Seeing the Elephant

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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Seeing the Elephant

Post by Brent » Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:11 pm

This could be a rant...not sure.

At some point you may be discussing Mormon issues with an active member and they’ll say something along the line of “You’re just trying to damage my testimony!” The temptation is to snark back with “Your testimony is that weak?” or “If you think this is bad, study the Nauvoo years.” Being a tad offended is OK but I recommend taking a breath and really considering your personal experience. No, I don’t want to ruin anyone’s testimony—it’s a terrible and agonizing event—which is akin to seeing your grandmother naked, it can’t be undone and it will haunt you. I never want to take an axe to anyone’s testimony because the experience, the feeling of betrayal, the sting of embarrassment, the free fall of system collapse isn’t anything I feel the burning need to share with anyone.

During the Civil War soldiers who had seen combat referred to the experience as “seeing the elephant”. New recruits marching to their first battle were considered to “not have seen the elephant” yet, veterans’ had. Many folks here have seen the elephant and gone through that difficult journey. Those who have not, cannot understand what it’s like. I have sympathy for women who go through childbirth but I CANNOT have empathy and any advice or sure, knowing help I can give them is based in my personal misconceptions; I’m not a woman and I can’t know the event even though I’ve been present 4 times. This is the problem that Mormons have with those who see the elephant and leave: you can’t have empathy for childbirth if you’re a man.

I’ve been THROUGH the faith crisis, like many my Mormonism didn’t come out the other side even vaguely intact. Why would I ever want someone else to? I learned that most everything I was ever told was false. I had the people I’m closest to say things like: “How could you not know that? Everybody knows Joseph was a polygamist” or “There is no Second Anointing, that’s a rumor” and “You just need to study the Book of Mormon more”. There’s no kind way to tell someone that they’re somehow lacking because they can’t block out seer stones and teenage brides. I’ve seen the Mormon Elephant (YMP, EQP, B1, SSP) and I know what happens when you suddenly realize it’s a giraffe.

I don’t want to wreck anyone’s testimony—I just want the respect of allowing mine to change.

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Re: Seeing the Elephant

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Sun Sep 16, 2018 4:09 pm

Reminds me of the scene in Platoon where the new guys are talking about Sgt. Barnes and he overhears them and comes inside the bunker and says his famous line "ya'll know about killing? You experts?"

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Re: Seeing the Elephant

Post by crossmyheart » Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:05 pm

I tried to explain it to my TBM sister via Lord of the Rings. At the very end, Frodo leaves on the ship with Gandolf and the others while Samwise is left behind to live out his normal happy life in the shire. They both experienced a somewhat similar experience but both came out the other side very different.

My sister and I both went through the same faith shaking experience. Strong enough that we both discussed turning in our temple recommends in disgust from the experience.

In the end, I left the church and got on the ship, never to return to the way things were. She doubled down and still lives in the sheltered world of the shire.

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Re: Seeing the Elephant

Post by Just This Guy » Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:46 pm

It is even more interesting if you look at the books to LotR, not just the movie. In the Books, Sam leads a happy life in the Shire, But eventually, as very old hobbit, he still couldn't take the damage that the ring did to him and eventually goes on the last boat to the undying lands so he can finally find piece.

So while you may live a happy life, you still cannot unlearn what you know and there is a very real possibility that they will eventually come to the conclusion that they need to leave.
"The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

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