What Does It Mean to be Worthy

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FreeFallin
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What Does It Mean to be Worthy

Post by FreeFallin » Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:42 pm

Dear NOM Friends,

I'd like some help with feeling 'worthy.'

So much of my church life and beliefs revolved around concepts of 'worthiness.' And actually that concept was made easier by the Mormon checklist. Worthiness meant something concrete and definable. Most of the time I felt worthless, but I knew what to do to increase my worth.... Pay tithing, attend the temple, serve a neighbor, read the scriptures. And while none of those activities left me feeling totally worthy, it seems they actually helped ease my mind about not being worthless. That now seems a rather empty solution.

I'm struggling with feelings of worthlessness and always have. Where would a sense of worthiness come from? I don't even know how to define it, and I don't know how to create a sense of being worthy.

Has anyone else struggled with this? Have you found a solution or at least some kind of comfort or peace? I would really appreciate your wisdom and thoughts on this topic.

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Brent
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Re: What Does It Mean to be Worthy

Post by Brent » Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:35 pm

You're confusing "worthiness" with Worth. That checklist to make sure you were "worthy" is a false paradigm that is what truly shows you that Mormonism is a works based theology. "Do these things or you have no value" is a great way to control actions and potentially thoughts but at the end of the day it only shows your worth to those setting the standards.

God loves you regardless. God values you regardless.

If you are basing your value on how well you do all the Mormon things than your only value is to Mormons. I work with teenagers every day. I never, ever let a crying teen pass me without asking them how I can help or finding them help. Their problem is often based in worth, their value to themselves and others. Simply being of enough value to have someone say, "Hey, let me get you a tissue, it's going to be OK, you have a favorite teacher or counselor we can visit?" may be the difference between life and death.

Mormonism's fascination with "worthiness" has it's roots in the folk magic that Joseph Smith practiced with his family and those around him. That ability to have power flow through you was based on saying exactly the right things, with exactly the right items, and the exactly right mind set; if they failed to happen it was on YOU, your worthiness was in doubt (or the worthiness of your client).

Don't take the bait. You're valued because you're YOU, not because you jump through the right hoops and say the right words. Do you flip off old ladies? Do you kick little dogs? Or are you acting like Jesus? It will sound naive and foolish to some but helping others with something as simple as a smile and "How are you?" can give you incredible worth in the life of someone who is struggling.

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Dravin
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Re: What Does It Mean to be Worthy

Post by Dravin » Sun Sep 16, 2018 3:05 am

FreeFallin wrote:
Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:42 pm
Where would a sense of worthiness come from?
In my experience it isn't a sense of worthiness that needs a source, it is a sense of unworthiness that has a source. It's much like girls and women in the church developing a sense that they aren't as important as boys and men, they aren't born with this sense they are less than, they are taught it.

Has anyone else struggled with this? Have you found a solution or at least some kind of comfort or peace? I would really appreciate your wisdom and thoughts on this topic.
I think the first step would be to ask yourself who or what is telling you that your worth is less and then to consider if you should be listening to that message even if it is yourself that is telling you (or more likely reinforcing that message you heard from others). For me I discarded the message that I'm not worthy when I discarded Mormonism; I stopped drinking water from a poisoned well.
Hindsight is all well and good... until you trip.

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FreeFallin
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Re: What Does It Mean to be Worthy

Post by FreeFallin » Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:04 am

Brent, thank you for your kind words and response. I love that you go out of your way to reach out to those struggling in sadness.
Brent wrote:
Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:35 pm
You're confusing "worthiness" with Worth. That checklist to make sure you were "worthy" is a false paradigm...
The paradigm of being "worthy" must be flawed because every thing that would make a person worthy, would seem to make a person unworthy in its lack. But it's a convincing argument, nonetheless, and can really trap people within the religion, especially since the notion seems to come from God himself. Perhaps building a sense of self trust would be more useful than attempting to feel worthy.

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FreeFallin
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Re: What Does It Mean to be Worthy

Post by FreeFallin » Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:22 am

Dravin wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 3:05 am
In my experience it isn't a sense of worthiness that needs a source, it is a sense of unworthiness that has a source. It's much like girls and women in the church developing a sense that they aren't as important as boys and men, they aren't born with this sense they are less than, they are taught it.
As a woman in the church, what you wrote makes sense. There really is a constant underlying message for women of being of less use to God and the church and of holding subordinate, supportive roles (to those who are obviously "worth" more). Being a woman in the church is its own source of being worth less.

It would be nice to have a sense of being "worth" ?something?. I keep looking outside of myself for that worth, but that always brings me back to noticing that I am not perfect, and in all of those imperfections I seem to lose my sense of worth. Perhaps men, by virtue of the culture and religion, already have an innate sense of worth. That's probably not quite true either.

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Fifi de la Vergne
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Re: What Does It Mean to be Worthy

Post by Fifi de la Vergne » Sun Sep 16, 2018 7:09 am

Freefallin, your post really made my heart ache. I have struggled with a feeling of brokenness or unworthiness for as long as I can remember. I was drawn to the church and converted as a young adult because the initial message was of unconditional love and worth -- just because I was a child of God. The longer I was in the church though, the more it became clear that I could never measure up here, either.

edited b/c I posted the wrong link. :(
Last edited by Fifi de la Vergne on Sun Sep 16, 2018 8:55 am, edited 2 times in total.
Joy is the emotional expression of the courageous Yes to one's own true being.

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profit_seizer
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Re: What Does It Mean to be Worthy

Post by profit_seizer » Sun Sep 16, 2018 7:19 am

My understanding of worthiness and my experiences with lots of different "worthy" people (including myself back when I was "worthy") are probably the largest factors in my decision to walk away from the church. Our society is wrecked and we need to build a new one—there's no place in any reasonable vision of that which includes gatekeeping based on people's decisions to do things that don't hurt other people. There's so much systemic hurt and suffering and oppression in the world, and there's nothing, really, in the Temple Recommend Interview that would prevent the oppressors from being deemed "worthy". It's nonsense as a value judgment.
"The history of human thought recalls the swinging of a pendulum which takes centuries to swing. After a long period of slumber comes a moment of awakening." —Peter Kropotkin

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deacon blues
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Re: What Does It Mean to be Worthy

Post by deacon blues » Sun Sep 16, 2018 7:48 am

Brent wrote:
Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:35 pm


Mormonism's fascination with "worthiness" has it's roots in the folk magic that Joseph Smith practiced with his family and those around him. That ability to have power flow through you was based on saying exactly the right things, with exactly the right items, and the exactly right mind set; if they failed to happen it was on YOU, your worthiness was in doubt (or the worthiness of your client).
This is a very good point Brent. It hadn't occurred to me, but I think this fits in with what Joseph Smith's youthful prayers seemed to be about- forgiveness of sins. And in the D&C the "Lord" often tells his subjects something like, "your sins are forgiven-- for now." or "if you have enough faith." More "Conditional Love" examples that limit God's power and Love.
God is Love. God is Truth

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mooseman
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Re: What Does It Mean to be Worthy

Post by mooseman » Sun Sep 16, 2018 7:51 am

Worthiness in Mormonism boils down obidence. Once I realized that, i realized its not something to worry about because there is no reason i should do what they say.

ANY issue of worthiness boils down to did you do as we said? Tithing, baptism, temple covenants, word of wisdom....long as you give up your agency, they declare you worthy.
It's frustrating to see the last resort in a discussion of facts be: I disregard those facts because of my faith. Why even talk about facts if the last resort is to put faith above all facts that are contrary to your faith?

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Dravin
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Re: What Does It Mean to be Worthy

Post by Dravin » Sun Sep 16, 2018 8:20 am

FreeFallin wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:22 am


It would be nice to have a sense of being "worth" ?something?. I keep looking outside of myself for that worth, but that always brings me back to noticing that I am not perfect, and in all of those imperfections I seem to lose my sense of worth.


Tying worth to perfection is toxic; nobody is perfect. The richest, the smartest, the most beautiful, the most spiritual... they all are imperfect.

Perhaps men, by virtue of the culture and religion, already have an innate sense of worth. That's probably not quite true either.
Men receive plenty of messages that they are unworthy or not good enough. They just get to escape the added message that even at their best and most perfect the best they can be is second class.
Last edited by Dravin on Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
Hindsight is all well and good... until you trip.

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alas
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Re: What Does It Mean to be Worthy

Post by alas » Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:08 am

There is a problem with looking for your worth from others. Any others. When we look for our worth from outside of ourselves, we can never be sure of the supply. It is like looking to someone else to tell you that you are hungry and need to eat. My sister’s roommate is like of like that. She gets busy and forgets to eat—-for days at a time if my sister does not make her stop to eat. Well, you can guess she is unhealthy and way too skinny, because she depends on those around her to guess her inner needs. Others ALWAYS fall short when we ask them to fulfill all our inner needs. I used to do a demonstration with my clients where I had a cup with a hole in the bottom. The cup looked fine, unless you turned it upside down. I told the client to tell me I was wonderful while pouring water into the cup. And funny, but they just could not fill that cup. I told them the hole was their inner doubts. We all have them. But we can be realistic about our inner doubts. If I sit there and tell myself what a loser I am, while those outside me tell me I am worthwhile, I will listen MORE to that inner voice. And I will believe I am a loser no matter how much others tell me that I am great and they appreciate me.

So, we all need appreciation and love from others to feel worthwhile and good about ourselves, but if we are constantly telling ourselves, OR we live in a toxic environment where others are telling us that we lack worth, then the hole in the bottom of the cup drains out all the good feelings. The Church seems really good at cutting that hole in the bottom of our cup. It wants us dependent on them to give us worth. If paying tithing gives us worth, we are going to pay even before other needs. This is toxic because we are looking to please someone else to gain self worth, rather than doing what we need to do to gain self worth. We look to others to tell us we are hungry, and they don’t notice when we get hungry.

The next step in my client demo is I drop a marble on top of the hole in the cup. I plug up the voice that says I am worthless. How? By being realistic about perfection, that I am loved by others, that I love and care for others, that I serve others, that I do some things well, and others not so well but it is OK not to be perfect. I praise myself when I deserve it and forgive myself when I mess up and I try harder not to mess up. I am realistic about my worth, rather than listening to the toxic voice from the church, my parents, or whoever has unrealistic expectations of perfection.

The church claims there is value in holding up an ideal, say the ideal family. But they don’t say, nobody has that perfect family YET, but that is what we want when we are perfect, in the eternities. Instead, the church holds up the ideal as the bare minimum that is acceptable and EVERYBODY feels like their family isn’t good enough. It does the same with individual perfection. What?!?!?! You are not perfect?!?!? Then it dumps a ton of shame on our heads.

Get the toxic church voice out of your head. Put a marble in it to shut it up. Find the things you do well, and praise yourself. Find the things that are meaningful to you to establish your worth. Don’t look outside of yourself for your worth because you will never get enough.

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Re: What Does It Mean to be Worthy

Post by wtfluff » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:53 pm

My "new" sense of "worthiness" and worth is pretty simple:

Are you a human being, who contributes positively to the human race? Then you have worth, and are worthy.
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

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Re: What Does It Mean to be Worthy

Post by Coop » Sun Sep 16, 2018 7:51 pm

I think feelings of worthiness or lack of same is not uncommon in the Church and that this issue is caused by some of our false doctrine. Let me give you the Coles notes version of an alternative way of thinking that I believe will change your life.

I believe that the Gospel is so simple that even an eight year old can understand it. The corollary of this is that if an eight year old can’t understand it then it isn’t part of the Gospel. All this begs the question, what is the Gospel? And the answer is simple, faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.

Where all this gets messy is when we start defining sin in ways that even a Rhode scholar would have trouble understanding let alone an eight year old. Let me give you my definition of sin. I believe that sin is any behavior that directly impacts as least one other person and that is explicitly forbidden by God. Most sins are listed in the Ten Commandments. A good example is murder.

I also believe that Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy. If you have repented of any sins that you have committed then you should have joy. I know that I do.

Where we run afoul in this process is when we come to believe that sin is in what we think and feel. To me this is the most pernicious doctrine taught in the Church. If you believe that your thoughts and feelings are sinful then eventually you will come to hate your own thoughts and feelings which is where you are now. This false doctrine is in turn based on a misunderstanding of the key principle of agency.

Agency is not the freedom to do what we like because as we all know God will hold us accountable for those sins we commit that we fail to repent of. What agency really is is the freedom to think and feel as we like with absolutely no consequences.

I believe that the false doctrine that our thoughts and feelings are sinful is the mental equivalent of putting on shackles and when you remove these shackles you are truly free and when you are free then you will experience the joy that God designed us to have.

All the best,
Bob

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Re: What Does It Mean to be Worthy

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Sun Sep 16, 2018 8:37 pm


Coop wrote: And the answer is simple, faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.
So we should accept Campbellite minister Walter Scott as the real prophet of the restoration correct?
While working as an evangelist for the Mahoning Baptist Association between 1827 and 1830, Scott developed a simple mnemonic illustration for the gospel plan of salvation that has been used in the Restoration Movement ever since. Based on Acts 2:38, Scott believed that salvation requires faith, repentance and baptism.
As an evangelist, he would first come into a community and find a group of children. He would ask them to hold up a hand, and then point to each finger and say "faith, repentance, baptism, remission of sins, gift of the Holy Spirit." Once the children had learned the mnemonic, he would ask them to tell their parents that he would be preaching that same gospel that evening.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_ ... clergyman)

Scott also taught that Adam and Eve lived in a terrestrial state prior to the fall (see Mark Staker's "Hearken O Ye People"). His "plan of salvation" was introduced into the earliest versions of the articles of faith by his reformed baptist associate Parley P Pratt who we know had nightly discussions with Smith around doctrine after conversion.

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2bizE
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Re: What Does It Mean to be Worthy

Post by 2bizE » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:16 am

This is an invention of Mormonism. It contradicts the atonement, and adds levels of exclusion.
~2bizE

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FreeFallin
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Re: What Does It Mean to be Worthy

Post by FreeFallin » Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:54 am

First off, thanks everyone for your comments.
Fifi de la Vergne wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 7:09 am
Freefallin, your post really made my heart ache. I have struggled with a feeling of brokenness or unworthiness for as long as I can remember. I was drawn to the church and converted as a young adult because the initial message was of unconditional love and worth -- just because I was a child of God. The longer I was in the church though, the more it became clear that I could never measure up here, either.

edited b/c I posted the wrong link. :(
Thank you for the link. I clicked on it before it was deleted and listened. It was helpful even if it wasn't what you meant to post.
profit_seizer wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 7:19 am
...there's nothing, really, in the Temple Recommend Interview that would prevent the oppressors from being deemed "worthy". It's nonsense as a value judgment.
Totally true!! You can see by how the church is behaving now that their understanding of worthy is extremely unbalanced. It all boils down to obedience, as Mooseman said.
alas wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:08 am
There is a problem with looking for your worth from others. Any others. When we look for our worth from outside of ourselves, we can never be sure of the supply. It is like looking to someone else to tell you that you are hungry and need to eat. My sister’s roommate is like of like that. She gets busy and forgets to eat—-for days at a time if my sister does not make her stop to eat. Well, you can guess she is unhealthy and way too skinny, because she depends on those around her to guess her inner needs. Others ALWAYS fall short when we ask them to fulfill all our inner needs. I used to do a demonstration with my clients where I had a cup with a hole in the bottom. The cup looked fine, unless you turned it upside down. I told the client to tell me I was wonderful while pouring water into the cup. And funny, but they just could not fill that cup. I told them the hole was their inner doubts. We all have them. But we can be realistic about our inner doubts. If I sit there and tell myself what a loser I am, while those outside me tell me I am worthwhile, I will listen MORE to that inner voice. And I will believe I am a loser no matter how much others tell me that I am great and they appreciate me.

So, we all need appreciation and love from others to feel worthwhile and good about ourselves, but if we are constantly telling ourselves, OR we live in a toxic environment where others are telling us that we lack worth, then the hole in the bottom of the cup drains out all the good feelings. The Church seems really good at cutting that hole in the bottom of our cup. It wants us dependent on them to give us worth. If paying tithing gives us worth, we are going to pay even before other needs. This is toxic because we are looking to please someone else to gain self worth, rather than doing what we need to do to gain self worth. We look to others to tell us we are hungry, and they don’t notice when we get hungry.

The next step in my client demo is I drop a marble on top of the hole in the cup. I plug up the voice that says I am worthless. How? By being realistic about perfection, that I am loved by others, that I love and care for others, that I serve others, that I do some things well, and others not so well but it is OK not to be perfect. I praise myself when I deserve it and forgive myself when I mess up and I try harder not to mess up. I am realistic about my worth, rather than listening to the toxic voice from the church, my parents, or whoever has unrealistic expectations of perfection.

The church claims there is value in holding up an ideal, say the ideal family. But they don’t say, nobody has that perfect family YET, but that is what we want when we are perfect, in the eternities. Instead, the church holds up the ideal as the bare minimum that is acceptable and EVERYBODY feels like their family isn’t good enough. It does the same with individual perfection. What?!?!?! You are not perfect?!?!? Then it dumps a ton of shame on our heads.

Get the toxic church voice out of your head. Put a marble in it to shut it up. Find the things you do well, and praise yourself. Find the things that are meaningful to you to establish your worth. Don’t look outside of yourself for your worth because you will never get enough.
Thank you, Alas. This is golden. I have been in a toxic environment for a very long time. I am moving out of my 29 year marriage soon, and I look forward to lots of quiet time to simply experience myself without someone else's judgment and expectations and toxic world view always in my face. I will get to examine and clear up my own toxic voice in the process.

Thanks everyone for participating. I am grateful for your contribution and for helping me to understand this issue a little better.

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