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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Integrity vs. Other Benefits (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Integrity vs. Other Benefits
enochville
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King of Men is going to love this, but I have found out that the Mormon church is not true. I didn't think that was possible, but it is, conclusively. I don't want to argue with anyone about that for a couple of reasons: 1) the user agreement for this site says that we will not try to convert others to our beliefs, and 2) some members may prefer to remain blissfully unaware of the damning evidence.

It is not my inability to accept some doctrine or practice, or an inability to find a faithful way to look at some fact. I have exhausted every avenue of apologetic writings and entertained every attempt at reconciliation. All the evidences I used in my previous thread King of Men let's have a discussion melt away. The evidence of Joseph Smith's fraud is that rock solid. If anyone must know, then you can email me through hatrack.

Anyway, what I want some input on is what to do now. Many have learned what I learned and remained in the church for family, friends, and the child rearing support the Church provides. A good summary of what church membership means to members is here: web page. It is a strong pull. My wife also now knows the church isn't true and is leaning towards pretending that it is because she would miss all the benefits of membership if she left.

I, on the other hand, believe strongly in integrity, and I cannot knowingly deceive people. We are expecting our first child on May 31st, and I cannot lie to my children. I still acknowledge that there is a spiritual side to life. Feelings of peace and assurance really do come when engaged in certain activities, I just misinterpreted their meaning in the past. I want to raise my children with morals, high ideals, community, spirituality, etc, and the Church is very convienient for that. Yet, what kind of message am I sending by being dishonest, not to mention the psychologically turmoil I will be inflicting on myself by not acting with integrity.

One, other thing, things would be different if I could just sit in the back of church each Sunday and not say much, like one can in most christian churches or Jewish synagogues. But, in the Mormon church, you either can be marginal and have everyone wonder why you are not with the program, so to speak, and bug you all the time to try to get you in a position where you can be truly active, OR I'd accept callings (responsibilities of leadership or teaching, etc) in which I'd have to actively try to teach people things I know aren't true.

All of my family, in-laws, and friends will be so disappointed when they hear that I no longer believe the church is true. But, I can deal with that; my wife on the other hand will have a more difficult time disappointing everyone. Futhermore, since she will be a homemaker after our son comes, it is important that she has someplace to go to get out of the house on occasion and have friends. Church would do that for her.

I should add that now that I have lost faith in Mormonism, I do not believe in the Bible or God or anything like that anymore. I have had several other thoughts and entertained several other options, but do not have time to write them all here. What I'd like is your input and ideas about whether I should just keep the status quo and pretend like nothing has happened, or go to church so I can enjoy the benefits but make sure I do not put myself in a position where I mislead others, or just quit going all together.

I am not making this decision hastily. Currently, I am not making any change until after we bless our baby in church on July 2nd. All of the family is coming. I think the kindest thing to do for them is at least wait until after that to drop the bomb.

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The Pixiest
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I'm sorry Enoch. I don't have any advice to offer. But losing one's faith is never easy. =(

Pix

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katharina
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quote:
What I'd like is your input and ideas about whether I should just keep the status quo and pretend like nothing has happened, or go to church so I can enjoy the benefits but make sure I do not put myself in a position where I mislead others, or just quit going all together.
If you hate being there, that will be apparent. Not being honest is not only a bad idea, but I doubt it will work. It is not hard to see how people feel about being there.

If you want to go for social benefits only, everyone is still welcome to attend. I don't suggest faking any beliefs to make that easier.

Are you the one blessing the baby?

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MattB
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I'd be interested in what evidence you're citing. Email's in the profile. I'm not going to argue with you - my Mormonism is decidedly unorthodox, and I'm not so interested in missionary work - but I am always interested in talking about evidence.
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Sm34rZ
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quote:
Originally posted by enochville:

I am not making this decision hastily. Currently, I am not making any change until after we bless our baby in church on July 2nd. All of the family is coming. I think the kindest thing to do for them is at least wait until after that to drop the bomb.

Well, I'm sad to hear someone say that about the church... but I'm confused...

Wern't you just talking about integrity? If you don't beleive in the church anymore, how can you go and bless your baby? Who's gonna do it - you? How is this "kind" when you're just going to decieve your family?

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King of Men
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I'm going to keep my mouth mainly shut, but I have one specific suggestion which I hope will be helpful : You can go here, particularly the "Secular Lifestyle" and "Positive Atheism and Secular Activism" subforums, for advice. There are many people there who have dealt or are dealing with the exact same problems; you can get their experiences and perhaps avoid some of their mistakes.
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Icarus
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I think you're going to derail your own thread, because instead of saying "I have come to believe that this is not true," you have asserted that it is not. I would be surprised if this doesn't veer away from a discussion of the ethics of nonbelief in a religious community, to a debate over the "statement of fact" that you have made.
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enochville
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I will be blessing the baby. And you are right that by doing so I am being disingenuous. But, I need time to think, as does my wife. As soon as I make the announcement, my in-laws will ask her what she thinks, etc. I don't want to put her in that situation before she is ready.

Futhermore, I am a counsellor in my ward's Bishopric and have been a pillar in the ward. Timing is important, and I don't feel any need to rush. I need to be sure that I am doing something I am comfortable with.

It may not be the best decision to wait until after the baby is blessed, but I think it is better than leaving the church now. I have learned that none of the blessings I have ever given were real even though I thought they were at the time. One more non-real blessing won't do anymore harm than all the other ones. Words will still come to my mind as they always have.

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kmbboots
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enochville,

First, let me tell you that I admire you for being engaged enough with your faith that you are having this crisis. That may not make sense, but, just the fact that you are paying attention is a good thing.

I don't know how this works in Mormonism, but in my religion, there is a distinction between "fact" and "Truth". For a lot of things, whether it is literally factual is less important than the larger Truth that is revealed by it. For example, my faith is not at all hampered because I don't think that Noah actually had 2 of every kind of animal on an ark.

I don't know whether or not that is helpful to keep in mind as you go through the difficult process of what to keep and what to discard about your religion. Mostly, though, I want to wish you all the best.

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JennaDean
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Wow. You're right, Enochville, your family is going to be shocked and sad; I'm shocked, and I only know you online. It would be a hard decision to make, especially for me, as a stay-at-home-mom; almost all of my social circle comes from church. I don't think any of them would suddenly hate me or drop my friendship if I left church, but it would become awkward as the things that we had most in common would no longer be in common. It would be very difficult to remain in the same circle of friends; I'd miss many of the social events, they'd forget to invite me to others, and our conversations would be different because there would be things we just couldn't share anymore.

On the other hand, if I believed "conclusively" that the church was wrong, I don't know how long I could go. Every talk and lesson would grate on my nerves. It would be annoying to try to be a Jack Mormon and have people trying to get me to fulfill a calling - but there's no way I could teach something that I didn't believe.

It will be harder on your wife than on you, if she's going to stay home with the baby and simultaneously lose most of the contact she would have with her church friends. I don't know where else I'd go to make good friends like that, so I understand the reasons to want to stay even if you don't believe it. You'd have to really help her find some social group to fill the void - having a first baby changes your whole life, she's going to need support.

This is going to be hard no matter which way you play it.

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katharina
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I think blessing the baby can wait - my brother waited almost two months for various reasons. It's hard to reconcile an insistance on integrity if you perpetuate what you believe to be a fraud.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
I will be blessing the baby. And you are right that by doing so I am being disingenuous.
It's far more than just disingenuous -- it's a flat-out lie.
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ClaudiaTherese
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enochville, I am so sorry to read of your distress and heartache. It is palpable in your words.

I reached a point in my life in which I no longer accepted the tenets of the faith of my childhood as binding or real. It was a hard time.

I will email you. Meanwhile, I wish you what peace you can find.

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Dante
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I'm always a bit bemused by people who suddenly find "proof" that the LDS church isn't true and assume that anyone still a member of the church is such only because he or she hasn't had access to that same "proof."

The "kindest thing" you can do is get out. Immediately. If you feel you have "proof" that Joseph Smith was a fraud and "damning evidence" that the church isn't true, you are doing no one--not yourself nor your family nor anyone else in the ward--any good by pretending. Talk to your bishop, get released from any callings, quit participating in any ordinances, take your name off the membership records (if you wish), but don't pretend to believe in something you don't.

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Elizabeth
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enochville, I went through this with the Catholic church after our second child was baptised.
A few weeks later, I received a request for a donation for the building of the new church.
This request turned quickly into a threat. "If we do not receive a donation by April___, you will no longer be a member of this parish."
OK, then, good-bye!
The threat seemed to solidify all my doubts into one thing.
And it was a threat.
So, we wandered, and found the Congregational church. I was raised Methodist(though baptised Catholic-long story), and it felt like coming home to me.
The Mormon church may fel like home to you after a time.
So, my suggestion is just to give it time.
If you baptise your child into the Mormon faith, is that being a hypocrite?
Maybe.
But it may also be a sign that you are more strongly tied to this religion than you think right now, and that you want your children to experience the joys you have experienced.

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jeniwren
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enochville, my dad didn't believe the tenets of the church but believed correctly that it was family oriented to the point of giving our family a structure to be a better family (if that's not redundant enough...). My mother believed.

The result is that to this day, for me, I have a hard time believing that men actually believe in God. Women, no problem. But there is a little voice in the back of my head that says men are just doing it so their families have a good structure for moral education, not because there actually is a God. I think it's far more important that you behave honestly than that you continue on for the sake of your family. Long term, kids can tell you're faking it.

Best of luck. I'm sorry you're going through this. [Frown]

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enochville
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mr_porteiro_head and katharina: You are both right. Integrity is very important to me, but there are things even more important to me. My ranking of important things used to be: 1)God, 2)me, then 3) my wife. Now it is me and my wife. If my wife needs more time, then I'll give it to her. I have made promises to her and strangely she is more important than ever to me. But, over the long haul, I will need to look to my own emotional well-being, and I am not sure which long-term strategy is going to serve me best and I have to weigh in other people's (family and church members) feelings.

Look, this really is a difficult position to be in. Anyway I turn I will be hurting or upsetting many people. And, this condition is not a result of any wrongdoing on my part. I am in this predicament because of the reality that Joseph Smith was never a prophet or seer. I wish the Church were true; oh, how I wish it were true from the depths of my being. I wish the conclusive evidence could be explained away by some different interpretation or questionable evidence. But it can't, so now I have to change my whole worldview and probably hurt some people because I cannot ignore what I now know.

I was a great defender of Mormonism. I was able to help people resolve all kinds of concerns. I was able to find some way to become o.k. with every disturbing truth about Joseph's behavior. I thought that there was nothing to fear, for the Church could withstand any criticism. I am well-read in church history. I had read both volumes of The Papers of Joseph Smith by Dean C. Jessee, the diaries of William Clayton, all 6 volumes of the Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, some of the Journal of Discourses, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power and The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power both by D Michael Quinn, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Bushman, and countless other things including much of the FAIR articles which are written by intelligent, sincere believers in defense against "anti" arguments.

Although I had casually studied the topic that I now know is the Church's Achilles Heel a few times before, every time I looked into it, I was placated by the interpretations of the Mormon apologists. It wasn't until I really thoroughly researched it to help a friend that had left the Church, that I realized that all previous theories to defend Joseph did not fit the data.

I thought the church was bullet-proof, but it is not. So, those of you who are members and don't want to face the trial that I am facing, don't examine too thoroughly the problems that you may hear about. You may examine them moderately if you wish and in most cases be content with the explanations you'll get.

I had what I believed to be a deeply personal relationship with Heavenly Father and Christ. We had been through so many trials together. I believed they had given me peace and comfort through the Holy Spirit and taught me truths. I trusted what I believed to be the Lord completely and thought he had answered my prayers.

To be clear, I do not know whether there is a God anymore. Absolutely knowing that Joseph was not a prophet does not logically rule out God, but in my mind Joseph was the best chance that prophets and revelation from God could be true.

I do not want to be in this mess. I would not wish it on anyone. My only consolation is that the evidence is so solid that I cannot be in limbo suspecting Joseph was not a prophet but not being sure of it. Knowing that for sure helps.

JennaDean: Thank you for expressing empathy.

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mr_porteiro_head
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Please stop stating your beliefs as absolute fact.

Think of how ugly this thread could get if others did the same.

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Elizabeth
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If he believes what he says, is it not fact for him?
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
If he believes what he says, is it not fact for him?
He is not saying "To me, insert_belief."
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The Pixiest
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mph: Please be nice. He's going through a hard time. Don't quibble about the way he phrases things.

Enochville: Have you thought about trying another faith? Maybe you can find the comfort you and your family seeks in another denomination?

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Synesthesia
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I'm sorry, Enochville. I went through this as a teenager who was once Seventh Day Adventist and then stopped. It was less difficult for me as I was only a kid and had something to replace the echoing sore hole that losing one's faith can leave...
I'm sorry you are going through this... I hope you find comfort soon.

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enochville
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sorry for offending you mr porteiro head. You may insert, "I believe" in front of any of my comments you wish.
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MattB
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I think that the ordinances exist to serve us, and not the other way around. If you believe that there may be spiritual benefit for your family in blessing the child - even benefits aside from those that depend on your confidence in the reality of the blessing itself - then you should do it. If not, not.

You have my empathy - I know how tough it can be to reconcile doubt with the pain that comes from the way it disrupts lives.

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I Am The War Chief
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Enochville just wanted to say good call on your part. And just because your kids are being blessed as children doesnt mean they cant pick what they wany to be when thier older, FREE WILL KICKS ALL MIGHTY @$$

ps: try giving becoming a reformed jew. Its nice no god fearing or hell, emphasis on enjoying life and celebrating, its a pretty good deal [Smile]

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Elizabeth
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Porter, for me, it goes back to Strunk and White and "in my opinion."

Why preface a statement with "In my opinion..."

If it is not your opinion, then you darn well ought not to be saying it, so los the "in my opinion."

Same thing with "to me..." "I believe..."

It is implied.

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mr_porteiro_head
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There are many times where it is not implied nor meant.

But now I don't think that this thread is one of them. [Smile]

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TomDavidson
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enochville, regardless of how you feel about your former faith, I believe blessing your child would be a mistake.

I understand why you don't see a consequence here; after all, if there's no God to offend through sacrilege, why worry about sacrilege?

But in my opinion -- and I'm speaking here as someone who believes that this life and these people are all that's available to us, ever -- these things are still important. Even though these sacred things rest (as far as any of us know) on a foundation of lies or misunderstandings, that doesn't make them any less special, important, or sacred to the people around you -- and these people and their society are all we have.

By entering the temple and blessing your child under false pretenses, you will be knowingly deceiving and gravely disrespecting your friends and family in order to avoid awkwardness. You will also be disrespecting both tradition and ritual, two things that are provably important to the health of any society.

I believe this will do you harm. It's hard enough -- speaking as someone's who's done it -- to decide that the things which you believed underpinned your morality and sense of self to no longer be valid. But it's downright dangerous to then conclude that this morality and self are, having been built on falsehood, meaningless.

Do not bless your child. You will be explicitly rejecting and insulting not only the faith of your acquaintances but the very traditions and beliefs which you once held dear. I can understand why you, as you move through the stages of grief, might want to linger on denial and anger at the moment -- but I don't think it's appropriate to engage in either when presenting your child to the world in which he or she will be moving.

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foundling
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Porter, I understand where you're coming from. Someone is not just questioning, but outright calling untrue, something that you "know" to be true. It's not something that anyone wants to hear.
But, enochville believes, with all his heart, that he is stating truth. You cant really argue with that. Why would you even want to?
Your faith is your own, and his lack of faith has nothing to do with that. I dont think that he is delibertely trying to draw people away from the Mormon faith or discourage others from joining. He is simply talking out his own thought process on the matter. Do you really think that now is the time to quible about something that has offended your sensiblities?

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katharina
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I agree with Porter.
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Sharpie
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Once upon a time, I wrote long prayers to God every day. I was immersed in the life of the church. Now I am not a believer. The path between those two places was very hard. I was angry and grief-stricken and confused and angry again through that time period. Mostly grief-stricken. I'm thinking of you, Enochville, in this time.

As far as the blessing goes... if it is authentic integrity you are trying to live, at least consider the words of some of the others here who have suggested that you not go through with it. If you intend to be truthful with your child all his/her life, start right away.

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Dante
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I think this may be the first time I've read one of TomD's posts in a religion thread that I agreed with almost completely.
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ElJay
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Edit: This was started after kat's post. So the I do, too, means agree with Porter.

I do too, actually. Hatrack is a place where people with very diverse opinions try to converse and get along. I think phrasing things as beliefs and opinions instead of facts is one of the most important factors in making that work. I wish more people would take that to heart, both believers and non-believers. In this case, even "I have become convinced that. . . " or "I have stopped believing. . ." would be just as strong a statement, without presenting what follows as fact. Because as convincing as you may find the evidence, you were not there, and you cannot fully know what really happened. No one can.

It's not about cutting someone a break who's going through a hard time. It's about everyone who's involved in the conversation showing respect to the others involved.

enochville, you seem to be most comfortable in a world of black and white. When you joined Hatrack, you made the exact same sort of fact-based, definitive statements, but in support of your religion. Those irritated some people too. I know you're going through an extrememly difficult time. But if you want the support of a community, alienating a large chunk of it is not the way to go. (I am not, incidentally, LDS, or particularly religious of any sort.) I invite you to step into some shades of gray. It's not as easy a place to be, but you may find you end up more comfortable here. [Smile]

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Dagonee
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quote:
My wife also now knows the church isn't true and is leaning towards pretending that it is because she would miss all the benefits of membership if she left.
Then the blessing should be called off. It's that simple. Even if your wife hadn't lost her faith, it would still be wrong for you to do the blessing, although not to attend it if you stayed silent.

But it seems like you (as a couple) don't intend to raise your children to be Mormon. At best your family would be staying involved with people you think have succumbed to a terrible fraud and made it the center of their life so that you can have a comfortable social club to belong to. You deserve better than that; so do the people of the church.

I know a parent participating in a Catholic baptism would have to be lying if they no longer believed in the Catholic faith - the catechism questions are very specific and the parents answer with affirmative statements of belief. Perhaps the Mormon ceremony wouldn't involve such direct lying, but my understanding of the blessing is that it is performed by you, with you acting as the priest.

If you ever changed your mind about the church, think how you would feel about what you had done. Your child would have received a blessing not from an inheritor of the priesthood but from a fraud. You clearly don't want to be a fraud, which is most of the effort involved in not being one. Take that final step if you truly no longer believe.

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Icarus
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I agree with ElJay, Porter, and Kat. And I do not consider myself religious. I realize that enochville is going through a difficult time, but I think his posts reek of condescension to those who still believe. (If you want to hold on to your belief, you should avoid looking into this area . . . as if the faith of good Mormons is built on willful ignorance.) Enochville wants to claim that this thread is about his moral dilemma, but it can't be while he makes absolute statements about Joseph Smith being a false prophet. As I noted in my first post on this thread, there are plenty of people who will not let that go. If enochville wants to start a thread on that theme--ill-advised as such a thread would be--he could do that. Instead, he wants to make it be about something else, and sneak his jabs in unchallenged. Frankly, I doubt his motives: he has stated how almighty important personal integrity is to him, but just this once he's going to lie for this, that, and this other reason. If he had said that he doesn't mind lying when he doesn't think it will hurt anyone, or to protect people he loves, then maybe I would believe him. But this contradiction makes me doubt him. I think Joseph Smith as a false prophet is exactly what he wants to talk about; he just doesn't want to be called on it.
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enochville
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Icarus: This is all new to me and still very fresh. In many ways I wish I had never found out what I now believe. You are correct that my advice not to dig too deeply into some of the troubling areas of church history does not fit with the stated purpose of this thread. I guess I said it because that is what I wish I would have done. At least some part of me does. Another part of me is glad I learned what I learned. But, this is off topic.

Many people have called me out on "if he really believed in integrity he wouldn't consider blessing his son". I am struggling with competing values while having my worldview overhauled. I believe that almost all ethical questions come down to choosing between competing values.

Contradictions often occur when faced with new perspectives. Cut me some slack.

I do appreciate most of the comments. It is helpful to read each of your reactions.

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ElJay
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I believe that almost all ethical questions come down to guts. Every one I can think of where I had to make a choice that I thought was between compeating values, really was about making life easier or saving myself from embarassment. I have not always made the hard decision. And I can understand why you would be tempted to go thorugh with the blessing in this situation. But if you want to be honest with yourself, look really closely at those competing values, and see if they aren't cleverly disguised convenient justifications.

Sometimes going through with something to keep the family happy is the right decision for someone. I'm not going to flat out say it's not the right decision for you in this case. I don't know you or your wife or your family. But if you go through with it, be prepared for it to be harder to tell them afterwards, not easier. and to get some very uncomfortable questions like "How long have you been feeling this way?" or "When did you lose your faith?" that will put you in a position of either lying again or letting them know anyway that you did the blessing without believing.

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enochville
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Yeah, ElJay, some comments by some earlier posters made me think about that and I said as much to my wife.

It is interesting how I am more ready to do away with the whole thing than my wife is even though she believes as I do. I feel that I owe her some consideration and may pretend a little longer for her benefit even if she is acting out of fear. I don't know. It is a lot to sort out.

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Will B
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I can't relate, and I want to understand. (I've heard from others with similar reaction to this or that church, including right here.) I've always known religious frauds (I grew up with one -- not a con man, but people who do it to look good), but Christianity does say we often behave badly. Seeing someone's flaws exposed *confirms* the religion, to me. (I'm not saying whether Smith is one of them; I don't feel qualified.)

What about that personal relationship with God? Was it not really a relationship at all? What was that belief that you had one (that is LDS theology, right?) based on -- experience? doctrine? something else?

I guess the thing is: I'm Catholic. If I found out the Pope was an evil man and a liar, well . . . there *were* popes like that! It wouldn't make any difference. If I found that out about St. Paul, I'd doubt my own sanity, because I don't think someone can write like that as a con; I think my BS detector should have tripped. If I found it out about Jesus Christ himself, well then, I'd abandon the faith. Christianity without Christ would be pretty pointless!

This may be a difference in LDS and Catholic thinking. I've noticed a difference before: the Inspired Version. If a pope did a Catholic equivalent, we wouldn't accept it. We don't have the faith in our leaders that I believe LDS have in theirs.

But I am sure some Catholics would report the same sort of story you do: "recovering Catholics" or "recovering Baptists." Often it seems to be a reaction against a religious bully. So maybe the theological differences aren't the issue.

Whatever it is, I hope you find a way to detach -- or reattach -- or whatever you want to do, that makes you peaceful.

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ElJay
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It'll have a lot bigger affect on her than you, as you noted, particularly since she's going to become a stay-at-home-mom real soon. Perhaps it would be helpful for her to start trying to build other areas of support now, and then see if she's more comfotable moving forward? It seems like too big a decision to make hastily, and without a plan B in place.

I don't know what size town you live in, that will make a difference, but there are usually lots of support groups around for new mothers, and play dates and the like.

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scholar
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My sister was dating a guy who converted. After a year of church membership, he went through the temple and the next week married her in the temple. During the honeymoon, he admitted that he could not truly believe in the church. For her sake, he could go to church, pretend for the hypothetical children, do the blessings and naming and baptisms. He just did not feel like he could keep up the pretense with her. The feelings of betrayal amongst the family were intense to say the least. The idea that he would go through the temple, participate in ordinances he knew were sacred to us while knowing it was not something he could actually accept was extremely offensive. While he wanted to give my sister the wedding she dreamed of, his lack of integrity destroyed his relationship with the rest of us. We could have dealt with his religious decision, but his lack of integrity really angered us. (I am the only one who married within my faith, so I do know that my family can accept non-lds marriages). If you want to have a baby blessing, invite someone else to do the blessing. It may be harder for your relatives to deal with your decision if you have also shown such disrespect for their beliefs.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
But, enochville believes, with all his heart, that he is stating truth. You cant really argue with that. Why would you even want to?
If you'll notice, I haven't done anything of the sort.

quote:
I think this may be the first time I've read one of TomD's posts in a religion thread that I agreed with almost completely.
I agree with him as well. I wanted to say something similar to what he said earlier, but I could not think of a way to say in that wouldn't come across badly.
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jeniwren
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I empathize with where he's at...it took me a long time not to be hostile to the church (any church, but LDS in particular). I was a teenager, but still. I couldn't have phrased things diplomatically if I'd wanted to. It's almost like how KoM phrases things sometimes that get right under my skin. But it's really okay...his opinion and all that. And I can let it go. It doesn't take my beliefs from me.

I also completely agree with what TomD said so well.

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scholar
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quote:
Originally posted by enochville:
Yeah, ElJay, some comments by some earlier posters made me think about that and I said as much to my wife.

It is interesting how I am more ready to do away with the whole thing than my wife is even though she believes as I do. I feel that I owe her some consideration and may pretend a little longer for her benefit even if she is acting out of fear. I don't know. It is a lot to sort out.

So, I am hoping this comes out diplomatically. Is it possible your wife is not 100% on board? I guess if I had decided that the church was definetely not true, I could not keep pretending one day longer. Or pay tithing or perform a calling or anything else. To even pretend would require a small hope that there was still some truth. I understand the support group aspect of the church, but if she can't discuss this life changing aspect with her support group, the support group probably can be replaced with a group that she can actually talk to about her life.
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Jon Boy
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Tom, baby blessings are done in sacrament meetings in front of the whole congregation, not in the temple. I think it would still be seriously wrong to perform the ordinance, but at least then he would simply be performing the ordinance unworthily and not also entering the temple unworthily.

And on that same note, enochville, I think you need to be released from your calling in the bishopric immediately. I think it will shake the ward's faith more if you carry on the lie and then come clean than if you admit right now that you have lost your faith. Your bishop deserves to have a counsellor who has a strong testimony, and so does your ward. Without a testimony, you are no longer worthy to hold that calling and to exercise that authority by the Church's standards.

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Sm34rZ
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You know, enoch, I think that the reason that you started this thread is because you still doubt that you doubt the church is true. I mean, why else start a thread like this? Why tell any of us what you think? If you were sure and determined, you wouldn't have even bothered to post this -especially since there are LOTS of mormons on this forum and they would likely want to convince you to not do what you're about to do.

So... maybe this is what you may feel is your last chance to not go down this road? I don't know. To me this seems you're saying that you still want to believe its true.

Well, it is. I'm normally not very active on the boards, but I feel oddly compelled to participate in this thread. How do I know the church is true? The Holy Ghost let me know.

My testimony is still growing, and there are doubts every once in a while. But the feelings that I've come to recognize as the Spirit help me know the church is true. When I'm at church, I feel it. During this last general conference I felt it. Reading the scriptures. Praying (with sincirity... when I rush 'em I usually don't get anything).

Look back the last couple of months... How are your prayers? When's the last time you studied the scriptures (Not just read them)? Read the scriptures [Smile] ? Did you attend conference last week?

Anyway, I think you posted this thread because you still want to believe. That's good: Alma 32: 27

So let that seed grow. Perhaps you've just not been nourishing it latley and it's shrunken... start nourishing it again.

I feel kinda cheezy saying this, but... I know that the church is true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he really did see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and that he was called to restore His church. Jesus Christ is the savior of the world. You can know (again) that these thigns are true through the Holy Ghost. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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King of Men
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Well, since we are apparently doing testimony now... I believe that Joseph Smith was, at the absolute best, a deluded man with hallucinations. He made up a history, couched it in semi-literate pseudo-Biblical babble, and sold a bill of goods to his poor victims. Whose descendants now do their utmost to squash every possibility of doubt, as witness comrade Sm34rz. You've done well in recognising absurdity; do not let the groupthink pull you back.

I say these things in my own name, as one human to another. And if I did believe in a god, I would be extremely careful about claiming to speak for it.

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Jon Boy
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Sm34rz was trying to be helpful, King of Men. You're just being nasty.
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Sm34rZ
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KoM, I respect your beliefs.

I do believe in God, and that's why I speak of Him. Why should I try and hide that?

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Epictetus
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enochville, I really empathise with what you're going through. My crisis of Faith, if you want to call it that, was perhaps not as comprehensive and life changing as yours appears to be, but it's still hard regardless.

If it helps, there's a Latin Phrase I always utter to myself in times of difficulty

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam

I will either find a way, or make one.

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