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For my first interview in our “Mormons in the U.K.” series, I interview my dear friend Nathan Lisgo.
In this two part series Nathan discusses:
When did you serve? My brother served in marselle and Bordeaux. Elder Hudson
I served from September 2000 to August 2002. My areas were Marseilles, Toulouse, Pau and Beziers. President Wilcox was president for all but the last 2 months of my mission when President Pratt came in.
Fascinating interviews. Couldn’t stop listening once I had started. Stayed up 2 hours longer than I intended.
I enjoyed the drive and conversation, I was a convert to the church from that area ( have since moved back to Australia). So the roads seemed very familiar, as well as Nathan’s accent. Really looking forward to the 2nd episode, as I have a mixed faith marriage too.
it is hard to pinpoint where he has on his journey but I think most of us went through that point where things were disturbing and confusing but we weren’t ready to let completely go
My question for him is this…….” can you please give us some examples of how you reframed disturbing facts you found?
you mentioned many times that it was all about reframing and I am confused about what that means “…… please give us some examples of how your reframed doctrine or facts that were disturbing
You he seems to be in the process of learning and contemplating the facts
For some of us it takes years and it is a gradual letting go– that’s understandable
Your honest when you say how leaving the church could be so difficult for you and your family
Those of us who leave the church later in life don’t have to deal with the question Whether to raise children in the church although now I wish I had not and I look back and realize how philosophies and doctrines affected my parenting and brought a lot of guilt and false expectations on my children
Will there be a time when you. can talk to them about your findings and opinions about church doctrine
Or will they have to discover this on their own
And if they do will they feel disappointment that their father did not discuss these things
Several people have mentioned how they found later that their parents were struggling with the church and they wished They had known because they themselves have many questions
When I discovered the church was not true I went through great morning of the death of someone I loved so deeply but who what’s not even real — this is what they may experience
Just recently my daughter talked to me about her struggles with guilt and Inadequacies because of doctrine and expectations
We both share an awareness of how it has been hurtful to us – and now we are going through the struggle of finding who God is and meaning in our lives She is very impressed with the book “conversations with God ”
Again could you share us of how you reframed some of your concerns
I will need to relisten to determine where I used the word reframing to give an adequate response but I didn’t mean to suggest that a reframing of an idea or policy presented at church would lead you to a conclusion that the practice or teaching is divine or of worth. It could be that you frame the policy or teaching in it’s historical context and you can reject or accept it based on its value instead of it being Gods position. Apologies, if it still isn’t clear in the interview. I really meant to describe an internal leap that I had made. It’s hard sometimes to think outside of the prescribed box within a faith tradition. I was raised thinking that truth was a definite and clear thing, not much room for nuance and certainly not a framework to dissent if something didn’t sound right.
Thanks for listening and thanks for your feedback and questions.
Thank you Nathan for your sharing on Mormon Stories. I profoundly respect your position and it seems supremely mature. John, as he frequently does, seems to have difficultly with the “middle ground” because, in my view he still may profoundly accept the Mormon narrative of all or nothing truthfulness which has to be embraced completely and, if not, then rejected soundly. Religion has been both forces for good and ill results and LDS is no exception. For me Nathan’s approach being able to see the goodness in things while not being afraid to discuss and to not accept the things that do not square with one’s belief system or values has great value. Consider science, using theories often can be helpful even if later we find these theories were inadequate or even misleading; we find that truth is not a fixed position but a journey and a process of seeking and valuing. For some of us our interaction with religion and Mormonism in particular can be messy and paradoxical affirming the value of spiritual seeking and belief and then finding areas where our personal morality and values supersede the directions of the denomination. In the 12 step movement about a Higher Power and program prescriptions the phrase “take what you like and leave the rest” is valuable. Coming thru a faith crisis with belief and concern for humanity and without bitterness may be and important part of moral development.
I enjoyed listening to a fellow Brit, I recognise many of his experiences. I was trying to figure out the overall theme or conclusion to Nathan’s remarks and experiences, and I suppose there is not yet a conclusion that be neatly defined. It really is a journey that is different for each of us. However, I tried to find a “middle way” in the few months I wrestled with my discoveries about the church and I couldnt find one. The church has never taught ” take the bits you like or can cope with”. The church has always and currently is, declaring absolutism. Any reading through church material; conference talks, speeches, lessons, statements by the First Presidency, all place the LDS church on the pedestal of absolute truth. From ” its all true or none of it is” to ” where will you go”. So, living my life on the premise of my own conclusions and yes, feelings, I quickly understood that even if I continued to seek Christ, it could not be with, and as part of the LDS church. At best its a construct, a sect with a peculiar take on Christianity, at worst… Well that’s for individuals to decide. I feel the information about Nathans dad was very important. I hope that was not the key factor in his parents divorce. When leaving the church makes it a deal breaker for the other spouse , as I have witnessed elsewhere, that is further evidence of absolutism. I know it is so very very difficult to navigate this as a couple and do not have any wonderful advice to offer. I find it very concerning that the church has such a hold on believing members that one spouse doubting can cause such pain. The emotional blackmail of temple sealings and the eternal family only being possible through LDS temple ordinances causes so much pain. Let’s not forget, there is NO proof the church is true, just because it says so. Once I allowed myself to explore that idea I could begin my journey, hoping it was, and concluding it was not. Best wishes,whatever the future holds.
I definitely feel I am on a journey. The future is not clear for me which is a little scary but interesting too :) Thanks for listening.
I liked the new camera/recording system. Better than previous interviews. Thank you for broadening the interviews to other countries, very helpful. Nathan, I appreciated your calm, curious and thoughtful approach to your faith journey, even being grateful/okay with the pain. I am reading a short book you and others on this journey (mine has spanned 36 years now and I think I will be on it for the duration): ‘When Mormons Doubt: A way to save relationships and seek a quality life,’ by Jon Ogden. Thank you so much for this interview.
On a similar journey in Yorkshire so thanks for sharing.
Good taste in music as well – madferit!
I was raised with parents that never spoke of a God and it became clear that they were not interested in broaching the subject with me. Human nature being what it is there needed to be an authority and Dad took that part. I must say he didn’t do a bad job. The inevitable “teenage rebellion” started me on the path (this is in the 1950’s) of the new and exciting field of psychology . This knowledge made it possible for me to enjoy the company of a sweet Mormon man for 20 years who clearly was conflicted. The blessing of being secular was the key for any empathy and compassion I brought to the relationship. I wish all “believers” everywhere the gift of science–its majesty trumps religious beliefs.
Thank you Nathan for sharing your own unique experience, your journey is very usual and l can certainly relate to it, we all have to go on our own journey to find truth, but it is hard to know where to go from here, when you know the truth claims aren’t as they are proclaimed or taught us to be, but when you have family and friends inside the church it’s difficult to go on and make changes in your spiritual lifes journey, because there is so much good in the church but there is also a lot of damage being done too, we need to heal and mend and help somehow, god bless you Nathan, god speed for your own personal journey ahead. Thanks jon, for another great interview, the james corden experience is very interesting, it’s a great idea, Hi from the uk, kind wishes.
God bless you with your family on your spiritual journey of healing and knowledge truth and light, may you all find the peace and lasting happiness that you are searching for.
Good interview. Maybe I missed it, but what was the video that you spoke about early in part 2 that your stake president didn’t want to watch?
Blacks in the Scriptures
Dvd available here https://blacksinthescriptures.com/in-the-news/
Nathan, i recommend you read Patrick Mason’s book “Planted” . It was a great help to me. John Dehlin and Patrick have a blog together.
Great podcast. I appreciate your measured and respectful way of discussing the church. Over the past couple of years I have traveled a similar path of discovery. A few months ago, I made a thoughtful decision to stay in the church. I agree that it does and offers much good. But, there are also things that have a definite need for improvement. Whereas I’ve decided to stay, I’ve also decided to be an active voice for change.
Hearing your journey and outlook helps me frame my own outlook for staying. All my best as you continue forward.
Thanks, my friend!
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