'What do you believe?'

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'What do you believe?'

Post by jfro18 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:36 pm

I don't know if this is a support or mixed faith marriage post, but seems like something everyone can relate to?

Over the last year since finding all the stuff out about Mormonism, my wife and I have been trying to find footing to move forward on while she has retrenched in the church and I have obviously gone deeper into the rabbit hole.

With that we've been seeing a couples therapist on and off, and one thing that came up today (just me this time) was that DW wants to know what I believe.

I have no idea how to answer that... honestly I don't believe in anything at the moment, but I also don't believe there *isn't* a god either. I just don't live each day in fear of a god, and going through Mormonism has shown how easily stories can be created and then exaggerated over time into something that is nothing like what happened.

Just curious how some of you have approached this with spouses/parents/etc... I obviously know I need to answer carefully, but I don't want to lie either.

I can see the good in the teachings of Jesus without believing that he was literally resurrected... just as I believe that our knowledge tells us there was no global flood, no tower of babel, etc.

It makes me feel a lot better not thinking I have all the answers even if it means I don't know what happens after we die.

But explaining that to DW who already sees me as a bitter apostate is not going to be so easy. :|

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Re: 'What do you believe?'

Post by Red Ryder » Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:59 pm

Been there done this.

Marriage counseling. It worked for us because our therapist was able to help us see that we still believed in the same core values. This is what you should be focused on. Core values. Write them out here for practice.

Don’t bother explaining your (un)belief in Mormonism. Don’t bother explaining your “I don’t really know what to believe” beliefs in God. Don’t bother explaining why you think Joseph Smith ate tacos on Thursday instead of Tuesday, or why Brigham Young was wrong for banging 365 women in the salt lake basin territory, or why you think DoTerra is the devils oil.

Your church beliefs don’t matter here.

Here’s what matters:

You believe that you and your wife are entitled to a loving relationship built on common core values such as honesty, loyalty, commitment, hard work, happiness, and her ability to get her nails done on a regular as needed basis.

Communicate that you are glad to see the world in a new light that it is beautiful and full of opportunities. Yell her your honesty feelings about living life to the fullest with her along your side through the journey.

In essence, your wife doesn’t feel safe because if you’ll turn on the church and your testimony, then what stops her from thinking you will turn away from her?

The church instilled fear in our families and loved one. It’s real fear!

Communicate to her that you haven’t given up on your past, the present, nor your future as a couple. That you plan to work together to accomplish your dreams and ambitions in this life. You’ll have differences because those are meant to strengthen your relationship and cover for each other’s weaknesses.

I remember a post about Mormon women’s fear that comes to mind and will have to go find it. It might have been on the old board though. Alas probably had the best advice on that post. I’m sure she’ll respond here because that’s what she does best. Edit: I think this is the post I was thinking of. viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3849&p=52079

In the end, our therapists helped us see that on the Mormon surface our issues were deep, but at the core we still held shared core values. She also pointed out (being LDS herself) that that isn’t an ideal situation given the surface level judgement and culture of the church so she asked me to determine what I could commit to to help ease that pain for my wife. I realized that I needed to continue to attend for appearance sake and not make her a church widow. I’ve essentially become a 2 hour Mormon and that’s enough. 120 minutes give or take the 5 minutes we are late.

Deep down she knows I still have my values and we trust each other implicitly.

Our therapy was based on the Gottman emotional house concept.
https://www.gottman.com/blog/the-sound- ... love-maps/

Here’s a picture. Note the first level of the house is to build Love Maps? Not build belief maps? So package your beliefs into core values that support building your love maps.

Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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Re: 'What do you believe?'

Post by wtfluff » Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:34 pm

I think we can just shut down this thread after the Red Cowboy's reply. :D

Well, actually, maybe after Alas' future reply.

As far as beliefs are concerned, there a couple of things I like to state when it comes to belief: First of all, I don't know much of anything.

One of my other goofy replies to "What do you believe?" Is usually: I believe in gravity. Really. As far as I can tell, there is a creative force in the universe, and with my limited understanding, it seems that gravity plays a pretty big part in it. So yeah, I believe in gravity.

Then again...

Other things I would like to mention when it comes to beliefs: I believe in science, and the scientific method. I believe in Occam's Razor. I believe in logic, reason and skepticism. I believe in questioning everything.

Beyond all that, probably the best answer I could give to a believer who asked me this question would be: I believe Love Wins. (I'm not saying that I'm good at getting love to win in my life. MORmONism has created so many triggers for me that when it comes to these types of discussions, it's usually anger that wins. :cry: )
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 do you believe?'

Post by jfro18 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:52 pm

Thanks for the responses :)

This was not a question I brought up nor is one I really want to tackle. We're trying to find core values we can work together on in teaching our kid - I had suggested we focus on the Bible because I can get behind New Testament values/lessons so we can give our child some foundation in the Bible while avoiding the overtly Mormon stuff.

But I guess she doesn't know exactly where I'm at overall and it bothers her... and the reality is that I don't know where I am there.

I like where RR is coming from and our therapist seems to be in that same mindset - trying to find the core values and then building on it from there. It is helpful to a certain extent although one thing about Mormonism is that it's all encompassing so it's hard to avoid it creeping up from time to time.

Question is whether or not RR's answers will satisfy DW's need to know where I am with regards to the Bible and God at the moment... I don't want to lie but I also don't want to be blunt either especially considering I am not sure of where I am anyway.

One last point was that my therapist mentioned not talking about what I don't believe but just to talk about what I do believe in... the problem of course is that the things you don't mention can stick out like a sore thumb. She agreed to that once we talked about something like "I believe that Jesus was a real person who taught good things and that he ultimately died because of it" which implicitly leaves out believing that he was resurrected, etc.

I'll work on it... we're not meeting together for probably two weeks. :lol: :|

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Re: 'What do you believe?'

Post by alas » Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:39 pm

Well, I guess after that, I better have a good reply.

The church does teach fear and guilt and shame. But the fear is slightly different for women.

The church really drills into women that they NEED an active, priesthood holding husband. This is the whole focus of the YW program. Oh, sure they have a lesson on “faith” which translates into “if you have faith in God you will not settle for less than a temple marriage to a R M.” Then they have a lesson on “individual worth” which comes out as “you are worth having a temple marriage to a R M.” They have a lesson on Chastity, which is “save yourself for the guy you marry in the temple”. Nothing is more important than ending up married to a priesthood holding warm body.

This is the dream, the fairy tale, the only way to happiness, the only way to avoid disaster. Marriage to a priesthood holding, preferably RM, and making babies is THE only way to happiness. Period. The most important thing is who you marry.

She is reminded over and over that she cannot give a blessing to a sick child, nope, she needs a man. She cannot give her child a name and blessing, nope she needs a man. She is reminded over and over that as a second class citizen, she needs a man. She can’t be a mission president or anyone important. The best she can do is find a man who is more righteous than others and hang onto his shirt tails. Her righteousness is secondary to her husband’s. Nothing she can do will get her into the CK if her husband isn’t righteous. This helplessness is terrifying. Nothing she does or is is good enough because she doesn’t have priesthood.

Oh, sure, the YM are also taught that it is important to marry and that they can’t reach the top of the CK without a wife. But they are also taught leadership, the importance of a mission, and basketball. So, guys, think of this. All the time you were in the gym playing basketball the girls were play acting temple marriage by wearing their mother’s wedding dress and getting pictures at the temple and other sickeningly sweet “preparation for marriage.” “How to snag a man,” or “what kind of man to snag,” or how to be supper sexy while covering your body in cloth, you know “modest but attractive”.

Marriage to the “right” man is the single most important thing a woman can do to be a follower of Jesus??? It reaches the point of worshipping “the family” rather than God.

Then they are married in the temple and act out the righteous husband bringing his dutiful wife into the Celestial Kingdom with a ceremony at the veil. Yes, men you may need a wife to go there, but your wife does not personally bring you in. It is much more personal and unsure for women.

So, what happens eternally if the husband isn’t righteous? The wife will be left standing outside the Celestial kingdom forever waiting to be brought inside. Men get brought in by The Lord, while women get brought in by their husband. So guys, you never had to fear God not showing up at the veil to bring you into the CK. You can depend on God. He is after all, God. But the woman has to depend on a mere mortal, who may or may not be righteous enough.

Her personal righteousness is not enough, even though the church gives lip service to the idea that it is. See, if she is righteous and her husband is not, she will be “given” to a more righteous man. So, in her mind, she gets handed to a perfect stranger who is probably as righteous as Boyd K Packer. Blech! Not only does she not get the man she loves, she has no choice in who she does get.

So, bad enough if a child leaves the church and you lose them for eternity. But for a husband to leave the church! Well, you not only lose them, but you lose you own ticket into the CK. Everything is thrown into chaos. And what happens to children? Are they lost for eternity too? And to be handed to someone you don’t love to be part of his harem? ......I will go to hell with my husband, The “reward” for a righteous woman married to a man who isn’t righteous enough is no reward at all. Kind of sounds like sexual slavery to me.

Women are also taught that they set the spiritual tone in the family. They are told how it is their righteousness that keeps their family in the church. Men may be the spiritual leaders, the head. But women are taught that they are the heart, and obviously religion is all about the heart rather than the head. They are the one responsible if someone goes astray. It is all about how spiritual you make your home.

The lessons in YW really teach a fairy tale of temple marriage and living happily ever after. There are no lessons on having a good marriage, or the work it takes to make a marriage work. It is seen as the only thing needed is marriage in the temple and you are home free. Happily ever after. So, when a husband decides he doesn’t believe it destroys the fairy tale. She has no idea how to save her family, not now and not for the next life either. All she has ever been taught is that nothing on earth is worse than having a husband who isn’t a good priesthood holder.

Other than understanding that it is different for a wife when a husband goes inactive than it is for a husband with a wife leaving the church, RR’s comments are great.

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Re: 'What do you believe?'

Post by Mackman » Tue Jul 02, 2019 5:10 pm

Thanks for the wife perspective alas!!!! Well said cudos....

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Re: 'What do you believe?'

Post by jfro18 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 5:24 pm

Shorter Alas:


That's really depressing what you said... even more so that DW refuses to acknowledge any of that.

But I can see what it's so difficult for her and I can understand why she's so terrified to look at these issues.

We'll see how it goes in a few weeks when we have the conversation that goes beyond just Mormonism as to overall beliefs in God. Honestly I don't even know what that is for me, which is a part of the problem, but I feel like admitting I don't really know that I believe any of it might be a whole new level of difficult for her... but I don't want to lie either.

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Re: 'What do you believe?'

Post by moksha » Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:57 pm

We all believe so many things. I would lead with some items that you know your wife and you have in common. Faith, hope, and love, or perhaps liberté, égalité, fraternité, or for something more concrete perhaps Skyrim, the color violet, and chocolate.

What a shame that religion can be used as a divider rather than an enhancer.
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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Re: 'What do you believe?'

Post by Random » Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:59 pm

alas wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:39 pm
Her personal righteousness is not enough, even though the church gives lip service to the idea that it is. See, if she is righteous and her husband is not, she will be “given” to a more righteous man. So, in her mind, she gets handed to a perfect stranger who is probably as righteous as Boyd K Packer. Blech! Not only does she not get the man she loves, she has no choice in who she does get.
. . .
But for a husband to leave the church! Well, you not only lose them, but you lose you own ticket into the CK. Everything is thrown into chaos.
I have a friend who followed her husband into apostasy for exactly this reason. She told me that since she wouldn't be with him for eternity and she didn't want someone else, she saw no reason not to follow him in that direction. So this teaching totally backfired on the Church in her case.
[They] which knew me from the beginning . . . would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
Acts 26:5

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Re: 'What do you believe?'

Post by Emower » Sat Jul 13, 2019 4:13 pm

Great comments. I can't add to RR and Alas, so I will just relate where I am at with beliefs. I don't know what I believe in either. And I am happy with that quite frankly. I once read a post years ago on wheat and tares about taking pleasure in the unknown. And I have really gotten there. I don't know who God is, and it is exciting to be able to think about multiple ideas of who God is, and have all of them be equally probable in my mind.

It's like being restricted to watching shows on your grandma's shelf, then all the sudden being given a Netflix subscription. What do you want to watch? Who knows, and why do you need to decide right now?

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Re: 'What do you believe?'

Post by Anon70 » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:25 am

Not knowing what was true or real was very upsetting at first-the church had an answer for everything before my faith crisis. But, like Emower, years down the path I feel so much peace at not knowing anything. I don’t even know what I believe most days. I find it very freeing. I actually feels it’s made me a much more open and less judgmental person.

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Re: 'What do you believe?'

Post by Not Buying It » Tue Jul 23, 2019 5:44 am

Anon70 wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:25 am
Not knowing what was true or real was very upsetting at first-the church had an answer for everything before my faith crisis. But, like Emower, years down the path I feel so much peace at not knowing anything. I don’t even know what I believe most days. I find it very freeing. I actually feels it’s made me a much more open and less judgmental person.
That’s where I’m at these days. I don’t know - and that doesn’t bother me. No one does, and there is a freedom that comes from acknowledging that. Not knowing is way better than a desperate attempt to try and maintain belief in things that are obviously not true, which is where I would be if I hadn’t given up on the Church.

Besides, even if the Church was true, its answers are all shallow, ambiguous, and lacking in any detail. What happens when we die? We go to the Spirit World. What is that like? Who the hell knows? Someday you’ll be with your family forever - does that mean you all live in a giant house with your parents and grandparents and great-grandparents and your kids and their kids and their kids’ kids? You’ll be a god someday and make worlds - what’s that like? How many? Do we all get a vast universe like the one we currently inhabit? Or just a couple of planets in a universe we share with other gods? The Church gives exactly 0 details on any of that, beyond simple phrases like “families are forever” - which, incidentally, is nowhere in any of the scriptures, D&C 131 and 132 are about polygamy, not “forever families”. Those two sections alone in all of scripture define the concept of forever families, and they aren’t even about families. And yet believing members cry themselves to sleep that they won’t be with their unbelieving children forever. Never has so much angst been generated over a doctrine with so little scriptural backing.

The Church doesn’t really have any answers - it has a few trite, shallow, undeveloped ideas Joseph Smith pulled out of his butt without explaining in any detail. When you take a good, hard look at them, the Church’s answers are pretty unsatisfying.
"The truth is elegantly simple. The lie needs complex apologia. 4 simple words: Joe made it up. It answers everything with the perfect simplicity of Occam's Razor. Every convoluted excuse withers." - Some guy on Reddit called disposazelph

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Re: 'What do you believe?'

Post by dogbite » Tue Jul 23, 2019 7:16 am

I try not to believe. I use facts and extrapolate opinions subject to change when better data (facts) come along.

Beliefs too often blind you to better ideas.

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Re: 'What do you believe?'

Post by Dravin » Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:35 am

I've mostly avoided the topic of belief with my wife. It's probably not the healthiest approach but other than a quick, "I don't believe in God." conversation in the beginning we've not really approached it since. To be fair, in the beginning I was most definitely an angry stage ex-Mormon and I don't think the conversations would have been very fruitful, too much anger on my side for me not to attack my former beliefs (and thus her current beliefs). Now that I think I could have a fairly mellow conversation on the topic we've just settled down into religion being mostly off topic (aside from occasionally asking her how church was or if she enjoyed her session at the temple).

As far as what I currently believe? I think my belief, at least concerning the topic of god is best summarized as, "I find insufficient evidence to justify belief in a God." At first not being able to share my beliefs bugged me, but I've since reached the point that I don't care. I love my wife and want to spend my life with her, that she isn't interested in having a discussion about god and religion is minor to me at this point. This however is a different scenario than yours, your wife asked so she's obviously interested.

Though I will say there is a big difference in fear driven interest (wanting to know what they are up against) and genuine interest. The former is wanting reassurance mostly that you aren't going off the deep end like the many horror stories about unbelieving spouses that float around Mormondom. The latter is wanting to know where you stand, how you got there, your thought processes and understanding you even if they don't agree with you. It's important to know which conversation you are having. The fear driven conversation isn't interested in epistemology and your new found appreciation for being in a state of not knowing with certainty, it just wants to know you aren't going to start visiting prostitutes or buying your kids weed.
Hindsight is all well and good... until you trip.

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