Today I wanted to reach out to the listener in the dark part of their faith transition. I wanted to share with you things I have found helpful and things I think you would benefit from thinking about. I hope these are helpful and welcome your feedback. God bless you and may the Lord warm your shoulders.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Bill, I enjoyed your perspective. I disagree with much of what you say about creating your own brand of mormonism, but if it works to keep people on the boat, that’s fine. I do not think that being a cafeteria mormon is the answer. I think faith is a always a bit of a leap, but if it stays a small hop or a toe in at the waters edge, the responding benefits will be equally limited.
“Be your own Mormon…You don’t have to be a Mormon in any way that someone expects of you…”
…Unless you want to tell the truth. Unless you want to attend your children’s’ weddings. Unless you want to feel welcome and accepted at your own family reunions. Unless you want your 23+ year marriage to continue.
Yeah– you can Be your own Mormon. But, you may well end up alone, judged, pitied, dismissed, and maybe even despised. Christianity at it’s finest? No. No, it is not.
I agree to the extent that leader roulette can deeply affect how it plays out. But I also stand by what I said generally. That I get to determine how I pay tithing, I get to decide what it means to have a testimony, I get to determine what it means to keep the word of wisdon, I get to to decide if I hold to the Mormonism that comes across in the quotes they like to share in the manual or the Mormonism that is much more inclusive and humble found in just as many quotes that they don’t share.
But what is mormonism at all if you reject the restoration or think of the Church is a nice cultural and social institution with many good qualities, but deny its core claims? I too look for the presence of the divine in the church am often times disappointed, but defining for yourself what mormonism is rejects several of the major tenets of our faith, including prophets (though human), revelation (related of course to prophets) and the role of the priesthood in church governance? You say to reconstruct you must dismiss the restoration claims? If these are frauds, then all other claims are equally fallacious.
“What is Mormonism if etc….?”
Then Mormonism is what Mormonism thinks Catholicism is. A movement with a great deal of valuable truth in it.
I think the message of this podcast was beautiful. I’ve long held deep respect for you Bill. We’ve corresponded a bit back when I participated on StayLDS. Now, while I believe the idea of being Mormon in your own way is beautiful, and indeed doing so would seemingly make life much richer, I sort of agree with Carol. We’re not just talking about Leadership roulette. We’re talking about relationships, marriages, etc. As soon as I decide I want to do Mormonism in my own way (something I’ve been trying so desperately to do for over 4 years now), my wife, or my friend, or my leaders decide that my way is wrong. I’m being selfish. I’m not compromising. I’m not trying hard enough. I’m just kicking against the pricks, being rebellious.
Be your own Mormon…it’s a beautiful tag line. But in practice, in my life, and the life of many of my friends, the idea of mormonism in your way is nothing more than a pipe dream, fraught with frustration, sadness, discouragement, anxiety, loneliness and on and on.
I hear you and validate that. there is a line and at some point others one by one will be uncomfortable as we step further and further from orthodoxy. That said it has worked really well for me and for other very close friends who have done the same.
I couldn’t agree more, Carol.
My heart to yours?
Robert, I don’t think Bill is rejecting the restoration. I think he’s saying, that what is entailed in ‘the restoration’ is probably not nearly what you think it is. This is what happens when one researches and studies and learns from all sources, as Joseph Smith Jr. taught us we should do in our individual search for truth.
I’m curious – what do you think the “core claims” of the Church are? Do you think they are the same as they were 6 April 1830? Can you think critically? NOT negatively, but critically?
Ok, Robert – you did list the following, as major tenets:
1. prophets (though human)
(reading Bill’s mind) Bill believes in prophets. He also believes that you and I and he are prophets, or should be. We all believe (I hope) that prophets can and do make mistakes.
2. revelation (related of course to prophets)
Related but not limited to, right? I’d guess Bill believes in this all right. And so do I.
3. role of the priesthood in church governance
I’m not sure of your point here, can you explain?
You say to reconstruct you must dismiss the restoration claims?
Sometimes it’s a good idea to revisit our beliefs and examine them carefully. To really think and ponder about them. To question them. To pray about them. Keep in mind what Pres. Uchtdorf said about our beliefs preventing us from learning truth.
Great podcast. Keep them coming.
Excellent thoughts and comments. Please look at my comments not as criticisms but as my yearning and seeking greater clarity.
I feel very alone at times in my struggle, since the mere mention of my doubts and conflicts results in heartache for my spouse and would be equally troubling to my ward members and friends.
Thank for your podcast. I told myself I would only listen to a little bit and surprised myself when I listened to the whole podcast. I am going through my own faith crisis right now, so it’s amazing how well you described what I was going through. My faith has been deconstructing lately, and now I am going to take this opportunity to reconstruct it. Thank you once again. This podcast saved my hope for a better faith.
your welcome. It is interesting this language of transition feels so familiar to each of us out of the black and white stage.