Testimony Gathering Sister

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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Linked
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Testimony Gathering Sister

Post by Linked » Mon Feb 22, 2021 12:30 pm

My sister is gathering testimony building stories from our family members each month this year. I suppose she is putting a book together to share "the faith of the Linked's". I told her I no longer believe a few years ago, so she knows that, though we haven't really discussed it much since then. She called me when she started collecting stories last month to ask if I would be interested in participating, and said she figured I wouldn't be but didn't want to leave me out. I told her thanks for inviting me, no thank you, DW might be interested.

I think her invitation was a nice gesture? She is now sending text updates and requests and I am on the group text, and it's driving me nuts. It's like a front row seat to what I view as intellectual, spiritual, epistemological abuse. But getting off the group text is a symbol to all of us that I'm not part of the family anymore, not really. It reminds that our relationships are dead, but we pay homage to their memory by pretending that there is still something there. That we feel more alone when we are together than when we are apart. :|
"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

dogbite
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Re: Testimony Gathering Sister

Post by dogbite » Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:03 pm

The delete key is your friend.

And practice detachment in a Buddhist sense.

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jfro18
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Re: Testimony Gathering Sister

Post by jfro18 » Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:20 pm

My first thought is that your sister thinks you being on the list to hear testimonies from your family might bring you back in the church. I can't see why you'd want a non-believer on the list otherwise.

THat said, maybe you can be on the group text but mute it so you don't have to actually deal with it? I've done that before on family chats when they talk about church stuff... it's annoying because I still know it's there, but I'm not getting notifications on my phone for it and can just mark it as read later without actually reading through it all.

Sorry... it's so awkward when it happens and it is just such a depressing thought that the church can be such a wedge when you leave and it really never goes away.

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Red Ryder
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Re: Testimony Gathering Sister

Post by Red Ryder » Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:45 pm

Why not participate and share overall goodness?

I find that I can still be spiritual and push good human decency without all the Mormon jib jab.

It’s mildly entertaining to watch because often times I’ve put more thought and effort into what I say compared to the half assed Sunday school answers.

It’s really proven to my family that I’m still a good decent human even if I don’t vomit Mormonism’s monotone inarticulate vernacular.

The long game has its faults but strained relationships don’t have to be one of them.

You just have to decide to participate on your own terms.
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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wtfluff
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Re: Testimony Gathering Sister

Post by wtfluff » Mon Feb 22, 2021 2:02 pm

Honestly, if this happened with my family of origin, I'd be highly tempted to share. There are lots of things I can "testify" about.

I have a very strong belief in gravity, and also believe that it affects my "daily life." My testimony could start there.

Personally, I don't think a group text about testimonies in my family would cause me too much angst either. I doubt there would be much "new" to learn from said texts. Of course my family of origin has never been really close either. "The Church" was always more important than any of those familial relationships. "Families are Forever" and all that jazz, don't ya know?

So, basically after all that typing it seems I have no good advice whatsoever for you Linked. Maybe I'm jealous that you had a decent relationship with your siblings at some point because I never felt like I did? Yeah, I should probably stop my useless rambling...
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

The Beauty of Gray

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Linked
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Re: Testimony Gathering Sister

Post by Linked » Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:44 pm

dogbite wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:03 pm
The delete key is your friend.

And practice detachment in a Buddhist sense.
Sage advice that I struggle to take.
jfro18 wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:20 pm
My first thought is that your sister thinks you being on the list to hear testimonies from your family might bring you back in the church. I can't see why you'd want a non-believer on the list otherwise.

THat said, maybe you can be on the group text but mute it so you don't have to actually deal with it? I've done that before on family chats when they talk about church stuff... it's annoying because I still know it's there, but I'm not getting notifications on my phone for it and can just mark it as read later without actually reading through it all.

Sorry... it's so awkward when it happens and it is just such a depressing thought that the church can be such a wedge when you leave and it really never goes away.
Yeah, I suspect that she is hopeful that this will help me come back. Good idea on muting the group text. The church really is the never-ending wedge.
Red Ryder wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:45 pm
Why not participate and share overall goodness?

I find that I can still be spiritual and push good human decency without all the Mormon jib jab.

It’s mildly entertaining to watch because often times I’ve put more thought and effort into what I say compared to the half assed Sunday school answers.

It’s really proven to my family that I’m still a good decent human even if I don’t vomit Mormonism’s monotone inarticulate vernacular.

The long game has its faults but strained relationships don’t have to be one of them.

You just have to decide to participate on your own terms.
This is a good idea. I'd have to get creative though. The theme for the year is testimony, and this month is missionary work. She seems to be making these very "church is TRUE" topics. Maybe I could share how not being a missionary is the best missionary work like Cnsl1 mentioned on the ward mission leader thread.
wtfluff wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 2:02 pm
Honestly, if this happened with my family of origin, I'd be highly tempted to share. There are lots of things I can "testify" about.

I have a very strong belief in gravity, and also believe that it affects my "daily life." My testimony could start there.
I've been wanting to respond succinctly outlining why I find what they are doing is disgusting. Participating in and taking ownership of your own indoctrination and that of your family is next level messed up.
"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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glass shelf
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Re: Testimony Gathering Sister

Post by glass shelf » Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:48 pm

My mental health would definitely require me to step out of that group. It's sad that some people really can't separate family from religion.

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wtfluff
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Re: Testimony Gathering Sister

Post by wtfluff » Mon Feb 22, 2021 4:20 pm

Linked wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:44 pm
This is a good idea. I'd have to get creative though. The theme for the year is testimony, and this month is missionary work. She seems to be making these very "church is TRUE" topics. Maybe I could share how not being a missionary is the best missionary work like Cnsl1 mentioned on the ward mission leader thread.
Missionary work? It would be really easy for you to "get creative" and share "missionary thoughts" about logic, reason, reality.

Just toss in some slightly esoteric quotes from The Amazing Randi, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan, Neil Peart, Occam, and his razor... The list is endless.
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

The Beauty of Gray

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moksha
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Re: Testimony Gathering Sister

Post by moksha » Mon Feb 22, 2021 4:53 pm

I think you should send some positive philosophical thoughts of what you do believe just so you can have a placeholder in this family collection. Doesn't have to be religious, does it?
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

Reuben
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Re: Testimony Gathering Sister

Post by Reuben » Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:14 pm

Linked wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:44 pm
I've been wanting to respond succinctly outlining why I find what they are doing is disgusting. Participating in and taking ownership of your own indoctrination and that of your family is next level messed up.
If they're complicit in their own indoctrination, there's no way they could accept your point of view on it. They would feel personally and wrongfully blamed, and react accordingly. But you've probably worked that out already, which is why you haven't sent it.

I'm not sure that point of view is quite accurate, anyway. I've wrestled with the idea of 15 powerful men imposing their delusions on 5 million. I've wrestled with the idea of 5 million imposing their delusions on each other. I'm not sure which is scarier. I think the second is closer to the truth, but isn't quite there.

Now I think of Mormonism as being wounded. Regardless of any lies or bullshit that created Mormonism, the Brighamites really were unfairly driven and persecuted. (It doesn't matter whether they were practically begging for it.) Nobody is being driven now, but boy howdy do they still feel like they are, given that the truth about their origins and leaders tends to buffet them with cognitive dissonance and shame. What does a group of humans do under an onslaught of negative messages about them? Unless they're outrageously self-aware, they affirm themselves and put down anything that makes a move in their direction. They react with "Well actually we're the BEST and you SUCK" and maybe "Look here, GOD said so."

Is it indoctrination when you look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you're awesome and anyone who says otherwise is a lying sack? How about when you teach a kid to do it? A family? A congregation? A nation?

I mean, I think it is. But there's more going on here than leaders selling lies.
Learn to doubt the stories you tell about yourselves and your adversaries.

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Emower
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Re: Testimony Gathering Sister

Post by Emower » Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:26 pm

My brother blessed a baby when I happened to be in town for a temple wedding that I also was not going to be a part of in the traditional sense. This baby blessing was going to be all my brothers and dad. He asked me beforehand if I would like to participate. I said that I did not know how anyone else would feel since I have not been shy about my lack of faith and apostate ways. He had spoken to all the others and my Dad who was a bishop and no-one had any concerns, and in fact they would all like me too. I said sure, I'd love to. It was a family thing, I cared about his family and child, I want to be a part of the family and there is no reason why I cannot support everyone's faith if they would like me too. Sure I could think that it is all some game they are playing, but its not. They really just want me to be included in their lives. It isn't their fault that I dont believe the way they do.

I'm really glad I did. It was a sweet experience, one that I will remember. Hell, maybe it will get me back in the church someday when I remember it and get the warm fuzzies. But I enjoyed what it represented, which was a sort of "at peace with it all" moment.

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Linked
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Re: Testimony Gathering Sister

Post by Linked » Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:22 am

glass shelf wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:48 pm
My mental health would definitely require me to step out of that group. It's sad that some people really can't separate family from religion.
Yeah, it gets me down for a day or two when I see the texts. I either need to figure out how to reframe or get some distance.
moksha wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 4:53 pm
I think you should send some positive philosophical thoughts of what you do believe just so you can have a placeholder in this family collection. Doesn't have to be religious, does it?
I suppose I could send whatever I want regardless of the topic she states. But so far her requests are only for mainstream TBM belief affirming stories.
Reuben wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:14 pm
Linked wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:44 pm
I've been wanting to respond succinctly outlining why I find what they are doing is disgusting. Participating in and taking ownership of your own indoctrination and that of your family is next level messed up.
If they're complicit in their own indoctrination, there's no way they could accept your point of view on it. They would feel personally and wrongfully blamed, and react accordingly. But you've probably worked that out already, which is why you haven't sent it.

I'm not sure that point of view is quite accurate, anyway. I've wrestled with the idea of 15 powerful men imposing their delusions on 5 million. I've wrestled with the idea of 5 million imposing their delusions on each other. I'm not sure which is scarier. I think the second is closer to the truth, but isn't quite there.

Now I think of Mormonism as being wounded. Regardless of any lies or bullshit that created Mormonism, the Brighamites really were unfairly driven and persecuted. (It doesn't matter whether they were practically begging for it.) Nobody is being driven now, but boy howdy do they still feel like they are, given that the truth about their origins and leaders tends to buffet them with cognitive dissonance and shame. What does a group of humans do under an onslaught of negative messages about them? Unless they're outrageously self-aware, they affirm themselves and put down anything that makes a move in their direction. They react with "Well actually we're the BEST and you SUCK" and maybe "Look here, GOD said so."

Is it indoctrination when you look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you're awesome and anyone who says otherwise is a lying sack? How about when you teach a kid to do it? A family? A congregation? A nation?

I mean, I think it is. But there's more going on here than leaders selling lies.
The LDS church/TBM culture's most powerful tool is getting people to self-indoctrinate and view that self-indoctrination as one of the the highest goods. I agree they would have a difficult time hearing the message, but at the same time if they are the ones to bring it up then I feel like a direct and brief outline of what I see is fair. Perhaps coupled with a request that I be allowed to join in sharing my life stories and inspirational quotes in good faith would make it something to bring us together rather than push us apart.

I appreciate the nuance you bring concerning who is imposing delusion on whom, and who owns it. And I love your term "outrageously self-aware"! For some people it might be "annoyingly self-aware", I suspect some feel that way about me :D .

I subscribe to the idea that being outrageously self-aware is the tool needed to build the best life possible, and collectively the best society possible (I could be wrong). I think I self-awared myself out of belief in the church. The modern mormon persecution complex is built on poor reasoning and should be shed. And in-spite of the natural reaction to get defensive in the face of an attack, there are plenty of vectors to get out of the delusion. I.e. a believer may be defensive about the mormon stance on LGBTQ+ due to the recent backlash against the church due to prop 8, and therefore not susceptible to seeing that stance as abusive and evil; but there is still the harm to women, or the lies about church history, or the disgusting number of children abused by leaders, or the quandry of polygamy teachings, or the weakness of the epistemology, or many other things. I think it would be asking too much of a human to not have a defensive reaction about the direct attack, though the church over uses it and eventually the reaction can give way to reflection which may lead to accepting the true portion of the attack.

You need to come back to Utah sometime and do a NOM lunch again, that was a lot of fun.
Emower wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:26 pm
My brother blessed a baby when I happened to be in town for a temple wedding that I also was not going to be a part of in the traditional sense. This baby blessing was going to be all my brothers and dad. He asked me beforehand if I would like to participate. I said that I did not know how anyone else would feel since I have not been shy about my lack of faith and apostate ways. He had spoken to all the others and my Dad who was a bishop and no-one had any concerns, and in fact they would all like me too. I said sure, I'd love to. It was a family thing, I cared about his family and child, I want to be a part of the family and there is no reason why I cannot support everyone's faith if they would like me too. Sure I could think that it is all some game they are playing, but its not. They really just want me to be included in their lives. It isn't their fault that I dont believe the way they do.

I'm really glad I did. It was a sweet experience, one that I will remember. Hell, maybe it will get me back in the church someday when I remember it and get the warm fuzzies. But I enjoyed what it represented, which was a sort of "at peace with it all" moment.
I had a similar experience when my mom asked for a blessing before a surgery and explicitly asked me to participate. It meant a lot to me.

But I don't find a family blessing as offensive as the explicit and continual self-indoctrination that my sister is perpetuating with this testimony story collection effort.
"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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moksha
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Re: Testimony Gathering Sister

Post by moksha » Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:27 pm

Linked wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:22 am
moksha wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 4:53 pm
I think you should send some positive philosophical thoughts of what you do believe just so you can have a placeholder in this family collection. Doesn't have to be religious, does it?
I suppose I could send whatever I want regardless of the topic she states. But so far her requests are only for mainstream TBM belief affirming stories.
Sometimes people need affirmation if they have difficulty in believing some story. However, not all readers will be at that same point in their lives. Years from now someone might pick up this family volume and note that what Great Granduncle Linked had to say made a lot of sense.
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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