Baby steps!

This is for encouragement, ideas, and support for people going through a faith transition no matter where you hope to end up. This is also the place to laugh, cry, and love together.
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stuck
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Baby steps!

Post by stuck » Tue Oct 29, 2019 10:22 am

Well I was able to successfully make a compromise with my wife that if I tried to pray to see God's influence in my life then I could skip priesthood meeting. I told her I just didn't feel comfortable there anymore. This thing about seeing God's influence in my life though is difficult because even though it may be possible that God exists, I don't want to go back to the world view that feeling good is an answer to prayer or is a good indicator of knowing the truth. Has anyone experienced this in their marriage and if so how did you handle it? Or does anyone have any thoughts or ideas about this?

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RubinHighlander
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Re: Baby steps!

Post by RubinHighlander » Tue Oct 29, 2019 10:45 am

I had lots of examples of unanswered worthy prayers, as did my DW. At the beginning of my faith crisis I ran an experiment for myself for several months, as far as trying life without the Christian god and Satan. No more angel and devil on the shoulders, just life. Boy howdy was life so much better without all that unnecessary stress and guilt! Still got a raise at work, still had a great relationship at home, really nothing but positive life and work balance; there was no way I could go back and no regrets ever since.

Scientific studies have shown that prayer statistically changes nothing. It might offer those that use it some mental comfort, but as far as just living life it means nothing. Same for priesthood blessings or any other silly ritualistic hoops religions make you jump through. So I guess you could placate her for a while, but maybe also challenge her to do the same, like taking some Sundays off and going out to a national park or just out into some of Earth's beautiful places, see how that impacts your lives. Might be an opportunity here. Also, have her watch videos of people from other faiths bare their testimonies and see if she can find any grounds to discredit those sincere individuals. You can also use the RFM podcasts to go and find all those past conference talks about blessings and praying that never worked.
“Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.' 'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.”
--Douglas Adams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzmYP3PbfXE

stuck
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Re: Baby steps!

Post by stuck » Tue Oct 29, 2019 11:09 am

Great suggestions RH, I'll have to see if she is willing to take a Sunday off sometime. She is such a stickler though about missing church even if we travel.

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Emower
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Re: Baby steps!

Post by Emower » Tue Oct 29, 2019 2:18 pm

I remember on my mission, when I didnt want to do something my companion would say "but Elder, I really think I was prompted that we need to do ____." All I could do was sigh and go along with it because what was I going to do, call him out and tell him what he felt was not actually the spirit? It was spiritual checkmate.

Fast forward to me going through a faith crisis, I spent a lot of time on my knees pleading with the Lord, wanting to know that the church was true. I got nothing. This went on for months. I looked for every opportunity to be alone, in a peaceful place, and offer a heartfelt prayer. I was trying to be like the brother of Jared where the Lord couldnt withhold himself from me! I even went to the temple and sat in the place that is supposed to be closest to God on this earth. Nothing. Then one day, I wasn't even praying, just thinking, I received a powerful witness that the direction I was headed (out of the church) was not a wrong direction. It was as powerful as anything I had received in my life. I explained this to my wife, and that was that. Who can argue with that?

Now, as I am removed from that and have given myself permission to learn about how the brain works, I am less confident in that witness as a genuine sign from God, which torpedoes all the other signs I have been given as well. So that just plays right into the typical narrative, especially if I go get hooked on crack and hookers.

My point in this rambling is, what is the harm in spending some real effort trying to get a spiritual witness? If you dont get it, or if the answer is go ahead and leave, tell people that and then move forward based on the information you possess, and the possible lack of information coming from God. If you do get a witness that the church is true, congrats! Get your butt back in the pew!

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Linked
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Re: Baby steps!

Post by Linked » Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:55 pm

Congrats on a good outcome on priesthood, Stuck! Sounds like your wife wants you to find tender mercies. Believers searching for tender mercies is priming themselves for confirmation bias. "I successfully navigated traffic, even with a close call, god must be protecting me." I don't have any experience with my DW requesting I try to get a testimony back, my wife accepted that I didn't believe pretty fast (and resented me for it), she just had to figure out if she could live with me that way. It would be tough for you to back out on your agreement now, I hope you can stay true to yourself while giving it a college try.
Emower wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 2:18 pm
My point in this rambling is, what is the harm in spending some real effort trying to get a spiritual witness? If you dont get it, or if the answer is go ahead and leave, tell people that and then move forward based on the information you possess, and the possible lack of information coming from God. If you do get a witness that the church is true, congrats! Get your butt back in the pew!
I don't like the idea of opening one's self up to an epistemological method with so many possible trap doors. Seeking a spiritual witness as a believer sent me down a weird path where I would pray about which can of soup to buy at the store, then I would switch back and forth between can choices unsure of which one was actually the right can of soup. And I always felt a little unsettled, like the holy ghost could send me anywhere at anytime to do anything. I don't believe god will tell me anything, but I am not certain my brain won't suggest it. So I prefer to just leave that door closed.

I found a byu linguistics department page on epistemology. I have little respect for intuitive or authoritative knowledge. I've seen too many intuits and authorities lead to mutually exclusive results. Logical is better than nothing, though it can be twisted pretty easily. I'm a big fan of empirical knowledge.

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"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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Emower
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Re: Baby steps!

Post by Emower » Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:12 pm

Linked wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:55 pm
Seeking a spiritual witness as a believer sent me down a weird path where I would pray about which can of soup to buy at the store, then I would switch back and forth between can choices unsure of which one was actually the right can of soup.
Jeez. :shock: Yeah, that's unhealthy. If you are that deep into prayer and answer finding, that needs to be pulled back. I agree.



Linked wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:55 pm
I don't like the idea of opening one's self up to an epistemological method with so many possible trap doors.
I get it, and you do have a fair point. But, if you are open to other possibilities, which I feel like if someone is on this board they are at least open to the fact that things might not be what they seem, I think it is a pretty healthy time to try out that epistemological method with some new attitudes. I view it kind of like a magic show. If someone tells you how it works, you will still remember the magic. If you actually go back to the show however, you cant get over the fact that you know how it works. At least, this is how it seemed to go for me.

stuck
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Re: Baby steps!

Post by stuck » Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:29 pm

Emower and Linked you guys make some great points. My wife saw me not wear my garments the other day and was upset. I ended up buying her flowers and a card telling her I was sorry. But I said I don't think I could go back to attending priesthood. I remembered what she wanted me to do and did a little experiment. I told God that if he was there perhaps he could make my headache go away in 5 minutes. It didn't. But then I prayed that things would go well with my wife when I gave her the flowers and I would feel less anxious and I did. How can we trust the outcome of prayers, especially when there are so many explanations for a prayer not to be answered? Anyhow, this is a good topic study I suppose and I did find several studies that Steve Benson posted on exmormon.org about 3 years ago. I will have to check it out. One was that they did a study on patient outcomes on prayer (those who were prayed for) vs. those who weren't and there was no difference in outcomes.

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Palerider
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Re: Baby steps!

Post by Palerider » Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:59 pm

So I still believe in prayer. But most times in a more generalized sense.

I think God put us here (for the most part) to make our own decisions, be happy with those decisions and take responsibility when we mess up. Making a bad decision isn't always a "bad thing" unless we try to run from the consequences. Then things just get worse and we learn that avoiding consequences can be a hard lesson. Life is just a great experiential school.

That being said, I always keep a spiritual ear open for direction that may come from God through my intuition. And I haven't noticed any decrease in those "promptings" (for want of a better word) since leaving the church. I don't feel as if I'm under some sort of "cloud" at all.

When I first told my wife I figured the church was phony she was pretty concerned. She went the usual route and discussed it with our SP. But the answers she got from him were not helpful in any way. If anything they gave her pause.
So she spent some time off and on praying for direction. And finally she received the "answer, feeling, intuition, inspiration, communication"..... whatever you want to call it.....that she was not to worry. Palerider is o.k. Everything was going to work out fine. And she felt really good about that.

That's what allowed her to start doing her own research. And she didn't have to do all that much before she knew that Palerider was on to something and it was confirming a lot of those things she had stored on her own shelf over the years.

I think Mormons over-think prayer. They make it into something it was never intended to be. The Lord wants you to buy whatever kind of soup makes you happy. He's very glad to give you that permission. As long as you're not involved in something that has evil intent, choose whatever path makes you happy. But keep a spiritual ear open just in case He wants to give a little direction here or there. And mostly be consistently grateful. Even for the not so good times. We learn a lot from them.
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

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Newme
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Re: Baby steps!

Post by Newme » Tue Oct 29, 2019 6:56 pm

stuck wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 10:22 am
Well I was able to successfully make a compromise with my wife that if I tried to pray to see God's influence in my life...
Can you see intelligent design in life (your body, procreation etc)?
Have you sensed anything intuitively/spiritually?
Have you loved or been loved by, anyone? God is love.

Prayer includes meditating... take your pick which type...
1. Clearing the mind
2. Mindfulness/focused
3. Heart-Centered Sorting thoughts
4. Creative: Visualization
5. Concentration - Transcendent Mantras (like #1^?)

Meditation is good for you physically and emotionally. Carl Jung suggested belief in afterlife is psychologically hygienic.

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2bizE
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Re: Baby steps!

Post by 2bizE » Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:36 pm

Yes, this may be a baby step, but over time they can add up. My only step I have unofficially worked out with my wife is she doesn’t wake me for church some Sundays, so I skip church.
Seven blessings to you.
~2bizE

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moksha
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Re: Baby steps!

Post by moksha » Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:42 am

RubinHighlander wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 10:45 am
No more angel and devil on the shoulders...
I like to think of those two as "the desire for NOMness" and "the compulsion for apologetics".

BTW, I appreciated the baby steps of truthfulness the Church made with its essays. Compliments when deserved.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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RubinHighlander
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Re: Baby steps!

Post by RubinHighlander » Wed Oct 30, 2019 9:06 am

Emower wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:12 pm
I get it, and you do have a fair point. But, if you are open to other possibilities, which I feel like if someone is on this board they are at least open to the fact that things might not be what they seem, I think it is a pretty healthy time to try out that epistemological method with some new attitudes. I view it kind of like a magic show. If someone tells you how it works, you will still remember the magic. If you actually go back to the show however, you cant get over the fact that you know how it works. At least, this is how it seemed to go for me.
After escaping TSCC I definitely went all science and atheist, having much angst against and mistrust toward all man-made religions. Our tribalistic past is written deep into our genetic make up and it's always playing into our politics, religion and social behaviors. But since then, the feelings I've experienced out in the natural world and many things I've witnessed and experienced with my DW. These things have brought me back a bit to where I believe there are metaphysical things that human senses can touch upon at times that are profound and explainable. It's like dark matter, background radiation and gravitational influences on the ebb and flow of the space time in this universe. Sometimes we can measure them and sometimes we can't. Even if we currently have no instrumentation to see or measure them our mathematics and science say they are there by their influence on things that can be seen. Call them vibrations, frequencies, rare coincidental occurrences, things that effect the brain and open new neural pathways, emotional responses...there's still so much we don't know.

Lately I'd say that my percentage of belief in these things has increased from 5% to 10%. It's just enough to keep my mind open to any new possibility, but I still maintain my mistrust of any human on the planet that say they have it figured out and can tell you how you should live your life.
“Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.' 'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.”
--Douglas Adams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzmYP3PbfXE

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Linked
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Re: Baby steps!

Post by Linked » Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:31 am

RubinHighlander wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 9:06 am
Lately I'd say that my percentage of belief in these things has increased from 5% to 10%. It's just enough to keep my mind open to any new possibility, but I still maintain my mistrust of any human on the planet that say they have it figured out and can tell you how you should live your life.
Good point. I agree that there is certainly a possibility for the supernatural. I will just holding off on buying into any of it until there is a better way to judge it than intuition, authority, or even logic. I've had experiences with prayer that were difficult to explain, but they aren't replicate-able enough to base a belief system on. My parents would call me hard-hearted. Maybe I should be from Missouri...
"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

stuck
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Re: Baby steps!

Post by stuck » Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:10 am

https://carljungdepthpsychologysite.blo ... bnLnehKjb0

New Me's response reminded me that Carl Jung had a near death experience. Hopefully the link above will take you there, otherwise you can google carl jung's near death experience. I am not convinced that these are real--they may just be intense mental experiences when the brain is in distress? Anyone else have an opinion?

Sometimes it seems like some have their prayers answered but perhaps it can be chalked up to coincidence as it has been mentioned. I guess some things like this are not known with certainty. But I think it has been mentioned that many things like answers to prayer (if that is true), is not unique to Mormonism.

Thanks everyone for your responses.

BTW my wife and I met with the bishop last night because she wanted to let him know of my disaffection. He was quite pushy in trying to get me to meet with him so that he could help me in my "journey" to strengthen my testimony of God. Like many tbms I think he believes that when you have a strong "spiritual" experience then you can come to "know" something. I declined his invitation and hope he doesn't bother me more about it. My wife was good at explaining to him why I became disaffected (mentioning the blacks and the priesthood essay got me started 6 years ago).

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Emower
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Re: Baby steps!

Post by Emower » Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:17 pm

There is a really long thread relating to NDE's here: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2387&hilit=NDE

How can you trust the outcome of prayers? Why do you need to trust it? Are you getting answers that make you feel uncomfortable and thus need to have some sort of "trust?" The apostate me would say that any "answer" that influences your life in a way that might require "trust" is likely a topic that prayer should not be the deciding force for. The truth seeking me 5 years ago would have said that the way you can trust an answer supplied through prayer is by an undefined "good feeling." As Linked pointed out, its a really bad epistimological process (which is true), and as I tried to point out, it works fine for some people. If it makes you feel good, and doesn't make your life or others lives hard, fine.
I like Palerider's response about Mormons overthinking prayer. I think happiness is the point, and prayer should not guide you down any path which makes you unhappy.
Rubin's comment I think is spot on:
RubinHighlander wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 9:06 am
Lately I'd say that my percentage of belief in these things has increased from 5% to 10%. It's just enough to keep my mind open to any new possibility, but I still maintain my mistrust of any human on the planet that say they have it figured out and can tell you how you should live your life.
This is about where I am at as well. I feel something larger than me, but I dont know what it is, I dont think anyone else knows what it is, and I dont think it is interested in giving me many details through prayer.

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Red Ryder
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Re: Baby steps!

Post by Red Ryder » Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:34 pm

Emower wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:17 pm
This is about where I am at as well. I feel something larger than me, but I dont know what it is, I dont think anyone else knows what it is, and I dont think it is interested in giving me many details through prayer.
It’s your brain recognizing your insignificance in the universe.

Think about this for a minute. In 200 years the universe will have killed you, forgotten about you, and more than likely continued on without you. If you're fortunate, you may have some progeny alive that carries your genetic matter and inherent weakness, your likeness, and your religious beliefs.

Feeling something more is nothing more than your soul simply asking for one more day.
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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Emower
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Re: Baby steps!

Post by Emower » Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:53 pm

Red Ryder wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:34 pm
Think about this for a minute. In 200 years the universe will have killed you, forgotten about you, and more than likely continued on without you. If you're fortunate, you may have some progeny alive that carries your genetic matter and inherent weakness, your likeness, and your religious beliefs.
If I play my cards right, I could establish an organization that will praise my name, invent songs and celebrations for, and internet boards to analyze my thoughts and writings. "Praise to emower who communed with Lishaba, Heshpot anointed that ruggedly handsome man!"

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RubinHighlander
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Re: Baby steps!

Post by RubinHighlander » Thu Oct 31, 2019 6:59 am

Emower wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:53 pm
"Praise to emower who communed with Lishaba, Heshpot anointed that ruggedly handsome man!"
Thanks for the Thursday morning LOL! Brilliant!
“Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.' 'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.”
--Douglas Adams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzmYP3PbfXE

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