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Taking a break from Church.


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9 minutes ago, SkyRock said:

Your non sequitur doesn't follow my question.

Why would anyone who is gone from the church spend anytime on a small forum dedicated to Mormon Dialogue?

Why not just be gone? 

 

How is "why is he here" relevant other than to attack his motives?

 

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4 minutes ago, Calm said:

I am understanding him to say if someone has moved on from the church, why would they even be interested in discussing it…but some people like history and studying cultures they have no personal contact with and it could be a similar ‘academic’ type of interest at this point.  They could be here for the same reason those who have never been members might be here….curiosity, a desire to hear others’ experiences and ideas to challenge oneself, etc.

It can also still be personal interest...I was born and raised in the church and made the majority of my major life decisions based on my beliefs in the gospel. Of course sometimes I still think about it and would still like to discuss it.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

Why not stick around and talk about it?

Or why not even seek out opportunities to discuss Mormonism?

This forum is not just for believers. Non-members and ex-members are welcome.

Do you want to imply  they're not welcome?

Not at all.   Anyone who wants to discuss Mormonism is welcome to it.  It is nice having non members here.   I interact with non Mormon religious people on other forums and really like their insight into the gospel and life. 

But if I had left the church any time I considered it, the first being 35 years ago, I would have been long gone, not looking back. 

What it appears is that they are protesting too much, methinks.  "I am gone,  I am gone, I am gone", but not really. 

It is like someone who constantly stalks their ex's Instagram or Facebook, or the family members' Facebook, following their ex, obsessing with their ex, even when they are now married to someone else.   They haven't let go. 

Again, they don't seem to be really "gone".  Most people I know in real life that left the church just went away and did their own thing.   They don't follow church drama.   They don't obsess with policy changes.  They don't even know who the prophet is anymore.   That is what it means to be gone.  Being obsessed with the church while no longer a member really shows that someone never really "left".

If anyone allegedly gone wants to stick around, great.   Back to say "I'm gone" while they really are not shows they can't be honest with themselves.  

Being "gone" isn't "taking a break".  I had some neighbors years ago that had "taken a break" for about 6 years before they moved next door.   They didn't like their old ward.   When they moved in, they had decided to give the church a chance once again.  They became very active. 

I have seen that story played out many times.  But these were "breaks" not "gone".

 

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10 minutes ago, SkyRock said:

Not at all.   Anyone who wants to discuss Mormonism is welcome to it.  It is nice having non members here.   I interact with non Mormon religious people on other forums and really like their insight into the gospel and life. 

But if I had left the church any time I considered it, the first being 35 years ago, I would have been long gone, not looking back. 

What it appears is that they are protesting too much, methinks.  "I am gone,  I am gone, I am gone", but not really. 

It is like someone who constantly stalks their ex's Instagram or Facebook, or the family members' Facebook, following their ex, obsessing with their ex, even when they are now married to someone else.   They haven't let go. 

Again, they don't seem to be really "gone".  Most people I know in real life that left the church just went away and did their own thing.   They don't follow church drama.   They don't obsess with policy changes.  They don't even know who the prophet is anymore.   That is what it means to be gone.  Being obsessed with the church while no longer a member really shows that someone never really "left".

If anyone allegedly gone wants to stick around, great.   Back to say "I'm gone" while they really are not shows they can't be honest with themselves.  

Being "gone" isn't "taking a break".  I had some neighbors years ago that had "taken a break" for about 6 years before they moved next door.   They didn't like their old ward.   When they moved in, they had decided to give the church a chance once again.  They became very active. 

I have seen that story played out many times.  But these were "breaks" not "gone".

 

No, participating here is not like stalking an ex on Facebook. A more apt comparison would be if an ex-member attended church to complain about and criticise the church during worship services. 

But people here who discuss Mormonism are doing exactly what they are invited to do here.

Questions like yours don't really sound like curiousity, just a poorly-veiled insult of fellow forum members. It betrays what appears to be a lack of empathy for ex-members. 

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18 minutes ago, SkyRock said:

Again, they don't seem to be really "gone".  Most people I know in real life that left the church just went away and did their own thing.   They don't follow church drama.   They don't obsess with policy changes.  They don't even know who the prophet is anymore.   That is what it means to be gone.  Being obsessed with the church while no longer a member really shows that someone never really "left".

I think some rationalize their behavior by self-identifying as an unbelieving but “cultural Mormon” or “ethnic Mormon” with some supposed sense of residual proprietorship — analogous to non-practicing or non-believing Jews. But those are mythical appellations. There is no ethnicity associated with membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Not really. It’s all about entering into and striving to keep sacred covenants. And this is true regardless of one’s inherent culture, ethnicity, nationality, race or anything else. 
 

This is why I’ve made a point in the past of saying I identify more closely with the newest faithful convert in the remotest outpost of the Church than I do with any of those closer to home who have “stepped away” or “taken a break” or engaged in any of the other euphemisms for abandoning the faith or forsaking covenants. 

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27 minutes ago, bluebell said:

As there's no real reason to judge these people (we have no authority over them and they are posing no 'threat' to us), I agree with you about making assumptions or assuming the worst.  There are some who take a break who do break covenants and others who don't.  We can't tell with this family so there's no charitable reason to assign sins to them.

Agreed.  I don't feel I am "judging" anyone, as I don't even know the people involved, nor do I have stewardship over them.  And as long as they are not advocating for breaking the commandments, I agree they are not a "threat."  

“And Joshua said unto all the people {of Israel}, … choose you this day whom ye will serve; … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:2, 15).  I'm speaking "for me and my house."

Thanks,

-Smac

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4 hours ago, Rain said:
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A) not attending Church services / keeping the Sabbath (D&C 59:9, D&C 20:75, Moroni 6:5-6),

Which we all did in 2020. 

Well, no.  I do not find those situations comparable at all.  There is a world of difference between choosing not to attend services and the Church - during a nearly unprecedented worldwide pandemic - temporarily halting in-person meetings.

4 hours ago, Rain said:

If we count what we did at home we have no reason to assume that this couple or anyone else won't do it as well.

I dunno.  It seems pretty unlikely that a couple going out of their way to announce to their in-the-Church extended family members that they are "taking a break" from the Church are planning to do some sort of at-home worship service.  Moreover, such behavior must be authorized by those in authority.

4 hours ago, Rain said:
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B) not partaking of the Sacrament (D&C 20:75),

Which many women and those who did not have the priesthood did in 2020. 

Again, a world of difference between choosing to not take the Sacrament and curtailed access to the Sacrament due to a worldwide pandemic.

4 hours ago, Rain said:

And what we do when there is stake or general conference. 

A world of difference there, too.  

4 hours ago, Rain said:

There is no covenant expressing how often we have it.

Yes, I think there is.

"But remember that on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord."  (D&C 59:12)

"And they did meet together oft to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus."  (Moroni 6:6)

"It is expedient that the church meet together often to partake of bread and wine in the remembrance of the Lord Jesus."  (D&C 20:75)

"Nevertheless the children of God were commanded that they should gather themselves together oft, and join in fasting and mighty prayer in behalf of the welfare of the souls of those who knew not God."  (Alma 6:6)

I don't think you could sell this line of reasoning to the prophets and apostles.  Circumstances may occasionally preclude taking the Sacrament.  Illness, necessary traveling, general/stake conferences, etc.  But in the main "on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High" is the way of things, so voluntarily and arbitrarily abstaining from doing what the Lord has commanded us to do is . . . wrong.

4 hours ago, Rain said:

And someone can be baptized and die without ever taking it. 

That doesn't mean we are not obligated to be baptized if we have the opportunity.

"And when the disciples had done this, Jesus said unto them: Blessed are ye for this thing which ye have done, for this is fulfilling my commandments, and this doth witness unto the Father that ye are willing to do that which I have commanded you.  And this shall ye always do to those who repent and are baptized in my name; and ye shall do it in remembrance of my blood, which I have shed for you, that ye may witness unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you."  (3 Nephi 18:10-11)

4 hours ago, Rain said:

It is important of course, but we make no covenant to have it. 

Yes, we do.  We covenant to obey the Lord, and the Lord has commanded us to gather ourselves together on the Sabbath, and to partake of the Sacrament "often."

4 hours ago, Rain said:
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C) not serving in a calling in the Church (Psalm 100:2; Mosiah 2:18, Ephesians 4:16),

I've gone several times without a church calling where I was released and not given one.

Same here.  That is materially distinguishable, however, from absenting oneself from Sabbath meetings, from refusing or failing to fulfill callings while "taking a break," and so on.

4 hours ago, Rain said:

I've not felt right about callings given to me and my bishop thought over it again and felt the same.  There is no covenant to have a calling.

We have covenanted to obey prophets and apostles.  Prophets and apostles have asked us, where possible, to serve in callings in the Church.

4 hours ago, Rain said:
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D) not paying tithes and offerings (Gen. 28:22, Malachi 3:8-11, D&C 119:3–4),

We have someone right here in this thread who hasn't gone to church in years, but still pays tithing.  We can't judge what "taking a break" means.

The exception that proves the rule.  I'm not presuming to know or "judge" any particular person, but I think it's reasonable to surmise that "taking a break" from the Church typically includes "taking a break" from the covenants that are often the most difficult, such as those that take our time (Sacrament and other meetings), efforts (callings) and money (tithing).

4 hours ago, Rain said:
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F) not "stand{ing} as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death" (Mosiah 18:9), and so on.

Anyone can do that. 

How do we "stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things" while at the same time deliberately disobeying the Lord's commandments?

4 hours ago, Rain said:

I know many people in various churches and out of churches that do that.

Mosiah 18:9 doesn't seem to apply to "people in various churchs and out of churches."  It applies to those under covenant.  Members of the Church.  

4 hours ago, Rain said:

This thread goes well for the Sunday School lesson this week.  The Lord looks on the heart. 

I quite agree.  And I think deliberately choosing to disobey the commandments is one of those "on the heart" things that the Lord looks at.

I spent some years in the National Guard, during which I spent one weekend a month, including Sunday, in drills.  And while members in my unit did gather together for a brief meeting, including taking the Sacrament, I was glad when I separated from the Army to be able to have that monthly Sunday back to do with as I pleased.  And as I am under covenant, the commandments make it pretty clear that we are to keep the Sabbath day holy, that we are to gather together, that we are to partake of the Sacrament, and so on.  While circumstances may arise where a person is occasionally deprived of the opportunity to obey (illness, necessary traveling, military service, etc.), we are not talking about that here.  We are, instead, talking about people who, with deliberation and calculation, and without necessity, choose to disobey some or many of the commandments.  So for me, when the Lord "looks on the heart," deliberate and volitional disobedience to the Lord's commandments is not something that I find compatible with my baptismal and temple covenants.  And I have a hard time formulating a situation where anyone else could legitimately say otherwise.

4 hours ago, Rain said:

While many will just go out and go against everything in the church, others will "take a break" only after seeking God's council.

I assume you mean "counsel."

I have a hard time with the idea that the Lord will counsel His children to voluntarily and intentionally disobey his commandments, particularly an en masse recusal.  The scriptures contain far too many exhortations about constancy, vigilance, endurance to the end, longsuffering, etc.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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There are several weeks a year where I get to Thursday, Friday, or Saturday and I am ready to take a break from Church.  Especially when the Church thinks Saturday is the new Sunday!

I go on Sunday, do different things on Sunday than other days...and realize I wouldn't want to be without it...well, most of it. 

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2 hours ago, SkyRock said:

Not at all.   Anyone who wants to discuss Mormonism is welcome to it.  It is nice having non members here.   I interact with non Mormon religious people on other forums and really like their insight into the gospel and life. 

But if I had left the church any time I considered it, the first being 35 years ago, I would have been long gone, not looking back. 

What it appears is that they are protesting too much, methinks.  "I am gone,  I am gone, I am gone", but not really. 

I've thought about this a bit.  By way of analogy, consider a couple who, having previously loved each other and raised children together, end up getting a divorce.  After the divorce, there is still some interaction between the parties.  Although the marital relationship may be extinguished, the things that arose from it (children, friends in common, living circumstances, worldview, etc.) are still likely to be heavily influenced by the relationship - both past (marital) and present (circumstantial).

I think we all know people who have gotten divorced and afterward spend all sorts of time and energy to rage against the ex, to run him/her down, to disparage him/her to third parties, perhaps even to vex and cause trouble for him/her.  Fortunately, this behavior often fades over time (or, even better, never gets much traction in the first instance).

The Church is, for many of us, very important in our lives.  And the Church and its leaders/members are far from perfect, so there are ample circumstances where a person is, to varying degrees and extents, justified at having hard feelings toward the Church and its leaders/members.  Sometimes those hard feelings take a while to fade.  Sometimes they never do.  But either way, those feelings are understandable.

The same goes for exes who get along with each other fairly well.  They may no longer be married to each other, but that doesn't mean they are precluded from having an interest in each other's welfare, current status, and so on.  I think there are plenty of people on this board who feel this way about the Church.  Even in the absence of anger/animosity toward the Church and its members/leaders, those who have gone out from us may still be understandably interested in what the Church is doing.

2 hours ago, SkyRock said:

It is like someone who constantly stalks their ex's Instagram or Facebook, or the family members' Facebook, following their ex, obsessing with their ex, even when they are now married to someone else.   They haven't let go. 

Not sure what "let go" means here.  I think that harboring anger, resentments, grudges, etc. is generally unhealthy and unhelpful to the individual, but I also don't think that letting the Church go completely is obligatory.

2 hours ago, SkyRock said:

Again, they don't seem to be really "gone".  Most people I know in real life that left the church just went away and did their own thing.   They don't follow church drama.   They don't obsess with policy changes.  They don't even know who the prophet is anymore.   That is what it means to be gone.  Being obsessed with the church while no longer a member really shows that someone never really "left".

Not sure about this.  A divorced person still has some sort of relationship with his ex.  It's not a marital relationship, but it's something.  And individual's membership relationship with the Church can be severed, but that doesn't mean they have no relationship with the Church at all, or that they have not "left."  They have left, and in doing do they have changed the relationship with the Church to . . . something else.  For some, it's indifferent.  For others, it is amiable and tolerant.  For still others, there is substantial anger and animosity.  

2 hours ago, SkyRock said:

If anyone allegedly gone wants to stick around, great.   Back to say "I'm gone" while they really are not shows they can't be honest with themselves.

A divorced person often does not utterly sever all relational interactions with his ex.  Some do, but many still have to interact with each other to discuss alimony, child support, etc., or else they may choose to have a conciliatory and friendly relationship for its self-evident benefits.  But that relationship is going to be materially distinguishable from the marital relationship the couple had previously enjoyed.

So it can be, I think, with people who leave the Church.  I think they can legitimately view themselves as having "left," the Church, while also continuing to be interested in, and pay attention to, it.

2 hours ago, SkyRock said:

Being "gone" isn't "taking a break".  I had some neighbors years ago that had "taken a break" for about 6 years before they moved next door.   They didn't like their old ward.   When they moved in, they had decided to give the church a chance once again.  They became very active. 

I have seen that story played out many times.  But these were "breaks" not "gone".

It would be interesting to see statistics on this.  I suspect that a person that takes a "break" from the Church for, say, more than 3-6 months has a fairly low likelihood of ever returning to activity.  I sure would like to be wrong about that, though.

Thanks,

-Smac

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20 minutes ago, The Mean Farmer said:

There are several weeks a year where I get to Thursday, Friday, or Saturday and I am ready to take a break from Church.  Especially when the Church thinks Saturday is the new Sunday!

I go on Sunday, do different things on Sunday than other days...and realize I wouldn't want to be without it...well, most of it. 

I was in my ward's bishopric for 8+ years.  The sheer number of meetings, the amount of time involved (while also working well above full-time, taking care of family, etc.), was a real challenge.  However, I knew this burden would have an end, so I continued.  Looking back, I am very glad I had the opportunity to serve, and am also glad that the burden is gone (for the time being). 

I can look back and feel happy about all the time and effort I have put into caring for my family, even though such efforts have been very taxing.  The same, I think, can be said for serving in the Lord's kingdom.  Both are finite in their duration, both are worthwhile.

Thanks,

-Smac

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4 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

It can also still be personal interest...I was born and raised in the church and made the majority of my major life decisions based on my beliefs in the gospel. Of course sometimes I still think about it and would still like to discuss it.

Totally fair and reasonable.

I am no longer in the Army, but I still have a vested interest in the goings-on in the U.S. military.

I am no longer a missionary in Taiwan, but I am still interested in that country.

Lots of legitimate reasons for people to be interested in the Church.  It's a pretty interesting organization, regardless of whether you actually believe in it.

Thanks,

-Smac

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48 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Not sure what "let go" means here.  I think that harboring anger, resentments, grudges, etc. is generally unhealthy and unhelpful to the individual, but I also don't think that letting the Church go completely is obligatory

I agree.
 

When one is a member, a sense of membership is more than just fulfilling one’s covenants by oneself or with one’s spouse or children for most from how I hear them describe it.  Often they will describe entering a chapel or branch meeting when across the world from their own ward as having a feeling of being at home. There is a recognized commonality of behaviours that is generally found in our people in even the smallest branch that signals ‘welcome, you belong here’.  It creates this sense of a greater, even a global community with its own unique culture and it is created intentionally imo by the church leadership by having shared hymns, shared teachings, shared teachers (General Authorities) and shared rituals and other practices as well as similarities in the buildings the Church builds for worship.

Some people are fond of former schools and continue to identify with them, root for their former teams, even donate money to allow others to benefit as they did, IOW their sense of belonging to the school community continues even when no longer attending or needing the school.  Communities don’t required shared ethnicity to have a shared culture, after all.  I think this alumni effect can happen with those who see themselves as moving beyond a need for the Church. They still feel a part of the Church community, they still feel some of the cultural practices and attitudes are a part of their life.  

And seeing what is happening at the old school/church is rewarding. 

Edited by Calm
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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

It would be interesting to see statistics on this.  I suspect that a person that takes a "break" from the Church for, say, more than 3-6 months has a fairly low likelihood of ever returning to activity.  I sure would like to be wrong about that, though.

My memory of the stats I was taught in college back in the late 70’s and early 80’s was it was pretty common for people to take years’ breaks in their early 20’s until they had kids and wanted to have a positive, structured  environment to bring them up in or if they drifted away in midlife, to come back when retired when there were fewer distractions or demands on them (especially men with wives that had stayed at least semi active even if the men went inactive)…they had lost the community and purpose of their work life and were feeling rootless, so they go back to their roots. 
 

But social dynamics have changed a lot, so I don’t know if the same is true anymore. 

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2 hours ago, smac97 said:

I've thought about this a bit.  By way of analogy, consider a couple who, having previously loved each other and raised children together, end up getting a divorce.  After the divorce, there is still some interaction between the parties.  Although the marital relationship may be extinguished, the things that arose from it (children, friends in common, living circumstances, worldview, etc.) are still likely to be heavily influenced by the relationship - both past (marital) and present (circumstantial).

I think we all know people who have gotten divorced and afterward spend all sorts of time and energy to rage against the ex, to run him/her down, to disparage him/her to third parties, perhaps even to vex and cause trouble for him/her.  Fortunately, this behavior often fades over time (or, even better, never gets much traction in the first instance).

The Church is, for many of us, very important in our lives.  And the Church and its leaders/members are far from perfect, so there are ample circumstances where a person is, to varying degrees and extents, justified at having hard feelings toward the Church and its leaders/members.  Sometimes those hard feelings take a while to fade.  Sometimes they never do.  But either way, those feelings are understandable.

The same goes for exes who get along with each other fairly well.  They may no longer be married to each other, but that doesn't mean they are precluded from having an interest in each other's welfare, current status, and so on.  I think there are plenty of people on this board who feel this way about the Church.  Even in the absence of anger/animosity toward the Church and its members/leaders, those who have gone out from us may still be understandably interested in what the Church is doing.

Not sure what "let go" means here.  I think that harboring anger, resentments, grudges, etc. is generally unhealthy and unhelpful to the individual, but I also don't think that letting the Church go completely is obligatory.

Not sure about this.  A divorced person still has some sort of relationship with his ex.  It's not a marital relationship, but it's something.  And individual's membership relationship with the Church can be severed, but that doesn't mean they have no relationship with the Church at all, or that they have not "left."  They have left, and in doing do they have changed the relationship with the Church to . . . something else.  For some, it's indifferent.  For others, it is amiable and tolerant.  For still others, there is substantial anger and animosity.  

A divorced person often does not utterly sever all relational interactions with his ex.  Some do, but many still have to interact with each other to discuss alimony, child support, etc., or else they may choose to have a conciliatory and friendly relationship for its self-evident benefits.  But that relationship is going to be materially distinguishable from the marital relationship the couple had previously enjoyed.

So it can be, I think, with people who leave the Church.  I think they can legitimately view themselves as having "left," the Church, while also continuing to be interested in, and pay attention to, it.

It would be interesting to see statistics on this.  I suspect that a person that takes a "break" from the Church for, say, more than 3-6 months has a fairly low likelihood of ever returning to activity.  I sure would like to be wrong about that, though.

Thanks,

-Smac

I know a good number of people that ended up leaving the church.   From talking with them, most of them just don't even think about it much, even the ones in Utah.  They grew up in the church but left for various reasons, usually in young adulthood.   They were cultural Mormons.  Many didn't serve missions.  They just drifted away.

As to obsessed ex's, my ex-BIL is one.   5 years post divorce and he still calls up me and my siblings to talk about our sister.   He and my sister have zero interaction with the children all adults.  I also know a man in his 80s that still is obsessed about talking about the wife he dumped 35 years earlier.   Many people can not move on. 

My mom has taken breaks from the church every so often, for 4 or 5 years even.   She never would have considered herself gone from the church.

I once was in a ward where a good number had once "taken a break".  We were realigned into the ward and learned the bishop had been inactive 5 years earlier as had been the young men's president and high priest group leader.   A great reactivation effort by the previous bishop had brought back almost 100 souls.   From what they said, none had "left", but had just gotten distracted with life.  They had just stopped going. 

I suspect people who slip into inactivity as opposed to leave the Church over some strong disagreements on policy, come back much easier. 

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5 hours ago, Rain said:

How often is "oft"? 

More than "taking a break" usually implies.  

What do you think Pres. Nelson would say in response?

5 hours ago, Rain said:

Might it vary with circumstances? 

As pertaining to voluntary "taking a break" situations?  I just can't get on board with that.

Could a person legitimately "take a break" from the Word of Wisdom?  From the Law of Chastity?  From his marriage?  From his obligation to provide for his children?  If not, why not?

5 hours ago, Rain said:

I was talking about taking the sacrament.  A person can be baptized and die before they ever take the sacrament.  

Which, while true, does  not justify voluntarily disobeying the commandment to take the Sacrament where possible.

5 hours ago, Rain said:
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I have a hard time with the idea that the Lord will counsel His children to voluntarily and intentionally disobey his commandments, particularly an en masse recusal. 

I understand that you have a hard time with the idea.

Yeah.  It seems like that is ad hoc rationalization.  

5 hours ago, Rain said:
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The scriptures contain far too many exhortations about constancy, vigilance, endurance to the end, longsuffering, etc.

And maybe those people are still doing that in a different way through things like loving their neighbor or praying on their own etc.  

I have no doubt that folks can continue to live good and decent lives after leaving the Church.  But I don't think those under covenant can rationalize deliberate disobedience by calling it obedience "in a different way."

A person can love their neighbor, and yet also be dishonest in his business dealings.

A person can pray on his own, and yet also violate the Law of Chastity.

I don't think the Lord wants us to use some measure of obedience over here as a pretext or counterbalance for deliberate disobedience over there.  Again from Matthew 23:23 "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone."

The Lord knows that we will fail to perfectly keep His commandments.  The solution to that is repentance, not ad hoc equivocations and justifications for disobedience, sin, etc.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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11 hours ago, smac97 said:

More than "taking a break" usually implies.  

What do you think Pres. Nelson would say in response?

I think covenants are very important to him, but I don't think he would automatically think of the covenants they are breaking when they say they are taking a break.  I think he would "sincerely rejoice with them in their successes,” “Be their friends and look for the good in them... not give up on them but preserve our relationships. Never reject or misjudge them. Just love them!”

I realize we are having a discussion here. But I think that our feelings of "just love them" have much more effect on whether they stay away or not.  

11 hours ago, smac97 said:

As pertaining to voluntary "taking a break" situations?  I just can't get on board with that.

Could a person legitimately "take a break" from the Word of Wisdom?  From the Law of Chastity?  From his marriage?  From his obligation to provide for his children?  If not, why not?

Of course they could and many do, but many don't as well. Especially on the marriage and family part. I think few people stay in their marriage and with their families because they were going to church.  They usually have as strong or stronger feelings about families than they do about church.

11 hours ago, smac97 said:

Which, while true, does  not justify voluntarily disobeying the commandment to take the Sacrament where possible.

Yeah.  It seems like that is ad hoc rationalization.  

This is what I am talking about.  "It seems".  There are a lot of things that "seem" like something when people leave the church or take a break, but we really need to know the rest of the story.

And nope it wasn't a rationization at all.  I was trying to understand your position and have empathy.

11 hours ago, smac97 said:

I have no doubt that folks can continue to live good and decent lives after leaving the Church.  But I don't think those under covenant can rationalize deliberate disobedience by calling it obedience "in a different way."

A person can love their neighbor, and yet also be dishonest in his business dealings.

A person can pray on his own, and yet also violate the Law of Chastity.

I don't think the Lord wants us to use some measure of obedience over here as a pretext or counterbalance for deliberate disobedience over there.  Again from Matthew 23:23 "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone."

The Lord knows that we will fail to perfectly keep His commandments. 

 

 

11 hours ago, smac97 said:

The solution to that is repentance, not ad hoc equivocations and justifications for disobedience, sin, etc.

Thanks,

-Smac

You are really not reading me right if that's what you think I am doing.  

Edited by Rain
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17 hours ago, smac97 said:

Well, no.  I do not find those situations comparable at all.  There is a world of difference between choosing not to attend services and the Church - during a nearly unprecedented worldwide pandemic - temporarily halting in-person meetings.

It may not be fully comparable but personally my experience with it has given me greater compassion for those who may need to step away for less obvious reasons. Early on when everyone took a big step away from church, I received a small prompting from the spirit that told me we would not be going to church in person for a while. I assumed at the time it was for several weeks, maybe months. It’s been over 2 years since I’ve fully attended my meetings in person. We don’t do Sunday school and there isn’t an option to attend online in my ward, I’ve been more or less active with my calling depending the pandemic numbers, no matter what my stake/ward is currently doing. My reason is obvious so we don’t get direct pushback. I also miss fuller community beyond just the girls/leaders in YW. This break won’t last much longer past my daughter getting her shots. But I also have seen the difference between my personal worship patterns and my church version. And it’s increased my empathy to paths that look very different from my own…where God may be just fine with them taking a break. 
 

with luv, 

BD 

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32 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I kind of look at it like when someone has cancer.

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, often the only options available to treat the disease--and to try to save their life--is to take actual poison or cell-killing radiation into the body.  Something that would never be ok during health or for minor illnesses can become the only way to save the person under some exceptional circumstances.

There will always be some who argue that there is never a reason to step away from church activity but to me that's like a lay person saying that there is never a reason to take poison into the body.  It sounds good in theory, and the statement makes sense given what we know about poison and bodies, but it's also completely wrong. 

 

I think comparing those who are taking a break from the church to cancer and its horrible treatments might be seen as offensive to those actually taking a break. Maybe a better analogy would be someone who has commited to a certain exercise routine and finds that their body is not able to maintain it.

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20 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I think some rationalize their behavior by self-identifying as an unbelieving but “cultural Mormon” or “ethnic Mormon” with some supposed sense of residual proprietorship — analogous to non-practicing or non-believing Jews. But those are mythical appellations. There is no ethnicity associated with membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Not really. It’s all about entering into and striving to keep sacred covenants. And this is true regardless of one’s inherent culture, ethnicity, nationality, race or anything else. 
 

This is why I’ve made a point in the past of saying I identify more closely with the newest faithful convert in the remotest outpost of the Church than I do with any of those closer to home who have “stepped away” or “taken a break” or engaged in any of the other euphemisms for abandoning the faith or forsaking covenants. 

image.jpeg.884774a9e596f6187a24828a8e22dae8.jpeg

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1 hour ago, CA Steve said:

I think comparing those who are taking a break from the church to cancer and its horrible treatments might be seen as offensive to those actually taking a break. Maybe a better analogy would be someone who has commited to a certain exercise routine and finds that their body is not able to maintain it.

It may depend the degree of problem. For many of the ones I was thinking of (which bb was responding to) cancer would still be a fair analogy. As in the routine, perspectives, relationships they had around church were super unhealthy and needed a more extreme solution to manage it. If you stuck with the exercise or dietary habits, the would be ones that were starting/had an extremely imbalanced form of routine or beliefs around this that was at the very least out of balance (doing too much or rigidly following an elaborate plan) or veering to straight up disorder.

note: these are not all cases of people who leave or “take a break.” I’m not sure what percentage i’d consider them, since one likely wouldn’t know without being really close to their difficulties with church. I’ve just seen them enough to recognize that sometimes it’s a blessing “take a break” to stop unhealthy patterns around one’s religious practice. These would not be ones who following the analogy just decide hiking isn’t for them and swimming’s a better fit.
 

with luv, 

BD
 

 

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