have progressed further into my apostasy and I am at a point where I am not looking to hold any more callings. I absolutely accept the LDS church as a good social group, but so much of the interaction is based on supporting LDS teachings that no longer interest me. Missionary work, temple work, and family history all are in the category of activities that I simply don't want to do.

There is one thing I do in addition to what you eloquently outlined above. I don't bring up my disbelief unless someone asks about it. Virtually no one at church really wants to know what I feel about the LDS church. It has ceased to really be an interesting discussion to me in favor of simply living for better, practical reasons. Most Mormons have pretty thin skin about their beliefs and they will retreat to being personally offended pretty quickly if you openly doubt a prophet, seer, or revelator. I simply don't go around trying to tell the kids there is no Santa Claus and I don't drink coffee in front of believers. I'm fairly open about my disregard for Sabbath Day restrictions and my appreciation for "Game of Thrones" and "South Park" but those are suspiciously tolerated as long as I don't invite others to join me.

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Re: As an active NOM, how do you engage the church?

Post by Batman » Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:25 am

I am active and hold a calling in the primary. I do not attend any extra priesthood (stake/ward) or other meetings, and I do not hold a temple recommend. I attend SM to suport my DW and try to have as much fun as possible with the primary kids, while teaching them how to live the golden rule. I have not spoken in church for years and turn down offers to pray when asked. I tipped my hand recently to the bishop, but that probably deserves a separate post.

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Re: As an active NOM, how do you engage the church?

Post by Korihor » Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:45 am

This is a good thread, it's making me self analyze. Background, I come from a family with most relatives being TBM (both my side and my wife's). My wife was still TBM when I told her, but she is now just a social Mormon and quickly losing attachments to any of it being real.

When I woke up, I was pretty nervous to tell anyone, but since then I've become pretty open.

First, my wife knows I don't believe any of it and I'm agnostic, borderline atheist. I've told all my close family and most close friends. But I am selective since some friendships are different that others. If it doesn't make a difference and will only harm a friendship, I usually just keep quiet.

I don't worry about telling extended family members, especially TBM grandparents, since they won't be able to understand and it's just not worth harming those relationships. I don't interact with them enough to make a difference either way.

Regarding my ward and local engagements. The leadership all knows, close friends in the ward know. Everyone else doesn't know/care.

Mostly I go to church to support my wife. She still enjoys attending and socializing. Sometimes SM is miserable, other times it's just boring. I've basically given up attending SS. It just makes me upset. I go to EQ because I like the guys in there. Several of them know and respect me just the same. I just like them as friends and I can speak up if I want and give a different (but still tame) opinion.

I don't have a calling. I actually asked to be an EQ teacher but they never answered. They never ask me to speak/pray in SM. The leadership mostly ignores me and I suppose they're just happy I add to the attendance numbers.

I actually enjoy several church activities, such as the recent Halloween party, and I get involved and try to mix things up. If I get upset during Sunday services I just leave and get a coke at the gas station. we pray a dinner and sometimes before bed time as a family. We pray for our family and things that directly involve us, but never for "the prophet" or other nonsense. Scripture study has disappeared and been replaced with bed time stories, podcasts, documentaries or discussing relevant topics.

Now, we can easily miss church as a family occasionally when other activities are more interesting.
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Re: As an active NOM, how do you engage the church?

Post by Culper Jr. » Fri Oct 28, 2016 10:15 am

Great thread, and I really appreciate your points about engaging with the church. I have been really trying to focus on how I engage with the church as I am pretty much stuck in for now and I want to make it as palatable as possible without being totally fake.

I've found that 2 ibuprofen and a 200mg caffeine pill help me get through SM. From there, I sit in the foyer and read on my Kindle "real" church history books. I'm reading Early Mormonism and the Magic World View currently. Or talk to whoever else is sitting out there. I hold a calling, Webelos leader, which I enjoy. I refuse to do anything I feel is pointless though, so I pick and choose what interests me. I actually enjoy the temple, and hold a TR. I enjoy it much more now that I don't take it literally, but use it more as a place to meditate about my changing beliefs about God.

I try to keep quiet for the most part about my beliefs, but a snarky comment gets through every once in a while.

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Re: As an active NOM, how do you engage the church?

Post by Korihor » Fri Oct 28, 2016 10:48 am

Batman wrote:I tipped my hand recently to the bishop, but that probably deserves a separate post.
Image
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Re: As an active NOM, how do you engage the church?

Post by wtfluff » Fri Oct 28, 2016 11:30 am

hiding in plain sight wrote:So what strategies do you use to engage with the church or TBMs around you?
Fluffy is no longer active, so I don't deal with any leaders.

With other TBM's who "know" about my apostate ways, there's basically an unwritten "Don't ask, don't tell" policy in place. I'll readily admit that I'm a complete social reject, so I do end up poking the bear here and there, but not to the extent that it makes anyone completely uncomfortable (that I know of. ;) ) The awkwardness that is present in some conversations is extremely sad, yet extremely hilarous all at the same time. I do try to speak up when the discussion turns to things that can be harmful such as LGBT issues.

My extended family is mostly TBM, and do not know of my apostate ways, though that won't last forever. I don't hang out with them a lot, and when possible I steer the conversation away from all things LDS as much as possible. That being said, there are times when I can't handle it and have to excuse myself from conversations so my head won't explode. Sadly, I avoid some of the "family activities" that are totally tied to the church.

Honestly HIPS, and other folks who are walking that line, I don't know how you do it. (My social awkwardness could have a lot to do with it, but still, I'm amazed at what some of you can do...)



Edit: After typing all that up, and thinking about it, I realize that "active NOM" in the title probably refers to "active, church-going NOM", not "active on the NOM message board NOM". So, obviously, I belong in the second category, and probably should have kept my fingers off the keyboard...
Last edited by wtfluff on Fri Oct 28, 2016 1:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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MoPag
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Re: As an active NOM, how do you engage the church?

Post by MoPag » Fri Oct 28, 2016 11:49 am

Awesome advice and suggestions. I am also in primary. I teach the 9,10 and 11 yr olds. One thing that helps me stay true to my NOM self; I try to use my lessons to inoculate them against all the cultural crap that will eventually be taught to them as doctrine. I like what Batman said about teaching the Golden rule. For me, I teach them the baptismal covenants in Mosiah: mourn with those that mourn comfort those that stand in need of comfort, bear one another's burdens. etc. I really try to teach them that how they treat others is far more important that what they wear or what kind of music they listen to. This way I feel like I'm doing some good. And it's kind of cathartic to teach them the things I wish someone had taught me.
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believing in old men’s lies...--Ezra Pound

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Re: As an active NOM, how do you engage the church?

Post by Mormorrisey » Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:17 pm

I'm in the same boat as many of you, I'm still "active" and hold a calling (Sunday School) and a TR, but my true colours (sorry, Canadian spelling) have been coming out more and more over the last couple of years. Basically, I'm not really afraid of letting my nuanced AND my more negative views come out to people I'm talking to. Here's the drawback - someone overheard me talking to another member about the less savoury aspects of Joseph Smith's activities, and as my HPGL, he sat me down for a private conversation about my "testimony." Figuring it was a private conversation, I told him the same stuff. A few weeks later, I'm having to explain myself to the SP. That's a story for another post, but the short of it is, I don't think anyone's going to ask me my opinion any more. But I'm living more authenically, we'll just see if leadership roulette bites me in the posterior.

That's why I've been very active in the Greg Prince post - it's great that he has nuanced views and as a rich white guy he can proclaim them to his ward with impunity, but if you tell the truth to regular members, you're going to get shafted. As I was. Like Batman, I'll tell my origin story when I'm ready, but it ain't pretty.
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hiding in plain sight
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Re: As an active NOM, how do you engage the church?

Post by hiding in plain sight » Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:33 pm

Batman wrote: I tipped my hand recently to the bishop, but that probably deserves a separate post.

Please share.

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Re: As an active NOM, how do you engage the church?

Post by hiding in plain sight » Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:35 pm

Korihor wrote:This is a good thread, it's making me self analyze. Background, I come from a family with most relatives being TBM (both my side and my wife's). My wife was still TBM when I told her, but she is now just a social Mormon and quickly losing attachments to any of it being real.

When I woke up, I was pretty nervous to tell anyone, but since then I've become pretty open.

First, my wife knows I don't believe any of it and I'm agnostic, borderline atheist. I've told all my close family and most close friends. But I am selective since some friendships are different that others. If it doesn't make a difference and will only harm a friendship, I usually just keep quiet.

I don't worry about telling extended family members, especially TBM grandparents, since they won't be able to understand and it's just not worth harming those relationships. I don't interact with them enough to make a difference either way.

Regarding my ward and local engagements. The leadership all knows, close friends in the ward know. Everyone else doesn't know/care.

Mostly I go to church to support my wife. She still enjoys attending and socializing. Sometimes SM is miserable, other times it's just boring. I've basically given up attending SS. It just makes me upset. I go to EQ because I like the guys in there. Several of them know and respect me just the same. I just like them as friends and I can speak up if I want and give a different (but still tame) opinion.

I don't have a calling. I actually asked to be an EQ teacher but they never answered. They never ask me to speak/pray in SM. The leadership mostly ignores me and I suppose they're just happy I add to the attendance numbers.

I actually enjoy several church activities, such as the recent Halloween party, and I get involved and try to mix things up. If I get upset during Sunday services I just leave and get a coke at the gas station. we pray a dinner and sometimes before bed time as a family. We pray for our family and things that directly involve us, but never for "the prophet" or other nonsense. Scripture study has disappeared and been replaced with bed time stories, podcasts, documentaries or discussing relevant topics.

Now, we can easily miss church as a family occasionally when other activities are more interesting.


This really sounds like you are in a good place and have found balance on the journey. I think I aspire to be where you are someday.

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Re: As an active NOM, how do you engage the church?

Post by hiding in plain sight » Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:57 pm

wtfluff wrote: Honestly HIPS, and other folks who are walking that line, I don't know how you do it. (My social awkwardness could have a lot to do with it, but still, I'm amazed at what some of you can do...)
And somedays, I don't either. 8-)

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Re: As an active NOM, how do you engage the church?

Post by hiding in plain sight » Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:59 pm

Mormorrisey wrote:I'm in the same boat as many of you, I'm still "active" and hold a calling (Sunday School) and a TR, but my true colours (sorry, Canadian spelling) have been coming out more and more over the last couple of years. Basically, I'm not really afraid of letting my nuanced AND my more negative views come out to people I'm talking to. Here's the drawback - someone overheard me talking to another member about the less savoury aspects of Joseph Smith's activities, and as my HPGL, he sat me down for a private conversation about my "testimony." Figuring it was a private conversation, I told him the same stuff. A few weeks later, I'm having to explain myself to the SP. That's a story for another post, but the short of it is, I don't think anyone's going to ask me my opinion any more. But I'm living more authenically, we'll just see if leadership roulette bites me in the posterior.

That's why I've been very active in the Greg Prince post - it's great that he has nuanced views and as a rich white guy he can proclaim them to his ward with impunity, but if you tell the truth to regular members, you're going to get shafted. As I was. Like Batman, I'll tell my origin story when I'm ready, but it ain't pretty.

And this is the reason why I absolutely have zero. Let me restate that. ZERO trust that any leader has my best interest at heart.

Thank you so much for sharing that story. I look forward to reading your origin story. :-)

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Re: As an active NOM, how do you engage the church?

Post by Batman » Fri Oct 28, 2016 1:38 pm

Hey, HIPS I just posted about tipping my hand to the bishop in Mixed Faith Relationships.
I try to use my lessons to inoculate them against all the cultural crap that will eventually be taught to them as doctrine. I like what Batman said about teaching the Golden rule. For me, I teach them the baptismal covenants in Mosiah: mourn with those that mourn comfort those that stand in need of comfort, bear one another's burdens. etc. I really try to teach them that how they treat others is far more important that what they wear or what kind of music they listen to. This way I feel like I'm doing some good.
Yes, exactly MoPag! I usually ignore what the lesson manual says the point of the lesson is and tie it back to loving others and treating them as you want to be treated. Or, living the way Jesus taught. It is the only way I can get through it.

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Re: As an active NOM, how do you engage the church?

Post by Linked » Fri Oct 28, 2016 2:46 pm

I am still in the process of re-defining my relationship with the church, but for now I get through SM by playing with my kids or getting mad at the talks and taking notes on how ridiculous some of the things said are. I teach the Sunbeams, so that keeps me busy for the rest of church and I get to be with my wife, so that's nice. I told my bishop of my apostasy when my wife first learned of it, but neither of us bring it up now. Other than that 2 of my closest friends know and we talk about it openly; they keep me sane. (They are non-TBM mormons).

I am trying to follow Korihor's lead to be open with my TBM parents and siblings, but need to work a few things out with my wife first.

I've missed you guys, it's good to have NOM back.
"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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Re: As an active NOM, how do you engage the church?

Post by Korihor » Fri Oct 28, 2016 3:08 pm

hiding in plain sight wrote:This really sounds like you are in a good place and have found balance on the journey. I think I aspire to be where you are someday.
I dunno. Some days are good and some days are rough. I'm just glad to have found this place and can be involved in spectrum of situations represented by everyone. But I don't feel balanced, I feel at war and this stuff still consumes me. However, being open with people and still being good person seems to be half decent advice.

Thanks to all here for providing some balance in my life and pulling me from back from danger on more than one occasion.
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Re: As an active NOM, how do you engage the church?

Post by Deepthinker » Fri Oct 28, 2016 4:11 pm

Yes, I’m still active and hold a calling too. I really like this list. The majority of these things are things I do to help me stay engaged.

I am definitely doing 1,2, 4 and 5. Stepping away sometimes is not something I’ve done, except for skipping SS or priesthood and going to the clerk’s office. I have a temple recommend, and still attend with DW occasionally. I go to all the ward activities. Everyone in the ward besides DW has no idea about my change in beliefs.

Coming here, listening to podcasts, and reading are ways in which I “step away” for my own personal breaks from church.

Adding to the list:
I maintain an overall positive outlook on life. See my avatar. :)

I have been able to redefine what a testimony now means to me that I think still fits within the LDS framework. I will be attempting to test this testimony with the ward during the next F&T meeting.

I see myself in other members, how I was, and how in some ways I still am. I try to give room for them, have empathy for them, and that helps me not see them as enemies or people I need to “deconvert”. I think this is similar to number 5 on the list.

Lastly, and I’m sure this is something that not everyone can do. I’m a quiet person. I don’t feel the need to let everyone know what I’m thinking. Close family and friends more so yes, although I don’t tell them everything I’m thinking either. SS class, definitely not.

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Re: As an active NOM, how do you engage the church?

Post by MerrieMiss » Fri Oct 28, 2016 4:39 pm

I attend, am active, and hold a calling. I currently teach primary, although I admit it's getting old now that I've done it for several years. I could probably stand it a lot better if I could skip out of sharing time. I hate sharing time. Teaching the lesson is the best part of the three hour block. I don't follow the manual. I don't want to be there and the kids don't want to be there but we're both stuck. I try to make the best of a bad situation for all of us.

I've taken a break from trying to figure out what I believe in. I don't know what I believe as I find my beliefs are still constantly changing. Instead, I've been trying to figure out how to navigate my actions. From what I can tell, it's my actions The Church, church members, and my family really care about. I'm a pretty quiet person, so if any change has happened it's that I'm simply more quiet than I used to be and almost completely antisocial. I rarely attend anything outside of the three hour block. I wish I could keep my snarky opinions to myself at home more often. I still don't know what to do about teaching my kids. I wish I could figure out how to navigate the church socially, but I wasn't any good at that when I was TBM, so it seems hopeless now.
Culper Jr. wrote:I've found that 2 ibuprofen and a 200mg caffeine pill help me get through SM.
Yes. I took my Excedrin too early last week and I think that contributed to having a lousy Sunday. I used to get stomach pains and headaches every weekend. Now I just pop the pill and enjoy the buzz.

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Re: As an active NOM, how do you engage the church?

Post by Ghost » Fri Oct 28, 2016 4:58 pm

I don't know that I have a conscious strategy, despite often thinking that I should. I guess I do follow some of the "rules" mentioned here, though they have simply been a part of making things up as I go along.

Number 4 is largely hypothetical for me. If any interesting topics happened to come up inside or outside of church meetings, I'd enjoy discussing them. But they never seem to. That said, I did talk to a friend from college recently who was LDS for a while but later resigned. We had some fun conversations, but I found myself in a strange way wishing that I'd had such an encounter a few years ago when things were more fresh and exciting. It's all such old news to me now that I'm not sure exactly what it would be like to come across someone in the initial discovery stages. But I'd still jump at the chance, I think.

Despite not attending a lot of classes these days, I've never gone fully inactive. But I can imagine that happening at some point when I have a different calling or no calling. I don't think I'd ever stop attending entirely, as I value my ties to the community and many aspects of the culture.

A funny thing I noticed recently is the contrast between a friend of mine who is still (as far as I know) totally orthodox but rarely attends anything, and me. I participate but to describe myself as heterodox would be an understatement.

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Re: As an active NOM, how do you engage the church?

Post by A New Name » Fri Oct 28, 2016 6:50 pm

Here is how I stay engaged and sane at church
(Note: I posted this several years ago on another forum)

This may not work for anybody else, but it works for me.

1. Learn to say no. After I was released as bishop, I’ve said “No” to both bishops and the SP when asked to accept a calling. I just told them it wasn’t something I could do right now. Or if I accepted the called, I put conditions on what I would do.

2. Know how far you can push their buttons. I would die of boredom in SS and HPG if I didn’t say something. So I know how far I can push with my comments, and when I teach in HP. For example:
a. If they bring up the WofW, then I tell them that it wasn’t enforced as we know it until the 1920’s, and that the Q12 used wine in the sacrament in the temple until 1904.
b. If they bring up Polygamy and the 1890 manifesto, I tell them about my GGrandfather taking his 3rd and 4th wife in the 1900’s.
c. If somebody talked about the first vision, then I’ll bring up the multiple versions, and say I learned about them in the Ensign article of years past

Most people enjoy my comments, and I get lots of compliments when I teach HPG. I tell them they are going to learn something new when I teach, and they always do.

3. Stand up for what you know to be true, but be prepared to back it up with “friendly” sources. Once in priesthood meeting, somebody said we need to pay our tithing on Gross. A member of the SP was in attendance, and he said that is what the SP said also. I spoke up and said that was not true, and quoted from a FP letter (which I kept handy in my briefcase) that defined tithing as 10 % of your “increase”. Later than evening the SP counselor called me at home an apologized for his remark, and said I was correct.

Another time I was called into the bishop’s office for teaching in SS that good Mormons could believe in evolution. Somebody had went to the bishop and told him I was teaching false doctrine. I went to the bishop prepared with another FP statement that said the church has no position on evolution, and we could believe what we wanted.

4. Be careful who you share your real feelings with. I’ve not shared with anybody outside the internet my true feelings. Sure, everybody knows I’m different, but nobody knows how different from them I really am.

5. Be nice to other people, and they will be nice to you. Visit the widows, the sick and the shut-ins. What does it matter if the BofM is not historically true, if the poor widow down the street is lonely?

Now, one thing that makes this easier for me is that I still attend the ward I was bishop in. So I’m afforded some respect when I spout off my crazy thoughts. I don’t know how I’d be treated if I was new to a ward and started saying the same things I do now.

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