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By Spencer 88
Hi, anybody willing to read and share some input.
I am in a tough situation and will try to give a brief overview of all. My wife and I are from dysfunctional part member or so so active hypocritical homes. I was inactive, read the BOM repented and gained a testimony, went on a mission, got back and made some mistakes etc. Met my wife, who I thought was an amazing person, but she was inactive. We dated, slipped with sexual transgression, got pregnant and decided to get married. Both had desire to marry each other, but had some apprehensions due to slipping and failing on those goals.
I fell into a deep depression and was disfellowshipped as I expected. I felt like I failed God and myself and the witnesses I had received. I felt hopeless and wrote some terrible things about my wife and secretly began to loathe her as I despised myself. Had our son, I sought help and went on antidepressants and went to counseling. I pulled up out of that hole, and had a new hope for us. My wife found my journal and read all the things I said, that I no longer felt about her and our future. It destroyed her.
She has since been with me, but not emotionally there, won't do things to progress with me. I quit both my jobs and moved for her masters program, after she had left me earlier and came back and decided to work through things and have a fresh start. Now she is disconnected again, has expressed she has no faith in God because of her life and the terrible things that happen in the world, and because of the church's decision to exclude children of gay couples...
I am tired of trying to prove I didn't mean those things and being constantly pushed away. I am scared and now she wants a divorce as I said I need her to commit and she says she can't trust or love me. She is going to speak with a counselor from school. She doesn't want to be with me especially if I desire a temple sealing. I fear the worst for us and our son, and have been trying as much as I can give without being burnt from her rejection. I do love her, but don't know how much more I can take.
Anybody have similar experiences? The consequences of the divorce will make life nearly impossible, will have to shuffle our child, pay for two rents, lose half of everything, work around child care and child payments, and the devastating loneliness that comes with divorce and the stigma of trying to find another spouse when you have a child and are divorced. I am 28.
I've just heard for the umpteenth time on a podcast about how a committed saint lost his/her faith in the Church upon learning about JS' polyandry. And, as is almost always the case, the person's loss of faith in the Church resulted in a complete loss of faith in Christ. And I just don't get it.
And let's be clear. I TOTALLY understand how somehow could lose faith in the Church. I just don't get throwing out the baby (Jesus) with the polyandry. In my studies of Mormon history, I've come to believe that there are many parts of our founding narrative that are either misunderstood, exaggerated, whitewashed or just plain not true. But there is NOTHING that you could tell me about JS, BY, President Monson, my beloved bishop (or even my very own mother) that would cause me to abandon my belief in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
And don't get me wrong. I'm not claiming that my faith in Christ is bullet-proof. I could imagine losing faith in Christ if I suffered some horrendous personal tragedy that caused me to doubt the existence of a god or, at least, that a loving god could allow me to experience such pain. I just can't imagine losing faith in my Savior because I felt lied to by a MAN.
Yet, I hear that time and again from Mormons. They come to the conclusion that JS was not truthful or mistaken and pretty soon, there is no Jesus. How do these two things become conflated? After all, JS didn't "discover" Jesus Christ. Nor did he "invent" the figure of a Savior out of whole cloth. So even if JS was completely wrong about the Restoration, it wouldn't affect Christ's earthly ministry or any of the marvelous acts attributed to him in the Gospels. So why is that when someone rejects Mormonism, they so often reject Christ too?
To me, it would be like going to the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter movie and later discovering that it wasn't a "true life story," and then concluding that there must have never been an Abraham Lincoln at all.
To my knowledge, this doesn't happen with, say, Lutherans or Calvinists. I've certainly never heard of anyone learning about Luther's horrifying anti-semitism or his allowing Philip's bigamy and then swearing off the Savior as a "fiction." Most often, these people don't even consider leaving Lutheranism. But even if they do decide that they must find a new church, it isn't the Church of Secular Humanism. They simply move to another sect of Christianity or hope that their new church is slightly less flawed than their old church.
But what is it about Mormonism that creates such brittle Christians? And is there a way to allow saints to come through the furnace of disaffection with their Christianity still largely intact?
Gina Colvin, also known (for reasons that are entirely unclear) as "Kiwimormon," is at it again. See here.
I particularly like this ringing declaration:
Now I don't expect Ms Colvin to know this, because she's a journalist, not a historian. Deep thinking and careful analysis of past events is not what she does; glib quips and flippant headlines are her oeuvre. But the fact remains that Plural marriage, throughout Mormon history, was at all times a deeply religious principle, and no less for Joseph than anyone else. The fact that he worried about it constantly, it gave him no end of trouble, and still he persisted with it, really ought to tell her something.
At least, it might, if only she had the intellectual horsepower to manage it.
But instead, she goes with the utterly discredited "Old Joe's libido" explanation. Which actually explains very little, and leaves far too many unanswered questions.
But what else should we expect of someone who's not only a journalist, but a toxic feminist?
Note that remark about "spiritual abuse." It's a regular theme of hers. Read it again. Is she saying that Joseph was guilty of "spiritual abuse?" Actually no although if you asked her, she'd probably say that he was. No, the "spiritual abuse" to which she objects consists in "maintain[ing] a discourse of high transcendent religious motivation around the character of Joseph Smith" instead of surrendering to her preferred "Lothario" narrative of Mormon polygamy. Did you get that? It's "spiritual abuse" to disagree with her, so shut up.
Read her description of her discussion with her Priests/Laurels Sunday School class. Hands up who really believes that a class of teenagers came up with those expressions of cynicism and disgust without any prompting from their teacher?
The comments are also instructive. She smiles benignly upon the most outrageous anti-Mormon propaganda. "Cult mind control?" Really? But a number of other comments have been deleted; clearly there was a commenter who disagreed with Ms Colvin's position, so she silenced him, as she habitually does. But the most damning comment comes, not from anyone who disagrees with her, but from "Rev_Lowery," someone who supports her wholeheartedly:
You sure got that right, Rev.
The loss of sisters in the gospel has been on my mind a lot of late. Being a science-minded sort of woman, I started looking for meaningful statistics to analyze our losses and their reasons, which we know are virtually nonexistent.
But by examining the general membership numbers (and doing some simple math) in the General Conference Statistics Reports, for 2012 and 2013 we can see the following:
The church's actual growth was 299,555 people in 2013.
282,945 of those were converts.
Presumably the rest of the growth is composed of children of record, which is listed at 115,486.
The discrepancy between the totals *should* be the number of records that were removed from the church.
So New Converts + Children of Record = Gross additions
Gross Additions in 2013 - Actual Growth = People Lost
According to my math, People lost from the record = 98,876.
Edited to add: as someone rightly pointed out, this includes deaths.
We don't have any good studies of why people are so upset as to have their names removed from the record, but it is different than simply going inactive. This would also include excommunications, which I'm assuming would comprise a very small percentage of that number.
The online survey from a couple of years ago (sponsored by John Dehlin?) cited women's issues as one of the reasons for leaving among 47% of 3000 survey respondents. For women specifically, the number was 63%. Who knows how reflective those percentages are of the 98,876, but it stands to reason that we can extrapolate that at least thousands, if not tens of thousands, of women are leaving the church because of women's issues.
As I've read through social media responses over the last week and many of the comments here, it seems like there is among many a readiness to dismiss those hurt by the church and ignore any possible need for self-examination on behalf of the church. I support church leadership in their callings and in their efforts to improve things that can be improved. I would hate for recent events to give the LDS an excuse to vilify those who "ask questions" (We love that term by now, don't we?) or those who see injustices within the church.
If there is anything that I had hoped to hear from the First Presidency when they made their statement Saturday, it was a statement of love and "we hear you" for women that are hurting. It *felt* symbolic of a greater dismissal of the issues at hand. Otterson has said that the GAs care and are aware, but it was absent from that particular statement.
How seriously do we take the losses of the church? Do we just label them tares and we let them go?
Would it be possible to make the church's introspection a more transparent process? Do we have to keep up the appearance that all is well in Zion?
Does anyone know about "The Rescue" effort made by President Monson? I have only heard it vaguely referenced.
These things weigh heavy on my heart today.