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drums12

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I've been struggling since 2010, and especially since late 2012. I'm tired. I just don't know if I can "make it all work" in my head anymore. I won't relay the issues I struggle with, as they are, for the most part, the usual. At last, though, with the release of the new essays on plural marriage, I feel like I can no longer make it work. If it were anyone but Joseph Smith, would we try to come up with reasons why marriages weren't "sexual" or what not? I love the Joseph Smith I grew up with. I still love the idea of that Joseph Smith. I know I've felt the Spirit of God in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But, at the end of the day, if Joseph was a sexual predator (which I'm not saying he was, but the evidence can certainly be interpreted that way), then isn't the whole thing built on a false foundation? I'm 34 years old. I concede that teenage young women (post-pubescent) can be attractive. But were I to ask one on a date I'd go to jail (rightfully so). Yet at Church, I sit and wonder how many members, even with the new essays, would be able to handle this information. Yes, I understand the marriage to Helen Mar Kimball may have been dynastic or unconsummated, but it also may HAVE been consummated. How do I deal with this without feeling like I'm just turning off my brain, and reasoning?

 

I know this forum isn't a support group, but I don't know where to turn.  How do I "trust" my spiritual experiences when so much factual information seems to fly in the face of them?

 

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Hello drums...

I want to encourage you to go slowly and not close any doors... there is a talk by M. Russell Ballard in this month's Conference Edition of the Ensign titled "Stay in the Boat" that I hope you'll find and read and ponder.  And above all, I hope you will look at the total picture... Joseph revealed the Plan of Salvation, which to me is incredibly fair and merciful... when I look at the Church as a whole, based on the revelations given to Joseph, I too can reserve judgment on this issue.  D&C 101:32-34 comes to mind...

I hope you'll go to the Fairmormonsupport.org website...

 

GG

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I am so much like you Drums, I could have written this myself, you're so not alone.

Fairmormon is a good support group with others like us. Thank goodness that site was put into place just in time for the church essays.

I think the church has finally hit the point of no return. And are doing the right thing.

I heard that Pres. Uchtdorf has had a hand in historical issues becoming more transparent. His son in law is Michael Ash, the author of the book helping people with crisis of faith, just forgot the name of it.

I figure I can maybe stick it out a little while longer and see if the church evolves into a more Christ centered church, as far as Him being the only Saviour on Mt. Zion.

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Tacenda, 

 

I feel like the Church is very Christ centered.  In fact, Christ as revealed through Joseph Smith has been the anchor of my testimony, not Joseph Smith himself.  Yet I wonder if all the spiritual witnesses I've had, and all the good done in the Church, are just my emotion.  This is what critics would tell me.  I am quite sure if I weren't LDS, there are only a couple of other denominations I'd consider.  I believe Christ clearly required baptism by his authority, and if that authority is not in Mormonism, it must be in one of the Orthodox/Catholic denominations. 

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I've read Shaken Faith Syndrome.  I really appreciate the monumental work Brother Ash must have put into it.  I likewise am extremely appreciative of those who put forth countless hours defending the faith.  Jeff Lindsay and David Tayman have even replied to personal emails from me, a complete stranger. 

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For me, I have no memory of polygamy being an issue.  I have wondered about what exactly happened and why people were asked to enter into it, but it has never bothered me.  It could be that my ancestry has some interesting polygamy in it.

 

One of my great-great (?) uncle and his wife decided that they needed to enter into polygamy in the 1920s.  They were excommunicated and ostracized by their family and community (they lived in a small Mormon town in southern Arizona).  Yet, they believed strongly in the church and kept going to church.  All of their children were (by both wives) baptized and some later become leaders in the church (I believe one was a temple president of the Ciudad Juarez temple).

 

I'm a descendant of Edmund Richardson and Mary Ann Darrow.  If you haven't heard of their family, it is a strange one.  Edmund was sterilized before he became a member but they came to believe very strongly that they needed more children.  Brigham Young proposed a solution where he would legally divorce them, marry Mary Ann to another man so that she could have children, and then he would later divorce her again and remarry and seal her to Edmund.  I have no idea what they went through to make that decision but I'm grateful because I'm descended through one of the 2 sons that came out of that union.

 

Another ancestor is Moses Gudmundson who led a small group away from the church and into a different form a polygamy (based around the idea of complete sacrifice and consecration). He was excommunicated from the church and never came back.  Left his wife and children.  My great-grandfather (his son) didn't like to talk about his dad.  He was raised mainly by his grandparents.

 

So, strange polygamous things are just par for the course with me.  It is an interesting factoid but doesn't change the fact that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon and restored the Gospel in our days.

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I've been struggling since 2010, and especially since late 2012. I'm tired. I just don't know if I can "make it all work" in my head anymore. I won't relay the issues I struggle with, as they are, for the most part, the usual. At last, though, with the release of the new essays on plural marriage, I feel like I can no longer make it work. If it were anyone but Joseph Smith, would we try to come up with reasons why marriages weren't "sexual" or what not? I love the Joseph Smith I grew up with. I still love the idea of that Joseph Smith. I know I've felt the Spirit of God in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But, at the end of the day, if Joseph was a sexual predator (which I'm not saying he was, but the evidence can certainly be interpreted that way), then isn't the whole thing built on a false foundation? I'm 34 years old. I concede that teenage young women (post-pubescent) can be attractive. But were I to ask one on a date I'd go to jail (rightfully so). Yet at Church, I sit and wonder how many members, even with the new essays, would be able to handle this information. Yes, I understand the marriage to Helen Mar Kimball may have been dynastic or unconsummated, but it also may HAVE been consummated. How do I deal with this without feeling like I'm just turning off my brain, and reasoning?

 

I know this forum isn't a support group, but I don't know where to turn.  How do I "trust" my spiritual experiences when so much factual information seems to fly in the face of them?

Joseph Smith himself was struggling with a similar question about the truth of any particular religion, and that is a good thing.  Hugh Nibley used to express his concern for those who never asked questions, and hence learned nothing.  As to your felt lack of concord between your personal testimony and "facts," just ask yourself the appropriate questions in Alma 32.  Struggle is a lifelong process.  Without it we become stale automatons.  It is the best way to learn.

 

I realize that many may not have known anything previously about Mormon polygamy, and find it shocking -- based on modern Western assumptions that only bad people would marry several wives simultaneously, and especially a couple of very young wives (by modern standards).

 

The question of whether Joseph had sexual intercourse with any of them seems to me like asking whether Abraham and Jacob had sex with their plural wives.  More problematic though is whether Joseph had any offspring via these wives.  Even in our time of DNA testing, we know of none -- except those born of Emma.

 

I always recommend that people who find themselves shocked by something try to step back and evaluate the issue dispassionately and evenhandedly.  What are the implications of these supposed "facts."  Are we to take them at face value?  Or are they merely raw data which are to be interpreted?

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I've been struggling since 2010, and especially since late 2012. I'm tired. I just don't know if I can "make it all work" in my head anymore. I won't relay the issues I struggle with, as they are, for the most part, the usual. At last, though, with the release of the new essays on plural marriage, I feel like I can no longer make it work. If it were anyone but Joseph Smith, would we try to come up with reasons why marriages weren't "sexual" or what not? I love the Joseph Smith I grew up with. I still love the idea of that Joseph Smith. I know I've felt the Spirit of God in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But, at the end of the day, if Joseph was a sexual predator (which I'm not saying he was, but the evidence can certainly be interpreted that way), then isn't the whole thing built on a false foundation? I'm 34 years old. I concede that teenage young women (post-pubescent) can be attractive. But were I to ask one on a date I'd go to jail (rightfully so). Yet at Church, I sit and wonder how many members, even with the new essays, would be able to handle this information. Yes, I understand the marriage to Helen Mar Kimball may have been dynastic or unconsummated, but it also may HAVE been consummated. How do I deal with this without feeling like I'm just turning off my brain, and reasoning?

 

I know this forum isn't a support group, but I don't know where to turn.  How do I "trust" my spiritual experiences when so much factual information seems to fly in the face of them?

 

I don't try to come up with reasons why his marriages were not sexual.  I also do not try to fit Joseph Smith into a 21st century paradigm nor do I imagine him to be perfect.  I also do not think my own concept of right and wrong is the one that God uses, although I try to align mine with what I understand of Gods.  I have also received a spiritual confirmation that Joseph Smith was called by God as the prophet of the restoration. 

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Tacenda, 

 

I feel like the Church is very Christ centered.  In fact, Christ as revealed through Joseph Smith has been the anchor of my testimony, not Joseph Smith himself.  Yet I wonder if all the spiritual witnesses I've had, and all the good done in the Church, are just my emotion.  This is what critics would tell me.  I am quite sure if I weren't LDS, there are only a couple of other denominations I'd consider.  I believe Christ clearly required baptism by his authority, and if that authority is not in Mormonism, it must be in one of the Orthodox/Catholic denominations. 

 

This hints of worry about the great and spacious building.  I only mention this so that you might consider it as one source of your unease.

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I've been struggling since 2010, and especially since late 2012. I'm tired. I just don't know if I can "make it all work" in my head anymore. I won't relay the issues I struggle with, as they are, for the most part, the usual. At last, though, with the release of the new essays on plural marriage, I feel like I can no longer make it work.

 

I am sorry to hear this. I don't have any tidy answers for you. My "solution" to the problem is to compartmentalize; I don't try to "make it all work." Maybe that's not psychologically healthy but that's where I'm at. I hold various, possibly incompatible, ideas in tension and don't feel particularly driven to find an immediate resolution.

 

For example, I don't feel like I have a satisfactory explanation for the Book of Mormon. I find its historicity doubtful yet I am convinced of Joseph Smith's sincerity. So I live with the mystery. But whatever I may make of it intellectually, I can't help but feel it is scripture. When I read the invitation at the end of the Book of Mormon to "come unto Christ and be perfected in him," it speaks truth to my soul.

 

I don't know if I'll ever resolve all of the inconsistencies and contradictions in my beliefs, but to paraphrase Richard Bushman (a hero of mine), I find in Mormonism truth to live by. Although I do not consider myself a mystical person, I have had experiences that I interpret as confirmatory of transcendent realities. That has anchored my search for answers. Some might regard that as a flimsy anchor but I choose to trust those experiences.

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"Maybe that's not psychologically healthy but that's where I'm at"

Depends on how much. Life is messy and illogical with the amount of info we have given us, being able to live with ambiguity is a measure of psychological health iirc correctly from my eons old clinical psych classes.

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I'm just curious.  If you knew about Joseph Smith's polygamy previously why does the release of the new essays make it harder?

 

-guerreiro9

Well, part of the reason is the public reaction.  If I weren't LDS, I would probably join the chorus of "the guy was clearly a predator using religion to groom young women." 

Part of the reason is also that I'm reading "Persistance of Polygamy" and the rabbit hole just seems to get deeper.

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Well, part of the reason is the public reaction.  If I weren't LDS, I would probably join the chorus of "the guy was clearly a predator using religion to groom young women." 

Part of the reason is also that I'm reading "Persistance of Polygamy" and the rabbit hole just seems to get deeper.

 

It appears that much of your angst comes from your own imaginations. 

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Sorry you're going through this.

 

I hope that whatever path you take, you find the peace you need.

Thank you.  Sometimes it means a lot that someone else just has empathy.  I have had so many deep, wonderful experiences in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Were this not the case,  there would be no inner conflict.  I would have left a long time ago. 

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