March 29, 2009

LDS and Struggling?

Posted in Deep thoughts, Mormon life tagged , , , , , , , , , at 8:49 PM by Robin

This is a subject that I have been pondering over for some time now.  I have been hesitant to write about it, partly because I don’t know if my blogging audience wants me to write about something this serious, partly because I don’t want anyone to think that I am setting myself up as a religious authority of any kind who has the definitive answer to anything, and partly because I am a little afraid of the response I will get from the internet at large. But, nevertheless, I have found over the last few months that I have become increasingly aware, through conversations with friends and family, or comments written by people online on message boards or Facebook, of a number of people, some who I know well, and many who I don’t, who are active members of the LDS church that are silently struggling with their faith.

WorryMost of the people who fall into this category are longtime members who still attend church regularly, but who, for whatever reason, have started to question whether they truly believe everything this religion is asking them to accept.  Some are struggling with church structure, or have heard some disturbing  facts about early church history.  Some have gone through difficult trials that praying doesn’t resolve. A few have given into temptation, secretly experimenting with pornography or drugs or alcohol. Some have lost their faith entirely, but can’t imagine leaving the church completely because of the social and familial ties it would require breaking.  Many feel conflicted that they are questioning their faith in the first place, as if that act alone were a sin.

To you who find yourselves in this situation, I would like to share with you some of my thoughts and experiences on this struggle.  I don’t do this in a condescending way, as if I am the eternally faithful one who is so much more spiritual than you, but as one whose faith has also waxed and waned at different times.  It’s a little scary coming out and saying that, since I know that there are members of my ward that read this blog, and I am the wife of a member of the Bishopric.  Mormon culture discourages us from showing any external signs of doubt, especially if you are in a highly visible position within your ward or stake, but I think that does us a disservice, by not giving us a chance to help strengthen our fellow Saints who are feeling lost and confused.  If we express our doubts to friends or loved ones, we are often met with fear or concern for our spiritual welfare, or with answers that just don’t seem to resolve anything. Although we are encouraged to discuss concerns of this nature with our Bishop or other church leader, many are reluctant to do so, afraid of being judged as not worthy or even apostate.  Often, they turn to sources outside of the church to find their answers, but what they find only serves to increase their confusion.  I want you to know that I have had occasions when my faith has been rock solid, and times when I really doubted whether any of it could be true.

Basically, what I want to do is open a forum for discussion where members can help strengthen each other, where they can share their thoughts on subjects that they have been struggling with, and hear experiences of others who have gone through the same thing and who have actually come out the other side stronger in their faith.  There are far too many sites on the internet created by those who have begun questioning their testimonies and have fallen away from the church.  I want this to be a place where people can find that you can question your testimony and actually end up strengthening it.  Obviously, this is not a forum for anti-mormon arguments coming from those who have already closed their minds to the church.  If I receive any antagonistic comments, they will be immediately deleted.  But those who are honestly seeking answers about their concerns are always welcome to join the discussion.

Obviously, I don’t think I will be able to express all my thoughts on this subject in one post, so I will probably be making this subject into something of a series.  So much for lightening up the content on my blog!  I apologize if this is too deep for anyone, however, I just really feel that I need to get this out there.  There are things that I want to say that I never have to opportunity to say to those who really need it most.  I hope that the things discussed here will help someone else out there.  I promise once I get this off my chest I will start being funny again.  Or maybe I’ll be funny in between serious posts.  We’ll see!  Thanks, all!