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Why Do I Bother?


stemelbow

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I'm a lost and fallen soul. I'll always be, I suppose. I don't know that I'll dig my way out. I'm troubled by doctrinal teaching and many things associated therewith. I'm sure I'm as faithless and foolish as any ever could be. That's probably my problem and someone might conclude, well you just have to pray harder to fix yourself, or whatever.

Fine. I'm fine if that's the case. Perhaps it's me, inherently. Perhaps my eternal-self was meant to be a bit of a faithless fool who would never catch on and never be expected to be saved or exalted. Perhaps I'm one of those--he who many members look down upon and perhaps shrug because after all not all will be exalted. It simply won't happen. And let's face it, every message we've ever received would suggest by far most people won't be exalted. I've asked here a number of times why anyone would want exaltation if most will not get it? It seems to me it'd be far too painful to be he who is exalted while many of his loved ones are not. I couldn't bare it, myself, I figure, and so I'd probably be happiest in the lesser place anywho. Oh but there is pain in me wondering what'd be like to settle for something less. I don't know which eternal pain would be worst. Honestly. my hope is is that the Church is wrong in how it's defined things--he who is exalted and all that exaltation means. Maybe someday we'll learn all will be exalted. Well, I'd probably gladly accept if child rapists aren't, but I mean nearly all.

I go to Church these days feeling like no one else gets it, realizing when it comes down to it, I'm probably the one who doesn't get it. Everything I hear at Church would be painful to everyone, it seems, who are not members (well save for a very few). I wish it was different, that Church was such a place that it was meaningful to more people. It's not and for thinking like that I'm rebellious, faithless and on the brink of apostasy to most of my supposed ward-family members. I think the Church makes mistakes, but overall hopes to do good. I don't see it as inspired as most in my ward do. I see it as semi-inspired, frankly, much like I see many people and orgs. The Church is little in the world...little in impact and little in influence (I realize many would argue for having such a small percentage we make a pretty big impact, which I concede, but it should be a bigger impact with more people, I'd argue). There are too many other things for God to work with to make a bigger impact, and probably does. If He does, that must mean something. I'm going with that, for now...the Church is just one tiny teeny little piece of all that God does. And with everything else, it is doing things wrong in some respects.

Every Sunday afternoon after I attend Church, these are the types of thoughts running through my head. I welcome your thoughts. I need fixing, after all.

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I' would certainly welcome explanation here. I doubt the BYU football team will go undefeated this year. Should I doubt that I doubt that? what does that matter? Certainly some, in sports vernacular, magic has taken place to get them to 2-0, but will magic come into play when they play an undefeated UCLA team? Someone's gotta lose.

If it doesn't matter than why do other doubts matter so much? I doubt the creation happened quite like Genesis tells us. Doubting that doubt doesn't really do anything for me, except throw out the possibility of evolution. Now I'm doubting evolution and what if it is that God used evolution? Then my doubting my doubt it silly.

I'm just not sure what doubts you'd expect me to doubt in order for me to come out clean here.

 

Sorry was a little late with the reference.

SEE https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/come-join-with-us?lang=eng

Edited by thesometimesaint
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Every Sunday afternoon after I attend Church, these are the types of thoughts running through my head. I welcome your thoughts. I need fixing, after all.

 

The human condition is such that we all need fixing. IMO, if we truly have faith, we will look to God to find out what He wants us to do and not worry about the rest of it. Too often we limit God and suppose that He wants exactly the same thing for all of us. It may well be that He has different plans for each of us. Some of us may fill the measure of our creation in the LDS church, and others will fill it in another organization or none at all. It sounds to me like you worry that you are a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. I would say you have a choice: ask God to help you become rounder, or ask Him to help you find somewhere that you fit better.

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Doubt your doubt.

I' would certainly welcome explanation here. I doubt the BYU football team will go undefeated this year. Should I doubt that I doubt that? what does that matter? Certainly some, in sports vernacular, magic has taken place to get them to 2-0, but will magic come into play when they play an undefeated UCLA team? Someone's gotta lose.

If it doesn't matter than why do other doubts matter so much? I doubt the creation happened quite like Genesis tells us. Doubting that doubt doesn't really do anything for me, except throw out the possibility of evolution. Now I'm doubting evolution and what if it is that God used evolution? Then my doubting my doubt it silly.

I'm just not sure what doubts you'd expect me to doubt in order for me to come out clean here.

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The human condition is such that we all need fixing. IMO, if we truly have faith, we will look to God to find out what He wants us to do and not worry about the rest of it. Too often we limit God and suppose that He wants exactly the same thing for all of us. It may well be that He has different plans for each of us. Some of us may fill the measure of our creation in the LDS church, and others will fill it in another organization or none at all. It sounds to me like you worry that you are a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. I would say you have a choice: ask God to help you become rounder, or ask Him to help you find somewhere that you fit better.

So even you think I just need to pray harder, huh? Alright, I admit I really didn't expect you to come back telling me to pray more or harder.

For the most part, I agree. God doesn't expect all to be sitting in the Church and with that has plans for everyone. But whether in or out I'm still left with plenty of issues to face.

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I hear you, Sundays are often one of the most stress filled and difficult days for me.  I’m wavering between becoming less active and taking a sabbatical from church for a while.  I shouldn’t have to feel so much angst each week as I attempt to make everyone happy and worry about how my comments in class or lack of comments are affecting myself or others.  There are great people there, and I want to be a part of helping build something good, but the anxiety is daunting, and I wonder if it would be healthy for a break. 

 

Know that you’re not alone.  There are many who struggle with these things, even if not in your ward.  I believe God loves you, and I don’t think exaltation is something to be concerned with.  Be good to others, and give of yourself, that’s the core of the gospel in my mind, and not all the outward observances that our culture presses people to worry about. 

 

And don’t doubt your doubts, that’s one of the stupidest out of context phrases that gets thrown around by those who don’t understand and instead of trying to empathize, they throw that one liner out at people like its going to fix a problem that is so complex that the person experiencing the problem is drowning in the mess that they are dealing with.  Love Elder Uchtdorf, but hate how that phrase has been misused so often.    

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I've asked here a number of times why anyone would want exaltation if most will not get it?

I only see one question among all these thoughts, so I'll focus on that: We do not know how many will be exalted. D&C 76:67 says "innumerable." Also see Revelation 7:9-17, "a great multitude, which no man could number." It is truly worth wanting, and truly accessible and attainable through Christ.

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So even you think I just need to pray harder, huh? Alright, I admit I really didn't expect you to come back telling me to pray more or harder.

For the most part, I agree. God doesn't expect all to be sitting in the Church and with that has plans for everyone. But whether in or out I'm still left with plenty of issues to face.

 

I just mean that sometimes we have to stop worrying and allow ourselves to find our own way. 

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I hear you, Sundays are often one of the most stress filled and difficult days for me.  I’m wavering between becoming less active and taking a sabbatical from church for a while.  I shouldn’t have to feel so much angst each week as I attempt to make everyone happy and worry about how my comments in class or lack of comments are affecting myself or others.  There are great people there, and I want to be a part of helping build something good, but the anxiety is daunting, and I wonder if it would be healthy for a break. 

 

Know that you’re not alone.  There are many who struggle with these things, even if not in your ward.  I believe God loves you, and I don’t think exaltation is something to be concerned with.  Be good to others, and give of yourself, that’s the core of the gospel in my mind, and not all the outward observances that our culture presses people to worry about. 

 

And don’t doubt your doubts, that’s one of the stupidest out of context phrases that gets thrown around by those who don’t understand and instead of trying to empathize, they throw that one liner out at people like its going to fix a problem that is so complex that the person experiencing the problem is drowning in the mess that they are dealing with.  Love Elder Uchtdorf, but hate how that phrase has been misused so often.

Thanks. I'm with ya.

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I only see one question among all these thoughts, so I'll focus on that: We do not know how many will be exalted. D&C 76:67 says "innumerable." Also see Revelation 7:9-17, "a great multitude, which no man could number." It is truly worth wanting, and truly accessible and attainable through Christ.

You haven't convinced me. Everything can be numbered. I think this is just language to say there were tons. But that doesn't do away with the many are called and few chosen message. it just means relative to all it is going to be small.

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I just mean that sometimes we have to stop worrying and allow ourselves to find our own way.

I got that. I was just teasing you. I agree. We ought to. But finding my way is most likely accepting that I'll find myself in a lesser place than another. Hey, that might be fine, but it also migh tnot be.

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You haven't convinced me. Everything can be numbered. I think this is just language to say there were tons. But that doesn't do away with the many are called and few chosen message. it just means relative to all it is going to be small.

Oh, no: Regarding “many are called but few are chosen” and your reference to that being relative, I think it is in this way: from the Lord’s perspective, any fewer than the many are few, even too few. This is reflected in the following attitude:

 

“Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught: “The first thing you will do when an investigator tells you he or she had not read and prayed about the Book of Mormon is be devastated! … Much of the time we are just too casual about all of this. This is eternal life. This is the salvation of the children of God. Eternity hangs in the balance. … It is the most important path this investigator will ever walk. But if he or she doesn’t know that, at least you do! … So take control of this situation. Teach with power and authority, and then be devastated if the first steps toward commandment-keeping and covenant-keeping have not been successfully begun” (“Making and Keeping Covenants,” missionary satellite broadcast, Apr. 1997).”https://www.lds.org/manual/preach-my-gospel-a-guide-to-missionary-service/what-is-my-purpose-as-a-missionary?lang=eng

 

The Lord goes after the one lost sheep because the 99 are still too few.

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You are among many middlewayers, I think.  We don't know which side of the fence to hop over to.  During church yesterday I felt much the way you did.  My Sacrament meetings are difficult anyway because it usually has a missionary or two on the program.  I now know what my children might have felt as they sat, if they didn't really know the church is true.  I made them attend at least Sacrament meeting well into their teenage years, but they probably were not connecting to the speaker.  I was so glad my son who didn't serve a mission was not at church today, which I refer to below.     

 

I hear it often that people leave the church because they were offended.  Many think it's a poor excuse, I now admit, it's probably true that they left because they were offended!  Because now I'm a little offended also, it can happen.  I know that when you have random people give talks it will surely offend.  Yesterday's was so difficult for those of us that had a child not go on a mission out of choice.  The one speaker said she probably would not have married her husband had he not served a mission.  These little things hurt the members, if I had been the TBM that I was a while back, it would have devastated me to have most of my children not active.

 

I hear you though Stemelbow.  I wish the church were more well rounded, for those that aren't sure about the church. 

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None of my non member closest friends would ever want exaltation they claim. Some say they don't want the responsibility and others say it's sacrilegious to think any of us can become like God and that no one should have that power, but God. Also, some say they just want their earthly children and not have billions of spirit children and "eternal increase" in the terms of posterity. Are Mormons the only ones who want exaltation and is it delusions of grandeur in wanting that power? I know for a long time I wanted exaltation so I could have as D&C 132 says "Kingdoms, thrones, principilaties, powers, dominions, etc" I think I wanted power. Now I just want eternal families and to be with God and Jesus and I think it's sad that only those in the Celestial Kingdom get to experience that. I can't imagine being lonely in the Terrestrial, Telestial Kingdoms, or outer darkness. And then within the Celestial Kingdom there are 3 levels and only those in the highest get to be with their spouse. It seems the eternities will be very lonely for many.

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D&C 46

 

 11 For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.
 13 To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.
 14 To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.

 

It's okay not to seem to get it. Can you believe on their words even if it is only a hope that they might be true?  The promise of faith is that in the end you will be comforted.

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I' would certainly welcome explanation here. I doubt the BYU football team will go undefeated this year. Should I doubt that I doubt that? what does that matter? Certainly some, in sports vernacular, magic has taken place to get them to 2-0, but will magic come into play when they play an undefeated UCLA team? Someone's gotta lose.

If it doesn't matter than why do other doubts matter so much? I doubt the creation happened quite like Genesis tells us. Doubting that doubt doesn't really do anything for me, except throw out the possibility of evolution. Now I'm doubting evolution and what if it is that God used evolution? Then my doubting my doubt it silly.

I'm just not sure what doubts you'd expect me to doubt in order for me to come out clean here.

 

Maybe I can rephrase what President Uchtdorf said (a dangerous proposition at best) in order to better explain one aspect of it:

 

"Quit trying to second guess what you already know."

 

I've found it very profitable to prune my testimony over the years so that it only contains the necessary basics of the gospel. For instance, there is a God, Jesus Christ is my Savior who died for me, this is the church of Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon is real scripture, etc.

 

Everything else is simply stuff that's either interesting to know, or will be helpful / useful to me in some way, or are the results of keeping commandments that have specifically blessed me.

 

That way, I'm not getting caught up with doubting things because of the actions / interpretations of mere people, who are virtually always inaccurate or misinterpreted by me.

 

It also helps to redefine what the church really is supposed to provide that's necessary to me (ordinances, primarily) and view other things as opportunities to grow close to Christ. It's when we start to impute "necessity" to other aspects of church life or doctrine that we tend to get into trouble.

 

It makes life quite a bit simpler and allows me to grow into a relationship with the church and its members (and I do love the church and its members) that is balanced with my particular quirks.

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You are among many middlewayers, I think.  We don't know which side of the fence to hop over to.  During church yesterday I felt much the way you did.  My Sacrament meetings are difficult anyway because it usually has a missionary or two on the program.  I now know what my children might have felt as they sat, if they didn't really know the church is true.  I made them attend at least Sacrament meeting well into their teenage years, but they probably were not connecting to the speaker.  I was so glad my son who didn't serve a mission was not at church today, which I refer to below.     

 

I hear it often that people leave the church because they were offended.  Many think it's a poor excuse, I now admit, it's probably true that they left because they were offended!  Because now I'm a little offended also, it can happen.  I know that when you have random people give talks it will surely offend.  Yesterday's was so difficult for those of us that had a child not go on a mission out of choice.  The one speaker said she probably would not have married her husband had he not served a mission.  These little things hurt the members, if I had been the TBM that I was a while back, it would have devastated me to have most of my children not active.

 

I hear you though Stemelbow.  I wish the church were more well rounded, for those that aren't sure about the church.

Alright cool. I hear ya. I tend me to find statements or personal opinions less problematic. My wife doesn't like the things you mention. For some reason they don't bother me as much, I just think that's the way people think because that's the way they've been trained to think. See? I have more problems with the materials used to teach lessons, than I do the lessons (of course I have 3 kids under 7 right now, so I might be missing more from Sac talks that I think). So for me the problem is more institutional. And I say that, knowing many members find that offensive. I can't help it. It just seems so obviously the problem. But I'm sure I'm the one who doesn't get it, I guess.

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None of my non member closest friends would ever want exaltation they claim. Some say they don't want the responsibility and others say it's sacrilegious to think any of us can become like God and that no one should have that power, but God. Also, some say they just want their earthly children and not have billions of spirit children and "eternal increase" in the terms of posterity. Are Mormons the only ones who want exaltation and is it delusions of grandeur in wanting that power? I know for a long time I wanted exaltation so I could have as D&C 132 says "Kingdoms, thrones, principilaties, powers, dominions, etc" I think I wanted power. Now I just want eternal families and to be with God and Jesus and I think it's sad that only those in the Celestial Kingdom get to experience that. I can't imagine being lonely in the Terrestrial, Telestial Kingdoms, or outer darkness. And then within the Celestial Kingdom there are 3 levels and only those in the highest get to be with their spouse. It seems the eternities will be very lonely for many.

Good points. I can agree with your reasoning. I think of God and I think it'd be hard. I see and hear that He feels pain and misery of those who live on this earth. It just seems like that'll be eternal since one person's pain multiplied by many billions seems endless.

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Maybe I can rephrase what President Uchtdorf said (a dangerous proposition at best) in order to better explain one aspect of it:

 

"Quit trying to second guess what you already know."

 

I've found it very profitable to prune my testimony over the years so that it only contains the necessary basics of the gospel. For instance, there is a God, Jesus Christ is my Savior who died for me, this is the church of Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon is real scripture, etc.

 

Everything else is simply stuff that's either interesting to know, or will be helpful / useful to me in some way, or are the results of keeping commandments that have specifically blessed me.

 

That way, I'm not getting caught up with doubting things because of the actions / interpretations of mere people, who are virtually always inaccurate or misinterpreted by me.

 

It also helps to redefine what the church really is supposed to provide that's necessary to me (ordinances, primarily) and view other things as opportunities to grow close to Christ. It's when we start to impute "necessity" to other aspects of church life or doctrine that we tend to get into trouble.

 

It makes life quite a bit simpler and allows me to grow into a relationship with the church and its members (and I do love the church and its members) that is balanced with my particular quirks.

Thanks. I can certainly agree that keeping it all simple is helpful. For instance, I would rather live the refrain love my neighbor than suggest to him/her that their being gay hurts my marriage, or something. Too much underlies that latter approach. Something inside me really has a tough time with the exclusivity of Church. I don't want to feel like I love or preference LDS over others. I want others preferenced, because they aren't me. If that make sense.

Thanks for your thoughts, though. I find them helpful.

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