In this seminar (recorded live at the 2007 Northwest Sunstone Symposium in Seattle), I discuss techniques for staying in the LDS church after a major trial of faith.
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Excellent presentation John. The Church is more than just a religion it is a community and unfortunately those of us who have lost our belief must come to accept that we cannot keep the community and completely divorce ourselves of the things that bother us about the religion.
It is hard initially to deal with the fact that individually you aren’t going to effect massive reforms in the Church and that keeping so much of what you have depends on continuing to participate in Church practices.
But I’ve found though that as I come to focus on the positives that the Church offers and the relationships that matter most and looking for small ways to effect positive change that I feel much less frustration and anger and much more personal fulfillment.
I agree that the Church has many positive things to offer, except one: salvation.
If you believe God is real (which I do) and if you believe God offers salvation to mankind (which I also do), then that is the main issue isn’t it?
If the LDS Church is the invention of Joseph Smith and many of its tenets are the imaginations of Smith’s mind, then what does the LDS Church have to offer in terms of actual salvation.
I respect John for his insight and thoughtful approach to staying in the LDS Church. However, I have never heard John talk about what he believes in the LDS Church’s doctrines of salvation. I’m not sure that salvation is even on his radar.
I am very interested to hear what John has to say on the matter.
I can’t speak for John but for me the answer to you questions would be that all religions suffer to one degree or another from they type of historical discrepancy and logical contradictions that Mormonism does. Thus choosing the ‘right’ or ‘true’ religion would become a daunting if not impossible task. Consequently one must assume that if God exists and He is a loving and merciful being that He will only condemn us for the mistreatement of our fellow human beings that He also loves and not for our religious choices.
An excellent broadcast. One of the best yet. John, thanks for this. YOu explained much of where I am at now, choosing to stay for so many of the reasons you talk about. How happy I am there are others like me. So often I run into those who have left and are angry and they think I am nuts for wanting to stay. Other places I see more down the line member and they thing I am the devils spawn for doubting and not being as solid as I once was. Thanks for sharing this.
[…] excellent podcast last night for those who are having questions and struggles with the Church: Mormon Stories Podcast Mormon Stories #109: How to Stay in the LDS Church after Losing Your Faith __________________ But mercy is above this sceptred sway; It is enthroned in the hearts of […]
Great! Just what I needed. Everything in you talked was powerful! thank you.
I appreciate the work you’ve put into this even if I don’t agree with your approach to the church.
“it is unreasonable to expect the church to explain things and make apologies to come after the 1% and possibly leave behind the 99%” Sounds like this whole “steering the big ship” idea is contrary to the teaching to leave the 90 and 9 and go after the one lost sheep, but I’m sure you have a way of overlooking that contradiction as you do others. Sorry if that came off sounding more snarky than it was meant.
Accepting the church as less than what it claims to be just isn’t that easy for me. I’m trying to make it fit without being dogmatic or absolutist (as the church teaches) but every time I try it seems like I can’t put the line anywhere without ruining the whole belief. If I don’t buy into the historicity of the BoM and BoA, or that the D&C is inspired, where do I stop? Is there a Celestial Kingdom? If I don’t want to go to the temple bc of the obvious masonic plagiarisms how can I be in a calling that requires me to? How can I serve as a EQ president or bishop? It’s not possible without lying. Is homosexuality (I’m straight by the way) really wrong, or is this just going to turn out like blacks getting the priesthood? I’m not willing to support an organization that can be bigoted against a group in the name of God, and then years later just do a complete 180. I’d be sick with myself if I was one of those members who back in the 50s, 60s, and 70s followed the prophets’ and apostles’ teachings on blacks.
When the stakes are so high(ruining millions of people’s lives), how can we just follow a non-divinely-inspired organization to such conclusions, even if we believe overall its effects are a good influence in our lives? I recognize there are a lot of good people in the church and realize the quandry of the brethren but they are in this quandry because they teach that they have the direct line of communication from God, and sole authority to speak in his name. I’m trying so hard to take an easier view of this in order to remain in the church but I’m just hitting a wall. I don’t feel good about staying in at all, I want to leave but feel trapped socially.
Email me if you want to chat about all this.
what if losing your faith in the church is God telling you the church isn’t true? We always blame it on satan and members will always say its the devil making us feel like that, but what if you progress in this life and it has nothing to do with satan, and we are infact closing ourselves off to learning the church isn’t true? We teach to be open minded but infact we as members of the church are very closed minded. I am a faithful member but i feel something is very wrong. Sometimes it seams that half the stuff i learned as a child in the church has now become opinion in the “modern church”.
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