Seeking Input on Your Questions/Needs Regarding Faith Transitions

Hey everyone,

Joanna Brooks, Brian Johnston and I (along with other Mormon Stories friends) are collaborating on pulling together some content (articles, books, podcasts, etc.) to help people who are struggling in an LDS faith transition.  At this early stage, we just want to know what types of questions or problems you would most value having us try address.

Please use this blog post to list questions/topics that would be most valuable to you.

This is super important, so thanks in advance.

John, Joanna, Brian and Team

  1. I think one of the most fascinating aspects of faith transitions is beginning to understand psychological phenomena like confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance and groupthink.  Would love to hear more about them.

    • yes, and belief persistance–the phenomenon that people are likely to continue to believe what they believed first, even when they are presented with solid evidence to the contrary.

  2. My main questions early on were reconciling why the pre 1990 temple endowment changes took place, why we are not taught about the variations of the first vision-especially JS first hand written reflection in the now published journals of the event which I feel carries far more weight than the latter versions we proselyte with, why aren’t tithes and church financials online and available for any member to see, why do we not learn about the history of the principal of polygamy in Sunday school, why are our membership records private and unavailable to us to see, and lastly, why don’t women have the priesthood yet?   Are these the kind of things you are looking for or more expansive faith crisis issues like cog diss, the way one is seen as ‘at-risk’ for having questions, and how we are treated when we decide to stand for truth and righteousness and reject the answers we have to dig up elsewhere- as if we are stricken with leprosy? 

    • We’re not trying to provide answers to specific problems with doctrine and history.  We’re hitting this more on the broad level of where people can go to explore those topics and find their own answers (either pro or con).

      • This is my goal. I’ve become agnostic over the past three years for many reasons. My goal is to stay in, since I’m convinced that all religions are equally true/untrue. 
        How do I do it without antagonizing the true believers in my ward and family?
        How do I help create space for myself and others like me?
        How do I constructively work with ward and stake-level leadership while maintaining my membership?

  3. One of the hardest issues I dealt with was feeling comfortable disagreeing with priesthood authority and teachings while not feeling like a bad person.  I had a hard time feeling like it was okay to have my own convictions if they differed from church norms.  It took some growing before I felt comfortable taking primary responsibility for my beliefs, where I had always been raised to look to the church and conform. 

    Of course, now it’s completely normal to me and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but at the time I felt like I was treading in dangerous waters– I guess I just did not trust myself. 

    • Thank you, thank you for saying this. This has been such a struggle in my life. I have been made to feel like a pariah for questioning what happened in my family and then when it turned out the priesthood leadership was completely wrong in what they told me, some of them made these pathetic excuses as to why they should not be accountable for their conclusions because they were just men without training in mental health issues and could not be expected to recognize the symptoms of mental illness. Funny thing was, they certainly did not act that way when they were handing down judgements and giving advice.

  4. 1) Managing family relationships after coming out as unorthodox or non-believing.2) Learning to see the church (both culturally and as an organization) as non-threatening.
    3) Planning and executing
    re-engagement with the believing community or even the church itself as
    an unorthodox or non-believing member.

  5. Understanding that doubt is not a ‘bad thing’ — it is part of our spiritual development and progression
    Understanding Institutions. Institutions, like people, struggle with growth, control, integrity, honesty
             and attempting to put ‘first things first.’
    Understanding that history is perspectival, including religious history.
    Understanding the complexity of faith transitions (emotionally, spiritually, intellectually)
    Understanding the essence and role of religion in our lives
    Understanding the balance of priesthood authority and personal conscious
    Understanding the tools and importance of keeping a marriage/family intact during this process.
    Understanding that one can live in ‘both worlds.’ (the Greek and Hebrew)
    Understanding that one can survive these transitions/crises — that the sun will rise in the morning
    Understanding that there are moments when we must face the night alone and moments when we need
          others to guide and assist us. 

  6. This approach by family, friends, priesthood leaders, etc.,  to those leaving the LDS church, in not asking why? I find it prevalent among my faith community constituents. Also, is it gender tied, do females actually ask why, verses males (my experience). It just seems so “bury head in sand.” 

  7. a safe, loving, engaging way to ‘come out’ to your spouse as an unorthodox believer when they are deeply entrenched in orthodoxy without being threatening or disruptive to their faith.

    • I second this.  Additionally, how to deal with an orthodox spouse who is upset/threatened by “coming out” as unorthodox and possibly sees it as a threat to her eternal family. 

    • Yes this was something that I struggled with for years. My “unorthodoxness” would surface from time to time when in classes as a student and more so while teaching gospel doctrine for 4 years. But I still very much towed-the-party-line while at church which is something I would never do in the outside world. I was known as a maverick while I was attending church, but this “maverickness” was very much suppressed. I’m sure it was a combination of being married to a very orthodox wife and along with a trust and faith in the leadership. My wife would often complain about me researching “unusual” LDS info as being dangerous to my testimony. And I guess from her POV she was right as I ultimately faded away from church as our marriage faded away. However if the church was a more accommodating place for uncorrelated LDS members and I knew there were others like this site out there to gain support from, I might not have drifted away. Being educated on how to “come out” to my wife might have helped as we very much did have a good communication between us. I can’t really comment about coming out to parents as I am the only LDS member in my family, but I can imagine how difficult this would be also.

  8. Help for BYU students who would like to explore and question (or who face a faith crisis without having sought it out) but would like to remain at the university.  This was one of the most difficult “practical” issues for me, and my efforts to navigate it on my own 20 years ago ended in expulsion.  

  9. Things I have struggled with coming to the position or belief that there is no way the LDS church is God’s restored church:

    1 – Understanding where feelings of confirmation that the church was true were coming from.2 – Understanding “HOW could my ancestors be deceived and sacrifice so much of their lives, including family members.”  This question is what has kept my husband and other family members in the church, believing that our great grandparents wouldn’t have sacrificed if there wasn’t something they knew that we don’t.   They had to have had divine knowledge to cross the oceans and give up their daughters and settle in southern Utah, didn’t they??3 – How to have a relationship with my family after breaking the news that I’m leaving the church.  My presence is acknowledged, but the conversation is kept to careful small talk.  I can’t believe they won’t even try to “save” me.  They won’t even discuss anything with me.  In the words of my dad, “I have gone to far, there is nothing he can do or say”.  Seeing through my human eyes, they have chosen to believe modified and carefully edited stories of dead people, rather than opening their hearts to their own living flesh and blood daughter and sister who has previously dedicated her life to the church and always made the “Right” choices.  How could they think that I have sinned and become possessed…they refuse to see ME any more.  But through my “observer” eyes, I see the church has taught them that they have to think this way or they will loose their salvation and possibly that of their remaining posterity.  My dad also explained that he is happy with his life and in believing he has lived it Right, he does’t want to know if he is wrong.  Funny though, that in looking for the perfect path to find God, you wouldn’t want to know if you are WRONG?  4 – Should I share information with others who are not looking? Should I disrupt their lives? Is it right for the corporation to keep taking time & money from people, even if it is viewed as their choice?5 – And lastly, finding worth in my role as a mother.  Finding a purpose in life.  Getting through this part I think will be my last hurdle.  But I must say, the interviews and work that has been done is priceless.  I was a stranger to you and yet you all have been a great support in my life.

  10. It’s been said a few times in various ways above, but I think a fundamental to crises like these is dealing with cognitive dissonance and doubt and realizing that such feelings are facts of life. If I could have heard in general conference that everyone deals with cognitive dissonance and doubt, it would have saved me a lot of pain and worry.

  11. Here is a short list of things that rattle my cage as I try to figure out where I fit are these issues:

    (1) How do I relate to the church?  How can I criticize (and say what I feel I must) without alienating and hurting people?  How can I participate constructively (assuming that I want to for some reason)?

    (2) How do I relate to those outside the church who think that the solution to my problem is a makeover to their version of the one true faith?  How can I thank them for their sympathy without getting caught up in unwanted arguments, or (worse) finding myself headed for another great and spacious building where God’s truth resides (for really real this time)?  This may sound snarky, but the truth is I could use some other perspectives on interacting positively with “believers” who are not Mormon but are still “evangelists” (seeking to spread the message of God and/or religion among those outside their particular faith tradition)?

    (3) How do I deal with the anxiety of being without a grounded group of people that I can think of as my community?  Cheap ideas are especially welcome (i.e. ideas that are not as simple as me making more money and hiring a therapist), and it would be really nice if I did not have to live in Utah (or the Morridor) to take advantage of them.  What kinds of self-help (self-guided therapy) are available for healing the inability to form bonds of trust outside one’s family (and a tiny circle of friends scattered all over the country)?  Can we talk more about the stages of grieving, and things that I can do to cope at each stage?

  12. Generally, just how to deal with the depression that almost always follows leaving the church.  I was very depressed and just had this empty (and sometimes guilty)  feeling.  I tried to relieve that depression by going back to the Church, within a few months, trying to put “humpty dumpty back together again”.  That didn’t work, of course, but at least it let me know that there was no going back.

    Anyway, depression was the first and most serious problem I had, after leaving.

  13. How to fill the void in your social and spiritual life after you leave?

    How can those who stay active even after knowing all the problems and issues stand to go to Church and stay silent?

  14. How to “come out” as questioning/open/ post orthodox mormons to a pioneer stock-hard core mormon family (both immediate and extended), in it which it seems no one has ever come close to questioning the church.  I know that some podcasts have talked about this in the past –  but a specific podcast which has stories (positive and negative) and advice about how to make it successful would be so helpful.  Maybe some suggested road maps for discussion as well.

  15. Not transitioned out, not planning on it, but some both in and out want to place me or encourage me out. How do I work with them to clarify where I’m at.

    Maybe it’s outside the scope of your work here, but I think it would be interesting to compare to faith transitions into the LDS church.

    • I think this would be completely in the scope of Mormon Stories work. I often found myself early on when telling siblings that I am not going to church anymore- to picture how it must feel to be a new convert to the LDS faith, baptism and all from a Jewish upbringing, or Muslim, or Catholic, or Jahova’s Witness or Baptist. What those families must feel like and how they treat their new “Mormon” family member. As we all celebrate new converts they usually are dealing with their own personal hell especially if a marriage is on the horizon. Then I ask them to consider how it is possible to convert from being LDS to something else.  I think it would be a very worthwhile comparison/podcast to follow a new convert from a different faith. 

      • Interesting. I was raised as a supposedly enlightened Reform Jew in my native London, UK, but when I started attending the LDS Church at 17 (in 1974) my father felt he had failed in his paternal duties (so much so that he said that he wished he had raised me ‘more orthodox’). My decision caused my parents a lot of  pain. My father sadly died of a heart attack 2 years later at just 53. 

        Were I to discover Mormonism for the first time tomorrow, I doubt that I would have any real interest in ‘hearing more’. But my love for, and fascination with, just about all things Mormon-including the Church- still endures all these years later (although I am a long-time agnostic–like many Reform Jews). Why, I even attended Ricks College in 1979 and was saddened to leave Rexburg!

        So…what hope (if any) can there be of an emerging Reform/Progressive/Liberal Mormon movement holding formal, spiritually-based services eventually reaching Melbourne, Australia, where I now reside? I am by disposition, a follower rather than a leader, I think, but I would love to see the above happen in my lifetime.

  16. Dealing with the sense of betrayal you feel when first finding out what you were taught in sunday school/seminary/institute was just a spit and polished version of LDS history.

  17. Well, you have my letter from a couple weeks ago….  ; )  (Sarah T.) 

    How do we, both as women and as men who “get it,” constructively push back patriarchy?  There’s a good amount of patriarchy that comes straight from the top, and then there’s even more from “hard-line” members on the local level.  It’s to the point of a straight-up “bros-before-ho’s” philosophy sometimes. 

    My view is, pushing back the patriarchy that comes from the top is going to take a while, and I struggle with that mightily.  But the extra over-the-top patriarchy that comes at the local level can and should stop TODAY. 

    Let’s talk about ways a self-respecting woman can address comments and conversations laced with
    patriarchal attitudes that have a chance of penetrating the fog.  We have a pretty frickin’ good handle on what the problem is– HOW to civilly but firmly negate those who go against the Brethren in their subordination of women needs to be discussed. 

  18. Most of the guests interviewed on MS, while acknowledging the church’s foundational and other problems, have chosen to stay in the church, and I detect a subtle bias in favor of this choice. But for many people, leaving altogether is the best option. I would like to hear how other people have successfully made it out. How have they found community? How has their understanding of spirituality changed? How to engage with TBM family members when completely out of the church?

  19. Is this just faith transitions on leaving or entering the L.D.S. Church?  I have depended my testimony by understanding  real history.  By studying canonized scripture I begin to recognize uncanonized scripture.  I can remember the first time I read John Milton’s “Paradise Lost”  and John Bunyan’s “Pilgrims Progress”

    How do I get good faithful latter-day saints to study the prophet’s that came after Paul and before Joseph Smith.  What about  John
    Chrysostom, John Wycliffe, Thomas Bilney, Thomas Cranmer, William Tyndale,

    Study the life of William Tyndale and Thomas More.  These were men truly committed to a small c “catholic”, universal faith.  Thomas More would rail against William Tyndale. Thomas More really believed he was leading men to God by torturing their bodies.   Thomas reminds me of the Saul of Tarsus who held the coat of Stephen while Stephen was being stoned to death.    Both Thomas and William died as martyrs trying to lead men to Christ. 

    Can their be no greater example for good and bad  faith transitions then 15th – 16th century England.  The British Museum has Anne Boleyns copy of William Tyndales English translation of the Bible,  which Anne was reading to Henry the VIII in the royal palace.  This is the same book of scripture that the Bishops of Henrie’s church were burning all over England.  Men were being put in prison for possession of a book that their king was reading in his palace with his mistress.  It may have been Williams Tyndale s book “The Obedience of a Christian Man”  that convinced Henry VIII to reestablish an Anglican Christian church and to break away from the Roman Catholic Church.

    I could go on and on about this but I fear I have already lost your interest.  Their are many kinds of faith transitions.  We all have our journeys to take and we should not criticism another because his faith path is at a tangent to ours.  From any point on our globe their are two apposing ways to get to a separate point on the globe, one may be shorter or more direct but it may not offer the same educational experiences as the far more distant path.

    I have learned as much from George MacDonald and C.S. Lewis as I have from the modern apostles.  Study G.K. Chesterton writings.  Not only is his work great christian writing but it is funny as well.  And for some good old fashioned humor try Jonathan Swifts “Tale of a Tub”  It is one giant digression on a digression, and a truly funny history of the Roman Catholic Church and it’s protestant derivatives  the Lutheran and Anglican churches.

  20. How to handle true believing spouse and family smothering you by trying to save you.

    How to navigate a marriage where one believes and the other doesn’t and what to teach children, etc.

    Resources and ideas for finding a new moral compass.

    • Some more…

      Is readying, praying, going to church the best answer for getting out of faith crisis, if not what is?

      How do you help true believers realize that any reading or research that may reflect some negativity on the Church, leaders, and history isn’t automatically “anti” mormon and thus evil.

  21. I think the biggest concern of all is how to manage family/friend/spouse relationships after transitioning out of the LDS church. There’s a lot of shunning, anxiety, and general mayhem that ensues. But I honestly don’t think there’s an answer to that big question: how do you keep your life intact? — Everybody’s family experiences are different, there’s different spiritual levels we might arrive at, but the most important thing is that the other party that we are trying to reach — they don’t share the same lenses as us. It’s impossible for me as an individual to see something fully from an orthodox point of view and vice versa–the same concept applies. 

    I think probably one of the most valuable things to address would be: How do we (an unorthodox Mormon or non-believer) ACCEPT that people on a different spiritual level/path/field/ (probably orthodox literal-believing Mormonism) will probably never fully understand/respect/or value our doubts/questioning/leaving the church/or other unorthodox trails of thought? How do you not become paranoid that the next family function will leave you in tears? Accepting what they are and most importantly accepting what you are and that their culture and belief system is just as valuable as yours (or whatever it will transition into). 

  22. “Why Does He Do That? – Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” by Lundy Bancroft should be required reading for those in counseling positions.    Rigidly defined gender roles, unquestioning obedience and gullibility, having huge amounts of your time devoted to everyone else is not healthy if you’re living with abuse.  I feel like  a human version of’the giving tree’ being good for the church until there is nothing left

  23. 1.  How to be as wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove
    2.  Learning to engage people at their own level of understanding
    3.  Becoming comfortable with ambiguity
    4.  It’s okay to take time to explore the bottom of the rabbit hole.  It may often take several years to see where you end up, whether you stay or go.

  24. How to be either ok paying tithing to a non-transparent corporation that paid for Prop 8 and The Mall or How to be ok not paying tithing and not having a recommend and all the ramifications that follow.

    How to be ok taking off Garments when you still want your privacy. How to explain not wearing to your garments to your TBM spouse.

    In this Faith transition where is the religion 101 matrix that shows (1) beliefs I still believe (2) beliefs I am undecided on (3) beliefs I definately do not believe. At times it is nice to be able to codify and label your philosphies at times it is not but I this guide would help.

    Playlist of songs that inspire
    List of easy reads  books that ispire (nondemonitional)
    Movies that are uplifting or spiritual (Nondemonitional)

    List of Counselors that deal with Crisis of Faith by in and out of Utah
    List of Counselors that deal with women and depression and perfection
    List of Counselors that deal with Gay Mormons
    List of Counselors that deal with people who have been shamed for porn or masturbation

  25. I’m not sure how to frame this as a response to your question/prompt, but I think having spiritual mentors has been super important in my faith transition. Virtual ones are great (I’m thinking reading/listening to articles, podcasts, books etc by the likes of Lowell Bennion, Eugene England, Carol Lynn Pearson, …), but a real life friend who has been through the same stuff is invaluable.

  26. One of the biggest concerns for me, and I believe with my wife, is possibly not being married for eternity. I love her and want to be with just her, but what can I do if the LDS Church is the one church boasting eternal families and my wife and I do not believe that church is true now?

  27. The questions that would have really helped me in my transition back in 2003 would have been theological and personal 

    theological
    – a theological approach to the LDS church’s claims as the only church in nature. I have been a convert to the church, so the thing that kept me in was that I did not have a bottom-line understanding of what church is according to the New Testament and where authority comes from 
    – do the practices and commandments, teachings and culture of the LDS church match in spirit with the intent or spirit of the New Testament?
    – do the practices and commandments, teachings and culture of the LDS church create a spiritual atmosphere or merely a religious but spiritually sick or dead atmosphere?
    – does the image of Joseph Smith the church portrays today square with the image Joseph Smith would have had of himself? How do both images square with the image of what the New Testament says a prophet is?

    personal
    – a coached analysis of what makes up me and what I believe to be right, and how that letting me be me is GOOD and not evil or mislead. 
    – a call for radical honesty with myself and to take the courage to follow through with that honesty. Are the beliefs I follow my own? or are they institutional? And if they are institutional how, if at all, can I make them my own. And if I can’t, what are the consequences?
    – Is following the commandments of the church good? Do all commandments of the church make myself a better person or a worse person / Do all commandments of the church benefit society / community?

    To me, “some content (articles, books, podcasts, etc.) to help people who are struggling in an LDS faith transition.” would be incomplete without theological content.

  28. search difference in the stories for the catalysts of dissallusionment and then bind them with the steps of transitioning out. It is in the similarities that we can find hope. So many of us have felt very alone when we really need not be.

  29. Along with Michelle, I would love to hear something for students at church schools (or other high-pressure areas) who are struggling with the gospel and the attitudes that accompany it. I’m a BYU-I student and keeping up pretenses while exploring different paths is exhausting and risky here.

  30. Keeping relationships with my orthodox parents, family members, and friends strong. Doing what I believe in my heart is the right thing for me, and explaining it to them in loving ways, although my decisions may hurt them.

  31. What comes next?  That is my biggest question.  I have been through a transition of faith and now believe that the church is Good (or at least can be) despite not being True.  

    How do I find a place in the church and learn how to serve again?  How do I attend gospel doctrine, priesthood, or relief society and contribute to a real discussion of how to live a better life without being too controversial? Are there any callings that are appropriate for someone who no longer has a literal belief in…any of it?  Will the church change to become more accepting of people like me, if not will it have anything for me after my children are grown?  How do I talk to my children when they come to me with questions? If I no longer believe in a big G god, or in the divinity of Jesus Christ, how do I pray?  

  32. I am often comparing myself to others during my faith transition. Do others feel this way that way. Should i be able to handle certain situations just because someone else can. In others words understanding that each person is unique. Your personality and upbringing have an impact on your faith crisis. Learning to acknowledge and accept what is right for me and acting on it continues to be the most difficult part for me.

  33. The
    big question for me is not where do I find “content” that explains
    church history, options for leaving, options for staying, etc., the big
    question for me is how do I find functional tools to help with the “what do I
    do now?” questions.  Here are some ideas:

     

    1. Create a site and
    organization with a purpose/framing of “keeping families together”
    through faith crises.  This is the stated goal of the church and the goal
    of most people suffering a faith crisis.  I truly believe that it is the most
    effective bridge that we have.

     

    2. Create a series of
    questions framed from the vantage of “dealing with a faith crisis”
    and “dealing with the faith crisis of a family and friend”.  I’d
    highly recommend not having leading questions about truth claims.  In
    fact, there is no need to use this site to argue truth claims at all – there
    are a gajillion sites out there already doing this.  Let’s focus on the
    messiness of dealing with real life issues in the here and now and leave the
    arguments about history and eternity to other groups.  The questions I would ask are:

     

    For the doubter:

    – Is doubting or
    questioning a sin?

    – How can I find answers
    to my questions about church history?

    – Who should I share my
    doubts with?

    – Can I hold a
    calling/recommend/exercise priesthood if I have doubts?

    – What do I do if I
    reach a point where I just don’t believe at all?

    – How can I
    participate/stay in church if I don’t believe?

    – How should I share my
    doubts with my family and close friends?

    – How do I keep my
    emotional/mental health?

     

    For the believing
    spouse/family member:

    – I suspect my
    spouse/child/friend is going through a faith crisis.  What do I do?

    – My
    spouse/child/friend just told me about his faith crisis.  What do I do?

    – I want to understand
    where my spouse/child/friend is coming from, but I don’t want to view materials
    that may make me lose my testimony.  What
    do I do?

    – What do I do about my
    other friends or family members who are still active?  How do I explain what is going on in our
    family?

    – Should I consider
    leaving a doubting/non-attending spouse? 
    Should I distance myself from a non-believing family member?

    – How can I keep a
    strong relationship with a spouse/family member who has left the church?

     

    3. Have relevant people
    record short answers to the questions in their own words as videos, or have
    them write answers as essays.  (ie the
    believing spouse would record a video on how they responded when the doubter
    first approached them).  

    4. Offer to connect individuals with others who have navigated similar issues that they are currently going through.  

    5. In order to have the most impact, I would recommend that the
    “creators/sponsors” of the site be 100% active members.
     Unfortunately, the motives of unorthodox/inactive or ex-members may
    inhibit fully active and believing members from participating.

    Sorry for the big soapbox… I’m happy to help with this project!

  34. Recently, the things that bothers me about church is when it’s discussed that the only reason for someone not receiving a spiritual witness is because they aren’t working hard enough, or their heart isn’t sincere enough or the Lord intends for them to have faith in someone else’s faith.

    I’m someone who is starting to think that while the church is a good place and is full of good people, it fundamentally isn’t what it claims to be. I want to find a way to continue to participate in the church (to the extent that I’m allowed and feel comfortable) but who doesn’t “know” that it is true. And (perhaps more importantly) believes that it isn’t true, but wants to continue to participate in the community because it is a good community.

  35. I think the topic of atheism has to be addressed within the Mormon context.  Atheism needs to be treated as a viable and acceptable option for a Mormon who is transitioning from his/her traditional belief.  For me, I let go of God before I even began questioning correlated Church history and Church policies.  While it’s not a common path, it seems like there is still a good number of people who have gone that direction.  As far as resources are concerned, I’ll have to get back to you on that. 

  36. Help people realize that a conclusion drawn on false or missing facts / evidence cannot be true.  In order to come to the truth, you must have all the facts.  Any jury / judge would tell you that.  So it’s ok to question.  Also, spiritual confirmation is just playing off emotion.  “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us
    with senses, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use
    and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by
    them.” Galileo

  37. One biggie is a topic about enabling. These podcasts help folks talk about the dark areas that are taboo to talk about which is a good thing. Most folks won’t address topics and out of fear say it is too sacred of a topic to talk about. When I came to realize that my problems with the church and these podcasts is that the focus is on feeling good rather than being TRUE. Being true to ones self and no longer enabling “UnTruth” by continued activity or support and sustaining is important. In my opinion, these podcasts as well as the church are not interested in truth as much as continued support. For example, from what I have gathered, the main reason for this forum is to make right a wrong to John Dehlins father who was ex’ed and snubbed. Does enabling the offense by continued activity solve the pain? Is there a podcast with father Dehlin and his concerns, thoughts and wishes? So my suggestion would be a topic on how to not enable and yet heal. The story goes that one should take care of the wound and not waste time trying to kill the snake that bit. The way I see it is one should not keep feeding the snake and petting it either. The golden rule should apply to one self as well as others. Treat myself as I want to be treated. 
     
    To me another issue might be that the image of the MS and Sunstone organizations are becoming just business corporations too.
     
    Thanks for your thoughtful consideration on these suggestions.

    • I am making a correction here after listening to one of the podcasts that clarified a point.

      John Dehlin’s father was not ex’ed but was close to it in a church court.

      It still might be interesting to hear his perspective on the mormonstories initiative.

      Thanks and sorry for the incorrect comment.

  38. Top 2 struggles for me are telling devout family members and friends, and making new friends outside of the church.

  39. What are ways to maintain some degree of activity/belief? (For myself, I’m troubled by a lot of issues, but mormonism is deeply in my heritage and culture, all my family are TBM, and I want to find a way to balance it…I will never be orthodox again, but I want to maintain good standing (and at least at this point a temple recommend too). Some of the stuff on the StayLDS site was very helpful for this, but frankly I would appreciate more support in this are. My faith transition is not a “faith crisis” so much, but it is a big transition. I feel like most of those around me have chosen to leave the church, but I want to make a go of it…and I feel pretty alone in that. 

    Others have mentioned how to manage as an ex/post mormon with an orthodox spouse…I would appreciate also addressing spouses who are in different places of non-orthodoxy. For example, neither is anything like TBM anymore, but one decides to leave the church, and the other stays in (to whatever degree).  Frankly, I think the TBM spouses could use a little support in how to work that now-interfaith marriage too.

    What happens in the eternities if we were sealed but one of us no longer believes? What if I was married to a nonbeliever in the first place and we were never sealed? What about gay couples who are legally married but not sealed?

    I would also like to address callings. As in, I’ve got this calling, but now I’m not like I was before…how do I go on teaching primary (or whatever) when I don’t believe/support things as in the manuals. ESPECIALLY for those of us in small branches where every hand is needed (most of us hold multiple callings just to keep the branch functional), I feel under heavy pressure to not walk away…and yet I really need to be authentic in my UNorthodoxy.

    That’s my last thing–authenticity. How can I live authentically without it turning into whiplash rebellion. Support or suggestions for how to sort out what *I* personally really believe, since I’ve spent my whole life being told the rules, it’s a bit overwhelming to try to figure them out myself!

  40. I have gone from Orthodox Mormon mom  to  Mormon mom in crisis.  My Crisis of Faith began after realizing the reparation therapy I encouraged my son to endure was based in lies.  After years of fasting, prayer, and weekly temple attendance,  I began to doubt — not only reparation therapy, but a Church that simply won’t accept Gays. This entire issue has created such a rift in our family:  my sons, my daughters, my husband, my parents.   

    Some people seem to be able to reconcile having Gay children and staying in the Church.  I’m not doing so great.   Almost every Sunday hurts.  I want to leave and never go back, and yet I know there would be a gaping hole if I left.  Mormonism is part of me.

    I would like to hear more about how to get from Fowler’s Level Four, to Fowler’s Level Five.  It hurts here in Level Four!

  41. I am not certain if I can add a lot to what has been said. I find many of the comments already addressed in the podcasts. However, I have fully appreciated the discussions. My slightly different thoughts come from my own experiences searching and exploring Islam. There may be very few that would be interested in a podcast or discussion on the similarities between Islam and Mormonism. I am in London as I write this traveling to Saudi Arabia again. There are many similarities, though I recognize probably a limited audience.

  42. I’m still getting my feet wet in the Mormon Stories world (in part to support my wife who is going through a faith transition, but partly for my own edification). While I’m fairly comfortable with my faith, I’m gaining increasing empathy for those who decide to leave. At least some of those who leave maintain a (strong) belief in the “core principles” of the Gospel (i.e., Christ, the Atonement, etc.). I understand that others do not. But for those who do still believe in “the Gospel” but leave because they have issues with “the Church,” do these people feel like their convergence to Christ is made easier/better/more fruitful from having left or not? 

  43. As the more believing spouse I think that it might help if there was a “safe” list of talks, books, and articles the crisis person could use to bring to light some of the things they are learning.  As trusting true believing members all of our bells and whistles go off when we learn things that a spouse or family member learned on the internet.  That alone creates a wall of distrust between family members, but if the crisis person could bring something like Russell M. Nelson’s talk at the MTC where he spoke about Joseph using the Seers stone it may help to build the communication bridge that is so necessary to help everyone.  

    To me the list of resources needs to be in the TBM safe zone, GA talks, (such as the one mentioned above), The History of the Church by BH Roberts, Ensign and church magazine articles. I know they are few and far between but if we truly are looking to save relationships shouldn’t we offer the information from a source they trust.  

  44. Pre-decision stages
    Shock- truths not previously considered challenge current views.Betrayal- “I’ve been lied to!”Ambivalence- weighing the good and the bad.Limbo- I’m in no man’s land because there is not an “acceptable” place to air views, and being conscious and respectful of orthodox mormons.Congruency- Managing building dissatisfaction while maintaining spirituality.Commit or Quit- weighing personal growth inside or outside the church.

  45. I would be interested in a topic on doctrinal beliefs dealing with current and future themes. Some topics that float around are on BOM statements of secret combinations, which could be cross checked with the urban legends such as on the illuminati etcetera which would be interesting in the investigation itself.  Other podcasts could be on church historical sites such as AdamAhndiAhman in Missouri and those that have worked on real estate procurement and water drilling projects there. The P.R. front is monu-“mantle” in the image of  preparedness for fruition of prophecy. Anyway, there are many similar topics to these for consideration that fuel the mormon psyche and pave the thoughts and actions of the flock as no brainer attitude and expectation in the culture.

  46. 1.  I often feel that the institution of the church has created mechanisms that undermine my ability to live the “higher law” written in the new testament.  For example, Jesus tells us to love our nieghbor, and I feel that in order to meet this commandment the institution created the home teaching program.  Jesus tells us to give of our substance to the poor, the needy, the sick, and to meet this commandment the institution created the fast offerings program. These are just some examples.  I often trick myself into beleiving that I am keeping the commandments by going home teaching and paying fast offerings.  I feel like I can’t live the higher law while at the same time fulfilling the check list.  It creates a frustrating dichotomy. 

    2.  I have sins that I have not confessed.  Not “huge” sins, but sins that I should have confessed years ago.  I hate the idea of telling someone else my sins.  I have confessed to God, have repented with faith in Jesus, and I want that to be enough.  I want that to feel like enough. 

  47.  How to still participate as a doubting member. What the church can do not to push NOMs out of the church

    ie:
    blessings
    baptisms
    weddings