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Why I continue to go to church


Ouagadougou

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Thank you for posting this.  I had no idea that you were still a member.  I loved the part where attending or believing is also a tradition.  I love the people of the church..just not a believer anymore.  Kudos to your honesty to others and to yourself.

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13 minutes ago, Ouagadougou said:

Hello all!

Sorry for the long post...

Many of you have probably seen that I do not agree and/or accept a great deal of LDS doctrine.

I'm definitely curious about you, Ouag. 

When you say that you don't agree with or accept "a great deal of LDS doctrine," I wonder what LDS doctrine you do agree with or accept. It sounds like you don't accept any of the modern (2017) Church as divinely authorized or led, but what about the foundations? Do you believe Joseph Smith was led and authorized by God? Actual Book of Mormon plates? Resurrected angels?

Are you married? Have any kids?

I think I'm pretty sure what you think of the Book of Abraham. ;) 

I think I'm pretty sure what your answers to the above are, too, but I don't want to put words in your mouth. I am interested in knowing where you stand, if you're comfortable sharing. I work with people who are struggling in their LDS faith, and am curious how you and your situation compares to them.

Thanks!

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Oua, I don't necessarily disagree with anything you have said.  The application of such a position may cause problems depending upon how strident you think you need to renounce what you think of as false teachings wherever you find them.

I was not born in the Church, but my family converted when I was seven.  I am a LDS by choice and commitment.  At my most fundamental level, as a child of God, I am a seeker of truth.  I am grateful that I have always been taught in the Church that God is the source of all truth throughout the world in any and all religions or anything else that leads humanity to live a better life. When I recognize truth I take it to myself - as Brigham said, we claim it as our own.  

This type of teaching demands that we recognize that others have truths that we do not and/or that they have many truths that we also have.  All truths point us back to our Father in Heaven....even when we don't believe in his existence.

The manner in which I speak about some of things you cited above is - I believe that the Keys are held by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve - that this organization is the same as it was implemented by Christ after his resurrection.  They are inspired to lead the Church to the best of their ability.  I do not address whether they speak with God, etc. I find that an unhelpful exercise in mythology. That is not to say that God has not spoken to man face to face, but that it rarely occurs. Most of the prophets and apostles have served as caretakers rather than dispensation-changing instruments of God's will.  We are in a period of caretakers, but just as I would not denigrate Peter or Paul I do not denigrate modern prophets and apostles for their roles or service in God's Kingdom.

It is good to go to church and strive to follow after the Savior.  The Holy Spirit is not limited in his companionship to just those who attend church - where truth, forgiveness, charity, service and faith are found - he is found.  

Your disagreement over other things is  personal. US society has been playing the cultural immorality card for over fifty years and those actions have certainly had an impact. I reject any attempt to portray that as enlightened or better.  If we are wicked by choice or immoral by choice it does not come out smelling like a rose simply because we now call it a rose.  I don't wear rose colored glasses for the Church or recognizing truth and I will not do it for the social engineering monstrosity US society has created.  We divorce at the drop of a hat, we have sexual relations with anyone or anything IF we think that we have convinced ourselves that lust is "love" - that infinitely over-used term in the English language that almost no one understands, but it excuses a whole host of immorality so everyone uses it constantly to excuse all kinds of things.

I attend church because I am a LDS; in spite of all my weaknesses and shortcomings. 

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2 hours ago, rongo said:

I'm definitely curious about you, Ouag. 

When you say that you don't agree with or accept "a great deal of LDS doctrine," I wonder what LDS doctrine you do agree with or accept. It sounds like you don't accept any of the modern (2017) Church as divinely authorized or led, but what about the foundations? Do you believe Joseph Smith was led and authorized by God? Actual Book of Mormon plates? Resurrected angels?

Are you married? Have any kids?

I think I'm pretty sure what you think of the Book of Abraham. ;) 

I think I'm pretty sure what your answers to the above are, too, but I don't want to put words in your mouth. I am interested in knowing where you stand, if you're comfortable sharing. I work with people who are struggling in their LDS faith, and am curious how you and your situation compares to them.

Thanks!

This is a bit long...but here we go...

I think the church leaders today generally have good intentions and try to follow Christ, but I don't believe that they are receiving direct revelation from God on a daily basis.  I think all people are entitled to the light of Christ and knowing good from evil -- in most cases.  I'm not agnostic -- I generally believe in a supreme being/creator and that Jesus lived.  However, I don't believe we can even begin to fully understand God and his ways.  Furthermore, life is not fair and we all are not born into equal circumstances in this life, so one's belief in God can be shaped largely by his/her environment.   I don't know if Christ actually was resurrected, but I think we can find purpose by living in accordance with his teachings.

With regard to the foundational truth claims of the church, here are some of my beliefs/thoughts:

- I think JS was seeking to find God (as many were at that time) and in his mind he had a spiritual experience
- I don't believe the first vision accounts (two many varying accounts in my opinion), along with the fact that he waited over 10 years to make any mention of the 1st vision 
- I think JS was a remixer and mixed Christianity with Masonry --this is where we get most of the temple ordinances (won't go into detail there)
- I believe the BoM is fiction, so I don't believe in golden plates, Nephites/Lamanites, Moroni, etc.  I think JS created the BoM by using different sources as a baseline text, along with his own imagination
- I do not believe that Peter, James and John gave JS special keys of the priesthood
- I think JS was a polarizing figure and extremely brilliant.  I believe he used his position of authority to seduce impressionable women into practicing polygamy
- I think certain passages in the BoM (although fiction IMO) can promote good and help one follow Christ.  
- I guess I think "prophets" might be something that we (humans) have created; I think we are all entitled to revelation, inspiration, and enlightenment from God. 

A little more about myself:

- I am married and have children
- We attend church about once a month 
- I have not been to the temple in about five years because I don't find anything special about the temple and I still drink black tea 😀and don't pay a full tithe 
- Most of my immediate family are active members of the church 
- I was born into the church and served a faithful two year mission 
- By LDS standards, I could be deemed as somebody who is "struggling" or who lost a testimony and less active, but on a personal note, I have never been happier, especially on a spiritual level.  I think the key is being honest with yourself in your personal relationship with God and not worrying about what other people think.  I pray and read the Bible mostly, but I'm not worried about rewards in heaven, making it to a highest kingdom, being temple worthy, or any type of punishment; I'm not afraid to suffer or to go through hard times (I have experienced that before in my life)...and I think we can find beauty in the face of suffering.  
- I do not believe the LDS church is the only true church; rather, it is one of many paths back to God.  
- I think the focus of religion should be on helping the poor and afflicted, not trying to earn blessings and the highest kingdoms of glory in an afterlife.  
- In terms of beliefs in the church, after studying church history a great deal, IMO, I realized the church whitewashed much in order to paint a correlated narrative in a positive light.  

Finally, I understand that one's faith (in any religion) can be a sensitive subject, so I don't want to offend anyone because I have different beliefs/views.  I am comfortable with saying I don't have all the answers now in my life and there is much that I don't know -- as opposed to I know this is true and I know that to be true.  For me, I want to focus on helping those in need and doing good in the world.  If I'm wrong or unworthy in the life to come, then I'm ready to face the consequences and suffer, if needed.  

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Thank you!

I'd love to know which mission you served in. Did you enjoy your mission, or did you deal with faith struggles while on your mission?

Are you and your wife on the same page? How does where you're at faith-wise affect your children's LDS experience (it sounds like they may only come to church once a month, if that)?  I was asked to work with a man in our stake who had lost his faith because of the CES letter, and his wife and kids were faithful believers. From past experience, it can be really hard on everyone when the couple is in completely different places regarding the truth claims of the Church. 

I apologize for "going after you" when your thread was quickly closed (I think my going after you was probably a big part of that). I appreciate your tone and introspection here in this thread. :) 

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40 minutes ago, Ouagadougou said:

- I do not believe the LDS church is the only true church; rather, it is one of many paths back to God.  
 

I ask this question from curiosity and there is no ill intent.  The question is why do you stay with the LDS Church when you would fit in to some other religion without any friction at all.

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29 minutes ago, ERayR said:

I ask this question from curiosity and there is no ill intent.  The question is why do you stay with the LDS Church when you would fit in to some other religion without any friction at all.

There's a church that doesn't have fictional beliefs?  Where?  Oops sorry you said friction. Never mind

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1 hour ago, rongo said:

I'd love to know which mission you served in. Did you enjoy your mission, or did you deal with faith struggles while on your mission?

 

You didn't ask this question of me...but I'm feeling reflective today...

 

I served in the Melbourne Australia Mission.  Absolutely loved my mission and Australian people.  Baptized just under 2 dozen Aussies, Hold the mission record (probably still do) on Book of Mormon's placed in homes, was a dedicated hard working tireless missionary, served as Elder, Senior Companion, District Leader, Zone Leader and Assistant to the President...absolutely have no regrets on having served.

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1 hour ago, ERayR said:

I ask this question from curiosity and there is no ill intent.  The question is why do you stay with the LDS Church when you would fit in to some other religion without any friction at all.

I think the main reason would be the people.  Other churches I've attended are great, but I'm drawn to the LDS members more for some reason.  

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Just now, Ouagadougou said:

I think the main reason would be the people.  Other churches I've attended are great, but I'm drawn to the LDS members more for some reason.  

I think Mormonism is more like a culture. Because I'm the same way, they are my people.

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3 hours ago, rongo said:

Thank you!

I'd love to know which mission you served in. Did you enjoy your mission, or did you deal with faith struggles while on your mission?

Are you and your wife on the same page? How does where you're at faith-wise affect your children's LDS experience (it sounds like they may only come to church once a month, if that)?  I was asked to work with a man in our stake who had lost his faith because of the CES letter, and his wife and kids were faithful believers. From past experience, it can be really hard on everyone when the couple is in completely different places regarding the truth claims of the Church. 

I apologize for "going after you" when your thread was quickly closed (I think my going after you was probably a big part of that). I appreciate your tone and introspection here in this thread. :) 

No problem! 😃

I served in Europe -- overall great experience and no issues/struggles.  

My wife and I are on the same page -- she enjoys the community aspect of church but has been out mentally longer than I have.  We take our kids to church about once a month and attend a few activities here or there.  

In terms of how my views changed, it wasn't because of the CES letter (which I surprisingly read just recently for the first time), it was when the church changed in the BoM intro "principle" ancestors to "among principe ancestors" back in 2007 I think. I started down a rabbit hole of studying and then wasn't particularly happy with many of the church essays a few years later (blacks and the priesthood, polygamy and BoA).  

I don't want to turn this into a "how I lost my faith post" because I'm not trying to convince people to believe one way or the other...we are all free to come up with our own conclusions.  In reading church history and some of the essays, my biggest issues are (no offense please, these are my own views at this point): 

- No DNA, archeological and/or linguistic evidence to support BoM

- BoA:  I view it as a complete fraud (no offense please, but this is the conclusion I have come to at this point)

- Polygamy:  absolutely not of God in my opinion

- Blacks and priesthood ban:  extremely disheartening and not of God in any way

- How the church has whitewashed history and its leaders (it's evident IMO when you read various lesson manuals for Sunday School and priesthood meetings)

- Mark Hoffman Scandal:  This scandal shows me that the church leaders are just men... and apologists will do anything to cover for the church

- Denying children with gay parents baptism:  not from God or what Christ would want, IMO

- Sear stone:  Never knew about this until after my mission, I think it's ridiculous that a stone would be compared to an iPhone today

- Multiple accounts of the first vision

- The belief that only less then 1 percent of the entire world population belongs to God's only true church on Earth

- Power struggle following Joseph Smith's death and transfer of authority to Brigham Young

- I think temple work is a waste of time and not necessary (once again please no offense)  

- And some other issues as well

Like I stated before, these are my own conclusions, so I don't want others to get offended if they don't agree.  I am more happy spiritually then I ever have been in my life...and don't feel burdened with trying to be a perfect member/person.  I guess we are all on our own faith journey, so we will come to different conclusions and understandings of God and life.   

 

Edited by Ouagadougou
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I guess only you can answer your own question.  You might try the book For Those Who Doubt and The Borderlands column in Sunstone.  I can`t remember his name.  He seems to be pretty good at helping people construct a template for how they might interact with the Church.  I could see how I might be happy to have more time on my hands or not have callings.  For me, the question is what Christ would have me do and that has ultimately led to the most happy experiences in my life.  

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9 hours ago, Ouagadougou said:

 

Does anyone else continue to go to church simply because they enjoy being around and associating with members?  

I'm a lot like that as well.  I feel lucky to be part of the ward that I am in currently.  Having a ward that you like makes a huge difference. 

I honestly do not see a problem with going to church for social reasons.  Community, friendship, and bonding played a big role in Joseph Smith's theology.  There was so much emphasis on creating Zion.  Its something we are still working on accomplishing..  So I am happy to have anybody in the church that is willing to participate in whatever way they can. 

There was a Huffington Post article I saw recently that was asking the question of what makes somebody included in the Mormon tent.  I would answer that anybody who is willing come into the tent and be a participant is welcome.  One's level of Mormon-ness is measured by the time and effort he/she puts into the church.

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16 hours ago, Ouagadougou said:

This is a bit long...but here we go...

I think the church leaders today generally have good intentions and try to follow Christ, but I don't believe that they are receiving direct revelation from God on a daily basis.  I think all people are entitled to the light of Christ and knowing good from evil -- in most cases.  I'm not agnostic -- I generally believe in a supreme being/creator and that Jesus lived.  However, I don't believe we can even begin to fully understand God and his ways.  Furthermore, life is not fair and we all are not born into equal circumstances in this life, so one's belief in God can be shaped largely by his/her environment.   I don't know if Christ actually was resurrected, but I think we can find purpose by living in accordance with his teachings.

With regard to the foundational truth claims of the church, here are some of my beliefs/thoughts:

- I think JS was seeking to find God (as many were at that time) and in his mind he had a spiritual experience
- I don't believe the first vision accounts (two many varying accounts in my opinion), along with the fact that he waited over 10 years to make any mention of the 1st vision 
- I think JS was a remixer and mixed Christianity with Masonry --this is where we get most of the temple ordinances (won't go into detail there)
- I believe the BoM is fiction, so I don't believe in golden plates, Nephites/Lamanites, Moroni, etc.  I think JS created the BoM by using different sources as a baseline text, along with his own imagination
- I do not believe that Peter, James and John gave JS special keys of the priesthood
- I think JS was a polarizing figure and extremely brilliant.  I believe he used his position of authority to seduce impressionable women into practicing polygamy
- I think certain passages in the BoM (although fiction IMO) can promote good and help one follow Christ.  
- I guess I think "prophets" might be something that we (humans) have created; I think we are all entitled to revelation, inspiration, and enlightenment from God. 

A little more about myself:

- I am married and have children
- We attend church about once a month 
- I have not been to the temple in about five years because I don't find anything special about the temple and I still drink black tea 😀and don't pay a full tithe 
- Most of my immediate family are active members of the church 
- I was born into the church and served a faithful two year mission 
- By LDS standards, I could be deemed as somebody who is "struggling" or who lost a testimony and less active, but on a personal note, I have never been happier, especially on a spiritual level.  I think the key is being honest with yourself in your personal relationship with God and not worrying about what other people think.  I pray and read the Bible mostly, but I'm not worried about rewards in heaven, making it to a highest kingdom, being temple worthy, or any type of punishment; I'm not afraid to suffer or to go through hard times (I have experienced that before in my life)...and I think we can find beauty in the face of suffering.  
- I do not believe the LDS church is the only true church; rather, it is one of many paths back to God.  
- I think the focus of religion should be on helping the poor and afflicted, not trying to earn blessings and the highest kingdoms of glory in an afterlife.  
- In terms of beliefs in the church, after studying church history a great deal, IMO, I realized the church whitewashed much in order to paint a correlated narrative in a positive light.  

Finally, I understand that one's faith (in any religion) can be a sensitive subject, so I don't want to offend anyone because I have different beliefs/views.  I am comfortable with saying I don't have all the answers now in my life and there is much that I don't know -- as opposed to I know this is true and I know that to be true.  For me, I want to focus on helping those in need and doing good in the world.  If I'm wrong or unworthy in the life to come, then I'm ready to face the consequences and suffer, if needed.  

O,

Thank you so much for opening your heart and just being honest with us!

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If you can attend with all of this disbelief, and do so without dragging down other people testimonies, then stay for the social structure. If you cannot, then don't attend, go find your beliefs, and if they one day bring you home again, then there will be joy and rejoicing and we will kill the fatted calf. 

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On 15.02.2017 at 9:48 AM, Foreigner said:

That is one and only thing to worry about you, that you doubt He is risen.

Why is that such a thing to worry about?  I don't deny it...I just doubt it and don't claim to know he is risen.  Wouldn't it be far worse to pretend like I "know" something (just because others claim to know as well)?  

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20 hours ago, Bill "Papa" Lee said:

If you can attend with all of this disbelief, and do so without dragging down other people testimonies, then stay for the social structure. If you cannot, then don't attend, go find your beliefs, and if they one day bring you home again, then there will be joy and rejoicing and we will kill the fatted calf. 

I don't go around trying to "drag down testimonies;" however, if somebody asks me my belief on an issue, then Igive them an honest answer.  For example, I have told many friends and family members that I think the BoA is a complete fraud.  It's better than lying and/or pretending to believe in something I don't.  I'm not going to hide how I feel just to make other people comfortable in their own beliefs;  honesty is key, IMO, but people can respectfully disagree. 

I am actually happier spiritually/emotionally than I have ever been in my life.  The idea that I can't find true joy/happiness just because my beliefs don't along with what the church wants is ridiculous, IMO.  

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16 hours ago, Ouagadougou said:

Why is that such a thing to worry about?  I don't deny it...I just doubt it and don't claim to know he is risen.  Wouldn't it be far worse to pretend like I "know" something (just because others claim to know as well)?  

This  “I know” is just an element of Mormon culture, specific exaggeration, like constant confirmation that in this Church all is the best, despite reality. With my evangelical background, I prefer “I believe”, which amounts for the same. Do not stick so much with the words.

At the other hand, my knowledge about Jesus may be similar like about Napoleon. Yet it is not knowledge what saves. Demons have better one. It is about decision and acceptance. Mere participation in a religion does not save. As in Romans 10:

 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

The point is not “to know” something, but “to be live” because of.

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18 hours ago, Ouagadougou said:

For example, I have told many friends and family members that I think the BoA is a complete fraud.  It's better than lying and/or pretending to believe in something I don't.

You can label the BoA rather a spurious revelation, while still be honest.

I am worried about “digital” thinking among Mormons, TBM as well as doubters. While the real world is “analog” by nature. They can see the Prophet as the holy one or a complete fraud. I teach here that BoA issue offers an opportunity for all to  discover the true Prophet, a human one, a messenger, who got wrong some things and failed frequently. The Egyptian papyri were a trap and a test which they failed. And the fall of the first temple was direct consequence.

Next you have to imagine that LDS theology is intact without BoA, and that the two, BoM and BoA, have nothing in common at all and are absolutely incomparable. Also the founding revelations are intact despite the later Egyptian papyri folly. That in short is the path to recover from BoA sickness.

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On 2/14/2017 at 0:12 PM, Ouagadougou said:

Hello all!

Sorry for the long post...

Many of you have probably seen that I do not agree and/or accept a great deal of LDS doctrine.  I was raised in the church and even served a mission, but I do not believe in many of the church's truth claims at this point in my life.  For example, I view the BoM and BoA as fiction; I do not agree with polygamy or how the church treats gays; and I do not accept parts of the Word of Wisdom.  I openly drink black tea and only pay tithing (as I see required).  I do not believe the apostles today speak with God and Jesus and receive direct revelation.  I think we are all entitled to receive light and inspiration from God...not just a select few for the majority.  

Many might think I am an apostate and/or rebel, but I really try to live my life in accordance with my own understanding of God and my own conscience.  I try to attend LDS sacrament meetings about once a month--and it's something that I generally enjoy (except fast and testimony meetings).  I realize that my beliefs on certain church issues make many of my friends and family members uncomfortable; however, I think it's important to be honest with myself and to not believe in something because of tradition (or because I was born into it).  At times, however, I get the feeling from some members that they think it would be better if I didn't attend church at all, due to the fact that I openly don't accept most of the church's truth claims.  I don't think it should be an all-or-nothing approach with any church; rather, we should embrace those aspects we enjoy and renounce any doctrine we don't agree with.  

With that being said, I continue to go to church because of the LDS people (not because of the doctrine or temple).  I think, in general, the LDS church produces educated, giving, charitable and overall good members of society.  Additionally, I want my children to be surrounded by people with high values.  I have attended other churches -- all of which produce exceptional people as well -- but LDS members, in some ways, are unique in their approach toward the focus on families.  Moreover, I really enjoy most LDS sacrament meetings because it is a time of reflection (in quietness) to take the sacrament and remember Christ's sacrifice.  I think the LDS church is, perhaps, one of many different paths back to God, and I feel closer to God when I'm engaged in a good cause (helping the sick/poor)...even when I don't attend church.  

Despite the fact that I have written some posts here that have been extremely critical of the church, I do not mean to offend and/or attack anyone personally.  At the end of the day, it's a good thing that we hold different opinions/outlooks on life, because we can help and learn from each other on this path.  And, finally, it's because of members of the church that I continue to attend church meetings (nothing to do with doctrine) because I enjoy their company and sense of community and dedication toward a good cause.  

Does anyone else continue to go to church simply because they enjoy being around and associating with members?  

I am actually the opposite.  I am not much of a people person.  I go for the teachings and doctrine and believe its true.   I really don't spend a lot of time chatting with other members at church or activities.  I am usually out on my own.   If the people were all mean I would still go.  I would just avoid the members. 

Edited by carbon dioxide
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On February 16, 2017 at 7:35 PM, Ouagadougou said:

 

I am actually happier spiritually/emotionally than I have ever been in my life.  The idea that I can't find true joy/happiness just because my beliefs don't along with what the church wants is ridiculous, IMO.  

I don't understand how belief made you unhappy, and disbelief makes you happy? 

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50 minutes ago, Bill "Papa" Lee said:

I don't understand how belief made you unhappy, and disbelief makes you happy? 

I was still happy when I believed -- but being truly honest with myself now (without worrying about what others think) -- I am much happier now in my disbelief in most of the church's truth claims.  To each his/her own, but for me, I can say that I am happier now than I ever have been in my life.  

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