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The So-Called "Middle Way"


Libs

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I was cleaning out some old files and I found this link that I have had for a couple of years or more. The middle way was something I became a bit interested in, before I left the church, when I was looking for reasons to stay. I did, ultimately, leave the church, but I think I have, finally, embraced many of the principles stated in this article....basically, clinging to that which was good and leaving the rest (those issues with which I had problems).

Just wondering what currently active LDS think about this way of being in the church...

http://staylds.com/docs/HowToStay.html#Foreword_and_Disclaimer

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I was cleaning out some old files and I found this link that I have had for a couple of years or more. The middle way was something I became a bit interested in, before I left the church, when I was looking for reasons to stay. I did, ultimately, leave the church, but I think I have, finally, embraced many of the principles stated in this article....basically, clinging to that which was good and leaving the rest (those issues with which I had problems).

Just wondering what currently active LDS think about this way of being in the church...

http://staylds.com/docs/HowToStay.html#Foreword_and_Disclaimer

A person who tries to take a

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Libs, to be honest, though I would love to have you in the church, I am a bit hesitant to tell you to take the middle way... it is a very confusing road.

If you are to take the middle way, you must learn not to be offended by anybody... you must learn not to be bitter. There was a time I participated on another board in which there were many of these 'middle-way people' there... but when I said trust in the priesthood, it started a mass response by those people... and when I responded to each of them, using the kind tone I usually do, I was banned for being a troll. I no longer hold a grudge against these people, but my point is, if you take the middle route, you must be extremely patient... and also be willing to rethink that middle route if the time comes. There are very few people better than you in terms of patience and kinda attitude, you must keep these with you if you take that route.

As for confusion... what I mean... is you won't know where to look and trust. People will be tugging on you this way and that, towards this idea and that. It can get very confusing... and somewhat messy. Sometimes, it's better to be more polar, because it's more stable. I don't know what it will be like for you, it may not be as it seems, it may be best for you, I do not know. But I wanted to explain my thoughts clearly before ending my post.

Oh... one more thing... a book I'd reccomend getting... because it's helped me so much:

Inspiring Experiences That Build Faith by Thomas S. Monson

I'm not saying you need faith or anything... but this book is quite wonderful for almost anyone, I would think. When your feeling down, or just want to get away from the world for a while, read a section or two, they are only like a page and a half long each, short and sweet, and yet greatly spiritual... perhaps that's what I like most about the book... simple pure spiritual experiences... but yah. Actually... it's the book I am going to see if I can take with me when I go on my mission, along with my scriptures... not sure if they will allow it... but I hope they will, it is a very strong builder indeed =).

Really, the book is wonderful =D. It's just what I need indeed.

Best Wishes,

TAO

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TAO, I wasn't really considering it for myself. I did try to go back a couple of years ago, but it didn't work out, mostly for the reasons Sky stated. I was so excited to be back, at first...jumped headlong into everything (service projects, etc), got a Priesthood blessing and I thought it was going to be wonderful. But, then, one day, as I sat in Gospel Doctrine, the doubts started flooding back, and I was suddenly very uncomfortable there. I stayed for six months, but ultimately had to leave again.

I appreciate the book reference. I have something like that by Gordon B. Hinckley...a little inspirational book, that I really loved. I could just open it anywhere and feel uplifted by it. Hope you get to take your book on your mission. :P

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TAO, I wasn't really considering it for myself. I did try to go back a couple of years ago, but it didn't work out, mostly for the reasons Sky stated. I was so excited to be back, at first...jumped headlong into everything (service projects, etc), got a Priesthood blessing and I thought it was going to be wonderful. But, then, one day, as I sat in Gospel Doctrine, the doubts started flooding back, and I was suddenly very uncomfortable there. I stayed for six months, but ultimately had to leave again.

When the time comes Libs, you'll be willing to try again, I think. The Lord calls us, despite difficulties, to do things, and he'll call you again someday. And perhaps, when that time comes, I'll meet you in person ;-).

I appreciate the book reference. I have something like that by Gordon B. Hinckley...a little inspirational book, that I really loved. I could just open it anywhere and feel uplifted by it. Hope you get to take your book on your mission. :P

Hehe, does it happen to be Standing for Something? =D.

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When the time comes Libs, you'll be willing to try again, I think. The Lord calls us, despite difficulties, to do things, and he'll call you again someday. And perhaps, when that time comes, I'll meet you in person ;-).

Hehe, does it happen to be Standing for Something? =D.

"Standing for Something" was a book I read before I even became a member. Someone (an LDS) had posted excerpts from it, online, and it peaked my curiosity about the Church. I did love that book. The inspirational book, I was talking about, was "Stand a Little Taller". It has inspiration from GBH with scripture references. I used that a lot, just for a quick pick-me-up. ;)

I hope we do meet, someday, here or there. :P

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I skimmed the information linked.

Pretty scary IMO, if I were LDS.

This group is proposing a group within "the group", that actually rejects the goal of LDS for it's own goal. If you didn't see it at first, reread it and look how many times it uses the word "We". It says we, whenever it disagrees with the common LDS paradigm.

In example.

We never advocate lying, but we would encourage you to use extreme caution when speaking to church members, especially church leaders, about your issues regarding church history, doctrine or culture. Do not unnecessarily introduce topics or issues to church leadership that will threaten their faith, or cause them to question your loyalty. Resist the temptation to go into the bishop's office and dump all of your doubts and fears upon him. Frankly, the overwhelming majority of bishops are not trained or equipped to handle tough church history or doctrine, or even simple nuance for that matter.

In this one paragraph, I get the impression these folks think non-disclosure is preferable to being truthful.

Also, underline mine, is a total slam against the bishopric, dunno if that is the right word, simply saying that they seem to be saying that whoever your local bishop is, most likely he is inept.

Though, I don't agree with LDS on a plethora of doctrinal issues, I think I have a somewhat clear understanding of their general teaching, what they stand for and so on.

This "Middle Way" group that wants to exist within the LDS paradigm would seem to be a parasitical faction, much like a tape worm or a cancerous tumor or something. IMO, the "Middle Way" would seem to me to be nothing more than a case study on how to be a tare or lukewarm....

If someone doesn't agree, doesn't believe, can't find faith and so forth. Well I think a better course would be to take courage and set forth. I know it's a complicated issue, but I do believe that is the best course. This group doesn't seem to actually support being true to yourself. It seems more of a path of how to convince others that you are true to their beliefs when you are actually disingenuous.

Kind Regards,

Mudcat

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I don't see it quite that way, Mudcat. I don't think they are "dangerous". I think they love the church and their heritage, and despite some doubts, don't really want to leave. I would imagine some lifelong members have taken that path, even before it was given a name. Actually, I don't think I have ever known a Mormon who didn't, at some point, have some serious doubts. Some work through it and become very strong in the faith. Others...it may take longer or they may just simply do what they can, y/k? I wouldn't really judge someone for taking this path...and for some, it may be truly temporary, eventually returning to full faith or finally leaving...

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Just wondering what currently active LDS think about this way of being in the church...

I would say that's it's worse than simply being not valiant in one's testimony which itself would relegate one to the Terrestial glory. I would say that it's an outright rejection of the testimony of Jesus and notwithstanding that one is a member of the Church (a requirement for both the Celestial and Terrestial glories) in this case I believe one would rise in the Telestial glory, possibly after a stint in hell.

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I would say that's it's worse than simply being not valiant in one's testimony which itself would relegate one to the Terrestial glory. I would say that it's an outright rejection of the testimony of Jesus and notwithstanding that one is a member of the Church (a requirement for both the Celestial and Terrestial glories) in this case I believe one would rise in the Telestial glory, possibly after a stint in hell.

I'm looking forward to my "stint in hell."

:P

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I don't have the time this evening to read the entire website, but my concern about any kind of 'middle way' is something I like to call the 'principle of the clutch.' If a clutch is disengaged, the car goes nowhere, but there's also no wear to the clutch. If a clutch is fully engaged, the car moves at full efficiency, and there is also no wear to the clutch. If, however, one 'rides the clutch,' keeping it partially engaged, the car, though it makes progress, does so with reduced efficiency, and the clutch wears out, eventually burning out completely.

Based on personal experience, I think it works roughly the same way in the Church of Jesus Christ. If I'm completely disengaged, I go nowhere, but I also don't burn out. If I'm fully engaged, I race ahead with power and ease, and I also don't burn out. But if I'm only partially engaged, I kind of piddle along, wear and tear mounting, and then I burn out.

Another way of looking at it is that those who are partially engaged make many of the same sacrifices but reap almost none of the benefits, creating huge dissonance in their lives. Repeatedly, I've seen the outcome of this be disillusionment and disenchantment.

For example, a man who never serves a mission never enjoys any of the blessings of serving a mission, but he also remains totally undamaged by the experience. A man who serves a mission with his whole 'heart, might, mind, and strength,' exercising unwavering faith in Jesus Christ, experiences a progression of blessings and miracles such that it's difficult ever to doubt or question again, and these benefits completely overshadow the 'sacrifices,' like being away from home, not dating, being disconnected from media, etc.

A man, however, who completes a mission but never really engages makes almost all of the same sacrifices: absence from family, from girls, from his MP3 player; spartan living; etc. At the same time, he will miss out on most of the divine blessings that come from genuinely giving one's heart fully to Christ, and all he'll have left is memories of how hard it all was, mitigated, hopefully, by some benefits, like learning people or language skills or deloping an appreciation for a new culture. On a very practical level, this sets him up perfectly to conclude that, because the experience wasn't what he thought it would be and clearly should have been, there wasn't really anything there to start with. It's all just something someone made up, and other people claim to have had different experiences just because they're afraid to buck the system and admit the truth.

I don't think a person can last very long in that position.

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I was cleaning out some old files and I found this link that I have had for a couple of years or more. The middle way was something I became a bit interested in, before I left the church, when I was looking for reasons to stay. I did, ultimately, leave the church, but I think I have, finally, embraced many of the principles stated in this article....basically, clinging to that which was good and leaving the rest (those issues with which I had problems).

Just wondering what currently active LDS think about this way of being in the church...

http://staylds.com/docs/HowToStay.html#Foreword_and_Disclaimer

In many respects, we're all walking a middle way. We're all imperfect in the practice of our faith. We all have questions for which we await answers, issues that we put on our shelves. We all see through a glass darkly. I think helping people stay in the church in spite of that is a noble work.

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The middle way.....

These are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fulness.

These are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fulness of the Father.

Wherefore, they are bodies terrestrial, and not bodies celestial, and differ in glory as the moon differs from the sun.

These are they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus; wherefore, they obtain not the crown over the kingdom of our God (Doctrine and Covenants 76:76-79).

Is another way of saying Terrestrial Kingdom.

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I skimmed the information linked.

Pretty scary IMO, if I were LDS.

This group is proposing a group within "the group", that actually rejects the goal of LDS for it's own goal. If you didn't see it at first, reread it and look how many times it uses the word "We". It says we, whenever it disagrees with the common LDS paradigm.

In example.

In this one paragraph, I get the impression these folks think non-disclosure is preferable to being truthful.

Also, underline mine, is a total slam against the bishopric, dunno if that is the right word, simply saying that they seem to be saying that whoever your local bishop is, most likely he is inept.

Though, I don't agree with LDS on a plethora of doctrinal issues, I think I have a somewhat clear understanding of their general teaching, what they stand for and so on.

This "Middle Way" group that wants to exist within the LDS paradigm would seem to be a parasitical faction, much like a tape worm or a cancerous tumor or something. IMO, the "Middle Way" would seem to me to be nothing more than a case study on how to be a tare or lukewarm....

If someone doesn't agree, doesn't believe, can't find faith and so forth. Well I think a better course would be to take courage and set forth. I know it's a complicated issue, but I do believe that is the best course. This group doesn't seem to actually support being true to yourself. It seems more of a path of how to convince others that you are true to their beliefs when you are actually disingenuous.

Kind Regards,

Mudcat

The first thing i thought of when i read that were the verses in Revelation where the Savior says that He would rather us be hot or cold, but that lukewarm people have no place in Him.

I don't know if that's an accurate description of the middle way-lukewarm-but it does seem to be at first glance and would give me pause if i were considering it.

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The middle way.....

These are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fulness.

These are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fulness of the Father.

Wherefore, they are bodies terrestrial, and not bodies celestial, and differ in glory as the moon differs from the sun.

These are they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus; wherefore, they obtain not the crown over the kingdom of our God (Doctrine and Covenants 76:76-79).

Is another way of saying Terrestrial Kingdom.

Do you think it would be better for those who are unsure or struggling to progress inside or outside the church?

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Do you think it would be better for those who are unsure or struggling to progress inside or outside the church?

I was actually pondering this question and the best answer i could come up with was-i don't know.

I think sometimes when we live a life that is not completely truthful (when we have to hide our beliefs and pretend to believe something else) it can cause us spiritual harm, regardless of where we are when we are doing such. I was asking myself, why would the Savior rather someone be cold concerning His gospel, than lukewarm? Maybe it's because he can work with people who are cold concerning Him (like saul/paul, for example) but that lukewarm people, He can't?

On the other hand, maybe staying in the church could help someone regain a testimony when they would not have been able to do so if they left?

So many variables to consider....

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Do you think it would be better for those who are unsure or struggling to progress inside or outside the church?

I think people will always gravitate to the kingdom they are most comfortable in. For some that level of comfort may be a surprise, for others there is an understanding that they are not prepared to honestly live in faith or their pride was offended, and they choose to give up the greater for the lesser.

We all face moments of being unsure and what is best is what we decide individually. There are those who have left the church and humbly come back, stronger in their faith because of their sojourn. There are those who "stick it out" and slowly develop and undersanding and eventually a love of their faith. There is no one set of rules that we as individuals follow, the rule is that we alone must choose the path, it can be laid out for us, but we choose where we go.

I can't say that living a perfunctionary LDS life is a good option, I do know that in the end it will get you nowhere if you do not progress and develop faith. On the other hand, faith also grows in different ways. Not always an Alma the Younger epiphany, sometimes it grows through the perfunctionary life we live and we develop in that way.

I would argue that as long as you do not attempt to lead others down the path that is the lesser path, going or staying is a personal and good choice made by the person that can judge you best, yourself. The question to always keep before you is this..... "Will what I do help me know God better". If you answer that honestly and carry it out, then your path doesn't matter, because you already know what the outcome will be. Just don't fool yourself in the process.

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I was asking myself, why would the Savior rather someone be cold concerning His gospel, than lukewarm? Maybe it's because he can work with people who are cold concerning Him (like saul/paul, for example) but that lukewarm people, He can't?

Maybe we should reconsider our condemnations of the ex-mo who has gone "cold", seeing this is a viable/preferable position in the Lord's eyes over such remaining unhappily in the church?

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I don't have the time right now to give a proper response to your question, but here are a couple of things that I find relevant. The first is something I read while attending BYU (it was being given out in pamphlet form to honors students), by Thomas Plummer: Diagnosing and Treating the Ophelia Syndrome

The other one is by Orson Scott Card, from last September: Exploring Faith and Knowledge

I'll try to come back later when I have more time. :P

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