New Order Mormon

(A New Hope)
It is currently Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:39 am

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 26 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:49 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:43 am
Posts: 363
Location: Salt Lake
Hey Earnest,

I don't know how you know John but I grew up with him in Texas. We went to camp together a time or two and he was in one of the wards next to mind.

I have seen his name three times recently. First was in a newspaper article about "The Book of Mormon" musical. He was called a self-described "liberal Mormon." (BTW, I don't have a strong opinion about the musical; I suspect it will end up piquing interest in the Church.) As you have probably noticed, describing oneself as "liberal" in the Church usually coincides with describing oneself as an "intellectual."

The second time was when a friend of mine here in Idaho shared a link of his. Interestingly enough, that friend is going through a similar experience as yours and has recently decided that he no longer has a testimony.

I don't know where I am going with this. I haven't spoken with John since at least my BYU days. He could be doing great in the Gospel for all I know.

I guess it is sad for me to see people from different parts of my life run into each other and lose their testimonies.

____________________________
Earnest April 11 at 4:32pm
John Dehlin is a... signpost in the world of Mormons who have... come to the conclusion that the Church isn't everything it claims to be.

He has a podcast/blog called Mormon Stories which was one of the early places on the internet where people started having open discussions about the Church. Importantly, his purpose is to help people NOT become anti when they run into these issues. He started a group called stayLDS (also has a website), he has written many things about dealing with the loss of faith in the Church.

He is active in the Church, and says that he will always be. He does not necessarily push the view that ALL people who come to a crisis of faith need to stay in the Church, but he has made a large part of his life helping people come to terms with those issues.

He's a hero to many many people.

When you run across people who are friends with John Dehlin, you can bet that they have at least some of the same issues that I do. It may not be 100%, but it's a pretty decent bet.

He wrote this article. (link to How To Stay article)

I didn't lose my testimony because I ran into John Dehlin. I lost my testimony and went searching for other people to help me figure it out.

___________________________________
FRIEND April 11 at 9:23pm Report
Interesting. The John that I knew is probably one of the few who could maintain a strong testimony of the Church while helping others deal with some of these troubling issues.

I hope you know me well enough that I have a lot of sympathy for those struggling with their testimony. I purposely avoid intellectualizing my beliefs because I fear where it would take me. Everyone has to believe in something and I am at peace with my beliefs as they are, even if not all questions can be answered logically.

I am not a black and white guy. And, in my current calling as ward clerk, I have sat through at least eight disciplinary councils. My empathy has increased from those experiences and my respect for Church "discipline" and the role of the atonement has grown, too.

I didn't mean to open up another discourse on testimonies and your experiences. I just thought the Dehlin connection was interesting. My wife had read your link this morning and mentioned it to me before I even knew he had wrote it and before she knew that I knew him.

______________________________________
Earnest April 12 at 8:41am
As I have said before, I appreciate your friendship. You're welcome to open up any discourse you want. I'm not in the least bit worried about "intellectualizing" my beliefs. I'm not the one trying to protect my beliefs from the outside world or the past. So, trust me, it doesn't bother me... but I am always curious that YOU seem to have this need to open things back up.

Testimony is an interesting word. I won't try to speak for him, but I would venture to speculate that John doesn't have a testimony so much as a recognition that there are things that he appreciates about his relationship with the Church. I know he appreciates his family heritage.

It's highly safe to say that he doesn't have a testimony in the way most people (and presumably you) think about it. Is your testimony built around your BELIEFS or your COMMITMENTS? Many people decide to keep commitments despite their beliefs. Some can't find enough reason to keep those commitments once their beliefs have changed.

John is a great example of someone who has decided to be faithful without faith. I think that's an ok way of putting it, although he may not put it that way.

The standard Church view of apostates could stand to be updated. The Church view is that apostates are trying to get away from the Church, usually for some stereotypical reason (laziness, offense, desire to sin).

Many who no longer have faith in the "truth" of the Church, stick around and try to make it work. For the most part, members are unaware of them... they don't look any different from the other members. Most of them keep their mouths shut because they respect other people. Until the internet came along, they were probably mostly unaware of each other. The internet provides a support system for people who are otherwise caught up in a real life retelling of "the emperor's new clothes" and are frustrated with it. (That would be me)

I'm glad you have sympathy for those that "struggle", but most of us aren't struggling with our testimony, we're struggling with our relationships with loved ones who cannot accept that there is no struggle with testimony. There is no testimony to struggle with, and there aren't many active members of the Church who can accept that that is just fine.

_________________
My apostasy happened because I was trying to whittle my testimony down to solid, eternal, non-cultural truths. By the time I was done whittling, though, my testimony fell apart in my hands.
-Mateo


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:55 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:59 pm
Posts: 7546
Location: Mission Field
It was John Dehlin's www.staylds.com website that lead me to NOM and this forum has helped me big time. :D

_________________
And maybe love is letting people be just what they want to be
The door must always be left unlocked
To love when circumstance may lead someone away from you
And not to spend the time just doubting

Howard Jones


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:15 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:48 pm
Posts: 93
Location: Arizona
your FB friend wrote:
I purposely avoid intellectualizing my beliefs because I fear where it would take me.


Oh brother. In case there was any doubt, the brainwashing and fear instilled by the Church is alive and well.

Earnest wrote:
I'm glad you have sympathy for those that "struggle", but most of us aren't struggling with our testimony, we're struggling with our relationships with loved ones who cannot accept that there is no struggle with testimony. There is no testimony to struggle with, and there aren't many active members of the Church who can accept that that is just fine.


Bravo for calling him out on this "struggling" crap! I hate being viewed this way.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:18 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:21 am
Posts: 795
Quote:
There is no testimony to struggle with ...


I really liked this line; it captures my experience very well.

As a child, I was given a comparatively complicated hypothesis about the nature of life (the gospel) and spent twenty years thinking about it, learning about it from others, and putting it into practice. The result of my experiences is that I cannot take it seriously as a map of realities. I repeatedly ran into places where it did not work and alternatives worked better. Just as I ceased to believe in the literal reality of Santa when I learned more about geography and my parents' Christmas routine, so I ceased to believe in the literal reality of Jesus and Joseph Smith when I learned more about religion and history. Sure, I had a few moments on the way when I could "will myself to believe" -- these came early, when I did not know that much. But there came a moment of no return when I saw that the gospel was a puzzle without solution: not only did the pieces I have not fit; I found pieces that would never fit, pieces that challenged the fundamental idea of puzzle-solving as a meaningful activity. Apologetic arguments are all about tweaking the pieces that don't fit and ignoring the pieces that challenge the validity of solving the puzzle. But I cannot ignore the challenging pieces, which are very real to me.

Even if the realities I experience happen to be unreal, or at least appear unreal to others (particularly the faithful), I cannot ignore them. I cannot pretend that I do not see things that I really do see, that I haven't had experiences that I have had. Even if I were to become as active in the church as I was when I believed it all literally, attending every meeting and doing everything I did as a true believer, my faith would necessarily be categorically different from what it was, owing to the experience I have accumulated from my faith crisis.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:37 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 9:08 am
Posts: 5781
Location: Seattle Area
Nice exchange. :) One thing I would be a little careful about is pointing to John's activity as a non-traditional believer as an example. He should speak for himself and his status, but having one person held up like that as an example to follow may not be viable long term, as it is a lot of pressure on one person.

_________________
Quote:"We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands." ~ Carl Sagan


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:48 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:13 am
Posts: 103
John Dehlin here. And yes...I've mentioned in a few places now that I'm no longer active in the church. It brings me no joy to admit this, but it's true.

Nothing caused this other than a gradual feeling that full church activity wasn't really worth the time/effort any more (cost/benefit analysis), and feeling really uncomfortable from an integrity/honesty perspective about "looking" like active, believing members when we didn't feel that way inside (I know...I know...many of you warned me that this would happen, and saw this coming long before I did).

Anyway, we just got worn down over time, I think.

For me, the "LDS Restoration" (as in God restoring the "one true church with exclusive priesthood authority") is just not a credible narrative....and my wife and I can no longer pretend like (or appear like) we think it is. I don't even think we WANT it to be "true" at this point -- we're much more universalistic in our beliefs.

Part of us would enjoy being active...and I still generally enjoy going to sacrament meeting...but the cog-diss has become too great for us.

If the church were to send out some type of communication indicating that NOMs were fully legitimate/welcome in church (as vocal participants), and that they could have temple recommends (I know...crazy), I would consider re-activating...but I'm not holding my breath on that one.

Anyway....I would love to have been able to make it work...and I still fully support those for whom full church activity does work. We just can't make it work for us. At least not as thing are.

:cry:


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:53 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 1:26 pm
Posts: 6814
Location: Living in the Mor-Cor, behind the Zion Curtain
Welcome John, to the NOM side of life. :D

_________________
You know that tingly feeling you get when you hear a strong testimony? That's common sense leaving your body!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:53 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:43 am
Posts: 363
Location: Salt Lake
John, thanks for reaching out to me individually, and here... and I sincerely apologize if I was dragging you out into stuff that you don't want to discuss in public/semi-public spaces.

Nevertheless... I will say again how much I appreciate you. Your efforts have been the very epitome of Christlike service.

So, thank you.

_________________
My apostasy happened because I was trying to whittle my testimony down to solid, eternal, non-cultural truths. By the time I was done whittling, though, my testimony fell apart in my hands.
-Mateo


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:58 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:59 pm
Posts: 7546
Location: Mission Field
Image

_________________
And maybe love is letting people be just what they want to be
The door must always be left unlocked
To love when circumstance may lead someone away from you
And not to spend the time just doubting

Howard Jones


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:59 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 1:10 pm
Posts: 176
Location: Southwest Florida
Hi John!

I have thanked you before in a personal email, but wanted to do so again. Your work has made my journey so much better and less lonely than it would have been otherwise. I actually am really glad to hear you are no longer active in church, because I felt like if you could make it work, then I must be less of a person to not be able to make it work for me.

You are making a very positive difference in the lives of so many, many people. I think you are my hero! I want to do the same thing and am hoping that I can find my own way to help others like you and me very soon.

I so love NOM! You know people, WE ROCK!

_________________
I'm a female, BIC, BYU grad, TM, former TBM now NOM with a TBM DH and 3 kids.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:00 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:54 pm
Posts: 236
Sorry for the threadjack Earnest. I'm a fan of your prose, and your repeated ability to coherently express the jumble of thoughts that are trapped in MY head.

For me, the public story of JD shines a light on the issue of perspective. Most of the time we can only guess where people are at. If its that tough to pin down one of our public contemporaries, how can we possibly know the mind and heart of the historical figures we regularly discuss here?

I've listened with fascination as the nature and tone of John's questions to his guests changed over time. (The best Mormon-themed podcast episodes are the ones when John relentlessly probes the "why" of his guest's beliefs). I have sensed, over the last few months, a growing fatigue, which is probably to be expected. JD - If a book is not in your future, it should be. Tell your story, and periodically break off into explanations of things like Fowler's Stages, Cog Dis, Confirmation Bias, cults, etc. etc. Leave the probing of historical/doctrinal issues to other authors, and simply break down your journey. Such a memoir would have universal appeal.

_________________
"Knowing what we don't know is the beginning of wisdom" -Kathryn Shulz


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:01 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:07 am
Posts: 411
Location: Not on NOM anymore
mormonstories wrote:
If the church were to send out some type of communication indicating that NOMs were fully legitimate/welcome in church (as vocal participants), and that they could have temple recommends (I know...crazy), I would consider re-activating...but I'm not holding my breath on that one.

I would love to have been able to make it work...We just can't make it work for us. At least not as thing are.

I feel exactly the same way. I didn't leave because the church isn't true. I left because they don't want me there. The church despises former believers. Probably because we threaten the authoritarian control.

Nonbelievers who value the culture and heritage of the church have no place. That's the saddest part to me. The religion we were born into is not mature enough to have a "reformed" version of itself such as most Jews participate in. If I had been born Catholic, I could easily just go on Christmas and Easter like many others do, and participate in the community as much as I like. But since I'm Mormon I am now cast off from the tightknit believer community, and I'm forced to stand by as the heritage that I still value slowly dwindles over the coming decades.

_________________
“None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but licence.” –John Milton


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:05 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:54 am
Posts: 1087
The idea JD had to friend him on facebook was brilliant. It is a way to see if you have like minded friends without raising the red flag to TBM family.
I am now up to 9 common friends with John. I love looking at his added friends list when it pops up on my FB page and scrolling through to see if I know anyone.
I can imagine it is a bit confusing for those that are actually friends with John, especially in his TBM days when they try and figure out the connection.

_________________
"How grateful I am that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has from its beginnings stood strongly against racism in any of its malignant manifestations."
Elder Alexander B. Morrison of the Seventy (Ensign, Sept 2000, p 16)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:16 am 
Online

Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 4:27 pm
Posts: 449
I too thank John for his great efforts in smoothing our path and bridging the gap. I am still trying to bridge the gap in my own life to some type of activity - but I empathize oh so much with the fatigue and the "it's just not worth it".

Yes, you can stay in the church as a "silent" NOM - but if you ever voice your thoughts - it is over. Not much of a spiritual life there.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:35 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 3:37 pm
Posts: 36
Earnest, I love you. :D

John, thank you again for being who you are, for reaching out to so many of us. You are an inspiration, whether you're going to church or not.

NOMers, I'm so thankful for all of you guys, too!

_________________
Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life? For how long will you continue to listen to those dark shouters, caution and prudence? Fall in! Fall in! --Mary Oliver


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:49 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2009 1:17 pm
Posts: 2241
Location: Where The Sand Meets The Sea
goto10 wrote:
JD - If a book is not in your future, it should be. Tell your story, and periodically break off into explanations of things like Fowler's Stages, Cog Dis, Confirmation Bias, cults, etc. etc. Leave the probing of historical/doctrinal issues to other authors, and simply break down your journey. Such a memoir would have universal appeal.

I agree! Have you considered writing a book, John???

Earnest....thanks for posting your communication between you and your friend....it was very interesting to read through. As always, I marvel at how well you express yourself and how open & honest you are in your discussions with TBMs.

_________________
"There came a time when the desire to know the truth about the church became stronger than the desire to know the church was true."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:56 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2010 2:49 pm
Posts: 3659
Location: Central Oregon
Here is my two-cent thank-you as well JD. I appreciate your work and efforts.


mormonstories wrote:
J

If the church were to send out some type of communication indicating that NOMs were fully legitimate/welcome in church (as vocal participants), and that they could have temple recommends (I know...crazy), I would consider re-activating...but I'm not holding my breath on that one.


jwald and I are still pretty active, I guess --- but if this does not happen, we will not make it either. The "middle way" is just not sustainable for many folks over the long run. But, I appreciate it now, in the short term. Your StayLDS has been a great help. Thanks.

_________________
Beer makes you feel the way you ought to feel without beer. -- Henry Lawson


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:53 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:09 pm
Posts: 3894
k i have 7 friends in common with JD. now what do i do? 2 are contributers to blogs, but that doesnt explain the other 5....


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:55 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:13 pm
Posts: 396
Earnest wrote:
-snip- Most of them keep their mouths shut because they respect other people. -snip-


Do you really think that is the case for most of us NOM types? I often wonder if it's actually because they don't want to bring alienation, family strife, or church discipline down upon their heads.

Not that we don't respect the beliefs of others, I just know for myself that I yearn to have open & honest discussions with my friends and family. I just know that I can't. They aren't productive and, in fact, usually destructive.

_________________
there's no righteousness like self righteousness


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:59 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2009 2:13 pm
Posts: 633
Location: Boise, Id
AllieOop wrote:
goto10 wrote:
JD - If a book is not in your future, it should be. Tell your story, and periodically break off into explanations of things like Fowler's Stages, Cog Dis, Confirmation Bias, cults, etc. etc. Leave the probing of historical/doctrinal issues to other authors, and simply break down your journey. Such a memoir would have universal appeal.

I agree! Have you considered writing a book, John???


John and I began collaborating on a book a while back, but I wanted to take it in a different direction so decided to do a separate book project.

John... I know you are busy my friend, but I hope you are still trying to get that book of yours off the ground. If not I think you should resurrect it - I'm confident it will do well if you can get it completed.

_________________
"People want to believe. As soon as they start believing, they stop thinking." David Eck
Obedience or Free Agency. Which is more important?


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 26 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: amusick, Bing [Bot], Pilgrim, what'snext, Yahoo [Bot] and 14 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group Color scheme by ColorizeIt!